The Origin of the Eliakim-Peter Typology, Part 3: The Silence of the Fathers

The 17th century commentary on Isaiah 22 by Jacobus Tirinus from the previous post didn’t outline an elaborate Eliakim-Peter typology. It is so brief it defies interpretation, apart from his poor understanding of Scripture, but as with any historical inquiry, there are other concerns. Anachronism is an enemy of understanding and we should be cautious of projecting ideas familiar to us back into a time when they were unknown and drawing unwarranted conclusions. We should also be careful to discern whether Tirinius or others do the same. Upon examination, we’ll see Tirinus does and we’ll also see a deafening silence in the fathers regarding the Eliakim-Peter link.

As a reminder, the English text of his commentary (via Google Translate), stated the following: “…The Messiah is allegorically represented by Eliakim, says Cyril. & Theodoretus. And here St. John observes [in Revelation 3:7] where he speaks of Christ, he who has the key of David opens and no one closes. And Christ promised to delegate the same key to his Vicar Peter, [in Matthew 16:19]. I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” – Jacobus Tirinus (c. ~1645 AD)

Theodoret of Cyrus (Syria): I wonder if he looked anything like this. It’s difficult to decide if he looks contemplative or confused.[1]”File:Theodoret of Cyr (in A. Thevet1584).png.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 28 Sep 2020, 00:50 UTC. 21 Jun 2022, 08:01.

See the following for previous posts in the Eliakim-Peter typology series:

Part 1 traces the modern development of the Eliakim-Peter typology.
Part 2 identifies the 16th and 17th century Roman Counter-Reformers that planted the seeds.

Fifth century sources cited by Jacobus Tirinus

I didn’t mention it in the previous post but Tirinus’ use of the term “Vicar” is significant. In relating Revelation 3:7 to Matthew 16:19, he didn’t associate the term with either of the two commentators from almost 1200 years earlier, but he slips in the term “Vicar” and builds a notional bridge between the commentators and later developments. The term “Vicar of Christ” was first used by Tertullian near the turn of the third century to refer to the Holy Spirit (here and here), not a bishop, much less a pope. It’s reported to have been used for Gelasius I around the turn of the 6th century but I have not been able to locate a text to confirm this. It doesn’t come to be commonly used for a pope until around 500 years later. In any case, neither of the two prior commentators mentioned by Tirinus would have been familiar with such an idea relative to a bishop. In fact, neiter of them even mention Simon Peter or even Matthew 16. Let’s see what the two Eastern exegetes from earlier in the 5th century did have to say, starting with Theodoret:

Theodoret of Cyrus (393-458 AD)

Theodoret’s commentary on Isaiah appears in Sources Chrétiennes 295 (SC)[2]Theodoret, Commentary on Isaiah (Théodoret de Cyr, Commentaire sur Isaïe. Tome II : Sections 4-13), ed. Jean-Noël Guinot, (Paris : Les Éditions du Cerf, 1982). A commentator on a YouTube thread provided the French text for Isaiah 22:22, which I’ve passed through Google Translate because I’m an ignorant American that only knows English:

French Text:

“Et je lui donnerai la gloire de David, il commandera et il n’y aura personne pour le contredire; je lui remettrai la clef de la Maison de David sur l’épaule: s’il ouvre, personne ne fermera; s’il ferme, il n’y aura personne pour ouvrir.

Dans ce passage sont également préfigurées les réalités qui sont les nôtres : « Ce que vous lierez sur la terre, dit-il, sera lié dans les cieux ; et ce que vous délierez sur la terre, sera délié dans les cieux. »”

English Translation:

“And I will give him the glory of David, he will command and there will be no one to contradict him; I will put the key of the House of David on his shoulder: if he opens, no one will close; if he closed, there will be no one to open.

In this passage are also prefigured the realities which are ours: “Whatever you bind on earth, he says, will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, earth, will be loosed in heaven.”

