Christian Churches of God
The Sacraments of the Church
(Edition 4.0 19951216-20011118-20070723-20100116)
Most churches claim to have power over various aspects of human life, and that members must have the participation of the church in those activities for them to be valid. This paper examines the claims of the Sacraments of Marriage, Last Rites (Extreme Unction), Eucharist (Holy Communion), Baptism and the Lordís Supper, and concludes there are only two authorised by the New Testament.
The Sacraments of the Church
A fundamental question that faces every Christian is that of the sacraments. Modern Orthodox Christianity claims a multiplicity of sacraments for itself. For example, the Catholic Church in its variant forms such as the Anglican, Roman or Orthodox holds a view of the sacraments which reserves to it powers over areas of human life that seek to reconcile New Testament doctrines with family life within its own structure, and hold to itself power over competing religions.
This control is exercised by relegation of necessary functions to the level of the sacrament. These find expression in terms such as the Sacraments of Marriage, Last Rites, the Eucharist and so forth. These claims fall on a number of grounds and are dependent upon a number of non-biblical theological assumptions for their advancement.
The first non-biblical assumption is made regarding the Sacrament of Marriage. It is indeed correct to say that marriage is a holy institution, but it is quite incorrect to say that marriage is a sacrament of the Church and a function of it alone. The Bible is quite clear that marriage exists independent of the Church.
The proposition that marriages made outside of a specific Church are invalid in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ is absolutely false. The Roman Catholic Church holds the view that, for doctrinal purposes, any marriage made with a non-Roman Catholic can be invalidated and the people concerned are then free to marry within that Church. This is seen as an essential doctrine. The doctrine of marriage has application in the New Testament, but it is not because the Sacrament of Marriage is reserved to the Church at all. The reason is because the doctrine of marriage and divorce exists external to the Church. Divorce is a permitted function of the nations and of Israel under the Law outside of marriage within the Church. The primary consideration under the Law is that the parentsí consent is required to sanctify a marriage. That is the only consideration in the Bible for the sanctification of a marriage. A marriage is valid in the eyes of God if the parents consent. Under Mosaic Law, if they do not consent it is not valid. This is the only limitation. When the couple are of legal age then unreasonable withholding of consent is another matter. This is derived from Exodus 22:16-17. This Law is for the protection of the female.
The ceremony is to be attested by witnesses, as we see from Ruth 4:1-11 and Isaiah 8:1-3. Nowhere in Scripture do injunctions regarding marriage reserve the validity of marriage to the Church or the priesthood. That is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans again where the priest would rule family life and family organisation.
Betrothal is a quasi-marriage (Mat. 1:18; Lk. 1:27). Joseph was going to put Mariam (Mary) away because she was pregnant but he was loath to do that. She was betrothed and that is a quasi-marriage. This symbolises the marriage of God and Israel and has a spiritual connotation. It is made with the Spirit (Ezek. 16:8). It is a spiritual application of a physical relationship. That is a basis of marriage, being a spiritual unity as well.
Celibacy is deplored by the Bible, as seen in Judges 11:38, Isaiah 4:1 and Jeremiah 16:9, but made acceptable by Paul at 1Corinthians 7:7-8,24-40. There are many reasons for this, in view of the practices of the times and the needs of the Church, which are appropriately discussed in the paper Paul was not speaking in the Spirit nor was he directed by the Holy Spirit to say that. He said that because it happened to be the practice at that time to castrate young males and they were then left as eunuchs. There were many eunuchs in the Church and they were looked down on. So Paul had to legitimise their position and give them a social standing such that they could prepare themselves for the Kingdom of God. Paul was thus addressing a psychological matter. .
It gave them the capacity to be reserved to God and to have a social standing, which would be at least as great as those who had the capacity to be parents. There were eunuchs by castration and there were female eunuchs by failure to breed. They both needed to have a social standing of equality in the Church and Paul gave them that in 1Corinthians 7.
Christís attitude to the validity of marriage is found neatly presented in his homily to the Samaritan woman in John 4:16-18.
John 4:16-18 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. (KJV)
Christ was testing her honesty and addressing her validity in cohabitation. He was going to pronounce a doctrine on marriage. This text is the doctrine of marriage from the mouth of Jesus Christ.
