The fourth church finishes the straight line prophetic progression of Christendom. The first three churches progress one after the other until we arrive at the fourth. The state and condition of Thyatira takes shape in the fifth and sixth centuries, and this particular form continues to exist and thrive all the way to the end of the age. This is Jezebel with all her worldliness and corruptions, her false teachings and idolatry. Early on she was given opportunity to repent, but would not. She is cast into the future great tribulation. There should be no doubt that this is the Roman Catholic form of professing Christianity.
In the previous three churches, the coming of the Lord is never mentioned. In those the corporate body was still acknowledged by the Lord, and therefore was asked to repent and return to the first position of apostolic order, power, and pureness. With Thyatira the public professing body of Christendom is utterly corrupt and past the point of any return. There is a change to be noted. The attention is directed to the coming of Christ as the individual or remnant’s hope and strength, instead of any thought of return to Pentecost of the corporate body. In the last four churches, there is only instruction and encouragement in looking forward. From this point, the standard of judgment is their fitness for this future glory – that to which the believer is called.
With Thyatira we have the change of the structure of the messages; the change in the arrangement of the different parts of the message from the previous three. It demonstrates the reality of what I said above. The ‘hearing ear’ is no longer with the general testimony to the professing church, but is now placed at the very end of the message. It indicates that the corporate entity is no longer acknowledged by the Son of Man, and that only a faithful remnant is being singled out as the overcomers and heirs of the heavenly hope and promises (Col. 1:5). The corporate whole of professing Christianity is deemed hopeless, and the messages become decidedly individual. The individual’s hope in Thyatira starts here, “But hold fast what you have till I come.” The coming glory of Christ’s return is held out as the remnant’s encouragement.
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: (19) “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. (20) Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. (21) And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. (22) Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. (23) I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
(24) “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.(25) But hold fast what you have till I come. (26) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
(27) ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father; (28) and I will give him the morning star.
(29) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
The Son of God, who has eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet as fine brass: Rev. 2:18; the character of Christ is again associated with the all-knowing and piercing judgment of God (eyes as a flame of fire). This is the declaration of divine judgment from the Son of God as the Son of Man (John 5:26-27). The corruption of Jezebel in Thyatira, as we should easily see, requires the judgment of God. The feet of fine brass represents the firmness and perfection of divine judgment as applied to men (the altar of burnt offerings and the laver were both covered with brass and in the courtyard outside the tabernacle). The character of Christ with Thyatira is as a Judge, and He will give to the guilty parties according to their works.
John’s vision of the Son of Man in the midst of the candlesticks reveals the ecclesiastical character of Christ to the corporate professing church (Rev. 1:10-18). It needs to be observed that the term ‘the Son of God’ is personally who He is, and isn’t mentioned as one of the characters describing Him walking among the candlesticks. However there is a merging of the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days as one and the same in chapter one, which is, in a sense, a greater development of what is found in Daniel (Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14, 22). Obviously Jesus, the Son of God, bears the title of the Son of Man. The Son of God is the Ancient of Days, and this refers to divinity, and this was definitely part of Jesus in the midst of the candlesticks.
“These things says the Son of God…” is the ultimate or most comprehensive ecclesiastical character. It is the confession that Jesus builds the church on – “You are… the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15-18) The reality of the church is solely dependent on this truth being acknowledged by faith. This confession is the rock upon which the church has its existence.
How appropriate for Jesus to present Himself to Thyatira in this character. His presentations throughout the seven messages are either for encouragement or warning. With Smyrna and Philadelphia His character is for encouragement. With Pergamos and Laodicea it is a definite warning. In Thyatira, the Son of God speaking to them is a threatening of the corporate church. The general professing body is what is built on the earth on this confession, and with Thyatira it is found to be corrupt. The Son of God refuses to acknowledge it. When Christ declares the corporate body of Christendom to be utterly corrupt, then He withdraws association with it. What He is in His person, which never will change and is incorruptible, now comes out.
Your love, faith, service , and patience…as for your works, the last are more than the first: Rev. 2:19; Jesus recognizes the good that He sees. He notices and commends their increase in devotedness, which continued on unabated. This would seem to be His commendation and approval of the faithfulness of the despised saints during the middle ages. It may be hard to find in some history books and they may not tell God’s viewpoint of events, but many of those poor saints remained faithful in labors and service to God. They remained faithful while often being hunted down and punished by an increasingly corrupt ecclesiastical structure. This was not persecutions from a sparsely organized Gentile Empire as in Smyrna and Pergamos. It was the organized corporate entity of Christendom in its established Jezebel state, systematically searching down true witnesses of Christ’s glory, attempting to force loyalty to the presumptuous authority of the mother church. There were many sorrows and sufferings inflicted on these despised ones, yet they persevered. They stood strong in their witness and devoted service, even unto death. It is devoted faithfulness of many for Jesus Christ in the face of a corrupt and power hungry church structure.
That Woman Jezebel: Rev. 2:20-23; She is the source of evil inside the professing church. She is heresy and false doctrines leading to idolatry and worldliness. The professing church ‘allows’ her to dwell inside as an established state and condition. She is a prophetess like Balaam, pandering the same corruption as he did. Balaam had the name and authority of Jehovah, yet he took his guidance from the devil. Jezebel does the same. The corruption is taught in the name of Jesus Christ, but its source is the world and the depths of Satan.
In Pergamos Balaam was not yet rooted in the body. Here however, this woman Jezebel is a greater development of evil in the church world. She is now living within, freely committing her adulteries. She is the mother of illegitimate children, birthing her own in the evil, corruption being part of their nature. Her children are born in the general assembly, and they draw their faith and nature from her. Those of Christ’s servants that become involved in her doctrines, or are led astray by them, will be given a chance to repent. If they do not they will be judged (sickbed) and thrown into the great tribulation with her. As for her children the judgment and wrath is certain – the Lord will kill all her children with death.
Jezebel is a false prophetess and teacher. She pretends to be God’s authority in expressing His mind and will, and the sole expounder and caretaker of His Word. She teaches heresies and deceptions. Her sexual immorality is her relationship with the world. It is not merely a loss of first love, but now adultery practiced within. Worldly luxury and wealth are her specialty by which she beguiles. She courts the kings of the world and lusts after civil power and influence. She promotes the lust of the eyes and flesh, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). She capitalizes on idolatry and becomes rich by it: the cult of the saints, the cult of the popes, and the cult of the virgin. She knows and teaches the depths of Satan (Rev. 2:24).
Jezebel also promotes a false ecclesiastical position and a doctrine of successional authority that is born in Judaism. With the earthly priesthood and the eventual college of cardinals and bishops, this form of Christianity represents the complete judaizing of the Christian faith. Like Judaism, it is earthly, sensual, and ritualistic. It is dependent on fleshly ordinances for the supposed imparting of favor and grace from God (Heb. 9:9-10).
Jezebel is the general appearance of the condition of professing Christianity at this time. She represents the time of established ecclesiastical apostasy, and established idolatry within Christendom. She became the mother of her own children, born of the evil. In her form she is the Roman Catholic world, and the power and influence of Satan from it.
According to your works: Rev. 2:23:Whenever there is judgment in respect to man’s conduct or works, this judgment is always condemnation. “I will give to each one of you according to your works.” This is the case for all involved with Jezebel and her teachings. This is spoken to the corporate church, before the remnant is separated. If man leaves his first estate and enters into sin, this necessitates judgment. How can this judgment be anything but condemnation? The professing church left its first estate. (See Psalm 143:2)
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matt. 16:27) It appears that Jezebel and those with her will be treated much the same as the unbelieving world.
But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira: Rev. 2:24-25: Here in Thyatira we have the first separating of the remnant from the corporate body of the professing church. The hearing ear exhortation placed after the overcomer’s promises serves to individualize the remnant from the corrupt general body. All connection to the external body is broken. The call to ‘hear’ is after the remnant is separated and acknowledged by the Son of Man. It places the remnant in the position of those to whom the promises are made.
Also all calls for the professing body as a whole to repent and return are dropped. The Son of Man knows this is impossible. Christ’s coming for the true church is held out to the remnant as its hope to sustain it in the midst of the corruption – “But hold fast what you have till I come.” No more looking back for restoration of the outer body. The remnant is looking ahead to the hope of the glory of Christ.
The remnant is encouraged to simply remain faithful, to hold fast to the good things they have. They are asked to remain separated from the evil and corruption of Jezebel. This is the assigned task from the Lord. They are not told to grow up from faith to faith or to walk in the power of earlier days, but to hold on and to hold tight to that which they have. The saints during the middle ages did not possess great spiritual knowledge and understandings. These were the times before the enlightening of the Reformation. But these are the ones exhibiting the growing devotedness to Christ in practice, while there was less and less of this shown in the general body (Rev. 2:19).
