Skip to comments.On This Rock
Posted on 03/18/2007 6:29:20 AM PDT by markomalley
In order to continue His work on earth and lead all peoples to eternal salvation, Jesus established one visible and hierarchical Church. It is very clear from the continual preparation of the Jewish people in the Old Testament and then with the precise act of Jesus in Cesarea Philippi, that God willed to found one Church as a visible, hierarchical, living, and continuing authority, to teach, govern, and sanctify in his name. It is no less clear that Jesus appointed the Apostle Simon the fisherman as the visible head of His Church. Even as He conferred the authority, Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter; i.e., “rock.” The name “Peter” had never existed prior to this divine event in Cesarea Philippi.
Trials and tribulations will always be a part of the Church because it is not merely a human entity. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, and Satan will continue to attack it until the Second Coming. Perhaps history will judge our age as presenting the most formidable challenges the Catholic Church has had to face, although it is true that there have been other dramatic moments in the history of the Church.
The Catholic Church is the only institution in human history that has continually survived its own problems and failures. As G.K. Chesterton once said, this is true, "because it has a God Who knew His way out of the grave." Jesus assures us of His continual presence and protection: "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16:18).
Rather than becoming discouraged, angry, or even rebellious during a difficult time of trial, we must stand fast through prayer and fidelity. We must always pray for our Church, and always trust that God will deliver us from all evil.
Unity in the Catholic Church is damaged when Catholics, be they clergy or lay people, deviate from the deposit of faith, either through an unhealthy attachment to the past or a detrimental deviation, in the name of progress, from authentic Church teaching and discipline. Both postures tear away at the garment of unity.
Every member of the Church is obligated to obey every teaching of the Church. Matters regarding faith, morals and discipline are not subject to personal interpretation.
We live in a moment of history when many openly defy the authority of the pope. We need to persevere, at times under very difficult circumstances, in the exciting adventure of fidelity. With God's help and the maternal protection of Mary, the Mother of the Church, at the end of our earthly existence we can repeat the sounding words of St. Paul: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tm 3:7).
Many years ago when I was in high school and college, I too did a lot of discussing and debating. I too had many religious opinions, many of which were erroneous and unfounded. I debated other issues than the hot-button issues of today; nevertheless, I too struggled with obedience or disobedience to the pope. Thankfully, through the patient and loving guidance of a college professor who became a true life-long friend, I was able to openly search for the truth through deep prayer and sincere study, and I found it. I know that this truth is Jesus and all that His Catholic Church teaches. I love this truth very much and I will never leave it behind again, even if I have to stand alone with the pope, whoever he may be.
To leave behind the relativism that Cardinal Ratzinger spoke about before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, and fully embrace truth and charity, has been the most exciting and liberating event of my entire life. So, I truly do understand all of the debate, all of the discussion, and even all of the anger. I have been there, and I have left all of that behind only to find profound joy, peace and freedom in the Church that I have given my entire life to.
The only solution for the problems that we face as a Church in America is to get back to basics and rediscover the same Jesus that Peter encountered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:17). We must begin again by truly living as disciples of the Lord and living the Gospels with renewed authenticity. True Christianity will set us free.
please remove me from the catholic ping list. Thank you
It wasn't lost. It wasn't in all Hebrew scriptures. Apparently, the Jewish scribes who transalted their version of the Hebrew scripture into Greek did so because that version dind't have the word "rock" but the word Lord instead.
We could just as easily say the Jerusalem version added it by substituing the word Lord with the word tzuwr (for emphasis, for example), which by the way can mean cliff, rock, pagan gods, etc. and is used for God in the OT twice, as rock 64 times! So there's nothing special or holy about that word.
There are only two proper names by which God refers to Himself - I AM and Jesus. The others are colorful appellations but not proper names. Jesus commanded unto Simon bar-Jonah a new proper name - PETER - just as God commanded unto Himself a new proper name - JESUS.
What seems to be lost on the non-Catholic posters to this thread (and a host of others like it!) is the obvious significance of Simon bar Jonah's name change by Jesus. To wit: Jesus is endowing Simon with a name which heretofore had been descriptive of God Himself to signify the authority that Simon, now Peter, would have as the Vicar of Christ on earth. Not that Peter was now "equal" to God, of course, but that he was vested with authority that could be likened to Godlike in its scope.
