Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
April 1, 2010
Last Updated :
April 1, 2010
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
We're All Precious Stones And Living Stones In God's Temple, Peter Was Not The Only Rock Or Even THE Rock, Modern Bible Believing Christians Also Possess The Keys Of The Kingdom Of Heaven, Spirit Of Exclusivity Of The Roman Catholic Church Versus Open, Free Gospel Of Jesus Christ, The Free Gift Of Salvation And Eternal Life, Roman Catholic Church Fails To Fulfill Christian Mandate, Peter's Limited Vision, A Sheet From Heaven, Paul - The Apostle To The Gentiles, Mandates Of Peter & Paul, Abiding In Our Calling, My Personal Admiration For The Apostle Peter, This Series Targets Roman Catholic Hierarchy And The Vatican And Not The Roman Catholic Laity, Lies And Deceptions Of The Vatican, A Recap Of Major Points, "I Am Of Cephas" And Dividing The Body Of Christ, Spirit Of Worldliness And Compromise Infects Early Church, Spiritual Decline Of Modern America, Warning To Church of Laodicea, Constantine I And Battle Of Milvian Bridge, Edict Of Milan, Birth Of The Roman Catholic Church, Coming Judgment Of RCC, Christians Should Be Peacemakers & Not Warmongers, Weapons Of Our Spiritual Warfare, Closing Scriptures And Remarks
You will notice that in the previous group of verses, we are specifically told that the Twelve Foundations of the Heavenly City are "garnished with all manner of precious stones". The Apostles were obviously aware of this truth even during their lifetimes. Furthermore, I suspect that these precious stones may possibly represent the souls of all of those people who have been brought to Jesus Christ through the preaching of the Gospel. After all, did the Apostle Peter not tell us that we are all living stones in God's spiritual temple? As we saw in part one of this series, Peter wrote:
"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,"
1 Peter 2:4-7, KJV
So while Jesus Christ is the one true Rock, as well as the Chief Corner Stone or Foundation Stone of God's Holy Temple, who was rejected by the unbelieving Jews of His day, in a sense, because they were reflections of Christ, and carried on His Sacred Mission after He returned to His Father, the Twelve Apostles are likewise rocks and foundation stones who are cemented together with Christ in God's Holy Temple. So, even if we accept that Jesus was referring to Peter as "this rock" in Matthew chapter sixteen, it is rather obvious from the Scriptures that this descriptive phrase was not applied to Peter alone; it was applied to all of the Apostles, as the previous verses clearly reveal. In short, we can really say -- based upon this Scriptural evidence -- that Christ has truly built His Church -- or Spiritual Temple -- upon the rocks -- plural -- of all of the holy Apostles, with Himself as the Chief Corner Stone. As we saw in part three, the Apostle Paul taught the exact same thing when he wrote:
"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;"
Ephesians 2:20, KJV
Considering this preponderance of Scriptural evidence, I personally feel that it is inappropriate to elevate the Apostle Peter beyond his measure, as the Roman Catholics attempt to do, in order to try to legitimize their faith.
Furthermore, by extension, because these Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are in essence the knowledge of Salvation, we can rightfully say that we Christians today also possess the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, because we likewise possess the knowledge and the power to bring people to Christ and to the Kingdom of Heaven, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We all possess the power to open the Door of Salvation for them, simply by sharing the Gospel of Christ with them. Whether or not they choose to enter the Door is up to them. As a result, we too are rocks and precious stones in God's Holy Temple.
Contrary to the spirit of exclusivity that has overtaken the Roman Catholic Church, to the point where they erroneously proclaim that they are the "one truth faith", the superior church, the only entity that's empowered by God to interpret the Bible, and the only church that is authorized to grant the Gift of Salvation to the world, the Scriptures preach a very open and free Gospel, as well as free Salvation, that is liberally offered to all men everywhere, as I fully explain in articles such as "Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?" and in "All Are Given A Chance, But . . .". Similar to the Scribes and the Pharisees of old, the Roman Catholic Church purposely makes it difficult for people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but this is not the way that God meant for it to be. Please consider the truth of the following verses, which plainly tell us that Salvation is freely available to all who have the faith of a little child, and will simply believe and accept Christ:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."
