"Illinois: The Apostolic State"
by Dr. Patti Amsden
On Wednesday, August 27, 2003, a prophecy was declared over the state of Illinois. A portion of that word is as follows: “Illinois is a Mt. Horeb/Mt. Sinai Place – Moses went up and received the laws, the government there, the patterns or plans of God were given there. The Lord said Illinois is his apostolic state. It is a place of government, a place where plans are given. Illinois is a prototype for what God wants to do in the rest of the nation, consistent with being a Horeb.” (Dutch Sheets) From the time that word was released, the intercessors have focused upon prayerfully aligning the state with her destiny. A Kingdom Congress event was convened to legislate “on earth as it is in heaven” for the state. Over the past few years, apostles from around the state have been attempting to form an apostolic coalition to produce a network for spiritual governance for Illinois. The following article is the first in a series that will address the call upon this apostolic state.
The Biblical Office of the Apostle
The role of the apostle can most clearly be understood by looking at the Greek words for apostle and by examining how the term was used in the world of Jesus’ day. Apostle, as it refers to the person, is based upon the Greek apostolos and means the sent one. Apostle, as it refers to the work, is based upon the Greek apostello and means the activity of sending. In the Greek and Roman world, the word apostle referenced men who were naval officers or merchant mariners responsible for an entire fleet of ships. The apostle was the person with the commission, authority, and responsibility to deliver the cargo to a designated port. In the context of the transporting of materials on the decree of a sending nation, the apostle was expected to faithfully transmit or reflect the intentions of that nation.
The concept of a person sent with a cargo indicates several things. The one sent would have the position of being first. He or she was the called and commissioned one appointed to be the leader, take the headship of the assignment, or be the first among all the other appointees. Apostolic indicates first. This presupposition is verified throughout the pages of scripture. The Bible makes reference to Jesus as an Apostle in Hebrews 3:1. Jesus was commissioned from the Father, sent as heaven’s delegate, and authorized to deliver God’s will for redemption to earth. Jesus outranked everyone else who would be part of His team. He was and is the premier example of apostleship.
As Christ’s kingdom grew, there were new areas and more people that would need the kingdom cargo. While He lived on earth as a man, Jesus was limited by time and space just like any other man. Therefore, He appointed others whom He could commission and send out. Jesus called these sent ones His apostles (Mt. 10:2), and scripture verifies the names of Christ’s twelve apostles (Lk. 16:13). Upon His death and resurrection, Jesus appeared to His apostolic team and commissioned them to take the kingdom cargo to the whole earth (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15). To fulfill this assignment, twelve apostles would be insufficient. The bigger the territory, the more distant the ports, the more people groups that needed the cargo – these necessitated that more apostles or sent ones would be needed. The twelve apostles recognized that the calling they possessed also rested on other followers of Christ, therefore they appointed or sanctioned other sent ones. Acts 13:2-3 speaks of a time when the Holy Spirit directed the church to acknowledge the calling on Barnabas and Saul (later known as Paul) and to send them out through the lying on of hands and commissioning them for their assignment. After their authorization, the two newly delegated apostles set sail for distant ports.
The book of Acts and the Epistles reveal the names of some of those commissioned as sent ones. There are at least 20 other names throughout the New Testament that carry the title of apostle: Matthias (Acts: 1:26); Paul (I Cor. 15:8); James (Gal. 1:19); Barnabas (Acts 14:3,4,14); Apollos (I Cor. 4:6-9); Timothy (Acts 19:22; I Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2 Cor. 8:23); Silas or Silvanus (Acts 15:22; I Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Tychicus (2 Tim. 4:12); Judas (Acts 15:22; I Thess. 2:6); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25); Erastus (Acts 19:22); and two unnamed (2 Cor. 8:23). That same process continues to this day. God still calls, and his called ones are still sent to fulfill the mandate of apostleship.
Those sent had the responsibility to deliver the cargo to its designated destination. Therefore, the apostle not only was a courier or a carrier but he also had to oversee and guarantee that the assignment was implemented. He could not drop the cargo and depart. The mother nation had sent him and his cargo with a preplanned intention and for a purpose. The apostle had to supervise the execution of that purpose before his assignment was complete. Upon delivery of the cargo, the apostle needed to insure that the materials had an effective and firm beginning. If the cargo was wrongly applied at the beginning, the mission would be lost. Therefore, apostles not only are first; their work is foundational. They insure successful implementation. They lay the foundation.
Scripture supports this premise. Jesus, the chief Apostle laid a sure foundation and is, Himself, that foundation (I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20). Paul stated that an apostle must lay a solid foundation (I Cor. 3:10; Eph. 2:20). Apostles not only lead the way and deliver the cargo, but they must faithfully apply the cargo at the beginning of the work to secure a stable and successful endeavor.
Because of the sending, the headship, and the oversight of the work, the apostle must be mantled with authority. That authority is not self-awarded but is, rather, representative or delegated authority. Apostles are ambassadors who represent the sending nation. That comment stands true if the apostles were the Roman naval officers or if the apostles were/are the sent ones of Christ’s kingdom. Apostles stand under government and function to apply government. Jesus told His apostles that He would give them the keys (authority) to the kingdom and empower them to rule in His name. Apostles are the first mentioned of the five-fold governmental offices given to the church (Eph. 4:11-12; I Cor. 12:28).
Scripture warns against false apostles (II Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2). Not all who claim to bring kingdom cargo are actually messengers from the heavenly domain. The sent one and the cargo must be inspected. The apostle must pass the tests of an elder ((I Tim. 3:1-7) and must not seek his own glory or seek to build his own kingdom (I Cor. 1:10-31; I Cor. 3:1-23). Rev. 2:2 credits the church at Ephesus for examining those who came to them declaring that they were apostles but were, instead, liars.
New territories, new people groups, and new aspects of culture are reached when God calls and sends an apostle. New cargo is delivered in those new realms. New information and resources become available when the apostle delivers his or her cargo. Whether the home land is Rome or Heaven, the sending country is represented and the agenda of the homeland is advanced by the apostolic ambassador.
The Application of the Apostolic Calling to the State
Illinois has been identified as a state that carries an apostolic calling. Therefore, Illinois must take caution as to what she exports. She will carry her cargo. If that cargo is righteous, then those who receive it will be blessed. If that cargo is unrighteous, then those who receive it will be harmed. What mother country does Illinois represent? Who is her sending nation?
Illinois is to be a land of firsts, a state that produces leaders, a place that can provide an example for other states to follow. Illinois must guard against false apostleship. Other states and other regions should be able to examine Illinois leaders and find them fulfilling a true apostolic function. Other states and other regions should be able to scrutinize Illinois’ cargo and find it worthy of importing.
More on the apostolic state of Illinois will follow in the next article.