Only Twelve Seats

Yashua chose twelve apostles who will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Not thirteen, not fourteen, fourteen and a half or any other number. It’s a one apostle per tribe ratio. Revelation makes it clear that these twelve will retain a special place in the New Jerusalem with their names placed in the foundations of the city. Therefore, we can conclude that there are only twelve assigned seats.

Matthew 10:2-4
2Now 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; 3Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Matthew 19:28
28And 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.

Revelation 21:14
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the TWELVE apostles of the Lamb.

Seat Taken

After Yashua was taken up into heaven, the eleven decided to fill the empty seat which Judas gave up. The apostles reference Psalms 109:8 and concluded that another should take his place of apostleship (Acts 1:20). They specify the prerequisite for candidacy was one who witnessed the full ministry of the Messiah, beginning at the Lord’s baptism up to his ascension (Acts 1:21-22). Out of the one hundred and twenty disciples that were there, they narrowed it down to two. It would have had to be a disciple who knew His walk, who knew the compassion and mercy he had for the people, who witnessed the miracles, power and authority he possessed, who saw how he handled the Jewish leadership, and who heard his words. I don’t think the apostles shouted out, “Hey, who wants to be the twelfth apostle?” and picked the first two disciples that raised their hands up the quickest. These two candidates must have been really exceptional to have been selected from over a hundred disciples. One was Joseph called Barsabas, and the other was Matthias. When the lot fell on Matthias he was numbered with the eleven from that point forward. Some people argue that since his name wasn’t mentioned again, he probably lost his position. Most of the apostles are not mentioned by name in the rest of the books, but they are still apostles. Matthias is no different. We are not reading a novel in that each character must have an ending. We know from Acts 6:2 that he was still active and serving his position even though he’s not mentioned again by name.

Psalms 109:8
8Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

Acts 1:20-22
20For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Acts 6:2
2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

Was the appointment by the apostles a valid one? First, important matters had to be established or corroborated by at least two witnesses, and something as important as an apostleship was definitely no exception (Matthew 18:16, Deuteronomy 19:15). There were two witnesses at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3, Mark 9:4). Two witnesses were needed to convict or condemn someone (Deuteronomy 17:6, Matthew 26:60). Even two witnesses were needed to see the new moon for it to be sanctified on Yom Teruah and attest to it before the Sanhedrin in the Temple. Even Saul (Paul) himself endorses this rule (2 Corinthians 13:1). Secondly, Peter and the rest of the apostles were given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, that whatsoever they bind or loosed on earth would be bound or loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19, 18:18-19). Therefore, their election and appointment of Matthias to apostleship is valid one. Since there is no record of him being rejected by the rest of the apostles, his apostleship stands.

Matthew 18:16
16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Deuteronomy 19:15
15One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Deuteronomy 17:6
6At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

2 Corinthians 13:1
1This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Matthew 16:19
19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 18:18-19
18Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Paul has a broader definition of an apostle, one being of elevated status and a messenger of Christ, not necessarily being limited to twelve (1 Corinthians 4:9, 12:29, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Thessalonians 2:6). He even considered James, the Lord’s brother, an apostle (Galatians 1:19).

1 Thessalonians 2:6
6Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

Galatians 1:19
19But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

The rest of scripture define an apostle as being one of the twelve. Matthew sets the number of apostles appointed by Yashua as twelve (Matthew 10:2-4, 19:28). Yashua also reiterates this in Luke’s book (Luke 22:30). Jude mentions the apostles in the past tense as though the number has already been set, referring also to the twelve (Jude 1:17). John in Revelation also confirms that there are only twelve apostles who will sit on twelve thrones (Revelation 21:14).

Matthew 10:2-4
2Now 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;
3Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
4Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Matthew 19:28
28And 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.

Luke 22:30
30That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jude 1:17
17But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Revelation 21:14
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

No Witnesses

Now Saul (Paul) comes along and claims he’s an apostle appointed by the Lord himself in the desert (or in the city, depending which version you pick (See The Conversion Story)). So now the math doesn’t add up. Only three New Testament authors mention Paul: Peter, Luke and Paul himself. Peter’s second epistle is believed by many to be a pseudepigrapha. Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works and text whose claimed authorship are unfounded and suspect. There were many pseudepigraphon floating around the landscape from about 200B.C. to 200A.D. I believe 2 Peter to be a forgery and an unreliable source. However, for the sake of the topic, I’ll assume it was Peter who mentioned Paul in 2 Peter 3:15.

Peter identified Paul as a “beloved brother” not an apostle.

2 Peter 3:15
15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

“Luke, who wrote about Paul in Acts, was not an eyewitness on the road to Damascus when the alleged appointment took place. Luke apparently joined Paul much later in Troas (Acts 16:10). What Luke says on Paul’s appointment is hearsay: he only says what he heard, or repeats what was told to him, most probably by Paul himself. Unless, of course, Luke was taking verbatim dictation from the Holy Spirit… but this cannot be as Luke himself says that his writings were a product of research from human sources (Luke 1:1-4)

As for Paul, he cannot be a witness because he is the subject of the inquiry. A respondent or an accused is different from his witnesses, as he is understandably prone to testify favorably, even if falsely, about himself. His testimony can be self-serving.

So how many witnesses are there to testify that the Lord appointed Paul as an apostle? None. Therefore, as the rule on two or three witnesses is not met, Paul’s apostleship is not established.”1

Paul is the only one who claims to be an apostle (Romans 1:1, 5, 11:13, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 4:9, 9:1-2, 15:9, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 5, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:1, 11, Titus 1:1). From the reading of select passages it would seem he was accused of lying about his apostleship, which he then felt the need to reaffirm his Gentile readers that he was telling the truth (1 Corinthians 9:1-2, 1 Timothy 2:7, Romans 9:1, 2 Corinthians 11:31, Galatians 1:20). In his letter to the Galatians, he is clearly on the defensive trying to justify his authority and appointment. After his conversion he tried to join himself to the disciples, but they didn’t believe him (Acts 9:26). The interesting fact is that Paul, when confronted, did not bring forth any witnesses, instead he swore an oath before God that he was not lying. This was prohibited by our Lord (Matthew 5:34-37, James 5:12). Why didn’t Ananias or any of the men that were with him on the Damascus road come forth to testify to his apostleship. Notice in five of his letters he had to defend himself by swearing, and not once did he mention any names who could corroborate his story. Ananias could have written a letter of testimony if he wasn’t able to appear in person. It is interesting that God would give a vision to Ananias (a mysterious unknown figure whose only role was to open Paul’s eyes and never to be heard from again), but not give a vision to any of the apostles. If God had done so, then the apostles wouldn’t have been afraid of him. God would send Peter visions to seek out Cornelius and accept Gentile converts, but not visions to accept Paul. Ananias and the men on the Damascus road are never mentioned again. There are also too many contradictions in his alleged conversion for it to be taken seriously at face value. Therefore, Paul’s apostleship cannot be established.

The Ascension

Jesus before he ascended into heaven, taught his disciples everything they needed to know (John 15:15). They were also given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to guide them and help them to remember everything Christ taught (John 14:26). Christ informed them that it was necessary for him to depart in order for them to receive the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). Based on these verses, the apostles were good to go. Christ would make his exit and the Holy Spirit would make his entrance. When Jesus ascended into heaven, two men in white apparel stood by the disciples, and told them that he’ll come back in a similar fashion. He ascended to heaven and is by His Father’s side and will return at the appointed time. Now if you buy into Saul’s story, then you are admitting several things: (a) Christ never left; (b) he came back to earth in a manner different from how the two men in Acts 1:11 described (Matthew 24:27, 30); (c) Christ is giving Paul personal revelations to guide the church, instead of it being led by the Holy Spirit; (d) Christ didn’t really have to leave for the Holy Spirit to come. Since he is physically on earth giving Paul direct revelations (Acts 23:11), all the while believers where being baptized, which meant both were still on their mission on earth; and (e) Christ’s mission on earth to train the apostles for 3 1/2 years was ineffective, even after the Holy Spirit was poured out on them during Pentecost, and therefore needed to appoint another. Basically, to accept Paul as an apostle would be to acknowledge that Yashua didn’t plan out things well enough.

John 16:7
7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Acts 1:11
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Jesus prophesied that there shall be false Christs, and false prophets. If anyone says, “Behold, he is in the DESERT; go not forth: behold, he is in the SECRET CHAMBERS; believe it not.” His return will not be localized (Matthew 24:23-27). These warnings for recognizing false Christs and false prophets fits Saul like a glove. Saul claimed to have an encounter with Jesus in the DESERT on the Damascus road. He also claimed the Lord physically appeared to him giving him personal revelations in his CHAMBERS (Acts 18:9-10, 23:11). It is interesting that Christ’s prophecy happens to mention the very same places Paul claimed to have met the Lord, in the exact same order.

Even the apostles who walked with Jesus for 3 1/2 years do not claim to have constant revelations from Jesus. When Peter and the apostles were arrested and imprisoned, it was an angel that freed them, not Jesus. Jesus had to depart in order for the Comforter to come (John 16:7). He would depart, but the Holy Spirit would be the one guiding the disciples. It seems highly unlikely to me that Jesus returned shortly after his ascension to give extra support and advice through Paul, an enemy of the church. But this is exactly what Paul claims, direct revelations from the Messiah himself. (Acts 9:5, 18:9-10, 20:35, 22:7-8, 23:11, 26:14-15; 1 Corinthians 7:10, 7:25, 14:37; 2 Corinthians 12, Galatians 1:11-12, 1 Timothy 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 4:1-2, 8)

