I believe this is the most important message God has given me in over four decades of ministry:

(i) On the historical side, it addresses and resolves the controversy over the church’s foundations that led to the blood-soaked schism between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

(ii) On a personal level, it identifies the actual foundation that can enable every believer to stand against erroneous and deceptive teachings, traditions and current fads.

Many readers will intuitively know some of this as taught by the Spirit but my aim is to provide a better exegesis of Matthew 16:13-20 than we have been given so far by either Catholics or Protestants. I also ask that you bear with me because it takes a while to undo what we’ve been taught as well as to learn what Jesus actually meant because He used Jewish metaphors, readily understood by His original hearers but usually not today.

Introduction

The Roman Catholic Church has long believed that it is the only true church of God on the earth; they believe their Popes are the successors of Peter of whom Jesus said, “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church” (Matt 16:18). They argue that if Peter was the foundation-stone of the church that Jesus built, only a church founded on Peter and his successors can be the right one. They also cite Church Fathers as teaching this from the 2nd and 3rd Centuries (see Appendix B, Origins of Peter as Pope). Given this interpretation, their claim is reasonable and many accept it – today there are thought to be 1.3 billion professing Catholics, more than one sixth of the world’s current population.

However, this interpretation has led to widespread persecution and millions of deaths over the centuries, as in the massacres of the Waldensians1 and Huguenots.2 Protestants gained their name ‘protesting’ against Roman Catholic claims and, in my own Anglican background, godly bishops such as Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley were burnt at the stake in 1555 for trusting in the Scriptures rather than the Pope’s authority.3

Without going into details of this appalling civil war among professing Christians, I’m simply noting the extraordinary depth of conviction on both sides and the extreme measures too often taken. And all because in Roman Catholic understanding, all other denominations are separated from the one true church, and in the other denominations’ understanding, they are not. In  fact, there are as many professing Christians who don’t accept the Pope: 800 million Protestants, 400-500 million Pentecostals, and 270 million Eastern Orthodox, i.e. about 1.5 billion, one fifth of the world’s current population.

We should therefore keep in mind:

(i) Regardless of who’s right, either way well over a billion professing Christians today are misunderstanding this passage.

(ii) The reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) – the Roman Church has tried to address their history of killing and persecuting opponents, anti-Semitism, and, more recently, paedophilia in the priesthood.

(iii) Questioning the role of the Pope does not mean questioning the man himself; ad hominem arguments usually obscure truth and, anyway, the last five popes seem to have been decent, sincere men.

(iv) As long as this issue remains unresolved, there will never be a reunited professing church.

The objective of this study is not to critique Roman Catholicism per se – in the first part, Part One, we’ll also be looking at flaws in the standard Protestant response – but rather to understand a profound dialogue between Jesus and Peter, and its relevance to how each of us today sees Jesus and ourselves.

It won’t be easy because, as we’ll see in Part Two, the dialogue includes six 1st Century Jewish metaphors (“the Christ”, name-changing, petra, “gates of Hades”, “keys of the kingdom”, and “binding and loosing”) and its application is to one of three metaphorical foundations. Two of these foundations are well-recognised (bedrock and foundation-stones) but, as we’ll see, Jesus was referring to the third, a completely unrecognised metaphor today, prefigured by the Tabernacle’s fabulous foundation-sockets.

We should have recognised it because the Tabernacle, Israel’s first and only mobile Temple, was revealed to Moses as foreshadowing Messiah’s Temple. As our great High Priest, Jesus is:

…a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man… Those who offer the gifts according to the Law, …serve a copy and foreshadowing of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain”… But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation…4

