How Many Apostles Were Appointed?
Christ Jesus in Hebrews 3:1 is referred to as “The Apostle”. Now the names of the twelve apostles he chose are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him, Matt.10:2-4. Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot, became one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Acts 1:26), making him number thirteen. The Eleven are named in Acts 1:13, “Peter and John, and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. “ Judas Iscariot, one of the original twelve, the one who betrayed Jesus, is not named in that list. Therefore, the original twelve will include Matthias. “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14). These would be those twelve.
An investigation of the Scripture reveals several individuals in addition to the original twelve who are explicitly referred to as apostles. Paul, the apostle, so named in almost every book he wrote will make number fourteen. A complete listing of New Testament apostles follows.
Barnabas–Acts 14:14, Apollos – Corinthians 4:6-9, James, the Lord’s brother, Gal. 1:19, Timothy and Silvanus– I Thessalonians 1:1 and 2:6, Epaphroditus–Philippians 2:25, Andronicus and Junia–Romans 16:7, were of note among the apostles, that is notable Jewish apostles but labeled “my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners” who were in Christ before Paul, and thus Jewish apostles but not of the original twelve. These nine now make a total of 22 (13 + 9 = 22).
The Greek word “apostoloi” is translated apostle, normally, is also translated “messenger(s)” as in the case of Epaphroditus–Philippians 2:25 and Second Corinthians 8:23 noting two unnamed individuals as messengers. These additional two unnamed messengers bring the total to 24. Finally, Hebrews 3:1 designates Jesus Christ the “Apostle and High Priest of our profession.” Therefore, making 25 apostles in the New Testament!
Concerning Titus (#26) of that same passage of Second Corinthians 8:23, should he be considered an apostle by mere association perhaps? Strong’s definition defines “apostoloi” as from 649; a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”) (with miraculous powers):–apostle, messenger, he that is sent. However, Paul was the last of the apostles, writing fourteen books of the New Testament, should the book of Hebrews be counted as Paul as the writer.
What are the Qualifications for an Apostle?
Just to let you know I am not an apostle! I am an Evangelist, at best, but not an apostle! There was a set of qualifications set forth in the scriptures. That is, a person needed to be an eyewitness of Jesus’ baptism when the Heavenly Father validated Jesus’ person and work through the statement “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He needed to have heard Jesus’ life-changing teachings and been present to see His healings and other miracles. Jesus’ first miracle was the turning water into wine at the wedding in He needed to have been present at the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and to have seen Jesus walk, talk, and eat among the disciples again after His resurrection. These were the expressed facts of Jesus’ life, the heart of the message they were to teach, and personal witnesses were required to verify these great truths of the good news, the gospel.
According to definition an apostle means; “a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”) (with miraculous powers): — apostle, messenger, he that is sent.” The definition for disciple is “a learner, pupil, disciple” (Strong’s definition). Therefore, an apostle can be a disciple, but a disciple does not mean one is an apostle. Likewise, an “Evangelist” by definition is “the name given to the NT preachers of salvation through Christ who are not apostles.” (Strong’s definition)
There are no apostles alive in this world today, which were sent out as the twelve were. There were the original twelve, another twelve individuals called apostles, listed above, and another seventy, who were never called apostles but met the qualifications but only referred to as disciples. These played a large roll in the founding of the church, doing so paying with their lives. See the book “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”, written by John Foxe.
However, the word apostle is still used by some Christian groups in reference to a missionary or entrepreneurial leader in a general sense. But these people fall very short in meeting the same qualifications as the twelve apostles who were called out by the Lord Jesus.
This taken from an article written by Sons to Glory book by Paul Jablonowski about “modern day apostles”
“In conclusion, we have ascertained the following:
1) Both genuine and false apostles can be recognized by their fruit – “Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit… Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:15-20).
2) The characteristics of a true apostle include: a.) their focus on covenant relationships, b.) spiritual authority (not hierarchical authority), and c.) they will be taught by the Holy Spirit, and often given “big picture” strategic revelations.
3) Many true apostles are called to function in the marketplace. They cause the Kingdom of God to increase in the midst of every day business and government activities. This is really the “underground church” in the western nations where the basics of discipleship are being practiced in the workplace and Kingdom principles are being applied to benefit families, companies and governments.
4) Apostles will bring order and unity to the places where they are sent.”www.sonstoglory.com
Yes, the foundation of the church has been laid by Christ and the other 24 Apostles, (listed above), of the first century. Any builder will tell you once the foundation has been laid you don’t keep laying the foundation over and over. You build the structure on the previous laid foundation, and such is the case here. There was no apostolic succession. All the gifts given to these men vanished upon the death of the individual apostle. Else, why could Paul not be cured of his ailment, and why could Paul not heal Timothy of his sickness?
1 Cor. 13:8-10 “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
The Mission of the Twelve Apostles
The mission of the twelve apostles is found in;
Matthew 10:5-11, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.”
Mark 6:7-13 “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.”
Luke 9:1-6 “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.”
In summation for the three passages of scripture, these apostles were (1) told where to and not to go in delivering their message, (2) told what and what not to take on their journey, (3) told what to preach. However, things are clear but it does not mean there is no problem. The problem lies in the message they are to preach. The phrase in question is “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” in Matthew, “and preached that men should repent” in Mark, and “to preach the kingdom of God” in Luke. The passage in Mark is not the problem but the other two passages are of conflict statements. There are those who say The Kingdom of God and The Kingdom of Heaven is the same thing. There are those who say that these are different kingdoms, for God is not heaven and heaven is not God!
Well, this is a topic for another blog page!
The Scriptures for the Giving of Apostles
1 Corinthians 12:28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-12 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
“Who were the Seventy Apostles?”
This brings us to the discussion of the Seventy Jesus sent out in Luke 10, were these seventy disciples and/or apostles? See Post on the Seventy disciples.