Casting Lots

We all know very well that fortune tellers and the use of Tarots cards and the like is very sinful. A sin against the 1st Commandment. But my question deals with the Apostles selecting the replacement for Judas. A decision between Mathew and Justis as I recall. They cast lots. I’m assuming that this is something akin to “drawing the short straw”.

But could they have used something like playing cards to decide? So am I right in saying that it’s the intend where the sin lies? In other words trying to decide the right decision without God.

I would appreciate your thoughts about this.

In this instance, I believe it. means they took a vote.

When gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice.

Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning, from his baptism by John until the Ascension. The reason for this was simple, the new apostle would must become a witness to Jesus’ resurrection. He must have followed Jesus before anyone knew him, stayed with him when he made enemies, and believed in him when he spoke of the cross and of eating his body – teachings that had made others melt away.

Two men fit this description – Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They knew that both these men had been with them and with Jesus through his whole ministry. But which one had the heart to become a witness to his resurrection. The apostles knew that only the Lord could know what was in the heart of each. They cast lots in order to discover God’s will and Matthias was chosen. He was the twelfth apostle and the group was whole again as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

It is not like voting. It was done a lot in ancient times among many different peoples. Including Jews.

The Eastern Orthodox still use this method in modern times.

Voting for anything especially a successor to the apostles is a fairly recent practice in the Church.

Also, and it is not the casting of lots, but Pope Fabian is one of my favorite Popes. He was chosen by a dove landing on his shoulders.

Pope (236-250), the extraordinary circumstances of whose election is related by Eusebius (Church History VI.29). After the death of Anterus he had come to Rome, with some others, from his farm and was in the city when the new election began. While the names of several illustrious and noble persons were being considered, a dove suddenly descended upon the head of Fabian, of whom no one had even thought. To the assembled brethren the sight recalled the Gospel scene of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Saviour of mankind, and so, divinely inspired, as it were, they chose Fabian with joyous unanimity and placed him in the Chair of Peter.

What this except does not detail is the amount of sheer consternation poor Fabian had at this event. For being Pope was about the quickest way to die…

Casting lots is still the procedure if the votes for Pope are equally tied, between two candidates, after a certain number of elections.

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