- Why Know Jesus?
- Rightly Dividing the Word of God
- Doctrinal Declarations of Faith
- The Providence Of God
- Fall Iinto Sin and the Corrupt State of Man
- God’s Eternal Decrees
- The Trinity
- Of Apostolic Faith
- The Attributes Of God
- Christ Jesus
- Mans Will and Free Will
- Election and Predestination
- True Faith Justification and Repentance
- Adoption and Sanctification
- The Perseverance of the Saints
- Assurance of Salvation and Good Works
- Doctrinal Studies
- The History of the Pentecostal Movement
- Errant Pentecostal Doctrines And False Apostles And Prophets Introduction
- Periods And Confirmations Of God’s Revelation
- The Foundation Of The Church
- The Baptism With The Holy Spirit and The Filling of The Holy Spirit According to Scripture
- Signs Wonders Healing And Miracles For Who And By Who?
- The Apostles The Difference Between True And False
- Real and False Prophets
- The Prophets Of The New Testament
- Personal Conclusions
- CAN A CHRISTIAN BEAR ARMS AND DEFEND HIMSELF AND OTHERS
- (Italiano) E’ BIBLICO PER UN CRISTIANO USARE LEGITTIMA DIFESA PER SE E PER ALTRI?
- The Sanctity of Life and Value of Human Life
- The Importance of the Family to God
- Roles In The Family As In The Church
- The Role of Man and the Responsibilities of a Husband
- The Role of the Woman and the Responsibilities of the Wife
- Responsibilities of Father and Mother to Teach Train and Discipline their Children
- The Responsibilities of The Children in the Family
- The Letter of Paul to the Romans Introduction
- Romans Chapter One
- Romans Chapter Two
- Romans Chapter Three
- Romans Chapter Four
- Romans Chapter Five
- Romans Chapter Six
- Romans Chapter Seven
- Romans Chapter Eight
- Romans Chapter Nine
- Romans Chapter Ten
- Romans Chapter Eleven
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 1-2
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 3-11
- (Italiano) Introduzione Alla Lettera di Paolo Ai Romani
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Uno
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Due
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Tre
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Quattro
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Cinque
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sei
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sette
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Otto
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Nove
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Dieci
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 11
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 1-3
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 4-11
- Mission Ministry
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The Apostles The Difference Between True And False
Today in both the Roman Catholic Church and the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church,I want to specify there is a parallelism between the practice of some of the doctrinesin both churches, there are some who declare and teach that today, as 2000 years ago, there are positions or the ministries of the Apostles and prophets and that these modern day Apostles as those of old perform miracles, healing and signs and wonders and that together with the prophets still receive direct and inspired revelations and prophecies from God.
Unfortunately, those who promote these doctrines are yet and still interpreting erroneously what the word of God teaches about these things. They, therefore, occupy positions and offices that are not in use today as they were when the foundation of the church was being built and the mystery of the church was being gradually revealed until it’s completed revelation.
This particular anointing and authority given to the Apostles wasto witness to the Jews and also the Gentiles of that time,that a new order of spiritual responsibility and authority was demonstrated, as a new authority was being transferred to the church, the body of Christ.
Paying close attention to what the Bible teaches about the relation of these positions of authority in the primitive church will help us be on guard against erroneous teachings today’s church.
The Lord had confirmed His signs and wonders and miracles to His Apostles for Kingdom authority, we said it several times already, a period of transition and transfer of authority from Kingdom to church, from Israel to church, from priesthood to apostles who were chosen to build the foundation of the church, the new institution, better called the body of Christ.
We have mentioned before, but it is good to refresh our memory, that after the year 70 AD (destruction of the Jewish temple and Jerusalem) is when God practically judged Israel for the rejection of the Messiah and His Kingdom. From that moment on God ceased to testify and to confirm His word to the Jews.
This means that the signs and wonders, inclusive of the speaking in true tongues, were beginning not to be necessary any longer, because the process of transfer of spiritual authority from OT to NT, from Israel to church was completed.
The last written book is said to be either Revelation or 1,2,3 John. However, all of these by 96 AD, all of the written revelation that God had wanted the church to have, was completed.
The Apostles’ work was validated by signs and wonders and have consolidated the faith of the church and established by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the written word of God of the NT 2 TIMOTHY 3:16 When all of the NT Scriptures were completed, no other inspired revelations or prophecies were necessary. The revelations and the doctrines of the Apostles first were passed on orally then were written for all the following generations, which we have today at our disposal.
In addition, there are some who claim, because of the poor and faulty understanding of how God has operated in the Bible and still is operating today, that all the things the Apostles did then are for all believers today, to all those who claim that the Apostles were not a unique and special group of people chosen by God for a determined mission for a determined period of time, to those who insist to say that God speaks through everyone in revelations, prophecies and that everybody indiscriminately can speak for God as they did and do what they did, to you dear brothers and sisters who insist to be named and to name apostles of Christ and prophets today, who say after all they were just men like we are, we can do the same things, to you who insist to say that you and others can have the same authority they did, I say BE CAREFUL, BE VERY CAREFUL!!!
Let’s see what God’s reaction was regarding the presumption and arrogance that some people had trying to usurp the spiritual authority God had ONLY given first to Moses and then also to Aaron. It is not all the same to the Lord, who chooses special men for special works and specific times.
Numbers 12:2-11 So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. 3(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) 4 Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. 5 Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” 9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. 11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. See also NUMBERS 16:3-35;NUMBERS 17:1-13.
Weare to take into consideration the attitude of Aaron and Miriam, the same exact attitude of those who today say the same things about the Apostles of Christ.
Do you think you can say the same things against God’s anointed Apostles and prophets, you can lower them or worse still lift yourself up in a position that is not yours? Do you not think that God’s response would be the same, since you are the greatest proponents of the Scripture that you use out of context that says “Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”?
If God is the same yesterday and today then do you still want to say the same thing Aaron and Miriam did? If it was sin then, would it be not sin now? The anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and Miriam turned leper.
This is interesting, why leper? Lepers had to be put out of the camp and could not serve God in ay capacity until they were restored.
Do you want to be spiritually unclean before God? Do you want God to exclude you from ministry and worship because you want to live in this sin? Aaron recognized their sinfulness, making of Moses a common man, that is ministerially speaking.
Yes, God does not have favorites, but He does choose certain individuals for certain times and for special tasks. We cannot try to usurp those positions when they are not for us to have. That is sinfulness and God will render the work of the person who does such a thing, unclean. You will lose the spiritual authority God has given you, if you try to usurp spiritual authority that God did not anoint you to have.
Did you also ever ask yourself why Miriam only turned leper? Because she was a woman, remember what Paul said about women in the NT ? 1 TIMOTHY 2: 12-13 She committed even a worse sin than Aaron. Many Miriams exist today don’t they? Well,as successful as they think their ministry might be, they are spiritual leppers and they do not even realize it.
It is extremely dangerous to want to usurp authority and positions God has not given and that God has given to special men, for a special work, in a special time, it is VERY DANGEROUS.
God shows us that He selected men for works that ONLY they were called for and for A TIME in which they were called to do it. Let’s STOP TRYING to force our will and erroneous doctrines and interpretations of Scripture to usurp the authority that God has established by His will and to try and change the times and things God has set in His program.
The Real Apostles
There is Scriptural evidence that there are ONLY three groupings of Apostles in the NT, All the Apostles called of Christ , who derive their position or office by the authority conferred them personally by Jesus Himself. We do find though that the term Apostle in Scripture has two different and distinct connotations. The title Apostle is used in a technical way and a general way.
The technical term of Apostle is Apostle of Christ
What does it mean to be an Apostle of Christ?
The Bible demonstrates that the first group of the Apostles were men personally selected by Jesus MATTHEW 10:1-4 and in LUKE 6:12-16, and JOHN 6:70; in which He nominates twelve men from which one was chosen to perdition.
In fact, the word Apostle in Greek means sent. Matthew and Mark use the title Apostles only once in reference to the twelve, that were indeed sent as missionaries to preach the Kingdom of God, not the Gospel, MATTHEW 10:2;MARK 6:30.
Luke instead uses the term more often and almost exclusively in reference to the twelve Luke 6:13; 9:10; 17:5; 22:14; 24:10;Acts 1:26; 2:43; 4:35,37; 5:2,12,18; 8:1.
The position of Apostle was a definite and permanent number of men tied to the direct choice of Jesus and to the witness of His resurrection. ( MATTHEW 19:28-30;LUKE 22:28-34;JOHN 21:15-18 ).
But already from before, obviously in God’s program, the twelve were chosen for a position of authority and work that was chosen and designated only for them MATTHEW 19:28.
Revelation 21:14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Pay attention to the use of the words and the symbolism in Scripture. The heavenly city is eternal and it is a real city it is also the representation of the church and the abode of the church JOHN 14:1-3.
This confirms then two things, the foundation of the church are the twelve Apostles and not Apostles of all the ages, exclusively the twelve. So the number of the twelve is eternally established and it is exclusive. TODAY THERE CANNOT BE ANY MORE APOSTLES OF CHRIST.
The Apostles that EPHESIANS 2:20 makes reference to as the foundation of the church then is referred only to the twelve plus Paul and only at the ones later nominated by them. Even they having had special qualifications that no one can claim to have today.
If you remember Matthias was chosen by the eleven Apostles because they had to choose one to replace Judas. After the eleven prayed they drew lots to see upon whom they would fall and Matthias was chosen. Some biblical scholars claim that Paul took the place amongst the twelve in the place of Matthias because Matthias was not one chosen directly by Christ, while Paul was the last one chosen by Christ. I prefer this last interpretation because Paul was indeed the last chosen Apostle by Christ personally Acts 9 and because of Matthias we hear no more, but of Paul, well the Bible says it all.
The prerequisites and qualifications needed to be considered one of the twelve, and subsequently to be those chosen by them as Apostles of Christ were special and unique.
To be considered one of the Apostles of Christ, one of the twelve Acts 1:21-22 explains “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
John 15:26-27 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
As mentioned, in Acts 9 the Lord Jesus chooses Paul as Apostle.
Paul, in fact, defends his apostolic calling with the qualification that qualifies him to be an Apostle in 1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
The Apostles are such: those who were with Jesus before the cross and the resurrection; those who were eye witnesses of the work, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord, together with Paul who had seen the resurrected; and ascended Lord even though he did not have the opportunity to walk with Jesus during His earthly ministry and was not part of the original twelve.
So the first group of Apostles are the Twelve including Paul.
In 1 CORINTHIANS 15:5-10 Paul describes the Gospel and concentrates on the resurrection of the Lord and the events that surrounded His resurrection and the appearing of Jesus during a period of the 40 days following His resurrection.
In verse 5 Paul says He appeared to Cephas and then “the twelve”
In verses 6-9 Paul says 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
In verse 8 Paul declares he is the last of all who saw he risen Lord, yes, it is he the last one chosen by Jesus personally by His own authority and will. So that today any person who claims to be an Apostle chosen by the authority of Jesus Christ is a false Apostle and a liar. Not according to me but Scripture. Paul was the last one who Christ chose to be Apostle.
So we see that after the resurrection of the Lord the Twelve is a permanent and definite number assigned only to those who Jesus Christ had chosen personally for salvation and for this particular office and work. Obviously, this does not mean that only they had witnessed the appearance of the resurrected Christ. The term Twelve in addition identifies the group that began walking with Jesus from John the Baptist on.
In 1 CORINTHIANS 15:7 we notice another group people whom were considered apostles apart from the twelve mentioned in verse 5.
