Angelic Conflict part 310: The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven – Mat 16:15-19; 23:25-28; 5:21-26.

Class Outline:

Title: Angelic Conflict part 310: The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven - MAT 16:15-19; 23:25-28; 5:21-26.

In our study, we have now turned to see in our Lord’s 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.


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?" 


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


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


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


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.


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."


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.


On Sunday we settled 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.


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.


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.


The positive believer is delivered from the power of the government of the kingdom of darkness and their systems and schemes in time through his understanding of doctrine, grace, and the power of God the Holy Spirit.


Though there has been much perversion of the gospel to another gospel and of Christ to another Jesus there has always been and always will be the correct communication of the gospel and of the true Christ through sound Bible doctrine until the end of the Church. At times the true teaching and the true disciples or students of doctrine have been fewer and more isolated than at other times, but the truth has always been communicated.


MAT 16:18

Moreover, as for myself, I also am saying to you, You are Rock, and upon this massive rock [Christ with the gospel and apostles] I will build my Church. And the councils of the unseen world shall not overpower it. [The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest]


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."


Verse 19 is as controversial as verse 18, but some work, without bias or preconceived notions clarifies it nicely.


The Church is not Israel, nor does the Church receive the literal and unconditional covenants given to Israel. These will be fulfilled in the Millennium, in Christ's kingdom as the Son of David. The Church is part of a heavenly kingdom with Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. Our kingdom is in heaven, of which we are citizens at this very moment, and this should never be confused with the earthly kingdom that is promised to Israel and will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ.


Walvoord points out that it "is a major error to make the word kingdom ... always mean the same in all its uses," for that term, "must be interpreted by its context."


First, a little bit of Greek.


"you shall bind" = aorist active subjunctive of deo (verb)

"shall be" = future middle indicative of eimi (verb)

"bound" = perfect passive participle of deo


[Willmington's Guide; p. 249] In Greek the future perfect tense is used to express the double notion of an action terminated in the past but whose effects are still existing in the present. 'Having been bound and still bound and having been loosed and still loosed.' The meaning is: if the disciples act in their proper capacity as stewards, they will be acting in accordance with the principles and elective purposes ordained beforehand in heaven. [quoted from W.A. Criswell, Expository Notes on Matthew]


When the gospel is brought to a person both life and death are brought to him. Faith brings life and rejection brings a continuation of their death. Christ gives Peter this authority, the authority to build the Church on the foundation of Christ and so bring the gospel to the world.


MAR 3:27

But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.


Christ plundered the house through His spiritual death for all mankind. He purchased all men. This is the doctrine of redemption.


Christ redeemed all mankind.


1JO 2:2

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.


Therefore all mankind belongs to Him. But for those who reject the gospel, they remain under the control of the world system and under judgment by the Lord since all judgment has been given to Him.


I believe that's the binding in heaven since all unbelievers will be judged before Christ and bound to the Lake of Fire forever.


Rejection of the gospel means binding in heaven.


REV 20:14

And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.


If there were no gospel to reject then the unbeliever would have an excuse, but since there is, the gospel actually brings to them a binding since they reject it.


The believer is set free or loosed from death and that also is through the gospel when it is mixed with faith in the hearer.


So when the Lord says to Peter, and subsequently to all who make Peter's confession (are believers), " and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," He is referring to the gospel that Peter confessed faith in. Life and death are in the gospel and the Church has been commissioned with its ministry in the world.


The English translation seems to state that God is subjecting Himself to what we do on earth, which is ludicrous. But that is clarified by the understanding of the use of the future perfect.


Again I quote Kenneth Wuest’s expanded translation:


MAT 16:19

I shall give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth [forbid to be done], shall have been already bound [forbidden to be done] in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth [permit to be done], shall have already been loosed in heaven [permitted to be done]. [The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest]


The keys refers to the gospel. Through the witness of the Church the kingdom of heaven is laid open to any man and the organization of the kingdom of darkness and their world system [the gates of Hades] will not prevail against that.


Christ also taught that the evil one would attempt to turn our worship of God in Christ into ethical system based on overt behavior only, making ostentatious oaths and pledges.


In contrast to all other ethical systems that focus on external behavior, the ethics of God’s law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus focuses on the inner disposition of people.


As a man thinks in his heart so is he. In religious systems the overt behavior is the sole focus, but in a direct departure from this Christ taught that is was what is within a man that is most important.


MAT 23:25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.


MAT 23:26"You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.


MAT 23:27"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.


MAT 23:28"Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.


First I want to show you why we are going to study this important passage:


MAT 5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.


The source of the following things that Christ is going to teach against is satan and the KOD. Therefore, naturally, the world system is going to promote these teachings of a false spirituality which is based solely on the outward behavior of a person while ignoring the inner man.


EPH 3:16

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;


ROM 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.