Occasionally the Lord’s apostles are charged with acting arbitrarily in choosing Matthias to take Judas’ place. It is said that they first chose two candidates and then asked God which of these two He would have to fill the vacant position. Paul, according to some, was actually God’s choice for Judas’ place. But this charge is not based upon the record of Scripture.
- The apostles, with Peter as their chief, had been given authority to act officially in Christ’s ab-sence (Matt.16:19; 18: 18,19).
- They acted upon the Scriptural declaration that another apostle should be chosen to fill Judas’ place (Psa.109:8; cf. Acts 1:20).
- Their action was bathed in many days of united prayer (Luke 24:49; cf. Acts 1:12-15), and when two candidates were found they again prayed and left the final choice in the hands of God (Acts 1:24-26).
- Probably only two (Matthias and Joseph Barsabas) were eligible, for only those could qualify who had followed Christ continuously from the day of His baptism by John until His ascension to heaven (Acts 1:21,22; cf. Matt.19:28, “Ye which have followed Me”).
- Paul would not have been eligible, for he had not even seen Christ during His earthly ministry (ICor. 15:8).
- The conclusive proof that the eleven acted in the will of God in this matter is found in the fact that the Scripture clearly states that Matthias “was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26) and that “THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT” (Acts 2:4). Men out of the will of God are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
Thus Paul stands separate and distinct from the twelve as the apostle of the present dispensation of grace (Eph.3:1-3).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.