Isaiah 22:20-24 and 25?

This verse appears to be prophecy about the Papacy;

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliacim, the son of Helcias. And I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda. 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. And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place: and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, divers kinds of vessels, every little vessel: from the vessels of cup even to every instrument of music.” (Isaiah 22:20-24)

Seems fine, right? Except then it goes on to say,

“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 an dshall fall: and that which hung thereon shall perish, because the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 22:25)

So what does this mean?

The Papacy may in some way be analogically applied to it, but only to a very minor extent. I find it acceptable what the Early Church Fathers say about this passage…

Eusebius says this in his commentary on Isaiah

Therefore, God will give the glory of David the most just and gentle king, in order to rule the people with great authority, so that none will gainsay his deeds. He will be rooted, established and placed securely at his ministry, so that no glorious member of the poeple shall contend or contrive envy, nor shall jealousy ever come into being on his account, but they shall ‘trust in him as in a father.’

St. Cyril has this in his commentary on Isaiah

Yet what is the house of Christ’s Father if not the Church? And who are glorious according to the judgment of this world. On the opposite they may be very small people according to judgment. But God is just and unprejedudiced. He repays everyone according to the measure of the spiritual age, as in that respect some are fathers yet others are still toddlers, babies and teenagers.

Isaiah 22 is NOT a prophecy about the Papacy; it is merely a foreshadowing of the institution. It shows the importance of the keys in the Davidic kingdom and the clear parallels between the king and his prime minister.

As a Type of the Papacy, Isaiah shows yet another indication that the failings of the OT Covenant are perfected in Christ’s New Covenant.

Just as Adam, who was a type of Christ, failed; Just as the crossing of the Red Sea was a type of Baptism, and yet the Israelites still broke the Covenant, we see the Prime Minister in Judah failing to uphold his role in the Kingdom.

But in the NT, Christ never failed, Baptism saves us, and the Papacy will be the visible head of a Church of whom against “the Gates of Hell will not prevail”.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit