INTRODUCTION:

James [Ya'akov], Bishop of Jerusalem

 

 

Heavenly Father,

You have gathered Your holy people together from the four corners of the earth, establishing an everlasting and universal kingdom which we call the Catholic Church. In every age, Lord, You have provided selfless shepherds to guide Your Church, men like St. James the kinsman of our Lord who the Apostles, guided by Your Holy Spirit, selected to the first Christian Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Come beloved Holy Spirit and guide us now as we study St. James' letter of good counsel and encouragement to our brothers and sisters of the 1st century AD which they have preserved and handed down to us a message that is as relevant today as it was when it was written to the faithful of the 1st century AD. Instill in us, Lord, their same spirit of perseverance in the face of a hostile world and the understanding that to offer our lives to Christ is to live in the spirit of true freedom. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. St. James the Just, Christian bishop and martyr, pray for us!

 

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"...and that on the third day he (Jesus) was raise to life, in accordance with the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter); and later to the Twelve; and next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time...., then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles." 1 Corinthians 15:4-7

 

 

Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260-340AD), in Book 7 chapter 19 of his Church History recorded: "The chair of James, who first received the episcopate of the church at Jerusalem from the Savior Himself and the Apostles, and who, as the divine records show, was called a brother of Christ, has been preserved until now, the brethren who have followed him in succession there exhibiting clearly to all the reverence which both those of old times and those of our own day maintained and do maintain for holy men on account of their piety."

 

 

St. Jerome (c. 347- 403/420AD) identified the author of the New Testament letter that bears the name of James as: "James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just,...ordained by the Apostles Bishop of Jerusalem."

 

Council of Trent, 1551; quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1511:

"This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord."

 

James the kinsman of Jesus of Nazareth has been identified in the sacred Scripture of the New Testament and by the writings of the Apostolic fathers as the first leader of the Church of Jesus Christ founded in the holy city of Jerusalem, the mother church of the New Covenant believers. According to the history of the early Church he was the first of 15 Christian bishops [see the appendix] of Jerusalem to be descendants of the Patriarch Jacob, the father of 12 sons who become the 12 physical fathers of the 12 tribes of holy nation of Israel. The Hebrew name of this patriarch, Ya'akov, is a name of tremendous significance among the Israelite people and it is not a coincidence that it is the same name borne by Christianity's first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, James or in Hebrew Ya'akov, "the Just" (or "the Righteous"), the spiritual father of the orthodox Jewish remnant who embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.

 

In the earliest formation of the universal Church of Jesus Christ, the ministers appointed by Jesus, called by the title "Apostles" or "Emissaries" and led by Christ's Vicar Simon-Peter, governed the kingdom Jesus established on earth, the Church Universal [Catholic]. Jesus founded His Kingdom of Heaven on earth upon 12 spiritual fathers, and those who remained faithful to Jesus after the Resurrection understood very clearly that their mission was to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, establishing Christ's Universal Kingdom as prophesized by the prophet Daniel:


After His Resurrection and prior to His Ascension, Jesus gave His Apostles their "marching orders" to establish His universal kingdom:

 

The very name Jesus gave this select group of men reflects their destiny as His emissaries to the world of men. The word "apostle" or in the Greek apostolos, from apostellein, meaning "to send forth," is used in most instances in the world of classical Greek to refer to a ship or a fleet sent on a naval expedition across the seas but as an adjective it was used to designate an ambassador, delegate or messenger who carries with him the authorized message of the power or authority of the one who sent him. In the New Testament the word apostolos is used in this sense by Jesus in the selection the twelve Apostles from among his 70 disciples: "Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them Apostles..." Luke 6:12-13.

 

These select 12 men were chosen by Jesus to be His closest companions and they were uniquely privy to full instruction in the truths of the Gospel of salvation. The name apostolos is given to these 12 men several times in the Gospels, either explicitly or in contexts where it is clear that this is their designated title [see for example: Matthew 10:2; Luke 6:13; 9:10; 17:5; 22:14; Acts of Apostles 1:2, 8, 26; 5:29; 15:2, 4, 6, 22ff; and 16:4]. In the Gospel of John for example on the night of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which Christians refer to as the Last Supper, Jesus tells His Apostles in John 13:16 "In all truth (Amen, amen) I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger (apostolos) is greater than the one who sent him" thereby emphasizing their role as His emissaries or messengers to whom He gave the power and authority that was His, the power to bind and loose [Matthew 16:18-20; 18:18; John 20:23]'a power and authority that was theirs to pass on to those who succeeded them as ministers of Christ's Kingdom of Heaven on earth [Acts 1:15-26], which is the Church, and a power they exercised over all the individual faith communities that made up the One, Holy, and Apostolic [meaning founded by the Apostles] Catholic Church.

 

Today we refer to men like St. James the Just and others who were the Apostle's representatives and shepherds over various Christian faith communities as "bishops." Was there really such a structured hierarchy in the early Church or was this structured hierarchy an invention of the Catholic Church in the 4th century as some have claimed? In the earliest years of the Church, the Body of Christ grew under the authority of Peter and the Apostles. During this time the title "Apostle" was applied to the central authority of the 12 Apostles, whom the Church began to designate by the title "The Twelve" [see Acts 1:26] but as the Church grew the title "apostle" was expanded to include not only the 12 original men selected by Jesus to be His emissaries to the world, and the one they selected to replay Judas in Acts 1:15-26], but this title was extended to other disciples, men like Barnabas, Mark, and Paul, who were also included in the ranks of leadership and were also designated "apostles", sometimes translated as "messenger" or "representative" in our English translations [for example see Acts 14:14; Romans 1:1; Against Heresies, 3.4.1, St. Irenaeus, etc.]. St. Paul uses the same word in this sense of official emissary or messenger of the universal Church in Philippians 2:25 when he writes to the faith community at Philippi, Greece, and their presiding elders: "Nevertheless, I thought it essential to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and companion-in-arms since he came as your representative (apostolos) to look after my needs..."

