Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mr. Armstrong's Role Part 3 - Did John the Baptist Fulfill the Role of an Apostle?

This post is a continuation of the last post in this series. This series of posts is a refutation of some points made in an article, "Just What is an APOSTLE?", published by Church of God in Wales (COGIW). In the first post is a link to their website.

The COGIW article tries to show that Mr. Armstrong was an apostle and his teachings should not be changed or questioned. I have no problem considering Mr. Armstrong to be an apostle, but I disagree with the idea that his teachings should not be changed or questioned even when the Bible shows they are in error.

The COGIW article, in chapter 2, tries to build a case that John the Baptist fulfilled an apostle-like role. The article presents two reasons. One, John the Baptist was "sent", which the article says is the very meaning of apostle. But a prophet is also sent, yet is not an apostle. Apostle and prophet are two different offices. Jesus Christ was both, but just because John the Baptist was sent does not mean his role was like that of an apostle. The prophets were also sent, but that does not make them apostles.

The second reason the COGIW article gave is the fact that Jesus said that John the Baptist was a prophet, and more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9-10). Since the only higher office in the Church than prophet is apostle, this suggests that "more than" a prophet indicates an apostle-like role.

But that phrase "more than a prophet" does not necessarily indicate that John the Baptist's role was that of an apostle. It could simply mean that John the Baptist was more than an ordinary prophet, that there was something special about him. That thing that was special was that he was fulfilling a prophesied role. Most prophets are not themselves prophesied about, but John was. This makes him more than an just an ordinary prophet.

Let's look at this passage.

"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.' Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come" (Matthew 11:9-14).

Jesus did not say that John was more than a prophet because he was an apostle or fulfilled the role of an apostle. He said he was more than a prophet because he was the prophesied Elijah to come. That is a special role, a special office, a special honor. Look at the wording Christ used. "I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written..."

Look at that word "for", in "for this is he...". That word "for" indicates cause and effect. It indicates that what follows "for" is the reason for what precedes it. You could almost use the word "because". He was more than a prophet because it was written of him that God would send a messenger to prepare the way for Christ. Not because he was an apostle or fulfilled an apostle-like role.

Perhaps in some ways John's work and ministry was similar to that of an apostle, but you can't prove it by these scriptures. And as I pointed out in my first post in this series, an apostle is one whom Christ calls or names an apostle, and in the Bible Christ does not call John the Baptist an apostle.

From here the COGIW article says that there is a prophesied apostle to appear at the end time.

No, that is not true. There is a prophecy that there will be an Elijah to come, after John the Baptist, presumably at the end time to prepare for Christ's second coming, who will restore all things. But nowhere have I found in the Bible any prophecy that this man will be an apostle.

The Elijah to come in our time to restore "all things" (and I think Mr. Armstrong was that man) does not necessarily have to be an apostle. I think Mr. Armstrong was probably an apostle in God's sight, but not because he was the Elijah to come.

Nowhere does the Bible say that the Elijah to come would be an apostle.


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