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Friday, May 11 2012
Paul Or Apollos?
Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria, a city in Egypt that had been named after the warlord/king Alexander ("Alexander the Great") when Egypt was taken into the Greek Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids). He was "a man well versed in the Scriptures" and had the heart to do something good about it. Apollos became a fellow servant with the apostle Paul, primarily in the region of Ephesus and Corinth.
Paul's ministry had been caused to grow and expand by the persecution that always followed it (see Why Does The LORD Permit Persecution?). So too, others, such as Aquila and Priscilla, who were forced out of Rome and into Greece, became servants of the Messiah.
"18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.
It was Aquila and Priscilla who helped Apollos understand "the way of God more perfectly" - not meaning that anyone is perfect, but rather in how to grow to perfection i.e. "to perfect" something or someone means to grow and improve until perfect ("7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" 2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV).
"18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." (Acts 18:24-26 KJV)
When he was ready, and readied, Apollos began to preach.
"18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ." (Acts 18:27-28 KJV)
"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase"
Just as had been the case with Apollos, there were many who had a grasp of the Gospel, but not yet a firm grip of it. Some had been disciples of the prophet John ("John the Baptist"), without realizing that John's congregation was a preparation for the Messiah (see John's Congregation).
"19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?
Just as Apollos was then also doing (as we will get to), Paul's preaching had a profound effect upon those who heard it, whether Jews or Greeks (see The Word Of God In The Tongues Of Man).
"19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
It was in Paul's epistle (which simply means a letter) to the church at Corinth that Apollos is again mentioned. First, the greeting:
"1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Apollos had become a powerful servant of the Messiah, just as Paul, and Peter, had become, as stated by Paul's "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ" - an admonition not to make any man the "leader" of Christ's church. There is nothing to suggest that Apollos had been deliberately playing the "Diotrephes" power struggle game (see Diotrephes And The Other Antichrists), but it happened to Apollos, just as it happened to Paul. People became too impressed with a mere teacher, when they should have been in awe only of Christ, not any man, ever. The result, otherwise, is strife, contention and division.
"1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Paul then further explained, in exactly the same way that he defended himself against the Roman military government that arrested him, that the Kingdom of God is not about a human struggle of one human to control others (see The Cross Of Christ, Or The Cross Of Men?), "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
"1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Paul then reiterated (Paul didn't often repeat himself in his writings, but with this he did) his "I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos" admonition. It reveals how powerful Apollos had grown in influence as a "leader" - to which Paul called them childish in their looking to a man, rather than directly to their Messiah. Paul recorded nothing about Apollos as being the cause of the problem; if he had been, Paul would have addressed the problem to him, not to the others.
"3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Paul wasn't somehow putting Apollos down, to raise himself up: "these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another."
"4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
If the problem had been with Apollos, Paul would not have said "As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren."
"16:5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. 16:6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. 16:7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
This Day In History, May 11
330: Constantinople became the new capital of the Roman Empire. Named after the Emperor Constantine, it was built over the ancient city of Byzantium. Constantine was the creator of the antichrist Church of Rome (and hence of its subsequent "protestant daughters" who rejected the Pope's leadership, but not his doctrines; see Antichristians) as the official state religion of his empire (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad). Constantine is also the creator of "Sun Day" (see Why Observe The True Sabbath?).
1310: In France, fifty-four members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.
1502: Christopher Columbus set out on his fourth and final voyage to the West Indies. The "America" that Columbus discovered for Spain was in the Caribbean Sea, where all four of his voyages took place; what became Canada and the U.S.A. were created by the Netherlands, England and France, far north of where Columbus ever explored.
1573: Henry of Anjou became the first elected king of Poland.
1647: Dutch colonial administrator Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam (today known as New York City) to become governor of New Netherlands (which later became New England).
1690: In the first major engagement of King William's War, British troops from Massachusetts in "New England" seized Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) from the French, with the objective of taking "New France" (i.e. most of what later became eastern Canada).
1745: The Battle of Fontenoy in Belgium. The French under Maurice de Saxe fought the British and allies under the duke of Cumberland during The War of The Spanish Succession.
1792: The Columbia River was "discovered" (the Indians already knew it for centuries) by Captain Robert Gray.
1812: British Prime Inter Spencer Perceval was shot by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the House of Commons.
1820: HMS Beagle was launched. It became the ship that took Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.
1866: Confederate President Jefferson Davis was released after spending two years in prison for his role in the U.S. Civil War.
1871: In the Swan Hotel at Frankfurt-am-Main, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck signed the agreement transferring all of Alsace and much of Lorraine from France to Germany.
1885: The final and bloodiest battle of the Riel Rebellion in Canada. General Frederick Middleton defeated the Metis rebels at the Battle of Batoche in Saskatchewan.
1916: Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity was published.
1960: Israeli agents captured Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) in Buenos Aires and returned him to Israel for trial. He was found guilty and executed.
1998: France became the first EU country to produce the new European currency when its mint struck the first Euro coins (see Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).