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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Matthew 16:18 ~ Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church

Matthew 16:18 

And I tell you that you are Peter, 
and on this rock 
I will build my church, 
and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Jesus just did NOT kid around with prophetic Word.  

 Jesus took His Disciples to the city, the Herod brown nose built city of Caesarea for this day of Peter being named a rock.

  Jesus and His Disciples, James Tissot

Recently, it was pointed out to me that the word for rock here is the aramaic for pebble. That's right. God using what is weak and fallible to become strong for 2 millenniums. And 80 feet below the altar was an amazing find.


Indiana Jones style. A Pope dies. Long live the new Pope. He begins to realize that we need a new place to bury the Popes in a row, like display. Perfect place... under the Vatican. And voila the city of Rome appears during Emperor Constantine. Even the wooden doors appear.

In 1939, Pius XII began an underground excavation to organize the space into a proper underground chapel for the bones of the popes. By 1941, it had become clear that a major area of archaeological importance had been discovered. A whole street of tombs came to light, some 300 feet long, with tombs on both sides.

After more that 25 years of research, Paul VI shared his knowledge and his joy with the world on 26th June 1968: the bones of St. Peter, the rock, had been found. On the evening of the 27th, at a ceremony before the aedicula attended by the Pope, Professors Guarducci and Correnti, the bones were restored to the loculus in the Graffiti Wall. A short prayer was said and the shrine to Peter was closed off from the street of tombs by a heavy wrought iron gate.

The Graffiti Wall was very similar to the wall found in Peter's house in Capernaum ~ it declared: "Petr[os] en[i]", "Peter is here within". Alpha and omega combinations were present, as references to Christ, but they were also found in reverse order, signifying Christ's role as the gateway to eternal life. Alpha and omega might also be separated from each other and connected by a thin line. Other letters signified other mysteries: tau indicated the cross, epsilon stood for Eden and nu for "nika", victory. But most important of all, curious combinations of rho and pi were references to the apostle Peter. Not only did Guarducci uncover the spiritual richness and hunger of those who visited the Graffiti Wall, she revealed that there were no fewer than twenty references to Peter on it.

Most important of all, the remains of an elderly man, aged between 60 and 70 of robust stature with the feet missing. Peter was crucified upside down and removed from the cross without his feet. The bones also had traces of earth clinging to them, showing that they had once been interred in the ground. When Correnti carried out tests on the soil beneath the aedicula it provided a perfect match. And finally, mingling with the bones from the loculus were the slightest traces of a distinctive garment: purple in colour and containing fine strands of gold thread. Under Constantine, early in the fourth century, the bones were taken out, wrapped in an expensive purple and gold cloth as a sign of their revered status.

Sceptics do not agree that these are the bones of Peter, but faith is of substance unseen.

Basilica of Saint Peter today.

Altar of the Vatican, where Peter's bones are 80" underneath, The Vatican was built upon Peter's grave.

What does a relatively large house in ancient Capernaum have in common with the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano? They are both the homes of Peter, who loved and followed Jesus Christ. Both the house in Capernaum and the 2nd century grave site have the same graffiti proclaiming this is Peter, follower of Jesus. Where is the 2nd century grave located?

Important Dirt analysis agree and decades of archaeological studies and historical documents of Emperor Constantine - this is Peter's remains 80 feet below the altar.

Basilica of St. Peter from 331 until 17th century A.D. It was destroyed by a fire.

G is the representation of the foundation of the 4th century Church, the rest is beneath the foundation - as it would have appeared in the 4th century.

Overview of Peter's area. The undisturbed 4th century shrine for Paul's remains, built by Constantine.

Several excavated streets under the Vatican. Surrounded by tombs of the 2nd and 3rd century.

Peter's grave is 80 feet down, it took 10 years of amazing discoveries before they reached the Peter's area; most bodies clearly identified by name, art, poetry, mosaics, statuary. Pius knew they had rediscovered Peter's bones in the 2nd century grave, surrounded by the 4th century shrine built by Constantine.
Peter's bones were kept in a box. His bones were different than the others because they contained one man, wrapped in remains of purple cloth with gold thread, a tile saying "Peter is here" in Greek, was found in the box.

How the 4th century shrine appeared in 1949.

Compared to the descriptions of Constantine in  the 300s A.D.

c. 1966 the remains of Peter's house in Capernaum, Israel. Similar graffiti as Paul's tomb.

This Is the Rock that kept Peter's Bones Intact and are what the Altar is Built on Top of:

The actual  'rock' slab ceiling that kept these particular bones - intact.

The slab 'rock' that kept out moisture, thieves. Slab (a rock) helping to preserve Peter's body when the others around him were already dust.

