articles of chapter 2

What was Jesus’ last commandment to the disciples? Or what it was not?

 

 

Why was Jesus sent into the world?

When Jesus began his public ministry, he said he had only been sent to bring the lost sheep of Israel back to God. The idea that the gospel of salvation should also be brought to the Gentiles’ attention came to the apostles only after Jesus had died and ascended to heaven. Matthew is said to tell, according to the Bible (28:19), that Jesus, having risen but before ascending into heaven, had given a mission to take the gospel to all nations and also to baptize people; “Therefore, as you go, disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

In my earlier post, I show that this is a forgery and a later addition to the Bible. In this article, I also show that the apostles had not changed their minds about the Gentiles, but considered it inappropriate even to socialize with them. For this reason, it did not occur to them to go and convert them into Christians and baptize them as Matthew claims to have written.

Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Therefore, as you go, disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Of course, even when Jesus was alive, there were converted jews. There were not very many of them, and no congregations were established outside Israel. The converts were wanted to be made Jews, and circumcision was fiercely demanded, even for adult minds.

As Jesus lived, he and the apostles were focused on preaching the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Missionary work took place in the tribal areas of Israel and only to the Israelites. As we know, the reception was grudging.

This command to disciple and baptize all the nations is in two parts. Before that, Jesus says that he has been given all power in heaven and on earth. He told the apostles, who had gathered to meet Jesus in Galilee after he was crucified, rose from the dead, but had not yet ascended into heaven. The apostles certainly listened to exactly what Jesus said and certainly believed what he said. Without the slightest seed of suspicion.

So, if Jesus really told the disciples to go out into the world to spread the word of the gospel, then surely the apostles would do so. Likewise, they would be willing to carry out Jesus’ command to baptize new believers in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. What happened?

 

Pentecostal events

Acts 2 tells of Pentecost soon after the apostles had met Jesus in Galilee and received from him during forty days further instructions concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1). Then, on Pentecost, a large crowd in addition to the apostles had gathered in Jerusalem.

Acts of the Apostles:

2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, all of them were together in one place.

2 Suddenly, a sound like the roaring of a mighty windstorm came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3 They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated, and one rested on each of them.

And then:

4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them that ability.

Peter spoke to his listeners from different countries, but each received testimony in their own language. Peter said in Acts 2:36: “Therefore, let the entire house of Israel understand beyond a doubt that God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!”

The Bible describes how the listeners “were pricked in heart” and asked Peter for advice, “what should we do”? Peter counseled, verse 38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.”

Verse 41 says that the baptism was taken by about three thousand Gentiles who came from different countries. But, but… Why did the apostles still not keep Christ’s command to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit?

 

In whose name did the apostles baptize?

The apostles and members of the Jerusalem congregation continued to follow Jewish customs even after Lord Jesus ascended to heaven. Peter also strictly followed the commandments of the law on food, washing, and ritual purity. Paul rebuked Peter for hypocrisy because Peter refused to eat with the Gentiles (Gal 2:13). Paul seemed, perhaps the only one of the apostles, to understand the purpose of Jesus. Gal 2:16 “we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.  We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for no human being will be justified by the works of the law.

Peter received the command to disciple and baptize in a heavenly vision only after Jesus had ascended into heaven. The Jews and the apostles with them still believed that the Gentiles, as unclean. Even Peter thought that “it is unlawful for a Jewish man to socialize with a stranger or to go to him.” However, Peter changed his mind, saying, “God has shown me that I should stop calling anyone common or unclean,” (Acts 10:28). Note that Peter still disregarded the alleged command to baptize in the name of the Triune God but continued to baptize the Gentiles only in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:48). 

Peter received the vision described below three times in a row.

Acts 10:11 “and saw heaven open and something like a large linen sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the ground.

12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles, and birds of the air.

13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter! Kill something and eat it.”

14 But Peter said, “Absolutely not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean!”

15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “You must stop calling unclean what God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times; then the vessel was taken up to heaven.”

It was not a question of eating instructions. Peter could interpret the meaning of the vision. After receiving this vision, Peter was the first of the apostles to understand God’s purpose that his words should also be taken to the Gentiles.

 

This vision was repeated to Peter three times. Peter finally understood that the reptiles and other disgusting animals in the vision depicted pagan peoples. Peter understood that God does not care from which people a person comes and explains to Cornelius, the Roman centurion:

Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “Now I understand that God shows no partiality,

35 Indeed, the person who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him in any nation.

36 He has sent his word to the sons of Israel and brought them the good news of peace through Jesus Christ. This man is the Lord of everyone. ;

37 You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached.

38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil because God was with him.

39 We are witnesses of everything he did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They hung him on a tree and killed him.

40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,

41 not to all the people, but to us who were chosen by God to be witnesses and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

42 He also ordered us to preach to the people and to testify solemnly that this is the one ordained by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.

