THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING
XV.—That he sent forth apostles to proclaim salvation through him, as the only name given under heaven whereby men may be saved.—Acts 1:8; Mat 28:19,20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 26:16-18; 4:12.
Having departed from the face of the earth to enter into the Holy Place made without hands (Heb 9:24), even heaven itself, the Lord Jesus Christ did not leave himself without witness to the things that had taken place during the time of his sojourn there. Rather, he sent forth Apostles endued with spirit-power to proclaim his Name as the only name through which salvation might be obtained. Accordingly we read that Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit declared to the Elders and Rulers of Israel: “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:11,12). Here Peter (Petros, a stone) describes the setting up of a stone by Yahweh; a stone rejected by the Israelitish builders who were more concerned with constructing their own edifice of traditions and truth-nullifying ordinances, than building up the things pertaining to the Household of faith. Christ proved to be most unsuitable for their purposes; there was no place he could fit into the house of their building, for like the ecumenical ‘house’ being raised up by the clergy of our day; it was an edifice founded upon principles of iniquity and doctrines of deceit. The rule that governs membership of the papal-led building club of our day, as in the case of Israel of old; is peace, to have no strife between those of differing beliefs; but for all to put aside their differences, and persue peace for the common good – even if it means the sacrificing of the Righteousness of Yahweh. By this means, so it is supposed, peace among nations might be achieved. But to this class of men, the warnings of the prophets sound out loud and clear:
“Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace, and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar; say unto them that daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it … Therefore thus saith Adonai Yahweh, I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am Yahweh. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it … which see visions of peace for her … and there is no peace, saith Adonai Yahweh” (Ezek 13:10-16).
Such is the end of a house not built upon a Rock of the doing of the commandments of Christ (cp Mat 7:24-27); great will be the ruin of it. Indeed, in our day there is a whole city of houses being raised up on the sandy foundation of moveable doctrine and immoral practices, described Apocalyptically to John as “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” This is the Papal city-tower, being raised up after the manner of Babel of old, yet whose ruin shall be great. True, it may be that the daubing of such an house with “untempered mortar,” or “whitewash,” gives it an appearance of beauty (cp Mt 23:27,28), but those who look beyond the outward appearance of things, the structure is a mere sepulchre of dead men’s bones. Those who are educated in Divine Wisdom will recognise that the fall of such a building is certain, and the ruin thereof truly will be great. That is why Christ’s brethren maintain a marked separateness from the Harlot’s house, refusing to be seduced into it. They “remove their way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house” (Prov 5:8), for to do otherwise is certain death. It is an house of iniquity, and just as the Judaistic builders of the 1st Century themselves recognised that the Ways of Christ just do not fit into what they want to build, even so, those who seek to follow those ways just will not fit in. They will find themselves despised and rejected of men, even as their Master was – or if they do not; if they find themselves to be of the right dimensions to fit into an edifice of wickedness, then that proves that they are unsuitable material for the House that Christ is building, of which he is the Chief Cornerstone. There is only one name under heaven whereby men must be saved, which is the name born by Christ; the Name of Yahweh, a tower which righteous men run into, and find safety (Prov 18:10). Those who labour with the Babel-builders of the present age, desiring to make a name for themselves (Gen 11:4) instead, will in due course find their purpose confounded, with their house being left unto them desolate.
THE THREE SENDINGS
Although the BASF, in describing how Christ ‘sent forth apostles’ is clearly speaking of the sending forth after the resurrection and ascension of the Master, it is important to note that there were actually 2 other ‘sendings,’ during Christ’s mortal ministry. Matthew describes the first:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat …” (Mat 10:5-9).
On this occasion, the sending was to the House of Israel; particularly to the ‘lost sheep,’ those who had lost their way by being misled by their shepherds. The second sending involving seventy others who shared in that work (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1), was for the proclamation of a like message. But there is a notable difference between what was being preached then, and what was preached after the ascension of Christ. The Message before, was not “the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ,” as it was later, but the things concerning the Kingdom of God only: that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. The things concerning the Name of Jesus Christ were things that the Apostles were not capable of preaching at that time, for as yet, the mystery had not been revealed to them; they did not understand those things. This, we may learn from the words of Christ to them after his resurrection: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25). Before hearing the Master’s exposition at this time, the apostles did not perceive that Christ ought to have suffered, and then to enter into glory. Thus, the things concerning the crucifixion formed no part of their preaching – they could not preach what they did not know themselves. But later, the message went forth to the ends of the earth that Salvation can be obtained by no other means than belief in the Name of the Yahoshua the Messiah.
There is another detail which it would be negligent to pass over, in considering the 3-fold preaching mission of the Apostles. That is, each was accompanied by the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. “he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Mat 10:1). But as this power was given on each occasion, it follows that it was also withdrawn on each occasion. Why should the Apostles have had to wait at Jerusalem for the outpouring of Spirit as narrated in Acts 2, if they still had this power? The answer is simple; the Spirit was given to accomplish particular things, and when they had been performed, there not being any longer a need for that power to be retained, it was withdrawn. Judas, being one of the twelve, had also been given this power – yet possession of the Holy Spirit did not affect the moral character of a man, as his case demonstrates (see also the misuse of the Spirit Gifts as described in 1 Corinthians). There are those today who claim that to possess the Holy Spirit is essential for salvation. They claim that unless some mystical ‘help’ is granted a believer by the Spirit, that they cannot be obedient, that they cannot belong to Christ. There may be some truth in this; there is a certain class of men who cannot be helped by the power of the Word, for their stony hearts are impervious to it’s influence – and it may well be that they cannot obey the Gospel, unless their free-will, and natural obstinacy would be removed by miraculous means. But that is not the manner in which the Father has chosen to operate; He requires men to have the humility to accept, and believe in the Name borne by His Son. And then, there is no doubt about their standing before Him – they strive to obey out of free will, rather than miraculous compulsion, and of this class it is testified that they “must be saved”.