 

In these early years the Church as a whole was governed by the Apostles and each New Covenant faith community within the Body of Christ which is the Church was governed by a body of elders known as presbyters [Greek = presbyteroi from which we have derived our English word "priests"], and presiding leaders or overseers, in Greek episkopoi. These offices within the local community quickly developed into our present holy offices of priests (presbyteroi) and bishops (episkopoi) who were aided by men selected as deacons (diakonoi). These "presbyteroi" and "episkopoi" were prominent leaders selected by the Apostles to lead the communities both spiritually and administratively. That this was the organization of the early Church in Jerusalem is evident in such passages as Acts 11:29-30 when the Christian community in Antioch, Syria sent financial aid to the Christians living in Judea: "The disciples decided to send relief, each to contribute what he could afford, to the brothers living in Judea. They did this and delivered their contributions to the elders through the agency of Barnabas and Saul" [also see Acts 15:2ff; and 21:17-18]. A similar form of Church organization is also evident in the Christian communities outside of Judea as reflected in the passage in Acts 14:23 concerning the establishment of the Christian communities founded by Paul and Barnabas in Asia Minor: "In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe" [also see Acts 20:17].

 

Was the governing of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, the Church established by Jesus Christ, by a body composed of the leadership of one man (Peter) and a select council of men like the Apostles (and later the Apostles' designated representatives and a council of elders) a unique arrangement previously unheard of in the formation of God's covenant people?

Question:

  1. What was the governing authority of the covenant people in the days of Moses? Hint: see Exodus 24:1, 9-11, 14; Leviticus 4:15; 9:1; 11:16-30; etc.
  2. Jesus came to establish an everlasting reign as the promised Davidic Messiah who would rule as the heir of the great King David. What was the composition of the governing authority of the Kingdom of Israel during the reign of David's heirs, the Kings of Judah? Hint: see Isaiah 22:20-23.

Answer: #1. The governing of the Church by a council was not a new practice but reflected the same organization of the 12 tribes of Israel prior to the Sinai experience [see Exodus 3:16, 18; 4:29; 12:21; 17:5-6; 18:12; 19:7] and continued in the birth of the Old Covenant Church at Sinai where Yahweh was the great King and His Kingdom was the nation of Israel which He governed through His ministers with Moses as His Vicar. In Exodus 24:9-11 the Sinai Covenant was ratified by a sacrifice and by a sacred meal attended by Moses and the council of elders: "Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders of Israel then went up, and they saw the God of Israel beneath whose feet there was what looked like a sapphire pavement pure as the heavens themselves, but he did no harm to the Israelite notables; they actually gazed on God and then ate and drank" [also see the passages in Numbers 11:16-30; 16:25; Deuteronomy 31:9-28; Joshua 8:10; 1 Samuel 16:4; Isaiah 9:14; and Ezekiel 8:1, 11-12].

Answer #2: During the age of the Davidic Kings of Judah the administration of the Kingdom was conducted by the King's vicar and his ministers [see Isaiah 22:20-23]. The Davidic king's Vicar was called a "father" of the covenant people [see Isaiah 22:21] and had the power and authority of the king, the power to bind and to loose and the Vicar sat on a throne [see Isaiah 22:22-23]. Later after the return from the Babylonian exile when there was no longer a Davidic king the governing structure of a council of elders continued for the Old Covenant Church as is reflected in Ezra 5:5; 10:14; Judith 6:16; Luke 7:3; 22:66; and Acts 4:5 [also see the writings of Philo of Alexandria and Flavus Josephus].

 

In the birth of the New Covenant Church of Jesus' Kingdom of Heaven on earth, this same pattern is repeated and is reflected in such Biblical passages as Acts 15:1-6,22-26; Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:1-3 and in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers:

 

In these New Testament books of Acts, the Letters of St. Paul the Apostles and the episkopoi'the presiding council of elders, are mentioned in connection with each other and/or in association with the diakonoi [deacons], or ministering servants or attendants who serve the needs of each faith community. The governing body of the New Covenant Church appears in passages like Titus 1:5-6 and Acts 20:17 & 28, to be either serving with the elders or are themselves elders. The Greek word presbyteros, which comes from the pagan Greek culture world, is probably is an equivalent for the Hebrew title zaqen found in numerous Old Testament passages including Exodus 24:1, 9, and 14 which indicates the function/ duty of an officer or overseers who represented the 12 tribes, while the Greek word episkopos/ episkopoi, also from the Greek Gentile world, indicated the dignity or higher status in a leadership role of the same overseer. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, the term episkopos is used to translate the Hebrew words for military officers, overseers of workmen, temple supervisors and tribal officers. In Acts of Apostles the apostolate is called the office of an episkopos in Acts 1:20 concerning Judas' lost office and in quoting Psalms 109:8. Today we would designate such an official in the Church a bishop. The Greek word presbyteros was also used in the New Testament to designate a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jewish leaders of Judea [see Acts 4:5, 8, 23; 5:21 ("assembly of elders" meaning the Jewish civil and religious law court known as the Sanhedrin); Acts 6:12; 23:14; 25:15].

 

We can understand from the use of these terms in Scripture that the duties of the office of the Christian presbyteroi or episkopoi and diakonoi not only concerned the practical side of organizing and administering the community but also teaching morals and doctrine:

 

Question: Who selected the New Covenant presbyters/ priests and bishops? How were these men officially installed in their offices and where was it understood that their power and authority generated from? Hint: see Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5; 1Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2Timothy 1:6; and Acts 20:28.

Answer:

  1. The college of presbyters which consisted of both the presbyteroi and the episkopoi were selected by the Apostles [Acts 14:23] or by their representatives [Titus 1:5].
  2. They were consecrated in their office by the "laying on of hands" [1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6].
  3. It was understood that their power and authority was a charism which came from God [Acts 20:28].
  4. St. Paul in addressing the presbyters of Ephesus in Acts 20:17 and 28 calls them "bishops" (episkopoi) who are appointed by the Holy Spirit to care for the flock of which they are the shepherds.

 

Question: Where else in the New Testament other than Acts of Apostles and St. Paul's Epistles do we read of a gathering of elders? Hint: these elders sit on thrones

Answer: In St. John's vision of the heavenly court of God he saw elders (presbyterios) presiding around the heavenly throne: "With that I fell into ecstasy and I saw a throne standing in heaven, and the One who was sitting on the throne, and the One sitting there looked like a diamond and a ruby. There was a rainbow encircling the throne, and this looked like an emerald. Round the throne in a circle were twenty-four thrones, and on them twenty-four elders (presbyterons) sitting, dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads" Revelation 4:2-4. [Also see Revelation 4:10; 5:5, 6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4].

 

For further references to these terms of leadership in the early Church please see:

 

As the Church of Jesus Christ exploded out of Judea into Samaria, Asia Minor and later into Greece and the other Roman occupied provinces, what began as a local assembly or body of bishops or episkopoi very soon evolved into the present system of one regional bishop responsible for the priests (presbyteroi) who served various New Covenant faith communities. Initially Peter and the Apostles governed the fledging New Covenant Church in Jerusalem, ordaining Matthias to replace the Episcopal office vacated by the death of Judas Iscariot [Acts 1:15-26]. The 12 Apostles also ordained seven deacons to help them serve the needs of the community [Acts 6:1-6], and elders to help govern the people [Acts 15:6]. But as the Apostles prepared to fulfill their mission to carry the Gospel of salvation across the Roman Empire [Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8], they appointed James, the brother to whom Jesus appeared after His Resurrection [1 Corinthians 15:7], as the Church's apostolic authority in the Jerusalem church, a role which we would define today as that of bishop of the Church in Jerusalem [see Acts 15:13; 21:18; Galatians 1:19]. St. James shepherded and governed the Church in Jerusalem, assisted by a council of elders: "The next day Paul went with us to visit James, and all the elders (presbyteros) were present" Acts 21:18. Today we would characterize Paul's visit as an audience with the presiding Bishop and the priests of his diocese.

 

Certainly by the late first century and the early second century AD in the time of the disciples of the Apostles the hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons had been firmly established. St. Clement of Rome, the 4th Pope to follow St. Peter (counting Peter as the first Papa or Pope of the Church of Jesus Christ) writes of this established hierarchy in his letter to the Corinthians some time prior to 96AD: "Our Apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be contention over the bishop's office. So, for this cause, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the above mentioned men, and afterward gave them a permanent character so that, as they died, other approved men should succeed to their ministry."

 

There is considerable evidence that what had begun as the office of the college of presbyteroi serving under the authority of the Apostles or their designated representative had developed within the first generation of the Church after the Resurrection into an assembly ruled by a single bishop, a successor of the Apostles, who had authority over a number of priests serving various surrounding communities. In fact, the seven historical churches of Revelation chapters 2 3 may be the communities over which St. John the Apostle governed as the regional bishop or archbishop of what we today would call a diocese or archdiocese. In a letter to the Magnesians prior to his martyrdom circa 107AD St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of St. John the Apostle wrote concerning these individual offices:

v     "Now, therefore, it has been my privilege to see you in the person of your God-inspired bishop, Damas; and in the persons of your worthy presbyters, Bassus and Apollonius; and my fellow-servant, the deacon, Zotion. What a delight is his company! For he is subject to the bishop as to the grace of God, and to the presbytery as to the law of Jesus Christ."

 

And on his journey to martyrdom circa 107AD, Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch wrote letters to seven faith communities which reveal the central role of a bishop in the life of the early Church:

v     St. Ignatius wrote to the Trallian Christians: "It is essential to act in no way without the bishop,"

v     To the church in Philadelphia he wrote: "Obey the bishop as if he were Jesus Christ" and "Do nothing apart from the bishop."

Ignatius also affirmed the bishops' authority to the church at Smyrna, one of the 7 churches to receive letters in the Book of Revelation, when he wrote:

v     "You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father....Nobody must do anything that has to do with the Church without the bishop's approval."

 

St. Clement of Alexandria (died c. 215AD), the great teacher of theology presiding at the renowned Christian School of Doctrine and Theology at Alexandria, Egypt (a school founded by the church established by Mark the Evangelist) wrote concerning the hierarchy of Church authority in the New Testament books in Christ the Educator, Book 3, chapter 12: "Innumerable counsels relating to particular individuals have been written in these holy books, some to priests, some to bishops and deacons, others to widows." And in Book 6, chapter 13 of the Stromata Clement writes: "Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church of bishops, presbyters (priests), deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who following the footsteps of the Apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel."

 

It was to this high office that James the kinsman of Jesus was selected by the 12 Apostles. He became an apostle by virtue of witnessing the person of the resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ, and because of his sanctity and influence with the Jewish community of Jerusalem, he was selected to be the first Jewish-Christian Bishop to the mother church in Jerusalem.

 

THE DISPUTE CONCERNING THE IDENITY OF

JAMES THE JUST, BISHOP OF JERUSALEM

 

While the majority of Biblical scholars, both ancient and modern, agree that James the brother/ kinsman of Jesus was ordained by the Apostles as the first Christian bishop of Jerusalem and that he is the most likely author of the New Testament letter to the Church universal known as The Letter of St. James, scholars do not agree as to which James mentioned in the Gospels and other New Testament books was the man selected for this special honor. The difficulty is that there are anywhere from 4 to possibly 6 men named James who are mentioned in New Testament Scripture. There are two men named James who were selected by Jesus to be included among His 12 Apostles: James Zebedee the brother of the Apostle John and a second man identified as James the son of Alphaeus. The Apostle Jude is the son of a man named James and there is a James whose mother Mary was a disciple who stood at the cross in solidarity with the Virgin Mary.

 

Scripture also mentions Jesus' "brother" whose name was "James", although one should not take the designation "brother" to mean a literal blood-brother since the Greek word "adelphos," which in Greek means "brother from the womb" is not used in the New Testament to mean "brother" in the Greek sense of the word but in the Semitic sense of "kinsman"'which could be a brother, half-brother, step-brother, brother-in-law, cousin, countryman, or those united by the kinship bond of the Covenant with Yahweh in the Old Testament or the kinship bond of the Covenant family formed in the blood of Jesus Christ [for example, Matthew 25:40; ; Acts 1:15-16; 6:3; 9:30; 11:1; 12:17; Romans 8:29; 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 2:11, 17; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:14]. In fact, in the New Testament the Greek word "adelphos/ adelphoi" (brother/ brothers or brothers & sisters) and "adelphe" (sister) are the only words used to designate these relationships in the narrow and broader sense:

 

To provide an understanding of the confusion concerning the different men named James in the New Testament, let's chart the different New Testament passages that refer to a man named "James". Keep in mind, however, that more than one category may refer to the same man:

Scripture passages identifying the various men named "James" in the New Testament:

The Apostle James Zebedee

(brother of the Apostle St. John)

