Eliakim and Peter

I’m not sure if this is the case among Eastern Christians in communion with Rome, but I have often heard Eastern Orthodox Christians contest the parallel between Eliakim in Isaiah 22 and Peter in Matthew 16. I have heard it claimed that this parallel has no roots even in Latin tradition and was invented by modern Latin apologists in recent decades. Today as I was at holy mass, however, I noticed that the Church does indeed link these passages in her liturgy. Take a look at the readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, on the Ordinary Form Latin calendar: usccb.org/nab/082408.shtml.


I’m not sure what referencing a barely 50 year old lectionary does for your point? :confused:

Yours in Christ

It demonstrates that it is part of the Latin tradition and supported by the Magisterium…not the invention of late 20th-century lay apologists as some claim.

But the current Lectionary was compiled in the late 20th century :confused:

I never heard any reference to Isaiah and the Papacy until these past couple of days, and I have been Catholic all my life.

I don’t put much stock in it.

I agree that it’s presence in a Novus Ordo lectionary proves little about it having a long tradition: it being in a previous lectionary on a pertinant day would be a more salient point. Especially since the NO was little short of a radical break from Latin liturgical tradition.

God Bless,

I just finished reading Scott Hahn’s Reasons to Believe. In the last chapter he once presented a paper at a doctoral seminar and spent a grueling two and a half hour session defending it to his professors and fellow students. The subject? That Matthews reference to the Keys cites an obscure verse in Isaiah.

He notes that earlier scholars, both Catholic and Protestant had noticed the citation, but he felt that he had fresh insight into its portrayal of Jesus as the Davidic king and the Church as the restored kingdom. It was this, and others like it, that led him to become Catholic. He notes that his professors and fellow students were impressed, but not half as impressed as he was.

It was a major disappointment when, a few weeks later, he found the two readings supporting each other in the mass readings and realized that they didn’t get there by accident. :smiley:

wynd and Allyson:

I think it’s a little unfair to assume that the modern Ordinary Form was totally pulled out of thin air. Anyone who looks at the liturgical reforms fairly, not taking into account the sad abuses we saw during the last couple decades, realizes that many ancient traditions were drawn upon in compiling the new liturgy. Regardless the Catholic Encyclopedia makes the same comparison 100 years a go…so it can’t be an NO invention (from newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm:

“And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” In the following verse (Matthew 16:19) He promises to bestow on Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

The words refer evidently to Isaiah 22:22, where God declares that Eliacim, the son of Helcias, shall be invested with office in place of the worthless Sobna:

And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open.

In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ’s words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place.

“And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Further the character and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to “bind” and to “loose” – words which, as is shown below, denote the grant of legislative and judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification.

It is certain that the Church Fathers did not write of any relationship between these two pericopes. Even Augustine and Ambrose write of the Keys of the Kingdom as a passing on of the power of Jesus to the Church (and not to the individual, Peter). Such a connection, while not a matter of post-Vatican II theology, is indeed a later development (arising around the time of Vatican I).

Deacon Ed

Only thing is, Jesus gave them to Peter! Of course, they were given to him with the understanding that it was an office he was being given, and office which would continue after him, and not merely some personal honor that would die with him.

That is, indeed, the way the Church looks at this today. As I said, both St. Ambrose and St. Augustine saw it differently. Here’s one example of what Augustine said:

One wicked man represents the whole body of the wicked; in the same way as Peter, the whole body of the good, yea, the body of the Church, but in respect to the good. For if in Peter’s case there were no sacramental symbol of the Church, the Lord would not have said to him, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” If this was said only to Peter, it gives no ground of action to the Church. But if such is the case also in the Church, that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven,–for when the Church excommunicates, the excommunicated person is bound in heaven; when one is reconciled by the Church, the person so reconciled is loosed in heaven:–if such, then, is the case in the Church, Peter, in receiving the keys, represented the holy Church.

This is found in paragraph 12 of his Lectures on the Gospel of St. John in Lecture 50, Chapter 11, 55-57.

Deacon Ed

Deacon Ed:

How does that quote contradict, in any way, Catholic teaching on the keys? Where does the Church say that the keys are exercised by the papacy alone? Never…the Catholic Church clearly teaches that the “supreme authority” of the Church (as represented by the keys) is exercised by the pope AND the bishops in union with him…

Regardless, other Fathers clearly support the idea of Peter receiving the keys in particular. The apostles at large receive the power of binding and loosing two chapters later in Matthew 18.

Even if up until recently there was no comparison between Peter and Eliakim, why does that discredit the position?

Even Augustine and Ambrose were recent at one time.

To be sure plenty of ECFs associated the keys with Peter or to the Church through Peter.

