Episode 21: What All Has Changed in the Experience of Believers from the First Century Until Now?

DESCRIPTION: Continuing on the theme of “abandoned trails”, Jack opens many cans of worms that it’s difficult to get Christians to discuss today. He talks about changes that have occurred in the experience of believers from the First Century to now–and most of these are changes that most Christians would agree have happened (though some are controversial). The point, then, is that these facts have not been examined to their natural ends and to the discovery of their natural, logical consequences. In other words, even though many know that these things have changed, they still generally carry on as if they have not—because they simply aren’t processing the information.

Show Notes

Jack’s Novel

Introduction to Reality-Based Thinking:  This is Jack’s video podcast, which only has three episodes, which together comprise a thorough introduction to the concept of Reality-Based Thinking.

The Extraordinary Visit of Benjamin True: The State of the Union as No One Else Would Tell It. This is Jack’s novel that introduces the basics of Reality-Based Thinking as it explores what an angel might say (from his heavenly perspective) about the American government and the political thinking of the American citizen.

Texts used in this episode

1. Jesus is no longer walking around in Judea.

Acts 1:9  After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Hebrews 1:8 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,

2. No one who ever knew or saw Jesus is walking around anywhere.

3. No one to whom the Great Commission was given is still on Earth.

Matthew 28:16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

4. There are no apostles today.

5. Apostles are no longer acting as judges in Judea.

Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Acts 4: 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  5:1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you[a] sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

6. Apostles are no longer laying hands on believers so as to bestow them with the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:14Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

7. Apostles are no longer appointing and empowering deacons or evangelists.  

Acts 6:5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
2 Timothy 1:6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

8. Apostles are no longer writing epistles.

9. Nor are they disciplining the congregations who get out of line.

10. Christians cannot ask the apostles questions, whether in person, or by letter.

11. No apostles are preaching to the Gentile nations.

1 Timothy 2:7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

12. Prophets are no longer writing scripture.

1 Corinthians 1:10  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

13. Inspired writings are no longer being added to the body of scripture.

14. Churches no longer have evangelists or deacons who are gifted like the deacons in Jerusalem were.

15. Angels are no longer acting as guardians over the congregations.

We’ll discuss this some more below, but for a proof that angels were acting as guardians over congregations in the First Century, listen to this episode of the Naked Bible Podcast with Dr. Michael Heiser: https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/podcast/naked-bible-360-revelation-21-7/
And if I’m wrong about this, then can you answer these questions? :

  • What’s the name of the angel that oversees your congregation?
  • When did he last make an appearance?
  • What direction did he give?
  • What correction?
  • What message from God?

16. Elders no longer can heal people as per:

James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.

17. The Temple is no longer standing in Jerusalem.

Excerpts from Josephus’ historical accounts:  http://josephus.org/causeofDestruct.htm
(The Bible, while predicting the destruction of the Temple, provides NO historical narrative of the events—which is likely a clue as to the date of the writing of the New Testament texts.  Otherwise, why would they not mention one of the most important events in all of Jewish history?

18. The Law of Moses is defunct.

  • Gone is the Jewish priesthood.
  • Gone are the daily sacrifices.
  • Gone is are the genealogical records. 

19. Those who Jesus said would see him return are no longer in Judea.

Matthew 16:28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Mark 9:1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

20. People are no longer teleporting.  (Phillip) 

Acts 8:36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”[e] 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

21. There is no longer a wave of prophesy about the imminence of Jesus’ return. 

(As in the later epistles and in John’s Revelation.)

22. Demon possessions, most might say, do not seem to be happening with the frequency suggested by the New Testament record.

23. Angel appearances, most might say, do not seem to be happening with the frequency suggested by the New Testament record.

  • To Joseph
  • To Mary
  • To Zechariah (regarding John the Baptist)
  • To shepherds
  • Luke 2:12 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
  • To Jesus (after the temptation)
  • Angel rolled the stone away and addressed the women.
  • An angel busted Peter out of prison.  (Acts 5, Acts 12)
  • An angel tells the evangelist Phillip where to go next.  Acts 8
  • An angel is involved in the Peter/Cornelius story in Acts 10
  • An angel strikes Herod dead in Acts 12
  • An angel informs Paul about an imminent shipwreck in Acts 27
  • (Bad) angels were trying to separate people from God. 
    Romans 8:38 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Angels were still harassing women in Corinth:
    1 Corinthians 11:10  That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
  • Satan was still disguising himself as one of the HOLY angels of God:  2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
  • (Bad) angels were preaching false versions of the gospel. 
    Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
    Jude For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…..14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They[f] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
  • People were worshiping angels. 
    Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
  • An angel made known Jesus’ revelation to John. 
    Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
  • Angels were overseeing (at least some of the) Christian congregations. 
    Revelation 1:20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
  • And now the verse that so many want to cling to as proof of angels today—even though they don’t see angels doing any of the other things previously listed:
    Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.