Theodoret of Cyrus (c. ~445 AD)

Theodoret’s commentary on the Eliakim passage in Isaiah 22 is only a single sentence. He does not say the Messiah is allegorically represented by Eliakim as Tirinus stated but he does appear to view opening/shutting in Isaiah 22:22 to be related to binding/loosing in Matthew 18:18. It’s possible he was unfamiliar with the Judean, Pharisaic origin and application of “binding and loosing” so equating word pairs with similarly opposing terms is not surprising. Indeed, this same confusion is rampant today. Any overlap between these terms is incidental and does not make them Scriptural or historical equivalents. They are not the same. Had Jesus meant “open and shut” in Matthew 16:19 or 18:18, those are the words He would have used. If He had meant “bind and loose” in Revelation 3:7 (the terms as used in the late second temple period were unknown in Hezekiah’s day, four centuries earlier when Isaiah was written), that’s what He would have said.

As Theodoret’s description is plural (“the realities which are ours” – likely referring to church leaders) and this version from the SC does not reference any of the distinct elements of Matthew 16 (doesn’t name Simon Peter, doesn’t mention a rock, and doesn’t mention keys), it seems unlikely Theodoret intended to refer to Matthew 16. Rather, it’s evident he has Matthew 18:18 in mind.

It is worth noting the translation of Theodoret’s commentary from the SC uses the phrase: “the glory of David” which I highlighted above. This likely refers to a variation of Isaiah 22:22 that appears in some versions of the Greek Septuagint. For example:

“And I will give him the glory of David; and he shall rule, and there shall be none to speak against him…”

Isaiah chapter 22, verse 22a from the Greek Septuagint[3]Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870).

Some variations of the Septuagint don’t even include the “key of the house of David” phrase. To muddy the waters on Theodoret a bit, Migne’s Patrologia Graeca (PG) has a slightly different version of Theodoret’s commentary (column 355) which has a footnote that references Matthew 16:19. It’s still the case that Simon Peter isn’t mentioned and Theodoret refers to a plurality of leaders so it’s much more likely that Theodoret had Matthew 18:18 in mind. The SC is a newer critical edition of Theodoret’s Commentary and considerably more likely to be the more accurate of the two.

Knowing there are zealots who will seize Migne’s footnote, endeavoring to find Patristic seeds for the Eliakim-Peter typology, I thought it might be useful to provide a bit more information about Theodoret for context. He’s an interesting figure, for sure. He was from Syria and is probably best known for being an early defender of Nestorius. I’ve read some of his texts from the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers and have actually developed a fondness for the guy so I make these points only in the interest of transparency and to offer constructive criticism. I hope it helps those desiring to find seeds of a developing papacy get grounded in historical reality. Here are a few fun facts about Theodoret:

  • While I didn’t research the reason, Theodoret is not considered a saint or “venerated” in the West. Whatever his contributions to Christian history, apologists that desire to mine a nugget from this single sentence commentary, need to contend with his lower-tier authority (by their own scale). As I understand, the RCC would not even officially consider him a church “father.”
  • It is believed by many he was a significant source a source of pseudopegripha (see: here and here). This is not necessarily problematic but it could be.
  • There is scholarly evidence (not opinion) that Theodoret suffered a severe lack of Biblical knowledge and certain degree of inferiority as an interpreter of Scripture (including in quoting from Isaiah). In the Fathers of the Church series by Catholic University of America Press, Robert Hill, the translator of Theodoret’s commentary on the Psalms has the following to say about Theodoret:

“He can even be—and frequently is—quite astray in itemizing details of biblical pericopes: on Ps 2 he confuses characters and crowd numbers at Pentecost from Acts 2; on Ps 5 he has Jesus in place of the Baptist quoting Isaiah from Luke 3; on Ps 16 likewise he has Peter in place of Paul addressing the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch; on Ps 36 he confuses the two occasions when David took souvenirs from the unwitting Saul; and so on with a dozen other psalms.”[4]Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 1–72, trans. Robert C. Hill, vol. 101, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000), 19.

Robert C. Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 1–72, p. 19

When you consider challenges regarding the integrity of the commentator and his commentary, together with the reference to Matthew 18, rather than Matthew 16, it’s wholly unreasonable to use Theodoret as a building block for the typology that is constructed over 1500 years later.

