The show notes for tonight’s debate are on our blog at deepertruthblog.com
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The premise of tonight’s debate boils down to 7 verses of Scripture- Matthew 16:13-19, with special emphasis on the last 3.
The entire Catholic religion stands or falls on these 7 verses of Scripture. If Catholic exegesis of these 7 verses is wrong, the claim to the authority of Catholicism cannot stand. If we are right, however, that Peter is the Rock of Matthew 16, then it cannot be denied.
These are the 7 verses as read from the RSV Bible.
The location of this discourse is Caesaria Phillipi, a place known for the huge Rock that is it’s backdrop. A little dramatic effect, if you will. A picture is in the show notes.
The discussion points directly to Peter. As if to manifest this to excess, Jesus says “YOU” in addressing Peter, a total of 7 times in the last 3 verses. 7 times in 3 verses, folks. Count them.
Opponents try a little linguistic slight of hand. They will tell you that YOU really means ME or IT and that Petros and Petra are two different words when they are, in fact masculine and feminine versions of the very same word.
After arriving at this carefully chosen location, Jesus poses a question to all 12 disciples. Who do men say that I am?
Who is translated from the Greek tina ( τίνα Strong 5101) which can actually be translated who?, which? or what? Men is translated from anthrōpoi (ἄνθρωποι 444 ) which means mankind. and Son of Man uses the word Uion for Son and a variant of anthrōpoi that specifies a particular man. So, paraphrasing, Jesus is actually saying Who do all men say that this particular son of men is?
They answer. Some say Elijah, Some say Jeremiah, Some say John the Baptist, others say one of the prophets. Notice that there are only 4 options;
All of these people had two things in common. First, they were all prophets. Second, they were all long gone. It is very interesting that no one saw Jesus as the Messiah at this point but no one saw Him as a fraud, either. A Prophet is one who speaks for God, who speaks by Divine authority. They all recognized Jesus as speaking by that authority but didn’t recognize Him AS that authority. All of them thought He was a resurrected Prophet which proves, contrary to what my opponent says, all the Jews believed in the Resurrection.
The reason they thought Jesus was a Prophet is because it was well understood in Scripture and tradition that the Messiah’s coming would be preceded by a return of one of the Prophets. Most people assumed it would be Elijah.
Malachi 4: 5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
So the Jews were still awaiting the return of Elijah but Elijah’s return was symbolic and had already been fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist. Proof texts for this in the show notes.
10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?
11 And he answered and said, Elijah indeed cometh, and shall restore all things:
12 but I say into you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they would.
Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.
13 Then understood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
American Standard Version (ASV)
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
14 And if ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, that is to come.
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
To this day, Jews leave a chair out for Elijah when they celebrate the Passover, anticipating that he will precede the Messiah.
Jesus then challenges the 12, Who do YOU say that I am? Peter, alone said “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. Peter was the only one who stepped forward and Jesus tells us why.
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah” Blessed is translated from the Greek word Makarios (μακάριος 3107 Strong’s ) and conveys being very fortunate, very favored, placed in an enviable position. Simon bar-Jonah is the Aramaic rendering of Simon, Son of John. Demonstrating that Jesus spoke Aramaic comes into play later.
For flesh and blood did not reveal this to you.
but My Father who is in Heaven
Flesh and Blood from the Greek words Sarx and Aima are meant to convey human nature. This is not revealed through human faculties, in other words. Reveal is from apekalupsen which conveys revealing something that is hidden or covered. The passage is clearly conveying that Peter alone has come to this knowledge by direct revelation from the Father according to a singular privilege denied to, not only all the other Jews but to even all the other Disciples.
and I tell you, you are Peter
and I tell you is translated from Kai Dei Soi Lego hoti (καὶ λέγω 2532 and 3004) signifying and, moreover, I tell you that or and, more than that, I tell you. You are Peter. Petros, a huge foundational stone, suitable for building. (Πέτρος 4074). George will try to tell you that it means a smaller stone but that is complete nonsense. The word for this kind of smaller stone is Lithos.
