Apostolic Succession


A Study By: Timothy M. Youngblood
Copyright © The Master's Table
Apostolic Succession ~Temporal Power

Although Jesus Himself taught that the church should not rule over the brethren as we read in Matt 20:25-28 it seems that most Christians have looked up to those ministers who LOVE "Temporal Power" and even place the brethren under the hierarchical government structure. Many sincere Christians are not aware of what temporal power means and where Jesus taught against it, so we are doing this study to inform those that want to know. Some may even ask why should we as Christians even be concerned about these concepts of Apostolic Succession and Temporal Power? It may shock you but these questions need to be answered because the coming beast power will use Apostolic Succession and Temporal Power to lock unsuspecting Christians into this powerful worldwide system. Jesus and the apostles warned us in scripture such as Matt 24:4-5 and the second chapter of II Thessalonians to beware of this system because it would come in Jesus' name and deceive the many. We have much more information on this subject in our free on-line book titled "The Great Apostasy" if you want to know more.

Let's get started by explaining what temporal power and apostolic succession is and how the Catholic Church influenced many other churches into the use of apostolic succession to deceive the people.

Temporal power:
I'm sure you have seen many church buildings with great pillars in the structures. Have you ever wondered why they have such pillars? Ever notice that the larger and more powerful the church, the more and larger the pillars are in the construction of the building? We even see this design in Washington D. C. and many people know that they are there to denote the power base of our country. Yes! The very site of them denotes power! The Roman Catholic Church has them not only outside as structural members, but they have them inside as well. The reason for this comes right out of Rome as they also used many large pillars to flaunt their power. The design of the church and Washington D. C. to resemble the power of Rome was a deliberate plan by those who know why and what it means. The Christians we call Protestants copied their design and much of their doctrines from their Mother church as well.

Just as apostolic Succession denotes "authority" Temporal power denotes that all Popes or Christian leaders should be involved in the political and governmental activity of not only the church, but the governing body of the people such as Kings, or Governors. The founding fathers of the United States placed in our laws what is called "Separation of Church and State" to insure that what happened to them in England and Europe could not happen here. If you want to know just how serious this is go to our section titled "Reformation" and do some reading. Although we have this law written in the Constitution of the United States, it is being misused, and misrepresented. People will scream that prayer should never be allowed in school and never open their mouth about the religious leaders running for public office, or religious leaders rubbing shoulders with senators, congressmen, or the president himself. What do you suppose these powerful religious leaders who has the ear of thousands are doing hobnobbing with these powerful men? What do you suppose these senators and congressmen want from these powerful religious leaders?

Apostolic Succession:
Apostolic Succession in its strict sense refers to the "doctrine" by which the validity and authority of the Christian ministry is derived from the original twelve apostles. Churches of the Catholic tradition hold that bishops form the necessary link in an "unbroken chain" of successors to the office of the original twelve apostles, and the outward sign they use to put divine authority on their claim is the laying on of hands by the minister, or priest at ordination, and healing by the same means. So in its broader sense, apostolic succession refers to the relationship between the Christian church today and the apostolic church during the lives of the apostles. This is why the Catholic church put to death those that opposed them during the reformation. This is why they will do so in the future! Many sincere Christians today are not aware that the Catholic church is in the process of bringing all apostate churches back under its domination, and the name they are using to do this is Ecumenical. You can access three sermons dealing with this subject titled..."Apostasy now" ~ "The Apostate system." and "Satan's Snare" which you can access at the end of this study.

It is interesting to note that Apostolic Succession could not be found in the Church before A.D. 170-200. It is reported that the Gnostics claimed to possess a secret tradition handed down to them form the apostles, and to counter this the Catholic church pointed to each bishop as a true successor to the apostles and therefore to the truth the apostles taught. The Catholic Church teaches that the papal succession can be traced back to Peter, but is this true? It also teaches that the first pillar, "Apostolic Succession" means that the Pope is the vicar of Christ. It is also taught by the Catholic Church that the Pope himself is also in direct succession of the apostles by the laying on of hands.

