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HitMan Ministries
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Qualifications of an Apostle

The qualifications for an apostle according to the scriptures are listed as follows:

1) He must be born again according to the scriptures, and have seen and been commissioned by the physically resurrected Lord and Savior Yeshua Moshiach (Jesus Christ).
2) He must know the divine mysteries of God and revelation of who Yeshua the Messiah is as well as understand the correct way to lead others to salvation in Him.
3) He must operate in divinely ordained miraculous power according to the Word of GOD as required by the office.
4) He must be humble and never seek self-promotion but always be extremely reverent and careful to give ALL the glory to God as the source and strength of his ministry.
5) An apostle must be a man/male as a point of divine order as established by the LORD from the beginning of mankind and the establishment of the Church of Christ.

There has been quite a bit of controversy in recent years as to what constitutes a true apostle of the Lord. Some use the term loosely and make it equivalent to such terms as “bishop”; using it in an Episcopalian manner in promoting others within the ranks of their organization. Some have said they received their apostleship by way of prophecy through the Holy Ghost via another apostle or prophet and were then consecrated into the office. These consecration ceremonies are often elaborate, non-biblical, and rife with catholic, pagan clothing and symbolism which make them demonic and carnal. This has bred confusion in the Body of Christ as to who the true apostles of today are and as to how an apostle is known or called. I would venture to say that neither of the two methods described above are in line with the biblical pattern and therefore invalid which would mean those walking in the title based on such are only doing just that; walking in the title and not the office. The Church has the right and the obligation to examine and prove all who claim apostleship to see whether or not they are false apostles. REVELATIONS 2:2"I 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". However, there are tactful ways of doing such things so as not to make the process a "witch hunt" and defeat the purpose. Until a person is proven to be otherwise it is a matter of respect and good behavior that we call them by the title they claim. 

An apostle is the epitome of humility, and most who claim the title lack this most important ingredient which is why they can't manifest the office in deed and only have a title. In the book of Acts chapters 3 & 14 the apostles Peter and Paul both made it clear and in no uncertain terms that they were mere men, and gave all the glory to God for the miraculous works that were done through them. I personally believe that the primary reason that we are not seeing the full manifestation of the apostolic office is due to a lack of humility among those who claim to be so called. God cannot trust them with such miraculous power and authority because of braggadocio and pride. Some may be walking very strongly in the prophetic office and feel they are in line for a promotion to that of the apostle, but that is not the same as walking in the apostolic office. Many haven't maximized the current ministerial office they have or been properly prepared for the next level, but often out of pride and vain ambition they seek to take that which is not rightfully theirs in the Kingdom of God as if pursuing a secular career in a Fortune 500 company. A title without the proof is just a fantasy often based in the self-indulgent delusion of one's person and not reality. All appointments and anointings are given by the King of the Kingdom himself in the person of Adonai Yeshua (Lord Jesus), and the Holy Spirit will validate or invalidate all claims in due time in judgment.

2nd CORINTHIANS 11:12-15"But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." 

The apostleship does not come by organizational nomination or election. It can be foretold and confirmed by prophecy but cannot be commissioned by man. There are those today who call themselves “chief apostle” or “chiefest apostle”, and take the scriptural intent of the terms “chief” and “chiefest” out of context to promote flesh. They are snared in pride and I seriously doubt their apostleship. Let us look again at the biblical pattern of the calling and making of an apostle. ACTS 1:21-22“Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning 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” .  The preceding scripture was declared by the apostles through Peter as to the selection of one to replace Judas Iscariot so that the number of “the twelve” would be complete again prior to the day of Pentecost and reception of the promise of the Holy Ghost. It was necessary that things be in proper order in particular before the fulfillment of the Lord’s words. Long after the day of Pentecost we see the apostle Paul being called into the apostleship and stating his qualifications in 1st CORINTHIANS 9:1“Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?”.  

