How Many Apostles in the New Testament–12 or 25?

How Many Apostles?

How Many Apostles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many apostles are explicitly mentioned in the pages of the New Testament?

A common misconception pervades many minds these days:  “There were 12 apostles—the twelve who followed Jesus.  Judas dropped out and was replaced by Paul.”  However, as strange as it may seem to some, there are as many as 25 apostles explicitly mentioned in the pages of the New Testament.

How Many Apostles?

Let’s start counting. Yes, there were the twelve chosen by Jesus.  Eleven are named in Acts 1:13, “Peter and John, and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. “  Judas Iscariot, one of the original twelve, the one who betrayed Jesus, is not named in that list. That’s the original twelve.  Then add Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot to become one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Acts 1:26).    “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).  When we include both Judas and Matthias the total is now thirteen.

We know additional apostles besides these men exist because Christ, after His ascension, appointed “some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers .  .  .  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).  Are we there yet?  Have we all attained to the unity of the faith?  Or mature manhood?  Or the fullness of Christ?  Clearly, the apostolic ministry will continue until Christ returns!

An investigation of the Scripture reveals several individuals in addition to the original twelve who are explicitly referred to as apostles.  We might call them “apostles of the throne“, “apostles of the Lamb” or “ascension-gift apostles.”  A complete listing of New Testament apostles follows.

James, the half brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church—Galatians 1:19

Barnabas–Acts 14:14

Paul–Acts 14:14 and many other references

Apollos– Corinthians 4:6-9

Timothy and Silvanus– I Thessalonians 1:1 and 2:6

Epaphroditus–Philippians 2:25.  While the King James Version translates the word as “messenger”, the Greek word (apostolon) is actually “apostle”.

Two unnamed apostles–Second Corinthians 8:23. A brother of fame among the churches, and a brother tested–“As for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.” Again, the Greek word is “apostoloi” but is translated here as “messengers”.

These nine now make  a total of 22 (13 + 9 = 22).

Andronicus and Junia–Romans 16:7   “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”  Were these genuine apostles or were they, as some (Charles Ryrie and others) translate, “well-known to the apostles”? If we count Andronicus and Junia, the total jumps to 24.

How Many Apostles?

Finally, Hebrews 3:1 designates Jesus Christ the “Apostle and High Priest of our profession.” That makes 25 apostles in the New Testament!

For more intriguing insights about apostles, come to Churches and Apostles. This info could make a whale of a difference in the Kingdom of God today.

Gas Station Attendant Receives Christ

Gas Station Accepts Christ

One Sunday morning I stopped for gas on the way to church. After filling the tank I chatted momentarily with the attendant. He was a new guy I had never met so I introduced myself and learned his name. I noted he couldn’t get to church since he worked Sunday morning. He agreed. I asked him carefully, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?”

“I’ve been to church a few times with my mother,” Frank (name changed) replied.  I knew I had to make the gospel glorious for him, so I said, “I have some really good news for you: Jesus Christ died for your sins. He rose from the dead and has complete forgiveness for all our sins.  You can receive Jesus and his gift of salvation in simple trust like a child. Does this make sense to you?”  Frank nodded and said, “Yes, it does.”

I was suffering from a severe case of shingles at the time. The pain from shingles can be so great it’s hard to breathe. My pain was causing me to have greater compassion toward hurting people. I want more compassion because I’ve seen when I speak with deep and genuine love, people respond.  Spoken with heart-felt compassion, words of witness go deep into the soul.

How I came across to Brandon I don’t know.  In any case, He was showing genuine interest and humility so I asked, “Are you ready to receive Jesus Christ right now?  You can ask Him to come into your life either silently or aloud.”  Brandon, a young man is his twenties, bowed his head and prayed a brief child-like prayer of invitation and forgiveness–right in the gas station!  I followed with a prayer of my own and a few words about how Jesus Christ now lives inside him. I explained being a Christ-follower is not a matter of “does and don’ts” but of listening to Jesus and following Him.

