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Religion Forum Research Project: God is the Rock
Various | January 25, 2007 | Alamo-Girl

Posted on 01/25/2007 10:49:26 AM PST by Alamo-Girl

The premise to uphold or debunk: (a) That the name of “Rock” was specially announced as a name for God in the Torah (Deut 32:1-4) and that (b) the name has been erased and/or lost in certain translations and thus (c) has had an effect on how Christians understand certain passages in Scripture.

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

We were hashing these things out on another thread here on the Religion Forum. But the thread is huge and has many sidebars and interest changed to more pressing matters – plus we were not on the “radar” of the forum as a whole. It is my hope that other posters here will have information and insight – whether Biblical archeology or theology or language – that will shed some additional light on the subject.

Translations:

English from Hebrew (Masoretic)

[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.

tsuwr po`al tamiym derek mishpat 'el 'emuwnah `evel tsaddiyq yashar

English from the Greek (Septuagint)

As for God, His works are true, and all His ways are justice. God is faithful and there is no unrighteousness in Him; just and holy is the Lord.

English from Latin (Vulgate)

The works of God are perfect, and all his ways are judgments: God is faithful and without any iniquity, he is just and right.

Dei perfecta sunt opera et omnes viae eius iudicia Deus fidelis et absque ulla iniquitate iustus et rectus

Background on the Hebrew:

Tzur is Hebrew for "rock". It is also used here:

For who [is] God, save the LORD? and who [is] a rock, save our God? – 2 Sam 22:32

Tzur alone and with other word phrases is among the Biblical names or titles of God.

Biblical and Talmudic Names for God

Another common title of YHWH is "the Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:4,18, 1, 7; I Samuel 2:2; II Samuel 22:32; Isaiah 44:8; Psalm 18:32), thus comparing Him to a high crag on which one finds refuge and safety.

That God is the Rock has not been lost in Judaism, e.g. “Rock of Ages” (Ma’oz Tzur) is the favorite Hanukkah Song.

Nor has it been lost among Christians who have long used the King James Translation which was faithful to interpret literally the Hebrew word tzur to mean Rock instead of God or Mighty One as it is translated in the Septuagint.

Ironically, the Christian hymn Rock of Ages is among their favorites.

The name for God is used in several places in Deuteronomy 32 and 2 Samuel 22 but also appears throughout the Psalms and in Isaiah.

In Isaiah 30:29 and Habbukak 1:12 it is translated in the King James Version to mean Mighty One like in the Septuagint - but everywhere else that I have found it is “Rock”.

The Vulgate omits the name altogether in Deuteronomy 32:4

Why is it important?

From the Jewish perspective

Of all the possible errors a translator could make, missing one of the names or titles of God has to be “right up there.” Rock is one of the common names for God but nevertheless important to Judaism.

The Name of God (Jewish Virtual Library)

Jews do not casually write any Name of God. This practice does not come from the commandment not to take the Lord's Name in vain, as many suppose. In Jewish thought, that commandment refers solely to oath-taking, and is a prohibition against swearing by God's Name falsely or frivolously (the word normally translated as "in vain" literally means "for falsehood").

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.

It is worth noting that this prohibition against erasing or defacing Names of God applies only to Names that are written in some kind of permanent form, and recent rabbinical decisions have held that writing on a computer is not a permanent form, thus it is not a violation to type God's Name into a computer and then backspace over it or cut and paste it, or copy and delete files with God's Name in them. However, once you print the document out, it becomes a permanent form. That is why observant Jews avoid writing a Name of God on web sites like this one or in BBS messages: because there is a risk that someone else will print it out and deface it.

Normally, we avoid writing the Name by substituting letters or syllables, for example, writing "G-d" instead of "God." In addition, the number 15, which would ordinarily be written in Hebrew as Yod-Heh (10-5), is normally written as Tet-Vav (9-6), because Yod-Heh is a Name. See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about using letters as numerals.

The Torah is unlike any other manuscript, God breathed and supreme as Christ underscored here:

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. – Matt 5:18

Jewish tradition holds that the Torah existed before the world, that every letter of it is a living creature and that altogether it, too, is a name of God. It is their – and by their hand to the world – greatest gift (since they don't receive Christ.) It is also their mission.

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. - John 4:22

To me, not translating tzur literally Rock in the Septuagint - is in fact "erasing" a name of God. Moreover, it is not in the Vulgate at all in Deu 32:4.

From the Christian perspective:

The name of God is crucial to all Christians. It is our first plea in the Lord’s prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name….

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:11-12

I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. – John 5:43

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. – John 17:6

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. – John 17:11-13

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11

His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. – Revelation 19:12-13

Surely the name “God is the Rock” will continue to be important in eternity. The Deuteronomy passage is in the “Song of Moses” which will be sung in heaven:

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 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. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. – Rev 15:2-4

And Christ used the term Rock in two very important passages. If one misunderstands the Rock to mean something common or someone other than God, then it can lead to error.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. – Matt 7:24-25

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. – Matt 16:17-18

Peter and Paul were both Jews – they did not miss the point that God is the Rock as we can see here.

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

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 of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. – 1 Peter 2:7-8

What is lost when “God is the Rock” is lost?

To me, the most far reaching loss is in seeing Peter as the Rock in Matt 16:17-18 instead of God. Not that he isn’t “a“ rock but – at the very most, accepting that God is the Rock - his position in Christianity could be no more than Abraham’s in Judaism.

Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock [whence] ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit [whence] ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah [that] bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. – Isaiah 51:1-2

IOW, the foundation of Christianity is God, the Rock. Both the reference to Abraham and to Peter were drawn on top of that name not in lieu of it.

Moreover, I assert that receiving the knowledge that “God is the Rock” can improve our understanding the Old Testament and increase our joy.

As an example, consider the following passage understanding that God is the Rock, that Jesus was smitten, that the Living Water is the Spirit (John 4, 7:38):

Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?– Exodus 17:6-7

Or perhaps this one:

And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. – Exodus 33:21-23

Here’s where the debate stands at this time:

Defense of the Vulgate/Septuagint:

The rebuttal so far is that the Septuagint chronologically precedes the Masoretic text, that the original Hebrew from which the Septuagint was translated is no longer available (as far as we know to this date.)

I have not yet received a defense for why the Vulgate omits the term altogether.

Rebuttal to the defense

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.)

But as to the faithfulness of the Torah itself there is no question. As I have much personally testified, the indwelling Spirit authenticates Scripture and leads us into Truth. (John 14, 15):

God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth. – John 4:24

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. – John 6:63

For a good summary of the antiquity of the Torah manuscripts, from IBSS :

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.

The Nash Papyrus dating has been pushed back to approximately 200 BC (Hebrew manuscript collection - University of Cambridge Cambridge University Library) Like the DSS, it contains fragments of Deuteronomy, but not the one we are seeking here.

Nevertheless, the Jews always understood their responsibility to keep the Torah:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. – Deu 4:2

Other resources for Lurkers:

The Hebrew Alphabet wrt the history of the signs and the care in forming letters in Holy Scriptures.

Ancient Hebrew Translation Project - wrt the translation of poetic form v mechanical v literal

I have also been researching the pseudepigraphra to see what extra-Biblical ancient manuscripts might have to add to the discussion. So far I have found two which may be interesting:

1 Enoch 96:2 refers to the righteous rising into the cleft of the rock. Fragments of this book were found at Qumran and carbon date to about 200 BC. The scholars suggest these passages were added though in about 100 B.C. The scholars believe the original language was Hebrew and/or Aramaic.

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 the Christ’s coming:

… I am going to sleep with my fathers. But (you) take this writing so that later you will remember how to preserve the books which I shall entrust to you. You shall arrange them, anoint them with cedar, and deposit them in earthenware jars in the place which (God) has chosen from the beginning of the creation of the world, (a place) where his name may be called upon until the day of recompense when the Lord will surely have regard for his people.



TOPICS: Ecumenism; General Discusssion; Theology
KEYWORDS: peter; protestant
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To: 1000 silverlings

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!


51 posted on 01/28/2007 2:38:16 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE & HIS ENEMIES BE 100% DONE-IN; & ISLAM & TRAITORS FLUSHED)
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To: 1000 silverlings; Alamo-Girl; Quix; HarleyD; blue-duncan; P-Marlowe; xzins; Gamecock; ...
I'm lagging behind on this excellent undertaking, but has anyone posted William Webster's informative essay?

THE CHURCH FATHERS' INTERPRETATION OF
THE ROCK OF MATTHEW 16:18
An Historical Refutation of the Claims of Roman Catholicism
Includes a Critique of Jesus, Peter and the Keys

...An examination of the writings of the fathers does reveal the expression of a consistent viewpoint, but it is not that of the Roman Catholic Church, as the documentation of the major fathers of the East and West in this article will demonstrate. This particular article is strictly historical in nature. Its purpose is to document the patristic interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16:18. And the evidence will demonstrate that the Protestant and Orthodox understanding of the text is rooted in this patristic consensus.

From a strictly scriptural point of view, the Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is divorced from its proper biblical context. The Roman Church states that Matthew 16 teaches that the Church is built upon Peter and therefore upon the bishops of Rome in an exclusive sense. What is seldom ever mentioned is the fact that Ephesians 2:20 uses precisely the same language as that found in Matthew 16 when it says the Church is built upon the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone. The same greek word for build upon in Matthew 16 is employed in Ephesians 2:20. This demonstrates that from a biblical perspective, even if we were to interpret the rock of Matthew 16 to be the person of Peter, the New Testament does not view the apostle Peter to be unique in this role. Christ is the foundation and the Church is built upon all the apostles and prophets in the sense of being built upon their teaching. And in addition, the Roman Catholic interpretation imports a meaning into the Matthew 16 text that is completely absent. This text says absolutely nothing about infallibility or about successors..."


52 posted on 01/28/2007 6:07:57 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Great. Thanks.


53 posted on 01/28/2007 6:09:12 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE & HIS ENEMIES BE 100% DONE-IN; & ISLAM & TRAITORS FLUSHED)
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To: 1000 silverlings

Thank you oh so very much for both of those contributions to this project! Outstanding!


54 posted on 01/28/2007 8:54:44 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

What suggestions do the defenders of the Septuagint and the Vulgate have for the alleged insertion of "rock" into the text? I can not see why the compilers of the Masoretic text would have done so. Also, knowing the extreme care that they used when handling the Word of God, to add a word that wasn't there at least in some text that they considered reliable would seem unthinkable.


55 posted on 01/28/2007 8:58:20 PM PST by Blogger
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

That was a fascinating article! Thank you so much for contributing it to the research!


56 posted on 01/28/2007 9:00:50 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Blogger; 1000 silverlings
The defense I have received (so far) of the Septuagint (Greek) is that it is an older translation from the Hebrew than the Masoretic Hebrew text - and therefore we cannot "prove" that the original Hebrew from which the Septuagint was translated actually had the word tzur - i.e. God is the Rock - at the beginning of Deu 32:4

At the end of the article are all the ancient Hebrew text sources I could find. There is a copy of Deu 32 from cave 4 at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) but it does not have the verses we need.

Nevertheless, as you say, copying the Holy Scriptures was a very solemn thing to the Jews over millenia. And especially so when one was copying a Name of God

Instead of "God is the Rock" the Septuagint says "As for God, " No defense has been offered for the Vulgate which omits it altogether.

