KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
We read of the "keys of the Kingdom" in the setting of Matthew 16:19-20. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Peter had just spoken the words that would constitute the foundation for the church and such is affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." But Jesus continues his comments and they are specifically directed to Peter, "I will give unto thee" the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The word keys is used metaphorically to indicate the means or the power of entrance. A door, the means of entrance, would be opened into the kingdom and thus the church would become a reality.
Peter was chosen to be the one who should open the door to the Jews, which he did on Pentecost of Acts 2. He also was chosen to open the door to the Gentiles. "... Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe." (Acts 15:7) He used these keys on the Pentecost of Acts two and again at the house of Cornelius as is recorded in Acts ten and eleven. What was used by Peter on these occasions?
Jesus had said, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." (NASB - Matthew 16:19) The words Peter and all the rest were to speak were words originating in heaven and dictated by the Holy Spirit for these men. (NASB John 16:13) "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak." Peter had no authority to speak words of his own.
Peter preached the gospel on Pentecost of Acts 2 and opened the door of salvation for the Jews; he spoke the same kind of words at the house of Cornelius and opened the door of salvation for the Gentiles. The other apostles were charged to speak the same thing---confess faith, repent and be baptized in order to remission of sins---salvation. 3000 responded on Pentecost and were added together thus constituting the church and day by day others were saved and added to the church (Acts 2:47). And woe unto men today if they preach anything else. (Galatians 1:8)
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