Are there Apostles today?
The bible is clear that there are no longer apostles or the need for them.
What were the purpose, qualifications, and peculiarities which made someone an apostle?
Answers are based on scripture, not on human opinion.
1. The apostles laid the foundation of the church.
Ephesians 2:19-20 (NIV). “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
The church is a building. The foundation has been laid. No one that understands construction would lay another foundation on the roof of a building.
Acts 2:42 (NIV). “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
In the book of Acts, Luke is continuing in his chronicling started in his earlier writing (Gospel of Luke) for Theophilus that Jesus had chosen and instructed them through the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News; they followed on the unity Jesus had modeled and committed themselves to pray for the Holy Spirit illumination and guidance.
2. The apostles were eyewitnesses.
Luke 1:2 (NIV). “Just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
Luke investigated the oral narrative about the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus by those who had seen there and then, all the wondrous miracles and signs they had witnessed. Luke decided to record his findings and verify the veracity of their teachings and the certainty of having been taught the Truth.
3. Choose as an apostle, one who was with us the whole time.
Luke 1:21-22; 26 (NIV). “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” Luke 1:26 (NIV). “Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.”
Peter prayed and asked God which one of the men who had been with them from the beginning should replace Judas. Not until prayer and allowing themselves to be caused or motivated by the Holy Spirit to choose one amongst themselves.
4. Jesus made sure that the apostles understood their role.
Acts 1:8 (NIV). “He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Some of the apostles had questions about the time of the coming of God’s Kingdom to earth. Jesus answered by giving them a limited role in their role as his apostles. Do not concern yourselves with the times, receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses locally and globally.
4. What did the apostles do? They did as they were told.
Acts 4:33 (NIV). “With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.”
Power and grace followed the apostles as they moved within their community to be witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy Spirit inspired people to share their possessions with the needy and cause a radical thing: poverty disappeared from their midst.
5. Paul states that he was qualified to be an apostle because he had seen the Lord.
1 Corinthians 9:1-2 (NIV): “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”
Unlike the other apostles, Paul was not with Jesus from the baptism of John to the time of resurrection, he qualified his apostleship by having seen the Lord Jesus. Paul’s call to apostleship was exceptional – not by having been with Jesus the whole time, but by his encounter and seeing the Lord. He evidences his call by the work he had done among them.
6. Paul was the last eyewitness of the resurrected Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:8-9 (NIV). “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
Paul reminds his audience about the chain of events that preceded the Ascension of Christ to the Father and reiterates his position as one of the apostles, even though he actively persecuted the church.
7. Jesus handpicked all the apostles, including Paul.
Luke 6:12-14 (NIV). “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew...”
It is true that the apostle John saw the Lord on the isle of Patmos. He had already witnessed the Lord after His resurrection. Paul was the last individual to see the resurrected Christ for the first time. No one else has been with Christ besides Paul and John.
8. Paul had no doubts as to whom had called him to be an apostle
Galatians 1:1 (NIV): “Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.”
Galatians 1:15-16 (NIV): “15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.”
Paul asserted his credentials to apostleship by being set apart by the Father and called by Christ to preach him to the non-Jews of his time, furthermore, he had no doubts as to whom had called him and given him his mission among them. The apostles did signs and wonders to confirm the word and prove their apostleship. They were with the Lord and everyone living at that time knew it.
9. Jesus sharply criticized the eleven apostles for their unbelief and refusal to believe He had been seen by others
Mark 16:14 (NIV): “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”
The apostles had not seen the resurrected Christ, but had heard about the miraculous event, but were doubtful and outright rejected the news. One apostle went as far as to ask for proof by seeing, touching his wounds.
10. The Lord Jesus working with the apostles did wondrous works and signs
· “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:20 (NIV).
· “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” Acts 2:43 (NIV)
· “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.” Acts 5:12-13 (NIV).
One prominent miracle by Peter: healed a man born lame from birth who was over 40 years old. The miracle was so astonishing that no one could deny it. The scribes and Pharisees called Peter before them. They made note that he had been with Jesus and that a notable miracle had been performed and they could not deny it.
There are no apostles today because no one today is doing the miracles and signs of an apostle.
· There are no apostles today because no one today has seen the resurrected Christ.
· There are no apostles today because Jesus did not choose them.
· There are no apostles today because all the apostles were Jews.
· There are false apostles today!
Further Reading on:
· “I know your deeds, your hard work, and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” Revelation 2:2 (NIV)
· “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:13 (NIV)
· “It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 2 Corinthians 11:15 (NIV).
Believers in our times may be called upon to do certain things in accordance with God’s purpose, however, such things will not be the same as those which occurred during the Acts of the Apostles; they laid hands on the sick, prayed for them, touched and healed the in a supernatural showcase of God’s power.
There should not be doubt in believing there are “spirit-filled” believers today, and there will also be miraculous occurrences in our midst, but these instances are closely linked to God’s Sovereignty and not Man’s will as some people are espousing and teaching others. Some go as far as to loudly declare when and where God’s Spirit will show up and the miracles He will do. Of course, the notion they present is that the Spirit will use a “special person” for God’s Spirit to move to the masses.
Why is it so difficult to see and admit that the things that took place during the foundational period of the church are not taking place today? What was the purpose of the apostles and prophets?
According to Ephesians 2:20, the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. We do not need a special revelation. We have the Word of God. Also, the purpose of all the signs and gifts was to confirm God’s Word and not to create special group of people. The Holy Spirit will not contradict His Word or lead the believer to confusion.
The apostles had special revelation so that when we read we understand, there is no longer a need for new revelation, we have the complete Word of God.
1 John 4:1 gives believers a strong admonition: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”