Cyril of Alexandria (376 – 444 AD)

“When he says, ‘I will call my servant Eliakim’ (the name Eliakim means resurrection of God), then everyone who is glorious in the house of his father will trust in him [Eliakim]. Yet what is the house of Christ’s Father if not the church? And who are glorious there? Those who put their trust in Christthey may be very small people according to that judgment [of this world]. But God is just and unprejudiced. He repays everyone according to the measure of their spiritual age [maturity], as in that respect some are fathers yet others are still toddlers, babies and teenagers.[5]”Steven A. McKinion, ed., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament, Volume X, Isaiah 1-39. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 154.

Cyril of Alexandria, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture p. 154

The translation I’m working with isn’t the full text so I’ll have to make some inferences. The text sounds much like a sermon (homily). It’s not exegetical. As Cyril was a Greek father from Alexandria, his use of the term “glorious” may well indicate his familiarity with and use of a variation of the Septuagint like the one quoted above. This could also explain why he doesn’t mention the “key of the house of David.” I’m sure someone reading Cyril’s quote will eagerly suggest he is equating “the house of David” with the Church but that seems unlikely. What’s more likely is he is speaking to a Septuagint text that uses a phrase equivalent or close to what Cyril says: “the house of his father,” from Isaiah 22:23-24. They may be conceptually the same in Isaiah but it is this phrase that Cyril appears to associate with the church. In his mind, it appears: Eliakim represents Christ, the “father” represents God (not David), and “the house of the father” (not David) represents the Church.

Cyril also answers the question: “who are glorious there?” by saying: “Those who put their trust in Christ,” indicating he views the genuinely faithful as the true church, without any indication he has a concept of an office-laden, multi-tiered institutional hierarchy centered in Rome. His statement: “they may be very small people according to that judgment [of this world]” suggests a certain humility that one might consider in opposition to the audacious claims of power and authority that develop in the Roman Church, later.

Perhaps the most significant phrase from Cyril’s commentary and one that might be easy to miss is: “the name Eliakim means resurrection of God.” Indeed the meaning of Eliakim’s name, in addition to that which is evident in the explicit allusion to Isaiah 22:22 in Revelation 3:7, serves only to reinforce a Messianic foreshadowing of Christ, who is the “resurrection of God.” It’s Messianic, not Petrine. Hebrew lexicons also list “God (the Holy One) establishes” as an alternative meaning. The “-akim” portion of the name in Hebrew is the same word God uses in “establishing” covenants in the Old Testament (e.g. Genesis 6:18, 9:9, 9:11, 9:17, 17:7, 17:19, 17:21, etc.). The New Covenant was not established with Simon Peter, nor was it in his blood.

Summary of Jacobus Tirinus’ influencers

In the 17th century, Jacobus Tirinus cited these two 5th century commentators when he said: “The Messiah is allegorically represented by Eliakim, says Cyril. & Theodoretus.” At least he got the Messiah part right. Unfortunately, his objective, as we saw in the previous post, much like his contemporaries, was to prop up a pope-king, cling to church wealth and territory, and perpetuate a medieval earthly “Christian” kingdom that was losing it’s grip. We must remember that in the 16th century, texts were not as accessible to the masses as they are today. Only other “scholars” with language skills and access to university libraries or monasteries with manuscripts could easily verify statements like this from Tirinus. Most reading his mention of Theodoret and Cyril, at the time, would have had no immediate means to lookup and examine these commentaries, as I have.

The tactic employed by Jacobus Tirinus (it was very common with early Jesuits, as it is now with modern Hahnites) is one of the ways the accumulation of teachers mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:3 works (and why inerrant Scripture must be our anchor and “measuring stick”): assign more weight to an idea or statement by claiming that someone earlier had or said the same. This is how the Pharisaic “Rabbi’s” (fun fact: only John the Baptist and Jesus are ever addressed with the title “Rabbi” in Scripture) in the 1st century constructed the Oral Torah and how similarly errant “Christian” leaders later constructed the notion of “Sacred Tradition.”