Jesus left His Church in the custodianship of mere mortal men; He doesn't physically manifest Himself in our day-to-day running of the Church, settling our squabbles or blowing our noses. He left us, guided by the Spirit, to sort these things out in the tangles of our human minds, by grace founded in faith. Human nature being what it is (and God knows it perfectly!), *someone* has to be ultimately in charge. That was Peter's job, the Rock likened in authority to the very God who installed him in the office. He was given the name which means "Rock" to highlight that authority for a culture that would understand the significance of such a name change.
Yet, Peter is dead, and he has been for over 1900 years. God certainly knew that the Church would continue down to our present day and beyond; so, human nature not having ridded itself of a need for a final arbiter in even voluntary associations like the Church, there would be every reason to suppose that Peter's office would be transmitted through time down to the present. It has been...
There are only two proper names by which God refers to Himself - I AM and Jesus. The others are colorful appellations but not proper names. Jesus commanded unto Simon bar-Jonah a new proper name - PETER - just as God commanded unto Himself a new proper name - JESUS.
24 posted on 03/19/2007 7:33:17 AM MDT by Rutles4Ever
The true names are :b'shem Yah'shua
Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he. Deu 32:1-4
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints. Rev 15:3
Judaism does not prohibit writing the Name of God per se; it prohibits only erasing or defacing a Name of God. However, observant Jews avoid writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better.
The commandment not to erase or deface the name of God comes from Deut. 12:3. In that passage, the people are commanded that when they take over the promised land, they should destroy all things related to the idolatrous religions of that region, and should utterly destroy the names of the local deities. Immediately afterwards, we are commanded not to do the same to our God. From this, the rabbis inferred that we are commanded not to destroy any holy thing, and not to erase or deface a Name of God.
Background on the Masoretic Text:
The basic Hebrew text is called the Masoretic Text (MT), which is named after a group of scribes in the ninth century that preserved the text and added vowels and punctuation marks. The original Hebrew just had consonants, but a few consonants functioned as vowels. No one would know how to pronounce the Hebrew words unless vowels marks were added. This is a great help in understanding the text. (Hebrew Bible)
There were three different tasks of copying the OT. The Sopherim wrote the consonantal text. The Nakdanim added the vowel points and accents. The Masoretes added the marginal notes. An example is the Kethib (what is written) and Qere (what should be read). There are over 1,300 of these. The vowels of the Qere were written in the text of the Kethib. There are three different systems of vowel pointing, the Babylonian, Palestinian and Tiberian which the Masoretes created. The marginal notes called Masora were mainly written in Aramaic and were like a concordance.
Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the Nash Papyrus was the oldest known witness to the OT which dated to the first or second century AD. It contained the decalogue. The second oldest were the Cairo Geniza fragments (about 200,000) which date to the fifth century AD (See Princeton Geniza Project). Most of these are in the Cambridge University Library and the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Today the oldest known text of the OT was discovered in 1979 in tombs across the Hinnom valley from Jerusalem. The text is the benediction of Aaron (Numbers 6:24-26) written on a silver amulet from the 7th century BC (Hoerth 1998, 386).
The oldest surviving manuscript of the complete Bible is the Codex Leningradensis which dates to 1008 AD. A Facsimile edition of this great codex is now available (Leningrad Codex 1998, Eerdmans for $225). The BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia) follows this codex. The most comprehensive collection of old Hebrew manuscripts is in the Russian Public Library in St. Petersburg formerly called Leningrad. Another important text is the Aleppo Codex which is now in Jerusalem. The HUB (Hebrew University Bible) follows the Aleppo Codex. The Isaiah and Jeremiah editions are now available. For a more detailed study see The Text of the Old Testament by Ernst Wurthwein and Textual Criticism: Recovering the Text of the Hebrew Bible by P. Kyle McCarter, Jr.
As to antiquity, Deuteronomy is the second most copied book at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) 33 copies, second only to Psalms. Some are copied in fragments like literature, poems or hymns. However, generally speaking, carbon dating of manuscripts at Qumran establish true antiquity of copies at several centuries B.C.
The Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies does not mention any change to the Masoretic Text needed with reference to Deuteronomy 32:1-4. However, although we do have a non-MT Hebrew version of Deutoronomy 32 from cave 4, 4QDt(q) it only contains lines 37-43. So we cannot read anything into an omission here in comparing the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Septuagint (LXX.)
To see the history of the Hebrew Alphabet, the signs and the care in forming letters in Holy Scriptures: Hebrew Alphabet
To understand the methods of translating Ancient Hebrew - poetic v mechanical v literal.
Extra-Biblical ancient manuscripts in the pseudepigraphra have a few things to say as well.
Testament of Moses which is supposed to be a summary of Deutoronomy, but is very fragmented and the parts which would address the name, the Rock, may be missing. The scholars dispute the age of the manuscript but put it somewhere between 168 BC and 135 AD. The bearing it may have (if any) to this discussion is that Moses instructs and assures Joshua to protect the Scriptures (last part of chapter 1) in a manner that suggests there will be another find like the Dead Sea Scrolls as we get closer to Christs coming again:
The gravity of this Divine utterance of "Peter" is commensurate with the Divine utterance unto Jacob of his new name, "Israel". Therefore, to assert that Jesus' re-naming of Simon bar-Jonah to "Peter" is somehow lessened in significance to the applied name of "the Rock" to God Himself the authors of Scripture, ignores the power of God's utterance in Creation. By His utterance unto Jacob, Israel was created. By His utterance unto Simon bar-Jonah, the New Israel has been created.
Re-write for grammar:
Therefore, to assert that Jesus' actual re-naming of Simon bar-Jonah to "Peter" is somehow less unique because the authors of Scripture ascribed it to God Himself in various parts of the Old Testament ignores the creative power of God's Word.
Good article. Thanks!
Your notation, 1 Enoch 96:2 refers to the righteous rising into the cleft of the rock, is particularly interesting to me in light of Thayer's discrimination between the Greek words petra and petros.
1 Enoch 95:2 In the day of the sufferings of sinners your offspring shall be elevated, and lifted up like eagles. Your nest shall be more exalted than that of the avest; you shall ascend, and enter into the cavities of the earth, and into the clefts of the rocks for ever, like conies, from the sight of the ungodly;
Having said that, I do not believe that the quote from Isaiah refers to Abraham as "rock," rather, I believe that it refers to God as being that Rock:
Isa 51:1 "Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance, you who seek the LORD; look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged. Isa 51:2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him and made him many. Isa 51:3 For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. Isa 51:4 "Listen to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go forth from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
It's pretty clear that this section is a call for His people to return to Him and cast their gaze upon Him.
Having said that, it DOES appear that there is an allusion to Abraham being hewn out of the Rock; but it is but an allusion, not an actual renaming of Abraham.
This is not a doctoral dissertation forum but a public opinion forum. We could monopolize the entire bandwidth with available data and still disagree.
You seem to imply that LXX somehow insults God. The LXX verse 4 in Deu 32 is nothing short of absolute praise for God.
When you say "Jesus Christ affirms the holiness of the Torah" you are neglecting the fact that the Gospels attribute Christ's quotes from LXX Torah and not the Palestinian version, as you are neglecting the fact that it is now firmly established that at the time of Jesus walking on earth there were very distinct (four, possibly more) versions of Judaism and Jewish scriptures, the single surviving sect being the Pharisaical/rabbinical one which the Protestants maintain is the only version.
Again, I am reminding you without overwhelming these pages with endless references which can be found by anyone interested enough even on the Internet and certainly in well-equipped libraries, that the Septuagint was a translation by the Jews for the Jews who, escaping Babylonian occupation, found themselves in Greek-speaking lands and acquired languages other than Hebrew (the way American Jews, at least most of them, speak English and very little if any Hebrew), virtually forgetting it.
It would be much more realistic to assume that their version of Deut 32:4 is simply a true translation of the version of Torah they had (obviously different from the palestinian version) in Hebrew then to assume it was deliberately mistranslated or even decptively altered to demean God's name.
If, on the other hand, you are one of those LXX-deniers a la the 19th century Lutheran charlatan Paul Kahle, then of course Deu 32:4 would be a "Christian" alteration. However, it does not explain why would any Christian scribe try to diminish any of God's names.
