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In Acts 1:12-26 we read the story of how Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. This kept the number of apostles at Twelve.

Sometime later, James, the brother of John was murdered (Acts 12:2). James was also one of the original twelve (Matthew 4:21) but unlike Judas, there is no record of him being replaced.

Why was this? Did the policy change?

Alternatively, if he was replaced but it was not recorded in the New Testament, when did the "Twelve Apostle" policy end?

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I think this is a good question. I have never thought about it before. If they did continue to replace the apostles after Judas with Mathias, they did eventually stop. This would be interesting to know. Perhaps the catholics have a tradition regarding this. –  fredsbend the Grinch Nov 18 '13 at 1:23

1 Answer 1

The Twelve Apostles elected by Jesus were not meant to live forever and rule the earth. They represented the fathers of Christianity and the church.

Judas was a betrayer. He betrayed his master Jesus, which is the same as betraying the whole group of twelve, and it implies that he is no longer a part of the group of the Twelve Apostles. Judas deserted the company of Twelve. It was now necessary to replace the office of Judas, possibly because they believed that 12 was the divinely appointed number by Jesus Christ and it should be maintained. The number twelve might also represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, it seems like it was necessary to continue the tradition of the number Twelve.

The death of James did not end his position in the Twelve as he was not a betrayer like Judas. In fact, all the apostles (according to tradition) were martyred. They are now all dead and probably are now in Heaven, occupying the Twelve Thrones reserved for them in Heaven (my speculation).

And, Jesus did not elect Twelve Popes, rather Twelve Apostles.

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Sorry, but I don't believe this answers my question. Why was James not replaced? Or are you saying that it was only necessary to replace the betrayer since The New Twelve have a heavenly role‌​? –  Wikis Nov 14 '13 at 8:38
    
@Wikis All the apostles are dead now. Why do you think that whenever an apostle is dead, it should be replaced by a new one? They are not 12 Popes, they are 12 Apostles. :) –  Mawia Nov 14 '13 at 8:42
    
Because Judas was replaced. Was that not a precedent? –  Wikis Nov 14 '13 at 8:46
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He was replaced because he left the company. –  Mawia Nov 14 '13 at 8:48
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Just as an aside (as it doesn't change the thrust of the answer), the apostle John is not believed to have been martyred. He was the only one who died naturally. –  Andrew Leach Nov 14 '13 at 10:09

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