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Seeing the Context at Caesarea Philippi


Part I   –  Rock at Caesarea Philippi
Part II –  Near, not in Caesarea ??   Relevant ???
                 Seeing the Context at Caesarea Philippi
Part III - Keys of the Kingdom - Office and Succession
Part IV - Pagan god Pan Vs Jesus

Part V -  Christ Defeats Pan


Part II –  Near, not in Caesarea ??   Relevant ???

                 Seeing the Context at Caesarea Philippi  


Matthew 16:13
“When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples …” 

Jesus obviously had a reason for everything He did, so we must ask why did He walk all the way to this area to make His proclamation of how He would build His Church.

Some contend that because Jesus is said to be in the region of Caesarea Philippi rather than in the city itself, that this precludes the validity of drawing any analogy between the rock there and Simon whose name is changed to Peter, meaning Rock. 

However, when a person goes to Caesarea Philippi and examines the landscape it becomes obvious that this objection to the analogy has no merit at all.  The city had been built on top of this wall of rock that goes straight up.  From the vantage point of being inside the city a person cannot see the rock at all.  The only way the rock can be seen is for the person to be outside of the city and down below.   

Notice my photographs of Caesarea Philippi below.  Especially notice the one labeled as Top View which I took from the ruins of Caesarea Philippi which are directly on top of the vertical wall of rock.  From this vantage point a person can see way off into the horizon. 

Notice for example the truck way off into the distance on the winding road.  From each of the spots visible on the landscape below in this picture a person would have been in easy view of this city that was built on top of this huge rock.  And so, a person would not have to be in the city to see this rock.  He only had to be in the area or region. 

Top View

Click for higher resolution

Therefore, the reference to being in the area of Caesarea Philippi makes a strong case that Jesus was making a huge contrast.  On the one hand there was this huge wall of rock and the city built on top of it that was dedicated to false gods.  On the other hand there was Simon, now made the real Rock, Peter, upon whom Jesus would build His Church that would give glory and honor to the One, True God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Peter became the Rock because it was the Rockness of Christ that worked through him.  The importance of Caesarea Philippi and why Jesus would have wanted to make an analogy here is made more apparent in Part IV.


Continue and See
Part III - Keys of the Kingdom









Extra Photographs from on top of the rock at Caesarea Philippi


Notice the photograph labeled as Top Road.  This picture was taken from on top of the rock.  There seems to be wide section that is clear of any rocks or ruins going from left to right across the top section of the photograph.  Perhaps this was a road or just a space between buildings.  

Top Road

Click for higher resolution

Also, notice the photograph labeled as Top Pillars.  This picture was also taken from on top of the rock and of what appears, to me anyway, to be the ruins of the city of Caesarea Philippi.  These appeared to be somewhat round shaped pillars about two to three feet high which were closely spaced in rows which were also closely spaced.  If this is the ruins of a temple it must have been quite a site as it is close to the edge of the wall of rock.  It would have been quite visible for a long distance, and in full view of each spot on the photograph Top View which was taken looking 180 degrees in the other direction.  It had to be an impressive and spectacular view. 

Top Pillars

Click for higher resolution


To see how the photographs overlap notice the distinctive looking bush labeled as the Lamb Bush.  It is in the photograph Side View - upper center of the picture - and it is also in these pictures, Wall 2 and Top of Wall, in other sections of this web page.  Also notice another distinctive looking bush labeled as Big Bush which is also in Side View - far right side of picture - and also in the photograph labeled as Top View - left side of picture. 

Side View

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Views of Lamb Bush




Big Bush


Traveling in the Holy Land is actually very, very safe.  Terrorists do not target tourists.  However, I do suggest that you do not go on top of the wall of rock as I did and as I latter found out that I was not supposed to because it has land mines up there.  If you are in a tour group they will keep you safe. 

I had seen pictures of the wall of rock many years ago, but I had never seen pictures taken on top of the rock where the city had been.  Now, I know why.  Apparently, I was over eager to see what was there.  When you go to the Holy Land scripture verses just seem to come alive as the landscape gives whole new meanings to the context. 


Psalm 40:1-4
“A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry…
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure. 
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods!”  RSV 

The Lord in His mercy protected me that day. 

See the next sections about the Keys and the last section that contrasts the false god of Pan with the True God, Jesus Christ.


Part III - Keys of the Kingdom
Part IV - Pagan god Pan Vs Jesus

Part V -  Christ Defeats Pan





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