THE SON 11
The Aramaic spirit of its origin shines through the Greek of the Evangelists in this passage. When Jesus gives the first confessor of His Messianic mission the name "Kepha" and terms him the foundation of His new kingdom, He uses the language of a venerable ancient symbol. The myth of the sacred rock which has the heaven of God above it and the kingdom of death and destruction below it was the common property o the Old World. Gesarea itself must in all probability be looked upon as the illustration of a kindred sym- bolism. Above the grotto of Pan, from which one source of the Jordan arose, stood the holy rock on which the temple of Augustus had been built. The Old Testament and its Jewish interpreters spoke of men upon whom rests the Divine bidding under the symbol of a holy cosmic rock which, as a connection between the heavenly and the earthly worlds, affords approach to God above and shuts off the as- sault of the primitive flood which brings destruction from below. Thus Abraham, the Father of the Faith, was the fundament of the old law. In actuality, however, the, Jews still possessed the holy stone in Jesus' time. It was the slab of rock in the holy of holies in the Temple, on which the Ark of the Covenant had formerly rested. This signified the central point of the world, the nurturing heart of the earth, the place where God's presence was manifest, the gate of Heaven, the seal against the kingdom of death and of evil which struggled up from beneath.
In the symbolistic language of the later Judaistic view of life, Jesus was manifesting His resolve to make a new foundation and was at the same time laying down the position and function of Peter in that foundation. Opposition to the Temple is not expressed but is never- theless obvious. In simple language this is the meaning of what oc- curred: Jesus wishes to build a communion sundered from the old Jewish world. The fundament is to be this Peter, to whom the Father has given faith and the power to confess it not the Peter who when counselled by flesh and blood becomes "Satan" and seeks to put obstacles in the way of Christ and therewith of God's plan. To Peter, believing and illumined from on High, there is promised permanence and victorious resistance to the powers of darkness. To him there are given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven: that is, the power to open and to close the heavenly gates. He has authority