This is very important to me because the name "God is the Rock" is being specially announced in Deu 32:1-3. Moreover, as 1000 Silverlings notes - it is in the Song of Moses (which will be sung in heaven - Rev 15:2-4.)

57 posted on 01/28/2007 9:13:20 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

Good work!


58 posted on 01/28/2007 9:28:29 PM PST by Blogger
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To: Blogger

Thank you so much for your encouragement!


59 posted on 01/28/2007 9:32:39 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
I am not qualified to speak about the Hebrew. But I know a smattering of Greek, which says as follows:

su ei Petros, kai epi tauth th petra oikodomesw mou thn ekklhsian

The Greek has "epi taute te petra", and taute typically means "the same". So a literal translation could well be: "You are Petros, and upon this same Petra I will build my Church." The gender of the noun here doesn't matter one fig, because we are *explicitly* told in John 1:42 that Peter is a Greek translation from the Aramaic Cephas.

You're right..God of course is the Rock elsewhere in Scripture. But you can't take one metaphor from a completely different place in the Bible and read it overtop of a second metaphor so as to distort all meaning of the latter.

So yes, God is a Rock. And Peter is a Rock, as this passage plainly states. Our challenge is not to mix the metaphors but to understand how the one relates to the other.

60 posted on 01/29/2007 2:24:21 PM PST by Claud
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
This demonstrates that from a biblical perspective, even if we were to interpret the rock of Matthew 16 to be the person of Peter, the New Testament does not view the apostle Peter to be unique in this role. Christ is the foundation and the Church is built upon all the apostles and prophets in the sense of being built upon their teaching.

This is quite correct theology, and is mentioned all over the place by the Church Fathers and by modern theologians if you know what to look for. The "Apostolic College" or the "College of Bishops" is typically how it is referred to.

Yes, both Peter and the college of Apostles (which we see as the bishops) enjoy that prerogative to be part of the rock of foundation. But the two passages differ as well, insofar as *only* Peter gets the keys.

61 posted on 01/29/2007 2:28:32 PM PST by Claud
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To: Claud
But the two passages differ as well, insofar as *only* Peter gets the keys.

Nonsense. I have the key right here myself.

Thank you, Jesus Christ.

62 posted on 01/29/2007 2:32:01 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Claud; Alamo-Girl; Dr. Eckleburg; Quix
Peter is a little rock, a stone, just as are all the saints. Only God is a Rock. Peter was never meant to be a god. He himself says so

.Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

63 posted on 01/29/2007 2:35:22 PM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: Claud; Alamo-Girl; Dr. Eckleburg; Quix
Revelation 21:14

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

If Peter was the Rock, then the wall would either have one foundation or 11, not 12.

64 posted on 01/29/2007 2:45:12 PM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: Claud

Thank you for sharing your views for the research project!


65 posted on 01/29/2007 9:57:30 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: 1000 silverlings

Thank you for the excellent Scripture choices and the insight on the foundation of New Jerusalem in Revelation!


66 posted on 01/29/2007 9:59:17 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: 1000 silverlings
If Peter was the Rock, then the wall would either have one foundation or 11, not 12.

Whoa, Excellent find! Another strike against Peter being the foundation rock.

On a slightly different note, when talking about Peter being the Rock of the church in Matthew 16, Catholics take that figuratively. Also, when talking about "feed my sheep" in John 21, it also is figurative. But when talking about "eat my flesh" in John 6, it must be taken literally. In fact, I've seen Catholics brag about taking all of Jesus's words literally. Now if that were so, then Peter was a piece of granite that was meant to feed sheep.

All in all, their doctrines are based more on oral traditions, then actual Scripture.

Sincerely
67 posted on 01/29/2007 10:50:04 PM PST by ScubieNuc (I have no tagline.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Nonsense. I have the key right here myself.