There are a number of factors that come out of this text. Christ recognised the Samaritan as one of the nations; he recognised marriage as a valid institution among the nations; and he recognised divorce as valid because he did not challenge any one of the five husbands. Most importantly, he totally rejected de facto marriage because he rejected the fact that the man she was living with was her husband. Therefore, Christ institutionalised marriage and rejected the sinful fact of cohabitation as a validation of marriage. He did not question the validity of marriage outside of Israel.
Samaritans were also comprised of Gentiles. They were made up of Cuthians and Medes (from part of the Persian Empire), who were replaced when Israel was deported. They were put there under Shalmaneser, perhaps with the tiny remnant of Israel existing there.
So there in a simple statement is the entire biblical doctrine of marriage expounded out of the mouth of Christ. The Church should have understood that very clearly but it did not. Here we see marriage among the nations was valid as was divorce, but de facto relationships were not recognised.
Obligations under marriage are inferior to a duty to God, as we see from Deuteronomy 13:6-10. Quite simply, if a spouse was an idolater that person was required to be put to death. That was the Law.
That process is reinforced in Matthew 19:29 and Luke 14:26 and hence marriage cannot be binding after death (Mat. 22:29-30; Mk. 12:24-25). The Mormon practice of eternal marriage is quite contrary to the express words of Jesus Christ. The union of marriage is dissolved at death, so the Church cannot intervene either in life or in death in the institution of marriage. Thus the Church that seeks to abrogate this right to itself does so incorrectly.
To demonstrate the concept of the holy nature of the institution we need only look at three examples. The first is Adam and Eve.
Genesis 2:23-24† And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (KJV)
The institution of marriage was established with Adam. The institution was found valid for all nations at the time of Abraham as we see from the examples given through Pharaoh and Sarah (Gen. 12:11-20). There is no doubt that the institution of marriage existed prior to the Law and prior to the Church; i.e. prior to the giving of the Law to Moses. It existed with Abraham and also with Pharaoh; and Pharaoh understood marriage as did Abraham.
The next example is Abimelech and Sarah (Gen. 20:1-18). Abimelech had not taken Sarah and slept with her but was warned by God that this was another manís wife. Pharaoh restored to Abraham great flocks and wealth for taking Sarah even though he was deceived. It was his responsibility to find out if there was an impediment to that marriage, which he did not; he just took Abrahamís wife. No man should be in fear of the king in relation to the institution of marriage.
This institution was enshrined also in the Law under Moses with the process of betrothal and marriage (Ex. 22:16-17). The limitations on marriage are civil, according to the inheritance of the nations and the tribes (Num. 36:8).
This relates to the question of maintaining lands within the tribes under the Jubilee system. The whole system of the Law is designed to make sure no nation (tribe) goes landless. People who have an inheritance must marry one of their fatherís tribe so the land is not passed from the possession of that tribe. That is why no nation can purchase the lands of Israel; no tribe can purchase the lands of another tribe to take them out by inheritance through marriage. So the produce of the land can be sold for a period of years but the land reverts back to the tribe at the Jubilee.
The nations thus have a valid capacity to marry which precedes the Church and is independent of it. It is totally inescapable from the Bible that marriage was an institution ordained by God, preceding the Church and which encompassed all nations under the Laws of God. Thus a Church simply cannot reserve the right of marriage to itself. It cannot say that marriages outside the Church are invalid. Imagine the utter confusion; no rights or respect at law. The whole question of succession and legitimacy of inheritance flows from that fact. Marriage is therefore not a rite or sacrament of the Church and it is not something that the Church can issue exclusively.
The Last Rites (Extreme Unction)
The system we understand as the Last Rites is a non-biblical doctrine which derives from the concept of control by the Church over the human soul after death. The Church of course has no such power as the names of those who are written in heaven are just that Ė written in heaven. The resurrection of the dead is divided into two categories: the First and Second Resurrections. The First Resurrection contains those resurrected dead described in Revelation 20:4-6. These are the saints who have been obedient to the Commandments of God and the Faith or Testimony of Messiah, that is, Jesus the Christ (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14 (see esp. KJV)). The First Resurrection includes two types, namely the 144,000 (Rev. 7:2-8) and the Great Multitude (Rev. 7:9). These people are obviously spirits (resurrected dead) because no man can see God. It is physically impossible to see God. They are the Great Multitude that stands with the 144,000 around the Throne of God. All other beings are consigned to the Second Resurrection of the dead (Rev. 20:7-15).
