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October 14, 1999

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Q/A Topics:
"Emerging" -Paul an apostle, how?

Question:
In as much as I agree with some of your thought. I do not agree that there are no more Apostles in this day and age. How could Paul be an apostle since as you argue he must have witnessed the rescurrection. And what about Epaphroditus in Phil2:25 Or Timothy 1Thess 2:6

Answer:
Let me answer the second part first. Epaphroditus and Timothy were not "apostles". Paul calls them fellow workers, and brothers, etc. But not "apostles"; and those verses you listed don't say so. In fact, in 2Cor1:1 & Col1:1, the wording is of the order; "Paul, the apostle..and..Timothy, the brother" (LITV)

And then, as for Paul:

He calls himself an apostle. He lists off all the various people who had witnessed Jesus after His resurrection, apostles and otherwise. (1Cor15:5-7) And then he says of himself, "and last of all, even as if to one born out of time, He was also seen by me." (vs8-9)

When did he see Jesus? I don't know if Paul says directly. On his way to Damascus it only says he "heard a voice". (Acts9:4,26:14)

But there are a couple of visions shrouded in mystery. When he received his sight again, Ananias told him he would "see the Just One." (Act22:14) And later when he had a vision in the temple in Jerusalem it says "I -saw- Him saying to me..." (Acts22:18)

There is also the vision he speaks of, being caught up into the "third heaven [Paradise]" (2Cor12:1-4) When did this happen? Some speculate that it might have happened when he was dragged out of Lystra after being stoned, presumed 'dead', and then gets up again. (Acts14:19-20)

Whatever the case, the Lord Jesus did reveal Himself to Paul. And the other qualification we didn't mention Sunday, certainly was true for Paul. He was -personally- picked -by- Jesus. Something these modern apostles cannot claim. They claim to be selected by the Holy Spirit; something the Holy Spirit does not do. The Holy Spirit points us -to- Jesus. (Jn16:13-15) Jesus isn't here right now, and He even warned that even if people should say that they had seen Him, to not be deceived and go after -those- "christs". (Mt24:5,23-27)

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More on apostles today

Comment:
Several months ago I was challenged by an individual who believed there were (or at least could still be) apostles within the Church. Prior to examining this matter I had held the belief that there were only twelve apostles and Paul. I was wrong.

What I discovered was that there were the Twelve apostles who held a special purpose - they were with Jesus during His earthly ministry and were witnesses of His resurrection. They provided future believers with additional evidence or witness that Jesus was the Son of God. Their testimony lives on today for our benefit.

Also, due to their training of the Kingdom directly by the Master, some of these men also wrote some of the New Testament Scriptures. Others outside the Twelve, of course, also wrote NT Scripture (i.e. Luke).

I believe many Christians conclude the qualifications of the Twelve to be the same as the qualifications of an apostle. This is not Biblically correct. The Bible clearly mentions that Barnabas and Silas and certain others were also referred to as apostles, yet they are not said to have been with Jesus or seen His resurrection.

In examining the work of apostles, it became clear to me that they were sources of authority and doctrine during the first century church. With the completion of the NT Scriptures, the Church now has its source of authority and doctrine - the Written Word that expresses the will of the Living Word.

To summarize, there ought to be recognition of the uniqueness of the Twelve (Matthias replacing Judas the traitor), and for other certain men like Paul and Barnabas, who until NT Scripture was completed also undertook this work, that being the work of an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Answer:
Yes, by the generic dictionary-definition of the word "apostle" there were others. Barnabas certainly is called one. (Acts14:14) And they certainly elected Mathias, contrary to Jesus' command for them to go to Jerusalem and "wait". He didn't tell them to go choose an apostle to replace Judas. That was -their- doing. Jesus chose Paul to be one of the twelve. So, was Barnabas called an "apostle" the same way Mathias was? It's hard to tell, isn't it.

But that there were "twelve" (that mattered) should be obvious from Rev21:14, the "twelve apostles of the Lamb".

And whether Barnabas or Mathias were called "apostles" by everybody back then does not change the fact that there are -NOT- apostles today for the Church of Jesus Christ. Even by a broad dictionary definition. And anybody who would claim to be one would be under Paul's curse. (Gal1:8-9) -By definition-

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