Acts 4:32-35: The Earliest Christian Church, Part I of IV

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

//In my books about John’s Gospel and Revelation, the main character, Matthew, flees Jerusalem as a baby in his father’s arms before it is attacked by the Romans in 70 CE. They travel through Pella–the location where it is said Jerusalem Christians escaped–and continue on in time to Ephesus, in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). This fictional journey is not coincidental, though I never did find opportunity in my books to explain why I crafted it this way.

You may recognize Ephesus in Christian tradition as the home of John the Apostle, where he wrote his Gospel. A short distance from there, on the island of Patmos, John presumably wrote the book of Revelation. Ephesus was chosen as the background for my books for this reason.

On the other hand, the “Pella tradition” of Jewish Christians escaping the war is equally intriguing. It seems quite possible that this escape story is more than myth, and that many of Jerusalem’s Christians did indeed locate there. A sect of Jewish Christians known as the Ebionites soon clustered nearby, and in my research, it seems very likely that the Ebionites are the descendants of the Jerusalem church. The Hebrew name ebionim means “the poor,” and relates to the time when early Christians were sharing all their possessions and giving what they could to the apostles (see today’s verse).

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  1. Galatian 2:9, The Earliest Christian Church, Part II of IV | The Dubious Disciple - [...] epistle attributed to James is any indication), and this fits the Ebionite philosophy we discussed yesterday very well. Indeed, …

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