43 To him all the prophets testify that everyone who believes in him receives the forgiveness of sins through his name.

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all the people who were listening to his message.

45 Then the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.

46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,

47 “No one can stop us from using water to baptize these people who have received the Holy Spirit in the same way that we did, can he?”

48 So he [Peter] ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days.”

The next episode describes the missionary work that began in the fringes of the Mediterranean and is depicted in later chapters of the Acts of the Apostles:

19:1 “It was while Apollos was in Corinth that Paul passed through the inland districts and came to Ephesus. He found a few disciples there.

2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”.

3 He then asked, “Then into what were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.”

4 Then Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 When Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.

Paul also baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and as proof that baptism was appropriate, the baptized received the Holy Spirit (19:6) just as they did on Pentecost.

These facts show that the baptismal command in Matthew 28:19 to the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is a later addition. Its motive is also clear: to instill the doctrine of the Triune God in Christians. You should note that the increase did not occur during the life of the apostles, but sometimes a hundred or two hundred years later. I have not studied church history in more detail in this regard. Well, this addition has done its job successfully, unfortunately.

The hard preaching of Christianity by the apostles began to bear fruit. Christians initially had difficulties because of persecution. Gradually the whole world knew Christ; “World” or the “whole world” meant at that time the Mediterranean littoral states. It took a long time to realize that the world was much larger, meaning that missionary work took its first steps. Christianity became more and more Catholic, although doctrinal disagreements began to emerge.

The apostles and the congregations after them waited for Christ to return. After all, he had promised to return ‘soon.’ Before he ascended to heaven, Christ described the position of the apostles in Israel; Mat 10:23 “So when they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. For truly I tell you, you certainly will not have gone through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

 

Bringing Christianity to the Gentiles

Jesus himself said that he had been sent to earth, not to take the word of Christianity to all nations, but only to bring the lost sheep of Israel back to God.

Luke 24:47 writes that Jesus commanded, “and that repentance and forgiveness of the sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” The above is from the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke, which tells about the resurrection of Jesus and his ascending into heaven. Luke himself was not a witness to the events but had gathered information from various sources. Therefore, I do not find his account as reliable as the other gospels.

There is one notable feature in Luke’s account. It shows that the apostles did not immediately follow Jesus’ commission – if that had happened in the first place. It took a long time, perhaps several years, before Peter received a revelation from heaven that led to missionary work.

The apostles and members of the Jerusalem congregation continued to follow Jewish customs even after Lord Jesus ascended to heaven. Peter also strictly followed the commandments of the law on food, washing, and ritual purity. Paul rebuked Peter for hypocrisy because Peter refused to eat with the Gentiles (Gal 2:13). Paul seemed, perhaps the only one of the apostles, to understand the purpose of Jesus. Gal 2:16 “we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.  We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for no human being will be justified by the works of the law.

The apostles and Jews in general also strongly opposed everything to do with the Gentiles. Mere socializing, such as inviting Gentiles to their homes or visiting their homes, was a wholly excluded idea. Jesus himself and the apostles thus preached to the Jews in Israel. Even the Samaritans living nearby did not want to spread the word of God about the crucifixion of Jesus. In Jerusalem, Peter was rebuked in the Church and told, “They said, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” (Acts 11: 3) Peter told what he had testified about what had happened in Caesarea: “Acts 11:15 “When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he had on us at the beginning.” This reassured the audience.

The command to take the word of God to all nations was not given to the apostles in a meeting with Jesus in Galilee, but only after Jesus ascended to heaven, and Peter had three times a vision of heaven. The vision of Peter is registered in Acts 10, cf. above.

On Pentecost, when three thousand people from different countries had gathered in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit was poured out on everyone. It was evident that even this was not enough for the apostles to realize that faith and salvation are possible for all nations.

At first, the Church in Jerusalem did not approve of the idea that the word of God should be taken to unclean Gentiles. However, Peter succeeded in convincing the elders of the Church, and Paul, whom Jesus had forcibly converted, was commissioned to begin a mission to the Gentiles.

As Peter continued to speak to the people of Cornelius, the Holy Spirit came upon all the hearers. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles as well. Then said Peter, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

10:48 “And he [Peter] commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Further, therefore, the people of the nations were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, not in the name of the Triune God, as the Bible verse 28:19 commands. How is it possible that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the baptized, even though they had not been appropriately baptized, that is, according to the (alleged) instructions of Christ?

My interpretation is that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit proves that the practice of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ was the right thing to do.

When I argue that the whole verse is a later addition, why would it have been done? There is no command in the Bible to baptize in the name of the Triune God and no testimony of the Triune God at all.

Preaching the Kingdom of God and testifying Christ proceeded according to the Bible. Congregations were established around the Mediterranean.

