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Matthew 16:13-20

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by DavidforHim, Oct 16, 2000.

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  1. DavidforHim

    DavidforHim Guest

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    Since this is the catholic center i thought maybe i would bring this question in here. It is about verse 18 of matthew 16. I believe the text is saying that the rock is the statment "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." If this is so than Peter is not the rock on which the church will be built. However i do know Peter, Paul, and the others were the key Apostles to the first church. I also know we call Jesus the cornerstone and foundation of the church. So what do you think about this? Please help me understand this better.
     
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  2. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    In this passage, Jesus and Peter are identifying each other. Peter calls Jesus the Messiah and Son of the living God, and Jesus calls Peter the rock on which He would build His Church.

    This is one of those "problematic" verses, since Catholics use it to justify papal supremacy, and Protestants, not believing in papal supremacy, violently reject that explanation, instead coming up with various interpretations of their own. One explanation often heard is the one you cite, that "the rock" is symbolic of Peter's confession of Christ in verse 16. The problem here is that if Jesus means "the rock" to be Peter's statement, it seems rather odd that He would preface that declaration with "You are Peter, etc." If Jesus meant that Peter's declaration was the subject of His next sentence, it would have made more sense to let Peter say, "You are the Messiah", and then for Jesus to say, "Just so; and upon that rock," etc. But He doesn't. He says, "You are Peter (the rock), and upon this rock".

    Another explanation often heard is that Jesus is talking about two rocks; one being Peter, the other Himself. To read such a definition into the context of the passage from the English translation requires a certain amount of assumption, to be sure. Certainly, you can see it that way, but you can just as easily see it the other way, if you're being impartially fair. Some, however, fall back on the Greek and point out that there are two different nouns being used here----"Peter" is translated from "Petros", meaning "little rock", and "this rock" is translated from "petra", meaning "big rock". Therefore, according to this explanation, Jesus is meaning Peter "the little rock" in the first instance, and Himself "the big rock" in the second. This explanation falls apart, however, when one considers that Greek is gender-indicative, and we get into the masculine and feminine versions of "rock", and whether or not a feminine noun (petra) would be applied to Peter, and so on. (Why Jesus would apply a feminine noun to Himself is one I've never heard anybody explain, yet. Any takers? :) )
    The bottom line here is, Jesus didn't speak Greek with His disciples, He spoke Aramaic. And in Aramaic, the word for rock is "kephas". Paul specifically calls Peter this in his epistles---cf. 1 Cor. 1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5, and Galatians 2:9. So, transliterated into English from Aramaic, this passage would read, "You are rock, and upon this rock".

    The early Patristic literature of the Church is loaded with references to Peter being the head of the Church, and to Peter's sucessors being the head of the Church; Clement, who was bishop of Rome from 91 AD to 101 AD, wrote to the church at Corinth, issuing instructions to them and clearly expecting such instructions to be obeyed. If every Christian church in the ancient world was an independant franchise, as some would have us believe, why would Clement, in Rome, be issuing orders to the Corinthians? Hippolytus, Origen, Cyprian, Ignatius, Hegesippus, Irenaeus, Hilary, and the 1st Council of Constantinople, as well as dozens of other early sources, all acknowledge the Bishop of Rome as being the head of the entire Church.

    However, many Protestants refuse to agree that any source outside the Bible or the New Testament is authoritative. Which is fine. So, was Peter still considered the head of the Church after Jesus returned to the Father? Look at Acts. Peter is the first Apostle to:
    ---Act with authority in replacing Judas; 1:16 ff.
    ---Interpret the New Testamnt from the Old; 1:20, 2:17, 25, 34.
    ---Speak after receiveing the Holy Spirit; 2:14.
    ---Recieive new converts into the Church; 2:41.
    ---To heal someone; 4:1-3.
    ---To go to jail; 4:1-3.
    ---Defend the Faith in court; 4:8.
    ---To be whipped; 5:40.
    ---To go on a missionary journey; 8:14.
    ---To correct and rebuke heresy; 8:20-24.
    ---To raise someone from the dead; 9:36-42.
    ---To have a vision concerning clean and unclean; 10:9-16.
    ---To go to the Gentiles; 10:28ff.
    ---To convert Gentiles; 10:46ff.
    ---To speak at the Council of Jerusalem; 15:7-12.
    ---Also keep in mind that when Paul went to Jerusalem, he went specifically to confer with Peter, and not James, who was the Bishop of Jerusalem---in fact, he only mentions James in passing; Galatians 1:18-19.
    ---Peter is mentioned 195 times in the Bible, compared with 130 times for all other Apostles combined.
    ---Peter always speaks for the other Apostles in the Gospels; cf. Matt. 18:21, Luke 12:41, Mark 10:28 for examples.

