I am always amazed that every time I investigate Christian interpretation there appears to be misunderstanding. I have visited many cathedrals and basilicas such as Peter and Paul Cathedral (St. Petersburg) and The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (Rome) and wondered what is this all about.
So here is a short study of the word “Peter”.
“He (Jesus) asked his disciples saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Some say John the Baptist … or one of the prophets … But whom say ye that I am? Simon Peter answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus said, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonna: 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 (petros) and upon this rock (petra) will I build my church …” – Matt. 16:13-18. At first you miss the sarcasm as we miss the difference between petros 4074 (mas.) and petra 4073 (fem.).
Peter from petros means, a piece of rock i.e. a stone. John’s account at 1:40-42 is: “… Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother saith unto him, We have found Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought Peter to Jesus. He (Jesus) said, Thou art Simon (hearing) the son of Jona (a dove): thou shalt be called Cephas, which by interpretation, is a stone (petros – piece of rock). Cephas, the surname of Peter is from kephas in Greek derived from keph in Hebrew meaning a hollow rock. So Peter, Cephas means a stone, piece of rock or a hollow rock (from Strong’s or Young’s concordances).
What then of the words, “upon this rock (petra) will I build my church”? – Matt. 16:18. Petra is the feminine of petros – feminine meaning life-giving (Eve), in figurative scripture. Petra is massive rock compared to a stone – meaning mass, a body, and this is the same as the messianic body. Christ never built upon a hollow-rock. Adam (man and woman) also needed the life-giving Eve (feminine) to start a family, the multitude, the populace, the community.
So Peter was a small hollow rock or stone. “A sower went out to sow his seed … And some fell upon a rock (or stony places from petrodes rocky, stone). But this is not the “rock” derived from petra, which is feminine, indicating a potential to bring forth new life – body. As soon as the seed that fell upon stony ground, shoot roots of any kind, it withered away because it lacked moisture (substance). Only the true rock could provide moisture, never a small stone.
Now here is Peter, when the heat was put on him: – “A damsel came unto him saying, Thou also was with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest” – Matt. 26:69,70. Peter (petros), did not have the fortitude of the “Rock” for he withered and denied Christ three times to the sound of cock-a-doodle do.
So let’s investigate the feminine “Rock” (petra) now that we understand the masculine Peter, Cephas 2786 Chald. comp. 3710 (provoke and enrage) and 3709 (violent passion, anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath) and the mockery of Mathew’s statement.
Keep in mind the Scriptures are symbolical writings, using objects to convey spiritual experience. In the story of the Exodus was a cloud that followed them and all passed through the sea. Seas, waters, flood, all refer to peoples. In Exodus as the story goes, the escaping Hebrews passed through countries near Egypt without attack. This is how the description goes: “The Lord caused the sea to go back, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided” – Exd. 14:21. And they all “eat the same spiritual meat” – Exd. 16:5, 35. “And did all drink the same spiritual drink” – Exd. 17:6 “for they drank of that spiritual Rock (petra) that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” The spiritual rock they experienced for the first time was Christos the inner craving, now set free, of mankind.
The writers (said to be Paul) of 1 Cor. 10:1-4 drew moisture from this “Rock” of Exd. 17: “baptized unto Moses … And did all drink (moisture) the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ”. And 1 Cor. 10:16 stated the bread that they break, “is it not the communion of the body of Christ”? This rock had body – it was a spiritual Rock, not literal, but Christos – it was messianic (peace, truth, happiness).
Now a twist to the story. Christ is also called “a living stone”, “a chief corner stone in Sion,” “the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner”. These texts are taken from 1 Pet. 2:4-7. The word “stone” is from lithos (not petros) and means a stone (lit. or fig.) – (mill, stumbling-) stone. So how does this fit with the above?
Paul in Eph. 2 telling of spiritual Jew and Gentile becoming one, writes, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood (kindred) of Christ … no more strangers … but fellow citizens with the saints … And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner (stone)” – Eph. 2:20.
But, the word “stone” is added here by translators. “Stone” in 1 Pet. 2 is lithos. Both 1 Pet. 2 and also Eph. 2:20 (added by translator) is antitype from Ps. 118:22 – “The stone (which) the builders refused is become the head (stone) of the corner.” “Stone” here is Hebrew is ebey meaning to build, or the builder, “the maker” of form, renowned (Shemites) – and not the bellicose warrior (Japhites) or lazy-abouts (descriptive Shem). You cannot build with a rock, it has to be hewn, carved out, shaped and polished. The Testaments are based on type – antitype. The NT is all drawn from OT ensamples. The ten commandments were never the ten laws espoused by Christianity. They were always commandments to make the terrestrial governance align with the great Creative power of the universal. Paul of Patmos’ Revelation had to be universal. It brings the bride (OT) and bridegroom (NT) back together as one. (See other articles at web site about the ten commandments and Revelation and the golden thread running from OT to NT – yet to be written).
It seems quite clear that the statement, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” is the “rock” (petra) upon which “I (Christ) will build my church.” Now thou art Christ, the lubrication, the quencher within, always giving a gospel for today.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” – 1 Cor. 12:27. “Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body” – Eph. 5:23. Christ is our one body, our one Spirit, our one hope, and our one Lord – Eph. 4. Paul was always, keeping loyal, to his gospel, that the people are the body, that is Christ’s body.
Bear in mind the word “Christ” is a title, Christ the anointed, messiah, and king. Christ is our Melchisedic king and high priest – King of righteousness, King of peace – without father, without mother, without genealogy (as per Mark’s gospel) but with generation.
Christ was the uprising of the populace from the reign of Herod the Great having matured for 40 years from the decree the Massacre the Innocents. The populace was defeated, persecuted, hung on the tree so to speak for crossing the Jewish pavement (that of the Pharisees and Sadducees).
James and Peter accepted the literal interpretation of the Pharisees and Sadducees who spoke of a literal Christ. The Pharisees espoused an afterlife as compensation for their enslavement of the masses – the body of Jews. The Sadducees espoused a literal Christ that had been called King of the Jews the title held by Herod. To the Sadducees a literal man-child had been crucified. Thus there would be no resurrection nor insurrection as the Sadducees did not believe in any afterlife. The Pharisees Church-State held hands. What wonderful conjunction that Christianity adopted.
Christos is our first begotten of love, the Christ of Exodus, the anointing consciousness is the Father of all, bringing forth beneficial substance and a new moisture, watering the seeds on the Rock – the multitude.