Prelude to Light
Christ is the Rock and not Peter.
The following human truism is attributed to Nazi propaganda that sought to deceive the German society, but its lying originator was the wicked serpent within the Garden of Eden. Witness the Nazi stratagem, based on Hitler's big lie subterfuge in Mein Kamph: "If you repeat a lie often enough, then the lie may be believed to be the truth". Any lie empowers evil. If there is an authority of reputation that creates an obvious error and continually backs up the false premise with steadfast claims and sophistry, even with eventual reprisals, then know for a certainty that the authority has something to be gained in maintaining the misconception. In any court of law, all of the parties who perpetuate the known error, instituted by the authority, are guilty accomplices of those who created the error in the first place.
Perhaps in the matter of Christian faith, there are mitigating circumstances where the false premise comes about through an innocent misinterpretation of the language of scripture. Such might be the case with Matthew 16 verse 13 thru 20, where the Apostle Peter is declared by the Roman Church to be the rock which Christ would build His Ecclesia or Church upon. David records in Psalm 62, his faith in the God of his Salvation: My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation: He is my Defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my Salvation and my glory: The Rock of my strength, and my Refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. (See Psalm 62 verse 1 thru 12.)
Also, no mention of the possibility of Peter being the rock, occurs in the counterpart gospel scriptures in Mark 8 verse 27 thru 30, for the Lord Jesus instructs the disciples that they should not reveal that He is the Christ. If Jesus is the Christ and Word of God, and the Word of God stands forever, then Jesus alone is the Rock of unmovable Truth. Now upon closer evaluation of the Truth, if the prima facie evidence is now seen to be contrary to the perceived innocent error, then the institutional party responsible for maintaining the error needs to repent and confess rightly that the Foundation of Faith is the incarnate Christ of God, and not Peter, the earthly man entrapped within his fallen genetic flesh and blood. So then, even Peter expresses his and our own need to be founded on the Foundation Rock that is Christ Jesus. (See 1st Peter 2 verse 1 thru 8.) That Rock foundation of our faith is centered on Jesus Christ and His death for the sins of mankind with His burial and then His bodily resurrection from the dead; and not on the bones and ashes of Peter's buried remains.
But contrary wise, with paint brush and a bucket in hand, the human elected Apostolic leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, have continually white washed the sepulchers containing dead men's bones, relying upon some spurious traditions made of their own idolatrous vanity. Even though the gross evidence of Peter's death is found in a Vatican sepulcher, as dust and ashes, we see that the Roman Church has painted a picture of the person of the Apostle Peter, as being the very stone that Christ would build His Church upon, rather than Peter's God given declaration of faith in Jesus Christ, the Living Stone that the builders rejected. The Rock of the WORD of GOD declares of Himself: I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes before the Father except by Me. (John 14 verse 5 thru 7.) We do not come to Holy Father God through Peter or in the name of the apostles, but in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ alone is the only Begotten Son of His Holy Father God, and He alone is the Holy One Whom God has sent as His Divine Word, to become through the incarnation of God's Spirit, the Son of Man, to pay the ransom price for the idolatrous sins of humanity. Only the Holy, as in the Son of God and yet fully the obedient Son of Man, can intercede for lost mankind before Holy, Holy, Holy God Almighty. As the Loving Holy Son of His Father God and the incarnated Son of Man, Jesus Christ alone is the only mediator between God and man, thereby bringing those who are saved by a living faith in His resurrection from the dead, unto the bosom of His Holy Father God.
Peter, like his forefather Adam, is a man of the earth breaking faith with God, while Jesus Christ is True Bread from above, born as the Word of God in the flesh as the last Adam. Christ alone maintains Perfect Faith and Perfect Love with His Father God, and Who as the Son of Adam is the only One Who can reconcile mankind to an infinitely Holy God. For the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (Galatians 3 verse22.) And the promises of restoration faith begins through scripture in Genesis with the seed of Woman/Ishshah that will crush Satan's head, leading to Abraham being justified through His active faith in the Promised One of Elohim, and then to Abraham's offspring of Isaac, and his son Jacob, now called Israel, and his lineage to David, and David's lineage to the Hebrew virgin Mary, who through faith in the Word of God conceived and bore the Son of man, Who was from the beginning the Son of God in the flesh. The Apostle John who beheld the glory of God's promised Messiah Yeshuah, writes in his Gospel of what Jesus the Christ says on this matter of faith in Him: Abraham saw My day and rejoiced in it. Truly, Truly, I say unto you: Before Abraham was: I AM. (Please see Abraham believed God.) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before hand the gospel unto Abraham, saying: In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith [in the promise] are [also] blessed with faithful Abraham. (Galatians 3 verse 8 thru 9.)