    There are more examples, of course, but you get the idea. For these and other reasons, Catholics believe that Jesus conferred upon Peter the responsibility for the entire Church----indeed, Jesus built His Church upon Peter. Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation, while Peter is the rock supporting the building itself. And we, as "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5), are all part of that building, which is the Church. And Peter's successors carry on his office, through the laying on of hands and appointent by existing authority; a New Testament example of this can be found in Titus 1:5, where Paul, after starting the Church in Crete, appoints Titus the Bishop there, instructing him to in turn appoint priests in every town, acting on the authority of Paul himself. Each Bishop is an appointee of the orginal Apostles through the laying on of hands in an unbroken succession, and the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter in the same way. That's how we see it, anyway. :)

    And that's how we see Matthew 16:13-20. Questions?

    Blessings,
    ----Wols.
     
  3. Corrado

    Corrado New Member

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    Could it be that Protestants and Catholics are both totally wrong ? How about reading scripture in context with a jewish mindset, before taking one verse out of context and then come up with that Grammer nonsens. You have to remember that Jesus was jewish, and so were the disciples. Try to understand the time and the culture of the Jews first, and then also find out, where the story took place, because this will give you a lot information, and THEN you'll be able to understand what Jesus is REALLY saying here.

    It happened in the area of Cesarea Philippi which was well known as a centre for pagan worship and idoltry. That's were Jesus took his desciples to teach them a lesson. There was a huge Rock (actually it is still there and you can see it) where they had pagan temples and pagan statues. Horrible things happened here at that place, and the Jews hated those People who lived there and who worshiped those idols. This Rock was known in the whole country. There's a cave that leads into the Rock, and the Entrance of that Cave was called "Gates of Hell". Isn't that interesting how Jesus uses that as a picture in Verse 18 ?!? The Jews called the People who lived there "Stones". It was a kind of a curse-name. It was the same Name that Jesus gave to Simon when he said "You are Peter". You have to understand that this was a complete insult for a Jew. But Jesus wanted to show to him, that one day he would go out reach the gentiles. That's why Jesus said: "upon that Rock I will build my church." They are all standing near by that Rock which was a well known place or symbol for the Gentiles. And Jesus points at this Rock to tell his desciples, that the church will not only be for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. I hope this will bring some light in this endless discussion.
     
  4. edward

    edward Momma's Boy

    487
    +23
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    Corrado,

    Take a look at John 1

    [40] One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
    [41] He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).
    [42] He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

    You see here that Jesus gives Simon his new name as soon as He meets him. Now let's look at Webster's Dictionary.

    cephas a Syriac surname given by Christ to Simon (John 1:42), meaning "rock." The Greeks translated it by Petros, and the Latins by Petrus.

    Now, let's look at Matthew 16 and lets take all the various translations and make them reflect the true English equivalents

    [15] He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
    [16] Simon Rock replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
    [17] And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
    [18] And I tell you, you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
    [19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

    Two revelations from God, back to back.

    Simon (Rock): "You are the Christ........"

    Jesus (Christ) "You are the Rock.........."

    It is not Catholics that have given Simon this name, it was Jesus.
    Do you really think that after proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, Jesus then insults Simon? That does not make any sense Corrado. You are really taking things to an extreme here just to disprove what the Church has always taken the meaning of this passage to be.
    Light? Jesus curses and insults the apostle for calling Him the Christ? That is light? :scratch:
     
  5. Spotty

    Spotty ilikemovies

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    Christ is the rock on which our FAITH is built. Peter is the rock on which our CHURCH is built. There's a difference.

    -Spotty
     
  6. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    It's also significant to note the parallel between Isaiah 22:22 and Matthew 16:19:

    1) Scripture explicitly teaches that Christ's kingdom fulfills the Davidic Kingdom. (Ps 89:35-37; Isa 9:6-7; Acts 2:25,30; Luke 1:32-33,69-73). Thus, what we see in the Davidic kingdom foreshadows Christ’s kingdom.

