Author Topic: Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"  (Read 144 times)

Offline Philip G.

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Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"
« on: October 29, 2019, 12:18:10 AM »
Acts 1,26 "and they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."  What does this mean?  Does this mean that the apostles somewhat flipped a coin for the selection between the two choices of Barsabas and Matthias?  How do you think this practically played out?  Or, do you think the selection of these two between the eleven was similar to what we do with the election of a pope, where the majority selection wins?  I ask because the translation in my douay is "gave them lots" as opposed to "casting lots" which was common in the old testament, but none the less a form of cleromancy. 
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2019, 06:35:16 AM »
I'd be interested in the meaning of this too.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 06:48:18 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline aquinas138

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Re: Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2019, 08:50:09 AM »
Flipping a coin is definitely analogous to casting lots (also known as sortition or sortilege; the interpretation of lots is called cleromancy). It's pretty common in the Bible, mentioned over and over in the OT, the practice even being commanded by God in Leviticus 16:8. Though mentioned dozens of times, it is never explained how it was to be done. It was probably akin to dice rolling—small sticks, stones, or coins were tossed and the way they landed was interpreted. It was a common practice in many ancient cultures all over the world.

In the Protevangelium of James, Saint Joseph was chosen by lots to be the one to marry the young Virgin Mary. In more recent times in the Christian East, lots are still sometimes used. The Coptic pope is chosen by lots. Suitable candidates are decided by a panel of clergy and laity, and then the names of the final three candidates are put in a glass urn, and a blindfolded young boy selects the name. The Russian Orthodox patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, the first patriarch after the patriarchate was restored, was chosen by the drawing of lots.
O unashamed intercessor of Christians, ever loyal advocate before the Creator, do not disregard the prayerful voice of sinners but in your goodness hasten to assist us who trustfully cry out to you: Intercede always, O Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you!
 

Offline St.Justin

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Re: Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2019, 11:28:52 AM »
Ver. 26. And he gave them lots, which they might lawfully do, when they knew that both of them were fit, and every way qualified for the office. (Witham) --- Lots. This method of deciding the election of ministers by lots, is one of those extraordinary methods which was inspired by God; but can seldom or ever be imitated. Where both candidates appeared equally worthy, as in the present case, and human judgment cannot determine which is to be preferred, it cannot be said that it was wrong to decide it by lots. Thus were avoided any of the evil consequences which might have happened by one party being preferred before the other. St. Augustine observes, that in a doubtful case, where neither part is bad, to decide by lots is not in itself wrong. Sors enim non aliquid mali est, sed res est in dubitatione humana divinam indicans voluntatem. (In Psalm xxx.) (Haydock)
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2019, 12:03:15 PM »
I read from what seemed to be a protestant source, that casting lots in this case was permitted because it was pre Pentecost.  However, after Pentecost it would be a practice no longer ideal or needed as a result of the Holy Ghost.  Are there historical examples post pentecost where the church decided such things by casting lots?
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Acts ch.1 verse 26 "gave them lots"
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2019, 12:11:53 PM »
https://earlychurchhistory.org/beliefs-2/casting-lots-in-the-bible/

"This random form of determining an outcome is called “cleromancy” coming from the Greek word kleros meaning “lot, inheritance.” We get our words “clerk, “clergy” and “cleric” from kleros probably because in ancient times those positions were originally chosen by lot and/or were inherited."

"About 1,200 years later Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) recounts “casting lots” as a method used in disputes over the allotting (from “lot”) of inheritances in his day. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Ephesians, tr. M. L. Lamb (Albany 1966), book 1, lecture 4, ad Eph. 1:11"

"But in the early, middle and modern periods of the Christian Church the casting of lots was and is usually forbidden after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost"
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12