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How Many Apostles of Jesus Christ Are in the Bible?

by contributor, Greg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In Matthew 10:2-4, we read:

Mat 10:2  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Mat 10:3  Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Mat 10:4  Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and the 11 remaining Apostles picked the twelfth according to this criteria in Acts 1:21-22:



Act 1:21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Act 1:22  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.



Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. In Acts 1:25-26 we read:



Act 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Act 1:26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.



Why only 12 Apostles are picked by Jesus?  


Mat 19:28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 



and



Luk 22:30  That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.



and more proof that there are only 12



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



So we have a clear cut case that there are 12 Apostles of the lamb, or of Jesus Christ.

So if we have a case of someone claiming to be an Apostle of Jesus whose name is not one of these 12 then that person or persons would be liars / telling a falsehood acording to the words of Jesus and his 12 Apostles, correct?



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:



So, who was Jesus talking about in Revelation 2:2 in the year 67 to 100 AD?

His remarks are to the angel of church of Ephesus.



Rev 2:1  Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;



Do we have any hard evidence of anyone who called himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ to the Ephesians, who was not on the list of Apostles as was given by our Lord or his Apostles in the scriptures?

Why yes we do.



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:



WOW, Paul here clearly is giving claim to being an Apostle of Jesus Christ and is clearly saying this to Ephesians in Ephesus in or about 62 AD.



Is Paul's name on the list of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ?


It is not on the Mathew 10:2-4 list, nor did Luke in Acts 1 list Paul as on the list of the remaining 11 Apostles, nor did Luke list Paul as the 12th Apostle picked to replace Judas as the 12th Apostle.

Can Paul even be an Apostle of Jesus Christ?

Because of the qualifications listed in Acts 1:21-22 I think the clear cut answer to this question is NO.

Was Paul companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us Acts 1:21?

No, there is no evidence of Paul being present at that time, period.

Was Paul there Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up, as required inActs 1:22a?

No, again no evidence from Paul or any one else as to him being there at that time.

Was Paul ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection?

Again no evidance of any kind to verify Paul's witness of the resurection of Jesus except from Paul himself.

Why is Paul's account of the resurection different than all the other accounts?

Paul's account in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 reads:



1Co 15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas [i.e., Peter's name in Aramaic], then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.



All others accounts -- first Matthew 28:1,8-10:



Mat 28:1  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mat 28:8  And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
Mat 28:9  And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Mat 28:10  Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Finally, John 20:14-18:


Joh 20:14  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Joh 20:15  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?
She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

Joh 20:16  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Joh 20:17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Joh 20:18  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.



Paul's account has Peter seeing the Lord first and no mention of the Marys seeing Jesus first or at all seeing Jesus.

[Paul then says next the 12 saw Jesus, Paul thereby recognizing he himself is not among the 12 apostles. Paul was writing at a point he already knew that Matthias was among the 12 apostles. Paul is saying Apostle Matthias saw Jesus with the 11 other Apostles in the next appearance event.][Edit by Doug]  

Paul then goes on to say that 500 people had seen the Lord at one time but that some are now dead. But Luke records in Acts 1:13-15 an apparently far smaller number of 120:



Act 1:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Act 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)



Clearly Luke says that their were only 120 people in all at that time of Christ being seen.


It is now that Paul makes the bigest misstatement about the resurection of all. He then says that he was there after the resurection and saw Jesus himself "born out of due time" what ever that is suppose to have meant. On the road to Damascus he was suppose to have met Jesus for the first time but now he says he met Jesus after the resurection. Paul says this like he was there with all the other people when he saw Jesus after the resurection, yet there is no mention of the road to Damascus event. Only now are we familiar with the context from Acts 9, 22 and 26 where Luke puts the event on the Road to Damascus, years after Jesus' ascension. But the Corinthians were told by Paul that Paul saw Jesus after the resurrection, with no note on the delay and that it was after the Ascension.

Then, by the way, Paul isn't remiss to take a snipe at the true Apostles by saying that he has worked harder than the other Apostles after he tells us that in all modesty how he is the least of the Apostles,which by the way is the definition of Paul's name "least." (See link.) We read in 1 Cor. 15:9-10:



1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.



Paul says God picked him to be an Apostle of Jesus. But Jesus never said this.

Again Paul makes a claim that has no witnesses to back up this claim, but we are supposed to just take it on face value with no witnesses and no proof.



Jesus says in Joh 5:31:  

If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.


Returning to 1Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul is giving an order of events as he allegedly saw it. 

Paul is very precise about the order of events and it does not line up with any of the other accounts that we have? Why?

Is Paul's witness of the resurection believable when compared to the other accounts?

I say no. We would have to call every one else who wrote about the resurrection a liar or just plain wrong about their recollection of the events as they happened. This just doesn't seem right that every one else is wrong
and not Paul.

END

Study Notes by Doug

Paul was never numbered as a thirteenth apostle. 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 Barnabas 8:3).