Biblical Evidence That the Age of the Apostles and Prophets Has Ended or Ceased

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Many claim to be prophets and apostles of God today, but what does Scripture say about the end of the age of the prophets and apostles?

God Has Spoken

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne (public domain).

Many claim to be prophets and apostles of God today, but what does Scripture say about the end of the age of the prophets and apostles? These self-anointed prophets or apostles claim to speak for God and that their office is still around today. As a proof text, they cite Ephesians 4:11-13, but have added my own emphasis to make points. The Apostle Paul wrote that God gave [past tense] the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Notice that there are qualifications for pastors, deacons, and elders (Titus 1 & 1 Tim 3) but there is not one qualification after Acts for an Apostle or prophet. Why? It’s because their time has come and gone. We have the whole Word of God today, therefore no more revelation is needed.

An Apostle’s Qualifications

“Let another take his office” (Acts 1:20c).

In the Book of Acts, the Apostle Peter quotes the Book of Psalms in regard to finding a replacement for Judas Iscariot who hung himself. Peter says, “Let another take his office” (Acts 1:20c), quoting a Messianic Psalm (109:8). It’s “let another,” not let others take his office or the office of an Apostle.  Peter tells us who alone is qualified to take the office of Apostle. God says the only way one can be qualified to be an Apostle of God is that it must be “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1:21). The one that “must have been” among them was that they must have been with them from the “beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:22). That fact alone disqualifies any of us who are living today. We’re 2,000 years too late to be an Apostle!

A Prophets Qualifications

Many cite Ephesians 4:11-13 and believe it says that more prophets and apostles will be called, but do these verses actually say that? And, for those two verses they cite, there are dozens more that show this too was a past tense event. The Author of Hebrews wrote (my emphasis added), “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke [past tense] to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken [past tense] to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb 1:1-2). The Greek tense shows it is not repeatable and it is all in the past. He has spoken. Jude says the faith was “once for all delivered.” That’s past tense too. That means no more deliveries will be made.  That’s because we have the whole Word of God today. In fact, Jude wrote that he was “very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3-4). They are still creeping into churches today and perverting the original gospel by bringing in “another word” from God, but there is a danger in that and that is they are “found to be false witnesses about God” (1 Cor 15:15). That danger comes from God Himself Who commands us to “not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Prov 30:6).

The Last Prophets

Saint Peter by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682). Public Domain.

As we the Book of Hebrews it says that it was in the past that God spoke through the prophets and by the time Hebrews was written, there were no more prophets or apostles called. We can read that trend in the Book of Acts. John Baptist was last of the Old Testament Prophets, and other than Jesus Christ and some prophets around in the early days of the church, John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. I have always understood from Scripture that there were only 12 Apostles called in the first place. Jesus never said there would be more. My question is this: “If there are more than twelve apostles, then why does John write of the New Temple in Jerusalem that “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14)? I presume since there are only 12 pillars for the twelve apostles, no more apostles are needed or will be called by God until Jesus’ return. Even so, by number, the self-proclaimed apostles (numbering in the millions today) would make the temple non-functional.

Building on the Foundation

Jesus had been building His church for over 2,000 years. Paul wrote that you and I are “no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God built [past tense] on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:19-22). Since the prophets and apostles is the foundation of the church, Jesus’ being the Chief Cornerstone, why would God start building another foundation after 2,000 years?! That kind of structure would be condemned by OSHA as unsafe.

Building Upward

Paul writes that “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor 3:9). We are not God’s foundation but His building…building every upward! He’s already laid the foundation! Having problems with false prophets is nothing new. Even in the Old Testament it was written that “the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name, a word which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How will we recognize the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ When the prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, and the thing does not happen or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you are not to be afraid of him” (Deut 18:20-22). It’s not like baseball and its three strikes and you’re out. Its one strike and you’re dead! That’s how seriously God takes this issue of adding to His Word.12 Disciples of Jesus

Guilt by Association

Ezekiel the Prophet has a grave warning for prophets but for those who listen to them. He writes, “And they shall bear their punishment–the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike” (Ezk 14:10). That means to even listen to or consult a false prophet brings the same judgment of God that the false prophet receives. That means we are not to even listen to them. Never read their books. Stop watching You Tube trash. When someone tells me “I have a word from God” I show them my Bible and say, “You have a word from God, but I have the Word of God What self-appointed “prophets” are in essence saying is, “God, I Love Your Word, but it’s not enough…I and others need more revelation!” Sorry false prophet. Read what the Apostle Peter says in 2 Pet 1:18-21, with my emphasis added. It says that “we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have [past tense] the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” To prophecy is to claim that God is giving you a new revelation that’s not already found in Scripture. That’s a great sin before God in my humble opinion.

Adding to His Word

Prophets who claim to speak for God are in mortal and eternal danger. Moses wrote that “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I am commanding you” (Deut 4:2), yet that’s the very thing many so-called prophets do. Revelation 22:18-19 has Jesus’ saying, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”


One prophecy that’s easy to believe is where Peter warned that just as “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Pet 2:1-3). That prophecy has come true.

False prophets promote health and wealth, but God does not want us only healthy or wealthy, but holy! Paul knew that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Cor 11:13-15). Jesus warned us in prophesying that many “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matt 24:24). I pray you’ve trusted in Christ and repented of your sins, otherwise, you too can be deceived, but not so for the elect (Matt 24:24).

Here is some related reading for you: Why False Prophets Are on the Increase Today

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How to turn your sermon into clips

Share the truth

Previous post:

Next post: