June 2017 Newsletter - "Apostolic Tradition" by Nathan Padilla
Shalom Saints! I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to share about the importance of Apostolic Tradition. The first thing that my come into the mind of most believers is, “What is that?” That’s a good question. Another question that I often hear people ask is, “Where is that in the bible?” That’s another good question, thanks for asking. The church today has lost something that was given from Messiah to His Apostles and to the Church. There are more things that were taught to them than were actually written down. The holy Apostle Paul mentions this in his own epistles, that apostolic tradition is critical for the church now more than ever.
We always hear other believers quote this famous passage, “The latter house will be greater than the former house” and that has become more than a cliché than an actual proclamation. The reason being is that the latter house (the church today) is not even operating in half the power that the former house walked in. There is no unity today in the understanding of the Word, and whenever there has been a call for unity it wasn’t based on being in one accord (one understanding, the same mindset). It was based on compromising the word. I have often heard this echoed in movements of the past and in movements happening right now saying, “We just need to put our doctrinal differences aside and just come under the name,” which is actually one of the most reckless things any preacher of the Word can say. Messiah himself said in Matthew 7:21-23 that the vast majority of people in the church operating in signs and wonders (prophesying, casting out demons), but he would tell them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” That move is being set up to fail according to the words of the Messiah himself. They’re all coming under the name; they’re not coming under His Word!
Now back to apostolic tradition. 1 Corinthians 11:2, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” We also see in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Paul charges the church to hold to the epistles he writes to them and to the traditions that he has passed down to them. The word tradition in the Greek is paradosis. It means to expound (or to interpret) on the written Word.
So, what happened to the traditions that the Apostles passed down to the church? What were those traditions? Origen writes in his homilies on Exodus that Paul came to teach to Gentile church to interpret the Torah spiritually. Ignatius, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, said this in his epistle to the Ephesians,
“Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul.” Papias, another disciple of the Apostle John, said this about learning from the apostles “If, then, anyone who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings. I asked what Andrew, or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, Thomas, James, John, Matthew, or any other of the Lord’s disciples – things which Aristion and presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say, I concluded that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.”
We can see from different Early Church Fathers the things that were not written down, which were secret teachings, were just as important to them as the written teachings of the Gospels and the epistles.Paul said in his letter the church in his epistle to the Thessalonians that they were to hold to the teachings not only in letter (epistle), but also what they passed down orally. Those teachings are where the Ante Nicene Fathers committed to writing. How rich are the teachings that were passed down and the revelatory knowledge that the apostles had, which was given in succession to their students? These teachings are so important that Paul himself in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 says, “That you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” Paul himself said how important those teachings, or revelations, are. They’re so important, he himself said to distance yourself with anyone who wasn’t following the same teaching.
The reason the Father brought this up is because it was during the time leading up to Pentecost that this tradition was started. It started post resurrection in Luke 24:27 where Yahushua expounded on all Scripture, starting from Moses to the Prophets. Now here’s the million-dollar question. Where are those teachings? Those teachings were kept by the Apostles and were passed down to the next apostles of the churches that the apostles had established and built.
Now how can any move of Yah be what Yah is doing when it’s clearly not built on this apostolic tradition? The problem with the church isn’t believing in Jesus Christ or believing the Bible as God’s Word. The problem is being able to understand it. The church has no unity in the body, because there’s no unity in understanding the Word. Before the Council of Nicea, there was unity for almost 300 years in the church that we don’t see today. They all had the same understanding of Scripture. This is vital to the church. The truth was guarded and these traditions were what dictated if someone was really part of the body of Christ or if they were heretics. Iranaeus states this in his writings Against Heresies:
“It is within the power of all, therefore, in every church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the churches, and the succession of these men to our times […] For if the apostles had known mysteries they would have delivered them especially to those whom they themselves were also committing the churches.”
In order to restore the church, in order to be part of this last great move to bring in the great harvest, it needs to be established on this apostolic tradition that has long been lost. These teachings from the Ante Nicene Fathers are lost treasures that are to be restored. This is why the importance of getting this out is so dire in this season. It’s time to bring restoration. Amen!