Men and women in the Bible



11. Some pastors teach that Paul took the place of Judas Iscariot, and so he became one of the twelve apostles; is that true?



No, that’s not true because the disciple who took the place of Judas Iscariot was Matthias, and that happened before the day of Pentecost. For we read in the book of the Acts of the apostles the following things: “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, ‘Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry’. (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) ‘For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, and let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’ Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:15-26 – NKJV). That Paul was not numbered with the twelve apostles is confirmed by Paul himself when he says to the Corinthians: “ ….that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:4-9 – NKJV).

As you can see, Paul could not be among the twelve because he says that before Jesus appeared to him, He had appeared to the twelve.

Furthermore, it is confirmed by Luke in the Acts when he says that on the day of Pentecost, Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and spoke to the Jews (Acts 2:14), and also when he says: “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. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2-4).

All these things happened when Saul of Tarsus was not yet a disciple of the Lord but was a persecutor of the Church, for his conversion took place some time later (in that it is recorded in the ninth chapter of the book). Particularly, I would like to point out that Saul turned to the Lord after the death of Stephen because Luke says that when Stephen was stoned the witnesses who had accused falsely Stephen “laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul” (Acts 7:58 – NKJV). Therefore the conversion of Saul took place after Stephen was chosen with six others to serve tables.