The Apostolate or fellowship of the Apostles was the
foundation of the early Church’s governmental unity and is still the
key to the success of the Church’s global mission in the 21st century.
In Matthew 16 Jesus declared that He would build His Church, His
Holy Nation, and that He would build it in such a way that the very
gates of hell (the governments of cities and nations) would not be able
to resist the Church’s march in history. What is Jesus talking about?
How can this happen? What is the key to the Church’s functional and
structural unity and the success of its apostolic mission in the earth?
In this lesson we will see that Jesus Himself established what
the New Testament writers call “the fellowship of the apostles” or “the
apostolate”. In the transition that took place from the Jewish age to
the Messianic age, the Lord took the Kingdom of Heaven from the High
Priests and rulers of Israel (the Sanhedrin), and He gave it to the
Apostles, the fellowship of apostles or the apostolate (governmental
body or council) that Jesus Himself had established. Together these
Apostles extended the Kingdom and planted Christ’s Church throughout
the Roman Empire. At the Lord’s direction they also ordained elders,
who were the ruling pastors or shepherds of the allotments or
congregations of the Church, who together with the apostles governed
the Lord’s House.
It is foolish to talk about an apostolic reformation in the 21st
century without recovering the governmental unity established by Jesus
in the first century.
RECOVERING THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE APOSTLES (THE APOSTOLATE ) AND NEW TESTAMENT ELDERSHIP is in fact Lesson 6 of AD250 The Non-Negotiables of Apostolic Christianity, one of the most important and controversial courses in the Ern Baxter School of the Apostles Doctrine, Church History and Theology.
Because ATS is an apostolic mission. All of our courses and degree
programs are offered free of charge to anyone who desires to equip
himself to serve Christ and His Kingdom. This is made possible through
the generous mission support of partnering churches and individuals who
passionately long to see a new generation of fivefold ministers and
Kingdom leaders raised up around the globe. To enroll click on Current Courses.
PART I- RECOVERING THE GOVERNMENTAL ORDER OF THE APOSTLES: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE APOSTLES AND NEW TESTAMENT ELDERSHIP
If we are going to see an apostolic reformation in the 21st century,
Christ’s ministers and church leaders must recover the Apostles’
revelation of Church Government, the fellowship of the Apostles and New
Testament Eldership .
1. Just as there is an apostolic revelation or key about
Christ’s Kingdom and Church, there is also an apostolic revelation or
key concerning the Church’s governmental order or structure.
2. There is a valid apostolic structure, a Divine architecture, and
a structure of victory that will unify and enable the Church to succeed
in its mission and ultimately triumph over the gates of hell!
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Jesus is boldly declaring that the distinguishing mark of His Church is victory over the gates of hell!
One prominent Church leader observing the present situation in the
church and the world declared, “It seems to me that the gates of hell
are prevailing against the Lord’s Church!”
Because of the present sub normality in the Church there are major
social problems and cultural conflicts throughout the world (racism,
homosexuality, pornography, world hunger and starvation, ethnic wars
and genocide) were the gates of hell indeed appear to be prevailing.
There are major geographic areas and people groups still not
evangelized, let alone brought under the discipline or rule of the
kingdom of heaven.
Several years ago Dr. Robert Shuler, Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral
in Southern California asked Paul Yongi Cho, “Why is it that when you
travel and are away from your pulpit, the people continue to attend and
the work of your church continues to go forward. But in my church, if I
am not in the pulpit my attendance falls off?”
Dr. Cho answered candidly, “because my church is really the Lord’s Church and the Crystal Cathedral is your church.”
To his credit, Dr. Shuler then said to Dr. Cho, “well, what do I have to do to make my church, His Church?”
Let’s be honest. Not everything that calls itself ‘church’ is a
valid part of Christ’s Church. Many today appear to be building their
own churches instead of His Church!
Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my Church and I will build
it in such a way the gates of hell, the powers of the kingdom of
darkness will not be able to prevail or withstand the march of my
mighty spiritual army.” (My paraphrase)
There is a structure of victory, a divine architecture if you will,
that will unify and enable the Church to succeed in its mission and
fulfill its God-given destiny!
