The issue of apostolic and
prophetic ministry today raises much controversy, particularly when
connected to the Messianic remnant in Jerusalem. Why is this so
important? Three times the letter to the Ephesians makes reference to
the work of "apostles and prophets".
1. Laying Ecclesia Foundations
The first reference deals with laying foundations for the Church
"Ecclesia" as the dwelling place of God's Spirit, "... built on
the foundation of the apostles and prophets; Messiah Yeshua Himself being
the cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20).
This is not speaking of a local congregation but of the universal
Ecclesia. The pastor focuses on the local congregation, while the apostle
tends to focus on the wider Ecclesia.
2. Reconciliation with Israel
The second deals with God's pre-destined plan for reconciliation
between Jews and Gentiles through faith in Yeshua. "The mystery ... is
now being revealed to His holy apostles and prophets, through the Spirit,
that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and
fellow partakers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua, through the Gospel
..." (Ephesians 3:3-6).
The partnership between Israel and the International Ecclesia is central
to the kingdom of God, and should be part of any foundation that is laid
by apostles and prophets - both then and now.
3. Spiritual Kingdom Authority
The third deals with spiritual authority given to the "five-fold"
equipping ministries after Yeshua's ascension into heaven. "And
He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the
work of ministry, for the edifying of the body ..." (Ephesians
Spiritual authority is connected to the ascension. Yeshua rose above all
powers and principalities. He gave authority to the Ecclesia as His body
(1:20-23). He gave that spiritual authority through His name, His spirit
and through the five types of "ascension" leadership positions mentioned
Since "apostles and prophets" are listed together with "evangelists,
pastors and teachers", it is clear that they must continue to function,
and have not ceased to exist.
Somewhat Startling Observations
Parallel with the references above, we may also note the following three,
somewhat startling principles or observations:
1. Ecclesia - All of the first century communities of faith saw
themselves as having emerged from, and remaining submitted to, apostolic
and prophetic covering.
2. Israel - All of the first century communities of faith saw
themselves connected to and aligned with Biblical Israel and Jerusalem.
3. Kingdom - Spiritual authority in the international Ecclesia
before Yeshua returns will become government authority in the Millennial
kingdom after He returns (Matthew 19:28, Luke 19:17).
These three goals - Ecclesia, Israel and Kingdom - comprise the primary
reasons for apostolic and prophetic restoration. It is the very
importance of these three that makes the issue so fraught with spiritual
warfare. Understanding these goals will help us be better aligned with
God's purposes in our generation.
This article was previously published on December 8th
on the Revive Israel website, and on December 13th
on the Kehila News Israel website.