 

The gospel proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles

Galatians:

1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that person be accursed!

9 What we have told you in the past I am now telling you again: If anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that person be condemned [anathema let him be].

The Epistle to Galatia states with particular emphasis that the gospel proclaimed by Christ and the apostles is the only true and unchanging one. Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God and at the same time healed “all manner of sickness and sickness.” In addition to the Kingdom of God, the content of the apostles’ sermons included the gospel of Jesus Christ. Listeners were offered the opportunity to be baptized.

Acts 10:42 He [Christ] also ordered us to preach to the people and to testify solemnly that this is the one ordained by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.

43 To him all the prophets testify that everyone who believes in him receives the forgiveness of sins through his name.”

So, if the Gentiles believe in Jesus, they will be forgiven of their sins. The last judgment will save him, who is forgiven for his sins. Forgiveness of sins is promised to all who believe. The problem is that not everyone believes. Many have not even had the opportunity to believe when “they have not even heard of this Jesus.”

The Gospel of Matthew:

9:35 Then Jesus began traveling through all the cities and villages [in Israel], teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every illness.

Acts of the Apostles:

5:42 Every day in the temple and from house to house they kept teaching and proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ.

8:12 But when Philip proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, men and women believed and were baptized.

8:16 Before this he [Holy Spirit] had not come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul speaks in Ephesians about the mystery of Christ. What does he mean by this secret? It is clear from verse 6.

Eph 3:3 and how this secret was made known to me through a revelation, just as I wrote about briefly in the past.

4 By reading this, you will be able to grasp my understanding of the secret about Christ,

5 which in previous generations was not made known to human beings as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s  holy apostles and prophets::

6 The Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow sharers of what was promised in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

7 I have become a servant of this gospel according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power.

8 To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given so that I might proclaim to the Gentiles the immeasurable wealth of Christ.

The promise of verse 6 was certainly a revolutionary idea at one time. The Gentiles are offered the same as the Jews; participation in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. This promise clearly means that through faith in Christ, Gentiles have an equal opportunity to be saved. The possibility is the same as for Jewish believers in Christ, no better, no worse. You can be saved through faith.

I have looked for a passage in the New Testament that tells us baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to Matthew 28:19. There is no one at all. But more and more people had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Christ). There are two options: the apostles rebelled against Christ and therefore refused to keep the baptismal command they received. Another possibility is that such a command to baptize was never given, and Mat 28:19 is a later addition whose authors have overlooked many passages in the Bible where baptism is performed solely in the name of the Lord Jesus (Christ).

 

Conclusions:

The Baptismal Commandment: The wording of the baptismal commandment in the alleged verse written by Matthew is not found anywhere else in the Bible. Baptism into the “name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” occurs only once in the entire New Testament, in this verse in Matthew 28:19. However, baptism was an important practice when new members were recruited to the congregations. So why was the last commandment of Christ not kept in baptism? Either the apostles were rebellious, or Jesus did not give them such a commandment at all. Still, in the absence of any other instruction, the apostles considered it best to baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus (Christ). Which option are you in favor of?

I agree with the notion that this verse added to Matthew’s name was added later to provide the Bible with biblical verses defending the doctrine of Triune God. Let’s try to find at least one other verse in the Bible that contains the words “Father and Son and Holy Ghost.” These words cannot be seen together.

Mission Command: There is another command in that Matthew verse. “Go ye therefore, and make all nations my disciples.” Is this how Christ gave this commandment? I justify my suspicion as follows. The apostles and their fellow Jewish believers, not to mention the Jews who resorted to the old Covenant of Laws, alienated all contact with the Gentiles. These were not only servants of idols but also unclean in any case. So, no socializing with the Gentiles! Had Jesus given the command to take the gospel of God to the Gentiles, wouldn’t the apostles have changed their attitude?

It took God’s vision from heaven to Peter — three times — before Peter believed. After all, such a vision would not have been necessary if Jesus had explained God’s will that everyone is equal before God. Jesus did not do this because he was a keeper of the Old Covenant all his life. It was only just before his crucifixion that he proclaimed the New Covenant. God gave Peter a vision that made it possible to change the mindset and, as a result, take the gospel to the Gentiles.

Proverbs say 30:5 “Every word of God is guaranteed; he is the shield of those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words or he will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.

Trinity: Did you get the impression from this article that I don’t believe in the ‘Trinity’ at all? Meaning that the godhead is not composed of three? Of course, I believe that the deity (godhead) is three or triune if you prefer. What the Bible means, I that God the Father is the only God. He has made his human Son Lord and Christ and given him eternal life. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to perform the duties assigned to him. The Father is God alone, the Son is the Lord, to whom the Father has given all authority both in heaven and earth. It is new knowledge to many that the Son is also a man in heaven. In heaven, all these three persons are spirits, as are the angels.

 

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