The Papacy

Joseph & Peter: Separate From Their Brethren

by John Pacheco

God never springs vagarious or contradictory doctrines on His people. From the very beginning of His creation, He provided a rich and consistent pedagogy whose episodes in salvation history served as precursors and foundations for later revelation. There are many New Testament doctrines, for instance, which have their genesis and institution in the Old Testament. Baptism and the Eucharist, for instance, certainly have a sound fixture in the Old Testament when understood within the revelation of Jesus Christ. Under the Old Covenant, we see how water is used to cleanse (Cf. Genesis 6:5, 7:4), liberate (Cf. Exodus 14:13), deliver (Cf. Joshua 3:14-17), and initiate (Cf. Joshua 24:11-13). All of these consequences have their culmination and synthesis in the Sacrament of Baptism. We also view the Old Testament passover (Exodus 12) and the manna (Cf. Exodus 16:15) finding their ultimate fulfillment under the New Covenant in the Mass (Cf. Matthew 26:26-29) and in the Eucharist (Cf. John 6).

A few years ago as I was reading Genesis, I stumbled across a passage which had remarkable parity with a well-known Petrine passage from the Gospel of Matthew. The passages in question, cited from the New King James Version, are these:

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. (Genesis 49:22-26)

Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:17-19)

Here are a number of interesting similarities between these two passages in particular and Joseph and Peter in general: