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An apostle, from the Clasical Greek apostolos, meaning "one who is sent away", is a messenger and ambassador. The purpose of such "sending away" is to convey messages, and thus "messenger" is a common alternative translation. The term "disciple" is derived from the Koine Greek mathetes, which means a pupil (of a teacher) or an apprentice (to a master craftsman), coming to English by way of the Latin discipulus meaning a learner while the more common English word is student. While a disciple is one who learns from a teacher, an apostle is one sent to deliver those teachings or a message.
Matthew 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." Christ first "called" his 12 disciples" unto him. As disciples they were followers, students, those that adhered to his teaching. In the same verse "he gave them power". The Biblical signs of an apostle were: 1.Chosen directly by the Lord Jesus himself except for Matthias who was chosen by lot and "numbered with the eleven" (Acts 1:26) and Barnabas,later chosen by the Holy Spirit (Acts 14:14). 2. They were given or endued with sign gifts, miraculous powers which authenticated and validated their calling i.e. their credentials. 3. They were first sent forth to Israel only, announcing the kingdom is at hand, manifesting kingdom powers (Matthew 10:5-8) 4. They will be judges over the 12 tribes in the kingdom age. (Matthew 19:28) 5. After rejection of the kingdom by Israel and revelation of the mystery of the Church which was in ages past hid in God (Matthew 16:18 & Ephesians 3:1-12) the apostolic office was given a new power, baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4) 6. Essential to the title of apostle, he must have been an eye witness of Christ's resurrection i.e. laid eyes on the risen Lord. (Acts 1:22 & 1 Corinthians 9:1) Hebrews 3:1 describes The Lord as an apostle (one sent forth) : "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;" There are many today who claim the title of apostle yet miserably fail to meet the qualifications established by the Word of God.
The apostle is a special disciple of Christ who has been appointed by Christ into apostolic office. There are two interpretations on this office. Some have denoted missionaries as apostles in the context that they deliver God’s message to the people in a distant land far from their immediate homeland. On this basis, they may suppose that pioneer missionaries were apostles of Jesus because they were sent by the church to deliver the gospel message to the unreached. The second perspective is to consider an apostle as one who is called by Christ into the office of apostle and hence to limit the application of this title to the 14 apostles, 12 of whom served with Christ and Mathias who was appointed by the church to replace Judas (Acts 1) after the Ascension and Paul who was the post resurrection apostle of Jesus (Acts 9). The qualifications for the apostolic office are spelt out by Peter in Acts 1:21-25 during the appointment of Mathias. Conservative tradition holds that these biblical requirements are irrefutable grounds upon which one may be called an apostle. He must have been an eye witness of Jesus. If this position is taken, then there are no living apostles today. Some church denominations have argued that the office of apostle is still open because Paul makes reference to it in Ephesians 4:11 but we must remember that there were living apostles at the time that Paul wrote to the Ephesians. A disciple on the other hand is a person who follows Jesus in saving faith and obeys the Word. This is a person who has responded to the call of the Gospel message and yielded to Christ. One may refer to discipleship as the foundational level of the church ministry. A disciples learns from the teachers and continues grow in his spiritual life. Every believer is therefore a disciple of Christ because we can never outgrow our discipleship state until we appear before Christ. We must remain teachable under the instruction of Scripture and the admonition of the Holy Spirit and reach out to others for whom Christ also died.
To become an Apostle, one must be a disciple of Jesus first. (e.g. 12 disciples of Jesus became Apostles) To become a prophet, one must be an Apostle first (e.g. Out of 12 Apostles, only 4 -- Peter, Paul, James and John became "Prophets" writing NT) Who are the disciples? Every real Christian / believer must be a disciple. How can be a disciple? Mt 4:19, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" The call to evangelism is compared to fishing. To follow is an idiom of discipleship (2Ki. 6:19) Habitually follow regardless of the price-- even to death (Mk. 8:35)-- not just when it is easy, convenient, and popular (Lk. 9:62; Heb. 10:38- 39). Who are called Apostles? Greek:apostolos (G652), a delegate, one sent with full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. It is found 81 Times and translated apostle 78 times; messenger twice (2Cor. 8:23; Phil 2:25); and once he that is sent (Jn. 13:16). Twenty- four Apostles Recorded: 1. Simon Peter and his brother-- 2. Andrew (Mt. 10:2) 3. James, son of Zebedee and 4. John his brother (Mt. 10:2) 5. Philip and his brother-- 6. Bartholomew (Mt. 10:3) 7. James, son of Alphaeus and 8. Judas his brother (Lk. 6:16) and 9. Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mk. 2:14; Lk. 6:15) 8. Judas his brother (Lk. 6:16) and 9. Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mk. 2:14; Lk. 6:15) 10. Thomas (Mt. 10:3) 11. Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Lk. 6:15) 12. Judas Iscariot (Mt. 10:4) 13. Matthias (Acts 1:26) 14. Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5- 6 Acts 13:1- 3 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9) 15. Andronicus (Rom. 16:7) 16. Junia (Rom. 16:7) 17. Apollos (1Cor. 4:6- 9) 18. James, the Lord's brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1) 19. Silas (1Th. 1:1; 2:6) 20. Timothy (1Th. 1:1; 2:6) 21. Titus (2Cor. 8:23) 22. Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25) 23. Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8) 24. Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1) Jesus' twelve disciples were called Apostles see Mt. 10:2- 4 Mk. 3:16- 19 Lk. 6:14- 16 Acts 1:13, 26. One must be a 'disciple' first to qualify as an 'Apostle' later. Comparing Lk 6:13-15 with Lk. 9 and Mk. 3:13- 19 with 6:7- 13, it would seem that this calling to apostleship was sometime before they actually went forth. Their commission, duties, and power (Mt. 10; 28:19- 20 Mk. 3:14- 15 6:7- 13 16:15- 20 Lk. 9:1- 5 24:47- 53 Jn. 20:22- 23 21:15- 19 Acts 1:4- 8)
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