By Kenneth Allan Clark. © Copyright 2011
“The Calling of the Apostle and the Prophet” written by Kenneth Allan Clark, was first printed and published by Victorious Christian Ministries International in 2011.
Copyright © 2011, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior permission of the author Kenneth Allan Clark. Scripture taken from the “Clark's English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved
I have often been challenged with the questions, what is an apostle? Should we have apostles in the church today? And will we see a return of the apostles and the prophets before the return of Jesus Christ?
For as long as I can remember my understanding of a prophet was someone who heard from God via the Holy Spirit and then past the message on to man; and while it was possible for one to be both a prophet and an apostle, an apostle was one who was called to plant and establish the Church in a new field. Examples: The first apostles planted and established the Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria. The apostle Paul planted and established the Church throughout Greece, and Asia Minor, the apostle Barnabas planted and established the Church throughout Cyprus, and the apostle Thomas planted and established the Church in India. If one accepts this understanding of what an apostle is, one could then say St Patrick was an apostle to Ireland.
Over more recent years I have come to understand that teachings of Jesus Christ, and the doctrines of the apostles and prophets, who taught the teaching of Christ are the foundation upon which the Church is built on. With Christ being the chief corner stone (Eph 2:20).
That was my background understanding, and while my research into the calling of an apostle and the calling of a prophet did not challenge this understanding, it did add to it.
Having accepted the challenge I did go hunting through my old notes going back to my time in Bible College. But given that many Pentecostal churches did not accept the office of prophet until the 1960’s and in the late 1990’s they were still coming to terms with the thought of having apostles in today’s Church; it was not surprising my notes from then failed to make any great distinction between an apostle and a prophet, other than in the early Church an apostle had a more prominent leadership role than a prophet. So these notes were not much help.
My next step was to check the Strong’s and Young’s Concordances, which both said the Greek word ‘apostolos’ which is translated into English as ‘apostle’ means ‘sent’ or ‘one who is sent’. However I found some interesting comments in the “The Bible Dictionary,” published by Inter–varsity press. It says on page 48.
APOSTLE: “There are over eighty occurrences of the Greek word apostolos in the New Testament, seven-eighths of them in the writings of Luke and Paul. It derives from the very common verb apostello, to send, but in non-Christian Greek world after Herodotus in the 5th century BC, here are very few recorded cases where it means ‘a person sent,’ and generally means ‘fleet’, or perhaps occasionally ‘admiral’. The sense of ‘sent one, messenger’ may have survived in popular speech: at least, isolated occurrence in the LXX and Josephus suggest that this meaning was recognised in Jewish circles. Only with Christian literature, however, does it come into its own.”
So what does this little extract from the Bible Dictionary tell me? In the Greek language the word ‘apostolos’ means ‘fleet’ or ‘admiral’ and apart from some isolated occurrences in the Septuagint and Josephus ‘fleet’ or ‘admiral’ was the accepted meaning for the word ‘apostolos’. Then it goes on the say only in Christian literature does the meaning ‘a person sent,’ come into its own.”
When one considers, one of the main rules that governed the seventy Jewish scribes who translated the Hebrew Text of the Bible into the Greek Text was; so that those who could read common every day Greek could easily understand the Scriptures, they had to always use the Greek word that best matched the meaning of Hebrew word. Therefore, given the Jewish scribes used the word ‘apostolos’ in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament, they meant it to be read as either ‘fleet’ or ‘admiral’ and not as ‘sent one’ or ‘messenger’.
The common meaning given to the Greek word apostolos, for at least 500 years leading up to and including the time of the New Testament writings was 'fleet' or 'admiral’. If one looked to the N.T. writings as our guide to the meaning of the word apostle and replace the word 'apostle' with the word 'admiral' we are getting close to my understanding of what an apostle is.
An admiral is a servant of the king, who oversees the building, establishment and maintenance of a fleet of ships, along with the responsibility to pass on the kings orders, to oversee the commissioning of the kings ships, ships' personal, their equipping, training and their well being. He is a man of vision who lives to see will of the king done.
An apostle is a servant of our King Jesus Christ, who oversees the building, establishment and maintenance of a fleet of churches, along with the responsibility to pass on the king’s orders, to oversee the commissioning of church personal, their equipping, training and their well being. He is a man of vision who lives to see the will of our King Jesus Christ done.
