JudasI received the following question:

I found a set of pretty old books at a used book store that are a study of the book of Acts. From the little I’ve read of them, the author proposes some interesting ideas to think about. One of these is from the beginning of Acts when Peter leads the believers in replacing Judas and they cast lots deciding on Matthias. The author suggests that Peter was making a not Spirit-led decision and that Paul was the apostle chosen by God instead and that this is why the ministry of Matthias isn’t mentioned in the rest of Acts.

That is an interesting idea, and one I’ve heard before. I disagree with it though, because: 1. I believe that the basic premise of the Acts of the Apostles is that these men are acting on behalf of the Lord Jesus in all that they do. In Matthew 16:19, He says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” He gave them “the keys of the kingdom,” and told them that the decisions they made on earth would be binding in heaven (with God.) They could not make a decision that God did not go along with.

2. The lots they cast weren’t just the drawing of straws like we might do it. Exodus 28:30 sets forth Urim and Thummim as the means for getting answers from God. “Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.” Thus, since they were meeting in the temple and there were priests available to them, it would have been with Urim and Thummim, God’s method for determining His decision in a matter, that they would have made this choice. This was not just drawing straws to see who had the short one. If the Lord had not wanted either Matthias or Barsabbas, He could have answered “no” to both of them with the Urim and Thummim.

3. Paul does not fit the criteria Peter gives for the replacement disciple, that he must have been with them from the beginning, from the baptism of John. (Acts 1:22)

4. The twelve disciples are to sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel in the kingdom (Matthew 19:28.) Paul, on the other hand, was the apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13,) and thus in an entirely different position.

5. In Acts 15, Paul and the twelve agree that the ministries the Lord has given them are very different. Paul is even said to carry a different gospel than that that the twelve carry! (Galatians 1&2, especially 2:6-10)

6. The ministries of the vast majority of the twelve are not specifically mentioned after Acts 1, including those of important disciples like Andrew and Thomas. That Matthias is not mentioned again means nothing.