Angelic Conflict part 309: The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven – Mat 16:15-19; Eph 2:19-22; 1Co 3:10-11.

Class Outline:

Title: Angelic Conflict part 309: The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven - MAT 16:15-19; EPH 2:19-22; 1CO 3:10-11.


Now we turn to a few examples of His teaching that are in line with His engagement in combat with God's enemy.


There is much in His teaching that is about the high standards of the kingdom of heaven as well as insights into the character of God, His salvation, and His plan.


Yet in our study, we will see in some of His teachings many valuable insights into the nature of the war that ravages the earth, insights that should influence our understanding of the problem of evil.


The Lord asks His disciples, "Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?"


MAT 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 


They offered a few of the opinions that were floating around at the time.


MAT 16:14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."


Ok, fine, so now on to them, who do you say that I am?


MAT 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 


Peter, not known for his shyness...


MAT 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."


The Lord is delighted at Peter's answer and noted that Peter was blessed to have this revealed to him from heaven.


MAT 16:17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona [son of John], because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.


Just a bit later, vv. 21-23, Peter tried to actually thwart the Father's plan to have Jesus crucified and raised and the Lord revealed to him that he was being influenced by satan.


Everything that opposes God's will, in the view of our Lord, derives itself from the evil one.


When Peter was confessing Jesus as the Son of God he was under a different influence as his confession was inspired by the Father. When Peter attempts to stop His mission he is influenced by satan.


Our Lord used Peter's confession of faith to give His disciples an important lesson about the future church. Using Peter's name as a springboard, Christ says:


MAT 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.


MAT 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


Several points are crucial to note in this important teaching.


JOH 1:42

He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter [a stone/rock]).


Kephas - Aramaic for rock. Petros - Greek for rock. Christ gave him this name.


It is interesting that the only other two disciples that Christ gave a name to were James and John [former fishing partners with Simon] whom He called Boanerges, which means sons of thunder. These were His inner three and they each received new names.


"and upon this rock" - pe,tra= rock. Used for a literal rock, rock cliff, Christ the rock of stumbling, and Christ the Rock. MAT 16:18 is the only controversial use.


Interpretations of petra:

Refers to Peter as the foundation of the Church.


Refers to Peter's confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."


Refers to Christ.


Petros is always used for the proper name (made proper by Christ) for Peter.


In my interpretation after much reading and reflection is that all three are in view with Christ being the core foundation. This has become such a debated passage because of the extreme Roman Catholic interpretation that Peter was the first pope. For one, there is no such office in the word of God and secondly, Peter, has no more authority in the Church as any of the other apostles. Protestants were invigorated to refute that and so the debate escalated. Peter describes himself as a presbuteros [pastor and teacher], but he is first and foremost an apostle, of which there were only twelve who have been given and are now gone.


EPH 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,


EPH 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [the gifts of prophecy in the early Church], Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,


EPH 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;


EPH 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.


Peter was certainly not a rock until Pentecost. Peter became a leader along with John in the early Church and as such he was a foundational part of the Church.


Satan only saw Peter as weak. To him Peter was no rock but more like fine sand. Sift means to sift by shaking in a sieve.


LUK 22:31-32

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift [in one lexicon the word means to ask and receive what you asked for] you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."


The “you” is plural, which indicates that satan desired to sift all of the disciples. The “you” in “I have prayed for you” is singular, referring to Peter, who would become the leader in the very early Church.


MAT 26:31-32

Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written [ZEC 13:7], 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.'  "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."


As satan requested and received permission to sift Job, he requested and received permission to sift the disciples, yet, as in the case of Job, the Father would restore them. They scattered from Gethsemane and they would gather with the Lord in Galilee.


Here again we see that evil brings its own demise. There was chaff with the wheat and satan’s sifting broke it away and what remained, the wheat, would not be shaken. The restored disciples overcame their self-condemnation through Christ’s grace and only became stronger.


ZEC 13:7

"Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,

And against the man, My Associate,"

Declares the Lord of hosts.

"Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;

And I will turn My hand against [upon] the little ones.


The preposition “al” can mean against, but more often it means “upon.” In light of the restoration of the sheep, meeting the resurrected Lord in Galilee, it is likely that the proper fulfillment of the prophecy is that the hand of the Father would be upon the little ones for their restoration and through the grace gifts of our Lord, they would all be restored and become the foundation of the apostles.


Peter became a rock through the grace gifts from Christ and so Christ was Peter’s foundation and he would become a pillar of the Church. Try and sift a rock!


JOH 21:17

He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him," Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. "Jesus said to him," Tend My sheep.


/GAL 2:9

and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship\


Therefore the name change by Christ from Simon to Peter is a significant play on words. Christ prophetically gave him a new name for what he would become, Peter the rock, lower case “r”.


ACT 2:14

But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give heed to my words.


No one becomes a member of the Church unless they confess in their own hearts what Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Therefore, Peter's confession is a foundation of the Church.


So we could say with confidence that Peter’s confession, the gospel, is the foundation of the Church. It is the gospel that adds the members to the body of Christ.


But who would argue that Christ is not the true foundation of both the gospel and the apostles. Christ is the gospel, Christ gave Peter and the other eleven apostles their offices and spiritual gifts. Every member of the Church is added through the gospel and to each is given a spiritual gift for which to serve the body. All are to be witnesses of the gospel and the victory of Christ in this world and so the Church has grown and grown through the gospel and spiritual gifts, both of which are grace gifts that rely on the foundation of Christ. The Church and her gifts are the fullness of Him, EPH 1:23.


1CO 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.


1CO 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.


[go to]1CO 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they [Exodus] were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.


Christ is the foundation of the Church and from Him would come the foundational work in the Church by Peter and the apostles by means of the Gospel.


That settles the petra/petros controversy as all three interpretations are in view, in the proper place in Christ. With Christ, the apostles, and the gospel, the gates of Hades would never overpower the Church.


MAT 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.


MAT 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


Hades was the standard term for the underworld. The Hebrew Sheol refers to the grave or the underworld, which contains a compartment that OT believers once occupied and did occupy at the time of Christ's incarnation. However, since He is referring to it being against the church it refers to the underworld's domain of darkness and death and so it is a reference to the kingdom of darkness. Gates refer to fortifications as well as the place in a city where officials resided and decisions were made, and therefore, the term also referred to the seat of government. And so, we put the two together.  


Gates of Hades - the fortification of government of the KOD ruled by satan and their kingdom of the cosmos.


"overpower it" - katiscu,w[katischuo] = compound of kata (against) and ischuo (powerful). To be strong against.


This word is only used three times in the Bible and all in the gospels.


Like this instance, the word is used in Luk for the voices of the crowd prevailing over Pilate to crucify the Lord.


LUK 23:23-24

But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand should be granted.


Matt 11:28

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 

Matt 11:29

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Matt 11:30

"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."    


Yet as we have seen, the voices only served up their own demise. What evil demanded brought about its own destruction. In like manner, the fortification of government of the KOD will not prevail against the Church and will only prevail in their own judgment.


Though many members of the body of Christ seem to have been overcome by the KOD, are casualties of war, and are under the power of the kingdom of the cosmos, they cannot lose their salvation, and they will be ultimately delivered through physical death. The negative or carnal believer waits until after death to realize their complete deliverance from satan and the KOD. Christ has removed satan’s weapons of condemnation and fear.