When the Savior answered Simon Peter’s averred testimony “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” with the declaration, “thou art Peter [Petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16, 18), he was not identifying Peter himself as the actual petra (“bedrock”) upon which Christ’s church would be built. The Petros/petra wordplay in this dialogue, however, does suggest that Jesus was ascribing potential “bedrock” strength to his chief disciple. Peter was a stone “cut” or “hewn” from this bedrock, “the Rock of ages” or “Rock of eternity” or “everlasting strength” (ṣûr ʿôlāmîm, Isaiah 26:4), a stone with potential “bedrock” power in the priesthood. Continue reading
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