For example, in Matthew 24:2, Matthew uses the word Lithos where Jesus says, referring to the Jewish Temple, not one stone will be left upon another. The address to Peter in Matthew 16:18 chooses the Masculine Petros over the Feminine Petra because Jesus here is giving Simon a new name. Actually Petros is not that name, the name is actually Kephas. John 1:42 tells us that Jesus calls Peter by the Aramaic Kephas, which is translated to the Greek Petros. The Aramaic Kephas ( Κηφᾶς 2786) cannot be translated as small stone. That would be Enva. Nor is there a feminine form of Kephas.
Calling Peter Petros is necessitated by the translation of Kephas to Koine Greek and the fact that Peter is be named and is a man.
and upon this rock, I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
And upon this rock is translated from kai epi taute te petra (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ ) Literally translated it means and on this very rock. The notion of a contrast is untenable.
Matt Slick tries to infer a contrast on his CARM website, arguing the difference between the masculine Petros and the Feminine Petra but it simply cannot be supported.
Let’s go word by word. Kai (2532) means and or moreover. It affirms a thought and then emphasizes it. Yes, the car is blue and it’s the very same blue I chose. It is absurd to suggest the word Kai as a contrast conjunction and the translator to English always affirms the translation to and, not but, or however, or rather or nevertheless- conjunctions of contrast. It is suggesting, to paraphrase, that someone might say-Yes, the car is blue and it’s the very same red I chose. It is absurd.
If a contrast were the author’s intent, the word used would be alla (ἀλλὰ 235 ) meaning but.
Alla can be shown for example in Luke 5:32
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
As if this were not enough, Matthew follows Kai with epi taute te meaning on this very. Taute te is used in Matthew 26:34-
Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
Finally, the word Petra. (πέτρᾳ 4073 ). From the exact same root as Petros, it’s only difference is gender. It is not being used in the second part of the sentence as a proper name and, in this case, the use is feminine.
Kai epi tautee te (and on this very same) shows clearly that the rock used in the second part of the sentence refers to exactly the same rock in the first.
Jesus first says YOU are Rock and then THIS is the Rock. Thus, the change in Gender. You are the rock and this is the rock upon which I will build my church. It is the same rock.
Those who suggest that Jesus is calling Peter Petros and Himself Petra fail on another ground. If Jesus is Petra, He is calling Himself a woman.
Clearly, the Petros / Petra argument collapses under it’s own weight.
It is Peter who is blessed with direct revelation, it is Peter who is called Rock and it is Peter who is that very same Rock upon which Jesus built a church that the power of death, literally pylai hadou, the gates of hell cannot overcome.
In verse 19, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose on earth that which will be bound and loosed in heaven.
The keys to the kingdom of heaven from the Greek Kleis (2807: κλείς ) hearkens back to Isaiah 22 and the Chief Steward. It is to hand over control, literally to give the keys. Jesus is saying nothing less than telling Peter that He will give him the keys to the the authority of God’s Heavenly Kingdom on earth.
Finally, Jesus makes a last, extraordinary claim. What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Literally deses (δήσῃς 1210) meaning to tie or bind and luses (λύσῃς 3089) meaning to loose or dissolve, it refers explicitly to the exercise of authority. These are legal terms under Jewish law that were used, for example in binding someone to a debt or dissolving a contract. The claim should be a revelation to any non-catholic.
For Jesus actually says that for whatever Peter were to bind and loose, it has already been bound or loosed in heaven!
The words used are dedemenon (δεδεμένον ) and lelumenon (λελυμένον), past tense variants of the previous words.
Here, Jesus is not only giving Peter authority, but absolute, plenary authority. We call that authority infallibility but that is next week’s debate.
That Peter is the Rock is undeniable.
- If Peter is not first among the disciples, why is he mentioned 155 times in the New Testament when all the other disciples are mentioned 130 times combined?
- If Peter is not the Rock, why was his name changed to Rock? In every other occurrence in the Bible, of God changing a person’s name, it was for a significant reason. Abram to Abraham- the Father of many nations. Jacob to Israel. Now, God changes Simon to Rock for apparently no reason?
If Peter is not the head of the Disciples, by what authority does He rule in the Council of Jerusalem? The Judaizers actually made the Biblical case for Circumcision but Peter answered 10 Now therefore, why tempt you God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? Here, Peter is clearly exercising His power to loose.
