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The Apostles: Progressive Revelation

The Apostles

The New Testament apostles were specially handpicked by the Lord or by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:1 – 4; Acts 1:26).

They were the special recipients of God’s self – revelation and were aware that God was providing Revelation through them (1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 1:1 – 3).

They were aware of their special divine authority (1 Corinthians 7:10; 11:23).

Scripture reveals that Christ promised to guide them into all the truth (John 16:13; 14:26; 15:27).

Two key factors show the utter uniqueness of the apostles. First, they were all authenticated by miraculous signs.

In Acts 2:43, we read that everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles (Acts 3:3 – 11; 5:12; 9:32 – 42; 20:6 – 12.

Second, 12 of the apostles were granted and eternal place of honor. In the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, the description reads: “ And the wall of the city had 12 foundation stones, and on them were than 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.” (verse 14).

There can be no apostles today, for an apostle had to be an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7 – 8).

Further, the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 219 – 20), and once a foundation is built, it is not need to be built again.

The apostles were men of God who spoke the Word of God to the people of God to the glory of God


Progressive Revelation

God provided Revelation to humankind in progressive stages, with basic revelations in Old Testament times and fuller  revelations in New Testament times. This is called progressive revelation. By the time the New Testament era was over, God had revealed all He had intended to through the prophets and the apostles.

The doctrine of the Trinity is an example. Early in the course of God’s self – disclosure to humankind, He first revealed that He is one and that He is the only true God (Deuteronomy 6:4).

This was a necessary point for God to start His self – revelation, for throughout historyIsraelwas surrounded by nations deeply engulfed in polytheism (the belief in many gods).

Through the prophets, God communicated and affirmed toIsraelthe truth that there is only one true God.

So God’s unity and oneness is the clear emphasis in the Old Testament revelation. But this is not to say that it contains no hints foreshadows of the doctrine of the Trinity, for indeed it does (Isaiah 48:16).

But God did not reveal the fullness of this doctrine until New Testament times (Matthew 3:16 – 17; 20:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

By reading the Old Testament in the greater light of the New Testament, we find supporting evidences for the Trinity there.

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