Isaiah 55:1-2, KJV
". . . freely ye have received, freely give."
Matthew 10:8, KJV
"And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad."
Mark 4:21-22, KJV
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Romans 8:32, KJV
"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."
Revelation 21:6, KJV
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
Revelation 22:17, KJV
By making the road to Salvation long and difficult, the RCC is in fact failing in its duty to fulfill Christianity's most important mandate; that is, the Great Commission that's found in verses such as Mark 16:15 and Acts 1:8. Ironically -- and this may come as a shock to some of you -- it is my personal belief that the Apostle Peter did not fully accomplish that mandate either, at least not personally and directly. As I explain in other articles, initially, Peter, like some of the other Jewish Apostles, was of the belief that Salvation and the Kingdom of God was only meant for those who were born Jewish. It wasn't until God gave Peter a special vision one afternoon while in Joppa, that Peter finally realized that the Gospel of Christ was meant for all men, including for the Gentiles. Following is Peter's vision, as it is recorded in the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts:
"On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven."
Acts 10:9-16, KJV
While Peter came to understand that the Gospel of Christ, and by extension, Salvation, was meant for both Jews and Gentiles alike, nevertheless, upon reading the Book of Acts, we learn that other than a few journeys outside of Israel, Peter for the most part remained stationed in Jerusalem, from where he and the other primary Apostles directed the Early Church. As I point out in articles such as "Biblical Cafeteria, Or The Whole Course?", while the key was indeed turned, and the Door of the Kingdom was opened to the Gentiles of the world, this feat was not accomplished so much by Peter, as it was by the Apostle Paul; who in his own words, became the "Apostle of the Gentiles", as we see here:
"For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:"
Romans 11:13, KJV
In all honesty, if we compare the Gentile population of the world to the actual Jewish population at that time, it is easy to see that the Apostle Paul had a considerably larger mandate than that of the Apostle Peter. As I explain in the aforementioned article, it was a direct result of the labors of love of the Apostle Paul that much of Europe, Western Asia and the Mediterranean area heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while the Apostle Peter's influence was in large part limited to Israel and the Jews who either lived there, or else came to visit there. This is both historical and Biblical fact.
This is not to suggest that the Apostle Paul was in any way greater than Peter. That is not the purpose of my comments. It is merely to demonstrate that these two Apostles had very different ministries; and that the scope of Paul's ministry was considerably larger than that of the Apostle Peter's. Furthermore, Paul recognized and respected the fact that he and Peter were given very different ministries by the Lord, but that these two ministries complemented each other, and worked towards the same goal of Salvation for the world. As Paul would write in his Epistles:
"Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand."
Romans 15:20-21, KJV
"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called . . . Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God."
1 Corinthians 7:20, 24, KJV
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."
2 Corinthians 10:12-18, KJV
"But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."
Galatians 2:7-9, KJV
While some Roman Catholics will obviously be offended, and possibly even angered by the contents of this series, I want to emphasize here that the purpose of this series has not been to lambast or to dishonor the Apostle Peter. In fact, personally, I have tremendous admiration and respect for the man. As I explain in the article "Peter: Faith Tried In The Fire", in spite of his personal weaknesses and shortcomings, through all of his trials and tribulations, Peter became a great Apostle, and a pillar and leader in the First Century Church, whom God used greatly. Not only that, but as we saw earlier, just like so many other Christians down through the ages, Peter loved not his life unto the death. Following in the footsteps of his Master, Peter was willing to pay the ultimate price for his beliefs. Consider this verse:
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Revelation 12:11, KJV
Allow me to also add that the purpose of this series has not been to condemn the Roman Catholic laity. I've known a number of Roman Catholics during my lifetime, and some of them are rather sweet, humble people. The purpose of this series has been to expose the deceptions of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Vatican, and to show you through a study of the Bible, why the Roman Catholic Church is a false church, and a false religion, that has been built upon centuries of lies; and not only lies and deception, but untold violence and bloodshed as well. That this same type of deception continues today is quite evident by the scandals which continue to rock the RCC today, such as the many incidents of pedophilia which have purposely been concealed by the Vatican and its underlings.
It is vital that you understand that the entire legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church rests upon their belief that Peter was their very first pope. As we have now clearly seen, it is through this alleged connection to the Apostle Peter, that the RCC claims that they are the church which was founded by Jesus Christ almost two thousand years ago. As we have also seen, this so-called "papal connection" -- or "Apostolic Succession" -- simply does not exist, because it cannot be demonstrated from God's Word that Peter ever went to Rome, or that he ever accepted the position of pope. In spite of this fact, Roman Catholics continue to shout to the world "I am of Cephas!". As you may recall, earlier, we discussed the fact that "Cephas" was the Aramaic name that Jesus gave to Peter. So by making the false claim "I am of Cephas!", or "I am of Peter!", Roman Catholics are not only dividing the Body of Christ, but they are arrogantly and proudly elevating themselves above other Bible-believing Christians, and that is simple wrong!
It may surprise you to know that the First Century Apostles encountered this very same problem. Different groups were beginning to form around different individuals, including around Peter; thus the Apostle Paul became rather fed up with the situation and wrote the following verses:
"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? . . ."
1 Corinthians 1:11-13a, KJV
Amazing, isn't it? People simply never change. Sadly, the situation is probably a lot worse today, because not only are we further removed from Christ and the Original Apostles, but also because there are many more Christian denominations and churches, each with their own particular set of beliefs and doctrines. As with the Apostle Paul, all that we can say is the following:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
As we discussed earlier, the only way in which the Roman Catholic Church can validate some of their doctrines, is by relying upon the questionable and obscure writings of the so-called "Church Fathers"; none of whom were actually alive at the time of Christ and the first Apostles and Disciples; and many of whom lived hundreds of years later. We have also seen that the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today did not even come into existence until the first part of the 4th Century, hundreds of years after the time of Christ. By that time, all of the original Apostles were dead, and a great deal of doctrinal compromise had found its way into our body of beliefs. Furthermore, a dangerous spirit of worldliness had also crept into our faith. The Apostle John -- who many believe was the last surviving original Apostle -- was even concerned about this in his own lifetime. Thus he wrote:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV
By several centuries after John, the situation within God's Church must have grown even worse. The spirit of compromise with the world must have surely increased, because that is the nature of things. If you doubt that this is so, consider the tragic history of the United States of America. If one takes the time to read historical documents from two hundred years ago, it becomes evident that many of the founders of the nation were God-fearing men of faith. Today, that faith is hardly recognizable in modern American society. Abortion is freely available and millions of innocent lives have been extinguished. Homosexuality runs rampant, even within some so-called "Christian" churches. Embryonic stem cell research is an acceptable form of murder. The use of illegal drugs is way out of control and is a multi-billion dollar business. Prostitution has become both tolerated and acceptable. On TV shows and in movies, violence and promiscuity have reached unprecedented levels. And on and on the sad list goes. All the while, many Americans go to church every weekend.
So the lesson is clear. Spiritual compromise can happen in a short period of time. The white-hot flames of devotion and faith can slowly die, and a church -- or society -- that was once like the healthy, biblical Church of Philadelphia, can slowly evolve into a church -- or society -- like the sad, wretched Church of Laodicea, of whom it was said:
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Revelation 3:14-19, KJV
But let us return to the past for a moment. As I explained earlier in this series, the tragic result of this spirit of compromise overtaking the Early Christian Church -- and this flirtation with worldliness, comfortable living and power, was a serious compromise between several hundred bishops of the 4th Century, and the shrewd, power-hungry Roman emperor Constantine I. It was as a direct result of this compromise, which was embodied in the Edict of Milan of 313 AD, that the Roman Catholic Church came into existence. To reiterate my point, the birth of the Roman Catholic Church did not occur in the First Century as Roman Catholic propagandists like to claim, but rather several hundred years later during the 4th Century.
