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What are the “keys of the Kingdom”?

Matt 16:18-19 And I tell you,  you are Peter, and  on this rock  I will build my church, and  the gates of  hell  shall not prevail against it. I will give you  the keys of 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.”

Some look at this as a primary of jurisdiction that was extended to Peter and therefore Rome. Or to the apostles and therefore only the apostolic churches of the East. They see this like a rabbinic authority. Where he could bind you to a particular interpretation of the Law or he could loose you if he decided from a particular interpretation. A teaching authority. So Jesus giving Peter a primacy of jurisdiction and authority as well (in Rome’s view) becomes the basis of Rome’s claims. But if you look at the context you’ll see something else. Rather than looking in light of Jewish-Rabbinical interpretation I use the context and the giving of the Gospel to interpret. I argue that in light of Jesus sending his apostles out that the far better interpretation has to do with the binding and loosing that the Gospel proclaims.

The context of the text is important. Note: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. What is it that prevents people from being held in by hades? It’s the resurrection unto life. What brings that about? These keys unlocking the gates to let the people out. What are the keys? That’s the Gospel. The Gospel message is what frees them. That context trumps some other possible meanings that may or may not have existed in the first century. To discuss the rabbinical idea is kind of a rabbit trail because it’s not especially significant in this context.

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