1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

At Jerusalem V5. [not Rome - (Catholicism)]

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath,‭ ‬from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering‭; ‬seven sabbaths shall be complete (Lev 23: 15)

At Jerusalem V5. [not Rome - (Catholicism)]

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath,‭ ‬from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering‭; ‬seven sabbaths shall be complete (Lev 23: 15)

The word rendered "one accord" [homothumadon] occurs eleven times in Acts; the only other occurrence is in Rom. 15:6. Its usage here is significant.

"They were all with one mind in the same place" (Diag.).

Had they not all been "of one mind" God could not have poured out His Spirit-power upon them. Can we imagine an indiscriminate dissemination of the Spirit upon a number of people who held differing beliefs and philosophies and ambitions?

Similarly, can present-day ecclesias expect to receive the blessing of Yahweh upon their efforts and activities if they are not "of one mind" in the essential elements of the Truth? Paul told the Philippians to be "of one accord, of one mind..." and that they should be "with one mind, striving together" (ch. 2 :2; 1:27). Peter exhorted the brethren:

"Be ye all of one mind" (IPet. 3:8).

When brethren are not of one mind, there will be a lack of harmonious understanding; there will be different motives and motivation; different objectives;different attitudes towards the teaching of Scripture. Then the standards of belief and practice will differ.

Would Yahweh have poured out His Spirit upon a group of men who would use that power for differing purposes, their intentions resulting from differing motives? What chaos would have resulted!

This phrase, in this context, is therefore a dynamic expression, showing the necessity for true unity and oneness of mind within the body of believers. This state will only be attained when the members of an ecclesia are all moved by the power of the Word, being fully committed thereto and not to their own cause, ideals or ambitions, selflessly dedicating themselves to the cause of Christ, and to no others.

Bro John Ullman

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

This was the first token of the preternatural crisis that was upon them.‭ ‬By itself this would have been nothing as a sign to the unbelieving community of Jerusalem.‭ ‬What could a sound like the swaying of trees have signified,‭ ‬either to believers or unbelievers‭? ‬So next,‭ ‬the rushing,‭ ‬however, concentrated itself over the heads of the twelve apostles...* 

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

They saw upon their heads Spirit, blazing in cloven-tongues of flame

But this also,‭ ‬by itself,‭ ‬would have failed of intelligible significance.‭ ‬Men would simply have exclaimed,‭ "‬What an extraordinary thing.‭ ‬Whatever can be the cause‭? ‬What a state these men's blood must be in to show a fiery appearance like that.‭" ‬But quite another complexion was given to it by the next phenomenon.*

'.. it is evident that fire, which is also light, is in symbolic representation significative of the spirit of God...

Now, when this appearance envelopes men and things, it is called glory, or majesty. Hence, referring to the transfiguration of Jesus on the mount, the apostle says, "we were eye-witnesses of His majesty: for He received from God the Father honour and glory" (2 Pet. 1:16).

Such glory, or brightness, so beautifully represented by Ezekiel and John, will clothe the saints as well as the Lord Jesus, when they shall appear in the kingdom of God: as it is written, "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).

The apostle also speaks of the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars, as an illustration of the glory of the risen saints (1 Cor. 15:41-42); and what is symbolically represented in Ezekiel and John of the glory of the Lord, is plainly affirmed by the prophet in these words: "the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients (Isaiah 24:23).

Elpis Israel 1.5.

4 And they were all filled with the holy spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Not unknown tongues-not jabber or jargon that nobody could understand.‭ ‬There is much misunderstanding among the common run of people on this point.‭ ‬They have the idea that what happened on the day of Pentecost was on a par with the incoherent rave of modern delusionists,‭ ‬who think they imitate the apostles in pouring forth a stream of inarticulate and meaningless rhodomontade.‭ ‬This is a terrible mistake.‭

These fishermen spoke in the known languages of their day,‭ ‬which they had never learnt.‭ ‬One spoke in Latin,‭ ‬one in Greek,‭ ‬one in Captic,‭ ‬one in Persian,‭ ‬others in other current dialects,‭ ‬all in a clear grammatical style.‭ ‬They discoursed intelligibly in these tongues which they had never learnt,‭ ‬on‭ "‬the wonderful works of God.‭" *

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

The very cream of the Israelitish race,‭ ‬in a spiritual sense,‭ ‬were brought together at such a time,‭ ‬in the spirit of obedience to the law‭; ‬a prepared accumulation of good soil for the good seed to be sown.‭ ‬The city would be crowded with people at holiday leisure,‭ ‬and in a mood to be interested in what would be said and shewn to them.‭

The disciples,‭ ‬also,‭ ‬when‭ "‬the day of Pentecost had fully come,‭" ‬were‭ "‬all with one accord in one place,‭" ‬to keep the feast in the same spirit that had brought together large numbers of devout Jews from all parts.‭ ‬This was a suitable moment chosen for the bestowal of the promised equipment for the apostolic enterprise.*

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

Astonished at the sublime eloquence outfiowing from these illiterate Galilatan fishermen, they said one to another, "What meaneth this?" They had seen nothing like it in Rome, nor yet in Jerusalem, before; and there were none that could expound it, save the Eternal Spirit before whom they stood.

Eureka 13.13.

What could it mean‭? ‬It was something entirely beyond human experience or capacity.‭ ‬It was as if a company of working men should begin all of a sudden to lecture learnedly in French or German,‭ ‬or Russian,‭ ‬on the profundities of chemistry or electrical science.‭ ‬No wonder that enquiring attention was fixed.‭ ‬This was one of the very objects aimed at.‭ ‬When people are curious to know,‭ ‬they are prepared to listen.‭

There were,‭ ‬of course,‭ ‬some foolish suggestions as to the meaning of it,‭ ‬as is the manner with a crowd.‭ ‬Some‭ "‬mocking said,‭ ‬These men are full of new wine.‭" [v13] ‬Absurd‭! ‬Drunkenness has been known to take away what sense and utterance a man has,‭ ‬but who ever knew of it imparting knowledge to him-whether of languages or anything else‭? *

8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

The Jerusalem ecclesia though strongly Hebrew in background was diverse in religion, language and culture. There were pharisee and saducee believers and Jews from the West (Hellenistic Judaism) who were influenced by Greek culture and read the Greek Septuagint. Hebrew and aramaic versions of the Old Testament were used. There were wealthy and poor and a mixture of cultures so it was a very diverse ecclesia. Despite the mix there was a singular unity which moves us to conclude it was a wonderful period of goodwill and purity of faith...

gladness and singleness of heart v46.

10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

The gospel of the kingdom was introduced to Rome by neither Peter nor Paul, but by "Roman strangers, being Jews and proselytes"-who heard the Apostles and obeyed the things they taught on Pentecost.

When these, on their return from the celebration of Pentecost, carried the doctrine of Christ to Rome, that city was Pagan, and so continued, in fact and name, until Constantine revolutionised it.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1853

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

These spiritually-endowed saints were the Mouth of the Deity; first, to the Jews; and some years afterwards, to the Gentiles, of Rome.

Eureka 13.13.

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Peter stands up with the eleven and gives the true explanation.‭ ‬To appreciate the force it,‭ ‬we must remember that the public execution of Jesus had taken place in less than two months before,‭ ‬and that the immense crowd assembled in the front of the house knew all about it,‭ ‬some from report and some from personal knowledge.‭ *

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

(book of Joel apostolically endorsed - Peter v17- 21 quotes Joel 2: 28-32verbatim)

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

"The grace" designed for the saints, and purposed to come through Jesus Christ, was not intended to be revealed all at one time. The grace, or gift of holy spirit, was to be rained upon the saints at two different periods. The spirit in Joel shows this. "Be glad," saith he,

"ye children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh your Elohim; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain in the first month."

The original of this text is quite remarkable. The Hebrew reads,

"For he hath given to you the Teacher of Righteousness, and he shall cause to descend for you a rain; a teacher and a latter rain in the first month"—ch. 2:23.

This teacher hath been given in the person of Jesus; and the Father who gave him, caused to descend upon the children of Zion, the saints, "a rain," when on Pentecost he poured out his spirit upon the apostles and their brethren. This as the substitute for Jesus guided them into all the truth, and showed them things to come.

Christ is "the Lord the Spirit," "a quickening spirit;" and from him holy spirit-rain came in the third month, or fifty days after the passover and crucifixion. But there is to be "a teacher and a latter rain in the first month." That is in the month Nisan, or when the passover shall be fulfilled in the kingdom of God—Ezek. 45:21; Luke 22:15–18. The result of the appearing of this teacher in the time of the latter rain will be that the sons of Zion will

"eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of Yahweh and hear Elohim that hath dealt wondrously with them; and his people shall never be ashamed. And they shall know that I am in the midst of Israel; and that I—the Spirit made flesh and glorified, and so both Lord and Christ, personal and mystical—am Yahweh your Elohim, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed."

But the people of Yahweh, political and spiritual, are now put to shame. Israel after the flesh is a bye-word and a proverb; and so is Israel after the spirit, or the saints, who have been, are, and will be prevailed against by the enemy until the Ancient of Days shall be revealed in power and great glory. Joel's prediction, then, has not been yet fulfilled, and the latter rain of spirit in the first month is yet in future.

Now, when it shall have come to pass that Israel and the saints are no more put to shame by their enemies, "the latter rain in the first month" will descend. For immediately after predicting that his people shall never be put to shame, the Spirit in Joel saith,

"and it shall come to pass afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh."

Peter referred to this prophecy of the baptism of spirit, and said of the outpouring on Pentecost, "this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel." It was "the earnest of the spirit," and the full measure of it; the earnest of the inheritance," not the inheritance itself.

Thus Paul saith to the spirituals,

"He that hath anointed us (or christened us with spirit) is the Deity, who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the spirit in our hearts."—2 Cor. 1:21:

and again,

"in Christ also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance for a redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory."—Eph. 1:13.

The remarks of Peter by no means limited Joel's prophecy to the third month of the year of the ascension of Jesus. Peter referred more especially to the Teacher or the Comforter, not to "the latter rain in the first month."

Joel's prophecy covers the whole ground in saying, "he will cause to come down for you a rain;" not a continuing rain for eighteen hundred or more years from the descent on Pentecost to the second advent of Christ, but a copious shower in the Apostolic age, followed by a long, dry time in which everything is parched up; and then, when this drought shall end, the "latter rain in the first month."

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1861

28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.  [Thou wilt shew me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy (Psa 16: 11)]

In the beginning God's way was styled "the way of the tree of life," which, in the passage where it occurs, must be taken literally, and then allegorically. In its literal sense, it was the path leading to the Tree in the midst of the garden; but allegorically, it signified the things to be believed and practised by those who desired to live for ever.

To believe and do, is to walk in "the way which leadeth unto life," because immortality will be a part of the recompense of reward for so doing.

Until the crucifixion, the way was marked out, first, by the patriarchal arrangement of things, and secondly, by the Mosaic law, all of which pointed to the Shiloh. But, when Jesus appeared, He announced, saying, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

He became the Way, by His sacrificial death and resurrection.

Whosoever would attain to life must believe the truth concerning Jesus, and the kingdom, which is the most holy place. Hence, it is written, "we have boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a New and Living Way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the Veil, that is to say, His flesh" (Heb. 10:19-20).

Elpis Israel 1.5.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

So David slept with his fathers,‭ ‬and was buried in the city of David.‭ ‬ And the days that David reigned over Israel‭ ‬were 40 years:‭ 7‬ years reigned he in Hebron,‭ ‬and33 years reigned he in Jerusalem. (1 Kin2 : 10-11)

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

If then, he "is dead," and not "gone to heaven," as the phrase is, he is alive in no sense; and consequently the covenant promises are not fulfilled. David must be alive when they are accomplished. Christ, his divine son, has been manifested and glorified; and God has recognized him as his son; but in no other particular has the covenant been fulfilled: for he has inherited neither the land of Canaan, nor the kingdom and throne of David once upon it.

But where are the kingdom and throne of David? "In heaven, beyond the skies, where Christ is at the right hand of God; and where precious souls go to when they die." Such is the answer given by gentile theology! Need we wonder at Jews having such a contempt for what is called "christianity," when they hear its professors gravely affirm such absurd nonsense as this?