There is nothing exegetically profound or Scripturally sound in any of other comments from Tirinus and his use of the term “Vicar” was anachronistic. There was no bishop who claimed the role of “Vicar of Christ” in the 5th century. Neither Theodoret who, at best sees an allusion to Matthew 18:18 in Isaiah 22:22, nor Cyril, who only sees a metaphorical representation of the Church, but one that’s comprised of the faithful in Christ, see anything papal or Petrine. The only hierarchy Cyril envisions does not involve a pope or a magisterium. It does not have offices or an accumulation of authority. Rather, Cyril sees a church that is made up of humble servants, many of those whom “may be very small people according to [the] judgment [of this world].” The only hierarchy to which he alludes is one stratified by spiritual maturity. One might think he got these principles from Scripture (see: Matthew 18:4, 20:25, 23:8-10, Luke 9:48, Galatians 1:6-7, 2:9, 1 Corinthians 1:11-13, and 1 Peter 5:1).

Other ancient commentaries on Isaiah 22:22 and Revelation 3:7

The 5-6 Counter-Reformers from the 16th and 17th centuries that scattered seeds of inconsistent, vague, and rambling Eliakim allusions, surely didn’t envision the eventual fall of the papal states. They had no idea it would take four centuries for their seeds to be watered and fertilized with late 20th century typological fantasy. What’s even more amazing though, is they had 1500+ years of prior church history to search for Patristic support. Only one of them mentioned names of prior commentators and he (Jacobus Tirinus), didn’t quote them or refer to their works, he only dropped their names. As we’ve seen, his characterization of their commentary wasn’t even accurate. Of course, the papacy that Tirinus and his contemporaries sought support for was non-existent for many centuries following Jesus’ commissioning of his apostles so a dearth of Patristic support is to be expected but we’ll dig as deep as we can to see what others had to say about the passages of Scripture in question.

It may be reasonable to grant 1,000 years or so when popes of Rome reigned in the West prior to the Counter-Reformation (though various periods of competing antipopes, exile, and logical and temporal gaps still need to be acknowledged). That is an awful long time. Surely there were ancient authors that saw an Eliakim-Peter connection and the papacy foreshadowed (typologically or otherwise) in Isaiah 22:22, right? Surely the Counter-Reformers were only a bit confused when they correctly identified Eliakim as a representation of Christ and only focused their attention on justifying imperial power and authority under a religious monarch, trying to save the elite, wealth mongering, medieval kingdom of Christendom, right?

Commentaries on Isaiah 22:22[6]Ibid. See quotes in table.[7]St. Jerome, trans. Thomas P. Scheck, St. Jerome: Commentary on Isaiah: Including St. Jerome’s Translation of Origen’s Homilies 1–9 on Isaiah, vol. 68, Ancient Christian Writers (New York; … Continue reading

There are only two other Patristic commentators on Isaiah 22:22 that I am aware of. As with the additional commentators on Revelation 3:7 in the next section, most of the texts were not translated into English until fairly recently. I have many of these but they are under copyright so rather than quote from them, I’m including simple tables that outline paraphrased views of the ancient authors and how I interpret their statements.

The text of Isaiah 22:15-25 is below and the elements from the passage we’ll look at are highlighted. The table that follows includes a paraphrase of the key points made by each ancient commentator.

“Thus says the Lord God of hosts, ‘Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock? Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 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. And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.’”

Isaiah 22:15-25 (ESV)
AuthorKey of the house of DavidOther Comments
Eusebius of CaesareaKey of the house of David not mentioned but Eusebius does mention the "glory of David" probably from the Septuagint.
  • Shebna deposed from the high priesthood for being unworthy
  • Shebna was proud and boastful
  • God gives to each according to his worth
  • Eliakim promoted by God (rather than arrogating authority to himself)
  • Eliakim received the "glory of David" (key not mentioned)
  • Jealousy shall never come into being on account of Eliakim
  • Eliakim made a "father" because he is trusted, soothing, and gentle
JeromeHis only mention of the key is: "He will receive the key of my house and will carry it on his shoulder; he will have authority over all ceremonies."
  • Shebna was a high priest who betrayed the city to the Assyrians
  • Shebna was proud, arrogant, and pleasure-loving
  • Shebna's high-priesthood was transferred to Eliakim
  • Says pride needs to be avoided at all costs as it offends God and "not even the privilege of the high priesthood can be protected from it"
  • Compares Eliakim receiving Shebna's vestments to Eleazar being clothed with the vestments of Aaron in Numbers 20:28.
  • Says authority was given to the one who "regards the people not as a slave that has been subjected to him, but as his own beloved son."
  • Says: "Those who take everything anagogically think that the priesthood of the Jews falls with the pontificate of Shebna; and with the succession of Eliakim, which means 'God rising again,' the mysteries of the evangelical worship are being shown."

It is evident that two of the most significant commentators of the 4th and 5th centuries don’t even hint at a papacy foreshadowed in Isaiah 22:22. Neither of them mention Matthew 16, Peter, “binding and loosing,” or Rome. It’s notable too, these were some of the most learned men of their era. Jerome is perhaps best known as the translator of the Latin Vulgate. He lived in Jerusalem for a time and was competent in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek, as well as uniquely acquainted with Jewish/Eastern culture, unlike most of his Latin contemporaries. Eusebius of Caesarea is well known as the “father of church history.” His text The Church History is one of the most significant sources of our knowledge on the early church. Eusebius was also an Eastern father who likely spoke Aramaic, as well as Greek, and probably had a much better understanding of the Old Testament and Jewish history/culture. Comparatively, the Western/Latin “defenders and interpreters” of the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, likely had near-zero understanding of ancient Judaism.

If there are any early church fathers (in this case, Nicene and shortly thereafter) who would have been likely to see Eliakim as a typological foreshadowing of the papacy, or otherwise representative of Peter, Eusebius and Jerome are good candidates. Both of their commentaries are significantly more exegetical than any of the 16th and 17th century ramblings of Counter-Reformers. The absence of any association with Peter or the papacy should be a red flag for those who are captivated (and deceived) by the modern claim.

Commentaries on Revelation 3:7

Below is a list of all the ancient commentaries on the Book of Revelation that include Revelation 3:7 that I am aware of. Some of the dates are more approximate than others but Oecumenius seems to have the widest range of possible dates according to scholars.[8]Gumerlock, Francis X. “Patristic Commentaries on Revelation: An Update” on (Online: August 2015) I’ve also included a map (click to enlarge) showing the location and approximate time these commentators are believed to have written. I did not include Eusebius and Jerome, the commentators on Isaiah 22 on the map but both of them likely wrote near Jerusalem in approximately 313 AD and 347 AD, respectively.

  1. Gregory Thaumaturgus (238)
  2. Origen, Didymus of Alex., etc. (253/398)*
  3. Victorinus of Pettau (260)**
  4. Tyconius of Carthage (380)
  5. Jerome (398)**
  6. Primasius of Hadrumetum (540)***
  7. Oecumenius (590?)
  8. Andrew of Caesarea (614)

* I do not have access to this text but have included an link for anyone interested in purchasing it. If someone does have access and can provide a summary of commentary on Revelation 3:7, please contact me and I’ll add it to the table below.
** According to Francis Gumerlock, the translation under the name of Victorinus in Ante-Nicene Fathers of the Church (volume 7:344-360) is “essentially Jerome’s recension” but it is little more than a quote of Revelation 3:8.
*** This has not been fully translated into English

There is a lot of interest in Revelation these days and while there are comparatively few commentaries from the Patristic Era, these represent an interesting and useful combination of Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) authors, as is evident on the map. They also cover almost four centuries so the views are both geographically and temporally diverse. The following books (affiliate links) are all the English translations that I know to be available. If you’re willing to purchase one of these texts with the affiliate link, it doesn’t cost you any more but helps provide a small amount towards the cost of maintaining this site. If you’ve been blessed by the information I’ve compiled on this blog, please consider this as a means of contributing. Thank you!

The text of Revelation 3:7 is below and the elements from the passage we’ll look at are highlighted. The table that follows includes a paraphrase of the key points made by each ancient commentator.