Paul's faith is annunciated in his writings: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2 verse 20.) Therefore being justified by faith [in Christ], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5 verse 1.) From the least to the greatest, all of humanity are under the condemnation of idolatrous sin ending in death, therefore, it is only by God's gift of justifying faith in Christ Jesus, that when received in the core of our being, brings us into righted position with Holy God. The produce of Sin is death, and is conceived in the heart and mind of all of idolatrous mankind, whereas the fruit of faith in Christ Jesus is Life, conceived in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit of God. It is through the Holy Spirit, flowing freely as the Fountain of Living Water within God's Son and Christ, Who gives the Life of Christ to all who receive from that Fountain. If we are in the faith of Christ Jesus, then the Fountain of Living Faith within the Lord Jesus is springing up within our hearts, as the spiritual Life of God's Perfect Love being fostered within His children, whereby we cry unto God, Abba Father. (See Romans 8 verse 14 thru 16, and Galatians 4 verse 5 thru 8.) The Faith of Jesus Christ, within our hearts, moves us past ourselves into His Love, and His Perfect Love moves us to trusting obedience endeavoring in a labor of His love, thereby expressing outwardly to the world, of God's abundant Salvation Grace flowing from His Son, Jesus the Rock.
Now, with the simplicity of Salvation Truth before us, let us read in the context of that True Faith that flows from the Son of God, and hear what the Scriptures say on this matter:
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying: Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said: Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He said unto them, But Whom say you that I Am? And Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him: Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed Truth unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. (See Matthew 16 verse 17.) And then the Son of the living God said: Thou art Peter (meaning Petros, a small stone) and upon this Stone (meaning Petra an immoveable rock or foundation) I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail.
It is important to note the following scripture verses, for they establish that when Jesus first began to gather His disciples, He changed the name of Peter to that of Cephas. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first finds his own brother Simon, and said unto him, "We have found the Messiah", which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas", which is by interpretation, a stone [or Petros]. (John 1 verse 40 thru 42.)
Peter, that is Petros, is a small stone of beginning revelation faith, having its origin from Holy Father God, and the revelation is not derived from Peter himself, For, as Jesus says: flesh and blood has not revealed Truth unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. Whereas, thank goodness, Jesus the Christ is the Petra, being an unmovable Rock of Faith built with out hands, upon which Christ, Himself, the Rock of Salvation, would build His Church or Ecclesia upon. King David proclaimed where his faith was as he said, The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my Rock in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my Salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Savior; thou has saved me from violence. If you compare the Hebrew word for rock "Sehlah" with the Greek word "Petra", you will see that they have the same definition.
Our beginning Salvation faith, initiated by Father God Almighty, is to be built upon Jesus Christ Alone, for He alone is the foundation Petra Rock that can not be moved. For Jesus, the Son of Man, is the solid Petra of Faith, born of a stead fast Love that He Alone had for His Father; and before He became human, He was One with His Father, as the only begotten Son, before time even began. Father God Almighty has given Spiritual testimony of His Son, the Chief Corner Stone, Jesus the Christ of God, of Whom the builders rejected and reject today. Thus says the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm [of strength], and whose heart departs from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17 verse 5.)
An so Peter, a man of sinful flesh, had the small gravel or "Petros" beginning faith that came from the ultimate unchangeable "Petra" Faith of the Living Word, Jesus Christ, the Son of Holy Father God Almighty. Peter's small beginning faith, as a pebble or small stone was small indeed and needed God's reinforcement. That is why we hear at another time the Lord tell Simon Peter: Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (See Luke 22 verse 31 thru 32.) The beginning faith of Peter (Petros, a small stone of faith) needed to be converted into a greater faith in Christ the Petra Rock and foundation of Godly faith, before he might strengthen his brethren.. On the matter of Faith in Christ Jesus, we are all sifted like Peter (Petros), starting out small in our confession of faith, but nevertheless in the fiery trials of life, it is that same small faith that is strengthened and enlarged by the never ending Faith and support of the Rock Christ Jesus that stands triumphantly against the fallen gates of hell. And so, we in the Petra that is Christ Jesus, rejoice in His victory. Paul, the Apostle of the gentiles, writes: And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2 verse 14-15.) Therefore, our triumphant Lord says for the benefit of our small Petros like faith and for His glory: I AM He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I AM alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1 verse 18.) It is not Peter who sets the captive free, but it was and is Christ Jesus the Rock of our Salvation Faith, Who in His absolute Righteousness, even as the Son of Adam, broke down the gates of hell and death, and takes the captives into the captivity of His loving arms and frees them from their chains of sin and death. (See Ephesians 4 verses 4 thru 10, as it relates to Psalm 68 verse 18.)
St Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, was a stout defender of the Faith and the Catholic Church, and being sensitive to the truth of scripture, in his latter writings clarifies any misconceptions of his thoughts regarding Who the Rock is.
In His book Retractations, Augustine writes: "But I know that very frequently at a latter time, I so explained what the Lord said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,’ that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ For, ‘Thou art Peter’ and not ‘Thou art the rock’ was said to him. But ‘the Rock was Christ,’ in confessing Whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter". (Saint Augustine, The Retractations Chapter 20.1. pg. 90. The Fathers of the Church (Washington D.C., Catholic University, 1968)
Augustine, also in one of his many sermons said: "Christ, you see, built His Church not on a man, but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you; there’s the foundation; there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer." (Sermons, Vol. 6, Sermon 229P.1, pg. 327. John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993),
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (See Ephesians 2 verse 4 thru 9.) The Ecclesia of God is built upon God's gift of Faith that is centered in the risen Christ Jesus, the only Rock of our Salvation, for it is He Alone that overcame our sin and death, and no other foundation is possible before Holy, Holy, Holy Father God Almighty. What a person chooses to do with God's beginning gift of Petros faith is a serious matter, even of life and death. Through that faith, we can now seek God for His help through His Spirit in building our Petros faith upon the Rock of our Salvation; for faith is built upon faith, going from glory to glory in Christ Jesus. St Paul writes of God's Salvation Foundation: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the Foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other Foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; And you are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (See 1st Corinthians 3 verse 10 thru 11, and verse 20 thru 21,23.) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1 verse 16 thru 17.)
If a man is justified by their faith in their Salvation Rock, Who arose from the dead, then there is no need to glory in men, such as Peter or Paul or Apollus for their dead bodies as well as those of the rest of mankind, have already or will return to the dust of this earth. The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. So you see, our faith does not rest in the faith of men, such as Peter, although that faith is necessary in its hearing, but the absolute Faith of the Church rest upon the solid Foundation Rock of the Faith of Christ Jesus, Who was the Son of Man, and the loving Son of God and as such was obedient unto death. The Foundation Stone of our Faith is incorruptible having risen from the dead, and like Peter's Petros faith that is built on Christ Jesus, we each, also become living stones of faith that can rest at ease in our dependence upon the foundation Rock of our Resurrection Faith in Christ Jesus. Peter, after he is strengthened by the Lord's Spirit, speaks of his and our relationship to Christ the Rock in this wise: To Whom coming, as unto a living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture: "Behold, I [God Almighty] lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him shall not be confounded." (See Isaiah 28 verse 16.) Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a Rock [Petra] of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: (1st Peter 2 verse 4 thru 8.) Note, that the Rock of offence in Peter's first letter is the very same Rock or Petra that Jesus Christ says He will build His Ecclesia upon. (See Matthew 16 verse 18,) Peter does not contradict the Lord, for he knows that Christ Jesus is God's foundation Rock that a wise man builds upon.
As we continue to build upon spiritual logic, now witness the fragility of human flesh, even that of Peter the Apostle of the Lord. A short time after the Lord had said: Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, we see in Matthew 16 that when the Lord Jesus is speaking of His soon coming suffering, death and resurrection, then the disciple Peter, would show that he was yet a man subject to the needs of his own flesh, rebuking the Lord Jesus saying: Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee. But the Lord Jesus turned, and said unto Peter: Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savors not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Peter, like all of mankind is subject to his own self idolatrous flesh, even to the point that our own perception of love is corrupted in self fulfillment. As one human to another, all humans love their own for their own self perceived needs. Peter is not the solid Rock of the Churches foundation built on faith, hope and agape (love), for Peter initially loved Jesus for his own sake and not that of his brothers, let alone for the world as it is with God. Peter's only Salvation Foundation is in his God given living faith centered in the Only Begotten Son of God, Who came to give His Holy Life for the salvation of dead mankind. God is Supreme Love, and having come from God, then even the Faith we have of God is born of His Perfect Love. It is mankind that looks to self that is imperfect and in need of God to save them: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus. (Romans 3 verse 23 thru 26.) For Faith is the substance of that which is hoped for, bringing forth the evidence of that which is not seen. The Faith of God within the believer is Living and active, bringing forth within the faithful the fruits of the Spirit of God. (See Galatians 5 verse 22 thru 25.)