The hope given to them is meant to be more a refuge and comfort to the faithful in the midst of the evil. To be faithful to God we must separate ourselves from the evil around us, while in many respects we may not be separate from the consequences of corporate responsibility. Remember the example of Joshua and Caleb. They had the report of faith and were distinctly marked as separated from the rest, yet suffered the consequences of the corporate failure – they spent forty years in the wilderness with the unbelieving nation.
In the end there will be a Jewish remnant, chosen, sealed, and preserved by God, believing in Jehovah and having the Spirit of God poured out on them (Rev. 7:3-8, Joel 2:28-32). They also will exist in the midst of an unbelieving and apostate nation that has received the Antichrist and gone after idols (John 5:43, Matt. 12:43-45). This end-time Jewish remnant will suffer much during the time of Jacob’s trouble, but will be saved out of it (Jer.30:7). In a similar manner this ‘rest in Thyatira’ is also a definite separated and numbered group. It is distinctly marked apart from the general public state of the outward church. However, this remnant in Thyatira endured the consequences and public results of the failure for hundreds of years. They were to turn away from Jezebel, but they still remained a ‘rest in Thyatira’.
And he who overcomes: When the external body of the professing church is judged as corrupt, the coming kingdom and glory in hope is substituted for it. Jezebel desired civil power over this world, and she used her worldly connections to gain it. The outward church was like the world and lusted after power to falsely reign as kings. How does the church world justify this when Christ did not reign when He came in the flesh and presently sits patiently waiting? (Heb. 10:13) Christendom attempts to rule the nations without Christ being present. The outward church does all in the name of Christ, but acts in lust for power and influence. The overcomer in Thyatira is promised his part in the future rule and dominion of the Son of Man over the nations in the coming dispensation. This is part of the church’s inheritance laid up for her in heaven.
The hope and promises for the believer/remnant are always a result of our association with Christ. If we are heirs of God, it is because we are co-heirs with Him. If He rules, we will rule with Him (Rev. 2:26-27). If He has received heavenly glory, then He shares it with us (John 17:22). If we are loved by the Father, it is with the same love the Father has for Him (John 17:23). The Father is our Father because He is His Father. God is our God because He is His God (John 20:17). We are one with Christ, joined to Him, bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh (Eph. 5:30). This is the infinite measure of what Christ’s love has done for us.
The promises to the faithful in Thyatira are general promises associated with the entire body of Christ – the true church will be found with Christ in His millennial glory. “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.” (Eph. 1:22-23) The true church will reign with Christ in glory. This is contrasted with the existing corrupted state of the professing church in Thyatira.
The Morning Star: II Peter 1:19, Rev. 2:28; Christ’s coming for the church – the rapture, our blessed hope – is the Lord as the Morning Star. Christ appearing to the world in judgment is His full manifestation as the noon day Sun – supreme authority and power, full of glory (Col. 3:4, Rev. 1:7). The morning star is only seen by some who are waiting early for its light. It is gone before the world sees the sun, before the Sun rises, before the Day of the Lord appears. He is the Sun of Righteousness to the world when He appears to the world for judgment (Mal. 4).
As the Sun, Christ will rule over the world and we will rule with Him (Rev. 2:26-27). As the Morning Star He will be seen and enjoyed by those of faith. The Morning Star will never be seen or enjoyed by the world. The Morning Star always precedes the rising of the Sun to the world. We will have Christ and He will have us, as He will personally come for the church.
Who sees the morning star? – Those who watch while it is still the night. Christ is the morning star in the rapture of the true church (Rev. 22:16). If the coming of Jesus for the church is our blessed hope, then we should be looking for Him and expecting Him (Titus 2:11-13). If we have this hope, we will purify ourselves now. This is the practical effect. We will be looking up into the heavens, instead of looking around to this world. Having this hope will not restore apostolic power, but it allows the remnant to be faithful when the corporate entity is found corrupt by God. The night is far spent, and the day is at hand. We should be looking for that first light – Jesus Christ, our morning star.
If a husband is away, his wife normally would be looking and expecting his return, even preparing herself for it. Her thoughts and affections would be for him. The bride alone hears the voice of the Bridegroom (Rev. 22:16-17), and responds in anticipation. She desires Him to return for her (v.17) and He in turn assures her that He is coming (v. 20). The Spirit is always the energy and animation of the bride, and so, “…the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
“And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thess. 4:17) The believer who has learned to love the Lord cannot help but anticipate His coming. He will constantly be prepared and waiting for Him. If he loves the Lord and has affections only for Him, nothing more needs to be said. His looking and anticipation is not the result of knowing certain detail of Scripture, but of having learned to love the Lord in reciprocation of His love for us and the church (Eph. 5:25, I John 4:19).
