PART 3 APOSTLES - ARE THEY STILL AMONG US?

PART 3 APOSTLES - ARE THEY STILL AMONG US?

A Chapter by rondo
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The functions of the office gift of Apostle

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PART 3 APOSTLES - Are They Still Among Us?

CHAPTER 4

The Functions of the Office Gift of Apostle

This ought to be very interesting. I wonder how many churches that don’t believe that this office is still operational today would if asked know what the functions of an apostle (apostolos) are. As for myself I would probably know a couple of them, but not all of them. Let’s find out what the functions of an apostle were in the early church and like the study that we conducted earlier on the functions of a prophet determine which of them are no longer considered applicable for today.

Ordained of Christ

Suggested Reading: Mark 3:13-14; Matthew 4:21-22; Matthew 10:1-2a

And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they

immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. (Matthew 4:21-22)

The twelve apostles were called at different times by Jesus. One example of this is found in the calling of James Zebedee and his brother John.

And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: (Mark 3:13-15)

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these;… (Matthew 10:1-2a)

     After all of the 12 disciples were called, they were ordained (appointed) by Christ to be his apostles.

Was the preaching of the gospel a function of an apostle?

Go ye into all the world:

Mark 16:15

Jesus has risen from the dead having appeared to Mary Magdalene and others.  Eventually, he appeared before the eleven disciples (apostles) in Galilee, and upbraided them for their unbelief concerning his reported resurrection by others. He then told them to:

…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

     The apostles had no fixed place assigned to them, but were charged to spread the gospel through the whole world; and for this reason, when they left one city or district to go to another, they were to place fit men as their substitutes, to complete the work which they had begun20.

-This initial function of the apostles was they were commissioned by Christ to go into all of the world and preach the gospel (good news) to every creature, and to place or appoint others when they left a city as their substitutes in order to complete the work that had begun. Mark 16:15

What did Jesus mean when he said to his disciples to go and teach all nations?

Teach all nations, baptizing them,…teaching them:

Matthew 28:19-20       

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (into) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:                                      

Jesus has risen from the dead and subsequently appeared to Mary Magdalene and others.  Eventually, he appeared before the eleven disciples in a mountain in Galilee and told them to go and teach (make disciples of; to convince someone to become a follower of) all nations. As such those who respond will be baptized (brought into union or communion) with God, who is not only one in essence but three co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal persons21.

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

     Those who were converted are now to be taught (instructed) to observe the same things that Jesus had commanded the apostles.

-Here is another function of an apostle, which indicates that they were to go into all the world and teach (make disciples) of Christ, who will then be baptized (brought into union or communion) with God, who is not only one in essence but three co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal persons22.After which they are to teach the newly converted to observe the same things that Jesus had commanded them. Matthew 28:19-20 

The apostles were to be witnesses of Christ in what sense?

Ye shall be witnesses unto me:

Acts 1:8

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Holy Spirit will indwell the apostles on the day of Pentecost. The result will be that they will be witnesses (one who gives testimony; to testify to the life, instructions, death, and resurrection of Christ, even in the midst of persecution and death23) of Christ throughout the world. 

-This function states that the apostles are to be witnesses (to testify to the life, instructions, death, and resurrection of Christ, even in the midst of persecution and death24) of Christ throughout the world. Acts 1:8

A new apostle was to be appointed to fill up the vacancy left by Judas Iscariot, how did this take place?  

Must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection:

Suggested Reading: Acts 1:12-26

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. (Acts 1:16-17)

Just prior to the arrival of the day of Pentecost, an apostle was to be chosen to replace the vacancy left by the deceased Judas Iscariot.

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (Acts 1:21-22)

     The apostle Peter suggested that the replacement should be filled by someone, who accompanied them, which could refer to one of the 70 disciples that were with Jesus during his earthly ministry, beginning with his baptism by John the Baptist until the time when he ascended into heaven. This would imply that this person witnessed Christ in his glorified body while he was on the earth for the 40 days following his resurrection.