Did Jesus give Apostolic Succession to the apostle Peter?
We have looked at what Apostolic Succession is and how it can be misused, but now we need to find out if Jesus did in fact put Apostolic Succession in the new covenant church as the Popes and others teach. Let's look at the scripture they use and examine it to decide for ourselves if Jesus did, or did not in fact put Apostolic Succession in the new covenant church? There are many men coming in the name of Jesus, stating they have been given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. They teach that only one man at any given time can have the keys and the one who have received the keys are the head of the true Church of God, and we must follow them as they are the ones God is working with, and revealing truth to. They all tend to teach that they also have the ear of God and can even bring new doctrines to the church. We will cover this fact from the Catholic church in this study which is called,"The doctrine of Tradition". A very important question is if this is true we need to know who is telling the truth about who should have these keys, right? Because this is so important let's take a look into the bible to find out what is truly taught and not what some man teaches that could be for his own gain. The scripture many use to teach that God has given them the keys is Matt 16:18-19. which states "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

This scripture seems to state that Jesus turned over the keys of the Kingdom to Peter, and as the ministers today teach, someone must inherit these keys down through time, and the one who receives them will be God's only true lead minister heading up God's true Church. When scripture is quoted to try and prove man's ideas we must study deeper before we accept it as truth so let's take a close look at this verse in Matt 16:18-19. Let's read it and look at it as if we were in a court of law. "And I also say to you that you are "Peter", (It's very important to note that this word "Peter" here in the Greek is "Petros" meaning a small piece of rock) Then Jesus continues to state...and on this "rock" (Now this word in the Greek is "petra " meaning a large rock) I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it and I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." We noted here that within this scripture denotes two different sizes of rocks, one a pebble, (Peter - Petros) and the other a large stone (Jesus - Petra). When Jesus stated that "on this rock" I will build my Church." Jesus was in truth speaking of Himself as the "Petra" (The large rock.)

Is there scripture in the old Testament Prophecies that state this very thing, and if so who was the Prophecy speaking about? Let's look at the scriptures that verify this in Isa 22:22, to find out. "The key of the house of David" I will lay on His shoulder; so He shall open, and no one shall shut; and He shall shut, and no one shall open." We find in our research that the keys to the house of David are referring to the promise that the Messiah shall sit on the throne of David, and the throne with the keys belongs to Him alone. Isa 9:6-7 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Notice that the very thing Jesus stated in the scripture in Matt 16:18-19 that "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." is also stated about the Messiah in old Testament Prophecy. This information should put to rest any teaching that some minister has the Keys to the Kingdom.

There are many other important keys that belong to the Messiah which are the keys to the grave, and death that will be used to call us in the resurrection. Rev. 18:1. The keys to the seven seals of which no one in heaven or earth were found worthy to open. The keys to enter into the Holy of Holies to speak to the Holy Father for us. The keys to all the churches. The keys to the bottomless pit that will be given to the angel to lock Satan, and the demons, as well as the great false prophet in before Jesus returns. The keys to the new city that will come down from God the Father. Can a man have these keys? Can a man use them the way Jesus will? Can a man enter into heaven and speak to the Father for all mankind? Is there any on earth worthy to hold these keys? I think not! We read in Rev 3:7, which is yet future, that Jesus (the Lamb of God) will still have these keys. Let's read it. "These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David," He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens", and in Rev. 1:18 Jesus states "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

It's Jesus (not some Pope or minister) with these keys who will call many from their graves, and then those who remain of His called-out ones to become Spirit born Children of God at His second coming. The truth is, Jesus would never turn the keys of the Kingdom over to any man or angel. God the Father is the supreme ruler, and Jesus sits at His right hand. Remember in Rev. 5:2 "Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" Just as there was no one worthy except Jesus the Messiah to open the seals, there's no one in heaven or earth except Him worthy to have the keys to the Kingdom. Any man would have to be perfect in all things to be able to use the keys in a way that was for the good of all but the Word of God tells us that no man or woman on earth is righteous as we find in Rom 3:10-11. There is not one scripture that states any of the apostles had the keys to the Kingdom of God nor is there a single scripture that states who received them after the death of Peter or any other apostle. It would stand to reason that it would be recorded in the end of the epistles whom they passed them on to, but there is absolutely no mention of the apostles having them, or any record of whom should have them next.