Another requirement to be considered an Apostle of Christ was that Jesus Himself had to have taught them doctrine personally 1 CORINTHIANS 15:3 and GALATIANS 1:1 and GALATIANS 1:12.
The twelve and some of the other Apostles were commissioned and chosen to be the foundation of the church. In an example of this Jesus, after His resurrection, performed a prophetic gesture regarding the receiving of the Holy Spirit when He breathed upon them and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit indicating as well the unity and the authority conferred by Jesus to them in forgiving and retaining sins when they preached the Gospel. This is found in JOHN 20:22-23.
At this juncture we must re-open a parenthesis that will re-connect us to the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the Spirit in the life of the believers. This passage is important because this Scripture is not at all as some retain saying, that Jesus gave the eleven a measure of the Holy Spirit and then gave them the fulness on the day of Pentecost. We cannot build an entire doctrine in those two verses, when it is not supported in no other part of the Bible. Instead it is contradicted by the fact that the Holy Spirit came into the world to live, to dwell permanently in the church, therefore inside EVERY believer. He begins this ministry the day of Pentecost. Otherwise we are as guilty of doing with the Scriptures the same thing the Roman church does.
JOHN 20:22-23 instead was one more confirmation that Jesus had chosen them to receive the Holy Spirit the day of Pentecost and to be those who received a special mandate from Him.
We have to remember that in the OT times the Holy Spirit did not dwell inside the believer.
The temple of the Holy Spirit from Pentecost on are ALL those who are born again of the Spirit of Christ.
In the OT the Holy Spirit would come upon the believer, but did not dwell permanently inside the believer. The Temple of God was at first the Tabernacle then the Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, the Apostles were already believers even before the episode of JOHN 20:22-23. See MATTHEW 16:16-17;LUKE 10:20;JOHN 6: 68-69;JOHN 13:10.
So according to the doctrine of the operation of the Holy Spirit in the OT, the Holy Spirit was already upon them but not inside them.
John 14:16-18 And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Notice Jesus’ words, the Spirit dwells with them, present tense, and will be in them, future tense.
The dwelling of the Holy Spirit inside the believer is exclusively a ministry of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost and never before. Certainly it is Jesus who baptizes ALL believers with the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit although being God is submitted in the operative authority of Jesus Christ and the Father. He does not operate on His own. JOHN 16:13-15
So I am in full agreement that it is Jesus who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, Amen! I am not, however, in agreement as to how and when this occurs in the life of the believer. I remain convinced by how it has been already confirmed by Scripture in this study, that the Pentecostal doctrine in regard to the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit is erroneous. ALL born-again believers receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. They receive not a measure of the Spirit but ALL of the Holy Spirit, they are baptized into the body of Christ, sealed for the day of redemption.
While we would never deny the episodes in question Acts 2; Acts 8; Acts 10 and 19 and how in those four cases and in those four cases only, supported by Scripture, there was the baptism with the Holy Spirit confirmed by the speaking in real languages, I repeat real languages of the world, of people and nations, not the gibberish that is spoken today, these real languages confirmed to and by the Apostles and to Israel that this was God’s work, confirmed by the OT prophecy of ISAIAH 28:11
These facts I will repeat them at nausea and infinity, because the Bible sustains the facts that foreign languages were a sign to Israel, of judgment prophesied in the Law 1 CORINTHIANS 14:22-23, and the confirmation that God was adding all ethnic groups into the church, a sign for the circumcised, for a purpose and a time. I will also repeat, that the Bible confirms without the shadow of a doubt, that God has operated in certain ways through signs and wonders for Israel during times when He would be giving new revelations and new authority to His people.
God is not obligated by any human doctrine, specially doctrines in His holy word which are wrongly interpreted , to continue to operate in the same way today, when it is no longer necessary for His program. Today it is no longer necessary. Today in the post-apostolic church God is not offering any longer the Kingdom to Israel, He is no longer offering signs of judgment and confirmation of a transitional period to His people. The Jews for a time have been and are under God’s judgment until the end of the age when the entire nation of Israel will be converted to Messiah Yeshua.
