This article takes off in the middle of the last one and will build on what I wrote there. I will repeat some verses so we can understand them further than what we covered in Part One. Please understand that when I am teaching on a topic I cannot take the time to explain every detail in a verse because many times it is not relevant to the topic. We need to stay on the topic because many people’s memories work that way. We saw that there are no such things as gift ministries, equipping ministries, or ascension gift ministries in Part One. They are talents or abilities! Let us revisit Ephesians 4.
Ephesians 4:8 (KJV)
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
I bolded the sections I wanted to talk about. Here in the King James Version, as with most other versions, the word “When” is capitalized. “When” is a time word and is telling us when something happened. Now that should be obvious, but it is not. We know that by how so many denominations and ministries handle it. For the sake of understanding the topic I am not going to explain “led captivity captive.” We will address that at some point in the future. This being a continuation of the first part which was about the “so called gift, or equipping ministries,” we need to go on from there. Let us put this all together. By dropping the first three words this verse tells us WHEN our Lord did something and WHAT he did. “…When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” It says “When” he ascended, and then something happened, “When he ascended up on high.” What happened? “…he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” He did two things “When” he ascended! By us dropping the “led captivity captive,” let us put this together because this last part is a real amazing piece of information which no one seems understands! “…When he ascended up on high, he…gave gifts unto men.”
As I said at the beginning of the last paragraph, “I bolded the sections I wanted to talk and think about.” You may think I am going overboard on this point, but really, “no one understands it,” and that is why I am making this a separate article. Here is that bold info again from Ephesians 4:8: “…When he ascended up on high, he…gave gifts unto men.” Now I ask you, “WHEN” did we get these gifts? “…When he ascended up on high…! When? “…When he ascended up on high…!” So, When Jesus ascended up on high [which is when he went to heaven], that is When he gave the gifts. Okay, let us look at those gifts again; I will make bold the gifts in the verse below.
Ephesians 4:11 (KJV)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors [shepherds] and teachers;
These things listed are talents or abilities, and were given to men “…When he ascended up on high…! This presents a big problem, but before we get into that I would like to ask you a simple question. If someone gave you a gift on your birthday [something many do here in the U.S.A.] and not before, could you have it a year before the gift was given to you? No! Why not? Because the gift had not yet been given to you. So, you could not have had it before the gift was given to you. Therefore, if these talents or abilities were given by the Lord Jesus WHEN he ASCENDED could Peter or any other disciple have them before Jesus ascended? No! I know that the heart of what this is saying is true because it reads this way in every Greek, Aramaic, and Latin text that I checked, and every English translation I checked, because it was a bunch. So, why are there apostles throughout the Gospels, and in Acts 1? This should not be because Jesus had not given those gifts to men until he ascended. Yet every version reads that many of those disciples close to Jesus in the Gospels and Acts 1 were referred to as apostles. I will explain this in Part Three because there is a reason they are referred to that way.
This presents two problems. First here in Ephesians, there are five gifts, there are others listed in I Corinthians 12:28. For now, we are going to stick with covering Ephesians for simplicity sake. He gave five gifts to men, not one gift. Yet, not one disciple is ever called anything but an apostle in the Gospels or Acts 1; not one is ever referred to as a prophet, evangelist, pastor [shepherd] or teacher. Also, the way it is used is as a title [not in the Bible but in every book, booklet, or teaching I have ever heard—it is used as a title]. That will not fit with other verses which are clear and cannot be a title. We have covered these clear verses in previous articles. Those gifts were not given as titles, but were given for:
Ephesians 4:12 (KJV)
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
You may say they could be for a hierarchy, but then other things in the Bible [which we have covered already in previous articles] contradict that idea. If those men were all just apostles sent to shed new light then none were sent to do any of those other things? That makes no sense because Jesus gave five gifts “When” he ascended, and in order to do what verse 12 says those gifts would all have to be used.
There are several references, but not as many as you would think, to these talents and abilities in the books after the Lord’s Ascension. Let us look at some of them [we will cover this in more detail in our upcoming book, “True Christian Leadership”].
Acts 11:27 (RSV)
Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
I believe these are people with long-suits in these talents or abilities. They were doing what was done by the prophets of old. The difference is now it is available to all Christians not just the few who had holy spirit in the Hebrew Scriptures. Again, this is after the Lord’s Ascension. Let us look at another verse:
Acts 13:1 (RSV)
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
I love these verses because it list five men yet all are called prophets and teachers. This shows that each of them were prophets and teachers yet in the next chapter of Acts we see Saul [Paul], and Barnabas are also called apostles. The fact we see Saul/Paul here in the Christian Scriptures with three of the talents or abilities speaks volumes. We knew he was an apostle, yet this verse has two more talents or abilities; prophets and teachers. Even if Paul or Barnabas only had one more that would void the gift ministry idea of only one gift. Folks, when Jesus Ascended he gave gifts [plural]. They got all five, and so do we today. Look at this about Paul and Barnabas.
Acts 14:14 (RSV)
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying,
We have now seen two men with the same three talents and abilities, not ministries. Let us look at more.
Acts 15:32 (RSV)
And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them.
In the opening of two of the books in the Christian Scriptures we see that Paul was not alone in doing these two books. 1 Thessalonians 1:1; and 2 Thessalonians 1:1, both start with three, not one name: Paul, Silvanus [several versions say Silas while others read Silvanus], and Timothy. Placing them here would indicate by their actions that they were also apostles, as they were part of the shedding of the new light of Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 (RSV)
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
This book does not read like those others written by Paul alone; like Romans, I Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. It appears that Paul put the pen to paper in 2 Corinthians, but it was a joint effort with Timothy. Why do I say that? Read these verses and the context. Verse 13 below reads that way in every version I checked.