There are those however that have in the past and do today try to take them, but this only shows they are the false ministers that Jesus warned us about in many scriptures. Remember, Jesus stated that no one can come to the Father except through Him. That means He alone has ALL the keys to the Kingdom that is coming. It was Satan from the very beginning that wanted to rule in God's place, and it's this very attitude that God hates and will put down when He returns. When anyone sets up a hierarchical type Church government and states that they have been given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven, they are taking upon themselves the great authority of God Himself. They are putting themselves in the place of the Messiah thus becoming a false messiah, because the true Messiah is the ONLY one from the house of David with these keys as we read in old Testament Prophecy, so don't be taken in by these false minister!

The slides below show Catholic art and the so called statue, supposedly of Peter that is located in St. Peter's at Rome and the art of their false Jesus and the Pope has their two fingers extended denoting Apostolic Succession and Temporal Power! Also notice the Catholic Coat of Arms has the keys to the kingdom which also means Apostolic Succession but remember what we learned above concerning the keys to the kingdom of God and who truly has them so these pictures show truly who is the false Church and who is wanting to set on the throne of the true Messiah and who wants to rule the earth.

The doctrine of "Tradition", as taught by the Roman Catholic Church:
We must note here how some have been so bold to even try and steal the authority of the Messiah for themselves. "The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the doctrines that are not found explicitly taught by the apostles but taught later by other men, or Popes after the Bible was written, are nevertheless truths from God. They even say that these "other" doctrines are as important as clear biblical teachings. They teach that the apostles simply chose not to explicitly write such beliefs to the churches as New Testament Scripture. Although there is no absolute proof that the apostles believed these doctrines, the Roman Catholic Church proposes that the apostles indeed did believe them, otherwise they feel God would not have led the Roman Catholic Church to later teach the doctrines they teach.

It is also interesting that the word "Authority" means the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; it means the one with the power has jurisdiction and the right to control, or command what is "law" or what is correct. How can Apostolic Succession be used to deceive Christians into a false system? I will use a real church and a real man to illustrate how this can, and has happened. There used to be a very large church that had in its hay-day about 140,000 members around the world. This church started back in the 1930's and taught that they were the only true end-time church that God was working with. They taught that the leader of this church was an apostle of Jesus Christ and that he was also "Elijah" the prophet that was to come just before the return of Christ. They taught that the church was God's government here on earth and all members MUST obey this government or run the risk of losing salvation. They also taught that if you did not belong to their church you would have to go through the great tribulations and suffer with all the professing Christians in all these false churches. But one of the most important teachings was that this leader taught that his lineage could be traced back to King David through the lineage of Solomon.

It is reported that the leader of this great church told Emperor Haile Selassie in December, 1973 this very thing. The Emperor had stated that his lineage could be traced back to King David and the report from this church states; "I then began to mention some of the things the Emperor and I have in common; Then I mentioned that I have the genealogy of my ancestry, and that I too, [on one side of the family] am a direct descendant of King Solomon of ancient Israel." With this claim he was teaching Apostolic Succession and that he was the link to the apostles, and if a man was ordained by him that man was also in that same line as far as the ministry goes. We found in our own research that Jesus' lineage did not go through the lineage of Solomon. (See Jesus' true Lineage chart at link below.)

Another way this lead minister taught Apostolic Succession was that his church was directly in line with the church of the first Pentecost when he (In error) taught the succession of the seven churches of Revelation came down through time to the present day and boasting that his church was the Philadelphia era church and those after this church would be the Laodicea era church which would go through the tribulations. The truth about these seven churches of Revelation according to the book of Revelation is that these seven churches mentioned exist at the same time and in the time of the end. Yes they did exist as well during apostolic times but there is no proof at all linking these seven churches together down through to our time. This minister in this church knew this from his own research but covered it up by stating that "A curtain came down and information was lost." Well the truth is that the information was never there and these churches broke up almost 19 hundred years ago and no other information about them has been noted according to our own research. Because of this man's teaching many people miss the point that the book of Revelation is written for the seven churches AT the time of the end, not as he taught (down through time.) By teaching church succession he was in fact teaching Apostolic succession, and yes I heard him say so many times.

The scripture states, as this man quoted many times that the gates of hell could not prevail against this church! Just a few months before his death he stated in public that if this church was not of God it could not stand after he died and the evidence today show that this church was not the true church of God with a man being lead by God's hand, but was in fact a church of men that lead thousands of people into a false church. This church does not even exist today as they have not only changed over 2/3 of the doctrines but have even changed the name of the church as well. Yes by his own words he showed that this church was not God's only true church on Earth nor was it God's government on Earth. This church fell apart due to infighting after his death about who would be in charge, and a great deal of corruption was also revealed when the church split into over 250 different church groups around the world and I'm sure much more at the time of this writing and in the end causing some to even take their lives when the truth was revealed to them.