Have Canaan, Jerusalem, and the twelve tribes, been translated beyond the skies? 0 no, say they, these things remain, but then they are types of things which exist where Jesus is! Alas, what sorry stuff, what shilly-shally twaddle is this, to come out of the mouths of "great and good and pious men."

It is admitted that David and Solomon's reigns were typical, or representative, of Christ's reign; not beyond the skies, however; but upon their throne and in their kingdom upon the veritable land promised to Abraham. But, inquires one, if not beyond the skies, where are the kingdom and throne of David? In answer to this question, reader mark it well -- at present they exist no where. They once existed, and while they had a being they were the kingdom and throne of God among men.

He has kingdoms and thrones in other orbs; but we have nothing to do with them; and have no more right, had we the power, to go and take possession of them either as "souls," or bodies, than the angels have to come and seize upon all the thrones and kingdoms of earth, which belong to Christ and his brethren by inheritance. But let us leave to the owls and bats the idols of the schools, the worshipful phantasmata of the apostasy, and let us turn to the enlightening testimony of God....

...There has been no son of David reigning upon his throne since the dethronement of Zedekiah by Nebuchadnezzar five hundred and ninety-five years before the birth of Christ. But it is not a question of uninterrupled succession; but of the everlasting occupation of

the throne according to the covenant. When the time comes for this to be fulfilled, noted by David's resurrection, from thenceforth shall his son fill the throne of Israel's kingdom for ever. But what saith the scripture?

Just before the fall of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, the sins of Judah and its king had attained the full. Zedekiah was then on the throne wearing the crown of David. Ezekiel was commanded to say to him, "Thou profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God, 'Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this (Zedekiah) shall not be the same (son of David spoken of in the covenant): exalt him that is low (even Jesus), and abase him that is high,' " -- that is, dethrone Zedekiah.

But, then, what is to become of the kingdom of David? Hear the Lord by his prophet -- "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more UNTIL he (Shiloh) shall come whose right it is: and I will give it him" (Ezek. 21:25-27).

According to this word so it has been to the letter. The king's eyes were put out; Zion was ploughed as a field; and not a tribe remained in the land. After seventy years captivity, there was a restoration under Ezra, Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Nehemiah. But until B.C. 165, the Israelites in Canaan were not even a kingdom; but a subject province of the Persian monarchy, and afterwards of the Macedonian. 

About the year named they became a kingdom again; but not David's. The throne was that of the Asmoneans, who were of the tribe of Levi. Their dynasty was superseded by the Roman senate, which set up Herod's family instead. He was an Idumean, and reigned till after the birth of Jesus, whom he sought to put to death.

He was succeeded by Archelaus, who was deposed by the Romans, and Judea reduced into the form of a province under a procurator; thus verifying, as is supposed, that the sceptre should depart from Judah when Shiloh came: and so it came to be when God called his son Jesus out of Egypt. From that time to this, there has been no kingdom, or throne of Israel, in Canaan. The Hebrew commonwealth was broken up by the Romans about thirty years, or so, after the crucifixion; and it has been, and will be, no more, until the Lord Jesus come, who is the King of the Jews, and whose sole right it is to reign.

Elpis Israel 2.4.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself [Psa 110.1], Yahweh said unto my Adon, Sit thou on my right hand,

And no man hath ascended up to heaven,‭ ‬but he that came down from heaven,‭ ‬even the Son of man which is in heaven. (Jhn 3 :13)

‬The Immaterialist writer does not touch it.‭ ‬He says it simply proves that David was a man,‭ ‬complete in all his parts‭ ‬.‭ ‬.‭ ‬and that the natural portion of man had not ascended to heaven.‭ ‬This surely did not need proving.‭ ‬No one supposes a dead body takes skyward flight.‭

It proves what it declares:‭ ‬that David is not in heaven,‭ ‬where the Immaterialist theologians say he is.‭ ‬The Bible recognises no David that is not‭ "‬complete in all his parts.‭" ‬An incomplete David is an invention of the Immaterialist school.‭

David is the living,‭ ‬conscious,‭ ‬bodily person that bore that name.‭ ‬He is at present dead,‭ ‬dissolved,‭ ‬taken down.‭ ‬His scattered dust is not he:‭ ‬the vitality that animated that dust when it was corporeal is not he‭; ‬the mind evolved by that vitalised corporealism is not he.‭

All together in mutual play and evolution were he:‭ ‬but death has taken down the machinery,‭ ‬and David‭ "‬sleeps in the dust of the earth,‭" (‬Dan.‭ ‬12:2‭)‬,‭ ‬from which he will awake by the same testimony to life everlasting,‭ ‬in the great day of rebuilding‭; ‬viz.‭ "‬the time of the dead,‭" ‬when God will

‭ "‬give reward to His servants the prophets,‭ ‬and to the saints,‭ ‬and to them that fear His name,‭ ‬small or great.‭"-(‬Rev.‭ ‬11:18.‭)

The Christadelphian, June 1872

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

In flashing, or photographing, the power, glory, character, and very substance, of the Deity upon a body taken from among the dead, the Father's Name was written upon it; and the resurrected Jesus can now say, in every sense of the words, "I and the Father are One" - ego kai ho pater hen esmen (John 10:30).

Eureka 14.1.

Why should he be crucified?

Why should the kindness of God require such a tragedy? Why could He not bring His love to bear without pain—without death—in the process? There must be something serious at the root of the matter. There must be some principle of very grave moment underlying the appearance of the Son of God as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

"It pleased Yahweh to bruise him,"

but not without a reason... It is a reason evoking reverential admiration in every enlightened mind. It is a reason that strikes no chord of sympathetic response in the natural mind, but which lies deep in the eternal constitution of things, and commands the homage of the highest intellect. It is that God's supremacy is the first law of the universe, and absolute submission to Him the first condition of well-being to the creatures He has made. It is impossible for us to have this too clearly or too constantly in view.

It is the great lesson of the law of Moses which was given to teach the schoolmaster lessons of the truth. It is the great truth that is less and less recognised by the religious world. Where there is any living recognition of God at all, it is His love, His kindness, that is spoken of. This is right in its place. God is love; but He is more. Paul tells us He is a consuming fire; Daniel, that He is a great and dreadful and terrible God; Moses, that He is a jealous God, and will be magnified and sanctified in all that approach to Him.

