Wouldn't it be reasonable for Jesus to appoint a prime minister, thus establishing the papacy?




If Jesus came as the son of David to reign upon the throne of David (St. Peter says as much in his pentecostal sermon in Acts of the Apostles with regard to the resurrection of Jesus), and if one of the key institutions of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom was that of the Prime Minister for Vizier (See Isaiah 22:19-23) then wouldn't it seem reasonable and biblical for Jesus to have appointed Peter as his Prime Minister, thus instituting the papacy? (See Matthew 16:16-19, and the inherent typology).

I've always found arguments from Catholic writers fascinating in their indirect logic based on human reasoning.

"Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: "Go, proceed to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say: 'What have you here, and whom have you here, that you have hewn a sepulcher here, as he who hews himself a sepulcher on high, who carves a tomb for himself in a rock? Indeed, the LORD will throw you away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you. He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there your glorious chariots shall be the shame of your master's house. So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position he will pull you down. Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father's house. They will hang on him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken'" (Isaiah 22:15-25).

While you applied this prophecy to Christ and Peter, the words of the prophet Isaiah are quite clear. The prophecy is directed to a man name Shebna who was treasurer of overseer of the house. God states that he is going to be replaced by another man named Eliakim. Such occurred because during the invasion of Sennacherib, Eliakim is mentioned as being the overseer of the house. "And Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came out to him" (Isaiah 36:3). The Shebna mentioned in this verse is believed to be a different person from the Shebna who was over the house.

While the prophecy mentions keys and opening and shutting gates, it is not a messianic prophecy. It is a fancy way of saying that Eliakim would have complete authority that would not be overridden. Jesus used similar terminology to tell Peter that he would be given authority. However, what is commonly ignored by Catholics is that this same authority was also given to the other apostles. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:18-20). We see the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to Peter and the other apostles when Jesus gave the great commission. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Thus, your claim is not reasonable, but merely a twist of Scripture attempting to justify what you have already decided to do.

I believe you misunderstood me.  I did not say that Isaiah 22 is a prophecy of Christ and Peter.  Rather, this passage indicates that the office of Prime Minister is a part of the Davidic Kingdom, and the "keys" are an indicative symbol of this office.  If Jesus is the Davidic King, the son of David, who came in the line of David to renew the Davidic Covenant (cf. II Samuel 7), then doesn't it seem reasonable that he is appointing Peter as his Prime Minister in Matthew 16, considering that he mirrors Isaiah 22 in his terminology?  Jesus does this often in the Gospels.  He uses words and phrases that are taken from the Old Testament, and those who know the Old Testament well, are able to mine the riches of what he is communicating.  This is especially evident in Matthew's Gospel.

I'm interpreting the passage on its own merit with the parallel to Isaiah in terminology, the nature of Jesus as the Davidic King, the reality of the vizier or prime ministry, and the symbolism of "the keys" in the Israelite and other pagan kingdom structures.

Yes, I agree that the other 11 Apostles were given ministerial authority in Matthew 18, but only the keys were given to Peter.

The Davidic King had a cabinet of ministers, all who held authority, but he only had one prime minister.  The eastern term for this office is vizier.

"Isaiah 22:25ff undoubtedly lies behind this [Matthew 16:19] saying.  The keys are the symbol of authority, and Roland de Vaux (Ancient Israel, tr. by John McHugh [New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961], 129 ff.) rightly sees here the same authority as that vested in the vizier, the master of the house, the chamberlain of the royal household in ancient Israel.  Eliakim is described as having the same authority in Isaiah; ... and Jothan as regent is also described as 'over the household' (II Kings 15:5)." W.F. Albright and C.S. Mann, The Anchor Bible: Matthew, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971), 196.

The kings of Israel did have ministers to aid them in running the country as well as operating their own personal household. The word in Isaiah 22:15 is cakan in the Hebrews, which means "to routinely do, to profit." As used in this verse, it refers to a steward or an attendant. Since profit is involved, some translations render this word as "treasurer." Shebna's replacement, Eliakim, is said to be "over the household" (Isaiah 36:3; II Kings 18:18, 37); thus, the position appears to be that of steward of the king's personal household. Therefore, your first contention that this referred to a vizier or prime minister, isn't supported. Such an office implies executive or even legislative power which is not implied in the text.

Second, your argument is that Jesus came to renew the covenant made to David, implying a continuation of past agreements. God did not promise a continuation but a replacement of His covenant with Israel. "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD" (Jeremiah 31:31-32). Jesus also stated that his duty was to fulfill (bring to a completion) the Old Law. "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18). Thus, looking back, Paul said, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4).

Therefore, because there was a complete replacement of the covenant of Moses with the covenant of Christ, it is not necessarily inferred that offices under the Old Law carry forward in some form under the New Law. This was a point made by the writer of Hebrews when he argued that Jesus is now our High Priest as well as our King. "For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood" (Hebrews 7:14). This change implies that the Law changed with the coming and death of Christ. Just because the Old Testament kingdom had a particular office, it does not imply that the kingdom of Christ carries the same office -- unless such is stated in the New Testament. You are applying offices from a physical kingdom under the laws of Moses to the spiritual kingdom that exists under the laws of Christ (John 18:36).

Keys are often a symbol of delegated authority. Jesus states that after his resurrection he holds the keys of Hades and death (Revelation 1:18). He also holds the key of David: "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens" (Revelation 3:8). While Jesus told Peter, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17-18). You are making assumptions regarding exactly what authority was being given to Peter and assuming that the other apostles did not receive similar authority. Paul indicates that the apostles had equal authority. "For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles" (II Corinthians 11:5). When Jesus delegated authority in the his great commission, it was not given to one individual (Matthew 28:18-20). Peter did have the privilege of speaking the first gospel sermon that opened the gates to the church, but even here he stood with the other eleven (Acts 2:14).

Your elaborate argument, based solely on human reasoning and not from indications in God's word, is an attempt to elevate Peter above the other apostles because in this you see precedence for the office of Pope, which came nearly 700 years later. Even if you did prove that Peter held a special position in Jesus' kingdom (which I do not believe you proved), there remains a large hole in your goal. Nowhere is there an indication that symbolic keys given by Jesus to Peter where passed on to others. There is no equivalence of a pope selected by the votes of men to the delegation of the King to one of his servants. If Peter did have a special position, there is no indication that his office was passed on to others.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Roman Catholicism