Really? LOL...Must've missed that passage. How do you spell Eckleburg in Greek? I'll look it up in my concordance. ;)

68 posted on 01/30/2007 5:22:17 AM PST by Claud
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To: 1000 silverlings
Peter is a little rock, a stone, just as are all the saints. Only God is a Rock. Peter was never meant to be a god.

My goodness, you thought I was arguing he was a GOD? Holy cow, I have to explain myself better.

Of course Peter is not a God. But if "only" God is a rock, why does Christ call Peter the Rock at all?

69 posted on 01/30/2007 5:26:48 AM PST by Claud
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To: 1000 silverlings; Dr. Eckleburg
If Peter was the Rock, then the wall would either have one foundation or 11, not 12

As Dr. Eckleburg posted above about Ephesians 2:20, the Apostles are definitely "rocks" and foundation stones" as well. *All* the Apostles share in that ministry.

The wrong way to look at this is Peter's authority opposed to that of the Apostles. The right way to look at this is that all the Apostles share the same authority as foundations and rocks, with Peter having a special role in that regard (exemplified by the keys, which no other Apostles have).

70 posted on 01/30/2007 5:39:42 AM PST by Claud
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To: ScubieNuc
But when talking about "eat my flesh" in John 6, it must be taken literally.

You've opened up another can of worms here which is not exactly germane to this discussion, but suffice it to say that the language of the metaphors is entirely different. In John 6, Christ says "my flesh is REAL food, and my blood is REAL drink". That "real" there is *alethe*...Greek for "true, real (in a substantive sense)". He doesn't use that word at all when he speaks metaphorically...the closest he comes is *alethinos* in "I am the true vine". BUT the two words are different...alethes means true in essence while alethinos means true by analogy.

See, many of these problems in the English Bible can be avoided by going back to the original Greek.

71 posted on 01/30/2007 5:47:10 AM PST by Claud
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To: Claud; Dr. Eckleburg; Alamo-Girl; ScubieNuc
Peter is not called the Rock. Christ is referencing Peter's confession, not Peter. Every Christian must believe that Christ has come in the flesh, and the belief must come as a revelation from God. That is the sure foundation on which the church of believers are built
72 posted on 01/30/2007 8:47:04 AM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: 1000 silverlings
Peter is not called the Rock. Christ is referencing Peter's confession, not Peter.

In a sense that is true, and the Church Fathers said as much, so who I am I to argue with them.

But if the Rock is only Peter's confession, and not Peter himself, why did Christ change Peter's name?

73 posted on 01/30/2007 9:02:08 AM PST by Claud
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To: betty boop; xzins; Claud; Campion; XeniaSt; onedoug; Quix; Mad Dawg; .30Carbine; Dr. Eckleburg; ...
Thank you all so very much for your contributions to this thread!

Following is to explain, in case any of you are wondering, why I have not engaged much on the theological debate of whether Peter is the Rock.

The premise which I am attempting to uphold or debunk in this research project has three parts:

(a) That the name of “Rock” was specially announced as a name for God in the Torah (Deut 32:1-4) and that

(b) the name has been erased and/or lost in certain translations and

(c) thus has had an effect on how Christians understand certain passages in Scripture.

The first two points seem to be accepted by all. And the testimony on both sides of the debate about Peter being the Rock is in itself evidence of the third. That is why I want to capture all of the testimony.

Now that the three points seem to be established and/or evidenced on the thread, I will enter the debate – just a little bit - on Matthew 16.

First of all, it is quite apparent by the excerpt from Pope Benedict posted by betty boop at 43 that the name, God is the Rock, is proclaimed at the highest authority of the temporal Roman Catholic Church – even though it may be perhaps not so clearly understood among the laity.

And that to me is the great tragedy: losing the Name, God is the Rock, in the common vernacular of all Christians - because names are more than a little bit important.

The Jews of course have always known this and have carefully guarded the Names of God over the millennia.

The importance of a name is also evidenced in common parlance among Christians. Witness all the hostile sidebars contesting the names ascribed to Mary.

