When it comes to teaching on the Kingdom of God, one area that has been overlooked or improperly taught is the ‘Keys’ to the kingdom. The kingdom of God is governmental, and it offers its citizens the same rights as any earthly kingdom or government. However, because the Kingdom of God has not fully manifested in the earth, there is a continual battle between the kingdom of darkness as to which kingdom will prevail.
Jesus has won the victory, but we are in a battle to advance the Kingdom until He returns and establishes in full in Jerusalem for millennia. After that, heaven will come to earth in the form of the New Jerusalem or heavenly Zion. In the meantime, Jesus gave His disciples ‘keys’ to the government and operation of His Kingdom in the earth to be used now.
The Keys Received By Faith
Jesus mentions these keys in Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
In the preceding verses, Jesus asks a question to the disciples ‘ Who do you say I am? Peter answered, stating that He was the Christ or Messiah. This was the answer to a long-sought question: when will the Messiah come, and what will His kingdom be like. They were looking for an earthly government to overthrow the kingdoms over them.
Peter’s statement required faith. Faith is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus made a startling proclamation to Peter when he said in verse 18, “thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build my kingdom.” What is the rock Jesus spoke of? Was it Peter the rock, whose name was Cephas meaning ‘rock?’ That is what many early believers taught. They also taught that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, which became the Papacy’s office.
They see Peter as Christ’s successor on the earth. But is that what Jesus was teaching? The rock that Jesus’ kingdom is built upon is the rock of faith that Jesus is the Messiah or Christ. That bedrock confession gains entrance into the Kingdom. But there is more. Jesus asked the question to all of the disciples, and Peter answered. Jesus answers Peter and all of the disciples by explaining that He will give them the ‘keys of the Kingdom. It was their belief and later ours that allows us to receive these keys.
The Keys and Authority
Keys allow the holder to gain access to something that has been locked. It also allows the holder to close or shut out certain things or people. Keys give someone authority. The Catholic church teaches that the pope alone has these keys since he is Peter’s successor and Peter alone the keys. As I have already stated, that is not proper exegesis, and there are numerous scriptures relating to keys and believers’ authority.
Ephesians 2: 19-22 tells us that Jesus is the chief cornerstone and the disciples, not just Peter, are the foundation upon which the church is built. 1 Peter 2:9 explains that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a chosen people to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. Jesus is the rock upon which the kingdom is established and built, not Peter, the Pope, any denomination, or other leaders.
Luke 9:1 “Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. 2- And He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. 3- He said to them, “ Take nothing for your journey: no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, and do not take two tunics.” (MEV)
Jesus sent them out to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. Matthew’s account in chapter ten tells them to raise the dead and cleanse lepers. Then we have the Great Commission, given in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18. Here He tells them to disciple the nations and that all authority is provided to them through Him. They again preach the kingdom, and Mark talks about power over serpents and scorpions and deadly things. I believe this is the authority over demons and the kingdom of darkness.
We Have Received The Keys To Use Them
If we believe that faith in Christ gives us these keys, then why are we not using them? He tells us what doors they unlock. Healing, salvation, eternal life, joy, peace, deliverance, cleansing, and protection are benefits of the Kingdom. There are many other benefits. We have been given authority, all authority in heaven. Jesus holds the keys, and He gives them to those who believe. We are saved by grace through faith, and that faith allows us to receive the keys. Then we have authority over sickness, demons, and worldly influence. But, we must learn how to use these keys.
It’s like a policeman or doctor who has been given authority to represent the courts or healing. They had to learn the rules and how to apply them. When a king sends His ambassador, He has the same authority as if the king was standing there. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ. We are representatives of Him and His kingdom.
Someone once asked how can we be seated in heavenly places? (see Ephesians 2:6) I explained that we are spiritually connected to Christ through the Holy Spirit while we are here on earth. It is like a policeman who represents the laws of a city or state. They have the same authority as the mayor, governor, or a king. When we show up, it is as if Christ was there since He lives through us by the Holy Spirit.
Now we have been given all authority, so why do we not use it? We have free healthcare-physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We must take the time to sit with the one who gives that authority and develop our relationship and understand how His kingdom functions. This is one of the main things not taught today. The Kingdom of God is life-changing, bringing joy, peace, and complete freedom.
I pray that we will all grow to understand our authority and how to use the keys. Jesus said whatever we bind or loose here, it is as if we did it in heaven. That is the reality of the Kingdom of God being here now, even though it will fully manifest at His return.
Until then, use the authority you have received when you confessed and believed Jesus is Christ and made Him your Lord by surrendering to Him. It is quite humbling to have been given so much authority, and so we must stay humble because that is who we are, humble servants of the King.