Documentation Published on Sunday, 04 December 2022

The false teaching of apostles in our time: Part One: It is time to study the Word and identify false apostles in our midst

Part One: It is time to study the Word and identify false apostles in our midst

When I hear so-called Christians proclaim that they are apostles and/or prophets and have been “anointed” by others to hold these “positions”, I just realise how close we are to the end of this age. There seems to be an air of arrogance in these people, noticed by ordinary believers who rightly divide the Word and see through the lies others spread. Of course, these “apostles” will brush you off as not “being in the Spirit” because you dare to question their authority. This week’s lesson is meant to clearly show what the Bible says about apostles.


The word “apostle” appears 19 times in the Bible. The original Greek, ἀπόστολος, means “messenger”. Jesus called only twelve men to be apostles and selected them for a specific mission:

14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach. – Mark 3:14-19

These were all Jews and were selected by Jesus, and no one else but Jesus, who would be the basis of the church starting in Judaism. They were called by name, and thus the calling was personal and specific. Once Judas Iscariot deserted his position and eleven apostles were left, a twelfth had to be selected. We read about this in Acts 1:16-26. Let us summarise each verse:

  1. Verse 16: Judas betrayed Jesus
  2. Verse 17: He was part of the original twelve apostles
  3. Verse 18-19: The demise of Judas
  4. Verse 20: Old Testament prophecy about Judas' death and that someone else would take his place
  5. Verse 21: There were people other than the disciples who were present during Jesus’ time in His ministry, saw Him, and worked in His ministry
  6. Verse 22: These other people also witnessed His resurrection and ascension
  7. Verse 23: Two men were shortlisted: Justis and Matthias
  8. Verse 24: They prayed for God’s will in this matter
  9. Verse 25: Someone had to take Judas’ place as an apostle
  10. Verse 26: Matthias was selected as the new twelfth apostle

Two things stand out here: they were with Him (Verse 21: accompanied) and they saw Jesus (Verse 22: witness). Thus, the elimination of any other candidates comes down to this: First, Jesus Himself selected the original twelve disciples, later named apostles; and after His ascension, the vacant position had to be filled by someone with a similar experience. This was duly done, and God ordained that it would be Matthias.

If you claim to be an apostle today, answer this: Did Jesus select you personally and were you present during his ministry that you saw Him, even after His resurrection? You must comply with both requirements. If not, you cannot be considered for the position of apostle.

What about Paul? How can Paul call himself an apostle and what claim does he have on apostleship? He gives the answer:

1Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 9:1-2

He states through a rhetorical question that he saw Jesus, and the result of the work he has done qualifies him as an apostle. His conversion was unlike any other in history. He was ordained as a preacher and an apostle and explains this to Timothy.

7Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. – 1 Timothy 2:7

In his second letter to Timothy, he confirms his status as an apostle:

1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus, 2To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. – 2 Timothy 1:1-2

He clearly indicates that he was chosen by Jesus Himself to be an apostle:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:8-9 (He saw Jesus on the road to Damascus. Note that he writes that he was the last person Jesus met. We cannot add John here as by the time Jesus met him on Patmos, he was already an apostle.)
  • Galatians 1:1 (He was not selected by any group or individual human, but by Jesus Himself.)
  • Galatians 2:6-9 (He identified with the others: Peter for the Jews, himself for the gentiles, as well as James, Peter, John, and Barnabas. This was a very select group of people. Paul did not consider himself to be better than the others. However, this did not mean that he could not confront what he saw as incorrect behaviour, as seen in verse 11 and 14.)

Paul was the last apostle. After him, the canon of the Bible was completed, and we have the full Word of God. There is no further need for an apostle (or messenger). For those who want more proof, we give this:

19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:19-22

The foundation of the apostles and prophets was laid a long time ago, and there is no further need for a modern so-called apostle to try and lay another foundation. Peter, the most prominent apostle, referred to the work of the prophets and apostles to be in the past (were spoken), and he referred to his group (us the apostles) as a very select group that was never represented by anyone else:

1This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. – 2 Peter 3:1-4

Peter recognises Paul’s status as an apostle, and as a writer inspired by the Holy Spirit:

14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. – 2 Peter 3:14-16

The signs of what constitutes an apostle are clearly stated. These signs were performed by the apostles to establish the church. Just read Acts 2 onwards. Note that these signs are referred to in the past tense.

12Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. – 2 Corinthians 12:12

They will be rewarded for their service, by name:

14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. – Revelation 21:14

If there were any modern-day apostles, then why are they not also given a prominent place in future history? Note that the position of the twelve apostles is highly esteemed, and Paul is not mentioned among them. Paul was never part of the original select group of twelve. He may have interacted with them later, but he received his reward for the work he did, as part of the church, even as a Jew, penning most of the New Testament. He was the last apostle (1 Corinthians 4:9). From there on the age of the apostles ended. We now live by faith, the Word is our only and final authority, and no further messenger is required.

Paul has this to say about people who claim to be apostles:

12But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. – 2 Corinthians 11:12-15

Much later, about 30 years after Paul was killed, Jesus appears to John on Patmos, and addresses false apostles – people who claim they are apostles:

2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:Revelation 2:2

Good works done by good apostles are not mentioned anywhere, as there are none, only false ones. The age of the apostles is over.

I have unfortunately met people who claim to represent Jesus Christ, call themselves apostles and/or prophets [ More on prophets here... ], but because they have listened to false teachers, they have become wolves in sheep’s clothing. Many of them have a spiritual arrogance that does not fit a true believer in Christ Jesus. They seem to believe that they have elevated positions, and if they say anything and you as a mere believer dare to question them, you are wrong and “not in the Spirit”. It is sad, as these are people who have been deceived by others and blindly follow them because being “anointed” and given a title makes them feel good.

They claim that they have the ability to do what we read about in Mark 16:17-18. These signs were for the period when the church was established. I fully understand that in certain cases one can pray for someone and they will be healed. However, this is not because you are an apostle, but because God wants to heal them. It could have been anyone who laid their hands on them. Try drinking poison and see if you are going to survive. Paul was bitten by a snake, and he survived (Acts 28:3-5). This was because these signs were needed to convince people of the truth and power of the message. Today, if you get bitten by a venomous snake, chances are you are going to suffer the consequences, probably fatal, whether you think you have an elevated title or not. By the way, miracles are not necessarily from God. See 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13-14; and Revelation 16:14.

Jesus has the final say in the matter:

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:15-23

Jesus warns of false prophets. There is not a single example in the Bible where "modern" prophets are referred to as true prophets, simply because they do not exist. Likewise with false Christs. Jesus Christ is not on the Earth at the moment and there are many people who have claimed to be Christ. Just as Jesus Christ does not exist physically on the Earth right now, so there are no prophets, and also no apostles. Whoever claims to be one is false.

24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.Matthew 24:24

They operate through signs that imitate the miracales that were performed in the early Church age, and more, and they deceive even true Christians if we are not able to identify them as false. Just because they perform signs and miracles, does not make them true followers of Jesus.


Many are going to find that what they thought was done as believers, counted for nothing because they deviated from the truth of the Word. There are no apostles today. Anyone who claims that they are an apostle, lies and has been deceived by someone else who is also deceived. The apostolic age ended with the death of the Apostle John. We do not need any further message from anyone anymore as God speaks to us only through His Son, the Word (Hebrews 1:1-2).

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