I stopped by later and gave him a gospel of John. He readily received it and indicated he would read it.  Here was a young man whose name is now written in God’s big Book of Life, saved for all eternity! I was so happy. There’s no feeling in the world like leading a man to salvation in Christ.

Thinking About the Unthinkable

 

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 Can any hope emerge from the November 30, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre?

I’ve waited over a month before writing about the tragedy for several reasons. It’s too painful to think about. It’s like rock shattering a pane glass window: The damage is sudden, dramatic and irreparable. Further, so many others have written either adequately or eloquently about the event.  What more can be said?

Yet I have something to say about the Sandy Hook shooting, something no one else has said, at least as far as I know. And another reason I am motivated to comment: I have recently been diagnosed with cancer. For others, death may seem distant or abstract. For me, death is personal. It came knocking at my door. Fortunately, I did not let it in.

My grief goes out to the dads and mothers, the brothers and sisters of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. My grief extends particularly to Adam Lanza’s family. Life will never be the same for them or any of the other families who met death that day. With all America and much of the world, I’m sad.

Is there hope anywhere? What can God or anyone do to repair the shattered glass of our American dream?

I hope no one of the victim’s families reads this article. This is neither about them nor for them. This is about us, the 330 million Americans who did not lose anyone that tragic day.

An Even Greater Tragedy

Many individuals and businesses and government entities have flown flags at half mast to show sympathy and solidarity with the families of the lost children and adults. This is commendable. Still, there is a greater tragedy. On the day that 26 lives were eliminated at the school, approximately 3,425 other children were snuffed out, never to see the light of day. The 3,425 were massacred in abortion clinics all across America. Should we fly flags at half mast for them?

To show the magnitude of the disaster, note one “i” for each of the 20 children plus 6 adults: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I’m reluctant to do this, but we need the perspective.  What do 3,425 “i’s” look like?

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And if I counted correctly, here is another 100:

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And now for a total of 300:

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One more hundred makes 400:

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Now picture the 3000:

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When we add 25 more—iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii—almost the same number killed at Sandy Hook– we have the average number of children eliminated from life in the United States each day through the atrocity of abortion. The main difference between the school shooting and the abortion killing is the age of the children. Other differences are the complicity of the mother and the profit motive of the abortionist. But the result is the same: An innocent child’s life is forever and violently snuffed out against his or her own choice.

There is hope. According to a Gallup poll released May15, 2012, “The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.”

Can the unthinkable event of Sandy Hook on one day cause us to realize an even greater unthinkable event repeats itself every day in our country?

Postscript. When I speak about the tragedy of abortion, I find the need to include another word—forgiveness. Abortion kills infants and hurts women and fathers. For every act of abortion, there is an act of forgiveness. Jesus Christ died to bring forgiveness to every person who has chosen or allowed abortion. “Come to Me, all you who are . . . heavy laden. I will give you rest.”

He is the Great Hope-Bringer.

GOD IS (NOT) MY BUDDY

Alaska is big. It is really, really big.  I mean no offence to my friends in Texas but y’all need to come up with a new slogan. Our God is like this. God is so big that we have to use caricatures to simplify Him, so that we can explain and understand Him. The scale of God is indescribable.
–JD Blom

Read this post: GOD IS (NOT) MY BUDDY

For Pastors and Church Ministers

I just received the urgent request below from a prof at Elim Bible Institute to release a PDF copy of my new book Local Churches-Global Apostles: How Churches Related to Apostles in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now.

Mark, I was talking today with someone here at Elim who recently left a pastorate because of the decision that the church’s apostolic overseer made to intervene and “get rid of” the young worship leader in the church.This young worship leader had been raising up a new generation in the congregation, and after the overseer led him away, approx 100 people left the church in 1 Sunday! The pastor was obviously crushed, and bothered by the overseers intervention in that way. As he told me the story, I was surprised at the similarity with yours, and the timing – and told him about your upcoming book. He resigned in Nov., so I expect that he has a lot of raw feelings about it. Would it be OK if I forwarded him the PDF version of your book? I can make any request of him that you would like for me to make, if he receives the PDF, to contact you, refer it to friends he knows, etc. Nathan

That church, and the innocent people in it could have been spared immeasurable grief if the “overseeing apostle” had read my book.