The Church has no power over this process other than to make evident to the individuals the condition of sin in which they may actually be engaged. The Church tries to make profit out of this by saying certain people are in Purgatory. The doctrine of Purgatory comes from the pagans but it appears in the apocryphrical works. There is something akin to the concept of Purgatory there, but it has nothing to do with the Bible. The whole concept of having the power of giving someone the Last Rites is to say: ďWith the Churchís blessing, my son, you may enter into such-and-such a place˝. There is no biblical basis for that.
Paul did this in 1Corinthians 5:5 so that the individual could be saved. The concept here was to put a person outside the Church to make them aware that their own sin had placed them outside the Body of Jesus Christ and that they would not be in the First Resurrection. So this was done to the fellowman who was living with his fatherís wife and is a prime example of the doctrine of the nations that were called into the Corinthian Church.
It is unlikely that the father was married while he was a member of the Church at Corinth. He died and then his son took his fatherís wife and was sleeping with her. Paul said that not even the Gentiles did that. The Corinthians thought that it was a good thing that he was doing, but Paul said that this was totally against the Law. They put him out of the Church so that he would be given the awareness of his sin. The Church did not have the power to remove him from the First Resurrection; he was removed by his sin, which was transgression of the Law.
The fornicator appears to have repented and re-entered the Church. The Church, however, has no power to permit or control an individual at the point of death from entering into any state after death. As Christians, we know there is no conscious existence after death. The concept that souls go to heaven was a doctrine of the Gnostics and the Mystery cults. Justin Martyr held that this distinction was the way in which we could tell Christians from non-Christians (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 80; see also the paper ).
The Soul Doctrine became integral to the orthodox system in spite of the biblical evidence, because it could be used for control of the individual by the Church for reasons of power beyond the state. The aim of churches then was to exercise transnational (international) power; and it is still their aim. There is a power struggle going on right now between the Roman Catholic Church, the New World Order, and the European system for control of the world. The Communists were part of that system and the Chinese are now entering into that struggle. They and Asia will enter into the struggle for control of the world under that system. The Roman Catholic Church is attempting to use its numbers to be the dominant force but, as we know from Revelation, it is going to lose and a lot of people will be hurt in the process.
The Church of God has no control over the individualís position after death. The question of sin being removed by confession and absolution is related only to baptism and repentance. The ongoing absolution for sin is a matter between the individual and God through his anointed Messiah, Jesus Christ. The head of every man is Christ and the head of Christ is God (1Cor. 11:3).
The Church cannot absolve a person of any sin. This is the doctrine of the Catholic Church and it entered the Churches of God in the twentieth century in the United States of America. The proposition is that the Church could introduce a law, or an administrative decision, which would absolve the individual from the responsibilities listed on a baptised individual under the Old and New Testaments. The Church cannot do that. We are directly responsible to Jesus Christ for our relationship to God under the Law, and we stand or fall in the First Resurrection because of our relationship with Jesus Christ and that relationship alone. We cannot have a relationship with Jesus Christ unless God the Father is paramount. The One True God is the object and centre of our worship. The fundamental prerequisite to having a relationship with Jesus Christ is that we are called by God the Father.
The Last Rites, either as Extreme Unction or burial, are not sacraments of the Church. They are not reserved to the Church and they do not determine what happens to the individual after death. Moses was not buried by human hands. He did not receive a burial, yet Moses will be in the First Resurrection. Moses preceded the New Testament Church by a period of some 1,300 years. Abraham likewise preceded the Church and will be in the First Resurrection. He was not buried by any priest of the Church other than his sons. Burial is thus a function of those who lay the body to rest in respect.
A person does not have to be a member of any particular Church or be a priest to bury anybody. It is a function of the state for health reasons and the respect of the individual concerned and conveyed by the group in laying a body into the Earth. The nephesh (spirit) that controls it returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7). The Bible says the dead know nothing (Eccl. 9:5). The Church cannot claim the rite of burial to itself or by the rite in burying somebody to thereby convey any status on that individual.
The doctrine of the Eucharist or Holy Communion is based upon a church doctrine that the Sacrament of the Lordís Supper could be transferred from the annual festival of the Passover to the weekly service. This is based upon a confusion of the ceremony of the Lordís Supper and the eating of the Shewbread which was a function reserved to the Levites. It is an attempt to establish the doctrine of the Nicolaitans and the Levitical system within the Christian Church.
The Shewbread, called Hallowed Bread, (1Sam. 21:6) had a specific purpose. The ordinance is found in Leviticus 24:5-9.
