Are there Apostles today? Or was Paul the last one?
Michael Pearl: Here I am, Mike Pearl, and Jared’s behind the camera. We are going to answer your Bible questions. Now Jared has already asked the question he’s about to read, and I didn’t know the answer. So, I went to my computer and I wrote the verses down. So, now I am equipped to answer the question. Now usually, I don’t get to see the questions. But if you stump me, I have got to go look the verses up, which I did. So, I am ready, Jared; ask the question.
Jared: Are there apostles today or was Paul the last one?
Mike: That’s not something I teach every day, so I couldn’t remember all the verses on it. Are there apostles today or was Paul the last one? Paul was not the last apostle. As to whether or not there are any apostles today, I don’t know. I do know there are a lot of false apostles today. Now, really, it’s how you define the word? The word for apostle is the same word we use for missionaries, “a sent one.”
We tend to have developed this romantic concept of apostle which is someone which is right next to Christ, kind of pope-like. If that is what you have, if you think an apostle strictly as someone with special power, special office, special unique place above regular, normal Christians, then no, there are no apostles today. But if you think of an apostle as a missionary, as one that God calls out to take the Gospel to unknown lands, then yes, there are apostles.
The whole concept, the modern concept of an apostle is like this structure, this hierarchy of power, a pyramid where you have got, at the top, the apostle. This is what they call apostolic churches. Then, down under that, you have got the bishops. Then, down under that, you have got the elders. Then, down under that, you have got the people who have the money. These are called the laymen.
Now, if you’re a Baptist, then, you take all this away, and you just have the pastor, and the laymen. You’ve just got two groups. So, in an independent Baptist church, the pastor is an apostle, a bishop, and an elder, and then you’ve got the laymen.
1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 8‑10, he said, “God has set some in the church.” First in the church are apostles. That’s first. That’s first in priority, first in order. And then secondarily, prophets. Then thirdly, in terms of importance or ministry, teachers. Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers. After that, then, miracles, gifts of healings, and so forth, and then he’s got these different gifts of the spirit right here.
Then he also says in Ephesians chapter four verse 11, that God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, so we’ll put the evangelists in here, and then pastor. He adds the word pastor. Pastor/Teacher.
So, we gather from these two passages that Apostle would be the first one to come to ministry. He brings the Gospel, he gets the church founded, he gets it started. Prophets — God uses them, especially in the New Testament era, to give the Word of God, to give revelation, to give doctrine through prophetic ability. Then Evangelists — they are the ones who go out and win the souls, and create converts. Then the Pastor/Teachers are those who take the Word of God and minister to the people.
Now the question is: do we still have apostles? Again the answer would be, if you’re talking about someone who goes in to a tribal people where the Gospel has never gone, and introduces the Gospel to them, gets them saved, appoints a couple of elders, and leaves. Then out of the group, God raises up prophets who begin to minister. He raises up, out of the group, evangelists, and He raises up, out of that local group, pastor/teachers. Then yeah, there are apostles.
Let me read a couple of more verses to you here. Paul said in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 11 verse 13. He said, “For such are” — he spoke of some of them in Corinth — “such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” So there were, in his day and age, false apostles, which indicates there were apostles. Otherwise, he could just say, there are no apostles.
Then in 1st Corinthians 12: 29, he said, “Are all apostles, are all prophets, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles?” In other words, in the church, God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, pastor/teachers, gifts of healing, miracles helps and so forth like that. Then he asked the question, “Are all apostles?” The answer is no. They are not all. Are all prophets? No. All evangelists? No. Some are, but not all. Do all speak with tongues? No, not at all. Do all have gifts of healing? No, not at all. He goes on down through the list saying that, of these gifts God gave the church, ...
If you want to say, all the gifts have passed away, then you would have to get rid of pastor/teacher, evangelists, and prophets as well as apostles. So, I think there are still apostles, but not with the common, modern way of viewing it.
Now he says in Romans 16 verse 7, “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners who are of note among the apostles who were in Christ before me.” I think that indicates that they were apostles. They were noted among the group of apostles.
Then in Revelation 2:2 and 4 he says, “I know thy works, thy labor, thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and has tried them, tried them which say they are apostles and are not, and has found them liars.” Paul writing to the church there said that there were some who said they were apostles, and you tried them. In other words, you put them on trial. You listened to the evidence, and you said, “No, you’re not an apostle. You are a false apostle.”
If after the 12, and then Paul, there were no other apostles, there would have been no need to try them, no need to test them. There wouldn’t have been the concept of, “OK, they are false prophets.”
He would just simply dismiss the whole concept of anybody saying they were a prophet saying, “You know there are only 12 of us, 13 counting Paul. So there can’t be anymore.”
So, that’s about all I can give you on it. Get your Bible, look up the word “apostle,” and search every time it’s used, it’s quite a few times, and see what you can come up with.
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