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. (Acts 1:23)

     Two men were appointed (put forward), one named Justus and the other named Matthias. How did they get appointed? While the scriptures are not clear on this in this context what this provokes us to ask is, how were the apostles appointed that came after the original twelve, who as we know were appointed directly by Christ according to Mark 3:13-14? There are two perspectives on this. Let’s take a look at them.

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. (Acts 6:3, 6)

     The words “they appointed” are from the Greek word esteesan which is derived from another Greek word histemi, the meaning of which is to bring forward or present. Similar words “we may appoint” were used in Acts 6:3 when the apostles asked the assembly to

“look ye out” from among them by the showing of hands seven men (deacons) whom they might appoint over the business of providing relief for the Grecian Christian widowed Jews at Jerusalem. It appeared that in this instance the apostles delineated to the assembly not only what qualities of the Spirit these men should be exhibiting, but also the spiritual skill which was needed to handle this task, which was the skill in practical affairs. It can be assumed that someone from the assembly nominated someone and then a vote took place approving each person by the majority of the showing of hands. Eventually seven deacons were chosen. Following this, the apostles would appoint them. The words “we may appoint” is from the Greek word katasteesomenwhich is derived fromanother Greek word kathistemi that is derived from both kata andhistemi. The word kata is a preposition. Do you notice anything? Both of the words used for “appointed” in Acts 1:23 or “appoint” in Acts 6:3 are from the same Greek word histemi, which implies that they have the same meaning. Therefore, the words “we may appoint” means to put someone in charge by the imposition of hands. So we can conclude that the apostles laid their hands on the forehead of each of the seven deacons which signified the granting of authority while praying on their behalf.

     Is it possible that the two apostles were appointed in the same manner as the deacons? Some would argue no, because there is no example in scripture of someone being appointed to a leadership office in this manner.

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)

     Please go to Act 14:21-23. Paul and Barnabas had visited various house churches in the cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch for the purpose of ordaining elders. The words “they had ordained” is from the Greek word Cheirotoneesantes and means to stretch out the hand or to vote by stretching out or elevating the hand. If this was the case then who voted? If the assembly voted, then the process here would be similar to that used in the choosing of the deacons and thus we could infer that this was the same process used

in relation to the choosing of the two apostles.

     As I mentioned earlier there are two different perspectives as to the ordaining of someone to a leadership office. The perspective which is different from the one we just looked at would say that the words “they had ordained” from Acts 14:23 means that it was the apostles who recognized certain members of the assembly in relation to: exhibiting the spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit; operating in the functions of this office; displaying the divine skill of this office, which is one who is apt to teach.

     So how does one make a determination as to which approach should be followed? One way would be to look up the word “ordained” Cheirotoneesantesusing a concordance and see if it occurs anywhere else in the New Testament. If it does then we might be able to look at its usage or meaning in order find out how it was used in context. Well what I found out was that this word was found nowhere else in the New Testament in accordance with the Greek word to which it was ascribed. 

     In response to these two different perspectives I’ll leave you with some passing thoughts to consider. What we do know is that Paul and Barnabas visited many cities where house-churches were already in existence. I’m sure the number of Christians attending these assemblies varied in number. My question is, how would these apostles be able to recognize by themselves every believer who exhibited the qualifications for the office of pastor if they spent a short time at each house church? Conversely if the qualifications of a pastor were made known to the assembly wouldn’t they be the ones who would be able to make a thorough determination as to who in the assembly evidenced these qualifications?

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,(Acts 1:24)

     Getting back to the appointment of someone to the vacant office of apostle which remained by the demise of Judas Iscariot there is one little twist to this. Apparently only of the two men would be appointed to the office. So prayer was made to the Lord by the entire group of 120 asking Him to have his will in this matter.

     And believe it or not the method of choosing one of these men for the position of apostle was by a procedure known as by lot. What does it mean to choose someone by lot? Some believe that each name of the candidates was written separately on a stone and placed in an urn. After which someone from the group would pick out of the urn one of the rocks. Whosever name was on it, would be appointed (to lay hands on) by the apostles to the office. To me at first glance this method seemed quite unusual, but I have to believe that God put this approach on their heart.

-Another function of an apostle would be to appoint (lay hands on each person’s forehead) in accompaniment with prayer, signifying the giving of responsibility or the granting of authority, a believer to a particular leadership office.

     The method used in regard to how someone was selected varied. Some believe that the apostles chose out from the assembly those who exhibited: the spiritual qualities of the Spirit, the functions of the office, the qualifications of the office, and its divine skill. Others believe that the assembly would vote by the showing of hands those who exhibited: the spiritual qualities of the Spirit, the functions of the office, the qualifications of the office, and its divine skill. After which, the apostles would appoint each to the leadership office. Acts 1:12-26

Why did some of the Jewish Christians sell their houses and lands and give the proceeds to the apostles?

Distribution was made unto every man according as he had need:

Suggested Reading: Acts 3:1-4:31               

A man, who was born crippled at birth, was placed at one of the 9 gates of the temple at Jerusalem, which was called Beautiful, to beg for money. He was healed by the Holy Spirit, through the intermediary of the apostle Peter. After the healing he entered into the temple with the apostles Peter and John. The people, who knew of this man’s physical disability and witnessed his ability to walk, were amazed by his healing.

     The apostle Peter took this opportunity to speak to the people and proclaim that it was only through faith in the name of Jesus Christ that this man was healed. Then he said to them that they needed to repent (to have a change in one’s attitude or mind toward sin and Christ) and be converted (turn to God by belief in this Christ, the Messiah) so that their sins would be blotted out (to no longer have any guilt), when the times of refreshing (divine peace and joy) occurred in their life, which shall come from the presence of the Lord.        

     What followed was the response by over 5000 Jews, who repented and believed in Christ as their Messiah/Savior. This however didn’t sit well with the Jewish hierarchy. Peter and John were apprehended by the priests and captains of the temple and brought before the Sanhedrin, which was the highest ruling court in Jerusalem. When they appeared before its 71 members, the high priest being president, they were told to stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus. Eventually, they were let go, and when they were they went to where the assembling of the Jewish believers were gathered. It was relayed to them all that had taken place. The scriptures reveal to us that these saints were harmonious in thought and affection toward one another.   

     It is evident at this time that persecution against Christians was on the rise. Many of the newly converted Christians Jews were being persecuted by their fellow unbelieving Jews, who would cut them off financially either by terminating their employment or if they owned their own business by not supporting them. The Roman government also began to be engaged in Christian persecution. They proclaimed that if anyone turned Christians over to the authorities they would be rewarded by receiving 10 percent of their assets.

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

     As more and more Jewish Christians became financially destitute some of them who owned lands and houses sold them and brought the proceeds to the apostles who distributed what was given to provide for the needs of those who were in need.

-This function of an apostle occurred during a time of intense persecution. Jewish Christians who owned land and houses sold them and gave the proceeds to the apostles to distribute to their fellow Jewish Christians who had lost their jobs or whose businesses were no longer being supported by Jewish unbelievers. Acts 3:1-4:31                       

     Well what do you think about the functions of an apostle? Are you surprised by anything that has been said so far?

     There is a lot more to be presented about this office gift. So let’s keep going.

What is the apostle’s doctrine?

They continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine:

Suggested Reading: Acts 2:42-47

On the day of Pentecost about 3000 people believed in Christ as their Messiah/Savior.

     What did they do after they were saved?

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

     The scriptures state that they continued steadfastly (attended constantly; continued eagerly) in the apostle’s doctrine (teaching) and fellowship (a relation between individuals which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and in each other25) along with the breaking of bread (daily meals, later reduced to weekly), which was centered on intimate worship, sharing, and learning the scriptures26 that occurred in believers homes to be followed by partaking in the Lord’s Supper; and prayers (in supplications to God for an increase of grace and life in their own souls; for establishment in the truth which they had received; and for the extension of the kingdom of Christ in the salvation of men27).                                     