3. It’s found in Matthew 16:19:
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you
bind on earth shave have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose
on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
A. Jesus was speaking to the Apostle Peter as the representative leader of the Apostolate, the fellowship of the Apostles.
1. The “keys” themselves speak of the revelation of the secrets and
mysteries of Christ, His Kingdom and His Church! (See Matthew 13:11)
But there is much more.
a. The giving or entrusting of the keys to Peter and his fellow
Apostles symbolizes the Apostles’ stewardship of the mysteries of
Christ and His Kingdom!
b. Further the granting or entrusting of the keys of Kingdom also
symbolizes the authority of Christ’s Apostles’ as special envoys or
governmental representatives sent by the Lord to governments and
nations to offer them God’s covenant of peace and establish His saving
rule in the earth. (Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 1: 5)
c. Finally, the granting or entrusting of the keys of Kingdom also
symbolizes the authority of Christ’s Apostles’ as spiritual architects,
master builders and overseers or governmental rulers of Christ’s
Church, the House of David.
2. When Jesus says to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the
Kingdom of Heaven,” He is making a strategic reference to Isaiah
a. The “steward” of the house of David was Shebna. He was in “charge of the royal household “.
He had the “oversight” or “rule” of David’s house.
Verse 19 prophecies Shebna was to be removed from his “office” or “bishopric “.
b. He was to be replaced by Eliakim (read verses 20 and 21) who was
to be clothed with Shebna’s “vestments” outward symbols of his office
and be given “authority” over Jerusalem and Judah, the royal house of
c. Now look at verse 22 (read).
The symbol of Eliakim’s stewardship and the authority of his office would be the “key “of David’s royal house.
d. According to Rev. 3:7 God the Father has given the Key of David to the David’s Lord, Jesus the Christ.
“He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens…”
The God the Father gives the key of David’s Kingdom to His Son the
Lord Jesus Christ, who in turn gives the keys of David’s Kingdom to His
e. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus declares He is going to give the keys to Peter and to the Apostles.
Jesus knew this prophetic passage in Isaiah 22!
It is no accident that Jesus says to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
As already mentioned above, the keys of the Kingdom represent not
only the Apostles’ stewardship of the revelation of Christ and His
Kingdom, but also their governmental authority as His representatives
and their spiritual oversight or government as Bishops over Christ’s
Church, the restored House of David.
2. Jesus makes another strategic reference or inference to Isaiah 22 in Matthew 21:33-46.
a. Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard and the vine-growers.
(The vine is an important Old Testament symbol for Israel. In John’s
Gospel Jesus declares “I am the vine and you are the branches,”
declaring Himself and His Apostles to be the Israel of God.)
b. In Christ’s parable the vine-growers represent the Chief Priests and elders of Israel.
They were the appointed stewards of the Old Covenant Law,
representatives of the kingdom of heaven and the rulers or overseers of
Israel under the Old Covenant.
They sat in Moses seat and governed Israel, the fallen tabernacle or house of David.
c. But they refused to give the owner his produce at harvest time.
God is looking for fruit, justice or righteous judgment not only in
the Holy Nation but also through it in the whole earth, not just leaves
or mere outward profession and talk.
d. Finally, they kill the Son of the owner of the vineyard.
e. Now look at verses 43, 45, and 46.
Just as the rule or oversight of David’s house was taken from Shebna
and given to Eliakim, so the governmental authority of the fallen House
of David, the Kingdom of heaven, was to be taken from the religious
leaders, the rulers of Israel and be given to the Apostles.
As Stewards of the Mysteries of Christ, His Governmental Envoys and
Overseers or Bishops of the restored House of David, they would be
responsible to gather and teach the sons of Zion to do everything the
King had commanded, and also to structure and order Church life, thus
bringing forth the fruit of the Kingdom!
3. Look at Matthew 19:28, another strategic reference to Isaiah 22.
a. When will the Apostles sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel?
b. According to Jesus, this will take place when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory!
c. We have seen in our previous study that this was fulfilled in the
resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. According to Peter and
Paul, after His resurrection, Jesus ascended and sat down on the throne
of David at the right hand of God in heaven. Today, He is already
seated on the throne of His glory and ruling in the midst of His
Do not postpone this until the Second Coming of Christ.
The regeneration was an objective event in history.