The Bible Dictionary then tells me; only with Christian literature does the understanding of an apostle being a sent one come in to its own. Where would the writers of Christian literature go to gain this understanding? Not the New Testament. Given that Paul was an expert teacher of the Old Testament writings, and he and Luke (Paul’s travelling companion and scribe) wrote most of the New Testament writings. It is very unlikely that writers of the New Testament would take a commonly used Greek word, and give it a totally different meaning. The vast majority of the early readers of New Testament on reading the word ‘apostolos’ would of automatically thought either ‘fleet or admiral’. The thought of one being sent would not have even entered their head.
A common biblical argument for accepting the understanding that an apostle is a ‘sent one,’ goes something like this. In Hebrews 3:1 Jesus Christ is called “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” and in John 20:21 Jesus says to the first apostles “as the Father sent Me, so I send you.” Then you could also point to the first twelve apostles, who were first called apostles after Jesus empowered them and sent them out to preach the gospel of the kingdom, cast out demons and heal the sick. But Jesus also empowered and sent out the seventy, and they were never called apostles (Luke 10). So to be an apostle, one has to be more than just empowered and sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom, cast out demons and heal the sick.
Then there are those who just wanted to lump the apostle and prophets together. I will admit that even the scriptures often lump the roles of the apostle and prophets together.
For example in Ephesians 3:1 – 7 we are told that the mystery of Christ is revealed by the Holy Spirit to Christ Holy apostles and prophets. So they may write down them down, that when the saints read the writings of the apostles and prophets they will understand the mystery of Christ. So it is the role of both the apostles and the prophets to hear from God understand the mystery of Christ and then write it down. Why write it down? Because it is only once the word is written down that it becomes established.
2 Corinthians 12:12 speaks to us of the signs of an apostle.
2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were performed among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty works.
So signs and wonders should accompany an apostle, but because they also accompanied the seventy and Phillip the evangelist, they do not prove one is an apostle (Acts 8:4 – 8).
1 Corinthians 9:1 – 2 first speaks to us of Paul fulfilling all of man’s perceived qualifications for becoming an apostle, then points out the real proof (the seal) of Paul’s right to call himself an apostle.
1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not you my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
The seal of Paul’s apostleship was not the signs and wonders that accompanied his preaching of the gospel, but that he planted and established the Church throughout Asia Minor and Greece.
The shore foundation.
Luke 6:46 – 49 (The teachings of Jesus Christ are a sure foundation.)
It says of the early Church in Jerusalem, “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” (Acts 2:40 – 43). The apostles with the help of the prophets are responsible for establishing, maintaining, teaching and writing down church doctrine (teachings); the teachings of Christ, which had either come to them directly from Jesus Christ, or by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ tells that His teachings are a sure foundation (Luke 6:46 – 49.)
The Church, according to Ephesians 2:19 - 20 is built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself the chief cornerstone.
Hebrews 5:12 to 6: 3 indicates to us that when we teach someone the basic doctrines of the Christ and faith we are laying down the foundation in their life. But if that one we taught fails to grasp hold of those foundational doctrines and mature in the faith, it becomes necessary to once again lay down the foundation in that person’s life.
1 Corinthians 3:10 – 12 (I have laid the foundation …….. no other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid, Jesus Christ.)
With these things in mind, I asked myself the following questions.
1: What is an elder?
2: What is a prophet?
3: What is an apostle?
An elder may just be an elder member of the church, and therefore because of his age should be treated with respect. However age does not automatically qualify one as a Church Elder. If this were so, it would not have been necessary for Paul to ordain elders to the churches he planted.
The Bible (Mainly the New Testament) often couples together ‘apostles and prophets’ and ‘apostles and elders’. By looking at these passages I have come to the conclusion, it would not wrong to say that the apostles are numbered amongst the prophets and the elders. Yet it is also not uncommon for one to be both an elder and a prophet and yet not be an apostle.
In the Bible, whenever mention is made of the leaders of Israel, the elders are usually mentioned last. E.g. In Acts 23:14 the Chief Priest is mentioned before the elders. In Acts 4:5 the order mentioned is rulers, elders and scribes, suggesting the elders were under the authority of the Chief Priest and rulers, while the scribes were under the authority of both the rulers and elders.
As God’s people, God also expects us to submit ourselves one to another in fear of God (Ephesians 5:21); to be in agreement with our brother when we pray (Matthew 18:19); and that our kings should submit to the council of their elders and councillors (Proverbs 11:14 & 15:22 & 1 Kings 12:1 – 14).
When we look at the Church leadership the apostles are usually mentioned before the elders (Acts15:2). In 1 Corinthians 12:27 – 31; the order of church leadership is listed, apostles, prophets, then teachers. While in Ephesians they are listed apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors then teachers.
