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Appoint. In Acts 1: 23 with reference to Joseph and Matthias the Revised Version
has `put forward', for these were not both appointed in the accepted sense of the term, but
simply singled out, in order that it might be made known which of them the Lord had
Following this, they prayed, and:
"They gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with
the eleven apostles" (Acts 1: 26).
The first time that lots were used to ascertain the will of the Lord is recorded in
Leviticus 16: 5-10:
"And he (Aaron) shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the
goats for a sin offering . . . . . And he shall take the two goats and present them before the
Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the
two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall
bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the
goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to
make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat in the wilderness"
(Leviticus 16: 5-10; see also verses 20-22).
Then in Numbers (26: 55, 56; 33: 54; and 36: 3, 4), throughout the whole
of Joshua and in various other parts of the O.T. there are references to the land being
divided among the different tribes by lot. This was to ascertain which part of the land the
Lord willed for each tribe.
"And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to
the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less
inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according
to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit" (Numb. 33: 54).
This was not an allocation by mere chance and Ezekiel (45: 1; 47: 22; 48: 29)
seems to indicate that this method will again be used in the future for a second
distribution of the land. No doubt then, as in the past, the larger tribes will obtain the
larger inheritance and the smaller ones a reduced portion but how is this possible by what
appears to be the chance of the lot?
"The lot is cast into the lap;
but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord"
There, working silently and supernaturally behind this apparently chancy system was
the Lord. His hand was seen disposing the lot and so:
"The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty" (Prov. 18: 18).
Was it to be Joseph or Matthias who was to replace Judas? No doubt they were both
mighty men and the issue could have been contentious. Thus "they put forward two . . .
prayed . . . gave forth their lots . . . the lot fell on Matthias". They desired to know which
of these two God would choose and so they restored to this well tried system that was
clearly in accordance with the Lord's will. The choice was the correct one as Acts 2: 4
states "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost"; all must have included Matthias.