Biblical Answers to Tough Questions
By Kenneth E. Hagin
Throughout the ministry of Brother Hagin, men and women – both ministers and laity – asked him questions regarding life and Christianity. True to his lifelong philosophy of staying in the middle of the road on an issue, Brother Hagin answered most questions the same way each time they were asked. He kept his answers in line with the Word of God, the Book upon which he based his own life and ministry.
Each month, we will present a question that was once asked of Brother Hagin, along with the answer he gave. This material will be taken from transcripts of meetings and special sessions Brother Hagin held throughout the years.
Question: Is the office or ministry of the apostle still in operation in the Church today? If so, how can you tell if someone is an apostle?
The Greek word translated “apostle” means sent one. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is called an apostle. Hebrews 3:1 says, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” Certainly, Jesus was a Sent One.
The Bible tells us there are only twelve “Apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14). These apostles include Jesus’ twelve original disciples, minus Judas. After Judas fell, the remaining eleven disciples selected someone to replace him.
In making their selection, the disciples chose Matthias – someone who had been with them from the beginning and had been an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry, death, burial, and resurrection (Acts 1:13-26). The Apostles of the Lamb were sent ones – sent for the purpose of testifying of all that they had seen during the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His death, burial, and resurrection.
Paul himself did not qualify to be an Apostle of the Lamb, for the simple reason that he had not been an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry, nor of His death, burial, and resurrection. And yet Paul was an apostle; we know that because the New Testament calls him one.
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul [Paul].
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Having hands laid upon them and being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey. Acts 14:14 then says, “Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out.” The Bible tells us that Paul and Barnabas were apostles, sent forth by God to minister.
There are still apostles in that sense today. A missionary is an apostle – that is, if he’s sent by the Lord to minister.
There are no Apostles of the Lamb today, because according to Revelation 21:14, there were only twelve Apostles of the Lamb. But there are other apostles of the Lord. Reading the New Testament, we find approximately twenty different people called apostles. And there are still apostles today.
What is the ministry of the apostle? The apostle seems to have all five ministry gifts combined. First, he has the ability to do the work of an evangelist – to get people saved (see 2 Tim. 4:5). Notice Paul’s ministry. He first got people saved. Then he stayed long enough to teach them. When doing the full work of an apostle, he typically never stayed in a place less than six months. His stays were between six months and three years. Third, he organized the church and got them started as a local body. An apostle has the ability to establish churches.
I’ve run into people who have said to me, “I’m an apostle. And I’m over you, because I’m an apostle.” I’d just as soon hear a donkey bray at midnight in a tin barn! No, the only authority that any apostle has is over churches he has built and established.
Article “Biblical Answers to Tough Questions” excerpted from “Word of Faith Magazine”. Article written by Kenneth E. Hagin.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”