Vow of poverty
All things common
- Acts 2:42 47 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
There is a lot of confusion created by the quote in Acts about believers having all "All things in common".
The word "had" is the word that means to have i.e. own, possess.
So, where else do we see the phrase "all things common"?
- Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
It is here they talk about Joses becoming one of them but Ananias failing the test of faith. That all has to do with apostles appointed by Jesus and not the people in general. Everyone was not required to give up all they had and give it to the poor to follow Jesus. This was a requirement for those who wanted to be disciples or student ministers. This has nothing to do with Jesus being a socialist but He was just the opposite and even condemned the Pharisees for their socialist system of Corban.
The early Church and the Christian community was a sharing society dependent upon individual choice under what Paul calls the perfect law of liberty. Those choices included the free assemblies "of the people" living by faith, hope and charity providing social welfare fueled by a daily sacrifice "for the people and by the people". These charitable practices through the ministers of the Church, who were a public servant, providing a daily ministration that bound the people by love instead of force, hope instead of entitlements and faith instead of allegiance.
While love, which comes in the form of charity, is imposed by God and Jesus Christ, the enforcement is through the spirit and not men like Cain, Nimrod, or Caesar of the world. . Those who misinterpret the "all things common" quote incorrectly fail to understand the separation of the Church and state. Originally the power of the State was the power of the people held individually by the people in a Natural state. The ministers of the Church composed first of disciples and then called Apostles or ambassadors and ministers were separate from the general population of the people.
They were not better or rulers but like Christ, they were people who came out because they were called out to serve as shepherds of Gods flock, his people, his nation.
Like the Levites of old, Moses and Jesus created a system of self-government where the ministers were separate and titular. They could not exercise authority one over the other like the Benefactors of the world in fact they were to be in the world but not of the world or depend upon its benefits as members.
While they owned all things in common they did not exercise authority one over the other. The people did not belong to the body of Levites but individually belonged to God Himself or so is the intention of God. The ministers of the Church in the wilderness and the early Church belonged to God as bond servants and therefore they owned all things common  but the people were to be returned to their possessions and their families.
The same as the Church in the wilderness the early Church as a group of appointed ministers called out of the world of Rome to minister to the Kingdom of God at hand was composed of men and women who belonged to God like the Levites before them. to say they were not of the "world" and were assigned to feed his sheep just as the Levites served the tents of the congregations of a free people by providing a Daily ministration through the righteous Corban of Christ. The sacrifice of the people given as Freewill offerings which the New Testament calls charity was the key to the kingdom. They, the Church and His ordained ministers, held things as joint heirs of a society with a mission of charity as unhewn but lively Stones from which the living Altars of God may be built to set all men free who repent and seek His Way.
The sheep of Christ hear His voice and live by charity not by force. The appointed shepherds of Christ's Kingdom of God at hand provide a network of charity in service and a daily ministration of righteousness according to The Way of Christ as one body in the world but not of it.
Understanding the church in general and the Church specific will also help people understand why those rich men and the disciples who wanted to become appointed ministers of this unique form of free government as the called out of Christ had to give up "all their property" and hold all things in common.
John the Baptist was against the use of force in creating the altruistic society of Christianity. Christ forbid the use of force for all Christians in providing the benefits of society and warned against covetousness through the Ten Commandments in His directives about Eternal life and Corban of the Socialism of the Pharisees.
The Poor Princes of the kingdom
The princes of Israel were to serve only and be chosen as servants of servants to keep the people free souls under God. This is the essence of a good Church. This has been the nature of the Kingdom and government of God from the beginning. Other forms of government seen throughout the Bible, in opposition to God, give power to men to rule with authority. Both governments require support.
In the first, the people must choose to support those who fall upon need, finance the ministration of government, and provide the protection of the country locally and nationally by free contributions.
In the latter, the people are required by those in power to provide for the needs of the state by forced contributions that take both substance and choice from their neighbor.
The former depends on reciprocating charity, service, and freewill offerings.
The other has reciprocating entitlements where the people are under the exercising authority of the political benefactor. It does not matter if that benefactor is a despot or a democracy. In all cases men rule over men, choice is diminished, and God is rejected. The kingdom of heaven is within and if the choice is not made in the hearts and minds of men then the kingdom is abandoned.
This latter system of men is not instituted by God. It is a violation of God’s way which Christ spoke against. Such systems often speak of faith in God, have their rituals and gatherings where they claim to pray to God but in fact their prayers and kings are not to Christ or the Father but to the Caesars of the world. Their ordinances and laws make the word of God to none effect, but what of the Church?
