“How to Approach the Bible” 

A study series by Arthur J Licursi


Part 11 of 24 - A Comparison between “The 12 Apostles” and Paul, “the Apostle to the Gentiles”

Compare: The Twelve Apostles

With: The Apostle Paul

12 Representatives of the Nation of Israel

12 Apostles, 12 Tribes, 12 Men, 12 Thrones - Matthew 19:28

   Matt 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you (The Twelve) That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel .

Paul is God’s Representative to the One “Body of Christ”

   Acts 9:15 he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel :

   Eph 2:16 that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greekye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Called By Jesus of Nazareth, While He was on Earth

   Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he (Jesus) called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;


Paul was Called By the Ascended Jesus “from Heaven”

   Acts 9:3-5…suddenly there shined round about him (Paul) a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest…

The Twelve Knew The Earthly Jesus (Act 1:9)

They proclaimed a physical, literal, earthly Kingdom for the Jews, as promised to Abraham’s Seed.

Paul  Knew Only The Christ of Heaven (1Cor 15:8)

Paul proclaimed the highest heaven for “the Church which is His body” (Eph 1:22-23), as our home (Philip 3:20).

Apostles Message of the Kingdom was sent to Israel only. (Intended Ultimately to bless the Nations, through Israel )

   Matt 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel .

The Gentiles were to be saved through Israel .

   Luke 24:47-48 that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem . 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.  (see Mal. 3:12)

Paul’s Gospel of Grace was Sent to All Men Everywhere, without Israel


   Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

   Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Sent to Proclaim God’s Prophesied Program, With Salvation of The Gentiles to Come Through Israel’s RISE.

   Zechariah 8:23 take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

   Acts 3:25-26. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you… Gen. 18:18, 22:18, 26:4

Paul says Salvation of the Gentiles Actually Came Through Israel ’s FALL. It was Not Prophesied (Rom 11:7-33).

Romans 11:11 (KJV) I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their ( Israel ’s) fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them ( Israel ) to jealousy.


The Twelve Agree to Confine their Ministry to Israel , After God Raised Up Paul to the Gentiles (see Act 15).

   Gal 2:2 I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that (unique) gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. Gal 2:9 …when James, Cephas, and John…perceived the grace that was given unto me (Paul), they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Paul is THE Apostle to the Gentiles, turning to the Gentiles after Israel Rejects the King and His Kingdom.

   Acts 28:28 Be it known …unto you ( Israel ), that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles they will hear it. Rom 11:13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles1 Corinthians 14:37…let him acknowledge that the things that I (Paul) write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my (Paul’s unique) gospel.

Paul Was Not One of “The Twelve”

The qualifications for the position that Judas held are clear.

“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” (Acts 1:21-22). The “lot” therefore fell to “Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26).

These are Paul's inspired words. “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Rom.11:13). As we have already stated, Paul is not one of the Twelve Apostles as many teach today and certainly was not chosen to take Judas' place. Acts 1:16-26 gives ample proof that Saul of Tarsus did not even qualify as a follower of Jesus Christ at that time, he was an unbeliever! He had not followed the Lord from John's baptism “unto that same day that (Jesus) was taken up from us” (Acts 1:22).

Note Paul's own testimony as he later recounts his conversion before King Agrippa: “And I punished them (the Jewish Christians) oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities” (Acts 26:11). Paul was at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:58. Paul next comes upon the scene in Acts 9:1-2, which describes him as “a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (ITim.1:13), on his way to imprison and “put to death” Jesus' Messianic followers at Damascus (Acts 26:10). This is a far cry from Paul being eligible for the position that Judas held with the disciples of the Lord. Paul was therefore most ineligible to be one of “the twelve.” He had not even seen Jesus of Nazareth during our Lord's earthly ministry and certainly had not walked with Jesus as the twelve had.

Later, when Saul finally did get saved, it was the Lord Himself who stopped Saul in his tracks and saved him from further persecution of Messiah's followers: “And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? ... And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus ” (Acts 22:7-11).

Thus, Paul was specially “chosen” by God through whom God's Son is to be revealed to all nations (Gentiles) since the favored nation, Israel , refused to accept the Messiah under the so-called “Great Commission.” This is what makes Paul's ministry and apostleship so very distinct from that of the Twelve, and their kingdom gospel.

Furthermore, Colossians, chapter one, makes it clear that God began something very new and different with Paul's conversion – “the Church, which is the Body of Christ:”

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my (Paul’s) flesh for His body's sake, which is the Church:

“Whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me (Paul) for you, to fulfil (complete) the Word of God;

the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (believers): “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col.1:24-27).

Seeing these great differences between “the twelve” and Paul, then how foolish and wrong it is for any of us to take just any scripture in the Bible to determine the Lord's will for us today. By this I mean, what right do we have to choose some particular segment of our Lord's instructions to “the twelve” or “the eleven” Apostles, to whom He spoke of Messianic kingdom as promised to Israel, and try to apply these instructions to ourselves or to the church today? The Lord gave only those Apostles those instructions as He spoke to them things that pertain to the Messianic kingdom of God to come to earth, as promised to Abraham’s seed. Nothing could be clearer than the fact that our Lord “showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), which was promised to Abraham’s literal seed. Thus the object of Jesus’ teaching immediately after the cross was still “thy kingdom come…on earth,” as promised to Israel .

In those forty days then, one Person, our Lord Jesus Himself, spoke to the eleven Apostles. He gave them instructions as to the program they were to carry out after His ascension. Those instructions were to continue what Jesus had begun, as we see in the Gospels. In every single case it is crystal clear that these commands were not directed to any other persons who were to live at some future date. Only these Apostles were to commence to carry them out His instructions after Jesus’ departure, and after the Holy Spirit would endue them (come upon them to clothe them) with power to minister in this way with miraculous “signs following” (Mark 16:20), and for that time only.

This is emphasized by the phraseology found in all five records of the so-called “great commission” that Jesus spoke to those specific disciples only. Matt. 28:19 “Go ye”; Mark 16:15 “Go ye”; Luke 24:48 “Ye are witnesses”; John 20:21 “So send I you”; and Acts 1:8 “Ye shall be witnesses.”

It is preposterous to argue, as so many hard-pressed theologians have done, that one or more segments of the “great commission” are to be carried out by another generation and dispensation at a later time than that in which it was spoken. If this commission was to be binding upon “the church, which is His body” today, as they often seem to imply, what authority would we have to choose which part or parts of that commission we shall obey? Shall we cast aside Jesus’ command to “take up serpents” (Mark 16:18), as Jesus proclaimed to His Jewish Apostles? Shall we “have all things in common” as they the Jerusalem Pentecostal church had in the early Acts period? To do so would be to play fast and loose with our Biblical interpretation; robbing from those who were actually being addressed by the Lord at that time and in regard to their calling under “the gospel to the circumcision.”