gold02I received the following question:

Regarding the Jerusalem saints having all things common during the early part of the book of Acts. Do you believe that those saints were later instructed to not have all things common after that Paul became an apostle to the Gentiles? I know that they were being led of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem during the early part of Acts to have all things common but I was just wondering what your thoughts are on them after Paul started taking up collections for the poor saints at Jerusalem. My thoughts always used to be that those that had all things common simply ran out of money as the Kingdom was being delayed, but I would like to hear your thoughts on it.

The group that was to have all things in common was those who were gathered together with the twelve, the actual group of disciples formed by Christ. There is no indication that this arrangement ever went beyond this, or was taken up by any other group, or any group that Paul started.

That said, there is no indication that the Jerusalem group ever gave this up, or were supposed to give it up, either. Yet certainly those who were rich and sold their lands to distribute them to others would soon run out of lands. Many of this group were scattered in the persecution that arose around Stephen, so the group probably shrank considerably at that time. It might well have grown again by the time Paul was writing, and once he had stopped persecuting them.

Remember that Israel was a very poor country, and any drought would have harmed the believers there as much as anyone. Yes, they probably did just run out of money during the incidents mentioned when Paul took collections for them.

If, at some point, God rescinded His orders to them to have all things in common, we have no record of it. That does not mean it did not happen. The focus of the Bible shifts away from Jerusalem once the main force of the testimony shifted to outside the land. Jerusalem is pretty much ignored once the dispensational change took place. God might well have told them to take care for their own things again once the dispensation of grace started up. However, we can only speculate.