Notice the one criterion that stays consistent is having been a witness to the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. This cannot be dismissed and sets the pattern for all other proceeding apostles. If one has not been a witness to the resurrected Christ and commissioned by him then how can one’s apostleship be valid in light of these scriptures? Furthermore there is another element of the apostolic office that is often overlooked and is found in 2nd CORINTHIANS 12:12“Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds”. Again, this cannot be dismissed and makes it very clear that the working of miracles, signs, and wonders are to characterize the apostolic office. This is not an administrative appointment to which many have diminished it down to. In fact the term “apostle” means “one who is commissioned as a commissioner with miraculous or divine power”. If one does not operate in this miraculous or divine power in confirmation of the word of GOD, of which these signs follow, as clear evidence to validate their calling then their apostleship is invalid and not genuine based on the scriptures. These are not parlor tricks but genuine manifestations of Yeshua himself at work in the apostle exercising Christ's dominion in the earth. Furthermore, if they don't have the correct divine revelation of Yeshua the Messiah as God Almighty manifested in the flesh according to the scriptures as it pertains to the Godhead then they are clearly false apostles. We have a lot of "title grabbers" in our midst that are not the genuine article. 

A true apostle must also understand what constitutes being "born again" in terms of a person's entrance into the Kingdom of God as it pertains to salvation according to the scriptures, such as is found in the words of the Lord in JOHN 3:5"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." If you are reading this and claim apostleship but don't understand what I am alluding to then you are definitely not an apostle or you would know. YAH does not commission apostles or prophets with the wrong message or a lack of true revelation concerning his person and salvation. Apostles and Prophets are stewards of the divine secrets and mysteries of God himself. How can you be one if you don't understand the divine mystery about God himself? The LORD won't use such a person to build or establish a foundation of any kind in the Kingdom of God because it would be doing so on a faulty foundation such as sand, and it would never stand as a work of GOD. If you start out wrong then you end up wrong and so do all of those who are following you. The lack of such knowledge and revelation disqualifies a person from being an apostle or a prophet.

1st CORINTHIANS 4:1"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."

Some have argued that the commission of Paul and Barnabas was by voice of the Holy Ghost through the prophets and teachers gathered at Antioch without need of the above listed criteria. ACTS 13:2-3; “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away”.  This is about 8-years after Paul’s personal encounter with Christ on the Damascus road and his time in Jerusalem with the other apostles; having been examined and already confirmed by them. ACTS 9:27“But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus”.  Barnabas was among the apostles in Jerusalem and historically is believed to have been one of “the seventy” of Jesus’s disciples and also one of the “120” gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, and as such he met the requirements for apostleship. He is entrusted and endorsed as one with apostolic authority by the other apostles and sent forth to Antioch as early as ACTS 11:22“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.”  It is after this that he goes looking for Paul who was then called Saul. ACTS 11:25“Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul”

When Barnabas found Paul and took him to Jerusalem it was 3-years after Paul’s conversion and his already having gone into Arabia during which time it is believed he was taught by Yeshua the Messiah himself before returning to Damascus as recorded in GALATIANS 1:16-18“To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”  Both Paul and Barnabas had already met the criteria for apostleship before they were officially sent out from Antioch to began their apostolic ministry. Clearly the scriptures show the requirements for the apostolic office being that one must have seen and been commissioned by the resurrected Lord and manifest the accompanying signs of the office. If you believe yourself to be an apostle and have neither of these two requirements then you should humble yourself to the word of God and change your title. Ask God what you really are and walk in that. Don’t let the pride of your desire for preeminence and position put you in opposition to God Almighty.

3rd JOHN 1:9"I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not."

"Can women be apostles?" The scripture most often used to try and prove female apostles in the Bible is found in ROMANS 16:7"Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." Nowhere here in this scripture does it say that either Andronicus (the man) or his wife Junia are apostles. What it says is that they were "of note among the apostles" which means they were of a remarkable character and ministry that was highly respected by the apostles. Please note that Junia had a husband who was also in ministry which clearly shows that she didn't function autonomously, and that she was under proper authority in her husband; not as an equal in that authority or a superior over him. Another scripture of some dispute is found in ROMANS 16:1"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea". Some have said based on the definition of the word "servant" used this means that Phebe was an apostle or at least a pastor, but again that is stretching the Word of God beyond what is meant to suit a biased opinion. The term servant as used in this passage of scripture can mean a pastor or teacher but it most often and foremost means an "attendant, deacon, deaconess, or one who serves another", and as such is the case with Phebe. She was the servant of the Church who delivered the letters of Paul to them. Words must be defined in their proper context based upon how they are used in order for us to be accurate in rightly dividing the Word of Truth. 