The proper view of the coming of Jesus for the church brings light to hundreds of Scriptures. It changes the character of many previous understandings we had. Our calling is heavenly. We have to be taken there to fulfill that calling, and that must be in glory and as one body together. Our place is with Christ in heaven, where He is hid in God. With this understanding we know, by principle, many other truths. We are not looking for a place down here to live. We are not looking to find rest in the world. We are not looking for comforts and pleasures on the earth. We are pilgrims and strangers passing through. We find the body of teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven and the church overwhelmingly confirms these principles – we are not of the world, as Christ is not of the world (John 15:19, 17:14, 16).
It is a beautiful experience to be taught biblical principles from God’s word by the Spirit. The Scriptures begin to make sense and all details fall into place. We get a spiritual understanding about the things in heaven and our association and connection with them. We see and understand what things are of the earth and world, and our separation from them. Our hearts must be set on Christ and He is hidden at the right hand of God. That is where our life really is (Col. 3:1-3).
At the end of Revelations, Christ declares to the church that He is the Morning Star, and by this calls out the affections of the bride for Him (Rev. 22:16-17). At the beginning of the book the mention of His name and what His work of redemption has accomplished for us, does the same (Rev. 1:5-6). At the end of the book it is not what He has done, but what He will do when He comes. This parallels the division of the seven messages and churches. The first three are called back to what Christ did at the beginning. The last four look forward to what He will do in glory.
Therefore, both the promises – the millennial kingdom and the Morning Star – answer to the particular testing and sufferings of the faithful remnant in Thyatira at this time.
He who has an ear: Rev. 2:29; Now that the outer body is found corrupt and in a state of evil (the woman), and God pronounces judgment on it, the hearing ear is not associated by God in the same way with what is being judged. The phrase is now moved to the very end of the message.
Thyatira – Corruption and Evil within Christendom
In a general way, Thyatira represents the end of the straight-line prophetic progression of the professing church. We can count one, two, three, four, and arrive at this point as one church succeeds the next. More specifically, the first four churches represent the history of what is called the ‘apostolic succession’ in Christendom. Thyatira characterizes the final state of this history. We must remember that Thyatira contained two things: a corrupt and evil corporate body in majority and a distinctly separated faithful remnant.
The Jezebel state of worldly corruption continues to the end (the great tribulation) and characterizes the corporate mass of Christendom. She existed under the patience of God for a long time by herself, from approximately the seventh to sixteenth century. God gave her plenty of time to repent (Rev. 2:21) and she would not. This is marriage to the world and a much farther development of evil than what proceeded before. It is judged as utter ruin and corruption. This state of Christendom does not stand as the witness of God in the earth. Other states will be brought in for testimony. This ends the general prophetic history of the spoiled crop in the field. Thyatira represents the entire general assembly up to the time of the Reformation. Jezebel and those with her are unrepentant. She is Romanism continuing on to the tribulation.
Chapter 9: Endnotes
 The use of gender in allegories (typology) is a subtle thing but important to see and understand. Between Balaam in Pergamos progressing to Jezebel in Thyatira, you have a definite switch in gender in the type. Balaam is a false prophet who seduces the people of God to idolatry and worldliness, both of which are a departing from the proper relationship with God. Jezebel is the same, only worse. Females in typology seem to always represent an established state and position in general, whereas males are used to depict actions, behavior, circumstances, and characteristics. In Pergamos, the male false prophet was beguiling certain ones with his false teachings. But he is not yet established within as a general ecclesiastical position. Jezebel is the accomplishment of Satan in bringing professing Christianity to this established state. She produces her own children within the general assembly. There is no doubt that in God’s eyes Jezebel is seen as the general overall corrupted state of Christendom now established. He does not ask Thyatira to attempt a return to the first position. This fourth church represents a change in God’s ways in dealing with Christendom on the earth. You see this in many ways in this particular message to Thyatira. The gender change from prophet to prophetess is just one of the many clues embedded in the message. Now, instead of pointing back to Pentecost, the Lord only points forward to His return.