According to the apostles, Peter and Paul, Jesus was ‘begotten
again’ or ‘made alive’ in hell, the citadel of Satan, and became the
‘first-born’ from among the dead ones and the head of a new creation.
God is presently bringing many sons to glory!
The Apostle Paul proclaimed, “But God, being rich in mercy, because
of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our
transgressions, made us alive together _ with Christ (by grace you have
been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the
heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5)
And elsewhere Paul writes, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.”
While there remains a final consummation and the future hope of the
resurrection of the body, the regeneration is an objective historical
event that took place in Christ’s death and resurrection.
When you and I, moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, repent and
obey the Gospel by getting ourselves baptized into Christ’s death and
raised up into His resurrection, we subjectively or experientially
enter into “the regeneration!”
We are born again and become true sons of God and members of His
household (which is also the restored House of David, Zion, the Israel
d. It is also worth observing that in the ancient or historic
churches, when a bishop is consecrated to his office or apostleship, he
While I am not interested in restoring the concept of Monarchial
Bishops, it is worth noting that Christ’s Church has understood for
centuries that Matthew 19:28 is a present reality!
e. Turn to Psalm 122: 5 (read.)
David is prophesying about Messiah’s day and the governmental order of Zion.
In verse 1 David says, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Remember that at the time David wrote these words, Solomon’s Temple had not yet been built.
But God had promised David that the Messiah would build God a house and that house would also be David’s house.
Read verses 2, 3, 4.
By the Spirit of prophecy David sees the House of the Lord as the
New Jerusalem “built” or “compacted together” by covenant
relationships, the Heavenly City to which “the tribes of the Lord” (the
Israel of God) “go up” or ascend in rank and order (on the Lord’s Day)
to celebrate and praise the name of Lord.
Note that this heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of the sons of Zion,
has apostolic government or rule. David sees “thrones set for judgment,
the apostolic and pastoral thrones of the House of David.”
David’s vision and the promise of God is what Jesus is referring to
in Matthew 19:28 as He prophesies to Peter and the other Apostles, “you
shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Tragically, the modern Church does not really understand the Christ’s Kingdom, His Church or its governmental order.
Yes, the Church is a spiritual family and needs spiritual fatherhood.
And true Apostles are indeed spiritual fathers (along with pastors and elders) over the allotments of Israel.
But the Lord’s Church is also Zion, the House of David ; it is a
Heavenly City, the Bride of Christ and the Mother of the Holy Nation,
and it has apostolic government. Real Apostles are not only spiritual
fathers; they are also overseers or rulers of the redeemed House of
True apostles are princes in Israel.
Please, I am not talking about authoritarianism or lording over God’s people.
Today too many are attempting to judge or govern the Lord’s Church,
who are not fit to govern (Not just Apostles, but also Pastors or
Jesus sternly warns against this in Matthew 20:25.
Just a little while after He prophesies to Peter and the eleven
about sitting on thrones and judging the twelve tribes, the disciples
begin to compete with each other for the chief seats (thrones)!
The mother of James and John comes to Jesus along with her sons and
asks Jesus to command that in His kingdom (which remember began with
His ascension and enthronement on David’s throne at God’s right hand in
Heaven) that one of her sons be allowed to sit on his right hand and
the other on his left! Obviously, her sons had been thinking about what
Jesus had promised in chapter 19.
They were ambitious for position and probably had enlisted their mother’s help in interceding with Jesus on their behalf.
Please notice, Jesus did not say to them that they should not desire
to sit on thrones or the office of a bishop or to govern His Church!
Instead, He says, “You do not know what you are asking (the
difficulty, hardship, struggle, heartache and responsibility), are you
able to drink the cup which I am about to drink?”
In other words, “are you qualified?” “Are you able to do this?”
The old hymn says, “‘Are you able,’ said the Master, ‘to be
crucified with me?’ ‘Yea, the conquering heroes answered, to the death
we follow thee.’”
The chorus says, “Lord, we are able, our spirits are thine, remold and make us, like thee divine!”
Jesus says to these Apostles, “Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?”
Then Jesus tells them, “to sit on my right and my left, is not mine
to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my
Thrones have been prepared upon which Christ’s servants are to sit and from which they are to govern His House!
If we really understood and truly believed in God’s sovereignty it would eliminate carnal comparisons and soulish competition!