Many use the scriptures to attempt to prove their point in favor of gender neutrality as it relates to ministerial positions and roles in the Kingdom of God, such as in GALATIANS 3:28"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." This is talking about the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of God in terms of our inheritance in Christ. In that regard both men and women are equal and united just as Adam & Eve were equal in the beginning. However, from Adam & Eve unto our present existence in the Earth realm God has an ordained and established order that cannot be overlooked nor has been cast aside. We don’t live on the earth as gender-less spirit beings like the angels in heaven, but are in the earth as spirits living in bodies with distinctive roles and differing physical and psychological make-ups based on those opposite genders as designated solely by the divine ordinances of YAH (GOD).

1st CORINTHIANS 11:1-3“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2) Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3) But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."

Many use the story of Deborah the prophetess, who judged Israel in the book of Judges chapters 4 & 5 as the prototype for female leadership in the Church and the justification of women apostles, but this too is in error. If the story is examined more closely you will clearly see that the book of Judges is characterized by this particular verse in JUDGES 17:6"In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Israel was in a repeated cycle of lawlessness and rebellion, and during those times many things were done out of order yet covered by the grace of God. The judges raised up in those days from Moses till Samuel represented a type and shadow of Old Testament apostle in that they functioned as both the spiritual and governmental head of the nation of Israel just as the apostles of Christ functioned as the same for spiritual Israel, which is the Body of Christ. Deborah was the only female judge and also the only judge who did not function as both, but shared her leadership with the governmental head who was a man by the name of Barak. His indecisiveness and deference to her was seen as a disgrace upon him as a man, and she told him so. JUDGES 4:8-9"And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 9) And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh." 

Deborah understood her role as a prophetess and spiritual leader and even tried to defer to Barak. She did not seek the preeminence or headship over the nation. I personally don't see anything in the scriptures that would support the apostleship of women. I am not a chauvinist who has women issues that is trying to keep the sisters down, and neither am I anti-female but I sincerely believe in obeying the scriptures as they are written even if it hurts me or disagrees with my personal feelings. That being said, the scriptures used in attempts to silence women are also grossly misinterpreted and used out of context many times by chauvinistic and insecure men. I'm not looking for a quarrel or trying to start a fight but I sincerely am putting forth my best effort as a prophet of God to deliver unto you who are reading this the ordinances of Adonai Yeshua as they are revealed in the Holy Scriptures so that we may be in proper alignment with his perfect will and not out of order according to our own wills. Without correction there can be no perfection, and there is no protection. This is not an indictment but an expose of the Word of the LORD. It is not about standing by who I like but by what is right, and what is right is the Word of GOD.

GALATIANS 1:10"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." 

I am admittedly amazed at how often the scriptures themselves are twisted to try to make them mean something they clearly are not saying, such as in reference to the qualifications of a "bishop" as mentioned in 1st TIMOTHY 3:1-2"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach". This same distinction and instruction is repeated again in TITUS 1:6-7"If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre". It is clear, and with good common sense, that the scriptures are talking to the male gender in no manner of ambiguity whatsoever in relating the office of a bishop/overseer to men/males in the Church. Since when did it become acceptable for a woman to be a "MAN" who is the "HUSBAND" of one "WIFE"? Even in our perverse day and time of same sex unions the terms "husband and wife" are not considered as applicable to two people of the same sex in such an abomination of a relationship; they are either both husbands, or both are wives, or they call themselves "partners". 

