EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 7)

The lost apostleship of Judas Iscariot had to be restored. The eleven must again become the twelve. The lesson of Judas is that any believer can become a traitor.

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INTRODUCTION   LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6

LESSON 7

Acts 1:21-26

21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. [1]

Even though it was prophesied in the distant past there would be a man who betrayed the coming Messiah, it was never written in stone that Judas must take the course he did. It was a choice, the result of his own will. There were signs all along that there was something wrong with him that needed attention. And then he betrays the Lord with a kiss? How can any man so blessed be such a jackass?

Most of us would consider being one of the apostles as the highest possible honor. Imagine being with the Lord every day, being taught by Him, and being a witness of His majesty. This was the greatest Man who ever lived living an extraordinary life willing to pay the highest price for those He loved. Walking with Him, regardless of the challenges and persecution, would have been an absolute trip.

But Judas was a thief. He ripped off the Lord. He stole money dedicated to ministry. He griped about perceived excess or waste, even though he ended up wasting his own life. There is no excuse for such behavior, not then and not ever. He was a liar, a pretender, and a manipulator. It appears that other apostles didn’t like or trust him. The Lord called him a devil (diabolos), being defined as one prone to slander, vicious gossip, fraudulent accusations, and bearing false witness. Judas characterized an entire group of people. Was this why the Lord chose him? To reveal to His followers what they would face and to thus be prepared? All the apostles were tempted but Judas was the weak link. He refused to discipline himself properly. He never allowed the circumcision of his heart. He chose to oppose.

There had to be twelve. One must be chosen to replace him. It had to be a man who followed the Lord from beginning to end and witnessed His resurrection. The original twelve apostles represented in part the twelve tribes of Israel. Judas had much in common with the progenitor of the tribe of Dan, who was the likely ringleader in betraying Joseph and sending him off to Egyptian bondage. At some point in history this tribe disappeared. There is no record of Dan in the Book of Revelation tribe list. This lets us know what becomes of traitors.

Matthias (gift of God) was chosen as an honorable replacement to resurrect a dead apostleship and restore fullness to the twelve. The thief would be replaced with a giver. It was the highest of honors for one who must have been a thoroughly humble man.

Matthias was an apostolic example of the new birth.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on April 9, 2020, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Had to check in to see what you’ve been up to. I will be back and take the time to study during this Passover season. From the looks of it, at first glance, it appears this is yet another one of your amazing series, well researched and thought out

    As for me, so many personal health issues the past 7 years, I don’t do much writing, So many good writers on WordPress….there has been enough said to save the world several times over, if they’d all listen and apply what they heard.

    This nasty virus is taking up too much of all our lives and thoughts, but I have been praying for everyone concerning this and want them to stay healthy and out of the clutches of those who just want to make a buck,….or a name, at humanities expense without regard for their lives, and well being.

    Thank you and God bless,
    Scarlett

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    • Thank you Scarlett. I do hope you start feeling better. Even though there are many voices no one else has your voice. But I do agree that lack of application presents a problem, likely borne out by a lack of spiritual discipline or being shut down by Christian authoritarianism. We have certainly entered strange days but the Lord remains in charge. For that we are both grateful and have great hope. Blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard some people say that Judas repented and trusted the Lord before he died. I do think he repented of his betrayal–his conscience was not totally hardened or he wouldn’t have attempted to return the money.

    Only God knows if Judas truly repented of his sin. Of course I would never wish anyone in hell for all eternity. But the scripture never clarifies that he truly came to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I have to wonder, if he did truly believe, if he would have been in such despair as to hang himself.

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    • Thanks for reading Linda, and for adding your perspective. On the surface it appears to us that he was certainly sorry for what he did and tried in a limited sense to make it right but still lost his soul. He was simply not a very good man or a good disciple. He also was such that the devil himself possessed him. We can see a form of temporary insanity maybe, but he had plenty of time to get right with God, having followed Him for three plus years. He certainly lost his apostleship. He rarely, if ever, treated it appropriately. Nevertheless, if he did repent properly at the end, though unlikely after ending his own life, the Blood of the Lord Jesus was powerful enough to cleanse even him.

      Liked by 1 person

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