What is an…
also known as: apostolos (Greek)
Meaning: a person sent by another; a messenger; envoy
It is, however, generally used as designating the body of disciples to whom Christ entrusted the organization of His Church and the dissemination of His Gospel, “the twelve” as they are called (Matthew 10:1-5; Mark 3:14; 6:7; Luke 6:13; 9:1).
Our Lord gave them the “keys of the kingdom,” and by the gift of His Spirit equipped them to be the founders and governors of His Church (John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15). As representatives of His Church, He commissioned them to…
Judas Iscariot, one of “the twelve,” fell by betraying Jesus, and Matthias was his replacement (Acts 1:21). Saul of Tarsus was afterwards added to their number (Acts 9:3-20; 20:4; 26:15-18; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).
Luke recorded what happened to Peter, John, and the two Jameses (Acts 12:2, 17; 15:13; 21:18), but, beyond this, we know nothing definite about the rest of the original twelve. After the martyrdom of James the Greater (Acts 12:2), James the Less usually resided at Jerusalem, while Paul, “the apostle of the uncircumcision,” usually travelled as a missionary among the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8).
Qualifications for Apostleship
The apostles therefore could have had no successors. They are the only authoritative teachers of the Christian doctrines. The office of an apostle ceased with its first holders. There is, therefore, no one alive today that is an “Apostle,” in the truest biblical sense.
Those apostles were chosen directly by Christ, so as to be called “apostles of Christ” (Gal. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1). They were given three basic responsibilities:
- to lay the foundation of the church (1 Pet. 2:20)
- to receive, declare and write God’s Word (1 Pet. 3:5; Acts 11:28; 21:10-11)
- to give confirmation of that Word through signs, wonders, and miracles (2 Cor. 12:12; cf. Acts 8:6-7; Heb. 2:3-4)
The term apostle is used in more general ways of other men in the early church, such as Barnabas (Acts 14:4), Silas (1 Thess. 2:6), Timothy (1 Thess. 2:6), and others (Rom. 16:7; Phil. 2:25). They are called “apostles of the churches” (2 Cor. 8:23), rather than “apostles of Jesus Christ” like the thirteen. They were not self-perpetuating, nor was any apostle who died replaced. —John F. MacArthur, Litt.D., D.D., The MacArthur Study Bible (Thomas Nelson)
Twelve apostles to be honored in New Jerusalem
Tweleve apostles will be honored in the New Jerusalem, which will come down…
Who are these 12 to be honored in New Jerusalem? Although not specified, they are most likely these men (in alphabetical order):
- James “son of Alphaeus”
- Simon “the Canaanite”
The reasoning is that all of these men were called “apostles” by Jesus Christ, himself, and surely Judas Iscariot eliminated himself. Matthias was a replacement for Judas, chosen by man and casting of lots, but not specifically by Christ. Therefore, Paul, first called by the ascended Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), is the more likely substitute for Judas. Paul was inspired by God to write much of the New Testament, providing vital doctrine, whereas Matthias is only very briefly mentioned in Acts, and Scripture tells us almost nothing about him, including whether he met the qualification of being given the power of working miracles. Paul’s apostleship was also confirmed through noted signs and wonders and miracles, and his apostleship was recognized by Peter and the others.
List of Original Apostles
We have four lists of the original apostles/disciples—one by each of the synoptic evangelists (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14), and one in Acts 1:13. All the original apostles, with the exception of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:11), were Galileans.
|Matthew’s list||Mark’s list||Luke’s list||Book of Acts|
|Simon—“who is called Peter”||Simon—“to whom He gave the name Peter”||Simon—“whom He named Peter”||Peter|
|James “son of Zebedee”||James “son of Zebedee”||James||James|
|John “his brother”||John “brother of James”||John||John|
|Matthew “the tax collector”||Matthew||Matthew||Matthew|
|James “son of Alphaeus”||James “son of Alphaeus”||James “son of Alphaeus”||James “son of Alphaeus”|
|Thaddaeus||Thaddaeus||Jude “brother of James”||Judas “brother of James”|
|Simon “the Canaanite” (Cananean)||Simon “the Cananean”||Simon “who was called the Zealot”||Simon the Zealot|
|Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot||omitted: Judas Iscariot—already dead prior to the occasion being mentioned in Acts|
- The Kingdom of God—What, when and where is it? Answer
- Miracles, including list of biblical miracles
- MIRACLES—Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer
- Is it logical to believe that the biblical miracles really happened? Answer
- “Miracles are not possible,” some claim. Is this true? Answer
- INFALLIBILITY—How can the Bible be infallible if it is written by fallible humans? Answer
- When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer
- How do we know the Bible is true? Answer
- Answers to supposed Bible “contradictions” and puzzles
- Is the Bible truth or tabloid? Answer
- INTERNAL HARMONY—Answers to a skeptic’s questions about whether the Bible’s internal harmony is truly evidence of its divine inspiration—Read
- Bible and science
- Bible archaeology
- Biblical prophecies