Disciples and non-believers who were outside the inner closely united Twelve disciples whom Jesus personally chose, had varying opinions about Him. Jesus Himself questioned the select twelve disciples who they thought He was. Peter answered Jesus by a revelation from God 'You are Christ, the Son of The Living God'. This special revelation to Peter was recognised by Jesus as the Truth and insight given to the Apostle which established for the Apostles their Lord's Messiahship and also His deity.

The claim of apostolic and papal succession is based on scripture from Matthew 16:13-19 and has been misinterpreted. Peter never said or assumed that he was above others.

The Holy Bible, NIV. Matthew 16:13-19. 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

As a result of this revealed confession about Christ, Jesus said 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it'.

The other disciples did not take Jesus' statement to mean that He was exalting Peter above them. All laid their teachings on Christ and what Christ had taught them, not on Peter. Peter never spoke of himself as the foundation or leader of the church.

The name Peter, means a small rock, a pebble, a detached stone that might be easily moved, called 'Petros', but the word 'Rock' was 'Petra' meaning a solid fixed immovable rock mass, something dense, established, permanent and secure. Peter was not solid and unshakeable as a rock.
It is the proclamation that Peter made that is the basis for the building. The building belongs to the builder, the builder is Christ, not Peter. The world is God's, the church is a chosen remnant, set apart and dedicated to Christ of which He is the head.

The statement itself revealed to Peter is the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The Church is built on Christ and not the Apostle Peter. Christ is The Rock foundation and Peter is a pebble, the first stone of many living stones that became a living temple, but he was not its leader
Peter was rebuked by Jesus a few moments later in Matt 16:22. Jesus never affirmed special leadership of any one disciple above the other disciples. Peter did reject Christ three times and had to be reinstated. Peter himself declared Christ was the Foundation Rock (1Peter 2:4-8) and that neither is there salvation in any other.

All disciples in Christ are living stones of the Temple of God during this church age. The Church was built on the foundation of the statement that was revealed to Peter by God for all to comprehend including the affirmation given it by Jesus. All the disciples had heard Jesus call Himself the Messiah prior to this event. It is a revelation of His deity, One with The Father. The deity of Christ is a truth known only by revelation.

1 Peter 2:4-8 "
As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trust in him will never be put to shame. "Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priest hood, a holy natioin, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

The church was therefore not built on any man, but on the Truth that Christ, the Rock, is the foundation stone and is the Church's foundation, and the Truth of Him being The Son of The Living God. The well-known pun is 'a boulder-like truth came out of the mouth of a pebble'.

Jesus referred to Peter's statement and Himself when he said "Upon this rock, I will build My church " in response to Peter's confession "You are the Christ the Son of the living God ".

The gospel of Mark was assisted by Peter, yet Peter's statement is not mentioned in this gospel or any of Peter's writings. If Peter took Jesus to mean that he was going to be the leader and head of the church, it would have definitely been mentioned.

Peter The Apostle, did peach the sermon to the Jewish people on Pentecost Day after the outpouring of The Holy Spirit but was not the first disciple to preach to the Jewish Religious Council. Peter refused to allow men to bow down to him (Acts 10:25,26) and He had little faith in the traditions of men, although Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles had to publicly correct him for he began to slip back into Judaism, leading other disciples astray.

Christ did not appoint one man above all others in His church. In fact Jesus taught the opposite (Mark 10:35) which argues against the concept of one ruling over the others. The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that Christ is the foundation stone and the Head. It is a mistake to think that either one of these roles was going to Peter.

The confession of truth is believing that Jesus is The Messiah, The Son of God. This is the basis upon which Jesus builds His church. All who belong to His Church believe that Jesus is the Messiah, The Son of The Living God.

The controversy that surrounds Peter as the Rock disappears when the statements made by Jesus and Peter are put into balance. Peter to Jesus, 'You are the Christ, the Son of The Living God', (The Rock, being a stable mass of rock) Jesus to Peter 'You are Peter, the son of Jonah' (Peter, a stone).

James, Jesus' half-brother, was the first bishop of the first Christian church which was situated in Jerusalem. If the church was built upon Peter being the leader, Peter and not James would have given the directions and headed the discussions in the Jerusalem Church Council.

Peter was never a pope, he never wore a crown and was never approached by others as the leader of the Apostles. In the New Testament, Peter had an outstanding ministry, however, Paul had a far greater ministry than Peter, and was a more prominent writer of Books in The New Testament, that were written instructions to the new young churches, including the church in Rome. Paul's ministry was to the Gentiles (non-Jews) whereas Peter's was mainly and foremost an apostle to the Jews. Peter was a married man, which is a prime example that Christ's leaders need not be celibate.

Rome was a Gentile city and there is no Biblical proof that Peter ever went to Rome. The Bible records his trips to Antioch, Samaria, Joppa, Caesarea and other cities but does not mention Rome. In the year 44 AD Peter was in Jerusalem, in 53 AD he was ministering in Antioch. Paul wrote a letter to the Christians in Rome in 58 AD greeting approximately 30 people by name who met together to worship, none of whom were Peter. If Peter had been the leader of the Christian gathering in Rome, Paul would have greeted him by name as he did the members.

Biblically Peter was not a pope in Rome. The Roman Catholic church wrongly teaches that the church is built on Peter, whom it believes Peter was the first pope. Both are scriptural error.

All the Roman Emperors were called Pontifix Maximus. Peter would have refused the papal title meaning 'chief bridge-maker' between heaven and earth, which was the title of Julius Caesar and every successive Roman Emperor. It is recorded in history it was not until 320 AD that the title 'Pontifix Maximus' was used by the Roman church, making it impossible for Peter to be the first pope.

When the Emperor Constantine, merged the Empire and church together in the 4th century, being both the new Emperor and the Religious Elder (himself) took on the traditional name of Pontifix Maximus. Historical proof shows that it would have been infeasible for Peter to have been called 'Pontifix Maximus'. It is believed that Peter was crucified by the Romans, therefore the powerful empire that supposedly bore his own title, persecuted and killed him.

The Bible does not support the idea that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, nor does it support that apostolic succession is realised in the papacy. The idea stems wholly from man-made traditions. True apostolic succession is in the faithful discipleship of spreading the Truths of Jesus Christ, His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, including the teaching of His return.

The controversy which surrounds these verses being, Jews knew that Rock was an Old Testament name for God. God was known to the disciples as The Rock from the Old Testament, and not Peter as a Rock. In Psalm 18:2 David sings, 'The Lord is my Rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge.' It is wrong to believe that the Church of Christ was built upon Peter.

Knowing that Peter is a stone and not The Rock, it is obvious that Christ, The Son of The Living God is The Rock, the Truth of Peter's announcement on which the Church is founded.

This rock cannot be Peter nor was Peter superior to other Apostles. It is wrong for anyone or any church to claim the authority of its Papacy on word play or pun. 'For no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ' (1Corinthians 3:11)

Christ's church is made up of living stones, Christ alone is the architect, builder owner, head and Lord.

Jesus is the King of a Kingdom who is victorious over the realm of death. The gates of hell are the 'doors of death' and His true church and its growth is invincible and indestructible against any attack. The church is invulnerable to the powers of hell. Satan has no real power over Christ and His church itself.

Any force opposed to Christ and His Kingdom will fail. The power of Christ's resurrection will resurrect bodily the redeemed, death or forces of evil will not be able to conquer the redeemed. Death has no hold over those in Christ.

Christ has promised to preserve and secure His Church. The power of death was defeated by Christ and death itself cannot prevent the advance of God's Kingdom, nor can death claim victory over those who belong to God.

SCRIPTURES Matthew 16:13-19, 1 Peer 2: 4-8
QUESTIONS 1] What did Christ build His church upon? 2] What was the statement Peter made? 3] What is the name of all Christians? 4] Who is The Living Stone chosen by God?

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