Do we Need Apostles
and Teachers Today?
Q. How would you answer the criticism that we should not be taught the Gospel by human beings but only by Elohim (God) through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and the Bible?
A. We could write a long discourse on this subject but the "Great Commission" by Yah'shua (Jesus) is surely enough. Speaking to the Twelve after His resurrection, He said:
Now obviously the original 12 apostles aren't alive today, so which apostles will be teaching until the end of the age or dispensation? New apostles, of course! Yah'shua (Jesus) wasn't talking to all Christians/Messianics but to "the eleven" remaining apostles (Mt.28:16 - Judas was dead and hadn't been replaced by Matthias yet). In short, He is saying:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim (disciples), immersing (baptising) them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you (the apostles) always, yes, even until the end of the age" (Mt.28:19-20, JNT).
This does not, of course, negate the work of the Comforter, or Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who likewise has a commission to teach the talmidim (disciples) (Jn.14:26); rather, we see a co-operative ministry between Yah'shua's (Jesus') witnessess, emmissaries or apostles and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit):
"You apostles, go and make talmidim (disciples) internationally, baptise them, and teach them to obey all of Messiah's mitzvot (commandments)".
Therefore we see an apostolic commission, continuing until Yah'shua (Jesus) returns, to make talmidim (disciples), baptise, and teach all the mitzvot (commandments). To say, as some might be tempted to (in order to fit the text into a pre-conceived doctrine), that the "you" suddenly stops being the apostles and becomes self-appointed missionaries (v.20b) or, even worse, just the "Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)" without the "foolishness of (human) preaching" (1 Cor.1:21, KJV) is to do violence to the text. Yah'shua (Jesus) is here talking of a continuation of apostolic ministry - not an abrupt end to it into something just 'spiritual' (as Jehovah's Witnesses have done in 'explaining' why Yah'shua (Jesus) did not return in 1914 as they supposed He would). If that was His meaning, then He would have given parallels elsewhere. But His message is the same always:
"..YOU will be My witnesses...when the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) comes on YOU.." (Ac.1:8, NIV).
This 'spiritualisation' of the Besorah (Gospel) - removing its physical, human side, is a sign of New Age teaching. The apostles weren't for 'just then' but for the rest of the dispensation. The fact that they died out and were not replaced (because of apostacy) does not mean Elohim (God) will not restore them.
"As now, so when I return" (cp. the angels' instruction on how Yah'shua/Jesus would return physically the same way He departed - Ac.1:9-11).
What about the period between the last apostles and our own times? Elohim (God) may (or may not) have called human "Apostles" yet but He has surely blessed many men with the apostolic spirit over the centuries - men who have traversed the world making talmidim (disciples), baptising, and teaching. Their works are the testimony of the Ruach (Spirit) they have been blessed with. Is anyone so proud or stubborn, because of pre-conceived doctrine or deliberate rebellion against the emet (truth), to deny that many, many men throughout the ages, and today, have been, and are, the messengers of salvation (even if it is only of the elementary principles - Heb.5:12; 6:1) to millions? Yah forbid!
We confidently expect Elohim (God) to call apostles (if He has not already done so) before His return because He says in the Great Commission that they will be found at the end of the age. (We exclude those who call themselves 'apostles' who do not teach true apostolic doctrine). And we know, because the Bible tells us so, that He has called teachers - tens of thousands of them - to bring His liberating Davar (Word) to a starving world (1 Cor.12:28-29; Eph.4:11; Heb.5:12; Jas.3:1, etc.).
Therefore to say that only the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is a man's teacher is to fundamentally deny the witness of both Messiah and the Apostles. If Yahweh revealed Himself in the flesh through Messiah, and if the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) manifests itself through human agents, as has been the case in all dispensations, giving them specific messages given to no-one else (only the nevi'im/prophets revealed the comings of Messiah), then he will continue to do so today. The same Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) that revealed itself to judges, nevi'im (prophets) and rabbis of old reveals the will of Elohim (God) to patriarchs, nevi'im (prophets) and teachers in the New Covenant.
For a fuller treatment of this subject, see The Sermon on the Mount Part I and I will Establish a New Covenant with the House of Israel.
Go to the Apostles Page
This page was created on 16 October 1997
Last updated on 6 June 2017
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