Leviticus 24:5-9 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. 6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. 7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. 9 And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute. (KJV)
The children of Israel have an ordinance to provide the meal for the Shewbread but the Shewbread was reserved to the priesthood. It was six loaves on one side and six on another Ė twelve loaves in all. They represented the nations of Israel and looked forward to the function of the Church.
This ordinance is tied to the Sabbath day or Saturday. It was placed on a table of Shewbread (Ex. 40:22-23). The first ordinance related to the Tabernacle, and the one table and the one lampstand. The Temple under Solomon had ten lampstands with a table each.
The Shewbread was kept before the Lord continually (Ex. 25:29-30; 2Chr. 2:4).
Exodus 25:29-30† And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them. 30 And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway. (KJV)
The Shewbread was quite significant and holy. It was tied to the Sabbath. We cannot have a festival where we are eating wafers on Sunday and say it has anything to do with the Bible ordinances. Also, we cannot use the Shewbread for other than specified reasons.
The Shewbread was provided from a yearly per capita tax levied, as we see, under Nehemiah 10:32-33. It was prepared by the Levites (1Chr. 9:32; 23:29). We simply canít go and buy it, or have anybody else other than a Levite make it. It pointed towards the order of Melchisedek taking over the function of the priesthood within the Church, as we see from David. The annual Lordís Supper was the festival that enshrined this aspect.
Its situation in the Tabernacle is governed by Exodus 26:35 and 40:22. The furniture is also found in Exodus 37:16 and Numbers 4:7. The procedure of the consecration of the table of Shewbread is found in Exodus 30:26-29.
Exodus 30:26-29And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. (KJV)
Thatís an interesting concept. Itís the only holy thing that can make holy that which is defiled. There is a Scripture asking, ďIf that which is holy touches something unclean, shall it be holy?Ē The answer is ďNoĒ, with the exception of these items in the Tabernacle. The removal of the table of Shewbread is found in Numbers 4:7,15. No one could touch these things on pain of death. Only a Levite could touch it. David ate the Shewbread unlawfully (1Sam. 21:6; Mat. 12:3-4; Mk. 2:25-26; Lk. 6:3-4). Why was David allowed to eat it? Because it pointed towards something else which was to be eaten by non-Levitical people.
The priests thus ate the Shewbread and eight items in all. The text in Leviticus 7:9 refers to meat offerings (Heb. minhah) that are also the priestsí to eat, except for the memorial portion (Lev. 2:4-10). Paul uses these concepts (cf. 1Cor. 9:13-14), and the concept formed the basis of Galatians 6:6.
In other words the teacher is supported by that which is taught in all good things; and it was a reference back to the requirement for the Levitical portion to be handed to the priesthood. People who say that Paul was doing away with the Law at Galatians donít understand Galatians. He was talking about another thing entirely. See the paper .
These concepts were also related to the structure of the offerings of the Tabernacle which we see was:
††††††††††† 1. Burnt Offerings (Lev. 1:3-17);
††††††††††† 2. Meal Offerings (Lev. 2:1-16);
††††††††††† 3. Peace Offerings (Lev. 3:1-17);
††††††††††† 4. Sin Offerings (Lev. 4:1 to 6:7).
The Law of the Offerings was placed in the order:
††††††††††† 1. Burnt Offerings (Lev. 6:8-13);
††††††††††† 2. Meal Offerings (Lev. 6:14-23);
††††††††††† 3. Sin Offerings (Lev. 6:24 to 7:10);
††††††††††† 4. Peace Offerings (Lev. 7:11-34).
This process was found in the division between the duties of priest and laity, which was a function of the distinction evident in the Law. It is not a New Testament concept. Christ did away with that distinction. It points toward the role of the Church in the sanctification of the nation.
This distinction in the priest and laity also formed the basis of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which was, in effect, rule by distinction and abuse, and represented the knowledge of one class over that of the other class; i.e. a Gnosis through an increased knowledge and power creating a priest and a non-priest class.
The Old Covenant made laws for the people in Leviticus 3:1-17 in relation to the Law of Offering and Sacrifice. Specific and fuller directions were given to the priests, additional to those given to the people (cf. Lev. 3:1-15). This was so in the Law of the Sin Offering (Lev. 6:24-30; cf. 4:24-31) and the Law of the Trespass Offering (Lev. 7:1-10; cf. 5:1-13).