 If we look at Malachi 4 you find two groups being distinguished in the passage. There is the wicked and unbelieving world for which the Day of the Lord is like a burning oven of fiery indignation and the wrath of God (Mal. 4:1, Rev. 19:11-15). The other group is the Jewish remnant (Rev. 7:1-8) waiting for deliverance from their enemies, and is distinguished in verse two of the passage, “But to you who fear My name…” This would be the name of Jehovah, the specific Jewish revelation of God (Ex. 6:2-3). Jesus will be a Deliverer for them, their Messiah, coming to them in the name of Jehovah (Matt. 23:39). The remnant are the ones remembering the Law of Moses and looking for the prophet Elijah in type (Mal. 4:4-5, Rev. 11:3-7). You should know that the church is not the recipient of these earthly blessings or judgment, or involved, other than we appear to the world with Him in glory.
 Our union with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:12-13) should be more intimate than that of husband and wife. We have four eternal relationships:
1. With the Father as sons of God (Gal. 4:6-7, Rom. 8:14-16); then our unity together as sons in the family of the Father (John 17:20-21)
2. With Jesus Christ as brethren individually (John 20:17, Rom. 8:29, Heb. 2:11); as His body and bride corporately (I Cor. 12:12-13, Eph. 5:25-32).
3. With the Holy Spirit, who abides with us and in us forever (John 14:16-17).
4. With each other as members one of another in His body (I Cor. 12:12).
The relationships associated with the first creation are not eternal. They are not part of the new creation of God. All these have their end in Christ as His body in the heavens: husbands and wives, parents and children, nations and nationalities, male and female, slave or free. All these have their end upon entrance into Christ (Gal. 3:26-28, Col. 3:9-11). These things have ended for all believers now, in title and position, and then after the rapture of the church as a true physical reality. We continue to acknowledge these relationships as ordained of God and part of the world and first creation. We do not deny them. They remain unchanged in the world. Yet we cannot deny that we are the new creation of God and part of a body that has no ties to the first creation. The believer’s only connection to Adam and to the first creation is our bodies of flesh we have. That is why the rapture of the church is such a unique event – it severs the believer’s last tie to the first creation and Adam. With and in the heavenly Man, the church is destined to live and abide in the heavens as the habitation of His Father.
However, during the millennium on the earth these natural relationships continue. Man on the earth during this time is man in the first Adam, and with natural bodies. The Son of Man, the second Adam, ruling and having dominion over the earth, is the one mediator between God and man. This has to be seen as mediator for man in the first Adam. The true believer is now in Christ and as Christ. The believer is in the mediator and as the mediator. During the millennium, in Christ we are kings and priests unto the Father in the heavens (Rev. 1:6). We are definitely involved through Christ in the mediation of the relationship between God and man in Adam on the earth. As priests we are part of the mediation, as kings we are part of the government of God over the earth. And this is by virtue of our position in Christ and before the Father.
 Apostolic succession deals with the passing of authority from man to man on the earth. In Jezebel, this is the cult of the popes, the college of cardinals and bishops, and the endowing of authority on the Roman Catholic church in general. It is the means for men and for the corporate organization to unrighteously usurp earthly power and authority in the name of Christ. But it is Jesus Christ alone who has this authority in the church, because He is the only one who builds the church – “I will build My church…” The building of the true church is a sovereign work of God, and man is not involved in it.
This is where the main issue has its importance – man thinks he does the work of God. But the Scriptures teach that when God works, He works alone. That is why the work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the Reformation is not seen being judged by the Lord in Revelation 2 and 3. What is judged is the work of man. This is the principle – God’s work is never judged; man’s works are always judged. Yet men can’t admit that we are not doing the work of God and that we are not building the true church. In the professing church, men have been given the responsibility to build the building of God, for which Paul laid the solid foundation through sovereign grace and apostolic authority (I Cor. 3:9-13). This building is built on the earth and eventually became the same entity as the crop in the field in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:26). It is not the body of Christ. It is not the church. The building of God on the earth is now what we have to call Christendom.
Only Jesus builds the church (Matt. 16:18). The true church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Only true sons of God are gathered and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:12-13). And God knows those who are His, and the Spirit never makes a mistake in gathering and forming the body. Jesus builds the church and He never uses tares to accomplish this work. Yet when we see the crop in the field we see there are tares mixed in with the wheat. This cannot be the body of Christ. This cannot be the church. This is a greater and larger entity that contains the church.