Want to see the book description?

Anderson learned to relate to apostles the hard way. Personal agony and church crisis sparked in-depth study of the New Testament. The book contains case studies of every local church in the NT, reveals all 25 NT apostles mentioned, and describes patterns of local church and apostolic relations. Ground-breaking research and surprising conclusions offer fresh perspective on apostles and explain why the early church exploded with growth. Pastors and church leaders who grasp biblical roots will find clues to unleash the Spirit-power of God’s people and build dynamic churches today.

 Go to www.ChurchesAndApostles.com to get your copy of a book God is using to build right relationships between churches and modern day apostles.

God bless your service to Him,
B Mark Anderson

The Best Compliment

Visitors generally like our church. We have inspirational music and singing led by sensitive worship leaders. Sermons are usually practical and helpful. (I’m no Charles Spurgeon, nor even a Joel Osteen, but I do preach the word of God from my heart.) We have a food table filled with goodies, not just the usual coffee and donuts. We have cheese, grapes, bananas and sometimes other fruits like strawberries. It’s yummy stuff like yogurt, bread, butter and jam. There’s something for every taste.

Best of all, the people of the Church of the Living Water tend to be very welcoming. One of our mottos is “No one sits alone.” Most members are good to talk with visitors both before and after meetings.

Guests are often impressed with a happy welcome and comment favorably. We hear, “I really liked the music!” or “This is wonderful church.”(Oh, yes, we get other comments too, mostly from ultra-conservatives who think God is angry with His children.)

Last Sunday I received the finest compliment ever from a first-time visitor. Here’s the background. In adult Bible Class which the visitor attended, we studied the Bereans of Acts 17:10. The Bible class leader encouraged us to be like the noble Bereans who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so,” rather than simply take whatever Paul dished out as divine truth.

It was a good study, but at the end I felt something was missing. Why do some Christians have so much correct doctrine, yet are so far off that many people don’t want to be around them? Why did the Pharisees of Jesus’ day get so far off that Jesus had to oppose them more than any other group? After all, they were the conservatives, the most dedicated “Bible-believers” of their time. The Pharisees knew the Savior was to be born in Bethlehem, yet they missed the Messiah!

Something more than Bible truth is needed. Something more than accurate information is required.

I mentioned that we need humility. My comments went along this line, “None of us are perfect. I as a pastor could be wrong, and may well be wrong in some areas. No church or denomination has it all. We all need to learn and grow. We need to have confidence in what we believe, yet allow others to see some things differently. Grace and humility win the day. When we get to heaven, God will straighten us all out.”

After the Bible class, the visitor remarked, “Because of my husband’s job we have moved a lot. We have visited many churches in many cities. You are the first pastor I’ve ever heard who admitted he could be wrong!”

I took it as the best compliment I’ve ever heard from a first-time visitor.

The Real Secret to Praying for Unsaved People

The Real Secret to Praying for Unsaved People.

Hooray for President Obama

“Libya may not be in America’s vital interest, but it is in America’s values.”  Well spoken, Mr President.  All Americans should unite behind our president when he does what is right.

The president led us into Libya to prevent a bloodbath.  He claimed perhaps tens of thousands of innocent lives have been saved from cruel atrocities under his leadership.  (At this point I  am not addressing the president’s motives or the constitutional questions; only that he took decisive action.)

Now, Mr. President, do the same in America.  Tens of thousands of innocent civilians are being subjected to cruel atrocity and death by abortion every month.  You claimed it took only 31 days to bring together the coalition to bomb Libya.  In that same 31 days 93,000 babies were murdered in the US using medical procedures.