He tells us Himself that He is tenacious of His prerogatives, and will not give His glory to another. This is all according to reason.

Is He not great who fills, controls, and has made the universe? Is He not to be honoured who has constituted all things in such perfect wisdom? Is He not to be feared who holds all things in the hollow of His hand, and who could hurl them to destruction in a moment? Is he not naturally and reasonably the Head who knows the working of all things? Is it not fit and beautiful that His will should be insisted on as the only permissible rule of action where created beings are endowed with the power of rational choice?

To all these questions there can be but one answer; and that answer furnishes the key to the enigma of Calvary. Man has sinned: his admission to fellowship and life everlasting with God is impossible, except on the basis of the complete re-assertion of God's supremacy: the perfect vindication of His righteousness: the absolute humiliation and subordination of man before Him.

These conditions are secured in the representative death of him in whom, though standing in the condemned nature of the represented sinning race, God could be well pleased. The will of God perfectly done in a life long enough for the purpose, though brief, was the qualifying preliminary for the suffering of that condemnation of sin in the flesh which was accomplished in the nailing of Adam's mortal nature to the tree.

It established the efficient cause of that resurrection to life of which Jesus, although suffering, became the subject on the morning of the third day. We need to keep a strong eye on his life, his death, and his resurrection to feel what we ought always to feel concerning the greatness and holiness of God, and the powerless, titleless, and unacceptable condition of man before Him.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1888

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

It is not possible to conceive a more convincing testimony to the resurrection of Christ.‭ ‬The conjunction between the personal witness of the apostles and the evidence of divine co-operation with them was overpowering.‭ ‬No wonder that the crowd was stirred to the very heart,‭ ‬and anxiously enquired what they were to do.‭

They had been convicted of being the murderers of the Son of God‭; ‬and the pain of the conviction would not be much assuaged by the apostolic assurance that the crucifixion was a matter of the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,‭ ‬and that‭ ‬David had spoken concerning the matter.‭ ‬What hope could there be for the perpetrators of such a crime‭? *

They perceived that they were involved in the greatest of crimes from which they knew not how they could be loosed. The import of their question was therefore, What must we do to be loosed from the consequences of our iniquity?

Eureka 13.13.

The result of the apostle's reasoning was their conviction that Jesus was indeed the King of Israel, even the Shiloh that had been promised them for so many ages. They acknowledged Him to be the "Son whose NAME should be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Founder of the Future Age, the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

This belief, however, also convinced them that, being this great Personage, they had committed an enormous crime, and had "killed the Prince of Life." Their consciences smote them; "they had denied the Holy and just One, and desired a murderer before Him," and had imprecated His blood upon themselves and their posterity.

Of what use was their faith to them in this extremity? They believed in the kingdom, they believed in Jesus, they were penetrated with remorse, but still they were conscious only of guilt, and of judgment well-deserved. It was yet a hidden mystery to them what should be done for pardon of this great transgression.

What was "the righteousness of God" which He required of them? Should they go to the high priest, and offer a whole burnt offering, and confess their sin? This would have been impracticable. Caiaphas would have offered sacrifice for them upon the altar upon no such confession as this, for in confessing themselves sinners for killing Jesus they would have charged the high priest as a principal in the crime.

To what, or to whom, were they to look for a solution of "the mystery?" Who could unlock it and open to them the door of liberty and loose them from their sins? Is not the, reader prepared to answer, "the Holy Spirit alone could reveal to them of righteousness, because Jesus, had gone to the Father?" This is true, and the time had arrived to do it. But how, or through what channel, was the Spirit to do this? Was it to be by words thundered from heaven, by a still small voice whispering in their ears, by a feeling that they were forgiven, by words of inspiration spoken by the tongues of angels, or by the mouth of man?

After what has been said, the reader will be prepared to say, "the keys of knowledge, or the power to reveal the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, were committed to Peter; therefore the new doctrine concerning righteousness, or justification to life, was to be revealed through him." This is also true; but the "devout Jews" were ignorant of this arrangement; therefore instead of addressing Peter alone, they inquired of all the apostles, saying "men, and brethren, what shall we do (Acts 2:37)?"

Mark, reader, though the question was put to all, only one of them, and that one, Peter, replied to the inquiry. He was the spokesman of the twelve, by whose mouth God had chosen that Israel should hear the word of the gospel, and believe, or, as Paul writes, "the gospel of the circumcision was committed to Peter, in whom God wrought effectually for the purpose" (Gal. 2:8).

The answer given by Peter announced for the first time what believers of the gospel of the kingdom and in the things concerning Jesus must do, in order to become joint-heirs with Him of the promise made to the fathers. To these devout Jews, who now believed what both the prophets and apostles had spoken, who were now humbled in disposition as little children, swift to hear, and anxious to do, whatever the Spirit should dictate, the holder of the keys to unlock the mystery of the gospel, said, " REPENT and BE BAPTIZED every one of you IN THE NAME of Jesus Christ FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS" (Acts 2:38).

Such an annunciation as this had never been made before. In this way "repentance and the remission of sins" were "preached in the name of Jesus." This is God's way of righteousness, and, besides this, there is no other way of salvation; "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). God's salvation is placed in the name of Jesus; and this name is accessible to mankind only upon the condition of believing "the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus," and being baptized by His name -- "he that believes the gospel and is baptized shall be saved" -- is the unrevoked fiat of the Son of God.

The words of the Spirit by the mouth of Peter went home to the hearts of these devout Jews. They that gladly received his word were baptized... These disciples were "a kind of firstfruits of God's creatures, begotten of His own will by the word of truth" (James 1:18), which "lives and abides for ever."

Elpis Israel 2.1.

Keys of the kingdom of heaven given to Peter 

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized [the key] every one of you in [by] the name of Jesus Christ [the door] for the remission of sins [from the prison house of death], and ye shall receive the gift of the holy spirit.

The mystery revealed is the rock [Peter's declaration] upon which the ecclesia is built

Repent - Metanoia -To Think in Harmony With Yahweh

Our word repent, derived from the French repentir, ought never to be used for metanoeo, because it always implies sorrow; and the gospel metanoia enjoined upon sinners has nothing to do with sorrow, being a joyous condition of the mind.