It is essential we grasp this – the Tabernacle was a prophetic earthly representation, a type or foreshadowing, of what Jesus came to build in the spiritual realm for you and me. How foolish then we have been to ignore its relevance to understanding the Matthew 16 dialogue. Ironically, in the Gentile church’s haste to cut itself off from its Jewish ‘roots’ and ‘support’, ignoring Paul’s specific warnings,5 it also cut itself off from understanding its own foundations and thus to being overpowered by “the gates of Hades”. It took the Reformation, five hundred years ago, to get us mostly back on track, as Pope Benedict acknowledged in 2011.6 It’s only as we humble ourselves and reconnect to our Jewish heritage, especially to understanding Jewish history, Messianic prophecies, divinely-inspired types and shadows “in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms” as carefully and explicitly taught by Jesus to His 1st Century Jewish disciples,7 as well as the New Testament’s explanations and teaching, that we can identify the third foundation metaphor and resolve this seemingly insoluble issue.

In Part Three, we will look at how Paul confirms this metaphor as our true foundation, laid so we can avoid being taken ‘captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world’.8 Then in Part Four, we will apply the Matthew 16 dialogue to some particularly pressing issues of our day such as racial and gender identity.

“Upon This Rock”
Looking then at Matthew 16:18 in context:

13. Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14. And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets”.
15. He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16. Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.
17. And Jesus answered and said to Him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”.
18. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
19. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”.
20. Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. (Matt 16:13-20, emphasis added)

So what’s the issue? Jesus is questioning His disciples as to who people think He is (v. 13) and who the disciples themselves think He is (v. 15). Why? Is He as portrayed in the rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, unsure of Himself? Of course not. We see from the earliest records of His words at age twelve that He knows exactly who He is (Luke 2:42 & 49). Instead, Jesus wants to know who else is becoming aware of that, and how far this awareness is penetrating the community.

It’s also significant that He’s asking this in ‘the district of Caesarea Philippi’ (v. 13) as this was a centre of paganism and Roman emperor-worship.

As this poster at the present-day tourist site illustrates, Herod the Great’s son, Philip, initially developed the city as Paenas around a spring where the Greek god Pan was worshipped but he renamed it in 14 AD to honour Caesar Augustus.9 Herod had earlier built a city to honour Augustus on the coastline, Caesarea Maritima, and constructed temples in both cities where he was to be worshipped as a god.10

So how did the community perceive Jesus? While we can’t be sure why many thought of Him as John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah (v. 14), it’s obvious they considered Jesus a very impressive figure. These three were striking figures in their times and, at the very least, Jesus was considered to be ‘one of the prophets’ (v. 14) and therefore, in their Jewish eyes, greater than Caesar – as God’s spokesmen, prophets reprove kings.

But then we come to the heart of it all: how do His closest companions, the disciples, see Him? This is not a mind-game and it’s not for His sake – He is establishing how much they have personally heard from God.

Simon Peter’s Response
Simon answered: 

“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

There are many ideas today on what these titles mean. To the Hindu or New Age mind, for example, they can refer to many people throughout the history of mankind. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, wrote:

It was more than I could believe that Jesus was the only son of God… If God could have sons, all of us were His sons. If Jesus was like God, or God Himself, then all men were like God and could be God Himself.11

However, Simon and Jesus are observant Jews. In contrast to adherents of many other religions, Jews are strictly monotheistic: “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”12 Only God is God. Secondly, they believe in the inspiration of the Old Testament prophecies13 which predict a ‘Coming One’14 who will be unique in all of human history. His name, Messiah (Heb, mashiach) or Christ (Grk, christos), lit. ‘Anointed One’, is a Jewish metaphor which prefigured His coming for over one and a half thousand years. Its meaning is found in their ancient ritual of pouring olive oil on to the head of their high priests, kings, and prophets.15 This was an earthly symbol of a heavenly reality, the Holy Spirit coming upon these men to supernaturally appoint and empower them for their particular role. The Messiah, however, is not only appointed and empowered to take up all three roles but also to give the Holy Spirit to all who ask Him. As John the Immerser put it:

“As for me, I baptise you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I… He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire”16

