Question about the Papacy and Isaiah 22:22


Isaiah 22:22 reads

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.

Septuagint reading:

I will give him the glory of David and he shall rule and no one will oppose him.

Matthew 16:18-19

[17] And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
[18] And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death (gates of hell) shall not prevail against it.
[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.”

My question is: Why is there a distinction between the “key” in Isaiah 22 and the “keys” in Matthew 16. What does this difference indicate? Why is the type singular while the fulfillment is plural?


Correction: Other versions of the Septuagint officially refer to the key of David. However, the Eastern Orthodox Study Bible (translation of the Septuagint omits this part of the verse.)


Never understood why people used Isaiah 22:22 as a reference to the Papacy, if you read the following verses this doesn’t seem to be the case at all and fits more as a reference to Christ.

[20] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliacim the son of Helcias,[21] 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. [22] 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.** [23] 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.** [24] 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 cups even to every instrument of music. [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.**

*from the Douay-Rheims version

In verse 23 it talks about this “peg” being a throne of glory to the house of his father (God), and in verse 25 it talks about the peg being removed, and it shall break and fall (reference to the crucifixion?); so this seems to fit a lot more to Christ than the papacy. If not, then when the passage speaks of the peg breaking and falling what does this mean? That we should expect the papacy to fall?


Isaiah 22 absolutely refers to a type of the Papacy

Prime Minister in David’s Kingdom

Isaiah 22:22
I will give him the glory of David and he shall rule and no one will oppose him. 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. [23] 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.

Prime Minister in Christ’s Kingdom

Matthew 16:18-19:
And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19]And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

The clear difference between the two is that the fulfillment is given a promise that it will not fail unlike the type. The fulfillment excels further than the type. Jesus sits on David’s throne, therefore he absolutely established the office of prime minister.


(…is that a reference to Pat’s song–screen name?)Hi!
…could it be that the direct reference is to the House of Israel (singular nation) vs. the many Gentile nations?

Maran atha!



Surely Jesus possesses the keys to do with what he wishes. And clearly He gave them to a man He named Peter.

… from Haydock’s commentary:

Shoulder. Here the marks of dignity were worn. Eliacim was appointed master of the palace, over all the other servants. (Calmet) — Thus we may gather what power Christ conferred on St. Peter, when he gave him thekeys of heaven, Matthew xvi. 19., and Apocalypse iii. 7. (Haydock)

Verse 24

House. He shall be the ornament of the priesthood. —Music. All affairs in church and state shall be at his disposal.

I can not reconcile this passage with Protestantism. That’s my conviction. Jesus addresses the foundation which He will build His Church, He renames Simon “rock”, and invokes the office of Prime Minister (Keys) and gives it to Peter.

And it’s not alone in Scripture. We have evidence of Jesus setting Peter apart from the others, and praying that he strengthens, feeds, and shepherds His sheep. If I want to be one of Jesus’ sheep, why would I reject who He places as the Steward?

We all are called to Stewardship and Jesus is the eternal Chief Shepherd. But there are leaders and rulers in His kingdom. He is a God of law, order and government. Not a democracy, but a monarchy, since He is King.


I heard a Roman Catholic scholar (Dr. Tim Gray) teach that the significance between these 2 passages was that keys are a symbol of kingdom authority. The Key of David was given as a symbol of kingdom authority, therefore Keys to the kingdom of Heaven also signify kingdom authority.

We see in Revelation 3:7 that at the time of John’s revelation Jesus is the one who holds the Key of David and the powers associated with it. So the keys given to Peter are different than this key. The significance of the keys in Matthew 16 and who exactly are the recipients of the keys has been a source of debate throughout Christianity.

I have looked but have been unable to find any early documentation relating Isaiah 22 to Matthew 16. As far as I am aware this is a modern understanding and not an association immediately recognized. I don’t know who first taught this association.


Yes, Jesus is owner of the keys. All authority and power is His. He never relinquished His authority, but issues it through the Church. There is an order to authority, so that issues can be resolved for those who are obedient to authority. The term “keys” are obviously symbolic, but what they mean is not mere symbolism. It is real substantial authority.

I have heard the claim that there is no early interpretation connecting these two passages. I respect your research, so I won’t deny that, but maybe take it with a grain of salt.

One of the strongest testimonies to the supremacy of Peter and his successors in Rome is St Jerome’s letter to Damasus. I am surprised he did not use Isaiah 22, with all the things he did mention.


I have brought this up here before in discussions with Protestants, that Simon was given a new name, Peter, by Jesus. In the Bible, every time a person had been give a new name by God (Abraham, Sarah, Jacob for example), that person received a new identity or mission. I don’t recall any Protestant who would give me their understanding of Peter’s name change and what it meant to the foundation of the Church of Jesus. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Of course Jesus knew Peter’s name and so did all the other disciples standing there, so why did he say it this way?


I think it is possible to believe that the name change was significant, but that it wasn’t meant to create a papacy. Neither Abraham, Sarah nor Jacob had a line of successors providing supreme and universal leadership. What indicated that this would happen with Simon-Peter?


…wow, your exegesis is quite… well: Abram to Abraham (“in you all families in the earth will be blessed” yeah, no biggie); Sarai to Sarah (“I will bless her”…kings will come from her–yep, again, you got me, nooo biggie); Jacob… well that was his name, but Yahweh God changed it to Israel (yep, nothing! …oh, wait, isn’t Israel God’s Chosen People and did He not refer to Israel, er Jacob, as His Firstborn?)