This metanoia is produced by the announcement of glad tidings, which in the nature of things cannot bring sorrow to the believer. When the 3000 and the jailer anxiously inquired what they should do, they were concerned in behalf of themselves; and if there had been no help for them, they would have been in the predicament of Judas, being hopelessly metamelomized; but they were exhorted to become the subjects of metanoia "in the name of Jesus Christ."

Into this they were led by the "many other words" of testimony and exhortation delivered to them by the Spirit of God through Peter. His testifying worked in them a mode of thinking in harmony with the truth concerning Jesus, which was metanoia out of his name, because, however Abrahamically dispositioned, they had not yet put it on. But when, believing the things of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus as the Christ, they were immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, their previous metanoia became metanoia in the name; in other words, a renewal of the inner man made complete in Jesus.

Mere belief of a proposition will not produce this "new creature" which is "a partaker of the Divine Nature." Paul says, "We are renewed by knowledge after the image of him that hath created us;" which knowledge Peter styles, "the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord ... by whom δῖ ω ν, di' hōn, are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that through these (that is, by faith in them) ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature."

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, August 1854

This command of the Spirit was new doctrine indeed to these Roman strangers from the Capital; but their conviction of its truth, "caused them to cease sacrificing and offering" (Dan. 9:27) according to the law; and gladly receiving Peter's word, to be immersed for the Name. They were now immersed believers of the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity and the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:12).

Peter by the use of his Key had opened the door of the prison in which they were bound, and gave them liberty in loosing them from their sins: and what he had done upon earth was ratified in the heavens, according to the words of Jesus [Matt 16:19].

Eureka 13.13.

This command of the Spirit was new doctrine indeed to these Roman strangers from the Capital; but their conviction of its truth, "caused them to cease sacrificing and offering" (Dan. 9:27) according to the law; and gladly receiving Peter's word, to be immersed for the Name. They were now immersed believers of the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity and the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:12).

Peter by the use of his Key had opened the door of the prison in which they were bound, and gave them liberty in loosing them from their sins: and what he had done upon earth was ratified in the heavens, according to the words of Jesus [Matt 16:19].

Eureka 13.13.

Here is a command which meets a man as a dividing line between the State of Sin and the State of Righteousness. The obedience of faith finds expression in the name of Jesus as "the Mercy Seat through faith in His blood."

Hence, the apostle says to the disciples in Corinth, "know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, idolators, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, sanctified, and made righteous by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit (en tw pneumati) of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Thus, the spirit, which is put for the gospel of the kingdom and name, renewed these profligates; the divine law and testimony attested by the spirit with signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts (Heb. 3-4), and believed with a full assurance of conviction that worked in them by love to will and to do -- caused them to be "washed by the name," to be "sanctified by the name," and to be "made righteous by the name of Jesus Christ."

I say by the name, for it is the same Greek particle, namely, "en ," which precedes the words "the spirit "' and is translated "by" in the common version, that goes before "the name." I have rendered them the same in both places; and upon the authority of the phrase "washed by the name," I have translated, ... be ye baptized by the name.

It must be clear to any man, unspoiled by a vain and deceitful philosophy, that to be washed by a name is impossible, unless the individual have faith in the name, and be subjected to the use of a fluid in some way.

Now, when a man is "washed by the name of Jesus Christ" there are three witnesses to the fact, by whose testimony every thing is established. These are the spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree in one statement. Jesus Christ was made manifest by water at His baptism (John 1:31); and by blood in His death; and by the spirit in His resurrection: therefore, the spirit who is the truth and the water, and the blood, or the truth concerning the Messiahship, sacrificial character, and resurrection of Jesus, are constituted the witnesses who bear testimony to a man's being the subject of "the righteousness of God" (Rom. 1:17; 3:21, 22, 25, 26) set forth in the gospel of His kingdom.

The testimony of these witnesses is termed "the witness of God," which every believer of the kingdom and name hath as "the witness in himself" (1 John 5:6-10) .

Water, then, is the medium in which the washing occurs. But, although water is so accessible in all parts of the world where the gospel has been preached, it is one of the most difficult things under heaven to use it so as to wash a man by the name of Jesus Christ. What! says one, is it difficult to get a man to be dipped in water as a religious action? No; it is very easy. Thousands in society go into the water on very slender grounds. But going into the water, and having certain words pronounced over the subject, is not washing by the name.

The difficulty lies, not in getting men to be dipped, but in first getting them to believe "the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12); or "the exceeding great and precious promises," by the faith of which they can alone become the "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4). Without faith in these things there is no true washing, no sanctification, or purification, from moral defilement, and no constitution of righteousness by the name of Jesus, for the sons of men; for, says the Scripture, "without faith it is impossible to please God."

Elpis Israel 1.4.

'... he promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples, "whom the world cannot receive," that is, as long as all people continue opposed to me, they cannot receive the comforter, the Holy Spirit. But, "he shall convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, of sin, because they believe not on me," &c. It is here stated first by the Saviour, that the comforter shall come to his disciples, but the world cannot receive him; he has, however, something to do with the world, and that is, to convince them of sin.

Will he who convinces of sin be considered a comforter? not unless he brings the news of pardon, but the Holy Spirit did not do this; the Apostles carried the message of salvation to the nations; the Holy Spirit enabled them to do it in foreign languages. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit convinced the three thousand of sin, for crucifying the Lord of life and glory, not by entering within them; not by giving them the divine principle of which you speak, but by surrounding them with wonderful proofs of the power of God.

Peter told the reason why all this took place, and being pricked in their hearts, they cried "men and brethren what shall we do." I want your attention here, for although they are pricked to the heart, they have not the Holy Spirit. This is proved by Peter's answer, "repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Again, truth is always consistent with itself. Peter again, when addressing the Senate of the Jews, says, "we are his witnesses of these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God gives to all them that obey him. Thus the Holy Spirit is a witness for Jesus, as Jesus said, "he shall take of mine and show them unto you." Philip preached in Samaria, and "when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women."

