Why Call Them Apostles?
One thousand years before the Greeks used the word Apostle the Syro-Phonecians who led ships into battle were called Admirals and that word became the word Apostle.
To the Greeks an Apostle was also an Ambassador; one who was sent by a Ruler or a God. The Apostle was therefore the “personification” or “voice” of that Ruler or God.
To the Romans an Apostle was a General who led troops into battle. And those Apostles were Generals who were actually “adopted” by Caesar as his “sons” to rule over a territory that Rome had conquered.
Pontius Pilate was the General/Apostle over Judea and he was the supreme ruler there in Caesar’s stead. Only he had the power to condemn Jesus.
Now, Jesus could have called his Leaders Prophets, Rabbi’s, Teachers, Shepherds, etc. These were titles that the people understood and were used to BUT He chose to call them Apostles because of what it meant.
He was saying: “You men are my Generals. You will lead my troops into battle and take the Gospel to the whole world.”
Again, before Jesus used this word the Greeks and Romans had used it to describe special envoys that were sent out for the purpose of expanding the dominion of an empire. These Greek and Roman Apostles or Generals had proven themselves in battle.
These “sent ones” went out to advance and establish the Greek or Roman culture in the region they were sent to. They were also responsible for teaching and training the new subjects in the laws and culture of the kingdom.
Apostles are “commissioned”. To commission means to authorize, appoint, charge, empower, dispatch and entrust with a mission. Apostles were given the authority and the power to accomplish the task. Apostles were sent to Cities, Regions or to Nations.
As their counterparts in the “natural”, Jesus commissioned Apostles to advance and establish His Kingdom. They were responsible to:
Advance the Kingdom by subduing and conquering “spiritual territories”.
They were to establish the Kingdom by converting people and then instructing and training them to be “citizens” of the Kingdom of God.
So, when He called them “Apostles” those men knew exactly what Jesus was doing… He was “Declaring War” on the kingdom of darkness and through them He was going to Advance and Establish His Kingdom!