Please, do not generalize about God’s intentions!

Here’s a little site I ran into while answering your post:

God does all for the glory of His name. As He is the author of creation, let’s begin with His name. God is Elohim. His name is Yahweh: (

Maran atha!



I definitely think each name change signified something significant. Don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think any of the name changes started a papacy or a chain of successive supreme leaders. We just disagree on what the significance is.


Yet, the Church has never based the name change as the origin of Cephas’ delegated authority; rather the Church points to Jesus’ Word when He singles out Simon, changes his name, and Commissions the Church (as I understand it, the term (ekklesia) means community/assembly); yet, Jesus goes all out by not limiting His Delegation to a communion of people but by joining both Heaven and earth on His bequest (the legacy given to Peter: the Keys of the Kingdom and the Power to forgive (loosen) or not to forgive (tie/bind). Jesus demonstrates this singularity (Cephas alone) when He reveals that Satan has asked to thrash them all as wheat is thrashed and that He has prayed for Peter so that his Faith in God would not falter (be dissolved) so that he may bring the others together–these same to which Jesus Command’s (Peter alone) to show his Love of Him by caring, protecting, and nourish them.

The name change is the perk (enhancement of status, affiliation, and responsibility) not the origin of St. Peter’s Office.

Maran atha!



I think jchriton is on to something about the meaning of the names. The names Abraham, Sarah and Isreal all mean what the people became. Sooo…What does it mean to be called Rock? Who else is called Rock? (besides Simon?)


The confession of Peter is definitely “a rock” of all confessions of the faith. And Peter is also “a rock” of all Christian leaders.

They are two distinct things. One is a statement, and the other is an officer. Both are confirmed by the Father and the Son.


Abraham: Isaiah 51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

Deuteronomy 32:4
“The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

Deuteronomy 32:15
“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked— You are grown fat, thick, and sleek— Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation.

Deuteronomy 32:18
“You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.

Deuteronomy 32:30-31
“How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had given them up? “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.

1 Samuel 2:2
“There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.

2 Samuel 22:2
He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

2 Samuel 22:3
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.

2 Samuel 22:32
“For who is God, besides the Lord? And who is a rock, besides our God?

2 Samuel 22:47
“The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,

2 Samuel 23:3
“The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me, ‘He who rules over men righteously, Who rules in the fear of God,

Psalm 18:2
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:31
For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God,

Psalm 18:46
The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be the God of my salvation,

Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 28:1
A Prayer for Help, and Praise for Its Answer. ] A Psalm of David. ] To You, O Lord, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me, For if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit.

Psalm 31:2
Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, A stronghold to save me.

Psalm 31:3
For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

Psalm 42:9
I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

Psalm 61:2
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 62:2
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Psalm 62:6-7
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

Psalm 71:3
Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 78:35
And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.

Psalm 89:26
“He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’

Psalm 92:15
To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Psalm 94:22
But the Lord has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge.

Psalm 95:1
Praise to the Lord, and Warning against Unbelief. ] O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Psalm 144:1
Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity. ] A Psalm of David. ] Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle;

Isaiah 17:10
For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god.

Isaiah 26:4
“Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.

Isaiah 30:29
You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival, And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute, To go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.

Isaiah 44:8
‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’”

Habakkuk 1:12
Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O Lord, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct.

Isaiah 8:14
“Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 10:4
and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
(speaking of the Israelites in the desert)

1 Peter 2:8
and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
(Isaiah 8:14)

Romans 9:33
just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
(Isaiah 8:14)


For before he was called Simon. Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and that in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. “Therefore,” he says, “You are Peter; and upon this Rock” which you have confessed, upon this Rock which you have acknowledged, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;” that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, “will I build My Church.” I will build you upon Myself, not Myself upon you.
Augustine - Sermon 26 Chapter 1 -


Jesus is the source and the summit of the Catholic faith. He is the founder, not anyone else. But this passage is establishing authority bestowed on a Steward who confessed the Christ. Remember, Jesus called Simon “Peter” BEFORE this confession!

John 1
He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).42He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Jesus is The Rock who sets a follower apart for an office, a role for unity of brotherhood. Jesus is the faith. Peter is the chief steward.


Hi Babs!
…this is exactly what scares non-Catholic Christians… if they allow the Holy Spirit to widen their understanding… they will have to divest themselves of all misconceptions, disbeliefs, and paranoia about the Authority of the Church–they would have to stop the splintering and return Home! :yup::yup::yup:

Maran atha!



Hi, Susan!
…do you understand that you’ve just made the point/argument for the Church?

The Church does not profess to know St. Peter as the Rock of Salvation nor as the Rock of Faith; the Church understand that Christ is the Only Corner Stone, the Rock of Israel, which is set for the Fall and Salvation of many.

The Church also understands that Christ Founded His Church on Cephas because Christ would not leave the Believers without a physical counselor and guide… have you read through the Gospels? If you have, you would no doubt agree with me that only Simon Peter constantly demonstrated his determination to Follow Christ–conversely, while St. John reveals to us that he was Jesus’ beloved Disciple, it was only Cephas who became Jesus’ right-hand man (not from Simon’s greater abilities, intellect or design).

Maran atha!


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