B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 91
B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 91
I Cor. 16:9 “For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
February 28, 2007
A Study of the Apostle’s (Part 4) Thaddaeus
This apostle had three names: Judas(Lk. 6:16, Jn. 14:22, Acts 1:13),
Thaddaeus(Mt. 10:3, Mk. 3:18), Lebbaeus(Mt. 10:3). In Lk. 6:16 we also
see he was the son of James. But we do not know which James this was. John gives us a record of the incident in the upper room involving Thaddaeus, Jn. 14:22, when he asks, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself
to us, and not to the world?” We see that Thaddaeus was like all the apostles,
hankering for Jesus to really establish an earthly kingdom in essence.
Jesus answers that He manifests Himself to anyone who loves Him.
Most early traditions indicate that a few years after Pentecost he took
the Gospel north to Edessa being one of the first of the apostles to leave
Jerusalem. Eusebius, the church historian, states in the fourth century
that the archives of Edessa contained full records of Thaddaeus’ work
there. Edessa was the capital of the Syrian kingdom of Osroene where King
Adgar reigned (15BC-50AD). The story has it that the king hearing of Jesus,
and suffering himself from an incurable disease, asked Jesus to visit. The
story has it that Thaddaeus went, healed the king, and converted him. This
then became the first Christian kingdom. There is a possibility that in
Edessa he worked with Bartholomew and for a short time with Thomas. Among the Armenians there is a popular tradition that Thaddaeus was the first to evangelize them in the years 43 to 66. It is likely that Thaddaeus was
martyred in northern Persia and buried near the Caspian Sea not too far
from Tabriz in modern day Iran. Nathanael
His full name is Nathanael Bartholomew. Bartholomew is from the Hebrew
which means ‘son of Tolmai/Bar –Tolmai.’ In four listings of apostles it is
Bartholomew (Mt.10:3, Mk. 3:18, Lk. 6:14, Acts 1:13). John mentions
Nathanael twice. Once as among the first disciples to respond to Jesus’
call and secondly when the seven are fishing after the resurrection (21:2).
It would seem that all seven were apostles. In Jn. 1:40-44 he is linked to
Peter, Andrew and Philip, while in J. 21:2 he is linked to Thomas,
John, James, and Peter.
In Jn. 1:45-51 he is called by the Lord and sees an example of Jesus’
power of omniscience. Jesus looks into his heart and sees one who in whom is no guile. Before this Nathanael had showed his sinfulness in wondering if
any good thing could come out of Nazareth, downgrading a city he didn’t
think much of evidently. This one under the fig tree would repent and
acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel. Jesus points him beyond Israel to heaven.
It would appear that he made widespread missionary travels as tradition
ascribes him going to: India(maybe with Thomas), Armenia, Ethiopia,
Southern Arabia. Eusebius relates how when Pantaenus of Alexandria
visited India in the second century he found a Hebrew copy of the Gospel of
Matthew left by Nathanael Bartholomew. While working in Armenia he might have also gone to Parthia and Lycaonia. The area of his death is thought to be modern Azerbaijan on the west coast of the Caspian Sea.There are a variety of traditions as to how he died: tied up in a sack and thrown into the
sea, flayed to death, crucified with his head downwards. It is thought that
he died around 68.
The Bible Is a Missionary Book: Every book in the New Testament was written by a missionary. Every epistle in the New Testament that was written to a church was written to a foreign-mission church. Every letter in the New Testament that was written to an individual was written to the convert of a foreign missionary. The one book of prophecy in the New Testament was written to seven foreign-mission churches in Asia. The disciples were called Christians first in a foreign-mission community. The language of the books of the New Testament is the missionary’s language. The map of the early Christian world is the tracings of the missionary journeys of the apostles. Procedure – All our brethren should please remember that the budget for the mission field where we help is set after the missionary or other CLC representatives are there. The recommendations are sent to the mission board. The board may or may not approve a recommendation. You really have to try not to increase amounts or ask for more during the year. Amounts are budgeted from the time the missionary is present until the next visit when we together discuss the work and see how the CLC might help. We above all depend on the hearts of the CLC members in the USA who contribute to the overseas work. If there are not the offerings needed, then a project might have to wait.
Hermeneutics – Figures of Speech
In this figure of speech a thing stands for a person. Paul addresses “death” as if it were a person, “O, death where is your victory…” 1 Cor.15:55 Jesus says in Matt. 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Of course “tomorrow” can’t do this, but Jesus personifies it as if it could to convey the truth. This is a very graphic way of presenting something to teach. We are face to face with something and see it more graphically as if it were a living person. Or think how Jesus says, “The wind blows where it wills.” Jn. 3:8 It is as if the wind had a mind of its own and you cannot control it.
This is an exaggeration for an effect or a point is overstated to emphasize something. John states that of all Jesus taught if they were written down, the “world would not have room for the books.” Jn.21:25 Obviously, since Jesus public ministry was for about three years there is no question that all He taught could be written down. John’s point is made graphically that Jesus taught so very much it would be as if… Or think about our Lord’s statement on His hypocritical enemies, “You blind guides, that strain our a gnat, but swallow a camel!” Matt. 23:24 They were so picky about little things but ignored the more important. Just think how the impossible picture of swallowing a camel stays in our mind in contrast to swallowing a gnat. We would have difficulty in understanding parts of the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matt. 5-7 unless we understand that He uses hyperbole and personification in Matt. 6:2-4 or hyperbole in Matt. 5:29-30 and elsewhere. Another way that we know He is using figures of speech in these cases is that other clear passages do not for instance support the plucking out of your eye or the cutting off of your hand. Scripture interprets Scripture.
Figures of Speech
When we continue to consider these ways of writing and talking, we remember how our God wants to get the point across to us over and over again. He used the gifts and talents of the various men who wrote the Scripture and gave them the ability to write for our understanding. Our God is not a God of confusion.
This is a way of softening something that is harsh. Death is very gruesome and dreadful, but notice how it is not when Luke says of Stephen that he “fell asleep.” Acts 7:60 By this Luke reminds us that death is a blessing as when we lay down to sleep after a hard day’s work. Peter in discussing the choosing of a new apostle says, “Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” Acts 1:25 The point is not in going into how Judas committed suicide in despair and went to hell. It is mentioned with a softening as the point is to move on to choose a new apostle and not dwell on the gone one.
This is one of the easiest figures of speech to spot as it is the doubling of a word for emphasis. In the second part of Isaiah, which is very Gospel oriented, the Lord begins with “Comfort, comfort my people says your God.” Is. 40:1 Judah is going to face judgment for its apostacy and not learning from the bad example of the northern kingdom and its being swept away. For those who truly believe in the Lord there will be comfort as they rely on the personal pardon of the Lord that will sustain them in the midst of trial. How often don’t we do this in everyday speech, repeating something for emphasis.