And please do not let this thread devolve into yet another such hostile sidebar. The point is that a name ascribes honor (or dishonor) and thus becomes a core issue in theology and, I aver, in the sanctification of the Christian believer as follows.

A name itself is a meditation – whether the Name of God or of any of His saints or fellowservants of Almighty God.

How many of us begin a meditation or prayer contemplating names like these: I AM, Messiah, YHWH, Jesus Christ, The Rock, Immanuel, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley, Bright and Morning Star, Elohim, El Shaddai, Adonai, HaShem, Almighty God, Word of God, Alpha and Omega, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and so on?

I assert that when we contemplate a Name of God, we are also worshipping Him through one of His revelations to us. He is the Rock, He is Alpha and Omega, He is the Word of God, He is God with us, He is the Vine, and so on.

Thus I assert that when we think of Peter in Matthew 16 – and Abraham in Isaiah 51:1-2 – we should be thinking of them, not as “The Rock” which is a Name of God specially announced in the Song of Moses, the Torah, Deut 32:1-4 ---– but rather as fellowservants, each as first “rocks” in the construction of His believers - both Christian and Jew - but neither one exclusive nor the cornerstone nor the foundation nor the head of His Body.

74 posted on 01/30/2007 9:23:19 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Claud

Everyone gets a new name in the Kingdom, just as we all do. We are born again


75 posted on 01/30/2007 9:29:55 AM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: Alamo-Girl

I agree with what you state. And, in the case of Peter, you do not see any other place in the New Testament where he is spoken of as "the rock". Rather, you see him, along with James and John, "reputed to be" pillars of the church. He certainly took an active role in the leadership of the early church. But one does not see him as being the prime apostle at any time after Pentecost.


76 posted on 01/30/2007 9:39:25 AM PST by Blogger
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To: Claud; Dr. Eckleburg; Alamo-Girl; ScubieNuc
All disciples are equal, and all have the keys.Notice the verse below where they are given the kingdom. Scripture can never contradict scripture. If Peter was to be the leader, then Jesus would have said so. Instead He said this:

Luke 22

24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.

25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’

26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.

27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.

29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,

30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

77 posted on 01/30/2007 9:39:41 AM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: Claud

Why are we called Christians? I think it is the same reason. Peter was reflecting Christ with his confession. He actually got it. Shortly afterward, Jesus is calling Peter "Satan". Did Peter suddenly change? No. His actions and thoughts were what spurred Jesus's names for him.


78 posted on 01/30/2007 9:41:42 AM PST by Blogger
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To: 1000 silverlings
Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

Amen.

Everywhere in Scripture we are assured it's not we who toil, but Christ who serves and carries out God's will, that is our profound salvation.

79 posted on 01/30/2007 9:43:56 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Yes, compare the story of Joseph. His brothers thought he was dead, but he was down in Egypt, alive the whole time.


80 posted on 01/30/2007 9:46:15 AM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: Alamo-Girl

Amen.

Excellent.

Thanks.

And thanks for all your prayers--chest congestion is abating.


81 posted on 01/30/2007 9:46:50 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE & HIS ENEMIES BE 100% DONE-IN; & ISLAM & TRAITORS FLUSHED)
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To: Alamo-Girl; Dr. Eckleburg; Quix; Claud; ScubieNuc
but neither one exclusive nor the cornerstone nor the foundation nor the head of His Body.

Exactly

82 posted on 01/30/2007 9:51:51 AM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: 1000 silverlings

Quite so.

What is so difficult to discern about

[EVERYONE=EVERY BELIEVER]

EVERYONE EQUAL BEFORE THE CROSS.

EVERYONE EQUAL BEFORE DADDY IN ESSENTIAL RESPECTS.

EVERYONE WITH ACCESS TO DADDY DIRECTLY.

EVERYONE ENJOYING RESTORED ONE ON ONE FELLOWSHIP WITH DADDY.