The Second group: The Apostles chosen in base of the number quoted in 1 CORINTHIANS 15:7 confirmed by the twelve and Paul, through the special selection of Christ eventually because they were witnesses of the risen Christ (see James and Jude half brothers of Jesus for example or Philip and Baranbas).
In addition, we must say that although perhaps some Apostles of this second group were nominated Apostles after the others, they ALL had the same qualifications. They saw the risen Christ, they were with Him during the 40 days He spent with them before His ascension, they were most likely chosen and confirmed by Him during that time. Nevertheless , it suffices to say that under these conditions NO ONE CAN BE AN APOSTLE today. Today the qualifications are not in place for men to be Apostles. Their spiritual authority was not transferable to others by them.
Secondly, they were CONSTITUTED to be Apostles they did not work their way up to being them, such as happens with the Roman catholic succession, first priest, then monsignor, then bishop, cardinal, finally pope. Do not rejoice yet, because it is the same in the Pentecostal churches. First you are elder, then perhaps pastor, then you become apostle. It does not work this way biblically. They were Apostles from the start, they had to do a special work the Lord assigned to them only, they did it, let’s move on now.
Let’s heed Paul’s advice that mirrors what I mentioned before about the episode of Moses, Aaron and Miriam.
Romans 12:3-6a For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:
The Third group: The Apostles of the Church, those sent by the church as missionaries and workers of the Gospel who did not have Apostolic authority, those who today are called Missionaries and Evangelists.
The term Apostle is used in the Bible also to refer to specific men that is distinctly different from the office of the Twelve, Paul and the others from the second group. These are messengers sent, we find this described in 2 CORINTHIANS 8:23
where they are called apostles of the church and not Apostles of Christ. There is a big difference between the two. As we did mention, the office, the position and ministry of the Apostle, was reserved to a specific group of men, those hand-picked by Jesus Himself and some men of a second group nominated by the Apostles who all together form the Apostles to whom were given a special mandate. A special work was given to do. It was a temporary mandate, specific and temporary until the foundation of the church was laid and the NT canon of Scripture was completed.
An apostle of the church was a man chosen by the church and sent (apostle in Greek means sent) sent by the local church. Why does the term missionary not exist in the Bible? Because instead in the Bible is used the word apostle.
I believe that the title missionary was chosen by the church purposely now to create confusion between this kind of ministry and the true Apostles of Christ and to avoid the erroneous conclusion some denominations still stating there are still Apostles of Christ.
At that time for the church it was easy to distinguish who were the Apostles of Christ and those of the church. You will say that I had mentioned evangelists and that evangelists are indeed mentioned in the Bible Ephesians 4 and other passages and that, therefore, we cannot call an evangelist an apostle. It is true in a sense but not really. We cannot call an evangelist an apostle of Christ as well as no one can usurp that specific title and office today as well as then.
But all churches call their evangelists, missionaries. The title missionary means what? One sent on a mission to evangelize. A missionary is always sent by a local church. So if we do the math what do we get? Missionary = Evangelist = Sent by a local church = Apostle (sent) of the church.
The distinction is between the first two groups and the third one. The apostles of the church do not have the same spiritual authority and mandate the Twelve, Paul and some of the others had. They are not called to do the same things.
The False Apostles
Paul was the last Apostle chosen directly by Jesus, not only in the chronological order but also in the office of Apostle, the last Apostle. In other words, after him there were no more. This is why he could so easily identify false apostles. Amongst them they were all known to each other, so if someone was not one of them they could easily recognize him as false. The problem was that the false apostles would go around in the churches when Paul and the others were not around and they would present themselves to the churches with credentials of real Apostles of Christ, with the same office and authority of the real ones. They would come in attempting to disqualify the real Apostles and introduce false doctrines and heresies, trying to attract proselytes for themselves. They were trying to suppress and discredit the true Apostolic work and to usurp the authority of the real Apostles. Sound familiar? The way it is done today! This sad reality was present is confirmed by Jesus Himself and other Scriptures :
Revelation 2:2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
For this reason also Paul warned the churches that already in those days they were threatened by these false apostles and that their work was generated by Satan and not by God. But the same method to identify false apostles is the same today for us. Today it should even be easier, why?
Because as we have previously said, the twelve were with Jesus from the Baptism to His ascension, and were chosen by Jesus Himself. They were all witnesses of His resurrection, this included Paul,that did not walk with Jesus but was chosen by Him directly and saw the risen Christ.
So this was the major group of the Apostles, the others who were not chosen directly by Jesus but were men who were a part of those who witnessed the risen Christ. Perhaps some even walked with Him during His earthly ministry and were together with the twelve on the day of Pentecost.
The third grouping of apostles are the ones who were chosen by the church and not by Christ directly, these are the ones who today are called missionaries and evangelists.
They did not necessarily walk with Jesus neither did they see Him risen. Seen then that in Paul’s days the real Apostles of Christ was a very exclusive and restricted group, known to each other and with qualifications impossible to counterfeit, it was easy to identify who they all were.
Today it is even easier to identify the false apostles, because after the death of John, last of the real Apostles of Christ and the death of those of the second group, no other real Apostle of Christ existed with that specific office and qualifications. Not only because the position was temporary but also because no one today can have the same qualifications they did to be a real Apostle of Christ.
This is why those who declare themselves Apostles by the authority of Christ are impostors and they are false, today even worse then at that time. Today they could have never even had the remote possibility of having walked with Jesus in person, they did not witness His resurrection visibly, they did not ever see the risen Christ with their own eyes, He did not choose them personally neither has He taught them revealed direct doctrine, they are not Jewish, since all of the Apostles of Christ were. Another point needs to be made, to all these impostors who go around declaring themselves to be Apostles of Christ. Let the facts be known, the twelve and Paul with the exception of John were ALL made martyrs for Christ. Let me ask you, are you still sure you want to be an Apostle of Christ? Be ready then to die for Jesus.
Yes, for this reason those who declare themselves Apostles are the ones who recommend themselves, they deceive themselves and sadly many others as well to follow their false authority that does not certainly come from God.
Most of them are not willing to carry their cross daily, denying themselves and follow Christ. They preach at others to do it, but they instead love their position, the power, the office, the ministry and having authority over people. Sound familiar ? Matthew 23 Many do it for lucre and they take advantage, manipulate with fear tactics, steal money from gullible people, they lord it over their deceived followers 1 TIMOTHY 6:5;TITUS 1:11;1 PETER 5:2-3;2 PETER 2:15; Jude 16 . They operate in the flesh and if some false revelation, because false it has to be, or some false miracle occur it happens even because Satan can operate false miracles, signs and wonders and give false revelations. Certainly some come from demonic power or from the carnal religious and spiritually proud minds of these false apostles. Satan, remember, has the deceiving power to perform counterfeit signs and wonders and the power to deceive many, making it look as if his miracles were done by God. He will deceive many, even the elect if it were possible. Thank God it’s not possible that the elect be deceived.
Matt 24:24-25 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
2 Thessalonians 9-12 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
If you think that this is only something that will occur in the future, be warned it is not completely true. In fact, the spirit of antichrist has been working since the days of the new born church.
1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
How do you think the devil wants to deceive people? By doing things that are completely contrary to God or by counterfeiting what God does in such a way he can make it pass for God’s doing?
The answer is clear. He will deceive making it pass for God’s doing, that is how he will convince people to follow his ways. Paul describes men like this in
2 Timothy 3:1-9 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
Paul compares them to Jannes and Jambres. Who were these men? These were Pharaoh’s magicians who were able to duplicate some of the signs and wonders Moses performed. Paul describes these false apostles/ministers the same way these men were, having the ability to deceive with false signs and wonders. Men who have a form of godliness but they deny the power of it. Miracles, signs wonders, is that the power Paul talks about? No, the power they deny is love and truth, read the context. They deceive weak and gullible people, they oppose themselves to the truth, they have a corrupt mind and are disapproved concerning the faith.
