Here I am, Mike Pearl and Jared's behind the camera, and we're 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'm equipped to answer the question. Now, usually I don't get to see the questions, but if you stop me, I got to go look the verses up, which I did. So I'm ready, Jared. Ask the question.
“Are there apostles today? Or was Paul the last one?”
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 missionary. It's a sent one. And we tend to develop this romantic concept of an apostle, which is someone right next to Christ, kind of pope. And if you think of an apostle strictly as someone with a special power, special office, special, unique place above regular, normal Christians, then no, there's no apostles today. But if you think of 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 or a pyramid where you've got at the top, the apostle, there's what they call apostolic churches, and then down under that you've got the bishops. And then down under that you've got the elders. And then down under that, you've 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 just got two groups. So in an independent Baptist Church, the pastor is an apostle, a bishop, and an elder. And then you got the laymen.
What does the Bible say about Apostles?
Now 1 Corinthians 12:18, 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.” And then “thirdly...” in terms of importance or ministry, “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 4:11, "God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelist." So we'll put the evangelist 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, 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. And then evangelists, they're the ones who go out and win the souls and create converts. And then the pastor, teacher are those who take the word of God and minister it 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 into a tribe of people where the gospel's never gone and introduces the gospel to them, gets them saved, appoint a couple elders and leaves, and then out of the group, God raises up prophets who begin to minister, he raises up, out of the group, evangelist and he raises up out of that local group, pastor-teachers, then, yeah, they're apostles.
Let me read a couple more verses to you here. Now, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:13, 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 have just said, "There are no apostles." And then in 1 Corinthians 12:9, 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. And they ask the question, "Are all apostles?"
The answer is no, they're not. "Are all prophets?" No. "All evangelists?" No. Some are, but not all. "Do all speak with tongues?" No, not all. "Do all have gifts of healing?" No, not all. And so he goes on down through the list, saying that, "Of these gifts God gave to the church..." Now if you want to say all the gifts have passed away, then you'd 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 16:7, "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners who are of note among the apostles who were in Christ before me." So I think that indicates that they were apostles, they were noted among the group of apostles.
And then in Revelation 2:2 and 4, he says, "I know thy works, thy labor, thy patience, how thou canst not bear them which are evil, and has tried them, tried them, which say they're apostles and are not, and has found them liars." So 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're a false apostle." So if after the 12 and then Paul, there were no other apostles, there would've been no need to try them, no need to test them. There wouldn't have been the concept of, "Okay, they're false prophets." He would just simply dismiss the whole concept of anybody claiming to be a prophet, saying, "There's only 12 of us, 13 counting Paul, and 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 come up with.