NO LOFTY SPIRITUAL ELITE LORDING IT OVER ANYONE ELSE

NO holier than thous brazenly pointing fingers before The Father.

Perhaps a thread on the humility saturated equality before The Cross and before Daddy would be good for someone to do.
. . . someone with better scholarship on such than mine.


83 posted on 01/30/2007 10:00:23 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE & HIS ENEMIES BE 100% DONE-IN; & ISLAM & TRAITORS FLUSHED)
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To: 1000 silverlings
29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,

Of course the kingdom is all of ours. But only Peter has the keys. In the same way, I might say..."Here...you all have this vacation home. But I'm giving Silverlings the keys".

84 posted on 01/30/2007 10:12:26 AM PST by Claud
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To: Blogger
Thank you so much for your encouragements and for sharing your testimony!

Truly I see Peter as a humble man - or better still, a humbled man, like Paul. Certainly Cornelius was directed to him by the angel - and Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem for a decision concerning Gentile converts and Peter spoke up.

But Peter's boldness concerning the gospel was never self aggrandizing. Thus if any of us deign to walk in the footsteps of Peter, it will be walk of humility - as it would have been for anyone trying to walk in the footsteps of Abraham.

85 posted on 01/30/2007 10:16:37 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Blogger
His actions and thoughts were what spurred Jesus's names for him.

Indeed! But note what you just said...Jesus' name for HIM. It was a personal name. You don't give a personal name to a "confession".

Again, the Scriptures are 100% clear here. SU EI PETROS You. Are. Rock.

There is really no room for ambiguity. It doesn't say "your confession is the Rock." It doesn't say I am really the rock and you are something else. Bringing up all these other metaphors is helpful and instructive and ehlkps us flesh out the context. But they still do not change the plain fact that Christ named Peter the Rock. However we explain this passage, we can't pretend that He didn't say what he said.

86 posted on 01/30/2007 10:22:32 AM PST by Claud
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To: Alamo-Girl
But Peter's boldness concerning the gospel was never self aggrandizing. Thus if any of us deign to walk in the footsteps of Peter, it will be walk of humility - as it would have been for anyone trying to walk in the footsteps of Abraham.

Alamo-Girl, you are absolutely 100% correct. Remember Christ's advice to Peter, that when he was older, they would lead him where he didn't want to go.

Who must be the first among you, must be a servant. Any other attitude is simply not Christian.

87 posted on 01/30/2007 10:25:47 AM PST by Claud
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To: Claud

elhkps = helps. Sheesh. :)


88 posted on 01/30/2007 10:26:43 AM PST by Claud
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To: Alamo-Girl

Great thread. Bookmarked.


89 posted on 01/30/2007 10:28:36 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: 1000 silverlings
Thank you so much for your testimony and insights!

Seems to me the mention of the vision of the new heaven and earth in Revelation - and especially the New Jerusalem - has much to tell, as previously mentioned on this thread.

There is a separate foundation gemstone named for each of twelve apostles, and a separate gate named for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Rev 21) But there is no special honor for Abraham, Moses, David - and no special distinction among the foundation gemstones for Peter, John, James or Paul.

I assert the point is wrapped up beautifully in the end of the book, by the testimony of the angel here:

Behold, I come quickly: blessed [is] he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard [them]. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See [thou do it] not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. - Rev 22:7-9

A similar scene unfolds in Mark 9, as Peter's reaction to seeing Moses and Elijah with Christ was a desire to make tabernacles for each of them.

IOW, it is all too easy to get caught up in the majesty when we have a "vision" - a revelation of God, but the servant of the Master is the servant of all, like the Master (Philippinas 2).