Your leadership proved instrumental in stopping a bloodbath in Africa.  Now lead the way to stop our bloodbath at home.

How Can We Know if We Love God?

Praying in tongues generally results in greater love for God.  If you doubt it, ask a tongues-speaker!

So how does anyone know if he loves God or not?   I used to question myself about this a lot.  Surprisingly, there is a non-subjective test to help us find out if we love God.   Jesus said in John 14:21, “If you love Me, you will keep My word.” That’s plain enough.  Yet to emphasize the matter, Jesus followed up, “He who does not love Me does not keep my words.” (John 14:24)

The matter seems important to Jesus.  He keeps on topic. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

Since Jesus used the term “keep” in all 3 sentences, it’s worthwhile to check out the meaning.  The Greek word is tnreo in verb form.  It means to attend to carefully, to take care of; to guard, to observe, to watch over; to preserve.  It suggests a present possession or ownership of something. In other words, to keep God’s word means we are really doing what the Bible says, not just reading it.

This  raises the question, “Are we having a regular (daily) time with Jesus in God’s Word (the Bible)?  To keep his word means to guard our attitude toward the word and attend to it.  It means to store up the word and value or treasure it.  In earlier times, homes and shops had a “keep” or lock-box for valuables.  Are we “keeping” God’s word in our hearts, minds and mouths?

Speaking in tongues keeps us filled with the Holy Spirit.  Tongues release an inner warmth, an intimacy with God that feels good.   On the other hand, obedience to God’s instruction is outward and objective.  Both the Word and the Spirit help us to love God .  Knowing we love Him gives confidence.

OK, God lovers–Sound off!  How do you know that you love Him?

Nine Things the Bible Says about the Environment

The Bible speaks hundreds of times about the earth.  Those who understand the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the world’s greatest environmentalists.  Care for the environment is a Christian issue

1)      God created the earth and the heavens.  (Genesis 1:1)  The earth is His “baby” so to speak, and exists only because of His will and pleasure. (Revelation 4:11 KJV)

2)      The earth belongs to God.  The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  ( Psalm 24:1)  All the rights of ownership belong to Him.

3)      God commands humans to take care of His earth.  (Genesis 1:28)  Dominion means “to take charge of, to rule over.”  Here He delegates His ownership to humans and makes us responsible to protect and care for the earth.  By this He mandates some of us to become chemists, biologists, geologists, agronomists, farmers, etc.

4)      God made a covenant with the animals.  (Genesis 9:8-17)  Among other things, the rainbow is a sign of God’s commitment to care for animals of the earth.

5)      The earth is vitally important to God and His purposes.  (Romans 1:19-20)  God values creation.  Visible creation reveals the invisible God.  Everyone who claims, “I see God in nature,” knows this.  But God’s purpose in nature is greater than a good feeling or general revelation.  His attributes, namely His “eternal power and divine nature” are “clearly seen” and “understood” through the created world.  As a result, nature has an evangelistic purpose: to reveal God Himself.  This environmental witness in nature is so strong that those who deny God’s self-revelation come under divine judgment:  “So they are without excuse.”

6)      God will destroy those who destroy the earth.  (Revelation 11:18)  No clearer statement of God’s care for the environment can be made.

7)      The Bible guards against environmental extremes.  Animal sacrifices and the eating of meat were enjoined.  The tabernacle was covered with animal skins.  Gold and precious stones will be part of the New Jerusalem.  Natural things are to be used, not avoided.  The myth of overpopulation is commonly based on “saving the environment.  But the God of the Bible commands, “Be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”  (Genesis 9:7)

8)      The earth will be destroyed.  This present earth is not eternal.  (2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 16:3)

9)      The earth will be redeemed.  God’s plan includes restoration of planet earth and all the heavens.  (Revelation 21:1 and 5; Romans 8:21)

What does the Bible tell us about environmentalism?  In short, color your Bible cover green–God is the Chief Environmentalist of the Universe.