When the Apostles at Jerusalem had heard the good news, they sent Peter and John, who prayed for them, and conferred the Holy Spirit, "for as yet, he was fallen upon none of them; only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Paul asked the twelve disciples he met at Ephesus, if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed, by which question we learn, that he did not expect they had received it before.

The Apostolic Advocate, Sept 1834 -

Dialogue on Sectarianism Between Disciplus and a sectarian Doctor

Peter told them what to do‭ (‬verse‭ 38) ‬and they did it,‭ "‬and the same day,‭ ‬there were added unto them about‭ ‬3,000‭ ‬souls.‭"

Thus was a beginning made to the work of planting the name and the faith of Christ in that position of world‭ ‬-‭ ‬wide acceptance and honour which they occupy in our own day.‭

Thus was the foundation of Christendom laid and though Christendom is a poor counterfeit,‭ ‬having but little in common with the faith of Christ as originally promulgated by the apostles,‭ ‬yet its existence is of great value to us as an evidence of powerful means having been employed to establish it in the first case.‭

The nature of the means is manifest.‭ ‬It is nothing short of an absolute demonstration of Christ's resurrection.‭ ‬Nothing else could have caused thousands to embrace the faith of it at a time when to do so was to sacrifice everything dear to men.‭ ‬Having been so established,‭ ‬the fact remains unchanged and unchangeable to the present day,‭ ‬however much men may forget the fact or be weary of it.‭

Christ has not died since he rose,‭ ‬nor can he die any more.‭ ‬It is a glorious fact in itself‭; ‬but how much more when coupled with the other fact that he is coming again and that the world,‭ ‬in a short time,‭ ‬will know him as it has never known him in times past as a powerful,‭ ‬personal,‭ ‬actual ingredient in the current,‭ ‬visible,‭ ‬practical life of men in all countries.

It is not possible that God could have contrived a more convincing testimony to the resurrection of His Son.‭ ‬We have only to imagine such circumstances in connection with the case of any public men in our day being publicly executed,‭ ‬as Ravachol or Valliant was recently executed-to see the force of them in carrying conviction.‭ ‬Some say,‭ "‬Yes,‭ ‬very forcible,‭ ‬but you see such circumstances do not happen in our day.‭" ‬Friends,‭ ‬if they would be forcible in our day,‭ ‬they were forcible‭ ‬1,800‭ ‬years ago,‭ ‬and their force cannot be spent by the lapse of time.‭

Men fail to feel their force merely because they lose sight of them through engrossing attention to other things.‭ ‬Lift the veil of time,‭ ‬by means of the undeniable record of them,‭ ‬and there they stand in all their naked glory.‭ ‬It is the part of wisdom to be influenced by facts,‭ ‬however much our immediate surroundings may seem to shut them off.‭ ‬It is our part therefore to open the mind and heart without reserve to this fact of facts that Jesus rose from the dead,‭ ‬and was proclaimed to the nations of the earth as the ground of hope for man through reconciliation with God.

The same‭ "‬some‭" ‬say the case would have been more satisfactory if the resurrected Christ had been shown‭ "‬to all the people,‭" ‬and not‭ "‬to witnesses chosen before of God who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.‭" ‬This is both an unreasonable and a presumptuous criticism.‭ ‬It is unreasonable because the divine object in the case required the belief of accredited testimony,‭ ‬as the means to be employed in working the work of salvation among men with which the restoration of Christ to familiar intercourse with men would have been incompatible.‭

It is presumptuous,‭ ‬because it is the part of created intelligence to bow in the presence of an attested work of God.‭ ‬True reason tells a man that whatever God appoints or enjoins must be wise and of binding force,‭ ‬and that a man must be a barbarian to raise the least demur.‭ ‬The only question in any case is-Has he appointed‭? ‬To this there is but one answer in the case of the resurrection of Christ:‭ ‬it is the demonstrated work of God for the salvation of men who believe and obey his word in the case.‭

Be it ours to have the wondrous appointment always before us,‭ ‬and the heart in that docile and loving attitude on which Christ lays so much stress when he says:‭

‭"‬Except a man receive the Kingdom of God as a little child,‭ ‬he shall in no case enter therein.‭"

‭EDITOR. (Bro Roberts) - Exhort 254

Baptized for the remission of sins

If therefore a man believed in Jesus and was immersed, we jumped to the conclusion that he had remission, and had obeyed the gospel of Christ. This is at once true and not true. It is true, if a man believes in Jesus in the scripture sense of the phrase; it is not true, however, in the Campbellite and Baptist acceptation of it; yet the Campbellite definition of faith in Jesus is more distinct and rational than the alter-sectarian notion.

We may remark here in passing, that to believe in Jesus is defined in the scriptures as believing in the

"exceeding great and precious promises of God"

and in Jesus as his son and heir;—in other words,

"the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ."

But in those days darkness overshadowed our minds in relation to that kingdom. A kingdom was indeed talked about, but it was about such a kingdom as God has nowhere promised in the Law and the Testimony.

We preached the gospel of the kingdom set up on the day of Pentecost; and taught the reception of men into the kingdom by confession that Jesus was the Son and Christ of God, sorrow for sin, and immersion into the name. Such a gospel as this, sustained by collateral arguments in favour of the necessity of reading the scriptures for ourselves, of their sufficiency to make us wise to salvation, of the obligation to

"prove all things and to hold fast that which is good"

—was the hearth of fire kindled in the wilderness to consume the thorns and briars of sectarianism which had brought the ground well night to cursing.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1851

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Unto you... the generation and its children at the time peter was speaking. They would receive the holy spirit v16,17 as promised in Joel's prophecy.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Let any reasonable man ask himself what it was that enabled the apostles to produce an effect which could not have attended their unsupported words, and he must find himself compelled to recognise the record of Acts ii. (coinciding with the previous promise of Christ), as the only admissible or possible explanation: the bestowal of miraculous power, by the effusion of the Holy Spirit.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 60

In one day 3 000 believers added to the ecclesia. And there was a unity among the whole ecclesia which has most likely never been replicated since.

And the Lord added to the ecclesia daily such as should be saved v47.

The ecclesia kept growing so

so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand 4: 4.

and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith 6: 7.

