The Election of An Apostle – Acts 1:15-26

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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Summary:

Peter takes the lead in things (1:15) because the Lord put him in charge of things (Mt. 16:18,19) like binding a new apostle. The 12 were also involved (Mt. 18:18), but the kingdom gospel and program were committed chiefly to Peter (Gal. 2:7).

But Peter didn’t act like a leader when he denied the Lord three times.  But rather than dismiss him as the chief apostle, the Lord called him back into His service three times (John 21:15-17).  Peter probably thought the Lord was rubbing it in because he had denied Him three times, but the Lord was actually saying, “Yeah, I remember you denied Me three times, but I still want you to feed My sheep.”

We know the Lord knew Peter would deny Him, for He told him in advance what to do when he was “converted” from denying Him (Lu. 22:31,32).  And to make that happen, the Lord called him back three times—just as He originally had to call Peter three times to follow Him.

The number 120 (Acts 1:15) is significant.  Moses lived that many years (Deut. 34:7), and he represented the law.  So the 120 disciples represented the death of the Old Testament of the law and the birth of the New Testament.  You know.  The New Covenant where the Jews will be “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6).There were 120 priests in Solomon’s temple (II Chron. 5:1,12), and when the 12 asked if it was time for the Lord to “restore” the kingdom (Acts 1:6), they meant restore it back like it was under Solomon.  So these 120 Jews were a taste of the kingdom where the Jews will be priests.

The “scripture” Peter is talking about (1:16) is one he’ll reference later, but basically it said Judas had to be replaced.

Judas was “numbered” with the apostles (1:17), but not with the saints.  The Lord chose him to be an apostle, but he had to choose to be a believer, just like Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5).  Jeremiah did, Judas didn’t.

Betraying the Lord was iniquity, and the 30 pieces of silver that Judas got for it was “the reward of iniquity” (1:18).  Matthew 27:5 says he hanged himself, but when the earth-quake came (Mt. 27:50,51), the limb from which he hung broke and he fell and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18)

In Acts 1:20, Peter quotes the Scripture he referenced earlier, Scripture that was found in two psalms.  We know that Psalm 69:25 is about Judas, for v.21 speaks of the Lord on the cross.  And we know Psalm 109:8 is about the Judas, for verse 16 says he oppressed the poor.  Judas was the treasurer for the 12 and stole from the bag (John 12:6), the bag out of which they gave to the poor (John 13:27-29).

That made Judas a type of the antichrist, who will also oppress the poor.  All believers will be poor because they’ll have to sell all they have to be saved (Luke 18:18,22), making them poor.  The kingdom will begin with Anti-christ’s death, just as the taste of the kingdom we’re seeing in early Acts here began with the death of Judas.

How’d Peter know to make following the Lord a prerequisite for replacing Judas (Acts 1:21-23)?  It’s because that’s why the Lord chose him and the other apostles (John 15:27).  The candidates were probably chosen from the 70 (Luke 10:1).

How’d they know they should pray before picking a helper?  I mean, Moses didn’t (Ex. 18:13-25)!  But the Lord prayed before picking the 12 (Lu. 6:12,13).  But did you notice Moses picked men to “judge” Israel?  Isaiah says in the kingdom, God will “restore” their judges “as at the first”—as in Moses’ day. Those judges will be the 12 apostles (Mt. 19:28).  That’s why they needed 12 apostles, to judge the 12 tribes!

When it says Judas died and went to “his own place,” that’s more proof he was a type of the Antichrist.  Doesn’t hell sound like a place that the beast would call his own?

People say that rolling dice was no way to pick an apostle (1:26), and that proves the 11 shouldn’t have been picking a replacement for Judas, they should have waited for the Lord to save Saul. But that was a legitimate way to determine God’s will then (Pr. 16:33), and Paul didn’t qualify as one of the 12.  He hadn’t followed the Lord till after His ascension.  He’ll be in heaven judging angels instead (I Cor. 6:3).