From the Bible
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began
both to do and teach,
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy
Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many
infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the
things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they
should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the
Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
-- Bible: Acts.
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he
chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and
John, Philip and Bartholomew,
Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called
And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was
And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company
of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea
and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came
to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
-- Bible: Luke,
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I
will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
-- Bible: Matthew,
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by
the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the
middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man,
so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross,
having slain the enmity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them
that were nigh.
2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but
fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
-- Bible: Ephesians
Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified
in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call
upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is
given you by Jesus Christ;
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
-- Bible: 1 Corinthians.
References to the Apostles from the writings of Abdu'l-Baha.
each cycle the guardians and holy souls have been twelve. So Jacob had
twelve sons; in the time of Moses there were twelve heads or chiefs of the
tribes; in the time of Christ there were twelve Apostles; and in the time
of Muhammad there were twelve Imáms.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 57
The station and the confirmation of the apostles in the time of
Christ was not known, and no one looked on them with the feeling of
importance -- nay, rather, they persecuted and ridiculed them. Later on it
became evident what crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance
were placed on the heads of the apostles, Mary Magdalene and Mary the
mother of John.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 39
was indeed the Herald of the Second Coming of Christ, and a
Summoner to the pathway of the Kingdom. It is evident that the Letter is
a member of the Word, and this membership in the Word signifieth that the
Letter is dependent for its value on the Word, that is, it deriveth its
grace from the Word; it has a spiritual kinship with the Word, and is
accounted an integral part of the Word. The Apostles were even as Letters,
and Christ was the essence of the Word Itself; and the meaning of the Word,
which is grace everlasting, cast a splendour on those Letters. Again, since
the Letter is a member of the Word, it therefore, in its inner meaning, is
consonant with the Word.
-- Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 60
Significance of Twelve
didst ask as to the tenth to the seventeenth verses of the twenty-first
chapter of Saint John the Divine's Revelation. Know thou that according to
mathematical principles, the firmament of this earth's brilliant day-star
hath been divided among twelve constellations, which they call the twelve
zodiacal signs. In the same way, the Sun of Truth shineth out from and
sheddeth its bounties through twelve stations of holiness, and by these
heavenly signs are meant those stainless and unsullied personages who are
the very well-springs of sanctity, and the dawning-points proclaiming the
oneness of God.
how in the days of the Interlocutor (Moses), there were twelve holy
beings who were leaders of the twelve tribes; and likewise in the
dispensation of the Spirit (Christ), note that there were twelve Apostles
gathered within the sheltering shade of that supernal Light, and from those
splendid dawning-points the Sun of Truth shone forth even as the sun in the
sky. Again, in the days of Muhammad, observe that there were twelve
dawning-points of holiness, the manifestors of God's confirming help. Such
is the way of it.
did Saint John the Divine tell of twelve gates in his vision, and
twelve foundations. By `that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending
out of heaven from God' is meant the holy Law of God, and this is set forth
in many Tablets and still to be read in the Scriptures of the Prophets of
the past: for instance, that Jerusalem was seen going out into the
meaning of the passage is that this heavenly Jerusalem hath twelve gates,
through which the blessed enter into the City of God. These gates are souls
who are as guiding stars, as portals of knowledge and grace; and within
these gates there stand twelve angels. By `angel' is meant the power of the
confirmations of God--that the candle of God's confirming power shineth out
from the lamp-niche of those souls--meaning that every one of those beings
will be granted the most vehement confirming support.
twelve gates surround the entire world, that is they are a shelter for
all creatures. And further, these twelve gates are the foundation of the
City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and on each one of these foundations is
written the name of one of the Apostles of Christ. That is to say, each one
maketh manifest the perfections, the joyous message, and the excellency of
that holy Being.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 165
References to apostles from the Quran
God did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and
we appointed twelve captains among them. And God said: "I am with
you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity,
believe in my apostles, honour and assist them, and loan to God a
beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit
you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after
this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or
-- Qur'an: 5 - AL-MA'IDAH
gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of
apostles; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and
strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes
to you an apostle with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up
with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!
-- Qur'an: 2 - AL-BAQARAH,
And Moses said: "If ye show ingratitude, ye and all on earth
together, yet is God free of all wants, worthy of all praise.
Has not the story reached you, (O people!), of those who (went)
before you? - of the people of Noah, and 'Ad, and Thámúd? - And of
those who (came) after them? None knows them but God. To them came
apostles with Clear (Signs); but they put their hands up to their
mouths, and said: "We do deny (the mission) on which ye have been
sent, and we are really in suspicious (disquieting) doubt as to that
to which ye invite us."
Their apostles said: "Is there a doubt about God, The Creator of the
heavens and the earth? It is He Who invites you, in order that He may
forgive you your sins and give you respite for a term appointed!"
They said: "Ah! ye are no more than human, like ourselves! Ye wish to
turn us away from the (gods) our fathers used to worship: then bring
us some clear authority."
Their apostles said to them: "True, we are human like yourselves, but
God doth grant His grace to such of his servants as He pleases. It is
not for us to bring you an authority except as God permits. And on
God let all men of faith put their trust.
"No reason have we why we should not put our trust on God. Indeed He
Has guided us to the Ways we (follow). We shall certainly bear with
patience all the hurt you may cause us. For those who put their trust
should put their trust on God."
And the Unbelievers said to their apostles: "Be sure we shall drive
you out of our land, or ye shall return to our religion." But their
Lord inspired (this Message) to them: "Verily We shall cause the
wrong-doers to perish!
-- Qur'an: 14 - IBRAHIM.
"So go forth, both of you, to Pharaoh, and say: 'We have been sent by
the Lord and Cherisher of the worlds;
26:17 "'Send thou with us the Children of Israel.'"
(Pharaoh) said: "Did we not cherish thee as a child among us, and
didst thou not stay in our midst many years of thy life?
"And thou didst a deed of thine which (thou knowest) thou didst, and
thou art an ungrateful (wretch)!"
26:20 Moses said: "I did it then, when I was in error.
"So I fled from you (all) when I feared you; but my Lord has (since)
invested me with judgment (and wisdom) and appointed me as one of the
-- Qur'an: 26 - ASH-SHU`ARAA',
O ye who believe! Believe in God and His Apostle, and the scripture
which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to
those before (him). Any who denieth God, His angels, His Books, His
Apostles, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.
-- Qur'an: 4 - AN-NISA.
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