The Apostle James son of Alphaeus

James the "brother" of Jesus; Jesus' "brothers" in general

James whose mother is Mary

James, the "brother" of Jesus and Bishop of Jerusalem

James, the father of the Apostle Jude

Matthew 4:21

Matthew 10:3

Matthew 12:46-50

Matthew 27:56

Acts 12:17

Acts 1:13

Matthew 10:2-3

Mark 3:18

Matthew 13:55

Mark 15:40

Acts 15:13

 

Matthew 17:1

Luke 6:15

Mark 3:21

Mark 16:1

Acts 21:18

 

Matthew 20:20-23

Acts 1:13

Mark 6:3

Luke 24:10

1 Corinthians 15:5-7

 

Matthew 26:46

 

John 7:3-5

 

Galatians 1:19

 

Mark 1:19-20

 

Galatians 1:19

 

Galatians 2:9 - 12

 

Mark 1:29

 

Acts 1:14

 

James 1:1

 

Mark 3:17

 

James 1:1

 

Jude 1:1

 

Mark 5:37

 

 

 

 

 

Mark 9:2

 

 

 

 

 

Mark 10:35, 41

 

 

 

 

 

Mark 13:3

 

 

 

 

 

Mark 14:33

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 5:10

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 6:14

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 8:51

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 9:28, 54

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 1:13

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 12:2

 

 

 

 

 

Mmichal Hunt, Copyright © 2006 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

 

Most scholars would agree that it is unlikely that James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, would have been the Apostle James Zebedee who was martyred circa 42AD since James the Bishop is alive and active in the Church until his martyrdom circa 62 (or possibly sometime between 62 and 69) AD. That James the Just (or Righteous), Bishop of Jerusalem suffered martyrdom shortly before the destruction of the Temple and the holy city of Jerusalem by the Roman Army in 70AD is confirmed by the Jewish 1st century historian Flavius Josephus in his book, Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1 when he places James death after the death of the Roman governor Festus but before the arrival of the new Roman governor Albinus: "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he [the High Priest Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned..."

 

There are scholars who believe that there were only two men named James who are mentioned in the New Testament and that the Apostle James son of Alphaeus, also known as James the Less to distinguish him from the Apostle James Zebedee [James the greater], is the son of the woman named Mary of Clopas as well as the brother/kinsmen of Jesus who was selected to be the first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem. It is true that the title "James the Less" is given to both James son of Alphaeus and James the Bishop but it is possible both men were identified as "the Less" to distinguish them from the elder and/or more important man in the hierarchy of the Apostles, James Zebedee. Those who identify James son of Alphaeus with James the son of Mary of Clopas assume that Alphaeus and Clopas were the same man, an assumption for which there is no Biblical evidence.

 

There are also those scholars who also assume that James son of Alphaeus is a brother of the Apostle Matthew/Levi since Mark 2:14 also identifies Matthew as the son of a man named Alphaeus. However, Alphaeus was a common name in the 1st century and no where in the Gospels or in the other books of the New Testament are Matthew and James son of Alphaeus ever identified as brothers. Since the Gospels identify Peter and Andrew as brothers/kinsmen and John and James as brothers and sons of Zebedee [Matthew 10:3], it seems strange that the Gospel writers would neglect to identify a kinship connection between two more Apostles. The manner in which James son of Alphaeus and Matthew/Levi are listed in the ranks of the 12 Apostles also does not suggest any connection between these two men but strongly indicates 2 different and non-related individuals. To identify these men as siblings reads into the text of the Gospels what is not there.

 

Another vague connection is often made by identifying Alphaeus with a man named Clopas [John 19:25], or identifying Clopas with Cleopas [Luke 24:18]. This connection is based on the confusion concerning the number of women disciples present at the Cross: 3 women in John 19:25 and 4 women in Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40. It is confusing for the reader because in the ancient text there are no clear grammatical helps like our modern commas, etc. so it is difficult to determine how many women are indicated in John 19:25: "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister Mary (the wife of) Clopas and Mary of Magdala." There is simply no punctuation in the ancient koine Greek passage so we do not know if there are 4 women: the Virgin Mary, an unnamed kinswoman of the Virgin, Mary of Clopas (the literal text does not say "wife of"'Clopas could be her father or son or husband), and Mary of Magdala; or if there are there 3 women: The Virgin Mary, her "sister"/kinswoman Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdala. Since the text provides no further information we must admit that the answer to that particular question cannot be answered. All we can say is that there are 4 women listed in Matthew 27:56 and in Mark 15:40 and in total probably at least 8 women disciples present in Jerusalem when one includes references to Salome [Mark 15:40; 16:1], Joanna [Luke 8:3; 24:10], and Susannah [Luke 8:3], Mary and Martha the sisters of Lazarus [John 11:5; etc]. The problem with making Mary of Clopas the mother of James the son of Alphaeus and a cousin of Jesus is that this close relationship is not supported anywhere in the Scriptural text nor is it supported in the writing of the earliest Church fathers. Then too, there is no evidence that Alphaeus is a variation of Clopas in Aramaic, nor is there any evidence that the names Clopas [Klopas] and Cleopas [Kleopas] are related in Aramaic. Clopas is a Greek name of Semitic origin while Cleopas, which means "illustrious father," is the Greek masculine for the feminine Greek name Cleopatra. Cleopas was one of the 2 disciples Jesus joined after His Resurrection on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:8-. Hegesippus, the Jewish Christian chronicler of early Church history, writes of a tradition that identifies Clopas as a kinsman/brother of Joseph of Nazareth. According to Hegesippus, Clopas was the father of Symeon [Simon] who was selected by the Apostles to succeed James as the Bishop of Jerusalem after James was martyred. [See Church History, Bishop Eusebius 3.11; 3.32; 4.22].

 

The identification of the Apostle James "the younger" or "the lesser" as a son of a man named Alphaeus who was also called Clopas and therefore a "brother" of Jesus is based upon 3 unsupported suppositions:

  1. The assumption that Mary of Clopas refers to the wife of Clopas. Since the text does not identify her as the "wife" of Clopas she could be Clopas' daughter or sister or even his mother.
  2. The assumption that Mary [wife, sister, daughter, or mother] of Clopas is the sister/kinswoman of the Virgin Mary.
  3. The assumption that James in Mark 15:40 is the same man as the James of Mark 3:18

These are too many unsupported assumptions to make to this theory credible.

 

Many Catholic scholars, however, have accepted the great Biblical scholar St. Jerome's (c.347-420?) identification of the Bishop of Jerusalem as the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus. St. Jerome wrote: "James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord's passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles and even this is claimed by some to have been published by some one else under his name, and gradually, as time went on to have gained authority." Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 2: Jerome: Lives of Illustrious Men, Chapter II (written c. 492AD), page 361.

Unfortunately the great Jerome does not leave us his reasons for coming to the conclusion that the Apostle James son of Alphaeus was the first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem. It is interesting that he does mention that his was not the prevailing opinion. It is true that the fathers of the Church who preceeded him did not agree with Jerome's identification of James "the Just" as one of the 12 Apostles, and a number of modern Catholic Biblical scholars in reassessing the evidence also disagree with Jerome. Let's look at the evidence:

THE BIBICAL EVIDENCE

 

In the Biblical passages referring to James, the "brother" or kinsman of Jesus the first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, none of these passages identifies James the bishop as one of the 12 Apostles: Mark 5:37; 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal.1:19; 2:9; 2:12; James 1:1; Jude 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. Let's take for example St. Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 written circa 54AD: "I handed on to you first of all what I myself received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried and, in accordance with the Scriptures, rose on the third day; that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. After that He was seen by 500 brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have fallen asleep. Next He was seen by James; then by all the apostles." Paul notes that the resurrected Savior was seen by:

  1. Cephas = Simon-Peter, who Paul identifies by his title ROCK in Aramaic which is rendered "Kepha" but transliterated into Greek is rendered as Kephas or Cephas.
  2. The Twelve, which had become a title for the original Apostles chosen from among the 70 disciples as the leaders of the Church.
  3. 500 believers
  4. James
  5. By the rest of the disciples, or apostles which we might designate with a small "a" to distinguish them men from the 12 Apostles. The other "apostles" includes the original 70 men who were Jesus' disciples during His 3 years of ministry, among them Barnabas and Stephen, and men like St. Paul who came to believe after the Resurrection and became leaders in the Church.

 

Notice that Paul does not place the man he names as "James" within the framework of the first 12 Apostles selected by Jesus, nor in all the existing ancient writings of the Church fathers is James the brother of Jesus ever identified as one of the 12 Apostles. James the Just can be identified as an "apostle" in the same way Paul and Barnabas and others of influence in the early Church are identified as "apostles" or messengers sent out by the authority of the Twelve [see Acts 14:14; Romans 1:1; 16:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28ff; Ephesians 2:20; Philippians 2:18 ("messenger" or "representative" in the Greek in this passage is apostolos), but he is not identified in this way by Paul in this passage.

 

However, the most powerful Biblical evidence eliminating the Apostle James son of Alphaeus as the "brother/kinsman" of Jesus is found in the statement in the Gospel of John that Jesus' brothers/kinsmen did not believe in Him during His ministry: "Not even his brothers had faith in him." John 7:5 [also see Mark 3:21, 31-35]. It is only after Jesus' Resurrection and His post Resurrection appearance to His "brother/kinsman" James [1 Corinthians 15:3-8] that we find the "brothers/kinsmen" of Jesus praying with the Virgin Mary and the Apostles and disciples in the Upper Room: ""...they went to the Upper Room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. With one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers." Acts 1:13-14. Notice that in this passage none of the Apostles are identified as Jesus' "brothers."

 

 

EVIDENCE OUTSIDE OF SCRIPTURE

 

James is identified in the very early document the Proto-Evangelium of James as the son of Joseph the Carpenter, born of Joseph's first wife. The Proto-Evangelium of James may be the document St. Jerome was referring to when he noted that some think James was the son of Joseph by an earlier wife who died before Joseph was espoused to the Virgin Mary. We also have documents written by the men who were contemporaries of James or who lived with a generation or two of the great saint that mention James the Just. Bishop Ignatius of Antioch who listened to the words of salvation at the feet of the Apostles wrote to the Trallian Christians prior to his death c. 107AD, "And what is the presbytery but a sacred assembly, the counselors and assessors of the Bishop? And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers, fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him as the holy Stephen did to the blessed James, Timothy and Linus to Paul, Anencletus and Clement to Peter? Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, chapter 7 [Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. 7, page 69].We can assume the James St. Ignatius mentions is James of Jerusalem since Stephen was a deacon in that faith community. Notice Ignatius gives James the title "blessed" and not Apostle.

 

Clement of Alexandria [died c. 215AD] mentions two men named James but he doesn't clear up the muddy waters concerning the identity of James of Jerusalem. Clement's comments on James Bishop of Jerusalem quoted by Eusebius in his Church History: "But Clement in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes writes thus: 'For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Savior, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem.' But the same writer in the seventh book of the same work, relates also the following things concerning him: 'The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the Apostles, and the rest of the Apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one. But there were two Jameses: one called the Just, who was thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple and was beaten to death with a club by a fuller, and another who was beheaded.' Paul also makes mention of the same James the Just, where he writes, 'Other of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. [Galatians 1:19]." Eusebius, Church History Book II chapter 1 [James Zebedee was beheaded by Herod Agrippa I in 42 or 44AD. Josephus [Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1] says James was stoned to death. Clement of Alexandria agrees with Hegesippus as quoted by Eusebius. Some scholars contend that Clement only mentions two men named James and supports Jerome's theory but the context of Clement's remarks are directed toward the two men named James who were martyred in Jerusalem not that there were only two men in Apostolic times whose names were James. We already know from Scripture that there were more than two men named James.

 

The ancient document, The Recollections (of homilies) of Clement, is believed by some scholars to be a collection of homilies written by the disciple of St. Peter who became the much loved Clement Bishop of Rome (martyred c. 96/100?AD), the 4th to hold the "keys of the Kingdom" after (and counting) St. Peter. Other modern scholars dispute the authentic nature of the document as being the work of St. Clement. Scholars do agree that this is an ancient document written within memory of the Apostolic Age. This document is of interest to us because in it James of Alphaeus is clearly distinguished as a different man from James the Just.

        "After him James the son of Alphaeus gave an address to the people, with the view of showing that we are not to believe on Jesus on the ground that the prophets foretold concerning Him, but rather that we are to believe the prophets, that they were really prophets, because the Christ bears testimony to them.." Recollections, Chapter LIX Pharisees Refuted [page 93, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.8].

        "Now when we had come to our James, while we detailed to him all that had been said and done, we supped, and remained with him, spending the whole night in supplication to Almighty God, that the discourse of the approaching disputation might show the unquestionable truth of our faith...Therefore, on the following day, James the bishop went up to the Temple with us, and with the whole Church." In chapter LXIX James of Jerusalem challenges the Pharisees and the High Priest. Recollections, Chapter LXVI- Discussion Resumed, [page 95, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. 8].

 

There is also the ancient document known as the Epistle of Clement to James in which Clement writes to James of Jerusalem concerning the details of St. Peter's martyrdom. Both the Epistle of Clement and Hegesippus, the early Church historian, place Peter's death before James while the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus appears to put James' death earlier. No where in the letter to St. James does Clement refer to James as one of the 12 Apostles or by the designation that was common at this time, that James was one of "The Twelve."

 

Constitutions of the Holy Apostles also called the Apostolic Constitutions is an ancient document that appears to be the up-dating of the first catechism, known as the Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Scholars dispute the dating of the Didache. Some scholars date the Didache as early as the first century, but even the scholars who do not agree to such an early dating do not date it later than the second century because quotes from the Didache are found in the writings of the Church fathers from that period. The Constitutions contain the Didache and additional teaching and are dated to not later than the 300's AD, most scholars suggest the Constitution was a reissuing of ancient documents by the Church after the Council of Nicaea and so give the document a date of 325AD. Scholars have diverse opinions as to the author of the original ancient documents complied in the Constitution. There are scholars who are inclined to assign the documents to the Apostolic Age and to the great St. Clement, Bishop of Rome and successor of St. Peter [after Linus and Cletus] who was martyred sometime between 96-100AD. What is interesting about this ancient document is that it identifies St. James the Bishop of Jerusalem and St. James the Apostle, son of Alphaeus as two different men:

Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 7: Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, pages 493-500.

 

Bishop Eusebius (c. 260-340AD) in his Church History recorded ancient fragments of documents from the earliest years of the Church. He included fragments form St. Clement of Alexandria's lost book the Hypotyposes which written sometime in the mid to late 100s or very early 200's AD. In Book VII.1 St. Clement mentions James the Just: "To James the Just, and John and Peter, the Lord after His resurrection imparted knowledge. These imparted it to the rest of the Apostles, and to the rest of the Apostles to the Seventy, of whom Barnabas was one." The title "James the Just" is never coupled with the title "James son of Alphaeus" in any ancient document.

 

Origen of Alexandria [c. 185-254AD], perhaps the greatest intellect of all the early fathers, wrote of James the Just, referring to the work Antiquities of the Jews by the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, commenting that Josephus wrote concerning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the enslavement of the Jews by the Romans after the Jewish Revolt was a judgment for the murder of James the Just:"...that the disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice." Origen Against Celsus, Book I, Chapter XLVII.

 

The identity of James the Just, Bishop of Jerusalem is disputed by Catholic scholars today. Of the commentaries used in this study the Navarre scholars favor St. Jerome's identification of the first Bishop of Jerusalem as the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus, although they offer no argument to support this position other than St. Jerome's opinion. Father Patrick Hartin, author of the Sacra Pagina Commentary on St. James and Catholic scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, author of the Anchor Bible Commentary on the Letter of James both site the writings of the early Church fathers in favor of James, the brother/ kinsmen of Jesus who was not one of "the Twelve." What is clear, however, is that Jesus in His post-Resurrection appearance to James, "brother" of the Lord, designated to His Apostles His preference that Ya'akov-James should fulfill the destiny of his ancient Hebrew name by bringing into the New Covenant the faithful remnant of Jews who would form the mother faith community in the holy city of Jerusalem!

 

APPENDIX:

Appendix I: List of the first Christian Bishops of Jerusalem

Appendix II: The Ministries and Martyrdoms of the Twelve Apostles

Appendix III: Time line of Historical Periods in the Holy Land

 

Appendix I

And in Church History, Book IV chapter 5 Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine writes concerning the succession of the Bishops of Jerusalem: "The chronology [dating] of the bishops of Jerusalem I have nowhere found preserved in writing; for tradition says that they were all short lived. But I have learned this much from the writings, that until the siege of the Jews, which took place under Adrian [135AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian] there were fifteen bishops in succession there, all of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge such matters and were deemed worthy of the episcopate."

Note: Eusebius is referring to the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome which was brutally suppressed in 135AD. The First Jewish Revolt took place from 66-73AD and resulted in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the deaths of over a million Jews and the enslavement of circa 55,000 Jewish men, women, and children. After the Second Revolt the city of Jerusalem was raised to the ground and then rebuilt as a Roman city and renamed Aelia Capitolina. Jews were forbidden all access to the holy city but Christians were not penalized because they did not participate in either revolt and Christian persecution diminishes for a time under Hadrian.

 

LIST OF THE FIRST CHRISTIAN BISHOPS OF JERUSALEM

1. James +

11. Justus +

21. Gaius I

31. Dius

2. Symeon +

12. Levi +

22. Symmachus

32. Germanio

3. Justus +

13. Ephres +

23. Gaius II

33. Gordius

4. Zacchaeus +

14. Joseph +

24. Julian II

34. Narcissus (repeated)

5. Tobias +

15. Judas +

25. Capito

35. Alexander

6. Benjamin +

16. Marcus

26. Maximus II *

36. Mazabanes

7. John +

17. Cassianus

27. Antonius *

37. Hymenaeus

8. Matthias +

18. Publius

28. Valens

38. Zambdas

9. Phillip +

19. Maximus I

29. Dolichianus

39. Hermon

10. Seneca +

20. Julian I

30. Narcissus

 

+ Jewish descent

*These two names are omitted in Eusebius' Church History, but are listed in his Chronicles and are also listed by the Church historian Epiphanius

Also see Church History, Book V, chapter 12 in which Eusebius lists the first thirty of the bishops, ending with Narcissus, "the thirtieth in regular succession from the Apostles."

 

Appendix II

 

THE MINISTRIES AND MARTYRDOMS OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Apostle

Occupation, Accomplishments & Some key Scripture references

Death

Simon-Peter son of John

Fisherman and brother or kinsman of the Apostle Andrew. Prince of Apostles. He is the Holy Spirit inspired writer of 2 epistles to the Universal Church which bear his name. As Christ's Vicar of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth he preached in Asia Minor 7 yrs. founding the Church in Antioch [Syria] and later established the Church headquarters in Rome where he served as Bishop 25 yrs. As the leader of the Church he presided over the first Great Council in Jerusalem in 49AD [Acts 15].

Jn 1:41-2; Mt. 4:18; Mk 1:16; Lk 5; Mt. 10:1-4; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Mt 14:29; Mt 16:16-22*; 17:1-4; Jn 6: 68; 13:37; Lk 22:31-4; 24:12,34; Jn 21:7-19; Acts 1:13-22; 2:14-40; 3:11-4:31; 5:27-329:32-11:18; 12:1-19; 15:7-12; Gal 2:9; 1 & 2 Peter.

Martyred in Rome by the Roman authorities as prophesized by Jesus in John 21:18-19. Peter was crucifixion, at his request, upside down ca.64?67 AD

James son of Zebedee

Fisherman; business partner of Simon-Peter; brother of John and son of Zebedee and Salome. His mother followed Jesus and helped to support Jesus' ministry. Jesus called the Zebedee brothers the "Sons of Thunder." James preached the Gospel in Sardinia and in Spain. He is the patron saint of Spain.

Mt. 4:21; 10:2; 10:2; Mk 1:19, 29; 10:41; 14:33;Lk 9:28, 54; Acts 1:13;12:2

First Apostle to be martyred [Acts 12:1-2]. Beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I circa 42?44 AD

John

son of Zebedee

Fisherman and business partner of Simon-Peter; brother of James; close friend of Andrew. The Church fathers identify him as the inspired writer of the 4th Gospel, and as the "beloved disciple". Preached the Gospel in Asia Minor and honored as the father of Eastern Rite Catholics; Bishop of Ephesus; imprisoned on the penal colony of Patmos where he received the final revelation of Jesus Christ to the Church. Jn 1:38-39; Mt 4:21;10:2; 17:1; Mk 10:35'41; 13:3; 14:33; Lk 9:28, 49, 54; 22:8; Jn 1:36?; 13:23; 18:16?;19:26; 20:1-8, 12; ; 21:7, 20-25 Acts 1:13; 3:1-11; 4:1-23; 8:14-25; Gal 2:9; Rev 1:1(twice named), 4, 9, 22:8

The only Apostle to die of old age. His long life was prophesized by Jesus in John 21:20-23. Tradition places his death circa 90-96? AD. His tomb is venerated at Ephesus in modern Turkey.

Andrew

Son of John

Brother/kinsman of Simon-Peter and worked in the fishing business with Simon and the Zebedee brothers. Preached the Gospel in Asia Minor, Armenia, and Scythia [southern Russia]; and possible Greece. He is honored as the patron saint of Russia. Jn 1:40-44; Mt 4:18; 10:2; Mk 1:16, 29; 3:18; 13:3; Lk 6:14; Jn 6:8; 12:22; Acts 1:13

Date of martyrdom unknown. Stoned and crucified in Scythia? on an X shaped cross

James son of Alphaeus

James son of Alphaeus preached the Gospel in Syria and was bishop and founded the Syrian Church. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; 15:40; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13

Martyred by stoning, date unknown

Philip

From the same home town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Not to be confused with the deacon Phillip in Acts of Apostles. This Jewish Apostle has an entirely Greek name meaning "lover of horses". Like Peter, Andrew, James and John he was first introduced to Jesus at the sight of John the Baptist's baptisms [see John 1:43] where he immediately brought his friend Nathaniel to Jesus. He was a Greek-culture Jew and gentiles who wished to approach Jesus sought him out. According to tradition he preached the Gospel 20 yrs in Scythia [southern Russia]. It is also believed that he preached in Phrygia [Turkey], Galatia, and in Gaul [France]. He lived his last years at Hierapolis in Asia Minor with his daughters, 2 of whom were prophetesses. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 3:1; 6:14; Jn 1:43-48; 6:5-7; 12:21-22; 14:8-9; Acts 1:13

Martyred and is buried at the Turkish city of Hierapolis according to the letters of Papias, 2nd century Bishop of Hierapolis

Thomas also known as "Didymas" or "Twin"

Preached the Gospel to the Jews of Mesopotamia including Babylon in modern Iraq, in Asia Minor; later preached in Parthia [what had been the Persian empire] and in India reaching Cranaganore on the Malabar coast of southwest India in ca.52AD. Later when Jews who fled Judea after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD arrived in India he led many Jews into the New Covenant Church. He is considered the Father of the Church in India. Indian Christians still make pilgrimages to shrines that remember Thomas. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Jn 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-28; 21:2; Acts 1:13.

Martyred by the sword while praying at the altar of his Church in India. The traditional burial site atop St. Thomas Mount in Madras, India has been venerated for at least 1,500 years.

Bartholomew

= (possibly) son of Tolmai or Talmai

Saints Bartholomew and Thaddaeus are honored as the "First Illuminators of Armenia" for performing many miracles and for sowing the first seeds of Christianity in Armenia. Both saints also traveled and preached in what is today modern Iraq and Iran. They are patron saints of Armenia where their shrines are still venerated today. There is also some evidence that he preached in Greece and India. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13

Suffered martyrdom in Armenia by being flayed alive.

Matthew also known as Levi and as

son of Alphaeus

The tax collector and publican [official] whose tax office was located in Capernaum. As a Levite he was the only member of the ministerial priesthood of the Old Covenant who was called to be one of the 12. Some scholars believe he was a brother of James son of Alpheus but the Gospels do not make this connection. He is the Holy Spirit inspired writer of the 1st Gospel which bears his name and which was written to convert the Old Covenant people of Judea to the New Covenant. Later he is believed to have spread the Gospel in Parthia [Persia] and into Asiatic Ethiopia south of the Caspian Sea, Egypt and Macedonian Greece. Mt 9:9-10; 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13

Martyred in Egypt or Persia? Either by the sword or spear. He is the only Apostle mentioned in the Jewish Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud [Sanhedrin 43a] records his trial and execution. His tomb is believed to be in Salerno, Italy.