It would also keep us from promising ministries and offices and positions, which are not ours to give.
In verse 24, Matthew tells us the other “ten became indignant with
the two brothers.” They had their own ideas and dreams and ambitions!
Now look at verses 25-28 (read).
Their selfish ambitions, their carnal jealousy and envy, and their
competing and quarreling with each other concerning which one of them
was actually the greatest apostle or ruler in His Kingdom compelled
Jesus to give one of His most powerful teachings, regarding servant
leadership and true greatness!
There is governmental order or structure in the Lord’s House!
Apostles are not only spiritual fathers in the family of God, they are also rulers over Zion, the Israel of God.
They sit on thrones and judge or govern the Lord’s house in the restored Kingdom of David.
But they must be qualified and chosen by the Lord Himself. The
thrones in His Kingdom are reserved for His servants, who are humble
and who love not their own lives.
They must be able to drink His cup of suffering and fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for His body!
They must deny their flesh, take up their own cross and be able to
lay down their lives for His Kingdom, for one another, and for His
They must honor, prefer and serve one another.
They must not be like the rulers of the Gentiles, who lord it over those they govern.
Instead, they must be like the good shepherd, who lovingly laid down
His life for the sheep! They must love the Lord and His people even
4. Now turn to Acts chapter 1 starting with verse 15.
a. Look at verse 17, “He (speaking of Judas) was counted among us,”
that is counted as part of Jesus’ “apostolic company,” the “fellowship
of the apostles” that Jesus Himself had formed during His ministry.
Peter continues, “and received his portion in this ministry” or apostolate.
Notice Peter talks about many parts or portions, but a single ministry!
Christ chose the twelve to be part of His own apostolic ministry, a plurality of apostles but only one ministry or apostolate!
Each of the twelve had his part.
Peter had his part. James had his part. John, Matthew, Bartholomew, Thomas, even Judas!
In the beginning there were twelve parts, but only one ministry or apostleship, the ministry of Christ.
b. In verse 20 Peter quotes from Psalm 109:8, as David prophesies
the betrayal of his promised Son by Judas. “His office let another man
Literally the word is “bishopric”, which is the office of an overseer or bishop.
Apostles have offices. Please note that they are Bishops.
Yes, they are fathers. But they are also Bishops, charged not only
with the Stewardship of the mysteries of Christ’s Kingdom and extending
His saving rule to the nations, but also with the oversight or
government of His House, the House of David!
Of course I am laboring the point. But the modern church and
especially the new apostolic movement within that church must
understand that the Lord Himself has established governmental offices
in His Church!
Until valid governmental offices are duly recognized and proper
pastoral care and true governmental oversight are restored to the
allotments of believers in cities, regions, and nations throughout the
earth, we will not have Church.
That is we will not have Christ’s Church properly structured, ordered, and governed!
Apostles are Bishops. I am not talking about Monarchial Bishops
such as developed in the middle ages. Nor am I talking about lordship
over the faith of God’s heritage. I am talking about true pastoral care
and oversight or governmental responsibility for the House of God.
Not all Bishops are Apostles; but all true Apostles, who give their
lives to lay or restore authentic apostolic foundations and to raise up
or reform Christ’s Church in the earth are also Overseers or Bishops.
And all true Pastors or Shepherds, Ruling Elders (the spiritual fathers
of the various allotments of believers in cities throughout the earth)
are also Bishops.
In the New Testament the titles Shepherd, Elder and Bishop were
always used interchangeably (See Acts 20, Philippians 1:1, I Timothy
3:1ff and Titus 1:5, 6, and I Peter 5:1-3.).
Jesus Himself is the Great Shepherd (Ruler); He is also the Elder
and Bishop of His Church. In like manner Apostles are Shepherds
(Rulers), Elders, and Bishops. The spiritual heads or rulers of the
allotments of the Lord’s Church in a locality or city are also
Shepherds (Pastors), Elders and Bishops.
The principle difference in the bishopric or office of an Apostle
and that of the ruling pastor of a local church is not that one is a
Bishop and the other is merely a Pastor or Elder. The difference is to
be found in the measure of their rule or sphere of responsibility.
Now back to the matter of the fellowship of the Apostles and the Apostolate.
