Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 11:20:07 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Numerology in Mark In any case, the passages dealing with the 7 deacons in Acts are very interesting. I certainly cannot agree with your assessment that they only refer to some busboys being sent to clean tables, or whatever it was you said... To the contrary, in my view, this is an intentionally cryptic reference containing a debris of an earlier historical source. The fact that the names of the 7 deacons are given is important. I don't think the writer would have given the names of unimportant persons. "The laying on of hands" in Acts 6:6 also should tell us something. This whole passage was analysed at length by Morton Smith, and also by Loisy. Koester also takes it very seriously. And also, of course, Stephen was the leader of the 7. Was he just a busboy for Luke? I doubt it. Of course in a case like this nothing can be proven for certain. But to me all this probably refers to something very important. We should also keep in mind that the Acts goes on after this passage to the martyrdom of Stephen, and then to the first persecutions in 8:1. The source is then resumed in Ch. 11, and describes the scattering of the Hellenists and the spread of Christianity to the diaspora. The real sequel is in Acts 11:19ff. 19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. Isn't this the crucial turnign point? Please note that Paul is nowhere is sight as yet. 21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. So here you have Barnabas as the first "official apostle to the Gentiles". Of course Paul later seemed to usurp this title. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Barnabas is in the leadership position here. So how could Paul later claim this title to himself? Something is fishy here. Most likely this text in the Galatians: Galatians 2:7-8 (English-NIV) 7 On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. Regards, Yuri.Click here to go one level up in the directory.