Catholicism hinges its entire existence on the dogma that Jesus gave the
apostles power and authority and that power and authority was handed down through each generation through their bishops, and that power is dispensed
through them through the sacraments. If this were NOT true, then Roman
Catholicism’s clergy would have no power, neither would they have any authority
to create other dogmas, any more than you or I would have authority to do so.
The scripture is clear that Roman Catholicism’s claim to apostolic succession and power has no biblical base.
First of all, what power is it that the clergy is supposed to have that we need? They claim the need for the seven sacraments. We will see how there is NOTHING we need that would require some transfer of power or power handed down from the apostles. The scripture indeed teaches the church government to do the work of the ministry. But what kind of ‘magical power’ was ‘handed down’ or needs to be transferred that we don’t get directly from Jesus?
We begin by a prophecy found in the Book of Joel in the Old Testament:
Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Joe 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Joe 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
This is the first scripture we read about the Holy Ghost baptism, which would be poured out upon all flesh, at least, all those who are obedient in order to receive it. Notice, verse, 32, it will happen in Jerusalem.
Now we come to the New Testament. We see John the Baptist speaking of this Holy Ghost!
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Jesus spoke of the same baptism of the Holy Ghost several times:
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Being ‘born of water’ refers to being baptized. We cover that in detail in other studies, so we will not cover it much here. Being ‘born of the spirit’ refers to the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Joh 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Joh 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Jesus was plain that the Holy Ghost was not some ‘third person’ of a trinity – it was His own Spirit! The Comforter!
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Joh 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Jesus, God manifest in the flesh, the image of the invisible God, told them he was with them but shall be IN them!!!
Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Joh 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Joh 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Joh 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Joh 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
So what we have read so far is about the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, a promise to all believers. The apostles would be the first to receive it but by far not the only ones to receive it. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gave explicit instructions regarding receiving the Holy Ghost:
Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Luk 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Luk 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
So in just like we read in the Book of Joel, Jerusalem would be where they would receive the Holy Ghost, the ‘power from on high’. It’s interesting that Luke is also the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, where we see this event actually happen. Let’s read in the Book of Acts. Keep in mind that the ‘former treatise’ Luke refers to is the Gospel of Luke. So let’s read in the Book of Acts:
Act 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Act 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Act 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Act 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Act 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
So the apostles were to receive power, ‘after that the Holy Ghost is come upon them’, just as we have read. Jesus even refers to John the Baptist, which we already read in this study. They went to Jerusalem, just as Jesus had commanded them to do, in the Gospel of Luke. And in this upper room, they did two things; one, they had a prayer meeting. Secondly, they agreed in order for scripture to be fulfilled, there needed to be specifically TWELVE apostles. We will deal with this later, and we’ll see it has absolutely NOTHING to do with some apostolic succession. But for now, let’s read about the fulfillment of the prophecies we read about regarding the baptism of the Holy Ghost! Let’s read in the next chapter of the Acts of the Apostles:
Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Fulfillment of the scriptures, all those in the upper room, about 120 total including Mary, receive the Holy Ghost!!!! Jesus did NOT leave them comfortless, he came to them, just like he said he would!!!! The amazing promise of the Holy Ghost!!
It caused no small stir in Jerusalem during this feast day called Pentecost, which means 50th, signifying the feast of Pentecost which is 50 days from the feast of the Passover, when Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world. People had heard what was going on and a crowd began to assemble. Finally, Peter stood up with the other apostles. Why Peter? Because earlier, Jesus had entrusted him with the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.
The keys were not some power or authority to be passed down through a succession of popes; this was authority to unlock the door of salvation first to the Jews here in this scripture, then in Samaria and to the gentiles as we will see! And he proceeds to preach the first sermon of the New Testament age:
Act 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Act 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Whoooo weeeee… that’s where we began this study!!!! He recites the very same scripture we read!
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
He continues on with his sermon, convincing them that Jesus is their very messiah they had crucified!!!! He sums it up in verse 36:
Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
So the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Jesus, would be for the them that day, but not for them only, but for their children, and ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, even as many as the Lord shall call!!!!!! This is exactly how Jesus would dwell in his believers!!!!! The baptism of the Holy Ghost is not some “Chrismation” - a concoction of oil and myrrh or ‘Chrism’ which is totally foreign in the scripture, originating in the middle of the 4th century! Don’t settle for a 4th century counterfeit – get the real thing! An actual experience of being born again of the Spirit, just like what happened on the day of Pentecost! No mortal man dispenses this, it comes directly from Jesus!!! It’s promised to all who repent of their sins! We need no mortal man to dispense anything for us for anything pertaining to repentance or receiving the Holy Ghost! We are compelled to be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, but here again, it’s not the power of the one doing the baptizing, it’s the power of the name of Jesus!!! That in itself is another study!!!!!
We read about the people in Samaria getting the Holy Ghost in the 8th chapter of Acts:
Act 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Act 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
Act 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Act 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Believers that had been baptized, but needed the Holy Ghost! They apostles sent the man with the keys!!!
And also, the first non-Jew to receive the Holy Ghost in the 10th chapter of Acts!!! Both times, Peter uses his authority!!!! Peter again preaches to the household of Cornelius, summing it up in the 43rd verse:
Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Act 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
Act 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
In the 19th chapter of Acts, we read about other disciples receiving the Holy Ghost!!!
Act 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
All these people and more, in the New Testament, receiving the Holy Ghost, ‘Christ in you the hope of glory (Col 1:27)! Jesus!!!
Act 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
Rom_5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Rom_9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
Rom_14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Rom_15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The Holy Ghost sanctifies us!!!
Rom_15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
1Co_2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co_6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co_12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
2Co_6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Oh how much we need the Holy Ghost!!! Any organization that denies the truth or power of the Holy Ghost, giving them instead some bogus oil and myrrh is false religion! Run from it!
He’s our high priest, dwelling IN us!!! We go directly to HIM!!!
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
When we’re filled with the Holy Ghost, we have everything from God we need!!! Repentance – not penance! Forgiveness of sins, not confession, and no need for some mortal person to absolve our sins… no!! Only Jesus can do that!!! Yes, we have pastors, according to His heart – but that pastor is not in the place of God!!!! All we need is in Jesus!!!!
The truth is, Jesus – who IS the Holy Ghost – Christ in you the hope of Glory – is our link to God and NOT an apostolic succession through flawed, mortal men!!!