The red wall with graffiti saying this is Peter, follower of Jesus Christ. Identical art found to Peter's home in Capernaum.

Original 2nd century tomb the 4th century tomb surrounded.

The discovered bones were found in the repository wall and later returned.

Caravaggio, Peter on the cross

1 Peter 3:14-16a
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience

Darker bones are the remaining bones of Peter.
Photos of Peter's bones.

Peter's tomb today, located under the altar in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy.

Glory to God the Father for times we need more assurances. Glory to Jesus, the friend, the Savior of Peter and the world. Glory to the Holy Spirit, helping Peter to follow God's plan.

We begin our story with Jesus

Matthew 4:19
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

We still agree in the end of the Gospels and this post - this is still about Jesus.
John 21:19
19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus knew where Peter would be buried, He knew where His Church would grow therefore He took Peter to Caesarea to give him the prophesy:

Matthew 16:18
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Peter's final resting place was rediscovered in the 1939 dig; began when Pope Pius XI died and there wasn't a good place to bury him. The workmen of Pope Pius XII discovered it wasn't going to just be pagan people underneath the floors of the Basilica. After 10 years of amazing discoveries, most bodies clearly identified by name, art, poetry, mosaics, statuary, Pius knew they had probably rediscover Peter's bones in the 2nd century grave surrounded by the 4th century shrine built by Constantine. Pius decided they would wait until the evidence looked completely irrefutable, they waited until December 23, 1950, when Pius told the world.

From 1939 to 1964, conclusions the scientists decided were:

- An"elderly man" between sixty and seventy years, about five feet seven inches tall, of heavy build, a man of robust constitution. Missing the feet bones. The bones had lain - and for a considerable period of time - in a bare earth grave. (Peter had been martyred, buried as a criminal). All these bones, it appeared, at some time after dissolution of the flesh, had been taken from the earth and wrapped in a purplish, gold-threaded cloth. Enclosed was a plaque /tile with two Greek words "Petros Eni." Peter is here.

- Many, many of the tombs had bodies that had already turned to dust, the bones of Peter were amazing in their completion. There was even water in the area, which had been a problem to the Basilica for centuries. A single, huge outcropping of rock had preserved the carefully cared for remains.
- Sumptuous marble housing erected by Constantine, in the 4th century, over the 2nd century tomb, was intended to preserve forever both the true original grave of Peter's remains. It has never been tampered or violated.

- Soil adhering to the bones in the repository proved they had originally been interred in the earth. Chemical analysis proved that this soil exactly matched the soil in the original grave under the monument.

- The bones, where as others in the vicinity contained a lot of different types of bones thrown together, these were the carefully preserved bones of one man, missing the feet. In the repository, they had been wrapped in cloth of royal purple, an indication of the unusually high dignity accorded. Threads of gold in the cloth reinforced this impression, since the combination of purple and gold was a fact well attested from antiquity as indicating imperial honors. The robe was older than 4th century.

- An inscription within the repository, in Greek, declared "Peter is buried in here." Other inscriptions on the outside the repository, in Latin invoked his name in prayer.
- 2nd century Graffiti on the tomb's red wall was very similar to the graffiti in Peter's Capernaum house.

- Pope Damasus, in the fourth century, seriously encountered the problem of cemetery vandalism growing out of religious bigotry, it was a violent age. The repository in the sturdy little wall guarded against intrusions by permanently enclosing the precious remains on all sides.

One of the main scientists working on the archaeological dig:
by Margherita Guarducci
© 1960, Hawthorn Books

The Bones of St. Peter.
The First Full Account of the Search for the Apostle's Body by John Evangelist Walsh. © 1982.
It's interesting to see Peter's house (photograph above) is just the remains of a house. The Church - the Bride of Jesus Christ has amazing depth and splendor.

1 Peter 5 

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive!

10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

So many amazing archaeological discoveries in the last 100 years. To name just a few: Dead Sea Scrolls, Lazarus' tomb in Spain, the entire Hittite Nation, the cities of Nineveh, Ur, Sodom and Gomorrah. Tile piece in Goliath's hometown with his name and David's name. The walls of Jericho. The walls of Babylon. The Capernaum Synagogue with Zebedee's name (father of disciples James and John) on a pillar. Written record of King David. King David's Palace found by description in the Bible for location. Many steeles ( antiquity plaques) found to confirm biblical fact written by other nations. Many, many artifacts in the Museum of Israel.

Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, said Mark scribed Peter’s teachings. The Gospel of Mark were Peter's memories.

