Q: Since the twelve apostles are the foundation stones, and Judas was replaced and is not considered among the twelve, who replaced him? In Acts it says that Matthias was chosen by casting lots. Did Jehovah accept the casting of lots that was done to choose Matthias, or did he choose Paul? Which one of the two is the twelfth apostle, Matthias or Paul? (Acts 1:23-26) Thank you!

A: Who replaced Judas Iscariot? The Scriptures tell us it was Matthias, “he was reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:23-26) Some have trouble with that because of the manner in which the decision was reached, namely, casting lots to decide between Matthias and Joseph (who was also called Barsabbas). Many believe that Paul is a better candidate because he was chosen by Jesus personally; plus he had a greater impact on the congregations than even most of the apostles, especially Matthias who is not even mentioned again after having won the decision. Some also point to the many letters that Paul wrote, whereas Matthias did not seem to have contributed to any writing of the Bible that we know of. But that is no argument against Matthias, for neither did eight of the other apostles write letters or books of the Bible, such as Andrew; James (the letter of James was written by Jesus’ half-brother, not the apostle. – Acts 12:1,2); Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus; Simon the zealous one; and Judas the son of James (the short letter "Jude" was penned by Jesus’ half brother, the brother of the author of the letter "James". – Matt. 13:55; John 7:5)

It should be noted that Jesus chose the twelve apostles early in his ministry from among the disciples who were already closely associated with him. After spending a whole night in prayer, “he called his disciples to him and chose from among them twelve, whom he also named apostles.” (Luke 6:12,13) This would also be true of the apostle who would be chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. He needed to have been a disciple “during all the time in which the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, starting with his baptism by John and until the day he was received up from us.” (Acts 1:2, 20-22) There were at least two disciples who met the criterion, but of course only one could be chosen. The lot fell on Matthias! Who are we to say that Jehovah did not accept, or even have a hand in making his choice known in this manner. (Prov. 16:33; compare Joshua 7:14-20; 14:1,2) It was Matthias who henceforth “was reckoned among the twelve” and received the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 2:14) Saul, who became known as the apostle Paul, does not meet the qualifications to be counted among the twelve. He was not even a disciple when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him while he was on his way to Damascus to take into custody the disciples that had fled there on account of the persecution. Paul became a chosen vessel, an apostle to the nations, "sent forth" to declare the good news to them, for that is the meaning of the word "apostle." (Rom. 1:1; 11:13; 1 Cor. 9:1,2; 1 Tim. 2:7)

Our word “apostle” comes from the Greek a
po′stolos, and is derived from the common verb apostel′lo, meaning simply “send forth (or off).” (it-1 p. 127 Apostle) The apostle Matthew tells us that Jesus selected the twelve apostles “that they might continue with him and that he might send them out [apostel′lei] to preach and to have authority to expel the demons.” (Mark 3:14,15; Matt. 10:5-7) The twelve were closely associated with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry, accompanying him on his preaching tours, and were taught by Jesus personally in order to carry on the work after he was taken from them. From the start they were important "living stones" in the foundation of God's temple, his people. (Eph. 2:19,20; 1 Peter 2:5)

That the twelve apostles have a special position within God's temple there can be no doubt. (Rev. 21:14) But in the Scriptures others are also called "apostles." Paul was an apostle to the nations, sent forth by Jesus. Other "apostles" were sent forth by their congregations. In his second letter to the brothers in Corinth, Paul wrote: "Moreover, we are sending with them our brother whom we have often proved in many things to be earnest, but now much more earnest due to his great confidence in you.
23 If, though, there is any question about Titus, he is a sharer with me and a fellow worker for your interests; or if about our brothers, they are apostles of congregations and a glory of Christ. 24 Therefore demonstrate to them the proof of your love and of what we boasted about you, before the face of the congregations." (2 Cor. 8:22-24, NWT) Paul had relatives (συγγενείς), namely, "Andronicus and Junias. . . who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." (Rom. 16:7, 11; NASB) Many translations call such apostles "special messengers of the churches," no doubt to differentiate such ones from the twelve, or because they recognize only the twelve as apostles. (see also Phil. 2:25) Because of the special prestige attached to the office of an apostle, some ambitious disciples presented themselves as apostles, but obviously not claiming to be among the twelve. (Mark 9:33,34; Luke 22:24; 1 Cor. 12:28,29) Paul was opposed in the Corinth congregation by certain "super fine apostles," calling them false apostles and deceitful workers. (2 Cor. 11:5, 13-15; 1 Cor. 4:8,9) Jesus commended the disciples of the Ephesus congregation because they "put those to the test who say they are apostles, but they are not, and you found them liars." This would be true also today of anyone who professes to have received apostolic authority by Jesus or God within the congregation, including any self-appointed governing body. (Revelation 2:2)