In Mark 16:7, the Angel says to Mary Magdalene and to Mary, the mother of James and Salome But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you. If even the Angel recognizes Peter as distinct from the others, why don’t you?
Why, in John 21:15-17 does Jesus ask Peter if He loves Him more than the other disciples do? Why does He charge on Peter “feed my lambs, feed my sheep”?
Argument: There are many verses saying that only God is the Rock. For example 1 Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
Answer: Strong’s concordance lists 60 different Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words that are translated to the english word Rock. Obviously, they do not all hold the same exact meaning. For example, the passage in 1 Samuel is translated from the Hebrew word Tsur which indicates a cliff. This word is actually considered a proper name for God in it’s use in verses like Deuteronomy 32:31.Kephas, on the other hand, suggests a foundation on which to be built and, though it is of Hebrew/Aramaic origin, it is never used as a name for God, only for Peter.
In the same way, Jesus says “call no man father” in Matthew 23:9, yet He, Himself, calls Abraham our father in John 8:56. Jesus says “I am the Good Shepherd” yet we have the shepherds in the field watching their flock by night. We have Jesus saying He is the true bread. Does this mean the manna was fake? Of course not. It is context that is key.
Argument: How could Jesus have called Peter the Rock in Matthew 16:18 then called him Satan?
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Answer: This is actually a perverse and twisted translation of this passage. Are we to believe that Satan received direct revelation from the Father as well as the keys to the kingdom and the power to bind and loose? No. Jesus was talking to Satan who He recognized behind Peter’s temptation.
Argument: 1 Timothy 2:5 says there is only one mediator between God and man and the Book of Acts says there is only one name by which men must be saved.
Answer: Peter is not a mediator between God a man because He is not God. Neither, is He the one by which we must be saved, and for the same reason. Peter is a minister, called by the Divine office (Colossians 1:24), entrusted with the dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2) and a Priest to reign on earth (Revelation 5:10)
This material gleaned from Scripture Catholic. Proper credit given to John Salza.
Matt. to Rev. – Peter is mentioned 155 times and the rest of apostles combined are only mentioned 130 times. Peter is also always listed first except in 1 Cor. 3:22 and Gal. 2:9 (which are obvious exceptions to the rule).
Matt. 10:2; Mark 1:36; 3:16; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:3; 2:37; 5:29 – these are some of many examples where Peter is mentioned first among the apostles.
Matt. 14:28-29 – only Peter has the faith to walk on water. No other man in Scripture is said to have the faith to walk on water. This faith ultimately did not fail.
Matt. 16:16, Mark 8:29; John 6:69 – Peter is first among the apostles to confess the divinity of Christ.
Matt. 16:17 – Peter alone is told he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation from God the Father.
Matt. 16:18 – Jesus builds the Church only on Peter, the rock, with the other apostles as the foundation and Jesus as the Head.
Matt. 16:19 – only Peter receives the keys, which represent authority over the Church and facilitate dynastic succession to his authority.
Matt. 17:24-25 – the tax collector approaches Peter for Jesus’ tax. Peter is the spokesman for Jesus. He is the Vicar of Christ.
Matt. 17:26-27 – Jesus pays the half-shekel tax with one shekel, for both Jesus and Peter. Peter is Christ’s representative on earth.
Matt. 18:21 – in the presence of the disciples, Peter asks Jesus about the rule of forgiveness. One of many examples where Peter takes a leadership role among the apostles in understanding Jesus’ teachings.
Matt. 19:27 – Peter speaks on behalf of the apostles by telling Jesus that they have left everything to follow Him.
Mark 10:28 – here also, Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples by declaring that they have left everything to follow Him.
Mark 11:21 – Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples in remembering Jesus’ curse on the fig tree.
Mark 14:37 – at Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter, and no one else, why he was asleep. Peter is accountable to Jesus for his actions on behalf of the apostles because he has been appointed by Jesus as their leader.
Mark 16:7 – Peter is specified by an angel as the leader of the apostles as the angel confirms the resurrection of Christ.
Luke 5:3 – Jesus teaches from Peter’s boat which is metaphor for the Church. Jesus guides Peter and the Church into all truth.