“…’The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”

Revelation 3:7b (ESV)
AuthorKey of DavidOpen/ShutOther Comments
Gregory ThaumaturgusKey of David not mentioned explicitly. It can only be inferred he understood it as the means of "opening."Holy Scripture is both given by and understood by the Spirit who "explains mysteries." Only He opens/shuts. Opening refers to understanding Scripture.What He gives is only and truly by the Spirit, which is necessary for both prophesy and for rightly hearing and understanding it.
TyconiusIndicates Christ was born of David's family or that David foretold of ChristChrist opens the door of the church to those who knock, but not hypocrites (quotes Matthew 7:21-24). The door was opened when he opened the mind of the disciples to understand Scripture and through preaching. This door is never shut and cannot be closed anywhere in the world, by the power or the effort of anyone.Through Christ, as by a key, the secrets of the law, prophets and, psalms were made manifest. Quotes from Luke 24:44.

The key signifies the authority but human authority does not compare with God's authority. David ruled the physical Israel, Christ rules over physical and spiritual Israel. Quotes Luke 1:32-33. Christ's reign is a likeness to the reign of David, hence Scripture speaks of “him who has the key of David.”

Quotes Matthew 16:19 saying that in that passage, Christ more clearly states "he who has been entrusted with the key...has the authority to open and shut." Oecumenius is only addressing conceptual authority and the metaphor of the keys here, NOT suggesting Eliakim represents Peter in any way. He clearly associates Eliakim with Christ.

Says open and shut represent acquitting and condemning and that God is the one who does so, not any man.Notes that Philadelphia was a small city with little power that rose above its own strength (figuratively) by keeping the faith of Christ as one undaunted to live among those who trouble the faithful.
PrimasiusKey of David not mentioned explicitly. It can only be inferred he understood it as the means of "opening."The secrets of the divine law are disclosed [opened] to the faithful by the power of Christ alone, they are closed to unbelievers. When Christ loosens, no one shuts, and when he binds, no one loosens.The reason why the church has merited these gifts (binding and loosing?) is because she does not have confidence in her own powers but in the power of Christ the king. Confessing that she has little power, she is glorified, having been redeemed not in herself but in the Lord.
Andrew of CaesareaThe key of David is Christ's kingdom and a symbol of His authority. The Holy Spirit is the key of Scripture and prophecy, and He opens the treasures of knowledge. Christ received the first key according to his humanity, but the second key he possesses according to his eternal deity. Some copies read “hades” instead of “David” The “key of hades” is Christ's  authority over life and death.Andrew does not use the terms explicitly but it's implied that he views "opening" as the Holy Spirit as the interpreter of Scripture and of Christ "opening" the door of heaven.None.

What about Matthew 16? Does the Eliakim-Peter typology have any Patristic support?

It’s evident that there is zero Patristic support for the Eliakim-Peter typology. The best one can do is mine nuggets from commentators centuries apart, and combine them to build an approximation. In doing this however, one also has to discard the rest of what each commentator says because it conflicts with the modern typology. There is one other passage that deserves mention, though.

It’s far too much to get into examining ancient commentaries on Matthew 16:19 but fortunately, that’s not necessary. An analysis of the forest will suffice without any need to look at the trees. There are dozens and dozens of quotes, allusions, and commentaries on the “keys” of Matthew 16 scattered through church history, prior to the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. I’m not aware of a single one that mentions Isaiah 22:22 or it’s sister passage, Revelation 3:7. How is that so easily ignored? It shouldn’t be. The image below (click to enlarge) is a screenshot of almost (about 20 didn’t fit on the screen) all of the mentions of Matthew 16:19 linked in Logos Bible software. If I count correctly, it’s 114 references and I cannot find a single one that mentions Isaiah 22:22 or Revelation 3:7.

It’s yet another red flag for false teaching. Ultimately, God’s Word is what matters and whether the Holy Spirit reveals something in the 1st, 16th, or 20th century is irrelevant but for something as contentious and important through history as the papacy, one would certainly expect this choose-your-own-typological-adventure to have been realized much earlier. The idea that similar language in different passages of Scripture only yields it’s secrets after 2,000 years and only after being subject to misrepresentation, historical ignorance, and philosophical gymnastics, is ludicrous and dishonoring to God’s Holy Word.

