Some questions that I will be answering about the 12 disciples should help you to get a better understanding about what it means to be a disciple and who the Messiah chose to be his disciples in his day.
We will also see how a person is appointed to be a disciple today and the authority that the Apostles were given.
What Does the Word Disciple Mean?
The word “Disciple”
Greek concordance number 3101
mathetes math-ay-tes’ from 3129; a learner, i.e. pupil:–disciple.
We can see here that the disciples were in training up until the time that the Messiah was sacrificed and resurrected.
What Does the Word Apostle Mean?
Messiah Choosing Apostles
2Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
The word “Apostle”
Greek concordance 652
apostolos ap-os’-tol-os from 649; a delegate; specially,
an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”) (with miraculous powers):–apostle, messenger, he that is sent.
Here you can see that the word apostle means one that is “SENT”. which is evident in Acts 1:2, where we are told that the Messiah chose the disciples (so these two terms can be used interchangeably, but more specifically you would become an Apostle after being a disciple) and sent them out to teach “all nations”, as seen below:
16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
So we see that the 11 were named Apostles after the Messiah had resurrected, as it was not until the Messiah resurrection that he sent them out to teach all nations not just Israelite’s.
You can find the 12 discples that the Messiah originally chose below:
(1) Simon Peter (Simon bar Jonah) Markk 3:16
(2) Andrew (Peters brother)
(3) James (son of Zebedee Johns borther)
(4) James (son of Alphaeus) Acts 1:13
(5) John (James brother names sons of thunder by the Messiah i.e. Bo-aner’ges
(6) Philip from the Bethsaida of Galilee John 1:44,12:21
(7) Bartholomew or Nathanael son of Talemai John 21:2
(8) Matthew or Levi son of Alphaeus (The tax collector) Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27
x Judas Iscariot
(12) Matthias (Replaced Judas Iscariot, after the Messiah left)
You will find a list of the 12 disciples in three books of the bible, they are Matthew (Matthew 10), Mark and Luke
How the 12th Replacement Apostle was Chosen
Here is how the 12th Apostle was chosen to replace Judas who betrayed the Messiah:
15And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
16Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
17For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
18Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
19And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
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.
23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
We see that Matthias was chosen from those that were present when the Messiah was taken up into heaven. The other person that were selected before Matthias was chosen was Joseph called Barnabas, who was surnamed Justus.
Clearly after reading the scriptures it is wrong to say that Judas was one of the 12 Apostles (i.e. one sent to teach all nations) although clearly he was a disciple. Lets remember the Messiah only sent his disciples out to teach after his death and resurrection which is when he knew they would be ready.
The Messiah always knew that Judas would betray him as can bee seen:
70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
There is no way that he would have ever appointed him as an Apostle, as he did the “11”. Although it is clear he sent him out with the disciples to teach other Israelite’s before his resurrection:
5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
The Gifts That the 12 Disciples Were Given
If we read the book of Matthew we see as well the disciples being taught by the Messiah he also gave them gifts so that they would be more effective in their teachings such as the power over unclean spirits, so they could cast them out and heal sicknesses:
1And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Being Appointed As An apostle
It is evident that the Messiah is to appoint a person as a an Apostle, which he can do through men that he has already appointed as seen in Acts 1:23-26 or by him self and the use of the Holy spirit, as is most famously noted with Paul’s Journey to Damascus:
17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Read the whole of chapter 9
It is clear here that the Messiah can appoint men as apostles and fill them with the Holy Spirit by his own power, and by giving directions to men accordingly.
So we see that to be a an Apostle is to be sent out to all nations, not just to the nation of Israel as we see with the 12 Israelite Apostles who were sent to teach the good news to all nations.
Peace and Shalom.