There are four parts to this article
#1 Discernment Question #490
Apostle = Ambassador
I prefer to call it:
Want to know why? Let’s take religion out of the conversation for a moment.
Ambassadors have to follow legal Protocols for everything they do in foreign affairs.
Let’s look at this concept in the cultural context in which the Gospel writers wrote what Jesus said, and the other New Testament writers do in fact talk about:l it. But you have to take the religious goggle off to see it.
Using this concept, looking through this lense:
Apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy.
Secular Greek writer Demosthenes gives a word picture of “apostolos” noting that it was used to describe, “a cargo ship (sometimes called “apostolic”) sent out with a specific shipment to accomplish a mission. In secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special assignment.
In the ancient world an apostle was the personal representative of the king, functioning as an ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials to prove he was the king’s envoy [this the Gifts of the Spirit]. Apostolos was a technical word designating an individual sent from someone else with the sender’s commission, the necessary credentials, the sender’s authority and the implicit responsibility to accomplish a mission or assignment.
The English word “ambassador” is a good translation of apostolos because an ambassador is “an official envoy of high rank appointed by one of higher rank and authority in the government to represent and transact its business at the seat of government of some other power.”
I strongly recommend Maybe we need to stop using the term Apostle with its religious overtones? We need to learn to view the New Testament teachings and instructions that use the word through the ancient understanding of the concept!
And then, Maybe we can have a more accurate and authoritative way of teaching what we are called to do for our King in this world?
Let me propose another thought related to this: what if when Jesus instructed his First Ambassadors in Matthew 28:16-20 this is WHY age instructed specifically with these words, “Therefore go and make disciples of all NATIONS…” What if: National leaders of other governments were the focus on purpose, because in ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures as the King, Ruler, head of the family decided so went the whole Nation, City and Family?
Doesn’t that change your perspective on the Great Commission?
Now, how does what I shared above charge how you understand these verses to follow?
AND maybe the comma after “teachers” should not be there, but a “:” colon? and the rest Paul’s statement about building up the church should only be applied to the Teachers?
“So Messiah himself gave the Ambassadors, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers: to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Messiah, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Messiah, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Discernment Question #490
The apostle Paul’s Pride was in his Roman Citizenship.
I propose that this pride was his “Thorn in the Flesh” and led to his death.
Title: The Roman legal tradition and Paul’s use of “I command” in Acts 16. A Warning to Us”
There was some pushback received when i said last week that only a Roman Citizen was allowed to use the phrase, “I command” in the Roman Empire. A non-Roman citizen faced sever penalties for doing so, which could even lead to death, because using the phrase meant the person speaking it was operating in the authority of the Roman the Emperor himself.
“In the Roman legal tradition, the phrase “I command” was often used in the context of a magisterial order, which was an order issued by a magistrate or other high-ranking official. The authority to issue magisterial orders was typically reserved for Roman officials who held specific magistracies, such as the consul, praetor, or aedile.
The magisterial order was a formal legal document that typically began with the phrase “edictum” or “jubeo” (“I order” or “I command”). These orders were used to regulate various aspects of Roman life, such as public behavior, trade, and other commercial transactions.
It’s important to note that not everyone had the legal authority to issue magisterial orders or use the phrase “I command” in a legal context. Only those who held specific magistracies or other official positions had the legal authority to issue orders in this manner.”
“Roman Legal Tradition and the Compilation of Justinian” by Thomas J. McSweeney, in The Cambridge Companion to Roman Law, edited by David Johnston, Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 92-116.
“Roman Law” in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society, edited by Paul J. du Plessis, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 1-19.
There is ONE time that an apostle casts out a demon in his own authority as a Roman Citizen. It is found in Acts 16.
We are told he, “was annoyed,” which should be a warning to us NOT to do as he did.
