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Heavenly Visions

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    THE GIFT OF APOSTLES

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.

    IN Paul’s enumeration of the gifts he places first in order, apostles, as in the following texts: To the Corinthians he writes: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,” etc. 1 Corinthians 12:28. To the Ephesians he says: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11.HEVI 20.1

    As the gift of apostleship is placed first in the enumeration, we will notice that gift first. As the gift of apostleship is one of the direct gifts of the Spirit of God, those acting in such position must be placed there directly by the Lord, and not simply by the voice of human wisdom. We see from the Scriptures that the Lord’s apostles recognized the fact that their appointment was from the Lord. Paul said of his commission that he was “called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:1. To the Galatians he said: “An apostle (not of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead). Galatians 1:1. To Timothy he said: “An apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Timothy 1:1. An apostle, therefore, is one raised up of God, and sent forth to lead out in some new movement for the furtherance of the cause of truth in the earth.HEVI 20.2

    Christ is called “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession.” Hebrews 3:1. Of his own dedication to his work, he said he was the one “whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world.” John 10:36. As he entered upon his public labors, he chose twelve, and sent them forth with a distinct message, as recorded in Matthew 10:1-8. He chose these twelve to be with him. These were to listen to his teachings, witness his miracles, and to be “witnesses of these things” “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8. They could say indeed, after his ascension, “We are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost.” Acts 5:32; 2:32; 3:15. When commanded by the rulers to cease witnessing, they said, “We can not but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20. Of course they could not cease; for that was the very work to which they were called and sent forth by the Lord himself.HEVI 20.3

    When Judas “by transgression fell,” the apostles chose another to take his place, thus fulfilling the scripture, “his bishopric let another take.” They said this substitute for Judas must be one who had “companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the same day that he was taken up from among us.” Acts 1:21, 22. Of this one they said he must “be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” We see, then, that the apostleship of the twelve was to be comprised of those who had actually accompanied Christ in his work, and had actually seen and handled him after his resurrection.HEVI 20.4

    There are persons who have said that the selecting of Matthias was not in the Lord’s order, but was of human devising with the apostles while they were waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We think it must have been as the Lord dictated in this lot; for Luke, in faithfully recording this incident in the Acts, thirty-two years after the event occurred, fails to give a hint of the slightest mistake in the matter, but emphatically concludes the record of Matthias by saying, “And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Inspiration says he was numbered with them, and so let it stand. The Review and Herald, May 16, 1899.HEVI 20.5

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