2 Corinthians 1:1 (RSV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
2 Corinthians 1:13 (RSV)
For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand; I hope you will understand fully,
This would show Paul and Timothy were apostles, because they were shedding new light here in 2 Corinthians.
On the other hand both books of Thessalonians read in the plural, pretty much throughout, Paul most likely penned them. The context suggests he did not do it alone. I will give you some examples: in 1 Thessalonians 1:2 most versions read “We” not “I,” and the verse closes with “our prayers,” not “my prayers.” This is totally different than Ephesians, which is “I,” “my,” or “me” throughout. Verse 3 reads “our Lord,” not “my Lord.” Verse 5 reads: “…what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake…,” not “what kind of man I proved to be among you for your sake.” Verse 6 reads: “imitators of us,” not “imitators of me.” This is showing that it was: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy as a group were responsible for this Epistle, which is shedding new light making each an apostle. People need to remember God is the Author, every book was written by men. 2 Thessalonians is exactly the same as 1 Thessalonians using “we,” “us,” “our,” etc. All of this shows that Paul was not the soul writer of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, but shared writing them with Silvanus, and Timothy. This is not what every Theologian I have ever known has taught. Paul did put in a personal greeting in these books [which I am sure was with the Lord’s blessing], but over all there is plenty of evidence these Epistles were jointly done.
This next verse would indicate that all Christians are or at least should be teachers.
Hebrews 5:12 (RSV)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food;
So, he is saying: “…by this time you ought to be teachers…” that includes everyone that book is written to. Some believe that is only to Jews who became Christians, were who this book was written to, but God is not that limiting or He would be a respecter of persons. We have covered that topic in our article: “For There Is No Respect of Persons with God.” The book of Hebrews is in the Christian Scriptures, and teaches us much, so we can learn from it. It was written so those who were Jews before becoming Christians would more easily understand it, but it all applies to us Christians.
I want to throw another thing your way. Look at this verse.
Acts 21:8 (RSV)
On the morrow we departed and came to Caesarea; and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Here we see Philip the evangelist. Nowhere are any of the talents or abilities ever used like a title. It is not who he is, but what he does, because someone will ask, I wanted to explain the statement: “…who was one of the seven…” Look at these verses.
Acts 6:1–6 (RSV)
1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples [they let the Body of Christ, the Church, get involved in the work of the Lord] and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching [a talent or ability, will explain later in my book mentioned earlier] the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men [where the seven come from] of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer [this is why I now pray so much] and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip [as I said, one of the seven], and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them.
Timothy as we will see fell into this area of evangelist, as well as an apostle. See below:
2 Timothy 4:5 (RSV)
As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.
From everything we have seen these talents and abilities apply to this Administration. They were not part of the Law. They were given for us Christians to use: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ [as Ephesians says].
Have you ever seen in books, booklets, articles, or heard it said: apostle Paul or apostle Peter? Sure we all have. Yet it never is said that way anywhere in any version of the Bible—I have checked. Try to find it and you will not. What you will find is what I will show you in the next few partial verses.
Ephesians 1:1 (RSV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus…
Colossians 1:1 (RSV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus…
1 Timothy 1:1 (RSV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus…
2 Timothy 1:1 (RSV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus…
1 Peter 1:1 (RSV) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ…
I did not find the phrase apostle Paul or apostle Peter, or apostle anyone, anywhere in the Bible, and WOW was I blown away. We have been deceived! For God only knows how long! I looked at every translation in many verses and not one in over 40 versions of the Bible reads that way with apostle first. My wife gets the brunt of my excitement when I find stuff like this, so please keep her in your prayers. She needs them to deal with me anyway! “Ha” “Ha!” Or as people text, “LOL!”
Not one disciple is ever referred to as pastor [shepherd], and that includes the Gospels, Acts, or any other book in the Christian Scriptures after the Ascension. What we have read here makes this idea of them all being only apostles in the Gospels and Acts 1 a problem which will need to be explained. Also, if they were all apostles how did they become an apostle in the Gospels and Acts 1 if the gifts had not yet been given to men? Looks like there will be a Part Three, as I said earlier!
Let us look at this from a perspective of “hats” or “helmets!” That is right! I said “hats” or “helmets!” If you are hot you need a certain kind of “hat” or “helmet.” Am I right? Yes! On the other hand if I am cold, I need a different type of “hat” or “helmet.” Also, if I want to be in the military, depending on what I am assigned to do, I will need a different type of “hat” or “helmet.” Also any kind of sport is the same, a different kind of “hat” or “helmet.” Folks, this is how the abilities or talents work. Whatever one you need you use that one at that time. If you are shedding new light you put on your apostle hat or helmet. If I am reaching out to new people who have not heard the Word before, then out comes my evangelist hat or helmet. I will not carry this out with them all, but I think you get my point.
The second problem that is caused by there being apostles in the Gospels and Act 1 is that there is nothing in the Law about them. There is nothing from Genesis through Malachi about these five gifts [or more once you look at 1 Corinthians 12]. There were prophets, but that is never called a gift or gifts. There were teachers of the Law, but nowhere is that called a gift or gifts. Not one of the other three gifts are listed anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures. You will not find an evangelist anywhere else in the Bible, except here in Acts, Ephesians and 2 Timothy. The only shepherds [Ephesians calls pastors] are those dealing with flocks of sheep or goats throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
People may have a long-suit in one of the gifts, but will be able to operate all five [and more]. So, in conclusion of this, Ephesians 4:8 states and I condensed it to read: “…When he ascended up on high, he…gave gifts unto men.” That is what it says and that is what it means.