Are There Apostles Today?
COPYRIGHT ©1999 - James M. Frye
All scripture quotations are taken
from the Authorized King James Bible. Any deviations are not intentional. All
underlines, bold and words within brackets are the author's.
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Are there apostles today? Many
would answer that question with a resounding “yes”. They would tell us that
there are not only apostles today, but that we should expect that God will, in
these latter times, raise up super apostles. We don't, however, want to base
our beliefs on what someone may tell us, but on what scripture teaches. What does
the Bible have to say on this subject? Are there apostles today? In this
article we shall seek to answer this question.
Apostles Foundational Role
therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens
with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the
chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are
builded together for an habitation of God through the
Here we see the church compared
to a building. Jesus himself is the chief cornerstone. The apostles and
prophets make up the rest of the foundation. This analogy helps us to see the
foundational role of the apostles.
When building a building, the
first thing that is laid is the foundation. Everything else is then built upon
that one foundation. Do we then go back after building a couple of stories and
lay the foundation again? No. It is only done once. The foundation is laid one
time in the beginning and then never again.
The same is true of the
apostles. They served as a foundation for the emerging church. We shouldn’t
expect to see another group of apostles later on any more than we would expect
someone building a building to lay another foundation on the fourth floor.
After all, Jesus Christ, being the chief cornerstone, is a part of this
foundation as well. We certainly do not expect there to be another Jesus
Christ, do we?
of an Apostle
Apostles were to bear witness
to the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead. In order to do this, they had
to have seen him after He was resurrected.
[Jesus] said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus
it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the
dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should
be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye
are witnesses of these things.
When looking for someone to
replace Judas, the one chosen had to be a witness unto the resurrection.
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
Jesus told the apostles:
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.
And that is exactly what they
4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Paul the apostle, in defending
his apostleship, appealed to the fact that he had seen Jesus after he had risen
from the dead.
Corinthians 9:1 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?
Corinthians 15:7-9 After that, he [JESUS] was seen of James; then of all
the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me [PAUL] also, as of one
born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to
be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
This LAST passage is
devastating for those who believe that there are apostles today. In order to be
an apostle one has to have seen Jesus after he rose from the dead. Paul says
that Jesus was seen last of all by him. He is the last one to see Jesus after
his resurrection. Since no one since Paul has seen Jesus, no one since Paul can
be an apostle. Therefore, there can be no apostles today.
Choosing of an Apostle
The apostles were hand-picked
by Jesus himself.
6:13 And when it was day, he [JESUS] called unto him his
disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Not only were the original
twelve apostles hand-picked by Jesus, Paul was as well.
9:3-6 And as
he [Paul] journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round
about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice
saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
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. And he trembling and astonished
said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise,
and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
After Jesus appeared to him, he
said of Paul:
he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and
kings, and the children of Israel:
Paul refers to himself as:
1:1 Paul, an
apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ...
Paul was an apostle because he
had been hand-picked by Jesus Christ. Since Jesus isn't appearing to anyone
today (see our last point), no one is being hand-picked, either.
Signs of an Apostle
Jesus gave the apostles the
ability to perform miraculous signs..
10:1-2 And when he [JESUS] 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...
2 Corinthians 12:11-12 ...for in nothing am I [PAUL] behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
Paul refers to his ability to
perform miracles as "the signs of an apostle".
16:20 And they
[The Apostles] went forth, and preached every where,
the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs
This miracle-working power was
given to the apostles to bear witness that they were God's messengers and that
they were speaking the very words of God. Many people today operate under the
false assumption that all Christians in the early church were working miracles,
but that was simply not the case.
2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs
were done by the apostles.
5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and
wonders wrought among the people...
If every believer had this
power, why did Jesus need to give it to the apostles? They would have had it
already. There is not one healing performed in the New Testament by anyone
other than Jesus, the apostles, or those who were directly chosen by Jesus or
Those who claim to be apostles
today may claim to have this kind of miracle-working power but there is little
(no) evidence of it.
Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being
the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mothers
womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is
called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give
I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took
him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle
bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered
with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all
the people saw him walking and praising God:
Compare this to the so-called
miracles that we see today. Our would-be apostles supposedly heal people of
things like: earaches, back pain, high blood pressure, and other such things
that cannot be seen or verified.
This man was lame from his
birth. He had never walked. Not only did he have bone problems, he would have
had muscle problems as well. Have you ever seen the legs of a person who has
been in a wheel chair for a long time? They have no muscles in them. The
muscles in their legs would have to be regenerated before they could walk.
In the Bible days, when people
wore robes, the change in this man's calves would have been seen immediately.
Jesus healed a man with a withered hand. His hand would have been recreated.
Again, this would have been obvious to all who were watching. Jesus and the
apostles raised the dead. Jesus raised Lazarus after he had been dead for four
days. His body was severely decomposed and even stank. These kinds of miracles
could not be questioned.
Why don't we see people
performing these types of miracles today? Because those who claim to have
miracle-working power don't actually have it.
The Bible says this concerning
the high priest and other religious leaders of the Jews:
4:14-16 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they
could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside
out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do
to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath
been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we
cannot deny it.
It is easy to deny the works of
the so-called apostles today. They are often heard about second hand, and the
tale seems to grow with the telling. There are researchers, many of them
medical doctors, who have tried to verify these so-called miracles. What they
find without exception is exaggerations, deception and even outright fraud.
They find absolutely no evidence that any true miracles have actually taken
Compare that with miracles of the
true apostles. Their miracles were performed out in the open for all to see. No
one could deny them or speak a word against them.
Don't get me wrong. I believe
that God still heals today in answer to our prayers. What I'm saying, however,
is that there are no "Apostles" today. There is still
"healing" but there are no longer any "healers".
The Bible tells us that there
were not only "true" apostles but that there were also
"false" apostles. The following passage sends a stern warning of the
dire consequences that await those who claim to be apostles but aren't.
Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel;
for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no
great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of
righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Jesus commends the Ephesians
for being able to spot these false apostles.
2:2 I know
thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how
thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say
they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
It's easy to spot false
apostles today. Since there are no true apostles today, anyone who claims to be
an apostle is a false apostle.
So are there apostles today? In
this article, we have seen a number of reasons why there are not. Let's just
review them briefly.
1) There are no apostles today
because the apostles served as a foundation for the early church only. We
should not expect to see apostles today any more than we should expect to see
someone laying a building's foundation on the fourth floor.
2) There are no apostles today
because they had to have seen Jesus after He rose from the dead. The apostles
were to bear witness to the resurrection of Christ. To do this they had to have
seen him after he rose from the dead. Paul says that he was the last person to
see Jesus. Since no one since Paul has seen Jesus, no one since Paul can be an
3) There are no apostles today
because the apostles were hand-picked by Jesus. Since Jesus isn't appearing to
anyone today, He isn't hand-picking anyone either.
4) There are no apostles today
because no one today has the miracle-working power of an apostle. Apostles were
able to heal any physical condition. No case was too difficult. These healings
often involved the miraculous recreation of body parts, and even the
resurrection of the dead. No one is manifesting this type of miracle-working
The Bible warns us not to be
deceived by false apostles. Since there are no true apostles today, anyone who
claims to be an apostle is a false apostle.