     The apostles would convey to the new believers the new truths about this new life in Christ as made known to them by revelation of the Spirit. The Spirit would also remind the apostles of everything that Jesus had said to them while he was with them.

-This function tells us that the apostles teaching (new truths about the new kingdom that they entered into at salvation) did not originate with them, but was conveyed to them by the revelation of the Spirit. These new truths would eventually be written down and form the New Testament canon. Acts 2:42-47

     This next scriptural section that we will look at is quite intriguing. As stated in an earlier section the vacancy left by Judas Iscariot among the 12 apostles resulted in the apostles choosing out from among two candidates, one of whom would be appointed to the vacant position. One of the conditions which was presented in regard to eligibility was that this person had to have been with the group during the time when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and up until the time He was resurrected. The scriptures indicate that following Christ’s physical death on the cross, when his human existence on earth was no more, after three days the Holy Spirit quickened his human body (bodily resurrection). Christ remained on the earth in his resurrected body for 40 days witnessing to over 500 people.

     One of the thoughts I would like you to consider is this. Would the conditions that the person who would be appointed to replace the vacancy of Judas Iscariot that they must have been with Jesus beginning at his baptism by John and continue to his ascension thus being a witness of his resurrection be the same when at a later time others were appointed to this office?

     If this is indeed the case, then this would indicate two things. First anyone who was appointed to the office of apostle in the early church beside the original apostles would likely have been one of the 70 disciples who was in the group beginning at the baptism of Jesus by John up to His ascension. And secondly after the all of these apostles died no one else would meet these qualifications. Therefore, this would bring us to the conclusion that the office of apostle was no more.

     But according to the next scriptural section which we will look at it appears these conditions were only in effect as pertaining to ordaining someone to the vacant office left by Judas Iscariot. If someone was called to this office thereafter only one of these conditions would be relevant.

Do you know which one?

Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?

Suggested Reading; 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

Paul is addressing some in the Corinthian church who are questioning his calling to the office of apostleship. He responds to this allegation by presenting four questions.

 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 9:1-2)

     Am I not an apostle? Another word am I not one who is sent under commission?

     Am I not free? Free from the obligation to work for my living28? Another word, if I am an apostle, then shouldn’t I be supported financially from you to whom I have ministered?

     Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? It was probably to this question that they would say to him, no, you haven’t.

     What does it mean to have seen the Lord Jesus? That’s a good question.

     Are not ye my work in the Lord? Have not you been converted from sin, and turned to holiness29 as evidence that God has sent me?

     While it is true that the believers in Corinth had at a point in time repented of their sins, believed in Christ as savior, and had received the indwelling Holy Spirit. So it is conceivable that some of the believers weren’t questioning that God didn’t use Paul to preach the gospel, but what they were questioning was his claim to be an apostle, because according to them he had not seen Christ following his bodily resurrection during the time he walked the earth for 40 days before his ascension.

     Here’s the question again. What does it mean to have seen the risen Christ?

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

     According to 1 Corinthians 15:8 Paul said that he had seen the resurrected Christ.

Where and when did this happen? Was he the only witness?

Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?                                                       

Suggested Reading: Acts 9:1-7

Saul (Paul) was born in Tarsus, the capital city of Cicilia, a Roman province in the south-east of Asia Minor. His father and mother were both Jews of the tribe of Benjamin along with being Roman citizens. At about age 13, he attended the university at Jerusalem studying divinity and Jewish Law under the tutelage of Gamaliel, an eminent Pharisee. Some believe that he eventually became a member of the Sanhedrin. This was the supreme administrative and judicial council of the Jews, which originated during the time of the Maccabees (175 BC). It consisted of 71 members, the high priest being president, along with the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people. Their usual place of meeting was in the temple or at the home of the high priest.

