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Apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They are given authority to act in His name and to lead Christ’s church. They are also tasked with spreading Christ’s message to others. Jesus Christ called Apostles when He was on the earth to lead His Church. He has also called Apostles today to carry out His work.

The Role of an Apostle

In Mark, Jesus tells His apostles, “ . . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature…and these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15, 17-18)

The Apostles at the Time of Christ

When Christ was on the earth, He chose twelve men to be His representatives. Jesus laid His hands on their heads and gave them the authority to run His Church,, even after He was no longer with them in the flesh. These Apostles performed miracles in the name of Jesus, such as healing the blind and casting out evil spirits. They also baptized those who believed and laid their hands on their heads to give them the gift of the Holy Ghost.

For a time, the Apostles appointed new Apostles through inspiration to replace those of their number who died, such as Judas Iscariot. After many years, however, the persecution of the Church led to a time when the Apostles were no longer replaced. This period is known as the Apostasy, which means that there were no Apostles, and so there was no proper authority to lead Christ’s Church on the earth. The Apostasy lasted until the 1800s, when Apostles were once again called.

Modern Apostles

In the early 1800s, a Restoration occurred, which ended the period of Apostasy. This means that Jesus once again set up His Church as He did with the original Apostles. Though individuals might turn away from Christ’s Church, the Church itself would remain on the earth. Jesus also chose a man to be a prophet to lead the Church as He had anciently. This restored church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In this Church, new Apostles are called and given authority to act, just as the original Apostles had been. Just as before, there are always twelve men called to be Apostles at any given time, and these make up a group called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They are led by a prophet, who is Jesus Christ’s representative on Earth.

When one of these Apostles dies, a new Apostle is quickly called so there are twelve. When a prophet dies, the Apostle who has served the longest is appointed as the next prophet. These modern-day Apostles perform the same work as the ancient Apostles by spreading the word of God all over the world and providing leadership to Christ’s church.

Through this system of inspired leadership, Jesus Christ has promised that His church will not again disappear from the earth. Though Christ’s church was absent from the earth for a time, it contained the same sort of inspired leadership both then and now. This time of falling away before Christ’s Second Coming was also foretold by the prophet Paul. “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

This falling away has occurred. In these days, Christ’s Church with the Apostles at its head will prepare the world for His Second Coming.

More about “Apostles”

“Apostles” was written by Michael D. Young. The subject “Apostles” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links: