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Recommended Reading — Set 6

The Pope as the King’s Steward

Extract from “The Crucified Rabbi” by Taylor R. Marshall
Saint John Press, Texas, U.S.A. 2009
(Permission to display extract has been applied for.)

The next highest office under the Messianic King of Jerusalem was that of the Royal Steward or Prime Minister. As in nearly every monarchical society, there is a royal steward, prime minister, vizier, or chamberlain who oversees the day-to-day business of the kingdom. We learn that King Solomon instituted the office of Royal Steward in 1 Kings 4: 6 when he appointed Ahishar as the one in charge of the royal household. Isaiah 22: 15 ― 25 provides a vivid description of the office of Royal Steward when he records the transfer of office from one Royal Steward to another — from the old steward named Shebna to the new steward named Eliakim. The Royal Steward of Jerusalem is described as:

•    Being over the household of Judah (22: 15)
•    Holding an “office” and “station” (22: 19)
•    Clothed in a robe and cincture (22: 21)
•    Holding authority (22: 21)
•    A father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the house of
     Judah (22: 21)
•    Bearing the key of the house of David with which
     “he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut,
     and none shall open” (22: 22).

The Royal Steward was not the Davidic King and yet by appointment he bore the authority and government of the Davidic King. His role as the Royal Steward is further highlighted by the fact that “he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the house of Judah” and that he bears “the key of the House of David.”

We should therefore not be surprised to find that Christ as the Davidic Messiah appointed one of his apostles as His Royal Steward using the image of the key as a sign of authority:

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. I will give you the
keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth
shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be
loosed in heaven (Mt 16: 18 ― 19).

The Catholic Church holds that Peter and all of his successors are the Royal Stewards of the Christ’s Kingdom. The presence of a “prime minister” in the Church is simply presupposed by what we know of God’s plan in the Old Testament. Each successor is called “Pope” from the Latin word papa meaning “daddy” because the Royal Steward in the Davidic monarchy was “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the house of Judah” (Isa 22: 21). This is also why the Pope is addressed as “Holy Father.”

Just as the Catholic Church looks to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Queen Mother of the Church, so also the Catholic Church sees the Pope as the Royal Steward of Christ’s Kingdom. The authority of the Pope (and even the idea that the Pope wears special vesture) derives from the Messianic office of the Royal Steward. Peter himself seemed to pick up on what Christ had intended in Luke 12: 41 ― 43:

Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?”
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward,
whom his master will set over his household, to give them their
portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant
whom his master when he comes will find so doing” (Lk 12: 41 ― 43).

The papacy is this line of stewards that “his master will set over his household.” Most popes have administered their duties well. Sadly, some have not. In either case, the Catholic Church recognizes these Royal Stewards — these Popes — as representatives of Christ.

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