Christ’s church is founded on Twelve Apostles
Jesus Christ organized an official church when he lived among men. The church had a formal structure, and was built upon the “foundation” of twelve apostles. (Eph. 2:19-20)
To his twelve apostles, Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15: 16) “No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4)
After Christ’s death and resurrection, he continued to guide his apostles personally and through the Holy Ghost. “He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.” (Acts 1: 1-3)
When there is a vacancy, a replacement is called and ordained to complete the foundation of the Twelve
The number twelve is significant because it represents the twelve tribes of Israel. Judas’s suicide left a vacancy among the twelve apostles, a vacancy that needed to be filled.
The remaining eleven apostles gathered together in an upper room, with Peter, the senior apostle, presiding. The eleven apostles “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” (Acts 1: 13-14) Peter announced that they needed to select and “ordain” one more apostle to be a special “witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1: 21-22)
Matthias was called and ordained to replace Judas
The eleven apostles narrowed the choice to two men, Joseph and Matthias. “And they prayed and said, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou has chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship.” (Acts 1: 23-24) After fervent prayer, Matthias “was numbered with eleven apostles.” (Acts 1: 26)
The Twelve Apostles led the Christian church
Thereafter, Peter with the other eleven, continued to preach and minister to the people. (Acts 2:14) With Peter at the head, the twelve apostles continued to lead the church. These events are recorded in New Testament book, “The Acts of the Apostles.” (Acts 2-5; Acts 10: 9-19; Acts 12: 5-11; Acts 16: 9-10; Acts 18: 8-11.)
After the completed quorum of twelve apostles went forth, a controversy arose in the church. A group of members complained to the twelve apostles that the widows were being neglected. “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.” (Acts 6: 1-2) The apostles decided to delegate this welfare responsibility to seven men, “of honest report, full of the Holy ghost, and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” So that the twelve apostles were free to “give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:3-4) Again, seven is a significant number. Having chosen the seven, the twelve apostles “laid their hands on them” to ordain and bless them. (Acts 6: 5-6)
Paul and Barnabas were called and ordained to fill vacancies in the Twelve
After the martyrdom of James, there were two vacancies in the quorum of the twelve apostles. (Acts 12: 1-2) So, the remaining apostles, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] 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.” (Acts13: 1-3)
Paul testified that he was “an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead).” (Galatians 1: 1-2) Because had had persecuted the saints, Paul did not feel worthy to be one of the twelve apostles. “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. (1 Cor 15: 3-9)
An Apostle is a “special witness” of Jesus Christ and his resurrection
However, one of the main responsibilities of an ordained apostle is to be a “special witness” of Jesus Christ. Paul was called to serve by an angel before he was later called and ordained by the other apostles. The angel said, “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see the Just One, and shoudest hear the voice of his mouth, For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22: 14-17)
Paul’s major qualification as a “special witness” of Jesus Christ, was the fact that he had seen the resurrected Lord, like the other apostles. Plus, Paul “proved” his “worth” by his unparalleled ministry.
Without the foundation of Twelve Apostles there is no unity in the Christian faith
Jesus built his church upon a foundation of twelve apostles for “the perfecting of the saints,” for “the work of the ministry,” and for “the edifying of the body of Christ [the Church].” “Till we all come in the unity of the faith,” and to “the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The apostolic foundation would not only bring about a “unity of the faith,” but also protect the believers from being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness.” (Eph. 4: 11-14)
Where are the twelve apostles today? Without the twelve apostles there is no “unity of faith” among Christians. A Google search lists the number of differing Christian denominations: over 9,000, about 34,200, about 41,000. What a mess? “God is not the author of confusion.” (1 Cor 14:33)
Where is a church today with a foundation of Twelve Apostles?
I know of only one church that claims to have a foundation of twelve apostles. That church is the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.