Peter and Jesus also know that Messiah has to fulfill many prophecies recorded by Jewish scribes over two thousand years: He must be a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,17 from a particular tribe, Judah18, a particular family, David’s,19 and a particular village, Bethlehem.20 He has to be born of a virgin21 because He is far more than a man: He is God incarnate.22 The term “Son of God” in this context means the human form in which our invisible God becomes visible.23

While this may be hard to accept for many like the Gnostics or the Muslims who do not believe that God can take on flesh and blood, there is no doubt that 1st Century Jews like Peter believed it. It is precisely because they believed this that Jesus was crucified for claiming to be Him. At His trial, Ananias the high priest placed Him under the Levitical oath to give evidence:24

I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God25

Notice, Ananias used the same titles as Simon. When Jesus assented, adding that He would be returning to fulfill the Messianic prophecy of Daniel 7:13, the high priest was outraged and appealed to the Sanhedrin, Israel’s council of elders:

Then the high priest tore his robes, saying, “He has blasphemed!  What further need do we have of witnesses?  Behold, you have heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death!”26

We have to understand this – the charge was blasphemy and, if Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, under the Law of Moses, the sentence was death.27 Before this trial, other Jews had made the same charge against Jesus and reached the same conclusion. When He had asked why they were picking up stones to stone Him, they had replied:

“…for blasphemy… because You, being a man, make yourself out to be God”28

Their failure to recognise Him as “the Christ, the Son of God” led directly to His death. So… why didn’t they recognise Him? He had, after all, all the lineage; He’d performed all the miracles required of Messiah.29. They failed because they needed, as we do today, supernatural help to see Jesus as He really is. Paul wrote:

…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit.30

In other words, each of us needs to not only learn about Jesus but also to pray, asking our heavenly Father about Him – we all need a personal revelation. This is why Jesus said:

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him… Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”31

This is also why…:

…He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.32

I used to wonder why He did so much to prove He is Messiah only to then stop the disciples from immediately telling everyone else. Now I see there is a time when ‘flesh and blood’ revealing it is actually unhelpful, interfering with the Father’s revealing it to us. Happily, anyone can receive this revelation because He wants to tell each of us personally but He wants us to ask. Jesus promised everyone:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.33

In 1st Century Israel, anyone could go and see Jesus, watching what He did, listening to His words, and praying about Him. In my own case, even as an atheist, I saw what Jesus was doing in the lives of my Christian friends and acquaintances, heard from their lips what He said, before I finally prayed and began to see for myself.

In Peter’s case, he had already spent time with Jesus, watching, listening, and praying before finally recognising, believing, and saying, “You are Lord!”

Jesus’ Response
Jesus begins by acknowledging this personal revelation:

“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”

He then adds:

“And I also say to you that you are Peter [Grk, petros], and upon this rock [Grk, petra] I will build My church…”

So… what does Jesus mean? Who or what is the rock? The Catholics say it’s ‘who’ and answer ‘Peter himself’; the Protestants say it’s ‘what’, so their answer is ‘Peter’s confession of faith’.

 

The Protestant argument is that, despite the similarity of the Greek for Peter and for rock, petros means a stone or pebble, i.e. detached, but petra means connected rock, as in bedrock. The latter is illustrated in Jesus’ parable about the wise man who built his house on the rock (petra) whose house survived because “it had been founded on the rock” (Matt 7:24-25). Accordingly, they reason, since Jesus wouldn’t build anything on just a piece of rock or pebble, He must have meant the bedrock is not who but what, and that has to be Peter’s confession, or profession of faith, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

As confirmation, they quote Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.34

In this building metaphor, Jesus is clearly the only foundation that can be laid in the life of each believer but try applying this to the Matthew 16 conversation – was Jesus pointing to Himself while He spoke to Peter? I don’t think so. He must have been using another building metaphor. And that’s not our only problem.

Flaws in the Protestant Interpretation
As a post-denominational Protestant, I want to deal with our flaws first.

(i) Our claim of a petra/petros distinction is invalid.

We’ve made three mistakes here. Firstly, the distinction is not in the size of the rock but in gender – petros is simply the masculine form of petra which is feminine and it would have been inappropriate to give Simon a feminine personal name. Secondly, petra does not always mean bedrock – it can also mean detached rock, in both Classical35 and the New Testament’s koine Greek.36 Thirdly, the Lord is not averse to describing a mere human as petra – He tells Israel:

“… Look to the rock [LXX Grk, petra] from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father…”37

If Abraham, the father of the nation, can be described as bedrock, it is possible for Peter too. I don’t believe he is but not because of this supposed distinction.

(ii) The N.T.’s usual word for a detached piece of rock is lithos (λίθος).

In fifty-four N.T. references to a clearly detached piece of rock by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul, the Greek used is not petros but lithos, from a throwing stone38 to a building stone,39 to a millstone.40 If Jesus meant Peter to be understood as a detached piece of stone as we Protestants have been taught, wouldn’t He have used this clearly understood term?

We find then that Jesus renamed Simon as ‘Rock’ of undefined size and purpose.

(iii) Jesus may have been speaking Aramaic but recorded in Greek.

John records Him doing this when He first met Simon and predicted his name change to Cephas:

‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter)41

Cephas is the Latinised form of the Greek transliteration Kēphas (Κηφας), which in turn comes from the Aramaic Kêfâ (כיפא). The sigma (s) is added in Greek to make the name masculine rather than feminine, as with petra and petros. So, if Jesus had been speaking Aramaic in Matthew 16, He would have said “You are Kêfâ… and on this kêfâ I will build my church” – Aramaic makes no distinction at all.

(iv) Peter’s confession of Jesus’ true identity.

The petra foundation can’t be Peter’s confession because demons were acknowledging that well before Peter. From the very beginning of His ministry:

…demons were coming out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.42.

Does this mean the demons were valid members of the church? Of course not. There has to be more to the rock than a confession or profession of faith because these demons clearly confessed what they clearly believed. We have to get this right because the rock is to help us withstand all the forces of Hades.

(v) Revelation cf. repeating or reciting.

When I was confirmed as an Anglican at age fourteen, we memorised the Nicene Creed. When asked, we could faithfully repeat or recite it. However, if anyone had asked me what it meant or if I actually believed that Jesus was God incarnate, I wouldn’t have had any idea and I’ve since found that many who recite the Creed don’t either. We can only truly know it by revelation:

…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit.43

Nine years later, when I did come to Jesus, the Creed was helpful but before then it was just words. Our traditional churches seem to have conflated reciting and revelation.

Given the above, you can see why Catholics don’t accept the Protestant interpretation.

Flaws in the Catholic Interpretation
Catholics often make the first three points above and add that Peter was given unique authority in Matthew’s record:

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.44

Accordingly, the Pope’s insignia today includes two crossed keys, one gold and the other silver to represent the power of loosing and binding. There are, however, flaws in this argument too, readily seen when we properly understand these two metaphors. Keys are, of course, the means of unlocking access to an area previously barred by locked doors. The metaphorical “keys of the kingdom” are the means of entering God’s kingdom, a realm only entered through us repenting and trusting in Him.45 The question is, therefore, was Peter the only one given these keys?

(i) The “keys of the kingdom” are not unique to anyone.

The good news of God’s kingdom is that everyone who is born again of the Spirit enters it, regardless of Peter and any Pope.46 As Jesus noted at the time, “everyone is forcing his way into it”,47 even the despised tax-gatherers and prostitutes as they repented and believed.48 He rebuked the scribes and lawyers for not helping them with their knowledge of the Scriptures:

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”49

What then is Jesus telling Peter in Matthew 16? That he is no longer a fisherman – he is now called to what had been considered the domain of the scribes of the Law because he too has keys, not to understanding the Law but to entering the kingdom of God. So too do all who believe. The challenge you and I face as believers is, are we using the keys to the kingdom that we have in our hands to help or to hinder others joining us in His kingdom?

(ii) Peter’s ‘binding and loosing’ wasn’t unique to him either.

This Jewish metaphor means to forbid and allow50 and Jesus said it was for all of us:

“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”51

We see in the Lord’s using the perfect passive tense, as emphasised above, that ‘binding and loosing’ is not an inherent authority: we do not actually forbid or allow anything, as if we are God; instead, we are to find out what He has already decidedin heaven via the testimony of two or three, and communicate that accordingly.

We see this lived out in Acts 15. All the leaders of the Early Church had gathered to discuss whether Gentiles should be circumcised, as James and ‘the party of the circumcision’ had been teaching.52 Peter didn’t “bind and loose” anything at that time; he instead gave his testimony,53 as did Barnabas and Paul.54 At this point, James was convinced and repented of his error,55 and the whole gathering became unanimous as to what had already been decided in heaven.56

The Lord said this can happen wherever “two or three” have gathered in His name because He is always with us, reigning with “all authority in heaven and on earth”, if only we will listen for what He has bound or loosed regarding anything on earth. And don’t we all need this!

(iii) Peter being ‘rock’.

Being of the same material as bedrock, whether petros or petra, doesn’t make him the sole foundation but it does make him fit to be part of it. In another N.T. metaphor of foundations, all of the apostles, N.T. prophets, and Jesus Himself are described as the foundation stones of God’s building:

…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building… is growing into a holy temple in the Lord57

Notice, the metaphor is not bedrock but a collection of detached stones, building blocks, on which every other stone is laid and Peter is only one of these foundation stones. Peter also wrote of this temple in which every believer is a spiritual rock, a ‘living stone’:

And coming to Him [Jesus] as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house…58

In the other image of metaphorical foundation stones, the twelve apostles are not rock but precious gemstones which adorn the wall of the heavenly New Jerusalem:

And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb… The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald… 59

Peter’s name is on one of those precious gemstones, along with the other eleven ‘apostles of the Lamb’, because when Jesus entrusted the gospel to the Twelve, He was setting the city-limits of the people of God. All who believe the gospel the Twelve passed on, verbally and in written form in the New Testament, are citizens of this glorious city.

(iv) Peter was over-powered by Satan.

In the very next incident in Matthew, Peter tries to prevent Jesus going to Jerusalem, causing Jesus to rebuke him:

“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests but man’s”60

When tempted to deny the Lord, he did, three times.61 Twenty years later, Paul had to correct him regarding his back-tracking from the revelation God had given him regarding Gentiles and circumcision.62 Of course, we all need correction at some time but Jesus said of the rock that it will keep the church from being over-powered so Peter isn’t that rock. We will see this confirmed when we establish the meaning of the ‘gates of Hades’.

So with these obvious flaws in both Protestant and Catholic interpretations, we need to take a different approach.


Read Part Two>>


 