Luke 5:4,10 – Jesus instructs Peter to let down the nets for a catch, and the miraculous catch follows. Peter, the Pope, is the “fisher of men.”
Luke 7:40-50- Jesus addresses Peter regarding the rule of forgiveness and Peter answers on behalf of the disciples. Jesus also singles Peter out and judges his conduct vis-à-vis the conduct of the woman who anointed Him.
Luke 8:45 – when Jesus asked who touched His garment, it is Peter who answers on behalf of the disciples.
Luke 8:51; 9:28; 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1,3,11; 4:13,19; 8:14 – Peter is always mentioned before John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.
Luke 9:28;33 – Peter is mentioned first as going to mountain of transfiguration and the only one to speak at the transfiguration.
Luke 12:41 – Peter seeks clarification of a parable on behalf on the disciples. This is part of Peter’s formation as the chief shepherd of the flock after Jesus ascended into heaven.
Luke 22:31-32 – Jesus prays for Peter alone, that his faith may not fail, and charges him to strengthen the rest of the apostles.
Luke 24:12, John 20:4-6 – John arrived at the tomb first but stopped and waited for Peter. Peter then arrived and entered the tomb first.
Luke 24:34 – the two disciples distinguish Peter even though they both had seen the risen Jesus the previous hour. See Luke 24:33.
John 6:68 – after the disciples leave, Peter is the first to speak and confess his belief in Christ after the Eucharistic discourse.
John 13:6-9 – Peter speaks out to the Lord in front of the apostles concerning the washing of feet.
John 13:36; 21:18 – Jesus predicts Peter’s death. Peter was martyred at Rome in 67 A.D. Several hundred years of papal successors were also martyred.
John 21:2-3,11 – Peter leads the fishing and his net does not break. The boat (the “barque of Peter”) is a metaphor for the Church.
John 21:7 – only Peter got out of the boat and ran to the shore to meet Jesus. Peter is the earthly shepherd leading us to God.
John 21:15 – in front of the apostles, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus “more than these,” which refers to the other apostles. Peter is the head of the apostolic see.
John 21:15-17 – Jesus charges Peter to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” “feed my sheep.” Sheep means all people, even the apostles.
Acts 1:13 – Peter is first when entering upper room after our Lord’s ascension. The first Eucharist and Pentecost were given in this room.
Acts 1:15 – Peter initiates the selection of a successor to Judas right after Jesus ascended into heaven, and no one questions him. Further, if the Church needed a successor to Judas, wouldn’t it need one to Peter? Of course.
Acts 2:14 – Peter is first to speak for the apostles after the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost. Peter is the first to preach the Gospel.
Acts 2:38 – Peter gives first preaching in the early Church on repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 3:1,3,4 – Peter is mentioned first as going to the Temple to pray.
Acts 3:6-7 – Peter works the first healing of the apostles.
Acts 3:12-26, 4:8-12 – Peter teaches the early Church the healing through Jesus and that there is no salvation other than Christ.
Acts 5:3 – Peter declares the first anathema of Ananias and Sapphira which is ratified by God, and brings about their death. Peter exercises his binding authority.
Acts 5:15 – Peter’s shadow has healing power. No other apostle is said to have this power.
Acts 8:14 – Peter is mentioned first in conferring the sacrament of confirmation.
Acts 8:20-23 – Peter casts judgment on Simon’s quest for gaining authority through the laying on of hands. Peter exercises his binding and loosing authority.
Acts 9:32-34 – Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and works the healing of Aeneas.
Acts 9:38-40 – Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and raises Tabitha from the dead.
Acts 10:5 – Cornelius is told by an angel to call upon Peter. Angels are messengers of God. Peter was granted this divine vision.
Acts 10:34-48, 11:1-18 – Peter is first to teach about salvation for all (Jews and Gentiles).
Acts 12:5 – this verse implies that the “whole Church” offered “earnest prayers” for Peter, their leader, during his imprisonment.
Acts 12:6-11 – Peter is freed from jail by an angel. He is the first object of divine intervention in the early Church.