To the OP, the literary structure of the Isaiah and Matthew passages are quite striking when viewed side-by-side:

Isaiah 22:22 And I will place on his shoulder the KEY of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the KEYS of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
As well, Mark Bonocore notes some worthy allusions in the early Church connecting the Isaiah passage to the Matthew passage, including from St. John Cassian and Aphraates the Sage, for example. Link to Bonocore’s article here.

*St. John Cassian (ca AD 362-435) “O Peter, Prince of Apostles, it is just that you should teach us, since you were yourself taught by the Lord; and also that you should open to us the gate of which you have received the Key (singular). Keep out all those who are undermining the heavenly House; turn away those who are trying to enter through false caverns and unlawful gates since it is certain that no one can enter in at the gate of the Kingdom except the one unto whom the Key (singular), placed by you in the churches, shall open it.”

Aphraates (ca 330 AD) “David handed over the Kingdom to Solomon and was gathered to his people; and Jesus handed over the Keys to Simon and ascended and returned to Him Who sent Him.”*

More importantly, and Bonocore touches on this, that the Matthew-Isaiah connection is consistent with the unique role of Peter and his successors. Certainly no Church Father denied such a comparison. So if the comparison was made later, in light of modern contextual criticism and literary structures, so what? It complements Tradition, not contradicts it. If genuine debate were to arise in the Church, who will settle the matter?.. :rolleyes:

I’ve mentioned this “proof text” in several places. This is the first I’ve got any response.

My first problem is that the Douay-Rheims Bible, a translation made in the English Reformation to bolster the supremacy of the pope of Rome over the King of England, not only does NOT make a connection to Matthew, but also identifies Eliakim as a "figure of Christ"

Second, I’ve yet to see a Latin apologist who does NOT stop on verse 24. The text goes on:
25 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the peg be removed, that was fastened in the sure place: and it shall be broken and shall fall: and that which hung thereon, shall perish, because the Lord hath spoken it.

I would recommend reading Steve Ray on this

Or my own discourse in a public debate (see post #15)

Jimmy Akin also explains this to a caller on Catholic Answers Live from Feb. 9, 2001. You might have to listen to the whole episode, I don’t remember whereabouts it was.

All of these off the top of my head cover the “falling” aspect of the peg of Isaiah. I think Scott Hahn also touched on this, and I will post a link if I come across it.

David B. Currie, an apologist who converted to Catholicism from fundamentalism DOES address this:

Remember, in the passage about Eliakim, TWO images are used: the keys, and the peg.

the keys represent the office, and apermanent office, which is occupied. In the OT passage, that office is Prime Minister of Israle. The keys, like the office, existed before the individual and will exist after the individual. In the NT passage, the keys represent a different, but similar office: that of the Head of Christ’s Church (which is the new Israle; just as Eliakim was the leader of Israel, so too is the Pope).

However, notice that the image of the Peg is NOT used with Peter as it is used with Eliakim. The peg represents the individual, in this case, Eliakim. And Eliakim was indeed torn down, as was the peg that represented him, though his office (the keys) continued after him.

Hello twf,

I am sorry if I came off stronger than I intended. Liturgical abuses aside (that I did not actually have in mind), there are some scholarly textual studies that examine the latin text of the old mass and the latin text of the new mass, and it is radically different. One that I know of is in the Thomist, and was written by a woman with the last name of Pristas . I think I have the pdf somewhere, but I can’t find it to give the full citation right now. PM me if you are interested. I understand the general gist of her article to be that the text is a radical break from the “textual” liturgical tradition. Now that does not mean that it all comes from no where, only that it is simply nearly 40 years old and novel, compared to 2000 years of the existence of the Church. It can not stand alone as a representation of tradition. Tradition after all is broader that one little text. :wink: Thank you for adding another citation. I am interested to know is it was a pairing in the previous liturgical books, and how far back that goes.

God Bless,

The first point is very interesting. On your second point, what is the significance of v. 25 that you would like to see, or think is the reason why it is not often commented on by Latin apologists?

I felt like I was hanging when I read it. :wink: I don’t deal much in apologetic rhetoric, and so I very unfamiliar with all of this as I have said before.

God Bless,

I don’t place an enormous amount of importance on v. 25, as it can be explained if you are insisting on using it as a proof text (as the posting above shows). However, when the quote stops a verse short of the entire pericope, I wonder why the next verse is dropped out.

A very good point. Thanks for the response; it was what I was looking for. Speaking of pericopes, an analysis was posted on the thread of the first half of each (OT and NT in question) and I thought to myself, “where’s the second half, and where’s the second half of the other one? Do the second halves even even correspond at all?”

I am cautious about proof texting. It is a tool, but it can be abused.

Since the OT presents the foreshadowing of Christ, I do not see why it in necessary that it foreshadow Peter. Christ kinda matters a bit more. :stuck_out_tongue:

God Bless,

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