in each individual case. At that particular time before Pentecost, however, there were men meeting these requirements and two were put forth as suitable for replacing unfaithful Judas. Doubtless having in mind Proverbs 16:33, lots were cast and Matthias was selected and was thereafter “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:23-26) He is thus included among “the twelve” who settled the problem concerning the Greek-speaking disciples (Acts 6:1, 2), and evidently Paul includes him in referring to “the twelve” when speaking of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances at 1 Corinthians 15:4-8. Thus, when Pentecost arrived, there were twelve apostolic foundations on which the spiritual Israel then formed could rest.
Matthias was, of course, not directly chosen by Jesus Christ as were the other eleven. (John 6:70; 15:16; Matt. 10:1-5) Yet he was not for that reason a mere apostle of the Jerusalem congregation, any more than the remaining eleven directly chosen apostles were. His case is different from that of the Levite Joseph Barnabas who became an apostle of the congregation of Antioch, Syria. (Acts 13:1-4; 14:4, 14; 1 Cor. 9:4-6) Other men also are referred to as “apostles of congregations” in the sense that they were sent forth by such congregations to represent them. (2 Cor. 8:23) And, in writing to the Philippians, Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as “your envoy [a·poʹsto·lon] and private servant for my need.” (Phil. 2:25) The apostleship of these men was clearly not by virtue of any apostolic succession, nor did they form part of “the twelve” as did Matthias.
The correct understanding of the wider application of the term “apostle” can help to clear away any apparent discrepancy between Acts 9:26, 27 and Galatians 1:17-19, when applied to the same occasion. The first account states that Paul, on arriving in Jerusalem, was led “to the apostles” by Barnabas. In the account in Galatians, however, Paul states that he visited with Peter and adds: “But I saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” James (not the original apostle James the son of Zebedee nor James the son of Alphæus, but the half brother of Jesus) was evidently viewed as an “apostle” in the wider sense, namely, as “one sent forth” by the Jerusalem congregation. This would allow for the Acts account to use the title in the plural in saying that Paul was led “to the apostles” (i. e., Peter and James).—Compare 1 Corinthians 15:5-7; Galatians 2:9.
The selection of Paul
Probably about the year 34 or 35 C.E. Saul of Tarsus was converted and later is referred to as Paul. He did become a true apostle of Jesus Christ and was the direct choice of the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ. (Acts 9:1-22; 22:6-21; 26:12-23; 13:9) He argued on behalf of his apostleship and presented as his qualification the fact of his having seen the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and his having performed marvelous miracles; and he had served as a channel for imparting the holy spirit to baptized believers. (1 Cor. 9:1, 2; 15:9, 10; 2 Cor. 12:12; 2 Tim. 1:1, 11; Rom 1:1; 11:13; Acts 19:5, 6) Since the apostle James (the brother of John) was not killed until about the year 44 C.E., “the twelve” were yet alive at the time of Paul’s becoming an apostle. He nowhere includes himself among such “twelve,” while at the same time he admits of no inferiority in his apostleship to that of such ones.—Gal. 2:6-9.
Though Matthias’ and Paul’s apostleships were both valid for the purpose for which they were “sent forth,” yet when the apostle John saw the vision of the heavenly New Jerusalem in the Revelation (given about 96 C.E.) he saw only twelve foundation stones and on them inscribed “the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Rev. 21:14) If this vision applied as of the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E., then those twelve names would, of necessity, include that of Matthias. However, if the expression “twelve apostles of the Lamb” is restrictive in applying only to the twelve men directly chosen and personally ordained by Jesus Christ to be apostles, then the “twelve names” would include that of Paul instead of Matthias. The evidence points to this latter conclusion.—See PAUL.
Though the Bible does not relate the death of the twelve apostles, aside from that of James, the evidence available indicates that they maintained their faithfulness until death and therefore needed no replacement. Concerning history in the following centuries, the observation is made that “whenever it [the term “apostle”] is applied to individuals in later Christian literature, the use of the term is metaphorical. The church has never had apostles in the N[ew] T[estament] sense since the first century.”—The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, p. 172.
During their lifetime the apostles’ presence served as a restraint upon the influences of apostasy, holding back the forces of false worship within the Christian congregation. It is evidently to this “restraint” that the apostle Paul referred at 2 Thessalonians 2:7: “True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint gets to be out of the way.” (Compare Matthew 13:24, 25; Acts 20:29, 30.) This apostolic influence, including the authority and powers unique with them, continued until the death of John about 100 C.E. (1 John 2:26; 3 John 9, 10) The rapid influx of apostasy and false doctrine and practices after their death shows that any pretended apostolic successors had none of the restraining influence of the apostles.
The reference to Andronicus and Junias at Romans 16:7 as “men of note among the apostles” does not indicate them to be apostles but, rather, men held in high repute by the apostles. That some made false pretenses of being ‘apostles of Christ’ is shown at 2 Corinthians 11:5, 13; 12:11, 12; Revelation 2:2.
The Greek word phanʹta·sma occurs only in the two accounts of Jesus’ walking over the waters of the Sea of Galilee to his disciples who were in a boat. (Matt. 14:26; Mark 6:49) The frightened disciples are quoted as saying: “It is an apparition!” The meaning of the word phanʹta·sma is ‘a mere image, an unreality, a spectral vision.’ It is variously translated as “spirit” (AV), “ghost” (AS, AT, RS, Mo), “phantom” (Fn), “false vision” (La), and “apparition” (Da, ED, Dy Kx, MR, NW).
An apparition is an illusion; something actually not present but temporarily believed in due to excited imagination or other cause. Assuring the disciples that such was not the case and that he was real, Jesus said: “It is I; have no fear.”—Matt. 14:27; Mark 6:50.
This was, therefore, a different situation from the occasion when the resurrected Jesus suddenly appeared in the midst of his disciples, causing them to imagine they beheld “a spirit [Gr., pneuʹma].” (Luke 24:36, 37) Jesus’ words in this situation evidently were not designed to convince them merely of his reality but to assure them that he was appearing before them in a fleshly human form and not in spirit form; hence, he told them to “feel me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.” (Luke 24:38-43; compare Genesis 18:1-8; 19:1-3.) There was, therefore, no need for them to fear the effect produced on Daniel by an awesome angelic appearance of a completely different nature. (Compare Daniel 10:4-9.) The situation was likewise very different for them than for Saul of Tarsus, who was later blinded by Jesus’ appearance to him on the