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Were There Twelve or Thirteen Apostles?

 

By a contributor L. Bolta

From the canon that we have today, both Paul and Mathias are referenced as apostles; but how can this be? If we accept both as apostles, it just doesn't add up because we then have a total of thirteen or fourteen and any first grader beginning elementary bible lessons can tell you that there are twelve apostles and twelve only.

To begin, we recall that Mathias was initially chosen in Acts 1 to replace the fallen Judas but several years later, Paul enters the scene also claiming apostleship. Who are the twelve apostles or were there actually thirteen? If we accept Yahushua's (Jesus') statement in the final chronology of the bible, there can only be twelve apostles:

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Paul and Matthias apparently are duking out for the 12th spot left by Judas.

So what gives; are there twelve or thirteen? Who was the 12th?

To begin this inquiry, here are some references supporting both Mathias' and Paul's apostleship:

Supporting Mathias

(Acts 1 20-26):

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 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. 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.


Supporting Paul:

Rom_1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 1Co_1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2Co_1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Gal_1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead; Eph_1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Col_1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, 1Ti_1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; 2Ti_1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, Tit_1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Don't let the frequency of explicit references to Paul's apostleship add credence to his selection, as all references to his apostleship come from Paul's own writings! There are no references to him being given that title by any of the other eleven apostles or even Yahushua himself.

Long before Paul, the criteria for determining the replacement apostle were established by the remaining eleven apostles:

Acts 1:21-22 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.

The candidate had to have accompanied them all the time that Yahushua went in and out among them; from the baptism of John and to when they were together and witnessed with the apostles His resurrection. Hence, Paul simply could not have qualified, as he was just not there!

Here lies a critical point: a witness must be present in the time and space and tuned into the events with active and alert senses to be a true witness. This is a critical point in establishing the criteria for apostleship and this is where Paul just doesn't make the cut.

Maybe you think that the apostles did not have the authority to set the criteria for a qualifying apostle as those with Jesus "from the beginning." But here’s proof that the apostles were only following Yahushua’s guidance, as He addressed them at the very closing hours of his human life and ministry at the last supper:

John 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

John 15:26-27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Pick Me! Pick Me! Paul, Paul, are you drawing attention to yourself again? Go sit down as you do not qualify.

A Big, Big Question:

This suggestion may come across as just too revolting to many to even consider but may some of the current New Testament actually not be inspired? BUT, BUT, BUT… HOLD ON! Before you reject with disgust what is being proposed, let’s look at the dilemma being presented here: How can scripture claim to have twelve apostles and thirteen at the same time?

Please, pay close attention to Yahushua's words which sets the stage for what is truly, truly inspired:

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

What? Did you catch that? Let's read it again to be sure.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Go back and read John 14:26 again and again if you have to!!! What Yahushua told his witnessing apostles was that the Holy Spirit would bring all things to their remembrance whatever he said to them.

So what is truly, truly inspired is whatever Yahushua spoke. Hence, if you find an apparent contradiction to that of what Paul said or even the apostles interpreting Yahushua's words, there may be a problem and the content could be of questionable inspiration. Because Yahushua’s words are of confirmed inspiration, they must always, take precedence to settle any matter of discrepancy.

Oh Boy, YouTube's!

Much commentary has been written in support of Paul's election but the purpose of this mailing is to obviously challenge that conventional point of view. To further add credence to the support of Mathias, it becomes necessary to discredit Paul and the following links, presented by Obadiah Johnson, point out many contradictions between Paul and Yahushua, Paul and the apostles and instances were Paul even contradicts himself! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9NHpGT1gY8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn5jTHpeXyA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK1U0NVBnjM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7QbpEooqts

The book, ”Jesus' Words Only":

The above links in no way thoroughly address all the issues concerning problems with Paul. What is highly recommended for further reading is the definitive book on the subject: "Jesus' Words Only: http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/

 

Is Testing Apostles Wrong

For those who think that challenging Paul's (or Mathias') office, is somehow risking the taking of a slippery slope to eternal damnation, you'd be very wrong in even pondering that outcome. Yahushua himself exonerated the Ephesians for taking on such matters of testing and rejecting claimed apostles:

Rev. 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:

Remember, according to Yahushua, there can only be twelve apostles and so with prayer and careful reasoning, it's time to finally settle that question once and for all! To add another element of doubt of Paul’s authenticity, note this red-flag alert from Paul’s own writing which can make one wonder if he may just be the fake that Yahushua is referring to in Rev. 2:2. Paul writes to Timothy admitting that all seven churches in Asia (whose capital is Ephesus) ultimately rejected him:

2Ti 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Is it just a coincidence that Yahushua in Rev. 2:2 (red letters above), exonerates the Ephesians for rejecting false apostles and that Paul admitted to having been rejected by that very same assembly?

Paul wrote the actual letter known today as the book of Ephesians but yet he was eventually rejected by those Ephesians, as well as the rest of the Asian churches! Shouldn't his across-the-board rejection, be some cause for alarm for us today and worthy of at least some further inquiry? The red-flag alerts don't stop there however.

The pen of John wrote the book of Revelation after Paul was long gone; but take note that Yahushua found good and bad things to say in addressing the prevailing behaviours of each of the churches; yet He did not take the opportunity to rebuke the Ephesians (nor the other 6 churches), for rejecting 'His servant Paul’ (roll eyes). Instead we find quite the opposite; Yahushua praises those Ephesians for trying and rejecting self-proclaimed apostles of which Paul could very well have been the prime target of His references.

Certainly, Yahushua when addressing the scribes and Pharisees took the opportunity to rebuke them for killing the prophets of old:

Mat_23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Here, Yahushua forcefully sticks up for the prophets but yet in the finality of the book of Revelations, there is not even a hint of a good-word put in for Paul, despite the personal rejection he experienced by all of those seven churches. Why? Rather, these things are mentioned here just to spark an interest of further inquiry…

Oh dear, what to do?

What to do? Time to get up off the tush and do some due diligence of your own to tackle this crucial problem, as it will not go away on its own. By ignoring the dilemma and thereby accepting the compromised viewpoint that there are thirteen apostles, you'd be in opposition to Yahushua who clearly disagrees. We come back full circle to our starting scripture again, which is the final word of there being only a total of twelve apostles recognized by our saviour and master Yahushua:

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Figured it out yet? If after your study, you arrive at the conclusion that Mathias was inappropriately elected as the twelfth apostle and believe instead that the rightful title was given to Paul, I would welcome your reasons for arriving at that conclusion. Peace in Yahushua's name, Leo This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Revised: 25 July, 2015

 

Study Notes by Doug

Paul was never numbered in the circle of apostles; not even Barnabas in his Epistle recognizes Paul’s Apostleship!:

 "[The Apostles] to whom he gave the power of the Gospel to preach; and there are twelve as a testimony to the tribes, because there are twelve tribes of Israel." (Epistle of Barnabas8:3).