Apostolic Succession


The doctrine that the twelve apostles have successors to whom authority is passed by divine appointment. In the Roman Catholic Church, the pope is said to be one of an unbroken line of successors of Peter, and bearer of the keys of heaven passed on from Peter (who the church claims was chief of the apostles and the first pope). A false doctrine.


Established in the Roman Catholic Church in the Nicene Creed, A.D. 325 and 381, in the words, “I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Reaffirmed by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century.

Matthew 16:18 Misapplied; Christ Is the “Rock”, Not Peter

Matthew 16:18 “Also I say to you, You are Peter [ Gr., Petros; Syriac, ke’pha, “a stone,” in the mas­culine gender in both languages], and on this rock-mass [Gr., petra; Syriac, ke’pha, “a rock- mass,” in feminine gender and with a feminine demonstrative pronoun (this) in both lan­guages] I will build My congre­gation, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

1 Corinthians 10:4 “They used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass which followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.”

Ephesians 2:20, 21 “You have been built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, while Christ Jesus Himself is the foun­dation cornerstone. In union with Him the whole building, being harmoniously joined togeth­er, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah.”

Matthew 21:42 “Jesus said to them: ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, “The stone that the builders rejected is the one that has become the chief cornerstone. From Jehovah this has come to pass and it is marvelous in our eyes”?'” (See Isaiah 28:16: Psalm 118:22, 23.)

Acts 4:8-12 “Then Peter, filled with holy spirit, said to them:  … in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you impaled but whom God raised up from the dead, by this one does this man stand here sound in front of you. This is “the stone which was treated by you builders as of no account that has become chief cornerstone”. Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else.’ “

Romans 9:33 “Look! I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock-mass of offense, but he that rests his faith on it will not come to disappointment.”

John 21:15-17 Misapplied; Not Only Peter, but All Disciples Must Feed Christ’s Sheep

Acts 20:28 “Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shep­herd the congregation of God, which He purchased with the blood of His own [Son].”

1 Peter 5:1-4 “To the older men among you I give this exhorta­tion, for I, too, am an older man like them … Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly, neither for love of dishonest gain,… but becoming examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd has been made manifest, you will re­ceive the unfadable crown of glory.”

Peter Is Merely One of the Stones in the Spiritual Temple

1 Peter 2:4-8 “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen, pre­cious, with God, you yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices ac­ceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … It is to you, there­fore, that He is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, ‘the identical stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock-mass of offense’.”

Only the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ in the Foundation of the Christian Congregation; They Have No Successors

Names of the twelve: Matthew 10:1-4 “First, Simon, the one called ‘Peter’, and An­drew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee and John his brother; Philip and Bartholo­mew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Si­mon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Him.”

Galatians 1:1″Paul, an apostle, neither from men nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.”

1 Corinthians 9:1″Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?”

2 Corinthians 12:12 “Indeed, the signs of an apostle were produced among you by all endurance, and by signs and wonders and powerful works.”

Revelation 21:14 “The wall of the city also had twelve foundation stones, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Matthew 19:28 “Jesus said to them: ‘Truly I say to you, In the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down upon His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also yourselves sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'”

Christ the Ever-living Head of the Christian Congregation; No Earthly Head Needed

Colossians 1:18 “He is the head of the body, the congregation.”

Ephesians 1:22, 23 “He also subjected all things under His feet, and made Him head over all things to the congregation, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills up all things in all.”

Ephesians 4:15; 5:23, 24 “Speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ.” “A husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation, He being a savior of this body…. the congregation is in subjection to the Christ.”

Zechariah 4:7 “He shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it.”

How Gates of Hell (Hades) Do Not Prevail Against the Christian Congregation

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 “When this which is corruptible puts on incorruption and this which is mor­tal puts on immortality, then the saying will take place that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up forever.’ ‘Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’ . . But thanks to God, for He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Hosea 13:14 “I will ransom them from the power of sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O sheol, where is thy destruc­tion?”

John 6:39 “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that I should lose nothing out of all that He has given Me but that I should resurrect it at the last day.”

John 10:27-29 “My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give

them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be de­stroyed, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. What my Father has given Me is something greater than all other things, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of the Father.”

John 17:12 “I have kept them, and not one of them is destroyed except the son of destruction.”

John 11:26 “He that exercises faith in Me, even though he dies, will come to life.”

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.”

2 Corinthians 4:14 “Knowing that He who raised Jesus up will raise us up also together with Jesus and will present us together with you.”

Revelation 2:10 “Prove yourself faithful even with the danger of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16 “The Lord Him­self will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.”

