*ARE THERE APOSTLES TODAY?*
(part 2 of 2)
THE TWELVE APOSTLES DID NOT APPOINT ‘Apostles’ but shepherds, overseers (bishops) and elders, these terms are interchangeable and refer to the same position, that of a pastor. See: Acts20:17; 1Tim3:1-7,5:17;Tit1:5,7;1Pet5:1;Jam5:14.
-Rom16:7 ”Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note AMONG (”en” in Greek) the apostles, who also were in Christ before me” – this verse does not place Andronicus and Junia ”among” the Apostles but just says they were respected or noted among or ”by” the Apostles, as word ”en” can be translated also ”by” or ”among”;
-in Acts 12:1 the Apostle JAMES IS KILLED with the sword in 44A.D., we don’t see a replacement Apostle to be chosen as then the church was born and established already (church was born at Pentecost around 33A.D.); 11 of the Apostles died violent martyrs’ deaths, only John died of old age (94 years old) but was boiled in oil 3 times and escaped by miracle and was banished on Patmos island for a season Rev.1:9; NO REPLACEMENTS established after the deaths of all the Apostles either; (by the way, many of today’s ”apostles” only desire the glory and authority of the Apostles, not their lifetime sufferings, nor their slave-type ministry of service and their violent deaths).
-The disciples of the Apostles were not called ”Apostles” and did not mention that the 12 Apostles appointed ”Apostles” but pastors, elders, overseers; here are some examples:
–Ignatius (year 35–115) said that the Apostles laid the foundation of the church (past tense)
–Irenaeus (130–202) called the 12 Apostles: ”the 12 pillars of the foundation of the church” –Tertullian (155–230), in The Five Books Against Marcion (chapter 21) wrote: ”after the time of the Apostles…no other teaching can be received as Apostolic…”; read also Lactantius (240–320) , Clement (late first century) in his ”First Epistle to the Corinthians” ;
–Ignatius purposely avoided equating himself with the apostles: “I do not issue commands on these points AS IF I WERE AN APOSTLE; but, as your fellow-servant, I put you in mind of them” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Antiochians, 11)
-According to their own self-testimony, the Christian leaders who followed the apostles were not apostles themselves, but were the “disciples of the apostles” (The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, 11; Fragments of Papias, 5; cf. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, 6; Ignatius, Against Heresies, 1.10), the elders and deacons of the churches. Read also Chrisostom, born 347A.D., in his book ”Homiletics on Hebrews”.
Some contend that Paul was an apostle to the gentiles while the 11+Mathias were apostles to the Jews, using Mat10:5, Acts13:36, Gal2:9 so that Jesus would have in fact 13 apostles; however, going ”first to the Jew” from Mat10:5 was just a temporal priority to honor the seed of Abraham but as most of the Jews rejected the Gospel, the Apostles eventually turned to the nations, as in Mat28:18-20 after His resurrection Jesus sent the same disciples and apostles this time ”INTO ALL THE WORLD”: Matthew died as a martyr in Ethiopia, Philip dies in Phrygia, Thomas in India, Jude Thaddeus in Iran, Andrew in Greece, Peter in Rome. And Rev21:14 says 12 Apostles, not 13.
Do we still have Apostles (capital ‘A’) today? Yes!! The same 12 Apostles of Jesus exist today and speak to us through the example of their lives recorded in the Gospels and Acts and through their New Testament writings, the same way that Jesus said that Moses still speaks through his writings, see Luke16:29, John5:46, Acts15:21. Read again Rev21:14, which says Jesus only has and will ever have 12 Apostles.
Should one call himself today an ”Apostle” (capital ‘A’) of Jesus? God forbid. Nobody can claim equality with the 12 Apostles and can’t give new teachings to be added to the New Testament, read again Rev22:18.
Should one call himself today officially an ”apostle” (small ‘a’) of a certain church? You can, but you risk to create confusion in the hearts of weaker brethren; for about 1800 years almost nobody called himself an ”apostle” of a church; for the sake of love, you better avoid such, read Rom14:13.
And why would you call yourself an ‘Apostle’ or ‘apostle’? Out of pride, to be above pastors? Or maybe because there are no qualifications for Apostles in the Bible so you think that anyone can apply for such position and live anyway they want, shouting to opponents: ”don’t you know I am an apostle?’ We know there are qualifications for pastors in the Bible but there are no qualifications for new Apostles because we are not supposed to appoint new Apostles after the 12 Apostles; but there are qualifications for appointing pastors: Tit1:5-16, 1Tim3:1-7.
One of our friends, a pastor in Burkina Faso, told us of someone who called himself a ”trishop”, to be above some of his friends, that were just ”bishops”… ”Pride comes before the fall” Prov16:18.
‘REVEREND’ is only used once in the bible and is not a reference to a man, but to God. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and reverend is his name.” Ps111:9. The Hebrew word for ‘reverend’ is “yare’ and it means: to fear, to revere; to be frighten, be afraid.
By Pastor Daniel Timofte