    2) In the Davidic kingdom, Eliakim was appointed as a prime minister and so he was given authority to open and close (Is 22:22) as well as the keys of the kingdom (Is 22:22). Eliakim was also to be called a, "father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (Is 22:21).

    3) Likewise, apostle Peter was given authority to bind and loose (Matt 16:19) as well as the keys of the kingdom (Matt 16:19). And it should be no surprise to often hear references to the pope as a father =)

    -Jason
     
  7. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

    +46
    Catholic
    You should get the book, Jesus, Peter and the Keys -- it clears up any doubt about just what Jesus' promise to the Church is all about!

    The vast majority of modern Protestant scholars today concede the Catholic position that St. Peter is indeed the “Rock” on which Christ would build His Church. While not accepting all the Catholic implications or conclusions of Petrine succession and the Papacy, the following Protestant commentators and exegetes (both conservative and liberal) all understand the Apostle Peter himself is “this rock” in Matthew 16:18f. This list is not exhaustive:

    D.A. Carson (Protestant Evangelical) --
    “Although it is true that petros and petra can mean 'stone' and 'rock' respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover, the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses ('you are kepha' and 'on this kepha'), since the word was used both for a name and for a 'rock.' The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name.” (Carson, The Expositor's Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1984], volume 8, page 368, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 17-18)

    “The word Peter petros, meaning 'rock,' (Gk 4377) is masculine, and in Jesus' follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken 'rock' to be anything or anyone other than Peter.” (Carson, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1994], volume 2, page 78, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 18)

    R.T. France (Anglican/Protestant Evangelical) --
    “The name Peter means 'Rock', and Jesus played on this meaning to designate Peter as the foundation of the new people of God. His leadership would involve the authority of the steward, whose keys symbolized his responsibility to regulate the affairs of the household. Peter would exercise his leadership by his authority to declare what is and is not permissible in the kingdom of heaven (to bind and to loose have this meaning in rabbinic writings)....It is sometimes suggested that because the word for 'rock' (petra) differs from the name Petros, the 'rock' referred to is not Peter himself but the confession he has just made of Jesus as Messiah. In Aramaic, however, the same term kefa would appear in both places; the change in Greek is due to the fact that petra, the normal word for rock, is feminine in gender, and therefore not suitable as a name for Simon! The echo of Peter's name remains obvious, even in Greek; he is the rock, in the sense outlined above.” (France, New Bible Commentary with consulting editors Carson, France, Motyer, Wenham [Intervarsity Press, 1994], page 925, 926)

    Oscar Cullmann (Lutheran) from Kittel's Greek standard Theological Dictionary of the New Testament --
    “The obvious pun which has made its way into the Gk. text as well suggests a material identity between petra and petros, the more so as it is impossible to differentiate strictly between the meanings of the two words. On the other hand, only the fairly assured Aramaic original of the saying enables us to assert with confidence the formal and material identity between petra and petros: petra = Kepha = petros....Since Peter, the rock of the Church, is thus given by Christ Himself, the master of the house (Is. 22:22; Rev. 3:7), the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he is the human mediator of the resurrection, and he has the task of admitting the people of God into the kingdom of the resurrection...The idea of the Reformers that He is referring to the faith of Peter is quite inconceivable in view of the probably different setting of the story...For there is no reference here to the faith of Peter. Rather, the parallelism of 'thou art Rock' and 'on this rock I will build' shows that the second rock can only be the same as the first. It is thus evident that Jesus is referring to Peter, to whom He has given the name Rock. He appoints Peter, the impulsive, enthusiastic, but not persevering man in the circle, to be the foundation of His ecclesia. To this extent Roman Catholic exegesis is right and all Protestant attempts to evade this interpretation are to be rejected.”" (Cullmann, article on “Rock” (petros, petra) trans. and ed. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [Eerdmans Publishing, 1968], volume 6, page 98, 107, 108)

    Herman Ridderbos (Protestant Evangelical) --
    “It is well known that the Greek word (petra) translated 'rock' here is different from the proper name Peter. The slight difference between them has no special importance, however. The most likely explanation for the change from petros ('Peter') to petra is that petra was the normal word for 'rock.' Because the feminine ending of this noun made it unsuitable as a man's name, however, Simon was not called petra but petros. The word petros was not an exact synonym of petra; it literally meant 'stone.' Jesus therefore had to switch to the word petra when He turned from Peter's name to what it meant for the Church. There is no good reason to think that Jesus switched from petros to petra to show that He was not speaking of the man Peter but of his confession as the foundation of the Church. The words 'on this rock [petra]' indeed refer to Peter. Because of the revelation that he had received and the confession that it motivated in him, Peter was appointed by Jesus to lay the foundation of the future church.” (Ridderbos, Bible Student's Commentary: Matthew [Zondervan, 1987], page 303 as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 35-36)

