This one is for inerrantist futurists who think the book of Revelation was written after the original apostles began approving of Paul.
Jesus chose 12 apostles:
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.
(Mat 10:2-4 NAS)
When Judas betrayed Christ, leaving 11 apostles, Acts 1 says Matthias took the place of Judas:
15 And at this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
17 “For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.”
18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.
19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead be made desolate, And let no man dwell in it’; and, ‘His office let another man take.’
21 “It is therefore necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–
22 beginning with the baptism of John, until the day that He was taken up from us– one of these should become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
23 And they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.
24 And they prayed, and said, “Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen
25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
(Act 1:15-1 NAS)
In that case, that would make Paul the 13th apostle.
Paul says he did more work than all the other apostles:
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1Co 15:10 KJV)
But the book of Revelation, authored after Paul became known as an apostle, says the foundation of the holy city contains the names of the 12 apostles:
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Rev 21:14 NAS)
The author of Revelation asserts the existence of false apostles:
2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; (Rev 2:2 NAS)
The question is: What conclusions can be safely drawn from the fact that, the author of Revelation, who knows about apostle Paul, nevertheless continues to give the number of apostles as 12?
Some have said Revelation is figurative, but the fact that there really were exactly 12 apostles at one time, opens the door to the possibility of a non-figurative intent in giving the number of apostles as 12.
Because the immediate context places all unredeemed sinners in the lake of fire around the time the New Jerusalem is formed(21:8), it would appear that the reality of that city’s foundations having the names of the 12 apostles is something that will be true long into the future from now, near or after the day of judgment. That means the New Jerusalem is not a specifically Jewish thing, it is merely the Jewish Christian way of describing what the earth will be like after the unsaved are consigned to eternal torment.
In other words, the New Jerusalem, or the world when it contains only saved souls, may be said to rest on the foundation laid by Paul just as much as it is said to lay on the twelve apostles. The New Jerusalem is not limited to something founded solely by the original 11 + Matthias.
If Paul really did labor more than the other apostles, and if they knew of him long before the book of Revelation was written, then it is completely unexpected that the author of that book should symbolically describe the new earth, containing only saved people, as laying upon the foundation of the “12” apostles, if he believed that Apostle # 13 labored more than the other apostles did.
What is even more bizarre is that the New Testament attributes very little establishment of Christianity to the original 12 apostles, or the original 11 + Matthias.
Unless you can show that the New Jerusalem is some type of place that Paul never had a hand in establishing, the failure of the Revelation author to specify that there are 13 apostles constitutes a denial of Paul’s apostleship.
Some have tried to fix the number problem by saying Paul was number 12, and Peter making Matthias number 12 in Acts 1 was contrary to the will of God. However, there is not the slightest hint in the context of Acts 1 that the apostles drawing lots to fill up the 12th position was contrary to the will of God. It is difficult to believe that, if that procedure by the original 11 had been contrary to the will of God, the narrative just records what happened with no hint of such. We have to wonder what other narratives in the NT describe things that were contrary to the will of God, but which fail to explicitly state so. Evidence that the election of Matthias was within the will of God is:
- All 11 apostles are of “one mind” in prayer (Acts 1:14)
- there were at least 100 others there (v. 15)
- Peter’s standing up in the midst of the brethren (v. 15) indicates he believes he is going to be making an official decision, implying that he believes God approves.
- The phrase “that is, Field of Blood” (v. 19) appears less likely the type of qualification Peter would have stated, and appears to be an explanatory statement inserted by Luke, the author, which now means Luke regards what Peter did as important
- Peter characterizes the fall of Judas with references to passages in the Psalms (v. 20) that say nothing about Judas, implying that Peter could thus find in scripture that which the surface level text does not reveal, and was thus filled with the Holy Spirit at that point.
- “they put forward two men” in v. 23 seems to be saying it was agreed by most of the apostles and the 100 or so others that those two men were the best candidates, necessarily implying that the whole crowd believed what was happened met with divine approval.
- “they prayed” in v. 24 again refers to the bunch of them and not just a few, signifying they were all under the impression that asking God to reveal who was to replace Judas was a justified prayer in the circumstances.
- “they drew lots” in v. 26 strengthens the argument that this whole procedure was believed by most of those present to be a necessary procedure calling for a bibical method of determining God’s will. (‘The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD. (Pro 16:33 NAS)).
For all these reasons, Apostle Paul is Apostle # 13, thus the Revelation-author’s reference to the final state of the earth having a foundation with the names of the “12” apostles, constituted a denial that Paul, apostle # 13, contributed in any way to the founding of that symbolic city.