By Pat Miron
Why does the Pope have the right, indeed the mandate to speak to Gods children, on behalf of God Himself?
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I (singular) tell you, (singular) you are Peter, and on this (singular) rock I (singular) will build my (singular) church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. (singular) 19 I (singular) will give you (singular) the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you (singular) bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you (singular) loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
First: we accept the fact that word’s have specific, “common” meeting to those giving utterance and to those being spoken to.
Second: We acknowledge that both those giving utterance, and those who have done the transcribing, are inspired by The Holy Spirit, (Jesus exempted because He too is God), to use specific words, phrases and locations. In other words, mere coincidence has no place in our discussion. We accept the facts that Jesus knew what He was doing, and that as God, He was incapable of lying.
Point One: Why did Jesus select the area of Caesarea Philippi, to make this enormously important appointment?
Reply: Caesarea Philippi is located in the northern part of Judea. The above quoted passage took place on a large hill, and was the location of a very large, and locally famous, Pagan Temple. As a “safeguard” the temple was build behind a huge protective ROCK.
Point Two: In O.T. biblical days it was common for cities to be walled and fortified. Further, they really did have a main gate, and there was a Key to the City, that really locked and unlocked the main gate.
Point Three: In the quoted bible passage: “I,” “you,” “my,” and “church” are all singular for very specific reasons. “Church” for example clearly, indisputably, shows God’s intent to start and Shepherd only “one church.”
Point Four: In every walled city there was a “King” which is the role Jesus assumes in this story. “Hail King of the Jews!” Mark 15:18
Point Five: As one might expect, actually running the city was a whole lot like real work, so it was delegated to another, usually called the “Prime Minister.” So we will use that term for the one who actually ran the city, day in, and day out. The P.M. answered ONLY to “the King.” What the PM ordered done, was done, and what the PM forbid, was legally forbidden, and violators were punished by the PM.
Point Six: The terms, “To Bind and or To Loose” were legal and binding at law, Rabbinical Terms, known and accepted by all those Jesus was speaking too as authority to Govern.
Point Seven: Just as Jesus is the King in this story, Simon, Now “Peter” (Greek for “rock,”) is the new Prime Minister! As such he in given total and complete autonomous rule and daily governance of the New Church that Jesus has just created. “On this “rock” meaning the very person of Peter himself, “I” will build “my” church. Again Words Mean Something!
Point Eight: “I will give you” Peter the Key’s to the Kingdom of Heaven. PERIOD! This is God telling us this fact.
Point Nine: The power to govern is immediate, total, complete, unlimited and binding on all. Amen!
Point Ten: God knew what He was doing, Jesus knew what He was setting up, Peter and the Apostles understood exactly what was meant and accepted and lived in obedience, what God had ordained. We, my friend are to do no less. “The gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her,” does not mean that sin cannot or for that matter, does not exist within Her. No, what is promised by God is two-fold. First, sin will not prevail! Second, God promised to send the Holy Spirit, as the guarantor of TRUTH, that any official pronouncement from “the chair of Peter,” on matters of Faith and or Morals, cannot, I repeat, cannot be in error, because God Himself say’s so.
First we note in verse 14, that Jesus asked the question: ”who do people say that I am?” In verse 15 He asked His twelve deciples, “but who do YOU say that I am?” And we find that they are speechless. Then Simon Peter replies: “You are the Christ.” Jesus replies in verse 17: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Notice the name change: In the bible, whenever God changes a name, that person is called to a particular and prominent role. For example: Abram to Abraham, or John the Baptist being named John, not Zachary after his father, upon the Angel’s direction from God.
In verse 18, Jesus specifies that I (singular) Jesus will build My (singular) Church (singular) upon this rock (singular). And warrants with His own merits (too soon come in His Crucifixion) that it is and will be THE TRUTH, and that Satan shall never prevail against Her.
Next in verse 19 Jesus says: I (singular) will give to you Simon Bar-Jona (also singular), the key’s to the gate of Heaven (singular).
Now to be sure that we understand the significance of these words we share the following.
In the Old Testament times it was common practice for the major cities to be “walled in.” They actually were surrounded by wall that had GATES, and the gates, especially the “Main gate” actually had a KEY.
Also it was common to have a KING of the City (Jesus is in this role.) And a Prime Minister who actually had COMPLETE Power and Authority to rule and administer the city. The key carrier, actually had sole possession of the “key to the city (the city is a symbol of the Kingdom of God) and ran independently the city, day-in and day-out. The carrier of “the Key,” answered to NOONE except the KING. Simon Peter was given the “Key to the KINGDOM of Heaven,” With complete and total authority to Rule and Administer “the Kingdom.”
To be sure that everyone CLEARLY understood His message, Jesus in verse 19 goes on to say as further proof of His Singular intent: “, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Why did Jesus, who is God use these very words? Because the words “to bind,” and “to Loose,” were Rabbinical Terms, Binding in Jewish Law. At the time of their pronouncement they were spoken by a Jew, to Jews who would clearly have understood the significance of the words, and their Binding authority. That is why we never read about any attempts to usurp the Power of Simon Peter by any other Apostle! They understood exactly what Jesus said, what Jesus had done, and what Jesus meant.
