The Apostolic Foundation

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For my home teaching lesson last month, instead of giving a message from the First Presidency, I decided to give a message about the First Presidency. Actually it is more about the Twelve Apostles as a whole (and not just the central three pillars that lead them), Jesus, the restoration of Israel, the temple as a symbol for God’s kingdom, and revelation. These concepts are all intimately intertwined, especially in imagery that presents the Twelve (as delegated by Christ) as foundational rocks or seer stones.

The closest precedent the Old Testament offers to the apostles are the Twelve tribal princes that Moses designated along with 70 elders. These princes were in turn modeled after the Twelve Patriarchs or the sons of Israel that were the founding fathers of each tribe. William Horbury has a book chapter (“The Twelve and the Phylarchs” p. 157-188) available on Google books that explores the concept further. This priestly position fell into obscurity as the nation of Israel went through vast political changes and scattering. The concept of the Seventy fared much better, but that is a different story. Suffice it to say, when Christ restored the office of the Twelve, it began to meet Messianic expectations that Israel would be restored to her former glory.I do like considering connections, however remote with other ancient texts, although I have to rely on other scholars. I have taken the liberty of excising references and language transcriptions without notice in the excerpts below. I will keep my commentary minimal and in italics.

From J. A. Draper, “The Apostles as Foundation Stones of the Heavenly Jerusalem and the Foundation of the Qumran Community” Neotestamentica 22 (1988).

What follows are excerpts of commentary on Rev. 21. First, the 12 apostles symbolize a restoration of the 12 tribes.

The identification of parts of the city with the community is rather in terms of names inscribed: those of the twelve tribes on the gates and those of the apostles of the Lamb on the twelve foundation stones. The whole city is described in units and multiples of twelve, symbolic of the eschatological renewal of Israel. Sanders has remarked that, “the expectation of the reassembly of Israel was so widespread and the memory of the twelve tribes so acute, that ‘twelve’ would necessarily mean restoration …”

Principally the foundation is understood to be Christ, but another application is to that of the 12 and their community of followers.

However, the underlying theme is probably given by two texts from Isaiah 28:16 and 54:11-12. The “precious cornerstone” of Isaiah 28:16 was usually given a Christological interpretation in the New Testament, as in the Targum where, in place of the reading of the Masoretic text, “a stone, a tested stone” it has “a king, a strong king, powerful and terrible.” Here it is applied to the community instead.

The 12 as stones related to the Urim and Thummin–an intriguing link to seer stones and revelation. Moses’ Twelve princes provided the precious stones for the High Priest’s breastplate.

By the first century B C, the Biblical lots Urim and Thummim had been thoroughly confused with the twelve gemstones in the breastplate of the High Priest, each inscribed with the name of a tribe. After their loss in 586 B. C, speculation took over from fact, but they continued to be understood as sources of judgment and prophecy, belonging to the High Priest. They were believed to have been hidden by Jeremiah before the fall of Jerusalem, and their restoration to the temple was to be a sign of the eschatological renewal of Israel. All of these ideas lie behind the Qumran pesher, and it seems that the twelve founding members of the community are identified with the twelve Urim and Thumim …. This is very close to the conception in Revelation 21:14,19ff, where the apostles’ names are inscribed on the twelve foundation stones of the new Jerusalem and characterised further as twelve gemstones. In other words, the twelve apostles are identified with the Urim and Thummim as a sign of the eschatological renewal of Israel.

Draper cites Qumran texts like 1QS 8:1-16; 9:3-11; 1QS 11:7-8; and reconstructs the fragmentary 4Qplsa (commentary on Isa 54:11-12. 1QS 8 refers to a “council of the community” composed of “twelve men and three priests” who are “foundational” and the “precious cornerstone” of Isaiah 28.16. Draper uses the latter 2 texts to make connections with Rev. 21 and identify the 12 (3 priests are included) as “heads of the tribes.” On 1 QS 9 Draper writes:

The description of this founding group of twelve is taken up again in 9:3-11, where they are described as “a foundation of holy spirit.” The spirit of holiness has the function of purifying and inspiring the members with insight into the mysteries of God (compare lQS 3:6-12, where the spirit of holiness is connected with moral conversion and ritual lustration). The spirit is a mark of the special presence of God with his people, and has also eschatological implications, since it was believed to have deserted Israel until the promised outpouring of the last days. This passage also sees the group as a spiritual temple . . . Within this community only the sons of Aaron are to rule in judgment and possessions, and the lot is to be cast only on their authority (9:7). Thus the group as a whole is invested with the authority of its three priests. This is because the lot which makes decisions or judgments, connected with the priesthood and the temple, is the Urim and Thummim of the High Priest’s vesture.