We see from the structure above that the Peace Offering comes before the Sin Offering but the Law of the Offerings has the Peace Offering last. The distinction is made because it relates to the communion of the offerer and this follows at the end of the process. Communion is thus shown to represent the process which flows from ďa full knowledge of all that which the types foreshadow. Not until we have done with our sin and our selves can we delight in ChristĒ (Companion Bible, fn. to Lev. 7:11). The footnote tells us two things: they looked to the Shewbread and the offeringsí system to relate to communion; and they understood the process of the significance of the sacrificial order in relation to the communion of the individual and the reconciliation of the offerer. There is no doubt we are all talking about the same thing.
Thus the entire process of sacrifice foreshadowed Christ and the Church that are the elect as the naos or the Holy of Holies in the Temple of God (1Cor. 3:16). The symbolism of sin being eliminated at the Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread is dealt with by Paul at 1Corinthians 5:7-9.
1Corinthians 5:7-9† Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (RSV)
Paul was using the Corinthian as an example of the sin that had to be cleansed out of the Church. This process was a build-up to the Passover. It began with the taking of the Lordís Supper. Paul criticised their behaviour at the Passover. They were getting drunk and holding parties. He told them they were not to eat and drink while taking the Lordís Supper. It is a solemn assembly. However, the whole festival is one of joy and happiness. We are to eat outside the room where we take the Lordís Supper. ďTo live like a CorinthianĒ was a saying of the time, meaning that person was a ďhigh liverĒ.
There were 1,000 temple prostitutes at the temple of Artemis in Corinth alone, and the structure was such that they had to get rid of all the sin out of their lives during the build-up to the Passover. So the concept of eliminating sin and communion was a function of the Passover within the Plan of God. It was a function of Unleavened Bread and then Pentecost and it could not be relegated to the week or the Shewbread because the entire significance of it was then lost. The sacrifices looked towards Christ and away from the early sacrifices of which the Shewbread was part.
Sin is thereby removed in the period up to the Lordís Supper. The Passover and Unleavened Bread are made possible by the sacrifice of Christ as the Passover offering when he was crucified. The Passover night (or Night To Be Much Remembered) looks back to liberation from slavery to sin and forward to the captivity of Messiah (see the paper pictures the sinless state awaiting the Holy Spirit. The Wave Sheaf Offering (see the paper ) commemorates the ascension and acceptance of Christ by God. Pentecost, counted fifty days from the Wave Sheaf Offering (see the paper ), then represents the first harvest of the elect.). Unleavened Bread
The lampstand of the first Tabernacle, with its Shewbread, pointed towards the Temple and the ten lampstands, in composite, pointed to Christ, the Seven Churches and the Two Witnesses. Thus the symbolism cannot be extricated from the Sabbath and the Plan of Salvation.
Thus there are two elements to the problem. We canít take the Shewbread and call it communion on Sunday and expect it to have any meaning at all. We need to understand the whole thing as a composite pointing towards Christ as the Lordís Supper and then into the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Shewbread (together with the sacrifices generally) was reserved for the Levitical priesthood. However, the elect represented a new priesthood Ė that of Melchisedek Ė which was ordained for and received from Christ who was its High Priest (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:10-21). Melchisedek is an atoning role. The whole concept is also tied in with the sacrifices.
David, who was not of Levi, was shown by his act to foreshadow the extension of the priesthood to Israel generally through Messiah. The Eucharist as a weekly communion is thus tied to the Old Testament Law of the Shewbread that is part of the sacrifice. We canít say the sacrifice has been done away with in Jesus Christ and then say itís necessary to eat the bread (wafers) in communion.
The distinction between the priesthood and people in this act is absurd, as the distinction, if it ever existed, was certainly removed with the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priesthood was removed, the Seventy were ordained and they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. There was an entirely new priesthood created after the order of Melchisedek. All were priests and all partook of the entire sacrifice of the bread and the wine. We cannot eat only the bread and not drink the wine. Roman Catholics teach that only the priests drink the wine. Anglican Catholics have wine and bread together. Hence, communion is not even a common doctrine in mainstream churches. We canít be part of the Body of Christ unless we drink his blood and eat his flesh.
The distinction was removed in Christ. The entire process pointed towards the Passover of Christís death and resurrection.
The elect were to eat of this bread and drink of the wine in commemoration of Christ and as a requirement for eternal life (Jn. 6:53-63). The point in dispute is thus the frequency with which the ceremony was conducted. It was associated with Passover and incorporated also the ceremony of the footwashing (see Jn. 13:3-17 and the papers ; and ).