” 17: “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. This verse gives assent by God the Father to the decision Jesus Proclaimed, and also of the Presence and assent of the Holy Spirit who make know “the Will of The Father.”
Old testament Typology: Is. 22: 19-22
19 I (Reference to a dishonest Prime Minister) will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. 20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22* And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house.
Additional biblical support for “One Church” and Primacy of Peter
Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . .”
The “power of the keys” has to do with ecclesiastical discipline and administrative authority with regard to the requirements of the faith, as in Isaiah 22:22 (cf. Is 9:6; Job 12:14; Rev 3:7). From this power flows the use of censures, excommunication, absolution, baptismal discipline, the imposition of penances, and legislative powers. In the Old Testament a steward, or prime minister is a man who is “over a house” (Gen 41:40; 43:19; 44:4; 1 Ki 4:6; 16:9; 18:3; 2 Ki 10:5; 15:5; 18:18; Is 22:15,20-21).
3. Mt: 16:19 ” whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
“Binding” and “loosing” were technical rabbinical terms, which meant to “forbid” and “permit” with reference to the interpretation of the law, and secondarily to “condemn” or “place under the ban” or “acquit.” Thus, St. Peter and the popes are given the authority to determine the rules for doctrine and life, by virtue of revelation and the Spirit’s leading (Jn 16:13), and to demand obedience from the Church. “Binding and loosing” represent the legislative and judicial powers of the papacy and the bishops (Mt 18:17-18; Jn 20:23). St. Peter, however, is the only apostle who receives these powers by name and in the singular, making him preeminent.
4. Peter’s name occurs first in all lists of apostles (Mt 10:2; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13). Matthew even calls him the “first” (10:2). Judas Iscariot is invariably mentioned last.
5. Peter alone among the apostles receives a new name, “Rock,” solemnly conferred (Jn 1:42: Mt 16:18).
6. Peter is regarded by Jesus as the Chief Shepherd after Himself (Jn 21:15-17), singularly by name, and over the universal Church, even though others have a similar but subordinate role (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2).
7. Peter alone among the apostles is mentioned by name as having been prayed for by Jesus Christ in order that his “faith may not fail” (Lk 22:32).
8. Peter alone among the apostles is exhorted by Jesus to “strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:32)
9. Peter first confesses Christ’s divinity (Mt 16:16).
10. Peter is regarded by the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) as the leader and spokesman of Christianity.
11. Peter is specified by an angel as the leader and representative of the apostles (Mk 16:7).
12. Peter leads the apostles in fishing (Jn 21:2-3,11). The “bark” (boat) of Peter has been regarded by Catholics as a figure of the Church, with Peter at the helm.
13. Peter’s words are the first recorded and most important in the upper room before Pentecost (Acts 1:15-22).
14. Peter takes the lead in calling for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:22).
15. Peter is the first person to speak (and only one recorded) after Pentecost, so he was the first Christian to “preach the gospel” in the Church era (Acts 2:14-36).
16. Peter works the first miracle of the Church Age, healing a lame man (Acts 3:6-12).
17. Peter utters the first anathema (Ananias and Sapphira) emphatically affirmed by God (Acts 5:2-11)!
18. Peter is the first person after Christ to raise the dead (Acts 9:40).
19. Cornelius is told by an angel to seek Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1-6).
20. Peter is the first to receive the Gentiles, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48).
21. Peter instructs the other apostles on the catholicity (universality) of the Church (Acts 11:5-17).
22. Peter is the object of the first divine interposition on behalf of an individual in the Church Age (an angel delivers him from prison – Acts 12:1-17).
23. Peter presides over and opens the first Council of Christianity, and lays down principles afterwards accepted by it (Acts 15:7-11).
24. Peter is the first to recognize and refute heresy, in Simon Magus (Acts 8:14-24).
25. Peter’s name is mentioned more often than all the other disciples put together: 191 times (162 as Peter or Simon Peter, 23 as Simon, and 6 as Cephas). John is next in frequency with only 48 appearances, and Peter is present 50% of the time we find John in the Bible! Archbishop Fulton Sheen reckoned that all the other disciples combined were mentioned 130 times. If this is correct, Peter is named a remarkable 60% of the time any disciple is referred to!
26. Peter’s proclamation at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) contains a fully authoritative interpretation of Scripture, a doctrinal decision and a disciplinary decree concerning members of the “House of Israel” (2:36) – an example of “binding and loosing.”
27. Peter commanded the first Gentile Christians to be baptized (Acts 10:44-48).
28. Paul went to Jerusalem specifically to see Peter for fifteen days in the beginning of his ministry (Gal 1:18), and was commissioned by Peter, James and John (Gal 2:9) to preach to the Gentiles.
29: 1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. (Mt. Chapter 23)
Note: While the bible does not speak specifically of the “ Chair of Peter,” this term gets it’s origin from “the Chair of Moses,” which EVERYONE KNEW WAS THE “SEAT OF RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY.”
29. Peter corrects those who misuse Paul’s writings (2 Pet 3:15-16). ‘In conclusion, it strains credulity to think that God would present St. Peter with such prominence in the Bible, without some meaning and import for later Christian history; in particular, Church government.
The papacy is the most plausible (we believe actual) fulfillment of this directive to ‘Feed my sheep.‘ ”