The result is he and his companion receiving the severe backlash of having every bone in their legs and feet broken and then lashed to the walls of the lowest sewer part of a prison. Paul did what he did for a specific purpose that is missed completely if you do not know the Roman Government Protocols that were being ignored in that city. He broke Protocol in the spiritual to establish correct protocol in the natural, so that correct spiritual protocol could be established AFTTER THE NATUAL Roman protocol was reestablished. This is the context for Acts 16 being in the Bible.
Yet, in Pentecostal circles his example is “The Model” for casting out demons, while lashing it to out of cultural context uses of Jesus’ words about Binding and Loosing. Which words actually are Rabbinic statements a government official would use meaning “allowing and not allowing legally.”
There may have been a grace for such things in past seasons, and God certainly always holds the mercy card.
Apostolic Order or Apostolic Protocol is growing more and more important.
Here is my question:
From this snippet of information presented above, is it difficult to understand the importance of digging into both the Scriptures AND their original Jewish (and Roman) Cultural Context?
Not everything in scripture is prescriptive. Much of it, like this Acts 16 example, is taught by examples that have gone sorely unnoticed in the past, and have led to much harm and unnecessary backlash in the body.
Let me ask this clarifying question:
If you cast out a demon in the same way Paul did in Acts 16, are you willing to accept the inevitable backlash you (and your fellow believers with you) will receive? Is this what Holy Spirit is telling you to do in each and every deliverance meeting you do? Really?
Are we really able to discern that what was allowed when we were young, is not always okay as we mature?
Paul’s example in Acts 16 is not telling us to do what he did every time we cast out a demon, but that is how it had been used. It has been used as a model for casting out demons. It is not a model for that. It demonstrates the exception, not the rule. So what was he demonstrating?
1. The text clearly says he cast out the demon after getting frustrated. That is a warning for what NOT to do and how to NOT handle the situation.
2. Even so, he still demonstrates how to Take Dominion: Establish correct human Governance Protocol and THEN the Kingdom of God is established in power.
3. He established Roman Protocol as a personal citizen of Rome. It is the only example of an apostle using his Earthly Citizenship authority to cast out a demon.
When he used the words, “I command” he was speaking as a Roman, not as a Jewish Rabbi, not as an apostle.
Only a Roman was authorized to speak that command in that culture.
This is confirmed by his conversation with the city leaders when they came groveling to him in the prison. He was a Roman, they are NOT. He had the Roman authority to have them all crucified and they pleaded for mercy.
That is the point of Acts 16. Can you name the other times Paul invokes his Roman position?
Answer: the other two were also involving imprisonment and trial leading to his appeal to Caesar, which led to his execution.
(Side note: do you own research. And all of these instances of backlash show Paul was confronting Principalities, not average demons).
4. Nowhere else in the casting out of a demon does an apostle experience backlash. And no other apostle is known to have had Roman citizenship.
Where are we to turn to rightly understand the context in which the Jesus and his apostles said and did the things we are to emulate,and so that we really are enabled and prepared do more than Jesus did? He said we would, what if this is part of what is holding us back?
I propose that this is an important reason God does want the ”Older brother” Jewish believers in Jesus and the “Younger brother” non-Jewish majority of believers in Jesus to partner TOGETHER. We each have what the other is missing and needs most.
Read the story for yourself with the understanding of what I wrote:
“She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment. But when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the market place [where trials were held], and when they had brought them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men, who are Jews, are throwing our city into confusion and causing trouble. They are publicly teaching customs which are unlawful for us, as Romans, to accept or observe.” The crowd also joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered that Paul and Silas be beaten with rods. After striking them many times [with the rods], they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely. He, having received such a [strict] command, threw them into the inner prison (dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks [in an agonizing position]. Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their officers, saying, “Release those men.” And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” The officers reported this message to the chief magistrates, and when they heard that the prisoners were Romans, they were frightened; so they came [to the prison] and appealed to them [with apologies], and when they brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.”
Acts 16:18-24, 35-39 AMP
I prefer the word, PROTOCOL.