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. (Acts 9:7)

     Saul applied for and received a commission from the high priest to inquire among the synagogues of the Jews at Damascus, if there were any there that belonged to the sect of Christ. If he found any, he was given permission to bring them back as prisoners to Jerusalem so that they could to be tried as criminals before the Sanhedrin. While he was on his way to Damascus with an accompaniment of men, something out of this world happened to him. A great light shined around him and he fell to the earth. The men that were with him heard words being spoken, but did not understand what was being said; and neither were they able to see anyone speaking them out.

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:5)

     However Paul heard the words spoken to him in a very clear manner to which he responded who are you, Lord? The response was, this is Jesus whom you have been persecuting.

     It could be insinuated that it was at this time Paul believed in Christ as his Messiah/savior. Paul proceeded to ask the question, what will you have me to do? There is no mention that he saw Jesus in his resurrected body in his periphery. However it is pretty clear that they conversed with one another. We also know that the men around him heard words, but didn’t see a person. How could this be explained? There is such a thing in the scriptures called a vision. What is a vision? A vision is an altered state of consciousness involving audio and visual experiences usually revelatory in character. Does the fact that what Paul was engaged in, a vision, discredit the idea that he heard words and saw the resurrected Christ? If what took place actually happened in this manner then what this would mean is that being a witness of Christ’s resurrection is not confined to someone having to have seen him when he walked the earth in his glorified body. I’ll leave you with one more question to consider.

Is there a way to verify that Paul saw the resurrected Christ?

Even Jesus that appeared unto thee in the way:

Suggested Reading: Acts 9:8-19

the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:17)

When Saul arose from the earth and opened his eyes, he realized that he couldn’t see. The men that accompanied him brought him to a house which was located in Damascus. At this time a Jewish Christian named Ananias found himself conversing with the Lord in this same altered state of consciousness called a vision. He was directed by Him to go to a certain man’s house, where Saul was residing, and lay hands on him so that he might receive his sight. So Ananias did as the Lord said. When he entered the house he put his hands on Saul and then made an astonishing statement, the Lord that appeared to you while you were on your way to Damascus has sent me so that you might regain your eyesight and be filled with the Spirit. After this it says that Paul was baptized. Here was confirmation by another believer that Paul did indeed see the resurrected Christ.

And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:26-27)

     Immediately after Saul received his sight, he ate some food and then proceeded to preach Christ in the Jewish synagogues proving that He is Messiah. This caused such a stir that the Jews sought to kill him. He was rescued out from the city by fellow disciples, who decided to bring him to Jerusalem where he meets up with a man named Barnabas. Barnabas in turn takes him to meet the apostles who were residing there. When Barnabas introduces him he starts by telling them how Paul had seen the resurrected Christ while he was on his journey to Damascus. The apostles could have responded by saying that seeing the resurrected Christ in a vision is not valid, but they didn’t.

     So, in conclusion we can deduce a couple of things. Seeing the risen Christ could also occur by means of a vision. Therefore if a person was called to the office of apostle this would probably be the means for them to see the risen Christ. A confirmation that this vision actually occurred would be given to another member of the assembly by divine initiation probably in the same manner. What we have just learned might not be considered necessarily as a function of an apostle, but rather as qualifications of an apostle. Is there another way that a person could see the risen Christ? Yes. Another way that a person could see the risen Christ is in what is called a

theophany. A theophany is a visible appearance of the risen Christ, otherwise referred to in the New Testament as the angel of the Lord. This visible occurrence took place when the apostle Peter was imprisoned by Herod waiting for trial. The church prayed for his release, the answer to which was the arrival on the scene of the angel of the Lord who escorted him out of the prison safely.  Acts 12:7-9

-There are actually three qualifications for someone being called to the office of an apostle. Two of them have just been found. I will introduce the other one shortly. For someone to be considered for the appointment to the office of apostle they would: evidence the spiritual qualities of the Spirit; be operating in the functions of an apostle; have seen the risen Christ by means of a vision, which is an altered state of consciousness in which extrasensory audiovisual experiences, usually revelatory in character, are perceived in private by individuals30 when they are awake, along with there being confirmation of this occurrence by a fellow believer. Acts 9:8-19

What is the third qualification for someone, who is called to the office of apostle?