    Craig Blomberg (Protestant Evangelical) --
    “Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon's nickname 'Peter' (Petros=rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42 [wherein he is called Cephas]), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus' declaration, 'You are Peter,' parallels Peter's confession, 'You are the Christ,' as if to say, 'Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.' The expression 'this rock' almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following 'the Christ' in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter's name (Petros) and the word 'rock' (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification.” (Blomberg, The New American Commentary: Matthew [Broadman, 1992], page 251-252, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 31-32)

    William F. Albright and C.S. Mann (from The Anchor Bible series) --
    “Rock (Aram. Kepha). This is not a name, but an appellation and a play on words. There is no evidence of Peter or Kephas as a name before Christian times. On building on a rock, or from a rock, cf. Isa 51:1ff; Matt 7:24f. Peter as Rock will be the foundation of the future community (cf. I will build). Jesus, not quoting the OT, here uses Aramaic, not Hebrew, and so uses the only Aramaic word which would serve his purpose. In view of the background of vs. 19 (see below), one must dismiss as confessional interpretation any attempt to see this rock as meaning the faith, or the Messianic confession, of Peter. To deny the pre-eminent position of Peter among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence. Cf. in this gospel 10:2; 14:28-31; 15:15. The interest in Peter's failures and vacillations does not detract from this pre-eminence; rather, it emphasizes it. Had Peter been a lesser figure his behavior would have been of far less consequence (cf. Gal 2:11ff).” (Albright/Mann, The Anchor Bible: Matthew [Doubleday, 1971], page 195)

    Craig S. Keener (Protestant Evangelical) --
    “'You are Peter,' Jesus says (16:18), paralleling Peter's 'You are the Christ' (16:16). He then plays on Simon's nickname, 'Peter,' which is roughly the English 'Rocky': Peter is 'rocky,' and on this rock Jesus would build his church (16:18)....Protestants...have sometimes argued that Peter's name in Greek (petros) differs from the Greek term for rock used here (petra)....But by Jesus' day the terms were usually interchangeable, and the original Aramaic form of Peter's nickname that Jesus probably used (kephas) means simply 'rock.' Further, Jesus does not say, 'You are Peter, but on this rock I will build my church'....the copulative kai almost always means 'and'.... Jesus' teaching is the ultimate foundation for disciples (7:24-27; cf. 1 Cor 3:11), but here Peter functions as the foundation rock as the apostles and prophets do in Ephesians 2:20-21....Jesus does not simply assign this role arbitrarily to Peter, however; Peter is the 'rock' because he is the one who confessed Jesus as the Christ in this context (16:15-16)....” (Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Eerdmans, 1999], page 426-427)
     
  8. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

    +46
    Catholic
    Francis Wright Beare (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
    “The play on words -- 'Peter', this 'rock' -- requires a change in Greek from petros (properly, 'stone') to petra. In Aramaic, the two words would be identical -- Kepha the name given to Peter, transliterated into Greek as Kephas (Gal. 2:9), and kepha, 'rock'. The symbol itself is Hebraic: Abraham is the 'rock' from which Israel was hewn, and in a rabbinic midrash, God finds in him a rock on which he can base and build the world...” (Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew [Harper and Row, 1981], page 355)

    Eduard Schweizer (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
    “The 'rock' is Peter himself, not his confession. Only on this interpretation does the pun make sense.” (Schweizer, The Good News According to Matthew [John Knox Press, 1975], page 341)

    Ivor H. Jones (Methodist) --
    “"...in 16.18 Peter is the rock on which the new community could be built, as Abraham was described in rabbinic writings as the rock on which God could erect a new world to replace the old....The arguments have raged across the centuries over the phrase 'on this rock' : does it mean on Peter, or on Peter's confession? But the text is clear: Peter was divinely inspired and this was the reason for his new function and the basis of his authorization. His function was to provide for Jesus Christ the beginnings of a stronghold, a people of God, to stand against all the powers of evil and death...They are God's people, the church...as the church they represent God's sovereign power over evil (18.18b) and rely upon a new kind of divine authorization...This authorization is given to Peter; so Peter is not only a stronghold against evil; he also is responsible for giving the community shape and direction.” (Jones, The Gospel of Matthew [London: Epworth Press, 1994], page 99)