This is the way to locate the Bishop Papias' quotes: Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15, Book 3 Chapter 30 and Book 6 Chapter 14). Papias wrote a five volume work entitled, “Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord”. In this treatise (which no longer exists), he quoted John the elder Disciple:

“And the elder used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”

Irenaeus said Mark wrote his Gospel from Peter’s teaching In his book, “Against Heresies” (Book 3 Chapter 1), Irenaeus (130-200AD) also reported Mark penned his Gospel as a scribe for Peter, adding the following detail:

“Matthew composed His Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the Gospel in Rome and founded the community. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed on his preaching to us in written form”

Justin identified Mark’s Gospel with Peter Early Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, wrote “Dialogue with Trypho” (approximately 150AD) and included this interesting passage:
“It is said that He [Jesus] changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and it is written in his memoirs that He changed the names of others, two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means ‘sons of thunder’….”

Justin, therefore, identified a particular Gospel as the ‘memoir’ of Peter and said this memoir described the sons of Zebedee as the ‘sons of thunder’. Only Mark’s Gospel describes John and James in this way, so it is reasonable to assume that the Gospel of Mark is the memoir of Peter.
Clement said Mark recorded Peter’s Roman preaching Clement of Alexandria (150-215AD) wrote a book entitled “Hypotyposeis” (Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15). In this ancient book, Clement refers to a tradition handed down from the “elders from the beginning”:

“And so great a joy of light shone upon the minds of the hearers of Peter that they were not satisfied with merely a single hearing or with the unwritten teaching of the divine gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, who was a follower of Peter and whose gospel is extant, to leave behind with them in writing a record of the teaching passed on to them orally; and they did not cease until they had prevailed upon the man and so became responsible for the Scripture for reading in the churches.”

Eusebius also wrote an additional detail (Ecclesiastical History Book 6 Chapter 14) related to Mark’s work with Peter:

“The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it.”

This additional piece of information related to Peter’s reaction to Mark’s work is important, because it demonstrates that Clement is not simply repeating the information first established by Papias, but seems to have an additional source that provided him with something more, and something slightly different than Papias.

Tertullian affirmed Peter’s influence on the Gospel of Mark Early Christian theologian and apologist, Tertullian (160-225AD), wrote a book that refuted the theology and authority of Marcion. The book was appropriately called, “Against Marcion” (Marcion was a Jew-hater, who rejected the Old Testament, and any bits of the New Testament, books or passages, which disagreed with him.) and in Book 4 Chapter 5, he described the Gospel of Mark:

“While that [gospel] which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.”


The Muratorian Fragment confirmed Mark’s relationship to Peter. Commonly dated to approximately 170AD, the first line reads:
“But he was present among them, and so he put [the facts down in his Gospel]”

This appears to be a reference to Mark’s presence at Peter’s talks and sermons in Rome, and the fact that he then recorded these messages then became the Gospel of Mark.

Origen attributed Mark’s Gospel to Peter Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History Book 6 Chapter 25) quoted a Gospel Commentary written by Origen (an early church father and theologian who lived 185-254AD) that explains the origin of the Gospels. This commentary also attributes the Gospel of Mark to Peter:

“In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ 1 Peter 5:13 And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.”

An Anti-Marcionite Prologue affirmed Peter’s connection to Mark There are three Gospel ‘prologues’ that appear in many Latin Bibles from antiquity. Known as the “Anti-Marcionite Prologues”, they date to the 4th century or earlier. The prologue for the Gospel of Mark is particularly interesting:

“Mark declared, who is called ‘stump-fingered,’ because he had rather small fingers in comparison with the stature of the rest of his body. He was the interpreter of Peter. After the death of Peter himself he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”

Now, it can be argued that Papias’ description of Mark’s collaboration with Peter in Rome is the earliest description available to us. In fact, skeptics have tried to argue that later Church sources are simply parroting Papias when they connect Mark to Peter. But there is no evidence to suggest that Papias is the sole source of information related to Peter and Mark, particularly when considering the slight variations in the subsequent attributions (such as Clement’s version).

 The subtle differences suggest that the claims came from different original sources. In addition, Justin Martyr’s tangential reference to the ‘sons of thunder’ strengthens the support for Peter’s involvement coming from a source other than Papias (who never makes this connection). In essence, a claim of dependency on Papias lacks specific evidence, and even if this were the case, there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of Papias’ original claim in the first place. The consistent record of history identifies Mark’s Gospel as a memoir of Peter’s life with Jesus.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity - See more at:

Father God, amazing discoveries of this generation. Continue to spread Your Holy Spirit to this Generation and the next that Your Love might be fully known to the ones we Love and the circle continues to grow. In Jesus we pray, Amen.

Thank You, Jesus Christ Our LORD! 
♔ Lord Jesus Saves


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