Summary: the silence of the fathers

The next post will be the final in this series. It will be more of a problem-solution post, rather than further examination of the history of the Eliakim-Peter typology claim. For the later, there’s little more that we could cover. It is evident that this claim was unknown in church history for over 1500 years, the seeds that were planted in the 16th and 17th centuries were no where near the typological tapestry that has been painted in the last 30 years. To summarize the present analysis:

  • Theodoret of Cyrus and Cyril of Alexandria are the only two commentators cited by any of the Rambling Reformers. In the 17th century, Jacobus Tirinus dropped their names, claiming: “The Messiah is allegorically represented by Eliakim” which is quite true by any reasonable exegetical standard and by the majority position of Christian faithful, throughout history. Modern typology advocates need to contend with the fact that there is no support in the Patristic era for their typology and that the seeds of the Counter-Reformation were micro-innovations, intended only to support a tyrannical, Imperial Vicar (a term that Tirinus anachronistically applied). Most are unaware that “Vicar” was coined in the late 2nd century (as far as we know) to refer to the role of the Holy Spirit.
  • A fairly extensive review of ancient commentary on all the Scriptural passages in question (Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, and Revelation 3:7), reveals there wasn’t even the slightest notion, even beyond Theodoret and Cyril, of an Eliakim-Peter link, anywhere through the extant texts of church history.
  • Rather than support for an Imperial, Christian monarch, to whom “…it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject” and for whom, the apostles’ (plural) keys became two swords in 1302 AD, “…namely, the spiritual and the temporal,” such that “…one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power,” the Patristic commentaries paint a very different picture. From Cyril to Eusebius to Jerome, our review of ancient commentary on Scripture consistently shows that none of them believed in a papal office, nor any office whose authority didn’t depend on faithful servanthood.
  • It clearly wasn’t until the 16th century that anyone considered Eliakim as a representation or foreshadowing of anyone besides Christ. Only one commentator that we’ve looked at suggested a parallel to Matthew 16 (Oecumenius commenting on Revelation 3:7, not Isaiah 22:22) and he was adamant that no man possesses power or authority to act on God’s behalf. He makes no mention of Peter and his conception of opening and shutting has nothing to do with the church but rather, God’s acquitting or condemning, absent a distinctly human intermediary.


1”File:Theodoret of Cyr (in A. Thevet1584).png.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 28 Sep 2020, 00:50 UTC. 21 Jun 2022, 08:01.
2Theodoret, Commentary on Isaiah (Théodoret de Cyr, Commentaire sur Isaïe. Tome II : Sections 4-13), ed. Jean-Noël Guinot, (Paris : Les Éditions du Cerf, 1982)
3Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870).
4Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 1–72, trans. Robert C. Hill, vol. 101, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000), 19.
5”Steven A. McKinion, ed., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament, Volume X, Isaiah 1-39. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 154.
6Ibid. See quotes in table.
7St. Jerome, trans. Thomas P. Scheck, St. Jerome: Commentary on Isaiah: Including St. Jerome’s Translation of Origen’s Homilies 1–9 on Isaiah, vol. 68, Ancient Christian Writers (New York; Mahwah, NJ: The Newman Press, 2015), 281–283.
8Gumerlock, Francis X. “Patristic Commentaries on Revelation: An Update” on (Online: August 2015)

2 thoughts on “The Origin of the Eliakim-Peter Typology, Part 3: The Silence of the Fathers”

    1. If it was “Isaiah 22-Matthew 16 Throughout History – Daniel Vecchio” then it was I who provided the French text

      Hi MŁODY, yes, and thank you for that! If Google Translate butchered the English, I’m happy to change it in the post, if you can better translate.

      It’s truly sad when one’s conscience is so seared with preconceived notions about what everyone must have always believed, that they find things in history that simply didn’t exist, fill every void with their own modern ideas, and ignore the witness of others, especially notable church fathers that they will run to and make idols of on other topics. How ironic is it that they completely dismiss Jerome, who is a “Doctor” of the church, in favor of a single vague statement from a someone they don’t even view as a saint? Even worse, their connection isn’t even explicit in the text and only comes from a footnote from Migne, 1300 years later. For anyone that values honesty over religious fantasy, the discussions on the YouTube thread made it clear as could be where the absurdity lies…but I genuinely say that with an aching heart.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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