The Rock in Judaism is a common name for God
One more time, the Rock is used 2 times in the MT as applied to God. It is used 65 times to mean just the rock. It it obvious it is used a lot more commonly to mean rock than than to represent God.
I assert that when one binds himself with the Lords Prayer and turns around and discredits a Name of God he is asking for trouble because here also He has put this "song" in our Christian mouths and our own words will witness against us just as much as "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"
How is this connected to the Rock? How is this discrediting the name of God? Where are you pulling this stuff from?
Now for those who question whether The Rock (tzur) was in the original Hebrew from which the Septuagint was translated from the research project thread
You have no proof whatsoever that the LXX was translated from the "original" MT! In fact, given the differences, it is highly unlikely unless the translator was drunk or on some kind of mushroom diet.
Asserting that LXX is a translation of MT is a highly misleading statement lacking any proof. It is an assumption on your part without any evidence whatsoever.
And in that respect your interpretation of Isa 51 parallels the non-Catholic Christian interpretation of Matthew 16 - i.e. that Peter is the first to be hewn from God (The Rock) having been the first to receive the revelation from the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord.
But it was authored by mortals. Divinely inspired, yes, but properly speaking, authorship of the Torah belongs to Moses (or the sources of those traditions), inspired by God. It is still the voice of the author conveying Truth, but in a setting dictated by the milieu of the temporal author. Hence, there are two different creation stories at the beginning of Genesis, coming from two different sources, from two different eras, the priestly and the Yahwist. God wasn't being schizophrenic, He inspired two authors of differing backgrounds to present an entire picture.
Still, the reference of "the Rock" in the O.T. does not pertain to a direct quote from God, whereas "I AM", "thou art Peter", "Israel shall be thy name" and "thou shalt be called Abraham" are indeed directly attributed to the utterance of God. The authors of the O.T., who describe God as "the Rock" are conveying, in terms understandable to their audience, the everlasting, ever-powerful nature of God. It's a description, not a proper naming. This doesn't mean it's a false description - by no means, it's most definitely true! But the action of Jesus naming Simon bar-Jonah "Rock" is indeed a unique, creative event BECAUSE it came from the mouth of the Word made flesh, not the inspired reflections of the author.
Oh and Jesus Christ is the living Word of God from the beginning (John 1:1). Everything that was made was made by Him and for Him (John 1, Col 1, Rev) He didn’t only begin speaking to man when He was enfleshed.
How does this relate to the fact that nowhere does God directly state, "I am the Rock", but He does directly say, "Thou art Peter"? The whole of Creation is "And God said..." over and over again. When He speaks, there is Wisdom and Love, and through this Love, Creation. It's also no small detail that God gave to man the job of naming everything around him. To give name to something is to exercise dominion over it. When, instead of man, God gives name to something, that "something" directly and explicitly becomes the cherished possession of God - be it Abraham (father of nations), Israel (the Chosen), Jesus (the Savior), or Peter (the Church). God didn't hand out new names unless something extraordinary and new was being created at His own utterance. Since we cannot find anywhere in Scripture that God the Father names Himself (but to say 'I AM'), it stands that the naming of Simon bar-Jonah as "Rock" is a moment of Creation which cannot be paralleled by the words used by O.T. authors to describe God (not name Him, since God cannot be named by mere mortals who can never have dominion over Him).
You also might want to reread the Torah and the entire Tanakh for that matter. God spoke to Moses.
Yes. And He told Him his name - "I AM". He didn't say, "My name is up to you to decide." Thus, not being empowered to "name" God, the O.T. authors used descriptive appellation instead. (In similar fashion, man was not entitled to see the Lord God face-to-face because we can neither withstand nor contemplate the essence of God in our fallen natures. As such, the Lord condescended to be visible as a pillar of cloud, or as an "angel of the Lord". Yet no one would suppose that God's essence is properly just a cloud or angelic.) God, on the other hand, does have the authority to take possession of anything He chooses, be it a tribal leader (Abraham), a leader of tribes (Jacob), the His own Word made flesh (Jesus), or the preeminent shepherd of His flock, upon whom He promised to build His Church (Peter).