Keys of Heaven Given to Peter to use, but their use directed by heaven

Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of the heavens, and whatever you may bind on earth will have been bound [margin, “be the thing al­ready bound”] in the heavens, and whatever you may loose on earth will have been loosed [margin, “be the thing already loosed”] in the heavens.”

Matthew 18:18 “Truly I say to you men, Whatever things you may bind on earth will have been bound in heaven and whatever things you may loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.”

Keys represent unlocking of knowledge of opportunity of entering kingdom of heaven

Luke 11:52 “Woe to you who are versed in the Law, because you took away the key of knowl­edge; you yourselves did not go in, and those going in you hin­dered!”

2 Timothy 1:10 “Our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death but has shed light upon life and incorruption through the good news.”

1 Peter 1:3, 4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Je­sus Christ, for according to His great mercy He gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inherit­ance. It is being reserved in the heavens for you.”

Colossians 1:26, 27 “The sacred secret which was concealed from the past systems of things and from the past generations. But now it has been made manifest to his holy ones, to whom God has been pleased to make known what are the glorious riches of this sacred secret among the nations. It is Christ in union with you, the hope of his glory.”

1 Timothy 3:16 “Indeed, the sacred secret of this godly devotion is admittedly great: ‘He was made manifest in flesh, was declared righteous in spirit, appeared to angels, was preached about among nations, was believed up­on in the world, was received up in glory.’ “

Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith, to the Jew first as well as to the Greek.”

Heaven directs use of first key toward Jews, Pentecost, A.D. 33

Acts 2:1, 2, 38, 39, 41 “Now while the day of the feast of Pen­tecost was in progress they were all together at the same place, and … Peter said to them: ‘Re­pent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all those afar off, just as many as Jehovah our God may call to him.’ Therefore those who em­braced his word heartily were baptized, and on that day about three thousand souls were added.”

Time: (Daniel 9:24-27) 69 and a half weeks of years (486 years) from rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls under Nehemiah, in the fall of 455 B.C. (September 17-18), to spring, A.D. 33.

Heaven directs use of second key toward Gentiles, fall, A.D. 36

Acts 10:9-35, 44-48 “Peter .. . fell into a trance .. . Peter said: ‘Not at all, Lord, because I have never eaten anything at all de­filed and unclean.’ And the voice spoke again to him, the second time: ‘You stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.’… the spirit said: ‘Look! three men are seeking you.’… They said: ‘Cornelius, an army officer,… was given divine instructions by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear the things you have to say.’… Cor­nelius said: “… a man in bright raiment stood before me and said: “Cornelius, your prayer has been favorably heard and your gifts of mercy have been remem­bered before God. Send, there­fore, to Joppa and call for Simon who is surnamed Peter.” ‘… At this Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears Him and works righteousness is acceptable to Him.’ While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word. And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, be­cause the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations…. Then Peter responded: ‘Can any­one forbid water so that these might not be baptized who have received the holy spirit even as we have?’ With that he com­manded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Acts 11:15-18 “But when I started to speak the holy spirit fell upon them just as it did also upon us originally. At this I called to mind the saying of the Lord, how He used to say: ‘John, on the one hand, baptized with water, but you will be baptized in holy spirit.’ If, therefore, God gave the same free gift to them as He also did to us who have believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should be able to hinder God?”

Acts 15:7 “Peter rose and said to them: ‘Brothers, you well know that from early days God made the choice among you that through my mouth people of the nations should hear the word of the good news and believe.'”

Ephesians 3:5, 6 “In other genera­tions this secret was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by spirit, namely, that people of the nations should be joint heirs and fellow members of the body and partakers with us of the promise in union with Christ Jesus through the good news.”

Time: End of 70th week of special favor to the Jews, which extended from fall of A.D. 29, at Jesus’ baptism, to fall of A.D. 36 (490 years from fall of 455 B.C.).—See Daniel 9:24-27.

Keys not passed on; door still open to Jews and Gentiles

Revelation 3:7 “These are the things He says who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens so that no one will shut, and shuts so that no one opens.”

Acts 14:27 “When they had ar­rived and had gathered the con­gregation together, they pro­ceeded to recount the many things God had done by means of them and that He had opened to the nations the door to faith.”

Keys had no further use by Peter; not Peter, but God and Christ judge who is worthy to enter Kingdom

Matthew 20:23 “He said to them: ‘You will indeed drink My cup, but this sitting down at My right hand and at My left is not Mine to give, but it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.'”

2 Timothy 4:1 “I earnestly beg you before God and Christ Jesus, who is destined to judge the living and the dead, and by His manifestation and His Kingdom.”