From  David Mathewson, “A Note on the Foundation Stones in Revelation 21.14, 19-20″ [JSNT 25.4 (2003) 487-498] see abstract here.]

Though most commentators have pointed to texts such as Eph. 2.20 and Mt. 16.16-18 [and Gal. 2.9] as the ostensible background for the notion of the apostles as the foundation stones (members) of the Christian community in Rev. 21.14, insufficient attention has been devoted to the Old Testament matrix for this architectural feature of the New Jerusalem. Though John is noticeably dependent on Ezek. 40–48 for much of his description of the New Jerusalem in 21.9-21, it is Isa. 54.11-12 that depicts the eschatological restoration of Jerusalem in terms of its adornment with precious stones (cf. Isa. 28.16). In addition to the overall role that Isa. 40–66 plays throughout Rev. 21.1-27 more broadly, ….

Interestingly, in the Isaiah pesher the pinnacles are allegorized as the twelve priests who give illumination like the sun by means of the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummim possessed oracular significance in Israelite tradition. It appears, however, that the function of the Urim and Thummim could be transferred to the twelve stones on the breastplate of the high priest.

Francis Sullivan

Many scholars, however does not believe that the 12 were meant to continue after laying a foundation. This echoes a fairly common sentiment I have run across. For example, Catholic Francis Sullivan writes (see my blog post for reference:

The role of the Twelve as symbolizing the twelve patriarchs of Israel meant that they had a unique role to play, precisely as a group of twelve, in the very origin of the church. This called for the choice of a twelfth man to take the place of Judas, prior to Pentecost so that on that day Peter “stood up with the Eleven” (Acts 2:14) when he gave his first witness to the risen Christ. On the other hand, some years later, when James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John was put to death by Herod (Acts 12:2), there was no question of again completing the number of the Twelve. By then the initial “foundation time” was completed.

R. A. Campbell

However Baptist R. A. Campbell reacts to such an argument in “The Elders of the Jerusalem Church” Journal of Theological Studies 44 (1993). Campbell argues that Luke expects us to assume that when James died that he was replaced like Judas was with Matthias. Those who disagree “are indulging in dogmatic speculation in the service of their own theories” !! (p. 517-518). He concludes that Luke purposefully calls Paul and apostle because qualification of his witness and sense of mission was equivalent to those who had been with Christ from the beginning of his mission.  Here is a more subdued version of his position that Campbell presented in his ’94 book The Elders p. 162-3]

Jerusalem, of course, was unique in having within it a body of twelve men who exercised leadership in virtue of their special commissioning by Jesus to be the nucleus of the eschatologically restored Israel. It is uncertain what became of this group, whether they left Jerusalem on missionary service, or died out, or whether they continued in leadership up to the time of the Jewish War, their number being made up as necessary by others to maintain the symbolic significance of Twelve.[59] Luke’s evidence is most commonly understood, as we have seen, to mean that the elders succeeded the apostles in the leadership of the chutch. Recently, for example, Bauckham has suggested that, as the number of the original Twelve dwindled, a new body was formed under the leadership of James, with any surviving apostles forming part of it, and it is this body whom Luke calls ‘the elders’.[60] But if in fact the Twelve, as an institution, continued for any length of time in Jerusalem, then the term ‘the elders’ would naturally have been applied to them, especially if, as is likely, that body included members of the original group, those whom Luke calls ‘the apostles’.

[59] We are regularly assured that this did not happen, that when James bar Zebedee was executed his place was not filled, but can we be sure of this, given the selectiveness of Luke’s account? The symbolic importance of the Twelve, together with the space Luke gives to describing Matthias’s appointment, might suggest the opposite: the number was maintained, and this is how it was done.
[60] Bauckham, Relatives, p. 75. Bauckham presents evidence to suggest that the list of bishops of Jerusalem, preserved independently by Eusebius and Epiphanius, should in reality be seen as a list of the new eldership surrounding James, pp. 70-9.

From Bruce Chilton in Types of Authority in Formative Christianity and Judaism. London, UK: Routledge, (1999).

Chilton believes that more replacements in 12 happened besides Matthias for Judas, but considers Paul an apostle outside of the 12.

In the new environment of God’s spirit which the resurrection signaled, baptism was indeed, as Matthew 28:19 indicates, an activity and an experience which involved the Father (the source of one’s identity), the Son (the agent of one’s identity), and the Holy Spirit (the medium of one’s identity). The intimate connection between endowment with the spirit of God and the resurrection of Jesus enables us to understand why the actual constituency of the apostles did not have to be strictly limited to those who had been selected by Jesus as such. In Acts 1:21– 6, Matthias is chosen with Joseph Barsabbas, as among those who had been associated with the movement from the time of John’s baptism. Both are fit to be witnesses of the resurrection, and the casting of lots results in the choice of Matthias, so that the number twelve is made up. Clearly, the apostolic group in Jerusalem maintained the principle of personal familiarity with Jesus prior to the resurrection and with the movement initiated by John, as well as the significance of the number twelve, even as the persons numbered among the twelve changed. That enables us to understand why there should be variations recorded in the names of those chosen by Jesus (see Matthew 10:2– 4; Mark 3:16– 19; Luke 6:14– 16). These lists represent an amalgam of historical memory and the constituency of the twelve as known to the local authorities in Rome around 70 CE (so Mark) or in Damascus around 80 CE (so Matthew) or in Antioch around 90 CE (so Luke)….

In his assertion of his apostolic rights (including the right not to work, to be sustained, and to have a wife, see 1 Corinthians 9:3– 7), Paul includes himself in the same category as Barnabas (9:6): “Or am I alone with Barnabas in not having authority not to work?” By implication, then, Barnabas is an apostle in the same sense Paul is. Barnabas was an important figure within the church in Jerusalem, but he was a Levite from Cyprus, and certainly did not meet the qualifications of a Matthias. 25 Moreover, Paul does not list Barnabas as among those to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Still, Paul does refer to Jesus’ appearance to “all the apostles,” and Barnabas might be understood among their number. In any case, we do need to rely on Paul’s implication to see Barnabas as an apostle: he is actually named as such, with Paul (and before Paul!) in Acts 14:14. The total list of those to whom the risen Jesus appeared gives us some idea of the extent to which apostolic identity might be claimed far beyond the circle of the twelve, and Paul and Acts confirm that impression.

Concluding Remarks

There is also, in Rev. 21, 12 gates associated with visionary temple also presumably representing the Q12 as well. I wonder how this ties in with the Q12 or Jesus being heavenly gate keepers or prevailing against the gates of hell (spirit world) as some Mormon commentators such as Barry Bickmore have pointed out. I am tempted to tie the 12 oxen supporting the temple font with the 12 tribal princes/apostles given the imagery of the apostles being foundational. A foundation that was meant to continue even beyond Matthias replacing the fallen Judas.  In sum, I think there is a very complex imagery lurking behind Matt. 16′s rock that links the apostles to Jesus and revelation as collectively being the foundation of a restoration of Israel and the temple and all that that implies in regards to heavenly and earthly salvation.

4 thoughts on “The Apostolic Foundation

  1. Keller Post author

    I just noticed that Robert Bowman, the executive director of IRR linked a response to my Bowman on Ordination post back in January. I will make some observation at his generous, astute response here.