Simon the Zealot as known as Simon the Canaanite

A revolutionary against the Roman Empire who instead helped to lead the revolution to change the world. Believed to have preached the Gospel in Cyrene, other areas of North Africa including Egypt. Later traveling as far as Britain before returning to preach in Persia. Mt 10:4; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13

Martyred by crucifixion either in the Persian city of Suanir? or in Roman Britain on May 10th 61AD

Thaddaeus (Judas son of James)

He first preached in Samaria, then in Idumea, Libya, Syria and Mesopotamia before traveling to Edessa in Asia Minor to preach the Gospel. In the company of St. Bartholomew he founded the Church in Armenia. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:16; Jn 14:22; Acts 1:13

Suffered martyrdom in Armenia

Judas son of Simon Iscariot

Some scholars believe he was from the town of Kerioth mentioned in Joshua 15:25 and that his name should be rendered ish Kerioth = "man of Kerioth". Jesus identified him in John 6:70 as "a devil". He was the treasurer of the group and was therefore responsible for giving alms to the poor, but he stole from the collection. [Jn 12:6] Mt 10:4; 26:14-16, 25, 47-49; 27:3-10; Mk 3:19; 14:10-11, 43-45; Lk 6:16; 22:3-6, 47, 48; Jn 12:4-6; 13:2, 21-30; 18:2, 3, 5; Acts 1:16. Simon-Peter testified that it was foretold that Judas would betray Jesus in Acts 1:15-20. One of the prophecies is found in Ps. 41:9 "Even my trusted friend on whom I relied, who shared my table, takes advantage of me [lifts his heel against me]." The more literal translation "lifts his heel" is a Biblical link to the curse on the Serpent in Genesis 3:15 "It [she, he] will brush your head and you will strike its heel" identifying Judas as a "seed of the serpent". Also see Ps 69:25; 109:8 ; Zech. 11:12-13; Jer. 32:6-15

In despair he hanged himself. Christian tradition records that he hanged himself from the corner of the Temple wall and when the rope broke with his weight he fell and his body burst asunder on the rocks below. See Mt 27:5; Acts 1:18-19

The Apostles are named in Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16; and Acts of Apostles 1:13. Normally the lists are compiled in 3 groups of four names each. Although the order of the names in each list may vary the lists always begin with Simon-Peter and end with Judas Iscariot with the exception of the list in Acts where Judas has already died.
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2005 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

Sources used in the list of Apostles:

  1. Stromata, Clement of Alexandria; Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume 2; # 49
  2. Church History, Bishop Eusebius, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, vol I
  3. The Search for the Twelve Apostles, William S. McBirnie, Ph.d, [Tyndale House Publishers, 1973].
  4. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
  5. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a
  6. Excerpts and Epistles of St. Clement of Rome, The Clementina [Clementine Homilies], Anti Nicene Fathers, vol. 8
  7. Lives of the Saints, vol. I, Rev. Hugo Hoever, [Catholic Book Pub, NY, 1955]
  8. Lives of the Saints, vol. II, Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, [Catholic Book Publishers, New York, 1955]

 

Appendix III

TIME LINE OF HISTORICAL PERIODS IN THE HOLY LAND

 

PREHISTORY

NEOLITHIC 8300 4500 BC

CHALCOLITHIC 4500 3200 BC

BRONZE AGE

EARLY BRONZE AGE 3200 2200 BC

MIDDLE BRONZE AGE 2200 1550 BC

LATE BRONZE AGE 1550 1200 BC

-The Exodus?

IRON AGE

IRON AGE I 1200 1000 BC

-United Monarchy: Saul King succeeded by David. David conquers Jerusalem 1000BC. David rules 40 years.

IRON AGE II 1000 586 BC

-970BC: King Solomon of Israel rules 40 years

-930BC United Kingdom of Israel divides into Northern Kingdom of Israel and Southern Kingdom of Judah

-722BC conquest of Northern Kingdom of Israel by Assyria; exile of 10 tribes;

5 groups of foreigners brought into settle land become the Samaritans.

-597BC conquest of Southern Kingdom of Judah by Babylon begins. Temple destroyed by Babylonians 9th of Ab 587BC; exile of the 2 southern tribes.

BABYLONIAN PERIOD 586 539 BC

-Babylonian exile of Judah for 70 years

PERSIAN PERIOD 539 332 BC

-538BC Edict of Cyrus allows Jews to return to Judah in 537BC and to rebuild the Temple

HELLENISTIC PERIOD 332 141 BC

-168BC Maccabees revolt against Greek-Syrian rule

HASMONEAN PERIOD 141 37 BC

-Judean independence

-63BC Romans make Judah a vassal state

ROMAN PERIOD 37 BC 324 AD

-37BC Romans appoint the Idumean Herod as King of the Roman province of Judea

-3/2 BC birth of Christ

-28AD Jesus begins His ministry

-30AD Jesus crucified & rose from the dead; later ascends to heaven after 40 days

-66AD Jewish revolt against Rome; Romans destroy Jerusalem Temple 9th Ab, 70AD

BYZANTINE PERIOD 324 638 AD

-Christian rule of Jerusalem and Palestine

ISLAMIC CONQUEST 638 1516 AD

-Capture of Christian Jerusalem by the Moslem army of Khalid ibn Thabit 638AD

-Caliphate of Medina rule 632-661AD

-Umayyad caliphate from 661-750AD; (Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock erected by the Umayyad caliph 685-705AD)

-Abbasid rule from Baghdad 750-878AD

-a series of Moslem rulers from Egypt, including the Tulunids, Ikhshids, and Fatimids between 878 and the arrival of the Crusaders in 1099AD

CRUSADER PERIOD 1099 1291 AD

OTTOMAN (Moslem) PERIOD 1517 1917 AD

BRITISH MANDATE OVER PALESTINE 1917 - 1948 AD

ISRAEL & JORDAN (created to be 2 1947

states by the United Nations) 1948 independence of Israel as the

Middle East's first democracy

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2006 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

 

Resources used in this lesson:

1.      One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, Kenneth D. Whitehead

2.      Catechism of the Catholic Church

3.      Ante-Nicene Fathers, volumes 2, 4, 7, & 10.

4.      Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, volumes 1, 3, 6, 11

5.      Church History, Bishop Eusebius

6.      Church History, Father John Laux, M.A.

7.      The Anchor Bible: The Letter of James, Luke Timothy Johnson

8.      Sacra Pagina: James, Father Patrick Hartin

9.      Navarre Bible Commentary: Catholic Letters

10.  The Faith of the Early Fathers, William A. Jurgens

11.  Strong's Concordance

12.  Christianity and the Roman Empire, Ralph Martin Novak

 

Copyright © Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.