  1. http://www.waldensiantrailoffaith.org/waldensian-timeline
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Huguenot
  3. Protestant royals in turn executed Catholics as traitors because Pope Pius V’s bull Regnans in Excelsis in 1570 required all Catholics to rebel against the English Crown as a matter of faith.
  4. Heb 8:1-5, quoting Ex 25:9; 9:11, emphasis added. See also Acts 7:44
  5. Rom 11:17-18, 3:1-2
  6. https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20110923_evangelical-church-erfurt.html
  7. Luke 24:44-45
  8. Col 2:8
  9. Josephus recorded: ‘Philip also had built Paneas, a city at the fountains of Jordan; he named it Caesarea’ (Antiquities , XVIII, 2:1)
  10. Josephus again: ‘So when he had conducted Caesar to the sea, and was returned home, he built him a most beautiful temple, of the whitest stone in Zenodorus’s country, near the place called Panium (Panias, Caesarea Philippi). This is a very fine cave in a mountain, under which there is a great cavity in the earth, and the cavern is abrupt, and prodigiously deep, and full of a still water; over it hangs a vast mountain; and under the caverns arise the springs of the river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a very remarkable one, still further by the erection of this temple, which he dedicated to Caesar’ (Antiquities, XV, 10:3). Josephus also records that Titus, after sacking Jerusalem in 70 AD, ‘marched from that Caesarea which lay by the sea-side [Caesarea Maritima], and came to that which is named Caesarea Philippi, and stayed there a considerable time, and exhibited all sorts of shews there. And here a great number of the captives were destroyed: some being thrown to wild beasts; and others in multitudes forced to kill one another, as if they were their enemies’ (Wars , VII, 2:1)
  11. M.K. Gandhi: An Autobiography (The Story of My Experiments With Truth), p. 135
  12. Deut 6:4
  13. John 10:34-35, 2 Pet 1:20-21
  14. Matt 11:3
  15. See for example, Psalm 133:2
  16. Luke 3:16
  17. Gen 22:18, 17:19 circa 2000 BC; Num 24:17 c. 1450 BC
  18. Gen 49:10, c. 1500 B.C.
  19. Isa 9:6-7, c. 700 B.C.
  20. Micah 5:2, c. 700 B.C.
  21. Isa 7:14, c. 700 B.C., and Jer 31:22, c. 600 B.C. The New Creation began in Mary’s ‘encompassing’ Jesus, when ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. See too Gen 3:15, written c. 1500 B.C.
  22. Isa 9:6, c. 700 B.C.
  23. Col 1:15, Heb 1:3
  24. Lev 5:1
  25. Matt 26:63
  26. Matt 26:65-66
  27. Lev 24:16
  28. John 10:33
  29. Luke 7:19-23
  30. 1 Cor 12:3
  31. John 6:44-45
  32. Matt 16:20
  33. Matt 7:7-8, emphasis added
  34. 1 Cor 3:10-11, emphasis added
  35. e.g. in Homer’s Iliad, his characters threw “the rock [petra] that was like a mill-stone”, “a jagged stone [petra] as large as his hand could hold… The stone [petra] hit him on the forehead”, and “seized a great stone [petra], so huge that two men… would be unable to lift it, but Aeneas wielded it quite easily” (Iliad 7:270, 16:734, and 20:273). Also in Hesiod’s Theogony where he writes of the Titans ‘holding huge rocks [petra] in their strong hands’ (para 675, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:abo:tlg,0020,001:675&lang=original)
  36. e.g. Peter quotes Isaiah where Jesus is ‘a stone [Grk, lithos] of stumbling and a rock [Grk, petra] of offense’ (1 Pet 2:7-8, Psa 118:22, Isa 8:14); Paul similarly quotes Isaiah (Rom 9:33, Isa 8:14). Both were following the LXX’s use of lithos and petra in these verses.
  37. Isa 51:1-2
  38. e.g. John 8:59
  39. e.g. Mark 13:1
  40. e.g. Luke 17:2
  41. John 1:42
  42. Luke 4:41
  43. 1 Cor 12:3
  44. Matt16:19
  45. Mark 1:15
  46. John 3:3 & 5
  47. Luke 16:16
  48. Matt 21:31-32
  49. Luk 11:52
  50. http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3307-binding-and-loosing
  51. Matt 18:18-20, emphasis added
  52. Gal 2:12
  53. Acts 15:7-11
  54. Acts 15:12
  55. Acts 15:13-21
  56. Acts 15:25 & 28
  57. Eph 2:20-21, emphasis added
  58. 1 Pet 2:4-5, emphasis added
  59. Rev 21:14 & 10, emphasis added
  60. Matt 16:23
  61. Mark 14:66-72
  62. Acts 11:4-18 cf. Gal 2:11-14