Acts 15:7-12 – Peter resolves the first doctrinal issue on circumcision at the Church’s first council at Jerusalem, and no one questions him. After Peter the Papa spoke, all were kept silent.
Acts 15:12 – only after Peter (the Pope) speaks do Paul and Barnabas (bishops) speak in support of Peter’s definitive teaching.
Acts 15:13-14 – then James speaks to further acknowledge Peter’s definitive teaching. “Simeon (Peter) has related how God first visited…”
Rom. 15:20 – Paul says he doesn’t want to build on “another man’s foundation” referring to Peter, who built the Church in Rome.
1 Cor. 9:5 – Peter is distinguished from the rest of the apostles and brethren of the Lord.
1 Cor. 15:4-8 – Paul distinguishes Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to Peter from those of the other apostles. Christ appeared “to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
Gal.1:18 – Paul spends fifteen days with Peter privately before beginning his ministry, even after Christ’s Revelation to Paul.
1 Peter 5:1 – Peter acts as the chief bishop by “exhorting” all the other bishops and elders of the Church.
1 Peter 5:13 – Some Protestants argue against the Papacy by trying to prove Peter was never in Rome. First, this argument is irrelevant to whether Jesus instituted the Papacy. Secondly, this verse demonstrates that Peter was in fact in Rome. Peter writes from “Babylon” which was a code name for Rome during these days of persecution. See, for example, Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2,10,21, which show that “Babylon” meant Rome. Rome was the “great city” of the New Testament period. Because Rome during this age was considered the center of the world, the Lord wanted His Church to be established in Rome.
2 Peter 1:14 – Peter writes about Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s death, embracing the eventual martyrdom that he would suffer.
2 Peter 3:16 – Peter is making a judgment on the proper interpretation of Paul’s letters. Peter is the chief shepherd of the flock.
Matt. 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:44 – yet Peter, as the first, humbled himself to be the last and servant of all servants.
In dealing with the issue of whether Peter is the Rock upon which the Church is built, in Matthew 16,
one has to actually deal with the words Jesus speaks in the passage. Even the Greek verbiage that is Matthew’s translation of the actual conversation, clearly shows that Peter is the Rock. The so-called Petros/Petra controversy is no controversy at all since he addresses Peter as the Rock. In English, it would sound substantially as it is translated-YOU
are the Rock and upon THIS
very same Rock will I build my Church. You
receives the masculine form of the noun while This
receives the feminine version. This, even though they both refer, as the text clearly shows, to the very same rock.
In dealing with this passage, anti-Catholics refuse to….well…..deal with this passage and bring up various and other sundry passages in an attempt to rebut.
2 Samuel is but one example-
2 And he said: The Lord is my rock, and my strength, and my saviour.
Another is Luke 20:17: But he looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner’?
Detractors point to these passages to insist that, in the mind of Catholics, the Pope, the successor of Peter, is a replacement for Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Consider these earthly models, A Father and a Son, a husband and his bride, a servant and his master, a shepherd and his sheep, an employer and his laborer. All of these, and more, are real world examples that are also types of God’s relationship to us and to His church, as expressed in Scripture.
Yes, Jesus is the Messiah and the Rock of our salvation and Peter says so. However, it is Jesus who says to Peter, You are the rock upon which the church will be built. These are two different rocks, one being the source of salvation and one being the means. One being an eternal rock, one being a temporal rock. One being God, one being human.
Yes, Jesus calls Himself the cornerstone, but Paul says that that cornerstone is laid in the foundation of a church built on Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 4:20).
This week’s debate sets the foundation for next week’s- the debate on Papal Infallibility. That one should be fun. Infallibility is not Divinity.Just be ready. George will surely be telling you that we are making Peter into a god or a replacement Jesus. That is so much mush.
In Acts 5:15 we are told that they laid the sick in the street that even Peter’s shadow might fall on them, In Acts Chapter 9, Peter raises a girl from the dead. In Acts 1,Peter resolves the replacement of Judas, in Acts 15, He resolves the Issue of Circumcision. In Acts 5:3, Peter issues the first Anathema, striking Ananias and Sapphira dead by the power of God.
Peter not Christ’s representative on earth? Peter not prime among the Apostles?
Give me a break.
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