But before we put the apostles and prophets on to higher pedestal we should not over look that Paul commends the Bereans for searching the Scriptures to checking out his teachings. Then in Revelation chapter 2 verse 2, Jesus Christ commends the Church of Ephesus for testing the false apostles and finding them to be liars. So we should not just accept the word of the apostles and prophets on matters of doctrine, we should first search the Scriptures, and then believe the Scriptures. So we could say that the elders of the church, be it national or local are subject to the apostles and prophets on matters of doctrine only when their teachings agree with the Scriptures.
The role of the prophets is to hear from God, the mysteries of the kingdom, and write them down, so that we (The Church) may know and understand the mysteries of the kingdom (2 Peter 1:19 – 21 & Ephesians 3:1 – 6)
Signs of an apostle are the working of signs wonders and mighty deeds amongst those with whom they share the gospel (2 Corinthians 12:12). The seal of an apostle is the establishment of a vibrant church (1 Corinthians 9:1 – 2).
Just it sometimes becomes necessary to once again lay down the foundation in the life of an individual who has strayed from the truth, from time to time it becomes necessary to once again lay down the foundation in the life of the Church, be it local, national or worldwide. The apostles with the help of the prophets are responsible for establishing, maintaining, teaching and writing down church doctrine.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Given that God’s people are in the habit of going astray, not just individuals but large sections of the Church. Add to that fact that the Church went greatly astray during the dark ages. Yes we should have apostles in the Church today.
Yes the reformers did bring about some restoration.
1: Re-establishing the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
2: Doing away with the doctrine of Purgatory.
But then they failed to relay correctly.
1: The doctrine of baptisms.
2: The doctrine of the laying on of hands.
3: The doctrine of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
(If we include baptism in the Holy Spirit and Fire in the doctrine of baptisms, it is only in the last sixty years that parts of the Church have begun to gain a reasonable understanding of the doctrine of baptisms, the doctrine of the laying on of hands, and the doctrine of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.)
For more on the reformation and the restoration of the foundational doctrines of the Church, please read my booklet “The Reformation Continues.”
4: The doctrine of the five fold ministry gifts.
(I would say most of the Church, including most Pentecostal and Charismatic churches still have an incorrect or very poor understanding of this doctrine.)
And while some parts of the Church are progressing towards a more correct understanding of basic foundation truths, it also seems much of the Church is moving away from correct understanding of basic foundation truths.
1: More and more churches do not believe in the Holy Trinity.
2: More and more churches do not believe in Hell.
3: More and more churches do not believe man is an eternal soul or that man even has a soul.
4: More and more churches no longer believe or teach the truth, that there is salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus Christ.
(These churches do have great influence on the text written in our modern English Bibles, to the extent in many modern English Bibles, not only have many references to the Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ deleted or altered; just about all references to the soul of man and hell have been altered or removed from most of our modern English Bibles.)
Because of these alterations and deletions to our modern English Bibles, it is now almost impossible for your average Christian to do any meaningful study on some of our most basic Christian doctrines. We not only should have apostles in the Church today, we need apostles in the Church today, to relay the foundations.
Should we have apostles in the church today? And will we see a return of the apostles and the prophets before the return of Jesus Christ?
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Jesus Christ is returning for his bride, the church, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. I think most of us would agree that the church is currently far from being a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So before the Lord, our bridegroom returns for his bride, we the church need to be sanctified and cleansed - with the washing of water by the word.
However before that can happen, the written word of God needs to be restored and cleansed from all errors. How can anything be washed clean in dirty water? Also a correct understanding of the written word of God needs to be restored to the church. In other words the foundations of the church needs to be restored before the bride of Christ can be washed clean by the written word of God. Therefore as it is the job of the prophets and apostles to lay down, maintain and restore the foundations of the church, the prophets and apostles must be restored to the church, so that the church can be washed clean and spotless before the return of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament equivalent to the apostle was the judge. Through Isaiah the prophet God tells us he will restore the judges as at the beginning. If God says he is going to restore the judges to Israel before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, I believe we can also say, God will restore to the Church the prophets and apostles before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 1:26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors as at the beginning: afterward you shall be called, the city of righteousness, the faithful city.
God bless you all,
Prophet Ken Clark.
“The Calling of the Apostle and the Prophet” written by Kenneth Allan Clark, was first printed and published by Victorious Christian Ministries International in 2011.
Copyright © 2011, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior permission of the author Kenneth Allan Clark. Scripture taken from the “Clarks' English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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