Hebrews 12:23 “The congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all.”

1 Peter 4:5 “These people will render an account to the One ready to judge those living and those dead.”

1 Corinthians 12:18 “But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as He pleased.”

None of the apostles (including Peter, the supposed “gate­keeper”) were in heaven prior to Christ’s second coming in Kingdom power

2 Timothy 4:8 “There is reserved for me the crown of righteous­ness, which the Lord, the right­eous Judge, will give me as a re­ward in that day, yet not only to me, but also to all those who have loved His manifestation.”

1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 “Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a mo­ment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorrupt­ible, and we shall be changed.”

1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16 “We the living who survive to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death, because the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an arch­angel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 “However, broth­ers, respecting the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him, we request of you not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. Let no one seduce you in any manner, because it will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of law­lessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.”

Acts 17:31 “He has set a day in which He purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteous­ness by a man whom He has appointed, and He has furnished a guarantee to all men in that He has resurrected Him from the dead.”

Peter Did Not Rule over the Christian Congregation

Galatians 2:9 “James and Cephas and John, the ones who seemed to be pillars, gave me and Barna­bas the right hand of joint par­ticipation.”

Matthew 23:8-10 “But you, do not you be called ‘Rabbi’, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for One is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called ‘leaders’, for your Leader is one, the Christ.”

Acts 15:13-23, 28 “After they quit speaking James answered, saying: ‘. . . Symeon has related

thoroughly how God for the first time turned His attention to the nations . . . Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, ‘ Then the apostles and the older men together with the whole congregation favored send­ing chosen men from among them . . they wrote: ‘. . . the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things.’ “

Infallibility Not Granted to Any Imperfect Man; Peter No Exception

Matthew 14:29-31 “Peter, getting down off the boat, walked over the waters and went toward Je­sus. But looking at the wind­storm, he got afraid and, after starting to sink, he cried out: ‘Master, save me!’ Immediately stretching out His hand Jesus caught hold of him and said to him: ‘You with little faith, why did you give way to doubt?'”

Matthew 16:22, 23 “Peter took Him aside and commenced raising strong objections to Him, saying: ‘Be kind to Yourself, Master; You will not have this destiny at all.’ But, turning His back, He said to Peter: ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.’ “

John 18:10, 11 “Then Simon Peter, as he had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the high priest and cut his right ear off. The name of the slave was Malchus. Jesus, however, said to Peter: ‘Put the sword into its sheath. The cup that the Father has given Me, should I not by all means drink it?’ “

Luke 22:31-34 ” ‘Simon, Simon, look! Satan has demanded to have you men to sift you as wheat. But I have made suppli­cation for you that your faith may not give out; and you, when once you have returned, give sup­port to your brothers.’ Then he said to him: ‘Master, I am ready to march with You both into prison and into death.’ But He said: “I tell you, Peter, A cock will not crow today until you have three times denied knowing Me.’ “

Luke 22:60-62 “But Peter said: ‘Man, I do not know what you are saying.’ And instantly, while he was yet speaking, a cock crowed. And the Master turned and looked upon Peter, and Peter recalled the utterance of the Mas­ter when He said to him: ‘Before a cock crows today you will dis­own Me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Galatians 2:11-14 “However, when Cephas came to Antioch, I re­sisted him face to face, because he stood condemned. For before the arrival of certain men from James he used to eat with people of the nations; but when they arrived, he went to withdrawing and separating himself, in fear of those of the circumcised class. But when I saw they were not walking straight according to the truth of the good news, I said to Cephas before them all: ‘If you, though you are a Jew, live as the nations do, and not as Jews do, how is it that you are compelling people of the nations to live according to Jewish prac­tice?’ “

John 20:6-9 “Simon Peter . . . entered into the memorial tomb. .. . For they did not yet discern the scripture that He must rise from the dead.”

Christ Holds Keys of Death and Hell (Hades)

Revelation 1:18 “I became dead, but, look! I am living for ever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

John 11:25. 26 “Jesus said to her: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in Me, even though he dies, will come to life, and everyone that is living and exercises faith in Me will never die at all.'”

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ “

John 17:2 “You have given Him authority over all flesh, that, as regards the whole number which You have given Him, He may give them everlasting life.”

1 John 5:11 “And this is the witness given, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son.”

Key of Hades (Gravedom) Com­pletes Use When All Deserving Ones Resurrected During 1,000- Year Reign

John 5:28, 29 “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judg­ment.”

Revelation 20:13, 14 “And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and hades gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds. And death and Hades were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire.”