It should be further noted that the term "bishop" used in the scriptures is in reference to the senior pastor of a local congregation and not the Episcopalian/Catholic corporate monstrosity men have made it in our present day. To be a bishop means to have the oversight or to be in charge of other leaders or a group of people such as a local assembly of believers. There is no prohibition in expanding that role to have the oversight over a region or jurisdiction of leaders over other local congregations for the sake of accountability, support, organization, and communication as in the case of an apostle. It is of of no dispute that women can be in ministry to both preach & teach the gospel, but it must be in line with what the scriptures have laid out as the final and absolute authority. Where there is a place for the woman in ministry there is a title provided for her such as "prophetess", or one that does not require or denote masculinity in its function or explicit reference such as "evangelist" or "minister". While the term "elder" can technically mean women as a matter of distinction in age it is never used biblically in the same regard as it relates to the more masculine reference of a male minister or leader. 

The issue of women being "pastors" in the Body of Christ differs to an extent in that the role of a pastor involves the teaching, training, and nurturing of the flock of God. Clearly women have this ability in motherhood and this quality is not one that is dismissed by the LORD. It may be acceptable from this perspective to appoint a woman as a pastor within a local congregation under male ordained oversight to assist with that ministry. However, in talking about that aspect of what we call "Pastoring" it still doesn't justify from a biblical perspective the woman being a "bishop" in reference to an overseer of other pastors or even a senior pastor over a local congregation. Many different circumstances occur which can bring this about and the Lord is quite gracious for the sake of his sheep but this doesn't mean that he has changed his written word to make an exception. He has provided grace for the situation which doesn't always mean approval. When mankind was made the LORD formed the man/male first and called them both “Adam” while the woman/female was still in him. Calling them both by the obvious name of the man establishes that he is preeminent in the earth order and being such he represents the divine authority of God first and foremost; especially in the Church of God. 

GENESIS 5:1;  “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2) Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” 

When they both fell in the garden of Eden their eyes didn't become open until after "he" ate and not when "she" ate. When the LORD came looking for "them" he specifically called for "him". Satan introduced the desire for preeminence and competition to Eve which caused her to desire Adam's position as well as made her feel like both Adam and YAH (GOD) had not been completely honest with her almost as if they conspired against her to somehow suppress or keep her down. GENESIS 3:4-9"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?"

Satan made Eve feel inferior, which she was not, and then he deceived her through the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life". The last of those three is the most dangerous because it makes one covet what has not been allocated to them and seek to possess it by unlawful and ungodly means. Another term for this would be "the gall of bitterness" (see ACTS 8:23). Adam failed in that he submitted to his wife's leadership and partook in her rebellion rather than correct her when he quite possibly could have stood in the gap to intercede for her restoration before GOD. Opposite of how Christ gave his life as the ultimate act of intercession to save the Church which is his bride/wife, Adam sold Eve out and blamed both her and the LORD for his sin rather than take accountability. Adam tried to save himself, but Christ sacrificed himself. The greater condemnation fell upon him because he had the greater authority and responsibility; of which Christ has not displaced in the establishment of the Church in the earth. The Lord said unto the woman in GENESIS 3:16"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."  In saying so the LORD was putting things in proper order and letting her know that her inordinate desire to rule over the man would be a lifelong snare and challenge to her. Furthermore, the shared equality she took for granted would now result in the change of relationship dynamics on how a man related to his wife in terms of rule. 

These same dynamics play out today between men and women even right now. Christ didn't change this when he died on the cross, but he gave us the power to properly deal with it by the power of the Holy Spirit. If he restored all things then by such logic that means that he would have also removed all sin so no one would then need to confess him as savior and be saved; which would make the scriptures unnecessary. This won't be set in order until the establishment of the New Heavens and New Earth. In the New Testament scriptures, by way of the apostles, the authority and headship of Christ is made clear in male leadership as preeminent. That being the case, you do not see Yeshua commissioning any women as apostles because that would usurp the established order and authority he himself had set up from the very beginning. This does not minimize women or their role in the ministry but it is an often contentious issue in large part because of sin such as in Eden, the stubbornness of men and women, and confusion caused by both elements which are not of God but of people.

