Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
Phone 201-327-6226 ~ E-mail

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"What Was an Apostle?" (posted February 1, 2011)

  Then He (Jesus) appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.
   - Mark 3:14

Hebrews 3:1 draws attention to Christ as "the Apostle of our confession." By "Apostle" is meant the One who reveals God, introducing the light and knowledge of God-- in short, one who brings God to man, just as Christ, the same blessed Person, as our great High Priest brings men to God, bringing them into His presence as worshipers in the sanctuary.

The apostles chosen by the Lord were men divinely called to carry on the work the Lord began. They were the introducers of the divine system we call Christianity into the world, not as a system belonging to the world, but as drawing people out of the world.

They did their work on the one hand by founding the early assemblies, and on the other hand by their spoken teaching and in writing the inspired epistles and the Revelation. So, Scripture speaks of "the apostles' doctrine and fellowship" (Acts 2:42).

They had miraculous gifts for the purpose of giving them credentials in the eyes of those among whom they testified (2 Corinthians 12:12). But the main thing was not these miraculous gifts but the spiritual deposit God placed in the hearts of others through their instrumentality. The miraculous gifts were in relation to the spiritual part of their work-- evangelizing, pastoring, teaching-- just as the scaffolding is to the building: The scaffold is removed once the building is complete.

In Revelation 21:14, John tells us that the holy city, a figure of the Church in millennial display (during the kingdom of Christ on earth), had "twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." John in Revelation thus answers to Paul, who in Ephesians 2:20 gives us the work of the apostles and prophets as forming the foundation, "Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." In John's vision the foundation is seen in final display in a glorified Church.

Algernon J. Pollock

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