So a great company of priests - pharisees and saducees - were converted to the faith in Messiah. This uprising of fervent faith and works spread thoughout the region

the ecclesias throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit - Acts 9: 31.

Who has Authority to Baptise?

W.S.—What authority have the Christadelphians for believing that the baptism they administer is the true baptism, seeing that our Saviour commanded and authorised his disciples and immediate followers, and so far as we know, them alone, to baptise?

Answer.—Believers in the nineteenth century have just the same "authority" in the matter of baptism as believers in the first. The lapse of time has not invalidated the appointment of Christ for the salvation of men. An act of obedience performed in an apostle's presence had no more acceptability before God than the same act performed miles and years away.

The act is to God, and not men. It matters little by whose actual hands assistance is rendered in the act of baptism. "Jesus made and baptised more disciples than John" (Jno. 4:1), yet he did not himself perform the baptism. A parenthesis is added to state this:

"Jesus himself baptised not, but his disciples."

Jesus baptising, then, literally meant his disciples doing it at his command. So with the apostles. Paul made light of the personal participation by an apostle in the act of baptism. He says: "Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel."—(1 Cor. 1:17.)

He also says: "I thank God that I baptised none of you but Crispus and Gaius." In the house of Cornelius Peter "commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord;" but this is no evidence that Peter officiated. If it was done at his command, that was enough.

Anybody can bury a dead man; but only the constituted authority can give the order. Anybody can do the hanging of a murderer if the law issue the warrant. A scriptural baptism is the burial of the dead (Rom. 6:4), such as have become so to sin by the power of the truth, and such as recognise their death-state in Adam.

It has been commanded, centuries ago, by the apostles, that all such should be buried in baptism. It does not matter who performs the mechanical part. If it is done in obedience to the apostolic command, it is an apostolic act. The "authority" arises more from the state of the baptised than the state of the baptiser.

The notion that a personal "authority" is necessary to give validity to it, is a relic of the apostacy. Philip, not an apostle, baptized the eunuch.—(Acts 8:38.) The three thousand who were baptized on the day of Pentecost, could not have been baptized by the apostles, but must have had numerous assistants.

The apostles have assistants in the nineteenth century as well as in the first. The lapse of time does not affect the principle.

The Christadelphian, July 1873

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

In His letter to the Hebrew Christians He exhorts them "not to forsake the assembling of themselves together" (Heb. 10:25). Such an exhortation as this implies a stated time and place of assembly. On what day, then, did the ecclesias of the saints meet to exhort one another so as to provoke to love and to good works? Certainly, not on the seventh day, for then the apostles were in the synagogues. What day then more appropriate than the Lord's day, or first day of the week?

Now it cannot be affirmed that the saints were commanded to meet on this day, because there is no testimony to that effect in the New Testament. But, it is beyond dispute, that they did assemble themselves together on the first day of the week, and the most reasonable inference is that they did so in obedience to the instruction of the apostles from whose teaching they derived all their faith and practice, which constituted them the disciples of Jesus.

To keep the first day of the week to the Lord is possible only for the saints. There is no law, except the emperor Constantine's, that commands sinners to keep holy the first, or eighth day, or Sunday as the Gentiles term it. For a sinner to keep this day unto the Lord he must become one of the Lord's people. He must believe the gospel of the kingdom and name of Christ, and become obedient to it, before any religious service he can offer will be accepted. 

He must come under law to Christ by putting on Christ before he can keep the Lord's day. Having become a Christian, if he would keep the day to the Lord, he must assemble with a congregation of New Testament saints, and assist in edifying and provoking them to love and good works, in showing forth the death of Jesus, in giving thanks to the Father, in celebrating the resurrection of Christ, and in praising and blessing God.

Under the gospel, or " law of liberty," he is subjected to no "yoke of bondage " concerning a sabbath day. It is His delight when an opportunity presents, to celebrate in this way the day of the resurrection. He requires no penal statutes to compel him to a formal and disagreeable self-denial, or "duty;" for it is his meat and drink to do the will of his Father who is in heaven.

Elpis Israel 1.2.

Let us be on our guard

We hear of brethren forsaking the table of the Lord, and counselling all others to give it up as an institution of men.

...The table is a centre point round which the disciples will be found assembling themselves to the very day of the Lord's appearing. Like the first-century disciples, they will to the last

"continue steadfast in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers."—(Acts 2:42).

They will be found in the observance of all things which Jesus commanded the apostles.—(Matt. 28:20). Among these "all things" is this beautiful memorial supper, which combines so many interesting, sublime, and comforting features.

Here we have the Lord represented in our midst. At the time he instituted it, he was at the table himself with his disciples, partaking with them. Their eyes rested on him whom to worship is not idolatry, and whom to love with our utmost devotion is a duty springing out of his own commandments.

We cannot so look on him as they looked on him. We are assembled in his name, and he is, doubtless, cognizant of and attentive to us; but we lack the refreshing satisfaction of those who

"saw, and heard and handled the Word of life."—(1 John 1:1.)

Yet this lack may prove much in our ultimate favour. It may ensure to us the blessedness expressed in the words of the Lord when he said to Thomas,

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Will it not be a great joy on that day to see himself, after assembling so many times in his absence in remembrance of him? What a glorious termination to our patience to be permitted to sit down at the higher table in the kingdom of God! It will come.

We shall see him then as really as his disciples saw him when he rose and girt himself with a towel, and poured water and washed their feet; but we shall see him in happier circumstances. We shall realise the full blessedness of the words he spoke when he said,

"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."

Our eyes will rest upon him with a rapturous sweetness when we behold him the living omnipotent fountain of the covenanted blessedness which is to prevail to the utmost bounds of the habitable globe. We shall shout for joy when permitted to share his everlasting life, and to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God."

In the days of his flesh, men

"wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth."

What shall be our admiration in the day of his glory, when his superlative excellence in word and demeanour will not only be seen with our own eyes, and heard with our own ears, but seen and heard with such enlarged capacity to appreciate and enjoy!

We shall be like them that dream. Our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. We shall say,

"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."

Of all these glorious things we are reminded by the recollection that he broke bread 1,800 years ago, and said to his disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me."