1st CORINTHIANS 14:33"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."

Many of the saints have been influenced by the spirit of feminism which is a manifestation of the work of the spirit of Jezebel who promotes the superiority and preference of the female gender over the male to emasculate men and cause division. She also fuels ungodly gender based competition by deceiving many Christian sisters into believing or behaving as if men are trying to keep them down and the need to fight back for their place in the Kingdom of God. It is often manifest in the manner in which many women try to preach or lead; which is often with a very masculine demeanor and sound. This is a contradistinction to the will of God and is out of order. Men are out of place and few in number in most churches in comparison to the women which is probably the greatest contributing factor to such confusion. Again, as in the garden of Eden the man has the greater responsibility, because of him being given the greater authority to set things in order. 

The LORD is chastening men on this matter more so than women. Wherever men fail to step up in leadership the woman will be uncovered and attempt to fill the role left by the void of male leadership. We are witnessing this in great measure in the absorbent amount of single parent and fatherless homes. Where there is a lack of male leadership the LORD is thoroughly displeased and looks upon it as a disgrace. ISAIAH 3:12"As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths."  Such an imbalance is created by men being out of place and women feeling as if they need to step up and take the man's place thus calling it her own. PSALM 82:5"They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course." There is never even any mention of a female persona of any angel in heaven. Though they are gender-less and as spirits can transform easily into anything, it is very clear they are manifested in scripture as male personas when representing the LORD. God values the man/male and this does not diminish the woman or makes her less important than the man, but it shows the order of the LORD. Our dismissal of these facts causes severe problems in our ability to see the truth and contributes to our overall deception. 

The woman ruling over the man or being the savior of mankind was never Yahweh's "plan B"; however her redemption was in being the conduit through which our Lord and Savior Yeshua Moshiach would come as "the seed of the woman" and not of the man. GENESIS 3:15"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  We can't have a Church or birth the blessing of the LORD without the women. If a woman can't accept that then she is saying like Eve did by her actions that her God given place isn't good enough and she wants more. This is rebellion and the wickedness of sin. The Lord's plan has always been to save mankind which includes restoring men to their proper place as well as the women; which is side by side one another as Kingdom partners in singleness of mind and unity of the faith. Personal dissatisfaction, painful experiences, and vain ambition has deceived us through the "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life, and the lack of knowledge." Our succumbing to these things and denial of it prevents us from responding in the necessary humility to see the truth. I make these points in relation to the qualifications of the office of an apostle. I leave it open for further study and discussion as a point of hermeneutic accuracy concerning the scriptures of the Most High. All of this being said, the qualifications for an apostle are again listed as follows:

1) He must be born again according to the scriptures, and have seen and been commissioned by the physically resurrected Lord and Savior Yeshua Moshiach (Jesus Christ).
2) He must know the divine mysteries of God and revelation of who Yeshua the Messiah is as well as understand the correct way to lead others to salvation in Him.
3) He must operate in divinely ordained miraculous power according to the Word of GOD as required by the office.
4) He must be humble and never seek self-promotion but always be extremely reverent and careful to give ALL the glory to God as the source and strength of his ministry.
5) An apostle must be a man/male as a point of divine order as established by the LORD from the beginning of mankind and the establishment of the Church of Christ.

If a person can meet the above criteria then they are a true apostle. If not, then they are a false apostle and will  be judged according to the scriptures by the LORD himself. As a matter of respect I personally will call and honor a person by whatever title they claim to hold even if it is as ridiculous as "Grand Shabba Doo" whether I agree with them or not. I hope and pray that those who are calling themselves such titles truly are what they claim to be, and if not I pray they have enough humility to admit they were wrong, relinquish the title with all claims to it, and repent. God will restore you and use you mightily in the office for which you are truly called to. We will find out who and what you really are, and so will you when Yeshua the Messiah returns. I have shared the scriptures as they have been revealed to me, and I will leave the judgment of each individual to the LORD Yeshua the Messiah. Shalom. ~ I.J. West

ISAIAH 44:6-7"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7) And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them."

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