90 posted on 01/30/2007 10:37:36 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Quix
Praise God for your improving health! And thank you, dear brother in Christ, for your encouragements!
91 posted on 01/30/2007 10:43:07 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: 1000 silverlings
Thank you so much for your encouragements!
92 posted on 01/30/2007 10:45:25 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Quix
I'd be all for a thread on humility before God! There's much to be said, e.g. Moses was the most humble man on earth.
93 posted on 01/30/2007 10:46:43 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Claud
Who must be the first among you, must be a servant. Any other attitude is simply not Christian.

Indeed. Thank you so much for your encouragements!

94 posted on 01/30/2007 10:50:19 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Thank you for your encouragements!
95 posted on 01/30/2007 10:51:01 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Claud

Claud, nobody disputes that Jesus called Peter "rock". Grammatically, however, the Rock that Jesus is referring to in the second half of the sentence is a thing, not a person. When speaking to a specific person I would not say "You are a rock, and upon this rock I will...." I would say "You are a rock and upon you...."

Simon, you are a "rock" and upon THIS ROCK I will build my church.

You is a personal pronoun
This, in this case, is an adjective modifying Rock (a thing not a person). Which Rock? This one.

Thus is was Peter's confession, not Peter that would be the rock upon which Christ's church would be. It was his exclamation that "Jesus is the Christ" that would be foundational to the starting of the Christian religion.


96 posted on 01/30/2007 11:00:01 AM PST by Blogger
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To: Blogger

Further, I think it is at least possible that the "gates of Hell will not overcome 'it'" could refer to the confession rather than the church (though Christ will preserve His church through the end).


97 posted on 01/30/2007 11:02:47 AM PST by Blogger
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To: Blogger
Your interpretation implies that the Petros is different than the Petra. So what you are arguing, if I understand your right, involves a semantic switch in the middle of the sentence from one rock to another rock, to wit:

Peter, you are a Rock, and upon this Rock [i.e. some other rock] I will build my Church.

That doesn't make a lot of sense, frankly.

Moreover, if you're right, then all of a sudden Jesus switches back to the second person for no explicable reason. I will give *you* the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and what *you* bind in heaven will be bound, and what *you* loose. If the confession is the subject of the sentence, then what's the deal with the switch back to "you"? Isn't it easier and simpler just to assume that it was "you" all throughout in the first place?

98 posted on 01/30/2007 11:57:12 AM PST by Claud
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To: Claud; Blogger; Quix; .30Carbine
Er, if I may...

I assert that everything we read in Scripture must be viewed in context with the whole.

For instance, if we narrow in on some of the dialog in Job, we'd miss the point that God was not pleased with their pronouncements starting around Job 38.

Likewise, if we focus on the first few chapters of Ecclesiastes, we might end up with a rather depressed view of mortal life, i.e. why bother? But taken in the whole, the meaning of those chapters changes.

Moreover, I aver the Scriptures come alive within us from the indwelling Spirit who leads us into all truth - if we only let Him (John 14-17, Romans 8, I Cor 2). If it weren't for the Spirit, the Scriptures would be just another collection of ancient manuscripts:

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. - Hebrews 10:14-17

And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. - Deu 30:6

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. - Col 2:11-12

That, I assert, is one reason why we must pray without ceasing: to make sure we are following the Spirit in every thing whether small or great - including in spiritual discernment of the Scriptures themselves.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth. - John 4:23-24

[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...

For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his...

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - from Romans 8

Whew! That was a lot of Scripture to make this point - whatever we are reading from the Holy Scriptures, let us yield to the Spirit so that we are not receiving His Truth with our vision and mind alone but are following where He leads us.

99 posted on 01/30/2007 12:44:03 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Claud; Dr. Eckleburg; ScubieNuc; Alamo-Girl; Quix

No, your idea is more like a father buying his son a new home but he'll keep the keys. You give a person property, you give him the keys. What's the point of an evangelical making a person a disciple as commanded by the great commission, then have to say, oh well, now I have to run it by Peter? Does not make sense.


100 posted on 01/30/2007 1:09:12 PM PST by 1000 silverlings
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