While some Christian sources -- particularly Roman Catholic sources -- attempt to gloss over the events of the Fourth Century, and try to paint Constantine I as a devout believer who fully embraced the Christian faith as a result of the alleged vision that he experienced near the Milvian Bridge, personally, I have serious reservations regarding the entire affair. As you may know, according to the story that's been passed down through the centuries, prior to approaching the Tiber River and the Milvian Bridge, where they would fight against the forces of Maxentius, Constantine I and his men experienced a vision or sign in the sky. The alleged vision consisted of a cross superimposed on the sun, along with the Latin words "In hoc signo vinces", which is translated into English as "In This Sign, Conquer". Constantine interpreted the vision as a sign that God would assist him in defeating the forces of Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, and it is said that they painted the cross on their shields. We are told by several ancient historians -- such as Lactantius and Eusebius of Caesarea -- that Constantine did defeat his enemy -- Maxentius -- at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312.
With this victory behind him -- which he attributed to the God of the Christians -- it was during the following year that Constantine I signed the Edict of Milan, which resulted in Christianity becoming a legalized religion throughout the Roman Empire. It has been said that it was at that time that the persecuted Christian Church moved out of the coliseums of Rome, and into the grand stands. Thus, Roman politics was married to Christianity, and the whore symbolically began to ride the beast. Sadly, she has been riding it ever since, to her own shame.
Today, many centuries later, the Roman Catholic Church has become a wealthy, powerful, multi-billion dollar, worldwide empire, filled with corruption, perversion and sin. But, it must be noted that this church is not founded upon the Blood of Jesus Christ as she claims, but rather upon the blood of the poor, the oppressed, the persecuted and the slain, which number literally in the millions. However, it may possibly be that the hour of her judgment is finally upon her. As a result of her sins, such as pedophile priests who abuse the innocent while the church knowingly looks the other way, God may be about to bring her to the ground. As the Apostle Peter wrote so long ago:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
1 Peter 4:17-18, KJV
The previous story concerning the Battle of Milvian Bridge reminds me a lot of the so-called "Christian" Crusades and the battle to retake Jerusalem. As I explain in a number of my political articles, based on my personal understanding of the Bible, I don't believe for a minute that God encourages Christians anywhere to go to war; neither does He encourage them to kill people; yet just like Muslim extremists, that's exactly what some so-called "Christians" have been doing for centuries. It seems rather hypocritical to me that Western Christians condemn Muslim extremists for their violent acts, when some of those Christians do the exact same thing under the supposed banner of cultivating freedom and democracy, and fighting their war against terrorism. The truth is that we Christians are not ancient Jews, and we are not fighting against the Philistines. We are New Testament Christians who are supposed to be following the peaceful teachings of Jesus Christ and His First Century Apostles. Exactly what do they teach us? Consider the following verses:
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:5, KJV
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9, KJV
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."
Matthew 26:52, KJV
We are supposed to be peacemakers between God and men. We are supposed to be evangelists and soul savers and not warmongers or nation builders. The only nation that we are supposed to be interested in building is the Kingdom of God on Earth; and it is built with the Love of God, and not with fear and hate. Furthermore, the only war that we should be engaged in is the war against Satan, sin and unbelief in the hearts and minds of men; and as the Scriptures plainly inform us, this war is spiritual in nature. Thus, it requires spiritual weapons to fight it, as we see by the following verses:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
2 Timothy 4:7, KJV
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:10-12, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
With these sober verses, I will bring this series to a close. If you currently find yourself trapped within the nets of the Roman Catholic Church, it is my hope that this series will provide you with the necessary tools which will enable you to discover the truth regarding the RCC, and hopefully free you from the snares of the same.
If you have enjoyed reading this series, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click or on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, I encourage you to study the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, or which contain topics which are related to this series, and which are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server:
Cardinal Ratzinger's Rebellion
Have You Read the New Scriptures Yet?
History of the Authorized KJV Bible
Lying Wonders of the Endtime
Mary Worship, Christianity and Roman Catholicism
Our Pagan World: The Easter Myth Exposed!
Pontifex Maximus: Pagan High Priest to Roman Catholic Pope
Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Trinity
The Misguided End of the World Predictions of Harold Camping
To Pray or Not to Pray? That is the Question
Who is Babylon the Great?