John 15:15
15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Matthew 24:23-27
23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25Behold, I have told you before.
26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Acts 23:11
11And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Matthew 24:30
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH mourn, and THEY shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Well, one might ask, didn’t John have a Revelation? How is that any different? First of all, John did not claim an earthly encounter with the risen Lord after the Ascension as did Paul. Jesus warns believers not to believe anyone’s claim that He has returned to earth (Mathew 24:23-27). The next time anyone sees Jesus ON EARTH will be where every eye sees Him coming upon the clouds. John was instead whisked away into heaven, and saw Jesus seated at the right hand of God. He was in the spirit and carried away into the future on the Lord’s Day where he witnessed future events (Revelation 1:10, 4:2, 17:3, 21:10). Secondly, the revelation John received was written down for us in detail as he was instructed to do (Revelation 1:19). Paul, however, never writes down exactly Yashua’s words or revelations. Even when he wrote about being taken up to third heaven, he says he “heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” Basically he boasted of being caught up to heaven and was given amazing revelations, but then he says he can’t tell you. Why even mention that to begin with?! Compare that with John, Isaiah or Ezekiel glimpses of heaven. They would at least give you the reason. Paul on the other hand, doesn’t tell you what he sees or hears, only that his words were authorized by Yashua himself, as good as gold. Yeah, right! Thirdly, John was the beloved apostle. His apostleship is valid and can be trusted. After all, he occupies a throne in New Jerusalem. And lastly, his book doesn’t contradict the Master’s teachings or the Law.

Apostle to the Gentiles?

Paul boasts (take that to mean not humble) about being the appointed apostle to the Gentiles. In Acts 9, Paul claims that he was appointed to the Gentiles, yet the very next chapter we see God giving Peter the vision to grant Gentiles salvation. It was by Peter’s mouth the Gentiles received the gospel (Acts 15:7). If you stand back and look, in only one chapter God supposedly changes his mind after telling Paul of his charge to spread the gospel (Acts 26:17) and goes instead to send Peter to the Gentiles. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Paul claimed he was the one appointed to spread the gospel to the Gentiles, while Peter tells us the message for salvation for the Gentiles was through him. The way they received the message was also different. One was blinded while the other was given a vision. The irony of it all./p>

Acts 15:7
7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

Although Paul claimed to be an apostle of Jesus, he was at odds with the real apostles. He mocked and belittled the true disciples of Jesus to the point where he called them false apostles, while magnifying his own authority (Galatians 2:6, 9; 2 Corinthians 11:5, 12-13, 12:11). He even says he withstood Peter to the face because he did not walk uprightly. Even Barnabus got caught in the crossfire and was rebuked. There is no evidence in the book of Acts or any other place that this is even true. And even if it was, we never get to hear Peter’s side of the story. It would seem Paul was attempting to magnify his own authority to gain the trust of the Galatians. He even went so far as to pronounce a curse on anyone who would not accept his gospel, TWICE (Galatians 1:8-9). I cannot even imagine a pastor in this day and age preaching that kind of message. Christ warned us that there would be “false prophets that come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

Paul had never quoted Jesus, tells a story about his life, the miracles, and his teachings or includes any details about the Master’s walk. He had never sat down to learn at the Teacher’s feet. He simply did not know the Master. It does not even appear that he knows the gospels. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul says that, after Christ resurrected he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve and then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at once. Then he was seen of James, then all the apostles again and finally claims Jesus appeared to him. First of all, each of the gospel writers indicate that Mary was the first one to witness the resurrected Lord, but Paul puts Peter at the top of the list. Be mindful that Paul is making a chronological list of who Yashua appeared to after his resurrection, and Mary is not on it. Second, Paul says Christ appeared to the twelve. Judas had hung himself before the crucifixion, so there were only eleven apostles remaining, not twelve (Matthew 28:16, Mark 16:14, Luke 24:9, 33, Acts 1:26, 2:14). And Lastly, Paul said the Master appeared to more than 500 brethren at once. Yet we find in Acts 1:15, the disciples in those days numbered 120 and were all present and accounted for to receive the Holy Spirit as instructed by Jesus.

Ephesus commended for exposing Paul?

Paul wrote how he was abandoned by everyone in Asia. Even Titus, whom Paul regarded as a son after the common faith, had turned his back on him. I always thought it interesting how everyone just forsook him all at once. He doesn’t say that those who were with him left him, he says that EVERYONE in Asia deserted him. Either there was a great apostasy in Asia taking place, or Paul was found to be a liar and had a tough time convincing everyone of the title he gave himself (2 Corinthians 11:31, 13:3; Galatians 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:7). We know from the book of Revelation, Yashua commends the ekklesia at Ephesus for testing those who claimed they were apostles, and were not, calling them liars (Revelation 2:2). When we put two and two together, it’s very clear that the church at Ephesus ousted this heretic and false prophet.

2 Timothy 1:15
15This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

2 Timothy 4:9-16
9Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

2 Corinthians 1:8
8For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

2 Corinthians 11:31
31The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

Galatians 1:20
20Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Revelation 2:2
2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Paul in all his letters had never quoted Yashua, told a story about his life, his miracles, the parables, his teachings or included any details about his walk. He had never sat down to learn at the Teacher’s feet. He simply did not know the Master.

1 See Did Jesus really send Paul?

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