TEEN TREE OF LIFE

THE TWELVE APOSTLES – part 1

September 24, 2017

 

BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).

 The Greek word for apostle is “apostolos.” This word was already 500 years old when used in the New Testament. It was originally used for a high‑ranking admiral or general officer chosen by a counsel to command either an army or an Athenian fleet on a military expedition, generally against the Spartans. Therefore, an “apostolos” was an admiral, supreme commander with the highest rank. Additionally, “apostolos” means “a messenger, he that is sent or one sent on a mission.” It is transliterated and used for an apostle – a delegate – specifically, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially, a commissioner of Christ (with miraculous powers).

There were qualifications for being an apostle. One was seeing The Lord and being an eyewitness to His Resurrection. In 1 COR 9:1, Paul, the apostle, wrote: Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? Another qualification was the ability to do miraculous things: …to such an extent that they [the apostles] even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. (ACTS 5:15-16) This is also discussed in HEB 2:3-4: how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

Another qualification was being chosen by The Lord and The Holy Spirit: …until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. (ACTS 1:2) The twelve apostles exercised absolute authority (spiritual dictatorship) over the churches until the Canon of Scripture was completed. The Canon is now the absolute authority.

The apostles were appointed by God The Father: Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God… (ROM 1:1) Their appointments were a Sovereign decision; there was no merit involved. That is to say that they did not earn being chosen as an apostle – God made the choice. Jesus Christ provided the spiritual gifts as we read in EPH 4:11: And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers… The Holy Spirit matches the gift to the individual: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills(1COR 12:11) So, you can see that being chosen as an apostle was a HUGE deal with the entire Trinity involved!

No apostle was appointed to the Church until after the Ascension of Christ: Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) (EPH 4:8-10) The disciples were appointed apostles to Israel (at that time), not to the Church. See Matthew 10:6, “house of Israel.”

As we learned earlier, an Apostle also had the gift of miracles. This using of miracles was necessary to sustain their absolute apostolic authority: It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment. (ACTS 16:16-18) ACTS 28:8-9 tells us about Paul’s ability to heal people: And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.

There is no continuance of apostleship – no passing it down from generation to generation. No sons became Apostles. Actually, we never receive anything in the Christian life through physical birth. Everything we have comes as a result of spiritual birth and regeneration. Apostles exercised absolute authority (spiritual dictatorship) over the churches until the completion of the Canon of scripture (66 Bible books) which is now absolute. Today no one has the right to exercise authority over more than one church. Each local church should be self-sustaining and self-governing.

Apostles received direct revelation from God. All revelation today is through the Word. All writers of the New Testament were either Apostles or someone closely associated with an Apostle (Mark, Luke, James, and Jude). No one today, in the Church-Age (the dispensation in which we live), can be an apostle. No human being can perform miracles today. Once the Canon of Scripture was complete, the gift of apostleship was withdrawn. The Canon of the New Testament became the basis of what we now follow.

The list of the original 12 Disciples is found in MAT 10:2-4: Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. The list is also found in LUKE 6:13-16: And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and [a]James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

 Let’s look at a brief run-down of the apostles to begin:

 

  • Simon‑Peter – one of the three most active Apostles.
  • Andrew – Simon-Peter’s brother, who was almost an honorary Apostle, because he did so little and had a very short life.
  • John – one of the most active apostles who lived the longest. One of the two sons of Zebedee, with his brother James, he came from a very wealthy family. He wrote 1, 2 & 3 JOHN, REVELATION, and the GOSPEL OF JOHN.
  • James – the brother of John.
  • Philip – often confused with the Evangelist of the same name.
  • Bartholomew – also called Nathanael.
  • Thomas – also called Didymus which means “a twin.” He did very little according to the Bible. But extra‑Biblical sources indicate that he went to India and did a lot of work there.
  • Matthew – alias Levi, the writer of the Gospel.
  • James – the son of Alphaeus, who disappears immediately.  He is mistakenly called “James the lesser.”  But just because we know so little about him, doesn’t mean he’s at all inferior.
  • Thaddaeus – called “Lebbaeus” in the KJV MATTHEW 10:3, and in LUKE 6:16, “Judas the brother of James;” while John (JOHN 14:22), referring to the same person, speaks of “Judas, not Iscariot.”
  • Simon – the Canaanite who has nothing recorded about him. Canaanite was the name of a Jewish sect. He was also called the “Zealot.”

 

These eleven are mentioned first in MAT 10:2‑4 as Apostles to Israel. They were the eleven Disciples of our Lord, along with Judas Iscariot. The twelfth Apostle was not Judas Iscariot, nor Matthias of ACTS 1:23-26. It was actually Paul, (Saul of Tarsus). But before he was recognized as such, a farce occurred in ACTS 1. Peter suggested that they elect someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, but God had a better plan.

{to be continued}

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