Now the body of Christ is gathered on the earth, but it is destined for heavenly places. The Holy Spirit was sent down to the earth and abides on the earth for the purpose of gathering the church. He is the direct agent for God in accomplishing the work of God in the earth. The believer is the workmanship of God. I suppose we can rightly say the church is the workmanship of Christ, for He builds the church. Whether the individual believer or the assembly, the Scriptures speak of both as the creation of God. We should fully realize that man never creates anything, that he can have no part in this work, and that only God can create. We should fully realize that man can have no real part in the workmanship of God.
Through the prophetic progression of the first four churches, men have believed that they build the church on the earth and they do the work of God. It follows then that man assumed he had to have authority in Christ’s place on the earth to do all he does—his works, his building, and his doctrines. This comes through the Jewish thought of succession. For Judaism it is the patriarchs and natural descent through birth and many such earthly thoughts. For Romanism it is a continuation of one supreme apostolic leader, and the passing on of Christ’s authority on the earth from man to man in a created line of leaders. Add to this the doctrine of infallibility and you have created an unholy and ungodly mess that is nothing but contrary to Scripture. This is what man has done.
There are quite a few peculiarities with the idea of apostolic succession that have no real Biblical basis.
1. Jesus alone is Head of the church, the body of Christ, and He alone builds the church. Peter was given keys to the kingdom of heaven, which is a different and distinct entity from the church. And you do not build anything with keys.
2. Apostolic succession would require apostles, and these continuing on. For the same reason the church world cannot return to apostolic days or the book of Acts, there does not exist any apostolic succession. There simply are no apostles today. The apostles and prophets were for the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). The apostles in particular were eye-witnesses of Jesus Christ. The foundation was finished long ago.
3. The choice by the Roman Catholic world of Peter as the head of the church and the first in this apostolic line of succession is simply an oddity. Peter was the apostle of the circumcision (Gal. 2:7-8) – that meaning the Jews. The church is basically Gentile and this by Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13). It was Paul who was given to lay the foundation as a wise master-builder, that no one else could lay (I Cor. 3:10-11). Peter never labored in the open door of ministry to the Gentiles that was so miraculously presented to him by vision and audible voice from the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). God never records Peter having any positive involvement with the Gentiles beyond Cornelius’ household. There shouldn’t be need to recount Peter’s negative influence and hypocrisy among the Gentile Christians at Antioch (Gal. 2: 11-21). All Peter’s epistles were written to the Dispersion (I Pet. 1:1). It seems the Roman Catholics have the wrong guy.
4. Apostleship doesn’t come by succession. They were given by Christ Himself when He ascended up on high (Eph. 3). Paul shows conclusively that apostleship does not come from men or through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father (Gal. 1:1).
The bottom line on this issue is where does the authority reside? Is it with Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, or is it with the professing church having left its first love and fallen? The outward body of Christendom grew worse and worse in its corruptions and evil. It steadily progressed to the Jezebel state. It has no authority from God.
There is no such thing as ecclesiastical authority in the church with men. The church as an organization does not have any such authority, and men only pretend to have authority that does not exit. There is no such thing as apostolic succession. The doctrine is not worth the paper the list of popes is written on. Jesus is the one who ever lives. He is the one who is the Ancient of Days. He is the one who is the firstborn from the dead. He is the one with all authority in heaven and on earth.
The book of Hebrews teaches us a great distinction between Judaism and Christianity that is applicable to this discussion. The central point that produces all the doctrine of the book is the change in priesthood (Heb. 8:1). In Christianity we have such a great High Priest!“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26) All these descriptions of Jesus are reasons why Christianity’s High Priest is infinitely better than any priest or priesthood found in Judaism. Here is the point about earthly succession: “And there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.” (Heb. 7:23) Judaism is the founder of succession. It is an earthly system that was forced by the flesh to embrace it. This is part of what makes Judaism earthly and inferior, the weak and beggarly elements of the world (Gal. 4:3, 9, Heb. 9:9-10). But what is the parallel point of Christianity that makes it so superior to Judaism? “But He (Jesus), because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:24-25) In Christianity there is no need for succession. Christianity has a High Priest who ever lives and remains so continually.
When Romanism came in with its doctrine of apostolic succession, it was the Judaizing of the Christian faith. It established an earthly priesthood like Judaism, based on fleshly and inferior principles. The other doctrines of infallibility and ecclesiastical authority flow out of this first error. It all is wrong. Coming out of the Reformation, Protestantism has not been able to throw off all the man-made ecclesiastical corruptions fashioned by Romanism.