It is quite clear that Christ is using a spiritual metaphor, but he is talking about the Passover. He then explains that it is wine and bread that substitute for his body and blood. We canít have one without the other. Hence, a Roman Catholic who does not take wine in communion cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven anyway. The Catholic communion service will not confer any eternal life whatsoever on any recipient because it is deficient in two elements, one of which is the wine being consumed only by priests.
The Lordís Supper is the appropriate venue for this process. Footwashing is an indispensable part of the ceremony and is associated with the eating of the bread and drinking the wine Ė we canít divorce the three elements. The Eucharist is therefore not a sacrament of the Church.
The Sacraments of the Church
The reality is that there are only two sacraments of the Church. These are Baptism and the Lordís Supper.
The First Sacrament of the Church: Baptism
Christ certainly was, and probably the Apostles were, baptised by John (see Mat. 3:1-17). However, Johnís baptism was of repentance only and was replicated by Christ and the Apostles, who baptised at the same time as John, that is, until after the Passover of 28 CE (Jn. 3:22-24) when John was then imprisoned (Mat. 4:12,17). Christ did not himself baptise (Jn. 4:2).
Johnís baptism was a prelude to the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5-11). This did not occur until Pentecost (Acts 2:1-36). This shows us that the act of baptism did not of itself confer the Holy Spirit. The act of the Holy Spirit was a gift of the grace of God consequent to the acceptance of Jesus Christ in heaven. The Apostles had been baptised for a long time before they received the Holy Spirit. Not only had they been baptised but also they were themselves baptising on the order of Jesus Christ and still they had not received the Holy Spirit. They were baptising in preparation for the receipt of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the necessary precondition to receipt of the Holy Spirit. This baptism superseded the baptism of John (Acts 19:1-7).
Acts 19:1-7† 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, 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. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 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. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve. (KJV)
They had not been baptised into the Body of Jesus Christ; they were baptised into the repentance of John. So we can be baptised and our baptism can indeed not be lawful. We have to be baptised, specifically, into the Body of Jesus Christ and not into any sect or denomination. The Church, through its representatives, besought the Holy Spirit and it then entered these people. This superseded the whole concept of the baptism of John and this system then was a prelude to the Holy Spirit entering individuals.
This function was conferred as a responsibility on the elect to make disciples of all nations. This in fact is the only direct task or commission given the Church.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (RSV)
This function of baptism is based upon repentance as an adult before God. This is discussed in the paper .
Baptism is thus the first sacrament of the Church and through that process the Holy Spirit acts, and disciples are made of all nations. These twelve men were made disciples because they were willing to be baptised into the Body of Jesus Christ and they were willing to follow Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit honoured their calling.
The Second Sacrament of the Church: The Lordís Supper
The second sacrament of the Church is the Lordís Supper. Unless the elect drink the blood and eat the body of Christ they cannot enter the Kingdom of God (Jn. 6:53-58). Thus wine is an indispensable part of the Lordís Supper for each and every person and cannot be delegated or abrogated. The concept of the Eucharist is therefore incorrect on multiple grounds. These are:
1. The Shewbread is tied to the Sabbath and hence is non-transferable to Sundays or any other day.
2. The Shewbread is part of the sacrifices and points towards the Lordís Supper and the spiritual priesthood.
3. The Lordís Supper is tied to footwashing.
4. Both bread and wine are required to be consumed by the participant.
5. The Lordís Supper is tied to the Passover and is not transferable either to the pagan Easter or to the weekly Sabbath (see the paper ).
The above are five biblically watertight arguments which reject the whole concept that the Lordís Supper can be transferred to any day, and that the Eucharist replaces it; or that the Lordís Supper functions as anything other than the Lordís Supper at the proper time, that is, at the Passover.
Thus there are only two sacraments of the Church. The others are rites that may be taken on or implemented by the Church. The Church may marry people, bury people, deal with sin, rebuke sin or deal with other problems, but the Church has no sacraments that it can place on anybody other than these two. These two are indispensable for the inheritance of eternal life and without these two sacraments we cannot be in the Kingdom of God, and we cannot take part in the First Resurrection.
The Catholic Church does not understand this fact. That is why the churches in the latter days will have the greatest number of people claiming that Jesus Christ is Lord and yet the least number in the Kingdom of God.