We are still in Acts 1 and the crucial matter of finding someone to
take Judas’ place in the fellowship of the Apostles, the Apostolate,
and to fill his bishopric or office.
c. Look at verses 21 and 22 (read).
Remember Peter is talking here about the twelve original Apostles
whom Jesus chose to be with Him, to be eyewitnesses of His resurrection
and His ascension.
Let me point out here that there are two distinct kinds of apostles seen in the Scriptures.
First, there are the “Apostles of the Lamb,” the original twelve,
less Judas and plus Matthias, that Jesus chose to be eyewitnesses of
His resurrection. Their testimony would be essential or foundational to
the Church’s faith because God’s promise to David and the fathers of
Israel to seat David’s Son on David’s throne would be fulfilled by
Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and enthronement at the right hand of
God in heaven.
Jesus chose these twelve in the beginning of His ministry because
twelve is the number of Israel and of the government of God. Jesus was
prophetically signifying that His Church would be the true Israel, the
Kingdom of Priests and Holy Nation promised by the prophets. The choice
of Matthias to replace Judas demonstrates that the Apostles clearly
understood the importance of the number twelve. The eyewitness
testimony of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb would be the foundation of
spiritual house The Messiah would build for God and for David; they
would be the foundation stones of Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the
wife of the Lamb, the mother of the sons of God. (See Revelation 21:
Peter declares in Acts 1:21 and 22 that in addition to having been
chosen, these Apostles of the Lamb had to have been with Jesus from the
very beginning of his ministry until his ascension.
That which qualified them for their part in the apostolate is that
they had been the eyewitnesses of His ministry and resurrection; these
are the ones to whom the Messiah initially entrusted the keys of His
But the New Testament also speaks of Ascension-gift Apostles. After
His resurrection and ascension, the Lord called Barnabas, Paul and a
number of others as Apostles. Like the Apostles of the Lamb before
them, they were also entrusted with the keys of the kingdom and charged
with the stewardship revelation of the mysteries of Christ (See I
Corinthians 4:1ff; Ephesians 3:2-10; II Timothy 1: 13-14; 2:2ff). Then
He commissioned and sent them to cities and nations throughout the
Roman Empire as His ambassadors, special envoys of His heavenly Kingdom
to proclaim God’s decree and bring the nations to the obedience of the
faith. In fellowship with the Apostles of the Lamb and part of Christ’s
Apostolate, Ascension-gift Apostles worked with Apostles of the Lamb to
gather the believing remnant of Israel and the first fruits of the
nations throughout the Empire and form them into One Holy Apostolic
Church, the Holy Nation, the New Israel . (See Ephesians 4:8-13.)
Unlike the Apostles of the Lamb, Ascension–gift Apostles do not know
Christ after the flesh. Nor is it necessary for them to have been with
Jesus “from the beginning of His ministry until His resurrection and
ascension.” They are not called to be eyewitnesses of His resurrection
but ambassadors of His heavenly administration to cities and nations
throughout the earth to establish and oversee His House.
In addition to having been called and commissioned by the Lord, that
which qualifies Ascension-gift Apostles for their part in Christ’s
“apostolate” is that like the Apostles of the Lamb they also have been
entrusted by the Lord with the apostolic keys, the revelation of the
mysteries of Christ, His Kingdom and His Church. (See Galatians
1:11-17; Ephesians 3:2-7.)
One of the main reasons many believers and denominations mistakenly
believe that apostles have ceased is that they do not understand that
there are two different kinds of apostles in the New Testament
Apostolate. Assuming that apostles are chosen specifically to be
eyewitnesses of the resurrection they believe that when the last of the
twelve Apostles of the Lamb fell asleep then apostles ceased.
But while giving special recognition to the twelve as having been
with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry until His ascension
declaring them to be eyewitnesses of His resurrection, the New
Testament also speaks at length of the ministry of numerous other
apostles called and commissioned after Christ’s ascension and
enthronement at the right hand of God.
And the Apostle Paul, who clearly did not meet the general
qualifications for Judas’ replacement spelled out by Peter in Acts
1:21, declared to the saints at Ephesus that having ascended to heaven
Christ will continue to give apostles, along with other gifts, “until
we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, to a mature man, to the stature which belongs to the
fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:8-13)
According to Paul, Christ will not cease to give apostles to men and
nations until the Church has grown up into the head and fills all
6. Finally in this critically important passage about the fellowship
of the Apostles and the Apostolate in Acts 1, look at verses 23-26.
