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Wednesday, June 8 2011

Who Was The First Apostle?

The English word "apostle" originated from the Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced ap-os-tol-os, which means someone who is officially sent, such as an ambassador of a King. As a matter of the salvation of humanity, Jesus Christ was the first apostle, appointed and sent by God.

"3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 3:2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him" (Hebrews 3:1-2 KJV)

By completing His work, the Messiah too became a King, under the ultimate King, God. It was from that basis that the Messiah appointed His own "apostles," or ambassadors, to proclaim and teach The Father's Word, just as the Son of God did. They were sent, not to stand in place of Christ, but to continue what Christ had actually been sent to do - preach the Truth of God's Word.

The Holy Scriptures

"14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me [see The By-The-Book Messiah], he doeth the works." (John 14:10 KJV)

"20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." (John 20:21 KJV)

The "temptation of Christ," in which Christ overcame every enticement that Satan could spew at Him ("4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" Hebrews 4:15 KJV), preceded His calling of the apostles that would continue His ministry.

"4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matthew 4:8-11 KJV)

John the Baptist was the prophet who was sent to prepare the way for God's first apostle, Jesus Christ. By definition, John's ministry ended when the Christ's ministry began (see How Long Was John's Ministry?).

"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled [see Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?] which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17 KJV)

The first four of His apostles, Peter, Andrew, James and John, were fishermen of the Sea of Galilee (see The Ships Of Galilee).

Fishermen On The Sea Of Galilee

"4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." (Matthew 4:18-22 KJV)

It didn't take long for those that He called to witness the power of God by which He spoke.

"4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan." (Matthew 4:23-25 KJV)

"As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you"

"Disciple" means student. The twelve were alternately called "disciples" and "apostles" because they were given to learn as they were being sent.

"10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot [see The Long Shadow Of Judas], who also betrayed him." (Matthew 10:1-4 KJV)

The twelve were assigned a specific ministry right from the beginning. Just as others would be sent to teach and preach to all people (e.g. the apostle Paul - see the Fact Finder question below), the twelve were assigned to Israelites (although not all of the "lost tribes" were then available, they will be in the future after Christ's return i.e. "19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" Matthew 19:28 KJV; see also The Gathering of Israel and Judah and David, Future King Of Israel).

Synagogue At Capernaum

"10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles [interestingly, one of the Gospel books and the Book of Acts was given to be written by a gentile, Luke, as he travelled with the "apostle to the gentiles," Paul; see The Gospel By The Gentile], and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." (Matthew 10:5-10 KJV)

Then, as before and ever since, there are those who are able to hear, and there are those who aren't yet able to hear, or can hear but reject the knowledge of salvation. The Messiah commanded His servants to not waste precious time and energy on those who can't, or won't, hear (see also Is Your Religion Your Religion? and What's Your Angle?).

"10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:11-16 KJV)

Christ wasn't murdered by atheists or people of other religions; He was killed by those who claimed to worship the LORD. The merely Christian-professing world (i.e. those who claim to be Christian while doing little or nothing to truly follow Him; see Friends Of Jesus) are the greatest danger to true Christians e.g. the end-time Satanic "mark of the beast" will be foisted off as "Christian" by those who will kill to enforce it (see Antichristians, What And Where Is Babylon Today? and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?).

"10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." (Matthew 10:17-23 KJV)

Christ also warned His servants to not stray from God's Word, or to pompously and vainly make themselves seemingly more important or glorious than the Word of God. Christ Himself never did that.

"10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known [see The Video That Everyone Will See]. 10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?]. 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:24-33 KJV)

People are given to understand, by means of the Holy Spirit, at different times. Very often, that means that some (or even just one) members of a family will come to understand before the others. Everyone will get their opportunity, sooner or later; those who do first, must do what they must do, if they wish to be in the Kingdom of God with the rest of their family who will come to understand, and do, what they must do, later (see Why Two Resurrections?).

"10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matthew 10:34-42 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the major difference between the ministry of the apostle Peter and that of the apostle Paul?
See To Jews And Gentiles

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This Day In History, June 8

68: The Roman Senate proclaimed Galba as the 6th Roman Emperor. He reigned 68-69 (see Ancient Empires - Rome).

452: Italy was invaded by Attila the Hun.

632: Muhammad, the founder of Islam, died at age 62.

793: Vikings attacked the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, beginning the Scandinavian invasion of England.

1042: Hardicanute, King of England and Denmark, died. He was succeeded in England by Edward the Confessor and in Denmark by Magnus, King of Norway.

1536: The Ten Articles of Religion were published by the English clergy, in support of Henry VIII's Declaration of Supremacy after breaking with the Roman Catholic church.

1663: The Battle of Ameixial in Portugal during the Portuguese war of liberation from Spain; it was victorious for the Portuguese. This was the first in a series of battles that led to the Spanish-Portuguese Treaty of Lisbon and Portugal's independence from Spain.

1783: The Laki volcano in Iceland began 8 months of eruptions that killed over 9,000 people.

1794: The French Revolution's new state religion, the "Cult of the Supreme Being," began with festivals across the country.

1949: George Orwell's 1984 was published.

1963: Egypt became the first Arab country to use chemical weapons when its aircraft dropped mustard gas bombs on Yemeni civilians in the village of Sadah near the Saudi border.

1967: Day 4 of the "6 Day War." On the Egyptian front, Israeli forces were to eventually destroy or capture over 800 Egyptian tanks - exceeding the level of destruction that the British and Canadians inflicted on Nazi armor at al-Alamein 25 years earlier.

1968: James Earl Ray, wanted for the assassination of Martin Luther King, was arrested in London.

1969: The CBS network pulled "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" because of their refusal to stop their political jokes; their program was replaced by the "politically-correct" show "Hee Haw."

1969: Spain closed its frontier with Gibraltar, hoping to cripple its economy, after Britain's refusal to hand over the colony to Spain.

1986: Despite persistent allegations he had been involved in Nazi wartime atrocities, Kurt Waldheim was elected President of Austria.

1972: The date of the infamous Vietnam War photograph of a naked little girl, whose clothes had been burned off by a U.S. napalm bomb that incinerated her village, running down a road with other screaming children. Phan Thi Kim Phuc later moved to Canada and now lives in Toronto.

1996: China carried out a nuclear explosion at the Lop Nor test site in northwestern Xinjiang with a blast that rocked the remote region.

2007: New South Wales, Australia, was hit by the worst storms and flooding in over three decades.


Copyright © Wayne Blank