Re: The Gospel of Jesusís WifeJun 25th, 2016
QUESTION: Since Paul was not one of Jesus' original twelve disciples then how could he be an apostle?
ANSWER: The book of Acts records the calling and conversion of Saul of Tarsus, a zealous persecutor of those who believed Jesus was the Messiah. Paul was personally chosen by the risen and glorified Christ to be His apostle to the Gentiles.
And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations,
and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen,
whither the LORD shall lead you.
And there ye shall serve gods,
the work of men's hands,
wood and stone,
which neither see,
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God,
thou shalt find him,
if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
When thou art in tribulation,
and all these things are come upon thee,
even in the latter days,
if thou turn to the LORD thy God,
and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God
he will not forsake thee,
neither destroy thee,
nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
The few in numbers is a reference to the 144,000 that are sealed from physical harm that comes during the first 6 trumps. All the rest of the 12 Tribes will need a resurrection to become alive again.
And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity:
because they trespassed against me,
therefore hid I my face from them,
and gave them into the hand of their enemies:
so fell they all by the sword.
According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them,
and hid my face from them.
He makes in clear in the book of Galatians that his special calling was "not from men nor through man" (Galatians 1:1), meaning no human or church group chose or 'ordained' Paul to be a minister or told him to preach to the Gentiles.
Paul's commission, which came directly from God, was known the day he was baptized (Acts 9:15-16). It did not take him long after his baptism to begin powerfully proclaiming that Jesus (who, only a short while before, he was persecuting - Acts 9:4) was the Son of God (see Acts 9:19 - 25).
Paul reiterates his direct calling and commission by stating, again in Galatians, that after his conversion he had no communication whatsoever with the other apostles (James, Peter, John, etc.) until many years later (Galatians 1:16).
The word apostle means "one sent." The twelve who had been with Jesus throughout His ministry were called to be eyewitnesses of His resurrection (Acts 1:21 - 22). When Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, he lost his part in this calling.
Knowing that one of Jesus' other disciples needed to take Judas' part, the eleven found two among the 120 disciples who had also been with Jesus during His entire ministry and were present at His ascension - Matthias and Barsabas. Matthias was chosen by the risen Christ to take part with the eleven as an eyewitness of His resurrection (Acts 1:24 - 26).
Paul also became an eyewitness "as of one born out of due time" (1Corinthians 15:1. He personally saw the risen Christ and was taught by Him for 3Ĺ years in Arabia (Galatians 1:17, 1Corinthians 11:2, 23) - which occurred after his conversion in Damascus.
The New Testament clearly establishes three criteria for the designation of apostle.
Paul fulfilled all three criteria and is therefore, without a doubt, an apostle. In closing, it should be noted that NO MAN, since the first century A.D., has met these three criteria for the designation of apostle.
- Seeing the risen Christ in order to be an eyewitness of His resurrection (Acts 1:22)
- Being personally taught by Him for 3Ĺ years (Acts 1:22)
- Receiving a specific commission from Christ Himself (Acts 1:17, 25)