Key of Death Completes Use When Every Trace and Effect of Adamic Death Is Removed from Deserving Ones (Toward End of 1,000-Year Reign)

See Revelation 20:13, 14, above.

Revelation 21:4 “And He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.”

1 Corinthians 15:25, 26 “He must rule as king until God has put all enemies under His feet. As the last enemy, death is to be de­stroyed.”

No Record Peter Was Ever in Rome; He Preached Mainly to Jews and Did Travel to Babylon, a Seat of Jewish Culture

Galatians 2:7-9 “On the contrary, when they saw that I had en­trusted to me the good news for those who are uncircumcised, just as Peter had it for those who are circumcised—for He who gave Peter powers necessary for an apostleship to those who are cir­cumcised gave powers also to me for those who are of the nations; yes, when they came to know the undeserved kindness which was given me, James and Cephas and John, the ones who seemed to be pillars, gave me and Barna­bas the right hand of joint par­ticipation, that we should go to the nations, but they to those who are circumcised.”

1 Peter 5:13 “She who is in Babylon, a chosen one like you, sends you her greetings.”

Peter Was Married

Mark 1:30 “Now Simon’s moth­er-in-law was lying down sick with a fever.”

Luke 4:38 “Now Simon’s moth­er-in-law was afflicted with a high fever.”

1 Corinthians 9:5 “We have authority to lead about a sister as a wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Ce­phas, do we not?”

Apostles Had Power to Transmit Gifts of Holy Spirit; Not All Popes Claim This

Acts 8:14-17 “When the apos­tles in Jerusalem heard that Sa­maria had accepted the word of God, they dispatched Peter and John to them,… Then they went to laying their hands upon them, and they began to receive holy spirit.”

Acts 10:44-46 “While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word. . . . For they heard them speaking with tongues and glorifying God.”

Acts 19:6 “And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the holy spirit came upon them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”

Peter Had Gift of Discerning Spirits, Healing, Forgiving Sins, Expelling Demons, Raising the Dead; Not All Popes Claim Ail These Powers

Acts 5:1-11 “However, a certain man, Ananias by name, together with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession and secretly held back some of the price, his wife also knowing about it, . . But Peter said: ‘Ananias, to what end has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? . . . You have played false, not to men, but to God.’ . . . Peter said to her [An­anias’ wife]: ‘Why was it agreed upon between you two to make a test of the Spirit of Jehovah? Look! the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’ Instantly she fell down at his feet and expired.”

John 20:22, 23 “And after He said this He [Jesus] blew upon them and said to them: ‘Receive holy spirit. If you forgive the sins of any persons, they stand forgiven to them; if you retain those of any persons, they stand retained.'”

Matthew 10:1 “So He summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, in order to expel these and to cure every kind of disease and every kind of ailment.”

Mark 3:14-16 “And He formed a group of twelve, whom He also named ‘apostles’, that they might continue with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to expel the demons. And the group of twelve that He formed were Si­mon, to whom He also gave the surname ‘Peter’.

Acts 9:36-41 “But in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which, when translated, means Dorcas…. she happened to fall sick and die. … But Peter put everybody out­side and, bending his knees, he prayed, and, turning to the body, he said: ‘Tabitha, rise!’ She opened her eyes and, as she caught sight of Peter, she sat up.”

Acts 3:6-8 “Peter said: ‘Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ With that he took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up. Instantly the soles of his feet and his ankle bones were made firm, and, leaping up, he stood up and began walking, and he entered with them into the temple, walk­ing and leaping and praising God.”

144,000 as Kings and Priests Rule from Heaven During the 1,000 Years; Not on Earth from Time of Pentecost

1 Corinthians 4:8 “You men already have your fill, do you? You are rich already, are you? You have begun ruling as kings without us, have you? And I wish indeed that you had begun ruling as kings, that we also might rule with you as kings.”

2 Timothy 4:1 “I earnestly beg you before God and Christ Jesus, who is destined to judge the living and the dead, and by His mani­festation and His Kingdom.”

Revelation 1:1; 5:9, 10 “The revela­tion by Jesus Christ, which God gave Him, to show His slaves the things that must shortly take place.” “And they sing a new song, saying: ‘. . . with Your blood You bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule as kings over the earth.'”

Revelation 20:4-6 “And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them…. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thou­sand years. . . . and will rule as kings with Him for the thousand years.”

2 Timothy 2:12 “If we go on en­during, we shall also rule to­gether as kings; if we deny, He also will deny us.”

Romans 5:17 “For if by the tres­pass of the one man death ruled as king through that one, much more will those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the free gift of righteousness rule as kings in life through the one person, Je­sus Christ.

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