Revelation ended with the last apostle?

Did revelation end with the death of the last apostle? I’ve heard this before, but do not remember where this teaching came from…does it happen to be biblical?

If that is true, why is it that the Church continued to define dogmas like Papal Infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption of Mary. I believe these articles of faith, but my understanding is that they have always been a part of the early Church, but were not properly defined nor necessary for belief until they were proclaimed by the Church. An analogy to help you understand how I see it…You know your mom has always loved you, but when she finally tells you the exact words “I love you” then you know for sure and can believe it with comfort. Is this correct understanding?

Also if revelation did end with the death of the last apostle, why is it that we hear of apparitions? I know we aren’t required to believe in them, but if the Church accepts the validity of some, wouldn’t that go against revelation ending with the last apostle? Doesn’t even accepting that there are apparitions go against it?

Thank you and please help me with my discernment.


There will be no further Revelation

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."28 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.

Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, would be worth reading. I think chapter 1 paragraph 4 addresses this.

:thumbsup: Stillkickin

Thank you for your answers

I think you may be confusing public and private revelation.

As stated above, Public Revelation ended with the death of the last of the apostles.

Private Revelation continues to this day. For example: Lourdes, Fatima, general apparitions, conversion stories.

The Church approves such but only when there is no addition to the Public Revelation. So if Medgegoria is ever approved it will have been checked that no action on the part of “the blessed mother” calls us to sin or denies any part of revelation. No approval can come until the visions are completed.

In any case, private revelation may be only for a limited audience. 1 person, 1 family, 1 country, 1 kind of sinner, etc. No-one needs to accept any of the revelations. That is why we, as Catholics, are not required to pray the rosary, or to attend mass on Fridays, or make pilgrimages to France. These may be good and not deny any truth of the faith but they are all derived from private revelation.

Public revelation in the form of Sacred Scripture ended when the inspired books were each and all completed. It is not clear when that occurred.

The Gospel of Mark has an ending which was perhaps added at a later time, by someone other than Mark.

The Gospel of John has an ending, and probably some additions and edits, that were added at a later time, perhaps after John’s death (he was the last Apostle to die).

The Letters of John might not have been written by John the Apostle, but by a later figure, John the Elder. And so these letters might have been written after the death of John the Apostle.

So the saying that public revelation ended with the death of the last of the twelve Apostles is not necessarily true. It is a common saying, but not a doctrine.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit