The word APOSTLE signifies one sent forth.(Greek: “apostolos” – Strong’s 社652 = an ambassador of the gospel: a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers; he that is sent).
The twelve APOSTLES were chosen by Christ to present the gospel message primarily to the first century Jews and then to the Gentiles during the transition period. Their mission was perhaps the most important and difficult human task in all of redemptive history. They were personally taught and trained by the Lord Himself during His first coming in AD 26-30.
They had powerful spiritual gifts to help them. They were all Jewish men, who, except for the “son of perdition” Judas Iscariot became faithful believers in Jesus Christ. The requirement of an APOSTLE is that he had to have been from the beginning with the baptism of Jesus through to the resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:21-22). They were all extremely persecuted and some were even martyred by the unbelieving Jews and Romans.
All Christians (believing Jews and Gentiles) are members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the APOSTLES and prophets. Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in Whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).
APOSTLE Paul, who had been persecuting the church, was added to their number by Christ Himself at the time of his conversion on the Damascus road (Acts 9:27; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 12:2-4). He was specially commissioned to send the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Acts 13:46-48; Rom. 11:13).
The APOSTLES established the beginning of the church (Matt. 16:18). They wrote and approved the New Testament Canon of Scripture (Matt. 16:19; 2 Pet. 1:15-21; 2 Pet. 3:2, 15- 16). [NOTE: Luke was a Gentile-disciple, who wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts. It was not their apostleship that made their writings canonical; but it was their inspiration by the Holy Spirit that was recognized and approved by Apostle Peter and the others].
They had the Holy Spirit working mightily in them (John 14:26; John 15:26-27). They were commissioned by Christ to personally go and make disciples until the end of the Jewish age at Christ’s second coming Parousia in AD 66-70 (Matt. 28:16-20).
They were given much responsibility, but also received great rewards in the judgment. APOSTLESHIP was a first century calling and commission. Barnabas and a few others were referred to as messengers or apostles (Acts 14:14; 1 Thess. 1:1, 2:6).
The disciples that were taught by the APOSTLES were to do likewise with others. Being a born-again disciple of Christ is an eternal calling and commission that continues for all Christians living in the eternal New Covenant Kingdom after AD 70.