Peter speaks once again of “this ministry” and “this apostleship.”
(Note: both of these phrases are singular expressions, “this” not
Twelve apostles were chosen to be with Jesus, but there was only one
“ministry” and “apostleship."(Note: The Greek word translated here
“apostleship” carries the idea of “apostolate” and has been so
understood by the ancients.) It was Christ’s ministry and apostolate
into which they had called and in which they had each been given a
part. The Apostolate was one!
Matthias was “numbered with the eleven apostles” as part of the fellowship of the Apostles and the Apostolate!
7. Today, some proudly boast, “We are all apostles.”
But this is utter foolishness and makes nonsense of Christ’s
intention and the Scriptures of the New Testament. While the Lord’s
Church is called to be Apostolic Church and has been given an apostolic
mission to possess the cities and nations of the earth, the Apostle
Paul declares that not all believers are apostles (I Corinthians
12:29); we are certainly not all are Shepherds, Elders or Bishops.
When the Lord’s Church finally comes under, freely and voluntarily
(Psalm 110:3), the proper oversight of Holy Spirit anointed and
appointed Apostles (and Elders, as we shall see in Part II), who
themselves are in proper relationship to one another in the fellowship
of the Apostles, as part of one Apostolate, then and only then will the
Church be truly Apostolic.
One of the great tragedies today is that many sincere, but
misinformed, ministers are overreaching their God-given measure of
grace (Romans 12:3-8; II Corinthians 10:13-18; Ephesians 3:2) and
running about here and there without truly being sent by the Lord.
5. Years after the events surrounding the choosing of Matthias to
fill Judas’ place in the Apostolate, the Apostle Paul declares to the
saints that Zion, the House of God and David that Jesus proclaimed to
the twelve at Caesarea Philippi He would build, has been built on the
foundation of the apostles and the prophets. (Ephesians 2:20)
6. Finally, the New Testament closes as the Apostle John sees a
revelation of the New Jerusalem, Christ’s Church, coming down from God
out of Heaven.
This new heavenly City of David, the wife of the Lamb and Mother of
the sons of God, has twelve foundations and upon these foundations
twelve names are written, the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb!
B. The point of all of this is that in the early Church, the
Church of the Apostles, Apostles and Elders (Pastors or Bishops)
1. Just as He had promised, after His resurrection and during the
forty days before His ascension, Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom to
Peter and the other Apostles (Acts 1:3 and Luke 24:44-49). Later,
Ascension-gift Apostles joined these Apostles of the Lamb.
The Apostles went everywhere preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom,
baptizing all who believed and teaching them to do everything Christ
had commanded them. The Apostles were making disciples of the nations
and teaching the sons of the Kingdom how to behave in the House of God.
(I Timothy 3:14-15)
2. Faithfully, they used the apostolic keys that their risen and
ascended Lord had entrusted to them and opened the doors of Christ’s
Kingdom (the restored Kingdom of David), and as a result the Christ’s
Church (Zion, the House of David) sprang up throughout the Roman
3. The Apostles also laid hands upon and ordained Elders (the
spiritual fathers or pastoral heads of the local congregations or
allotments of believers) in every city throughout the Roman Empire.
Together the Apostles (as part of the fellowship of the Apostles or the
Apostolate) and Elders that they ordained governed the New Israel of
God, the Holy Nation, the Kingdom of Priests, as Overseers of David’s
Restored House and Bishops of Christ’s one Apostolic Church throughout
the Roman world. (See Acts 14:23; Acts 15:6, 22, 23 and Acts 16:4, note
the word “decrees” in 16: 4; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5, 7)
4. Thus just as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 21:43 and particularly
in Luke 20:16, “He will give the vineyard to others,” Apostles (the
fellowship of the Apostles or the Apostolate) and Elders replaced the
Chief Priests and Elders as the rulers of Israel (the Sanhedrin or
Senate of Israel) and as the builders and overseers of Zion, the House
of God and David. (See Acts 15:1ff through 16:4.)