Peter, who was chosen as the head spokesman of the apostles, didn’t write a whole lot in our New Testament scriptures. In fact, after Acts 15, he starts to fade away. He wasn’t even the head of the church at Jerusalem. James, Jesus’ half brother, was. How could this be if Peter, as the Roman Catholic Church claims, started Christianity and Christianity replaced Judaism?
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus wasn’t talking about the Roman Catholic church. He wasn’t even talking about a Christian church.
Notice Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:15-17 about this “church” when He gave instructions on how to deal with a sinning brother. If this brother continues to fail to listen, even after being confronted by the church, he was to be treated as a heathen and a publican (tax collector). This hardly sounds like a church which included and welcomed Gentiles.
If Jesus wasn’t speaking of the Church (the body of Christ), what “church” did He mean? The Jewish “church,” the assembly of Jews who believed the gospel of the kingdom. They believed, as Peter had stated, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Lord had not yet revealed the Christian Church, in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) God kept this truth secret until He revealed it to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-10, 2:13-18). Luke’s record of Peter’s message at Pentecost (Acts 2), as well as his sermon in Acts 3, confirmed this. Peter addressed Jews only. He had no idea about the Church. Everything that occurred on the day of Pentecost concerned only Israel.
Peter and the Eleven were apostles of Israel. (Galatians 2:7-9). Their destiny, as declared by the Lord, was to occupy thrones and rule the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). They were not leaders of the Church (body of Christ). Much of Christendom has been confused and has gotten this wrong for some 2,000 years.
Christ is the Rock. Paul calls Him the rock in 1 Corinthians 10:4. Jesus declared on the basis of Peter’s confession that He was the Messiah, the Son of God; that He would build a Jewish assembly upon this truth and this is exactly what He did under the gospel of the kingdom. That gospel continued until Acts 15, when it was supplanted by Paul’s gospel of the grace of God. The gospel of the kingdom will return after the Lord removes His Church (rapture) and be operational in the final seven years of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:14). That gospel will serve as the basis for salvation during the Tribulation. It will focus on Christ’s identity; not on Paul’s gospel which is upon Christ’s work on Calvary.