    Bowman saw my summary of his position confused and he has a point, but he charitably allowed that I had identified some of the themes he was driving at in his series of posts, though of course not found explicitly in his treatment or put into the terms that he would use. I am generally happy to send readers to the original source to see whether I have adequately or fairly represented the positions I am critiquing and I accept clarifications that Bowman has made on good faith. I went out of my way to link to his essays, even though I risked FAIR’s censure for linking to a critic’s website. I regret that some of my readers didn’t have a clear and nuanced vision of the positions I responded to. I will strive to do better in my summaries. I have no complaints about Bowman’s representation of my views that he chose to respond to. I would do well to follow his example of generous quoting.

    As an example of my lack of clarity, Bowman notes that priesthood office in early Christianity is a broader topic than apostleship. Therefore I was wrong to write “Such deviations, he contends, make it impossible for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make unique truth claims about exclusively having priesthood authority.” From an evangelical perspective it makes sense to separate priesthood and apostleship, but for Mormon truth claims, the two go hand in hand, especially in our dispensation. We do not view any priesthood in our dispensation as divinely authorized when not supervised or delegated by living apostles. Bowman is aware of this, but correctly notes there are a lot of Mormon assumptions involved that go beyond what he actually he addressed. Fair enough, a post critiquing all of Mormon assumptions involved could become unwieldy for his readers.

    The Mormon position regarding our modern dispensation colors the way we interpret activities in the early Christianity. Hypothetically, I could accept that the view that laying on of hands as necessary for conveying office on (so-called) apostolic successors was a late Christian development designed to counter (especially gnostic) heretics who could not make the same claims. However, the evidence that Bowman and other Protestant oriented historians is not enough to overturn my expectations. Ferguson and Mantel convince me that ordination was predominately present before the second and third centuries (I noted Ferguson did not view the hand laying aspect as necessary as the ordination prayer or see the laying on of hands as having as much continuity in Judaism before Jesus like Mantel does.)

    I think one reason Bowman wants to draw a distinction apostles and other offices (I agree that there is very much a dispute about office vs. charisma in academic literature, and one can imagine what side of the fence myself and Hugh Nibley are on if we had to pick sides), is that it is easier to make claims about post-resurrection apostles when evidence regarding some elders being commissioned by hand-laying can be dismissed.

    I would counter using R.A. Campbell’s approach. He does not see a big distinction between Elders and Apostles in the early stages. An Elder can be looked at in two, not necessarily mutually exclusive, ways. One is as an honorary title for senior leadership, the other is in the sense of an office. As examples of the honorary sense (which Campbell favors) Apostles in this dispensation have been called “elders” (Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery), as they have in the Book of Mormon (note Jesus called 12 “disciples” but they were called “elders” by the people), or in the New Testament (John and Peter’s epistles are self-referentially by a presbyter or elder), and Campbell argues that Acts portrays the Jerusalem elders (which included James who is referred to a pillar apostle by Paul) as including apostles (perhaps exclusively so, but certainly not separate from). I should note that Campbell uses Sohm’s work as a launch point so I think he comes down on the charismatic side of the authority debate. I have more reading to do to more fully understand his position.

    What I am trying to convey here is that Bowman singling out of what I consider ambiguous cases involving post-resurrection apostles Paul and Matthias amounts to special pleading. We see apostles ordained during Christ’s ministry and many elders and/or overseers ordained during the apostle’s ministry, so that an apostle (or any individual legitimately engaged in acts necessitating authority) that could not trace a line of ordinations back to Christ would be an exception. Whether other apostles had to be involved post-resurrection is interesting, given that Jesus could conceivably act unilaterally from the Twelve. This is certainly the case presented for the Nephite Twelve. For James, accounts are mixed on what role the Twelve, the original big 3(Peter, James, and John), the congregation, or Christ had in appointing/ordaining/or laying hands on him.

    For Paul, yes he viewed Christ’s appearance and personal call to apostleship as his primary qualifications to be a special witness of Christ, and institutional leadership emanating from Jerusalem as more or less red tape (like being given the right hand of fellowship by the pillar apostles), but Luke presents a slightly different view, emphasizing Paul’s submitting to Jerusalem authorities and not calling him an apostle until after Barnabus’ group ordained him (and Barnabus, legend allows that he was already a member of the Seventy apostles, but certainly a delegate from Jerusalem according to Luke.)

