The ultimate sanctions of the moral code were the infinite rewards and punishments awaiting the immortal soul hereafter; but the church early felt the necessity of withdrawing the privileges of membership from apostates and allowing them to be gradually regained only by a solemn ceremonial expressive of repentance, protracted through several years.
Thirty years later, first at Carthage, then at Rome, the same step has been taken with regard to penitent apostates, at least the less guilty of them.
The attempt (by Clemen and Beer) to place the TenWeeks Apocalypse before 167, because it makes no reference to the Maccabees, is not successful; for where the history of mankind from Adam to the final judgment is despatched in sixteen verses, such an omission need cause little embarrassment, and still less if the author is the determined foe of the Maccabees, whom he would probably have stigmatized as apostates, if he had mentioned them at all, just as he similarly brands all the Sadducean priesthood that preceded them to the time of the captivity.
But while ideally all Christ's disciples were "sent" with the Father's Name in charge, there were different degrees in which this The readmission of such apostates to the church was a matter that occasioned serious controversy.
The death of Judas at Elasa left the field open to the apostates, and his followers were reduced to the level of roving brigands.