The description of these men is right in line with all the other descriptions made in Scripture by the real Apostles describing the false apostles, prophets and teachers.
A recurring theme in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is his concern with false apostles. The church was in danger and still is today, attacked by false apostles who were trying and are trying even today to discredit Paul’s authority and the authority of true Apostolic doctrine, still today as then trying to usurp the true Apostle’s authority, deceiving and rendering believers prisoners to their false doctrines and manipulations.
Already in the beginning of 2 Corinthians Paul asks in 2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?
Again in 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us–a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
Just think at what Paul is saying in this passage, even as Apostles of Christ they did not do as they pleased, they did not boast, even they had limits of the sphere which God appointed them verse 13.
Instead that is what he was describing the false apostles doing, what they love to do, they proudly commend themselves, instead of demonstrating the work of God in them by the fruit of the Spirit and true sanctification. They are at the end the religious pharisees because they measure themselves by themselves, by comparing their religiosity and image instead that of Christ and His word. In fact, Paul concludes this passage in verse 17-18 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
The false apostles are not commended by God because the Lord does not commend a person who attempts to usurp and to falsify a position that God has not given them. These people delude themselves to have authority given to them by Christ, but in reality they do not have any kind of spiritual authority. They are spiritual lepers like Miriam, when she and Aaron tried to usurp Moses’ authority. Going on in the letter there is an exhortation and a warning of Paul, who describes the falsity of these false apostles, he warns us today as well.
2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly–and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it! 5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things. 7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
We also want to cut off the opportunity to those who desire an opportunity to be regarded as the real Apostles in that which they boast. As Paul says,they are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into Apostles of Christ, you remember whose title this is? The twelve, Paul and a selected group chosen by them.
Yes, they are ministers of Satan, both those who know in their heart they are false and those who really are deceived into thinking they are. Whether they know it or not they serve the devil trough their carnality and the erroneous interpretation of Scripture. They are disguised as ministers of righteousness but their end will be according to their works MATTHEW 7:15-23
For the real Apostles the sound doctrine and the study of Scripture, the teaching of the word of God, the preaching of the word of God and the application of the same in the life of the believer were certainly the things after biblical love and the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, the most important things for the church.
For the false Apostles instead, those who recommend themselves and auto-declare their authority, signs, wonders, healing and speaking in gibberish are the most important things. Only their own revelations and prophecies, that are all of private and erroneous interpretation to them and their followers become the valid word of God. They undermine true Apostolic doctrines and elevate their own above them.
Only when they give out of context Scriptures and the majority of the times subjectively interpreted, only those to them is the true and right interpretation of the passages they declare.
However, in the desert Jesus was tempted by Satan with God’s word taken out of context. Jesus answered him, “ It is written” and cited the proper Scripture in the right context, with the proper interpretation, MATTHEW 4:1-10;LUKE 4:1-12
After all Jesus, God in the flesh, knew how to use the word of God correctly and He used it correctly. He is the word of God John 1 What did Jesus teach us?
He did not answer Satan with visions or revelations or prophecies and He would have had the right to do it since He is the word of God, but he instead chose to give even us the right example about what to do, things that we better observe and practice as well. He used written Scripture.
It would be good that if we also want to receive revelations from God, instructions for our life, encouragement, exhortation, correction, we better go see what “Is written”! The real and true Apostles have written for us, the church of Jesus Christ, ALL the revelations and prophecies of God necessary; we have read this in 2 TIMOTHY 3:15-17.
This for us should be more than sufficient, but unfortunately for many, false apostles and false prophets and those who follow them, whose flesh, not faith, go after the Bible, the written word, the Sacred Scriptures, the Apostolic doctrines, are not word of God enough.
Oh yes, if you ask them if they believe the Bible is the infallible, inerrant and only word of God they will answer emphatically, yes! In reality however, as the Roman church does, they believe in revelations and prophecies declared today of much more authority than the written word, the word written by the true Apostles and prophets.
They corrupt the real word of God and use it for their own spiritual manipulating schemes. They never retain it necessary to properly study or encourage others to study the real word of God and to interpret it with the prescribed methods, first because that is not “spiritual” enough they say. They, in fact, condemn those who study the word and those to who the Bible is enough revelation of God. Yes, to accept only the Bible as the true word of God is not “spiritual” enough they say.
They call those who do this not spiritual and not filled with the Holy Spirit, they accuse us to be Pharisees and as the doctors of the law at Jesus’ times, the ones He condemned. They, in fact, condemn those who study to show themselves approved unto God a workmen who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Is this not after all what is being commanded by true Apostolic doctrine?
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The false apostles, taking out of context Scripture, instead quote about themselves.
1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things
and 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
They do not at all surprise me when they apply these Scriptures only to themselves. In other words, the others it seems do not have the anointing of the Holy Spirit and they have to depend on their, revelations, prophecies, teachings and interpretations.
They declare that the Holy Spirit only gives us the answers and the interpretations and the revelations. This is true, but it has been given by Christ to the church, pastors, teachers that are anointed and gifted by the Spirit to teach and interpret right?
The false apostles and prophets instead insist that they are not in need to be taught by any one, using as mentioned the passage we read above. Only they can teach and reveal the truth of the word of God through the Spirit. These are those who have and teach the doctrines of the Nicolatians
They are the ones who teach a type of Roman Catholicism disguised as Evangelicalism.
They use these Scriptures to justify their arrogance and presumption,their spiritual pride to demonstrate to their followers how God reveals to them through direct revelations.
They do not need any one to teach them. The false apostles are exactly like the pope and the Vatican Council, infallible, inerrant in the revelations and prophecies, visions and dreams they have, while they accuse others when the Scripture is correctly interpreted. They condemn those as liars and heretics and Pharisees. They on the other hand,are the super apostles and super spiritual, the same ones Paul condemned in his letters.
Their behavior and attitude is exactly the same as the Nicolatians did in those days, their doctrines which Jesus hates REVELATION 2:6
These false apostles preach and twist and interpret the word of God their own way, they say doctrine is not important after all, doctrine divides, doctrine is not spiritual. They say that what counts is the love of God, which they falsify deceiving others and themselves. They claim what counts is to be guided by the Holy Spirit as they explain means receiving new revelations and prophecies in a special way through them, not to study, meditate and obey the written word.
They will call you disobedient and rebellious if you do not listen to their false doctrines, false revelations, false prophecies and private interpretations of the Scripture and if you do not allow them to manipulate you, if you do not fear that which they say and declare to be the very own word of God. These false ones interpret erroneously the passage where Paul says “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.” 2 CORINTHIANS 3:6
They do it to minimize the study of the written word and the true Apostolic doctrines and to justify more and more the revelations they supposedly receive, they say from the Holy Spirit. Paul instead in 2 Corinthians 3 is speaking of the letter of the law God wrote in tablets of stone Exodus 20 not of Scripture itself. Jesus in JOHN 6:63,in fact, said that His words are Spirit and life.
Predominantly we notice that they, the false apostles and prophets preach and prophesy their own revelations and in those cases when they use the written word it is almost always OT Scriptures, when they do use the NT Scriptures it is almost always in conjunction with signs, wonders, miracles, healing, prosperity and judgment toward those who oppose them and to sustain their own fallacies. Peter well describes them in 2 Peter 2:17-18 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
Scripture instead exhorts us in Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
However, to those who prove these to be false apostles receive words of approval by Jesus
Revelation 2:2-3 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
This brings us to examine the other elements that we usually find associated with the false apostles, the false prophets. Yes, we always find them together such as the cat and the fox in the story of Pinocchio and are deceivers and liars as they were.