    I think I understand Bowman’s point about God and a group larger than just the Twelve (actually Eleven, but that is unsatisfactory nomenclature given all they symbolized) being responsible for Matthias’ appointment, but this hardly overturns a Mormon paradigm that existing living apostles should, where possible, at least be on hand to officially recognize a revelation of God’s will on such weighty matters. I can’t read Acts 1 as saying that Matthias would have been accepted as a new 12th apostle if the other members of the Twelve didn’t accept him (“If ye are not one ye are not mine”). Yet, that is the only reading that can really affect how much continuity Mormons can see in the appointment of ancient and modern apostles, in my opinion. Bowman doesn’t make this argument, arguing instead that the remaining Twelve played a minimal role (or no special role) in arranging or accepting Matthias’ appointment.

    In our era, precedents have granted a certain order under which apostolic succession occurs. We not set forth any universal decrees that more than just the surviving apostles can be involved in receiving revealed knowledge about God’s selection. For a counter example: Zion’s Camp, a church conference, God, Joseph Smith and the First Presidency, and the Three Witnesses all played a role in appointing, ordaining, or lending consent to God’s revealed will in calling the initial members of the modern Twelve. So I don’t really expect the Twelve to always have go in seclusion to eliminate any other possible influence in the selection process, or for lots used as the method of receiving God’s revelation, or for the selection pool of potential apostles to be limited to those who had proved faithful throughout Jesus’ mortal ministry (the original Zion’s Camp so to speak).

    Note that I don’t bring up Book of Mormon and modern Mormonism as evidence that will be persuasive to Bowman about what happened in Old World Christianity, but I do bring them up as evidence that the Mormon paradigm is broader than what Bowman has gathered from his reading of Mormon scholars. I am not constrained by what scholars in Mormon tradition have addressed, nor would I require Bowman to adopt everything I read about in Protestant literature. I enjoy seeking out the best treatments that both camps offer and I hope that both will be allowed to refine their positions without anyone calling foul.

    I see the Jewish converts to early Christianity were very slow to deviate from prior precedents. Matthias’ appointment was a major break from the past record of Jesus personally ordaining apostles. Paul’s appointment was a major precedent breaker for not requiring being present with the mortal ministry, and we read resistance to recognizing his appointment outside his missionary sphere. Some of the cautions about accepting wandering prophets and prophets in the Didache have been speculated as arising from Antioch’s reaction to Paul. So I don’t understand why the Saviour’s hand-laying precedent during some of his mortal activities would have been departed from without a major revolt on record. How is that for an argument from silence?

    I recognize that Bowman attempted to show that Paul’s and Matthias’ apostleship did not hinge on appointment or hand-laying of other apostles (and in his view the accounts preclude this), however I consider the argument from silence as actually the strongest one he presented. The evidence he considers precluding hand-laying and appointment, for me, merely addresses what one’s expectations should be given an absence of mention of the disputed elements. I recognize that Bowman characterizes his arguments another way, but this is the best I can make of them. The reason I am unconvinced of these supporting arguments (regarding expectation in absence of clear evidence) is that my expectations are dominated by the sources I introduced in my response post.

    Robert Bowman can rightly write that I did not address his impressive textual arguments from Acts 1. While this is true, he has not addressed some of the counter-arguments and questions I raised, at least not in detail. I do not get the impression that either of us want to do a point by point refutation of the other (I am sure we both have favorite scholars we like to read that are much more prolific and enlightening on the topic than we are, but I should probably just speak for myself here.) In fairness to Bowman, his response post was more about setting the record straight about my confused summary of his arguments.

  2. onika

    The following is to show that the apostles had to be literal witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. The fact that they could all die off didn’t matter because Christ was expected to come the second time before that happened.