God’s congregation in the wilderness and in the first century Church were gathered together in free will fellowships. Since, the congregation are composed of free men and women, they must establish a titular body to represent them without giving it an exercising authority over their liberty. The called out ministers of the Church represent that servant body politic to the world.
Christians would not bind themselves to the Nicolaitan altars of power by oath, application or participation. Those offered entitlements were funded by agents with exercising authority over neighbors or by oppressing the stranger. Christians could not pray at such covetous altars, but put their faith in another king who preached a different kind of way and government with gregarious altars of charity.
They formed living altars of faithful men who received the freewill offerings of the people called sacrifice. They would redistribute those gifts through the living network of congregations and churches. There was no central store house, but a constant weekly and daily flow of that which made the body whole and healthy. The people retained their rights and responsibilities. Such volunteer system of living altars allowed the people to survive in hard times and could be called sacred purpose ministries. Such trust needs some form of protector or overseer or an authoritarian state will eventually assume that office.
The ordained ministers of the Church supplied both the representation and that position of servant overseer. They did not usurp or exercise authority over the people, but stood in appointed authority between the corpus of the people and the interlopers and usurpers of the other governments of the world.
The critical difference between a God inspired government and governments of the other nations is that no authority over the people is vested in that public office. Those who seek that office of service are subject to the job description given by Christ and by Moses. They could be in but not of the world.
Christ restricted them from owning property in their own name. This is a very controversial subject but it was key to the standing of the Church in the wilderness, at the time of Christ and in the free Church today. The autonomy of the Church is not only dependent upon the Church rejecting benefits of the world, but the ordained ministers must also reject all benefits of the world that might ensnare them.
In those early days of Israel when there was no king the ministers of the government of liberty and charity had no inheritance in the land but holding all things in common they belonged to God. They were foreign to the world and to the people.
The apostles were appointed a kingdom, but told to not be like the the princes, rulers, or the kings of the Gentiles. These men were princes of the kingdom, but unlike most every government today they did not exercise authority one over the other. In the early Church those ordained disciples of Christ had no inheritance in land because Christ ordered that they sell their property or they could not be His disciple, student ministers. Those like Barnabas obeyed this command, but Ananias did not. Understanding Barnabas, who was Joses a Levite who owned property in Cyprus was not allowed to by God according to Moses. In order to obey Jesus he had to sell it and give the money away. “But” Ananias failed to do so and died.
If the ministers of Christ are a part of the estate of Christ they can have no personal estate of their own. This is essential to the foreign nature of the Church to maintain true autonomy. This unique status of a ordained minister with no personal estate is important to mention, but we will have to deal with the detailed examination and explanation in another place.
Titular Servants | Minister
Elder | Deacon | Bishop | Overseer |
ordain | appoint | Orders | Monks |
Levites | Priests | Breeches | Tithe
Liturgy | Eucharist | Daily ministration |
The Blessed Strategy | Orders | The Way |
Christian conflict | Churches | Modern Christians |
All things common | Vow of poverty |
Was Jesus a socialist | Was Jesus rich |
- An interesting observation is the word common is from 2839 ~κοινός~ koinos translated common 7 times, unclean 3, defiled 1, unholy 1. It primarily meant "common, mutual, shared, joint".
- The phrase "had all things common" the word "had" is translated from a is a different word. 2258 ~ἦν~ en ; v AV-was 267, were 115, had been 12, had 11, taught + 1321 4, stood + 2476 4, misc 42, vr was 1; 457 1) I was, etc.
- Numbers 3:12 And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;
- Numbers 3:45 Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the LORD.
- Numbers 8:14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.
- Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
- Leviticus 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
- Leviticus 25:41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
- John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
- John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
- John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
- Psalms 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
- John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
- Matthew 23:13 “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
- This status of an ordained minister is covered under the title of “Vow of Poverty”. It is often misunderstood but well documented in the biblical text and the law today. It may require some detailed study to overcome our misconceptions.
- Numbers 3:45 “... the Levites shall be mine: I [am] the LORD.”
- Numbers 8:14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.”
- Matthew 20:25 “...princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them..., Mark 10:42... accounted to rule...” Luke 22:25 “...kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.”
- Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
- Individual Levites owning property was forbidden by Moses but allowed by the Hasmonean dynasty.