Matthew 16:18 (RSVCE)
18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[a] and on this rock[b] I will build my church, and the powers of death[c] shall not prevail against it.[d]
a. Matthew 16:18 Greek Petros
b. Matthew 16:18 Greek petra
c. Matthew 16:18 Greek the gates of Hades
d. 16.18 The name “Peter” comes from the Greek word for “rock.” Jesus makes him the foundation on which the church is to be built. The word “church” means “assembly” or “society” of believers. The Hebrew equivalent is used in the Old Testament to indicate the chosen people. In applying it to the church, Jesus shows it to be the Messianic community foretold by the prophets.
Commentary on Rev 11:1-14 (RSVCE)
These verses contain the prophecy of the seer who has eaten the scroll, a prophecy about the tribulation the Church will undergo as a prelude to the events at the End that follow the seventh and final trumpet blast (11:15ff). The Church is symbolized by the temple and the altar of Jerusalem, which God protects. The rest of the city is that part of mankind that does not belong to the Church and before whom the Church bears witness to the point of martyrdom.
Jerusalem was overrun by the Gentiles in the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who profaned the temple and installed a statue of Zeus (cf. 1 Mac 1:54); much worse destruction was done by the Romans who razed temple and city, leaving not a stone upon a stone (see Mt 24:21; Mk 13:14-23; Lk 21:20-24). Taking his cue from all these events, St John prophesies that the Church will never suffer the same fate, for God protects her from the power of her enemies (see Mt 16:16-18). Christians may suffer persecution in one way or another, but physical or moral violence cannot overpower the Church because God protects her. “The Church, ‘like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God’ (St Augustine, The City of God, 18, 51), announcing the cross and death of the LORD until he comes (cf. 1 Cor 11:26). But by the power of the risen LORD it is given strength to overcome, in patience and in love, its sorrow and its difficulties, both those that are from within and those that are from without, so that it may reveal in the world, faithfully, however darkly, the mystery of its LORD until, in the consummation, it shall be manifested in full light” (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, 8).
The “two witnesses” (v. 3) symbolize […]
Commentary on Rev 12:13-17 (RSVCE)
Here the dragon’s onslaught is presented in terms of the Church in her suffering. The woman who gives birth to a male child is an image of the Mother of the Messiah, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Church who “faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will, by receiving the word of God in faith, becomes herself a mother” (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, 64). By means of the Church, a person becomes a member of his Body (cf. notes on Eph 4:1-16). It is in this sense that we can say the Church is the Woman who gives birth to Christ.
The struggle the church maintains against the powers of evil is described using imagery taken from the Exodus (a time of great peril for the people of Israel). God brought the Israelites into the wilderness “on eagles wings” (Ex 19:4), that is, by ways man could not devise. When the prophet Isaiah announces the liberation from captivity in Babylon, he says that “they shall mount up with wings like eagles” (Is 40:31). Over the course of history, the Church enjoys this same divine protection that enables her to have the intimacy with God symbolized by the wilderness. The period of “a time, and times, and half a time” (v. 14), that is, three and a half years, was regarded, conventionally, as the duration of any persecution (at least from Daniel 7:25 onwards).
The river of water (v. 15) symbolizes the destructive forces of evil unleashed by the devil. Just as in the wilderness of Sinai the earth swallowed up those who rebelled against God (see Num 16:30-34), so will these forces be frustrated in their attack on the Church, for, as or LORD promised, “the powers of death [hell] shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). “This is nothing new. Since Jesus Christ our LORD founded the Church, this Mother of ours has suffered constant persecution. In times past, perhaps, the attacks were delivered openly. Now, in many cases, persecution is disguised” (St Josemaría Escrivá, In Love with the Church, 18).
(All emphases mine.)