Discernment thought #490
Protocols change depending on circumstances, situations, culture. There are male protocols, female Protocols, age-related protocols, animal eating and handling protocols agrecultural Protocols, water safety protocols, spiritual protocools, governmental protocols, construction Protocols, medical protocols, legal protocols, etc.
All of that is found in the Bible. And there are many that are not.
A religious spirit clouds and confuses the issue by adding Religion, attaching itself to the word, Torah, where it does not belong.
There are DIFFERENT protocols for different things.
There is a different Protocol for how you approach a king that is very different from how you approach your wife or discipline your dog.
Even in the Bible God honors man-made Protocols when His word is not clear on a specific subject, OR when man is disobedient and determines their own Protocol.
This last part: When man is disobedient and determines their own Protocol? The Bible calls this, “every man doing what is right in their own eyes”, and it can be both a disobedient thing and a good thing depending on context and nation, and several other possibilities. So, if you are calling yourself a “Torah Only” follower, you are actually identifying yourself as one or more of these possible categories of person:
1) Someone seeking Holiness
2) someone seeking Holiness while being misled by a religious spirit
3) someone entirely mislead by a religious spirit
4) someone demonstrating with open rebellion against what they perceive to be wrong in Christianity or Judaism, meaning they are openly operating in the spirit of Rebellion which is witchcraft, aka: a religious spirit. Accusation against others, judgement, unkindness, trolling, argumentative mess (the know-it-all), and rudeness are halmark characteristics of such a person.
5) someone who is sincere, but seeking identity in something rather than Messiah and His Daddy
6) someone who simply doesn’t know any better
7) it’s really just a passing phase as they work out their salvation with fear and trembling (or fumbling) as the shoe may fit
8) you live or seek to live in a Jewish context/community and maintain either your identity, reclaim your identity, or it is appropriate for the context of what God has called you to do, be, and live.
I have found most sincere people are either number 5 or 8.
What are your non-attacking, non-argumentative thoughts?
(The final question is both an invitation and a warning that if violated will see you blocked permanently)
In a follow-up to the discussion I began about a week ago, here is another reason why I am purposely refusing to use the word, Torah, but substituting, Protocol, instead.
In your own real world experience, how does Protocol change from situation to situation?
The word, Torah, beings with it Religious baggage with the groups mentioned below, and others, that cloud and obscure more important discussions.
1. Please do not use the word Torah in your responses. Use Protocol.
2. Do not justify why or why not you practice whatever flavor listed or unlisted. Your response will be deleted and you will be blocked for persistence, because any such response is off the discussion topic stated above.
For a time, I became so disgusted with “Messianic Gentiles” or Hebrew Roots or One Law, Torah Only, Ephraimite, Lost Tribes, Sacred Names, or whatever you want To call them, that I walked away from all Jewish-flavors of ministry for some years. Why? Because I realized those enamored with the Hebraic stuff seemed to be under a cloud of something deceptive appearing good.
Only God could have made me re-engage. Which happened when He made me publish a Targum-inspired version of the BIble, which now has Millions of readers worldwide.
It took me some time to understand what I was sensing in the Spirit, but didn’t have the words to express it until Michael L Brown shared this with me:
“Let me move on to the subject of spiritual life. First I must say that before I had ever attended a Messianic service of any kind, I was warned by the Spirit of God that “the whole Jewish temptation is in the soul realm. It will fascinate, stimulate, complicate, suffocate.” Of course, you are free to accept this or reject this as a word from the Lord, but I have seen many dear believers fall into this very trap. It may begin with a fascination with midrashic stories or rabbinic sayings, or it may take on the form of a soulish affectation for the Siddur or for some rabbinic Shabbat customs. But soon life is not as simple as it used to be! Questions of Messianic halakha seem to dominate, and side issues like how we can incorporate rabbinic traditions in our celebration of the Feasts become central. Pretty soon the believer finds himself spiritually stifled, praying less in the life of the Spirit, witnessing less to Jewish souls for fear of saying the wrong thing in the wrong way, and praising Yeshua less and less.”