Let his position be taken by another. Acts 1:20
When we speak about the preparation of the disciples for Pentecost, we rightly concentrate on the 10 days between Jesus’ ascension and the fulfilling of time. But usually we only look at half of the story that is recounted in Acts chapter one. Could it be we are missing something?
It is true: many people have seen Jesus after his death – alive. And they gathered in the upper room, where Jesus shared communion with the twelve. 500 had seen him, the bible tells, and 120 were still together at the end of the waiting time. We do not know how many where gathered in the beginning, how many came late or left early. We do not know what they did together – apart from what the bible tells us: they prayed with one mind.
I have heard so many speculative preachings to give us an idea what was necessary for the Spirit to fall: mutual forgiveness, restoration of relationships, cease of searching for position, decisions taken by the half-hearted. All these things are important – but none is mentioned. But why speculate if the bible tells us more about it.
Peter stood up and brought forth an important fact: in exactly this location, a few weeks ago, a break happened in their rows. The decision of Judas to betray Jesus had the twelve become eleven.
Peter the fisherman derived from scripture what had to happen: another had to take Judas’ position.
I can hear the outcry of all that believe that there are no more apostles today: Peter was wrong. Jesus wanted Paul for that position. And even the method of election – so old testament.
Why this statement? If apostles were only given to write the new testament and complete the canon of scripture, Paul would stand in an odd position. He that wrote most of the new testament has to be an apostle then. But what about Luke, Mark, Jude?
Apostles are given until. Until we walk in unity and full maturity, as is written in Ephesians 4:11-16. The twelve apostle of the Lamb, and after that many more – for example Paul, Barnabas, Titus, Timothy and many more, even in our time.
But back to the story:
Why is it so important that there were twelve apostles?
She [the city, the new Jerusalem] had a wall great and high, with twelve doors, and at the doors twelve angels; and names on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. And on the east were three doors; and on the north three doors; and on the south three doors; and on the west three doors. And the wall of the town had twelve bases, and on them the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. Rev 21:12-14
Twelve bases in the city wall around the new Jerusalem, and they had names: the twelve apostles of the lamb. What if there were only 11 apostles?
One base would have been lacking. An unstable foundation, an unguarded section of the wall, a possible breach for the enemy, an opportunity for break down.
Ephesians repeats on this:
So then you are no longer as those who have no part or place in the kingdom of God, but you are numbered among the saints, and of the family of God, resting on the base of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief keystone. Eph 2:19-20
Even today God’s church is built on the base of apostles and prophets. Other scriptures add to that: First apostles, second prophets, third teachers. Or – as already mentioned – Ephesians 4:11-16.
God promisses early and later rain together. The reaper to overtake the sower. Tabernacles. Pentecost has been a downpayment on the fullness of tabernacles – just as Paul put it: a downpayment of the Spirit.
The bible tells us two things about the waiting time between Ascension and Pentecost: they prayed in one mind, and complemented leadership. We are in the time of restoration of the fivefold. As it was back then at pentecost 2000 years ago, so it is today: leadership is complemented.
It is interesting that when God restored Pentecost to the church it wasn’t just the gifts of the Spirit that got attacked but also the offices. Foreseeing the consequences the enemy not only “demonized” the nine gifts of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, he also gave a doctrine announcing that apostles and prophets ceased existing.
Prayer in one mind has been restored in Pentecost:
There is one body and one Spirit, even as you have been marked out by God in the one hope of his purpose for you. Eph 4:4
What was missing was the base: restored fivefold ministry. What was left missing were men and women with authority and a calling to lead the people they had been assigned to into unity, maturity, equipping them for ministry, for their calling.
Fivefold ministry is no fad. It is not an new but old method to control people and manipulate. Fivefold ministry simply is God’s chosen way to bring his body into fruition, into maturity.
My council to all leader reading this: pray with your church, pray in the Spirit and in one mind. And complement your leadership. Ask God to reveal his apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Ask God for wisdom to fulfill his plan to set free those gifts in our midst.
True, we are no more old testament. Therefore such leaders are not elected and chosen by throwing the lot as in Acts chapter one. Rather they will become apparent to the people as in chapter six and be commissioned as in chapter 13. Jesus himself prayed a whole night through before appointing his twelve.
What a time we live in. Please let me know your thoughts in a comment.