How Long Will There Be Apostles?
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Lies About the Bible: Supposed Error, Apostles Should be Here–They Are. Many things were lost to the Church when it strayed from God’s orders, eventually appointing a chief apostle and getting away from the apostolic leadership of the Biblical Church. God has been restoring those things that were lost to the Church. He is patient, and He always looks for those who are willing to move on with Him. Only a remnant was able to receive the restoration that was given to Luther, Zwingli, Wesley, and others. Not that everything taught was from God. Often, much of the old was brought along. We all make many mistakes as James pointed out. And, with every restoration, Satan provides at least one counterfeit.
Some people may ask, “Where are the apostles?” They are supposed to be here until we all come to the unity of the faith. They are supposed to be here until we all grow to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Since they are not there, some people claim that the Bible has an error. That is not true.
How long does the Bible say that there will be apostles? Until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. There are many false apostles, men who say they are sent who have not been sent. That is true. The false apostles do not make true apostles less true any more than false christs make the true Christ less true. There are also extra-biblical theologies that creatively try to explain away the Bible verses that tell us about apostles. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Ephesians 4 is correct in saying that apostles will be here until the Church comes to the fullness of Christ. The carnal human mind rationalizes ways around this, but the reality is that God designed the Church. We humans don’t have the option of re-designing it to our liking.
Where are the apostles? The Bible says that they will be here until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
The structure of the Church was lost during the second and third centuries AD. Many man-made orders and structures were added in. The precepts of men replaced the precepts of God. God has been restoring line on line since before Martin Luther. In 1947, the apostles and prophets were at least partially restored to the church along with a better understanding of evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
Only Christ can do any edifying. In understanding Ephesians 4:12-16, you must go back to the main verb, edoken, in verse 11. Christ gave the gifts. He gave the office of apostle. He gave the four ministries. Those gifts are not the persons but the Christ in those persons, as another passage says, “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” The text cannot be read any other way than to understand that these gifts are performing all of this work as the gifts proceed from Christ. Grace means, literally, free gift. This is grace, and we know from Scripture that it is grace that does any work that is done. In fact, God could give no greater gift, so He gave us of Himself. He chooses to do it through apostles, ones sent. He chooses to not use those who send themselves or who are sent by men. It is plain from the Greek that it is not gifted people who do any of this work, but rather the Gift Himself does the work through the members. This is true whether it is the apostle who is totally equipping and completing the member or the member who is now also moving in the power and authority of the same gift. When any member comes into submission to the apostle, that person carries the same anointing and authority of the apostle just as long and to the extent that they are in submission. They are not submitting to a man but to Christ Himself. If you can discern the Body of Christ, you will see this. If you see this, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but your Father in Heaven has revealed it.
You can go many places on the internet, on Christian radio, or in the religious world where you will find people twisting this Scripture. They will twist “apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” into “teacher/pastors”, or “pastor/teacher”, or “evangelists, pastors, teachers”, or some other misquote. It is evil to twist the traveling elders and deacons, the apostles, into locally abiding pastors. Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about locally abiding pastors. There are locally abiding elders who pastor (care for the church as a shepherd does sheep) the members, and those men receive no money for what they do. They receive a double measure of honor. The Bible says what it says. The Scripture cannot be broken. Satan hates the Bible and he hates God’s church and the orders of God’s church. If you see someone doing this, run, do not walk, away.