In one case a member of one of these split off groups headed by one of the leaders top lieutenants had a long time church member go to church one Sabbath and murder the minister, the minister's son and about seven other members as church services were in process. What does this mean concerning the question if God was working with this church? What does this mean in terms of the validity of this church and it's teachings? The bible tells us that if a man comes prophesying and his prophecy does not come to pass that God has not sent him. Let's read it for ourselves in Deut 18:21-22 21. "And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'-- "when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."

That is from God; not me! Remember we stated above that it was taught that this man who founded this church was also "Elijah" the prophet that was to come just before the return of Christ? It is an interesting note that from the death of this leader as of this writing over 25 years have passed and Jesus has not returned. I have no real answer and will have to leave that up to God as He is the judge on these matters. The main point here is that we should beware of these church leaders that use intimidation stating that we can no longer have contact with our former friends and family if they are not in the church, or the twisting of scripture, and control of information by stating that you should only read their literature, and shame if you fail to come to church, or guilt if you fail to pay your tithes, and fear tactics stating that you could be condemned by God, and other methods of thought reform in an effort to gain total control over their members. Please understand that the use of these behavior techniques may be dangerously effective which can lead an unsuspecting Christian into a deep state of dependence. We have an article offered at the end of this study titled "Church Government" that gets into the mind control tactics these churches use if you want to know more. These facts above are not to reflect badly on anyone, but more to show where statements that tend to establish the authenticity, or validity of Apostolic Succession can lead.

How did Jesus illustrate the structure in His Church?
What did Jesus and apostles teach concerning the structure of the New covenant church, and who will always have authority over this church? Jesus gave us the example of the true structure He wanted in His Church, so let's read what is recorded in John 15:5. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." The truth from God is that a vine is the best way to depict God's type of government because this type of government puts Christ as the Lord and gives everyone who truly follows Him the opportunity to serve and lay up treasures in heaven without contriving and backbiting. There's no reason to politic when the Messiah has already qualified to rule and never forget that it was Satan from the very beginning that wanted to ascend to take the position of God, and anytime a man places himself between Christ and the brethren or seeks the position of Christ's authority in anyway whatsoever, he is not doing God's will.

Notice that Jesus states in the above scripture concerning the structure like a vine that He wants us ALL to bear much fruit, so we ALL can grow, not just the minister. We also find in Matt 20:25-28 that Jesus instructed His disciples not to lord over their brethren. Let's read it…"But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Brethren "The doctrine of "Tradition" Does not give them the right to teach doctrine that is contrary to the teachings that Jesus brought from the Holy Father in heaven and also gave to His apostles to teach the New Covenant church. The majority of Protestant denominations do not accept this Catholic Church doctrine, which also gives credence to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of the literal flesh and blood in the communion Eucharist, but they have nevertheless accepted the customs of Christ-Mass and the Trinity doctrine even though this Trinity doctrine is no more explicitly taught in scripture than the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. They have accepted the doctrine of Easter and even worship towards the sun as it rises on the very day the sun god was worshipped. To accept one doctrine and then throw out the other, when both are from the same foundation of the doctrine of "Tradition", as opposed to explicit scriptural teaching, is to act most contradictorily.

As we have noted above, this doctrine of "Apostolic Succession" is said to give the Roman Catholic Church and now other churches the right to change the doctrines and teachings of Jesus that He brought from the Holy Father, as well as adding pagan doctrines to the church called by the name Christian. Yes these things came into the church long after the death of the apostles, and is not in the original teachings! Question is...Who do you believe and follow?

For more information see How to spot cult practices

You might want to read our other free studies titled...

Ecumenical . Just what is it?

You can access three sermons dealing with this subject titled..."Apostasy now" ~ "The Apostate system." and Satan's Snare
at this Link A Call to Arms

Church Government?

The truth about Tithing

God's Plan of Salvation and is about the New Covenant.

(See Lineage Chart for the true Lineage of the Messiah.

Regards In Jesus' service
Timothy M. Youngblood