Nevertheless, Greek is not superior to Hebrew. And the Jews would be quick to point out that if God wanted to speak the Torah to Moses in Greek or any other language spoken in Egypt or elsewhere, that is what He would have done. Even in the case of Ezra, the Sanhedrin deferred to the Hebrew:
Mar Zutra or, as some say, Mar 'Ukba said: Originally the Torah was given to Israel in Hebrew characters and in the sacred [Hebrew] language; later, in the times of Ezra, the Torah was given in Ashshurith script and Aramaic language. [Finally], they selected for Israel the Ashshurith script and Hebrew language, leaving the Hebrew characters and Aramaic language for the hedyototh. Who are meant by the 'hedyototh'? R. Hisda answers: The Cutheans. And what is meant by Hebrew characters? R. Hisda said: The libuna'ah script.
The Sanhedrin was required to hear all testimony directly, and not through an interpreter. It is therefore preferable that its members be familiar with all the languages spoken by Jews around the world.
When a foreign language is used in testimony, the Sanhedrin must have at least two members who speak that language to examine the witnesses. There must also be a third member who understands the language. These three members then constitute a minor court (beit din) of three, who can report the testimony to the entire body. Once testimony has been accepted by a minor court, it is no longer considered second-hand testimony.
For Frisch, therein lies the weakness. He asserts that the only real way to ensure eternal viability is through preserving the original language of the Jewish people: Hebrew. Translations should be no more than tools to aide in the acquisition of language skills.
"Since the history of sacred literature, if something was not in lashon kodesh ["holy tongue"], it didn't survive," he explains. "Hebrew is the one language that takes any text and transcends it into eternity."
You: How is this connected to the Rock? How is this discrediting the name of God? Where are you pulling this stuff from?
The DSS could have resolved this for us, but although Deut is the most copied of all manuscripts there except for Psalms the fragments of the non-MT Hebrew version of Deutoronomy 32 from cave 4, 4QDt(q) does not happen to include verses 1-4. In comparing what it has, the IBSS has few differences at all between the non-MT DSS fragments and the MT!
More importantly, the proper name the Rock is used by Paul to describe Jesus. And he was trained in the sacred Hebrew language at the feet of Gamaleil who himself was the grandson of Hillel in the lineage of the authority sitting in the Sanhedrin, quoted in the Tamud and in Scripture having prophesied about Christianity (paraphrased) leave them alone, because if it is of God, you cannot stop it and might even find yourself working against God Himself!
But none of that evidence can illuminate you because you have said on other threads that you consider Paul to be Gnostic and somehow discredit him because he was taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ by direct revelation (Gal 1:11-20) rather than by flesh and blood when the working of God's direct revelation is the very reason Jesus named Peter "rock":
Yes...my view may be a little different that is the norm. I can see the petra-petros difference, but not attempting to look at it in the "pebble" versus "rock" terms that so many Proddies use to be intentionally disrespectful of St. Peter. However, I also can appreciate the Aramaic form, where "kipa" is used in both instances. If you take a look at the traditional history of the Gospel of St. Matthew (as captured in Eusebius' Church History), you will note that this work was originally written in Hebrew and then later translated into Greek. Of course, no Hebrew version of Matthew exists; but the Aramaic DOES exist...in what became the Peshitta. Bottom line is that either way of looking at it doesn't destroy my theology one way or the other.
More critical is my view of the keys (Mt 16:19). That is rather unambiguous and the view is formed via Isa 22:22 and other OT texts relating to Eliakim (son of Hilkiah). I do not state that Peter is the King. Jesus is the King. I see Peter's role is that of the King's steward...his "prime minister," if you will.
That's why (for me), the issue of petra vs petros or kipa vs kipa really doesn't matter all that much. In both instances, we know who the King is and who the minister is.
And, btw, you are spot on about Abraham. That's why the use of the word 'rock' may be simply an allusion.
Nevertheless, to play the game by your rules of engagement, Moses was given the utterance of the song - Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32) - in this command spoken by God:
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts [also].
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. Numbers 20:7-12
Note the "types" here. God is the Rock. Jesus is God with us (Immanuel). The Holy Spirit is the living water.
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 1 Cor 10:1-4
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jer 2:13
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38
I also do not engage in the dispute over pebble v rock. My interest is only that God is glorified above all else.
Am so blessed by your many proofs of my convictions.