    Here is no mention of laying on of hands, just casting lots; also an apostle was a physical witness of Jesus Christ:
    Acts 1:
    21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
    22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
    23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
    24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
    25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
    26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

    Here Paul tells his story of how he became an apostle (no mention of ordination by laying on of hands):
    Gal.1:
    16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
    17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
    18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
    19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save .James the Lord’s brother.
    20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
    21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
    22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
    23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

    Gal. 2:
    1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
    2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
    3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
    4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
    5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
    6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
    7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
    8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
    9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

    Christ appeared to Paul so he could be a witness/apostle:
    Acts 26:
    15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
    16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

    Cor. 9:
    1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
    2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

    Christ ordained Paul (refer to Acts 26):
    Tim 2:
    7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

    1 Cor. 15:
    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    4 And that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
    9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

    14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
    15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

    The apostles were to gather the lost tribes:
    James 1:
    1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

    Paul explains that the sacrifices of those under the first testament were not enough to redeem them from their sins, but Christ’s sacrifice covered for those under the first testament who were “called” (elect/chosen). This explains why he thought Christ came in the “end of the world” and the “last days”, so that his sacrifice would cover all those who came before him as well as the ones living in the present until his second coming. Only those who received the gospel before they died (the foreordained/predestined elect) would be saved, because preaching to the spirits in prison was done by Christ who was not there any more, but in heaven, and the elect were sure to receive it (Romans 11: 1-7). This also explains why only the spirits of those who died in the flood are mentioned as being taught (1 Peter 3: 19-20), because God’s chosen lineage (through Shem) worshiped the true God after the flood (Genesis 9: 26-27):
    Hebrews 1:
    1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
    2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    Hebrews 9:
    15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

    26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
    27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
    28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    Hebrews 10:
    1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
    2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
    3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
    4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
    5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
    6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
    7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
    8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
    9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
    10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
    12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

    36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
    37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

    Romans 11:
    1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
    2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
    3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
    4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
    5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
    6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
    7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

    1 Peter 3:
    19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
    20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    Genesis 9:
    26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
    27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
    (One interpretation is that God shall dwell in the tents of Shem.)

    The reason Paul said it was doing well to not marry and get distracted from the Lord’s work was because Christ was going to come soon.
    1 Cor. 7:
    29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
    30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
    31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
    32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
    33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

    35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
    36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
    37 Nevertheless, he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

    The anti-Christ was living in their time.
    2 Thess. 2:
    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
    4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
    5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
    6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
    7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
    8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    Rather than the meaning of “calling and election made sure” being a visitation from Christ before dying, it could have originally meant having their inheritance redeemed at the second coming at the Christ:
    2 Peter 1:
    10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
    11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    More references to show they expected Christ to come in their lifetimes:
    Matt. 16:
    27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
    28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

    Mark 13:
    29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
    30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
    31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
    32 ¶ But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
    33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
    34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
    35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
    36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
    37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

    Luke 12:
    37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
    38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
    39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
    40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

    Luke 21:
    27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
    28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
    31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
    32 Verily I say unto you, This generation ashall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
    36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

    Romans 16:
    20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.

    Romans 13:
    11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
    12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

    1 Cor. 1:
    4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
    5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
    6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
    7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Cor. 4:
    9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

    1 Cor. 10:
    11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
    12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

    1 Cor 15:
    51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all asleep, but we shall all be changed,
    52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

    Phil. 1:
    3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
    4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
    5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
    6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
    9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
    10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

    1 Thes. 1:
    9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
    10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

    1 Thes. 2:
    19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

    1 Thes. 3:
    12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
    13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

    1 Thes. 4:
    13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
    14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    1 Thes. 5:
    1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
    2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
    3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
    4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
    5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
    6 Therefore let us not asleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

    23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    2 Thes. 1:
    6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
    7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
    8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
    10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

    2 Tim 4:
    8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
    18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    Titus 2:
    13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

    James 5:
    7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
    8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

    1 Peter 1:
    7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
    8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
    9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
    10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

    20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

    1 Peter 4:
    7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

    2 Peter 3:
    11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
    12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
    13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
    14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

    1 John 2:
    18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

    28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

    1 John 3:
    2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

    Jude 1:
    16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
    17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
    18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

    24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

    Rev.1:
    1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
    2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
    3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
    4 JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
    5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
    6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
    7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

  3. Keller

    I will probably trim the scripture passages in that comment down and then see if there are any points I haven’t already addressed. But I will do it later.

  4. Pingback: The New Testament - Acts - chapter 27, verse 16 | E-Bibles.info is the online bible

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