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Keys 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

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Part III - Keys of the Kingdom



Emperor Decius  "would have preferred to hear that a rival claim to his empire had been elected in Rome than that a bishop had been elected there."  

Quoted in Fr. Stanley Jaki's book  The  Keys  of  the  Kingdom, page 73 as St. Cyprian's Letter 52:9   about AD 250
 See New Advent : St. Cyprian's Epistula to Antonian 51:9 
elsewhere I have found it listed as 55:9



This quote is very powerful for a couple of reasons  It demonstrates the power of the Papacy, the Bishop of Rome, well before Constantine.  And it shows that it is a spiritual office rather than just a political office.  What is especially convincing is that it come from a non-Christian who would not be inclined to even wanting to admit to a power or authority other that his own.  The Caesar’s considered themselves to be god-like if not God himself.


Matthew 16:17-19
“Jesus said to him [Peter] in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ ” 

To understand the significance of Jesus giving to Peter, alone, the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven we need to think about the importance that keys have.  See new page explaining how we know that only Peter got the keys of which Jesus spoke.

Keys : Explaining the Meaning of the Keys in Matthew 16:19,
Given to St. Peter  Alone

To further understand the meaning behind Jesus giving Peter the Keys of the Kingdom we need to do a Bible study on the meaning of keys, and especially the meaning of the “keys of the House of David” as is found in Isaiah 22:15, 19-24. 

In this passage below we read about Shebna being replaced with Eliakim.  Eliakim now becomes second in command under King Hezekiah, the descendant of King David.  

Isaiah 22:15,19-24   
“Thus says the Lord, the GOD of hosts: Up, go to that official, Shebna, master of the palace… 19 I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station.   On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;  I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority.  He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.   I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.   I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family ...”

Eliakim becomes the holder of the Keys, and so becomes the vicar, or the regent, or also called the “master of the palace” who ruled as an agent or representative for the king.
Cf. 1 Kings 18:3,4 2 Kings 10:5, and 15:5


A Father Figure

Jesus is called the son of David and the King of Kings.  And a study of the Davidic Kingdom in the Old Testament reveals the context within which Jesus' hearers would have understood His words. 

In Old Testament we can find both a position of the King, and also a second position called the Master of the Palace, or Regent of the Palace (or House.)  This second person was the King’s representative, or vicar, who spoke with full authority for the King ( or Pharaoh as is seen in Genesis 41:39-40.)  His position is denoted by the fact that he carries the keys that belong to the king.  He also has special clothes, a robe, and is a father figure as stated in Isaiah 22:21.   See the link to the article about King  Hezekiah  for a detailed scripture study on this point. 

We read in Matthew 16:17 that it was God the Father in Heaven who picked Peter.  It was to him that the revelation was given that Jesus was God’s Son.  And so, Jesus says that He will give the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter.  These keys denote that Peter is to become Jesus' vicar or representative and that Peter’s decisions are binding on all. 

Some people will point out that the other Apostles also have the authority to bind and loose [Matt 18:18,]  but this is precisely because and only because they are in union with Peter who alone was given the keys in Matt 16:19 where the pronoun “you” is in the singular.

We find this singling out of Peter from among the Apostles and the uniquely special role of authority that is given to him in the other Gospels as well.  The one exception is Mark’s Gospel, but when we consider that Mark was Peter’s secretary who was recording Peter’s teaching at Rome this is to be expected.  Peter was not one to boast about his authority especially given that Jesus instructed that the Christian authorities were not to go out of their way to make their authority felt.  See Matthew 20:25-26.   

In John’s Gospel only Peter is given the special commission to feed and tend the flock of Christ.   See John 21:15-17  in  Separate Article.

In Luke’s Gospel, again it is only Peter who is the benefactor of Christ’s special prayer that Peter’s faith fail not and that he strengthen his brethren even though Jesus says that Satan is going to attack ALL of the Apostles.  See Luke 22:29-32  in  Separate Article.


So, we can see above that the giving of the keys to Peter indicates the office, or governing position, that Peter is to have.  These keys and office also denote succession.  When the holder of that office ends his term in office another person is appointed to that position.

Similarly, consider that if the President of the United States dies in office that position does not end.  And the office of the holder of the keys does not end with that persons death since it also has a successor.  And so, we see succession for the office of the holder of the keys in Isaiah 22.  And the early Church saw that this position, or office, that Christ gave to St. Peter also had successors long before they worked out which 27 books belong in the New Testament.
(For example, many early lists of Books considered to be the Inspired Word of God did not include the Book of Revelation, possibly due in part to how the heretics were misusing that Book.)

Jesus’ own words imply a succession for the position He was bestowing on Simon, who was now to be called Rock, or Peter.

Matthew 16:18-19
“ … and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”

So, even when Peter dies the netherworld, or death,  would not prevail.  This is because another person is appointed to that position of the holder of the keys.

Peter’s Successors - Early Church Fathers, 

From Saint Peter to Benedict XVI -  A list of  names of the Popes, the Bishops of Rome.

Apostolic Succession - Separate Article


Speculative Scenarios  

Some people contend that the Papacy came about from imperial favor, and others contend that it came about from the power vacuum that was created by the fall of the Roman Empire.  And others contend that it came about when the laws prohibiting Christianity were abolished in 313 AD.  Supposedly, this brought about such a great influx of pagans into the church that they overran the true Christians and corrupted the doctrines by introducing Papal authority.  However, a sincere study of history shows that none of these objections to the Papacy have any validity.  

Emperor Decius  states that he “would have preferred to hear that a rival claim to his empire had been elected in Rome than that a bishop had been elected there.”

Clearly the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, had a religious and spiritual authority long before any of the above supposed scenarios could have taken place. This quotation is recorded in St. Cyprian’s Epistula to Antonian 55:9,  in about the year 250 AD. ( In some collection of the Fathers it is listed as being
“Cyprian’s Letter To Antonianus About Cornelius and Novatian,  Epistle 51:9”  Fr. Jaki lists it as 52:9)


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For a more in depth study of the meaning of the Keys and the Papacy see the following article: 

King  Hezekiah  And  Following  Jesus  Christ


Part IV - Pagan god Pan Vs Jesus

Part V -  Christ Defeats Pan



Also see the following books for more information:

THE  KEYS  OF  THE  KINGDOM, A Tool’s Witness to Truth,  by Fr. Stanley Jaki, published by The Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago, Illinois 60609.  Ph: 217-228-5670.  Also see

AND ON THIS ROCK, also by Fr. Stanley Jaki.  It is published by Christendom Press,  Front Royal, VA 22630.

The Donation of Constantine -
It purported to be an early 4th century document of the Emperor Constantine granting to Pope Sylvester I and his successors the spiritual primacy over Rome “and all the Western regions.”  Even basic encyclopedias will report that the Donation of Constantine was definitively proved in the 15th century to be an 8th or 9th century forgery.  It contained many anachronisms that revealed its unauthentic nature.  For example, it uses a quotation from St. Jerome’s Biblical translation even though it was supposedly written about 26 years before St. Jerome was born. 
See Proof of Forgery - Donation of Constantine


St. Irenaeus

"Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a
volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all
the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in
whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by
vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion,
assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I
say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the
apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and
universally known Church founded and organized at Rome
by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as
also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men,
which comes down to our time by means of the
successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of
necessity that every Church should agree with this
Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that
is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the
apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously
by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,3:3:2 (A.D. 180),in


Part IV - Pagan god Pan Vs Jesus

Part V -  Christ Defeats Pan



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