That one Faith, born of God, is always bearing the Love of God giving an ever increasing hope in Christ Jesus, and that Faith in Christ Jesus is holding the keys into the kingdom of God, which have set at liberty the souls that were held in the bondages of sin and death. We see in Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 16 that Jesus says to all of His disciples that are with Peter: verse 19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: And whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The keys to the Kingdom of God were not yet given, but were to be entrusted to the disciples by the Lord when the fullness of faith would be manifested within the disciples hearts and minds when they beheld with their own eyes the resurrection of the Lord of Salvation. The record of scripture holds that after the death of the Lord Jesus, it was not just Thomas who lacked faith, but all of the Apostles were unbelieving, that is until they had all seen the resurrected Christ of God.
24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27Then said He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My LORD and My God.
Jesus said unto him: Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20 verses 24 thru 29.)
Now, with the apostles having seen the risen Christ, even that original small "Petros" Faith blossomed into the "Petra" Faith that is founded in their Lord and Master. The Holy Writ bears witness, for when the Lord had driven out the money changers, they asked Him by what sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things? Jesus answered and said unto them; Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But Jesus spoke of the Temple of His body. When therefore Jesus was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (See John 2 verse 18 thru 22.) Wherefore, the believer is looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12 verse 2.)
Faith comes by hearing the Truth, and this small seed of resurrection faith in Jesus Christ, is the beginning substance that arises out of the Foundation Petra Faith, that is the unmovable Rock built with out hands, upon which Christ the Rock would build His Church or Ecclesia upon, and this Rock will fill the whole earth.
Christ Jesus is the very foundational Rock of the Word of God, for He is the Personal Living Word of God, where the fountain of all Truth springs forth. To be sure of our confidence in the foundational Rock of Scripture, Jesus Christ, it is He Who brought forth the foundations of the universe and maintains it by the same Word of His and His Father's power. When the prophet Daniel interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he tells the king of the destruction of all of the kingdoms of the world by a Stone that was cut out of a mountain without hands, and that Stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (See Daniel 2 verse 26 thru 47.) That Stone made without hands was Christ Jesus! It is He of Whom King David the psalmist and prophet writes: My soul; wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation: he is my Defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my Salvation and my glory: The Rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (See Psalm 62 verse 1 thru 7.) Jesus Christ was the Rock that Moses struck twice at Mirabah Kadesh when he was only to speak to the Rock to bring forth water. Paul confirms this in his writings: And they did all drink the same spiritual drink: For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: And that Rock was Christ. (1st Corinthians 10 verse 4.) Jesus Christ is the Spiritual Rock from Whom the Fountains of Living Water poured forth from the Rock at Mirabah Kadesh, and that same Jesus Christ is also the Bride-Groom Who has purchased His betrothed through the fountain of His redemptive and innocent Blood, which poured from His pierced Body upon the soil of the earth.
The foundation Stone, Jesus Christ was laid in Zion and not in Rome. The immutable fact remains forever that Christ Jesus is the foundation rock that a wise man, such as Paul, builds his house upon so that the winds, rains and floods of adversity will not prevail upon the strength of that sure foundation. (See Matthew 7 verse 21 thru 27.) Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone; In Whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto a holy temple in the Lord: In Whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2 verse 19 thru 22.) The Ecclesia, that is the called out ones of God, do not grow into a holy temple in Peter, but they become lively stones within the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the absolute living Foundation Stone upon Whom our gift of living faith is built upon, even as Peter's faith was built upon the revelation of Christ Jesus that the Lord's Father God gave to Peter as a precious gift. Listen again to the Word's of the Lord: Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: For flesh and blood hath not revealed Truth unto thee, but My Father Who is in heaven. (See Matthew 16 verse 17.) For as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe upon His Name, which were born , not of blood or the will of the flesh, but of [the will] of God. (See John 1 verse 12 thru 13.) Even as John the Baptist was not the true Light of God, neither was Peter the true Rock of God that the builders rejected; for Peter knows that his Rock is Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth in the Way and Life of men. Peter's faith, represented the beginnings of the Ecclesia; and the Church is the body of Christ, but Peter is not the body of Christ, but a precious member of that Foundation Faith founded in the Master. When we sift through this matter, we see that the foundation of the papacy, being built on Petros, is indeed built on shifting gravel that returns to sand, and is not built on the Petra of Christ.
"And they shall overcome the evil (accuser) by the BLOOD of the LAMB, and the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their life unto the death." (Revelation 12 verse 10.)
To proceed to the next chapter, please click on Confusion in Mariology.
Robert Glenn Pratten
Robert Glenn Pratten