Question: Is the office of Apostle still in existence in today’s world? If not, why is there a movement to reestablish it?
Answer: “APOSTLE” means in Greek: “APOSTOLOS is, lit., one sent forth apo, from, stellō, to send). “The word is used of the Lord Jesus to describe His relation to God, Hebrews 3:1; see John 17:3. The twelve disciples chosen by the Lord for special training were so called, apostles Luke 6:13; 9:10. Paul, though he had seen the Lord Jesus 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8, had not ‘companied with’ the Twelve ‘all the time’ of His earthly ministry, and so was not eligible for a place among them, according to Peter’s description of the necessary qualifications Acts 1:22. Paul on the other hand was commissioned directly, by the Lord Himself, after His ascension, to be an apostle to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. So there were Twelve special Apostles, Judas being replaced by Matthias as Scripture says in Acts 1:26. “And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
“The word has also a wider reference. In Acts 14:4, 14, it is used of Barnabas as well as of Paul; in Romans 16:7 of Andronicus and Junias. In 2 Corinthians 8:23 (R.V., margin) two unnamed brethren are called ‘apostles of the churches;’ in Philippians 2:25 (R.V., margin) Epaphroditus is referred to as ‘your apostle.’ It is used in 1 Thessalonians 2:6 of Paul, Silas and Timothy, to define their relation to Christ.
“2. APOSTOLĒ, a sending, a mission, signifies an apostleship, Acts 1:25; Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 9:2; Galatians 2:8. (VINE’S) The word we use more often today is “Missionary.” Some would teach that this gift is not operating today, but this would make no sense at all because how could this be a gift to the Church in our time? All the other gifted offices that are mentioned here are for the Church today, so why would the first one not be for us also. If it is not meant for the Church today why didn’t Paul say so? No, it is most certainly needed today; however, apostles of today or missionaries, as we call them, will never take the place of the first Twelve, since they have a special role to play in God’s kingdom. We do need missionaries today, they are ones that start new works, or go where no one has gone before with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (VINE’S)
We see in the choosing of Matthias as Apostle what their qualifications had to be, and that was that they had to have been with them for the full time of Jesus’ ministry (probably three-and-a-half years) “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. And they proposed two Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:21)
These were the foundation of the Church and their names are engraved on the foundation stones of New Jerusalem. “Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb.” (Revelation 21:14) So will there be any more Apostles like the first twelve that were with Jesus His whole ministry? No, it would be impossible today for anyone to meet those qualifications.
Now, on the other hand the word “Apostle” means “sent one” as we saw in the Greek definition of the word. With that general meaning Jesus is an Apostle because He came from heaven to reach us. “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.” (Hebrews 3:1-2)
St. Paul was an Apostle to the Gentiles, mainly, and He was chosen by God to do this ministry. “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1) “After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:7-9)
I know there are those who try to prove that they are anointed by someone anointed before them who were anointed as apostle, etc. However, nowhere in scripture do we see instructions to keep passing the office down. Yes, we are to lay hands on people to be prayed for, and set apart for ministry. “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.” (1 Timothy 4:14) I have been prayed for in such a manner. This is not for apostleship, though, but to use the gift or gifts that God has given me.
You also asked why there is a movement to reestablish it. If there is such a movement, then it is wrong and not of God. I believe they would say this to try to make themselves look like somebody special. Sometimes when people do this they want to lead people astray, by claiming they have a new revelation from God or new scripture. We know the Bible is complete in the 66 books and anyone who would try to add to it would be wrong.
We believe that the book of Revelation was the last book of the Bible to be written and what does it say about anyone who would add to it? Some say, “It is only referring to adding to the book of Revelation.” My comment to that person would be, “Do you want to take that chance? (https://modtreks.com) ” “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things. God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
To answer your question, no, there is no new apostleship today, and those who make such claims are going against the clear teaching of the word of God!
I hope this answers your question,
Gary T. Panell
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