Sunday morning 52 - The Christadelphian, Mar 1874

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

It is Christ's own appointment. Let us never neglect it. Let us never make the mistake of supposing we can do without it. We don't know what we need: he who appointed this knows all.

People who stay at home do not know what they lose. The going out, the having the thoughts turned towards the things of God in a collective act, the seeing the brethren, and the going through the various exercises connected with the remembrance of Christ, are all quietly beneficial to an extent not known at the time; and continued from first day to first day, they have a powerful moulding effect on the inner man.

They are like the sunshine and rain, which act slowly and invisibly on the grain in the field, yet with effects which become very visible at last on a comparison with those fields which have been exposed to drought and heat.

The institution of the breaking of bread is based upon an exact knowledge of human nature and its needs. It helps to keep us in a healthful association of ideas, while it gives us the opportunity of a public acknowledgment of the Lord and the personal recognition of his despised friends.

Bro Roberts - Christ and nature

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

In the temple

The Jerusalem ecclesia convened in the shadow of the Hebrew system - a mixture of the Law and rabbinical tradition. A contingent "of the circumcision" would in later times sow division.

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the ecclesia daily such as should be saved.

An ecclesia is a society constituted upon principles divinely revealed. It is a company of believers organized for the worship of God, the support of the truth, and their mutual benefit. Union is strength; but there must be union in fact, or association is incorporate weakness. It is not good for Christians to be alone; therefore it is a privilege and a blessing for those who are partakers of the divine nature to be together in society. They afford the truth a local standing; they give it utterance, minister to its necessities, encourage one another, and assist the poor.

Baptism organizes believers of the gospel of the kingdom into the One Body of the Lord. In the beginning, this consisted of 120 persons, with the twelve apostles as their eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet; their eldership, in short, which comprehended all their office-bearers, who attended to the ministry of the Word, and to the serving of tables. When the 3,000 were added to this ecclesia, they continued under the apostles' sole administration of things spiritual and temporal, until the seven assistants were added to the twelve, to relieve them of the secular concerns.

Deacons, therefore, were not essential to primitive ecclesia organization, seeing that they were only added to meet the exigences of the case which arose some time after the day of Pentecost. The apostolic eldership was infallible, having been imbued with the Spirit from on high, which guided them into all truth, and made them what they were. Their administration was, therefore, the "ministration of the Spirit," by which each of them was endowed with the "word of wisdom," "the word of knowledge," "faith," "the gifts of healing," "the working of miracles," "prophecy," "discerning of spirits," "kinds of tongues," and "the interpretations of tongues." This was the Model ecclesia, which was of one heart and one soul, and great grace was upon them all.


The ecclesias among the Gentiles were formed after this model; that is, with an eldership or presbytery embodying the spiritual gifts. These gifts were not common to all the baptized, but to those only which constituted the eldership; and, perhaps, the deacons, who may be indicated as the "helps." Those who had the spiritual gifts were the spiritual men, or "members" of the body "in particular." The elderships of the ecclesias, however, differed from the Jerusalem ecclesia, in that each particular elder did not possess all the nine gifts, as did each apostle; but only some of them.

The gifts were distributed among several for the profit of the whole body. These supernaturally endowed persons, by the particular gifts they had received, were constituted "apostles" of ecclesias, "prophets," "evangelists," "pastors," and "teachers." They were all elders, but of different orders. Apostles ranked first; the prophets next; then the teachers; and after them, the helps and governors; so that the ruling elders occupied the lowest rank in the eldership, and acting, therefore, under the direction of the ministers of the word; yet, though these diversities obtained, they were exhorted to have the same care one for another.

It was the function of these elderships to edify the body of Christ. In other words, the body edified itself through these "members in particular," who constituted in each society the branched candlestick of the ecclesia. The unction of the Spirit burned in them, shining as lights, holding forth the "word of truth." All these gifts worked that one and the self-same Spirit, "dividing to every man severally as He willed."

The gift most to be desired was that of "prophecy," or the faculty of speaking by inspiration to the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the hearers. The eldership had a plurality of prophets, who might all prophesy in the meeting, provided they did so without confusion. The Corinthians were desirous of "spirits," that is, of spiritual gifts, by which they might be distinguished. They appeared to have desired the gift of tongues above all others; but the Apostle exhorts them to desire that of prophecy: and whatever they acquired, to seek the acquisition of it, that they might excel to the edifying of the ecclesia.

From this brief outline, it is evident that democracy had no place in the apostolic ecclesias of the saints. The Holy Spirit constituted certain of the saints overseers, that they might feed the flock of God, and minister to all its necessities, as the pillar and support of the truth. As the prophets and teachers were ministering in the ecclesia at Antioch, the Holy Spirit said to them:

"Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."

In this way the rulers and instructors of the body were appointed by the Spirit, and not by the brethren at large. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the eldership, and the brethren in general, were the elements of God's society in apostolic times. The Father and the Son, by the Holy Spirit, through the eldership, was the authority established in the ecclesia. Democratic republicanism would have been subversive of this; and, if tolerated, would have produced confusion and every evil work.

The authority of the people and the authority of God cannot coëxist. All things of God, and as little as possible of man, is a principle characteristic of the social state originating from heaven, in Eden, in Israel, and in the ecclesia. Decency and order can only be maintained by the authority divinely appointed and sustained by the wise and good. This coöperation suppressed turbulence, and put to silence the foolish talking of the wise in their own conceits, who thought more highly of themselves than they were entitled to.

The respect and consideration that was due to the elders is clearly set forth in the Epistles. "We beseech you, brethren," says Paul, "that ye know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and that ye esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." Again: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God. Obey them, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you. Salute them all."

On the other hand, the elders are exhorted to "feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; nor for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over the heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder; yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

After the manner of these exhortations were decency and order maintained in the ecclesias of the saints; yet even with this divinely constituted authority, the heady and highminded could scarcely be restrained. It was the ministration of the Spirit, not in word only, but in power; yet evil found admission, and became "the Mystery of Iniquity, secretly working." The power could punish, and did punish, even unto the infliction of disease and death, and could also pardon and heal the penitent. It was evidently, however, not exercised to the full, but with considerable long-suffering and forbearance; though, in many instances, it was pushed to extremities, as a terror to the evilly disposed.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1854