    M. Eugene Boring (Disciples of Christ) --
    “16:18, Peter as Rock. Peter is the foundation rock on which Jesus builds the new community. The name 'Peter' means 'stone' or 'rock' (Aramaic Kepha Cepha; Greek petros).... There are no documented instances of anyone's ever being named 'rock' in Aramaic or Greek prior to Simon. Thus English translations should render the word 'stone' or 'rock,' not 'Peter,' which gives the false impression that the word represented a common name and causes the contemporary reader to miss the word play of the passage: 'You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church.' Peter is here pictured as the foundation of the church....On the basis of Isa 51:1-2 (cf. Matt 3:9), some scholars have seen Peter as here paralleled to Abraham; just as Abram stood at the beginning of the people of God, had his name changed, and was called a rock, so also Peter stands at the beginning of the new people of God and receives the Abrahamic name 'rock' to signify this.” (The New Interpreter's Bible [Abingdon Press, 1995], volume 8, page 345)

    Thomas G. Long (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
    “Since, in the original Greek, Petros and petra both mean 'rock,' it is easy to spot this statement as a pun, a play on words: 'Your name is "Rock," and on this "rock" I will build my church.' Jesus' meaning is plain: Peter is the rock, the foundation, upon which he is going to erect his church...Jesus spoke Aramaic, however, not Greek. In Aramaic, the words for 'Peter' and 'rock' are the same (Kepha)...the most plausible interpretation of the passage is that Jesus is, indeed, pointing to Peter as the foundation stone, the principal leader, of this new people of God...there is much evidence that he also played a primary leadership role in the early Christian church....For the church, the new people of God, Peter was, indeed, the 'rock,' corresponding to Abraham of old, who was 'the rock from which you were hewn' (Isa. 51:1).” (Long, Matthew [Westminster John Knox Press, 1997], page 185, 186)

    Richard B. Gardner (Brethren/Mennonite) -- McCarthy, when he sadly left the Catholic Church became part of a Protestant "Brethren" sect --
    “The key question here is whether the rock foundation of the church is Peter himself, or something to be distinguished from Peter. If the latter, Jesus could be speaking of Peter's faith, or of the revelation Peter received. It is more likely, however, that the rock on which Jesus promises to build the church is in fact Peter himself, Peter the first disciple (cf. 4:18; 10:2), who represents the whole group of disciples from which the church will be formed. At least four considerations support this view....” (Gardner, Believers Church Bible Commentary: Matthew [Herald Press, 1991], 247)

    Also, in terms of the grammatical structure of the sentence, Karl Keating, in his book Catholicism vs. Fundamentalism, comments:

    Now take a closer look at the key verse: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Matt. 16:18). Disputes about this passage have always been related to the meaning of the term "rock." To whom, or to what, does it refer? Since Simon’s new name of Peter itself means rock, the sentence could be rewritten as: "You are Rock and upon this rock I will build my Church." The play on words seems obvious, but commentators wishing to avoid what follows from this—namely the establishment of the papacy—have suggested that the word rock could not refer to Peter but must refer to his profession of faith or to Christ.
    From the grammatical point of view, the phrase "this rock" must relate back to the closest noun. Peter’s profession of faith ("You are the Christ, the Son of the living God") is two verses earlier, while his name, a proper noun, is in the immediately preceding clause.
     
  9. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

    +46
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    But Jesus didn't CURSE Peter... He said "BLESSED ARE YOU!!!!"
    :rolleyes:

    You're meaning to say, "Curse you fool, so here are the keys to Heaven and all the rabbinical authority to bind and loose on Earth and in Heaven, you vile jerk!" :(

    No... calling Simon "PETER" or "KEPHA" (the ROCK) echos the Old Testament verses of Isaiah:

    "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD : Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many..." (Isaiah 51:1-2)

    On THIS ROCK Jesus built His church... bearing fruit that would last...

    "In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots-all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.
    "In that day," declares the LORD Almighty, "the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down." The LORD has spoken.

    (Isaiah 22:20-25)
     
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