In the Roman Empire, a person who was given the power to speak on behalf of the Emperor was called Apostolos, or Apostle, meaning “sent one”. Likewise, an apostle of Jesus Christ was given the authority to speak the very words of God. To disobey the word of an apostle was to disobey God. And that’s still true today.
When we read the New Testament, we are reading the words of the Apostles as given by God, just as we read in Galatians:
“For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)
And as is written in Ephesians:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:19-20)
An Apostle had the power to speak in other languages, heal diseases, and cast out evil spirits, as we see in Matthew 10:8, Luke 9:1-2, and Acts 2:1-6. The were also given prophetic visions (Acts 11:1-17, Acts 16:9-10, 2Corinthians 12:1-10). Additionally, the word of an Apostle was from the Lord, was equal in authority to the Old Testament writings, and considered to be Scripture. (Galatians 1:11-12, 2 Peter 3:15-16). Along with all this, the Apostles established and governed the church, under Christ (Ephesians 2:20).To be called an Apostle, one had to meet two qualifications: They had to have been a witness to the risen Lord (Acts 1:22, Acts 10:38-41, 1 Corinthians 9:1, 1 Corinthians 15:7-9) and they had to be personally appointed as an Apostle by Christ Himself (Matthew 10:1-7, Mark 3:14, Acts 1:24-26, Galatians 1:1).
Today, many false teachers will claim to be Apostles or that God will appoint new Apostles. They’ll say they have seen the risen Lord and were personally appointed by God, just as Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer once said:
“Paul was anxious to talk to the end-times Apostles and Prophets more than the end-times Apostles and Prophets would have been to talk to Paul… the saints in the New Testament [will] wait in line to greet the apostles coming from this generation”
Bickle has also claimed to have been to heaven and had a personal audience with God.
Others might not use the word apostle, but they claim to have seen Christ and have been given new revelation you won’t find in the Scriptures. Avoid such liars and heretics!
“Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13)
The office of Apostleship is closed.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:8,
“Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me.”
Therefore, Paul was the last Apostle to be appointed. No others would come after him. When the Apostle John died at the end of the first century, the apostolic age came to an end. (Some scholars have argued that the end of the apostolic age came with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Either way, it wouldn’t have extended past the first century.)
But, the authority of the Apostles remains, having given us the Word of God.