Characteristics of true apostles.

In the New Testament the word apostle refers to the 12 men whom Jesus chose during his time on earth. We read the following words in Luke 6:13: "When the day broke he called his disciples to him, and from among them he chose twelve and named them apostles" (then their names follow). After his ascension Matthias is chosen, again by the Lord, in the place of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus (Acts 1:23-26). And on the road to Damascus the Lord Himself chose Saul of Tarsus to be the missionary-apostle to the nations (Acts 9:1-18). These men were the only true apostles in the Christian church of all time. They were and are the only real apostles. Their characteristics were:

1. The Lord himself chose them / Matthew 9:9; Mark 1:16-17; Mark 2:14; Luke 6:13; John 15:16.

2. They had a special task to perform / Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; Acts 20:24.

3. They had to be men:
(a) who knew the Lord Jesus personally / Luke 1:2; John 1:14; Acts 1:21;
(b) who witnessed and saw the risen Lord / Matthew 28:16-17; Mark 16:14; John 20:20; 1 Corinthians 15:8;
(c) who witnessed the ascension of the Lord / Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9.

These men were the only real apostles. After they completed their task, and wrote the New Testament, along with others, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the office of apostle ceased to exist in the church. Anyone who today, claims to be an apostle in the same sense as one of them, acts contrary to Biblical teaching.