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you:

2 Corinthians 12:12; 10:2, 10

But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I  think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:2)

Paul was responding to the allegation, that he is not an apostle. There are also certain believers, who were accusing him of walking according to the impulses of the flesh.

For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. (2 Corinthians 10:10)

     And besides these allegations they also considered his bodily presence weak (nothing of majesty in his manner; awkward in gestures; short; bow-legged; eyebrows knit together; a hooked nose; and as someone who was not a polished speaker).

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (2 Corinthians 12:12)

     Paul responded to the allegation that he was not an apostle by saying that in fact there are certain evidences or tokens by which one can be proved to be an apostle, as one who is divinely commissioned to such an office. And then he goes on to say here are the evidences, those being: of patience (remaining loyal to the faith in trials and sufferings); in signs (miracles with emphasis on their ability to increase spiritual understanding by pointing to a spiritual reality31); in wonders (in the sense of awe, which the miracle created); and mighty deeds (miracles that resulted from divine power). Some commentators believe that these three words: signs, wonders, and mighty deeds probably indicate the three different ways of looking at miracles.

     Someone might ask, if any believer evidences miracles, are they an apostle?

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. (2 Corinthians 10:10)

      This is an interesting question. In Acts 6:8, one of the believers chosen and voted on by the assembly for the position of deacon was named Stephen. He was said to have been a man full of faith (trusting entirely in God’s promises) and power (divine energy), who was used by God to perform great wonders and miracles among the people. The words “wonders and miracles” are the same words used in the Koine Greek for “wonders” and “signs” as ascribed to the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:12. Can we conclude by this that Stephen was called to the office of apostle?

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: (1 Corinthians 12:4; 8-10)

     Do you remember what the other two qualifications were that would indicate if a person has this calling on their life? They must have seen the resurrection Christ along with there being a witness of this by a fellow believer. There is no indication that Stephen saw the risen Christ. What does this mean? It simply means that Stephen had one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit called the gift of miracles. We can conclude that a believer could have received the gift of miracles and not be an apostle. Conversely someone who is called to be an apostle will have the gift of miracles along with having seen the risen Christ while having evidence of such by a fellow believer.

-In this instance I would say that if a believer exhibits evidences: in patience (remaining loyal to the faith in trials and sufferings); in signs (miracles with emphasis on their ability to increase spiritual understanding by pointing to a spiritual reality); in wonders (in the sense of awe, which the miracle creates); mighty deeds (miracles resulting from divine power) then this would be considered a function and qualification for the office of apostle as long as the other two qualifications have taken place. 2 Corinthians 12:12; 10:2, 10

     I wonder how many who are in the leadership of the churches of today if they saw someone in the body of Christ exercise the gift of miracles would consider them to be an apostle?

     I hope that the scripture sections we have looked at have enlightened you as to the functions of an apostle. And by the way this is not all of them. There are a few more which we will look at in the next chapter.

Endnotes

20Calvin's Commentaries Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 10 Dec. 2014˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

21R.B. Thieme Jr., THE TRINITY (Houston, Texas: Berachah Tapes and  Publications, 1993)

22R.B. Thieme Jr.

23Barnes.

24Barnes.

25Vincent’s New Testament Word Studies Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 2006, 14 Dec. 2014˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

26IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 14 Dec. 2014˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

27Adam Clarke.

28UBS.

29Barnes.

30International Standard Bible Dictionary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 15 Dec. 2014˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

31 UBS.

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Author

rondo
rondo

BLOCK ISLAND, RI



About
My name is James Rondinone. I am a husband, father, and spiritual leader. I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life. I attended bible college having completed a.. more..

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