The Church, and not just Peter, has been given authority and is empowered by The Holy Spirit to bring on earth that which applies in heaven, which extends to forgiving others, behaviour discipline and spiritual forces. Jesus told of this authority to His disciples before His death and resurrection and after when He appeared to them on the Sunday He rose from the dead. All the disciples were present when Jesus said 'I will give you the Keys of the Kingdom'.

This authorized all the original apostles and their followers with a ministerial power to guide and administrate the church of Christ, as it exists in particular congregations or churches, according to the rules of the gospel. Christ, having incorporated his church, has appointed the office of ministries for the keeping up of order and government, and to see that His laws be performed accordingly.

The Holy Bible, NIV.
Matthew 16:19 (to Peter) 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Matthew 18:18 (to all) 18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
John 20:23 (to all) 23 "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

It is not an acknowledgement that Peter is the leader of God's people, or the founder of the church, all present would have then recognised with certainty of Peter's superiority, if it were correct. However, in Matt 18, the disciples came to Jesus and asked who among them was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Luke 9: says they were in argument on this matter and here records Jesus reply as "Whoever is the least among you is the greatest".

Keys to the Kingdom acknowledge that the Kingdom is opened to those who believe Peter's declaration to be The Truth, the Truth of Jesus' Messiahship and which present Him as the Son of God. Peter along with all disciples were and are representatives of the church throughout the ages.

Peter without doubt opened the door for Jews and Gentiles, as did others, to enter into the saving grace of God's Kingdom. He played a significant role in the history of the early church of the New Testament beginning on the day of Pentecost in Acts2. Peter was not beyond reproach, he made mistakes, one such error caused much confusion and stumbling concerning the imposition of Jewish customs and laws upon the Gentiles (Galatians 2:6). Peter was not infallible and no man has ever been.

Peter and those who were with him received Keys to the Kingdom to bind and loose. Keys were the symbol of knowledge or the fruit of the scribal or teaching office. Peter and those with him were given the keys of the kingdom, that is, to preach the gospel of Christ.

The use of those keys (of knowledge) will build the church. Peter did precisely this at Pentecost. Under the leadership of the Spirit, the church proclaims salvation and the accompanying forgiveness. The church performs by gospel proclamation the introduction of this verse. Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher, and used the term of the day to let the disciple know his maturity.

This term "The keys to bind and loose" was part of the Jewish culture and was used to recognise those who had completed their courses of study in Law and had graduated. Today it is the same as a diploma given to a student at graduation for all the knowledge they had been able to retain during their years of study and completed their final exam on issued regarding subjects taken.

On completing the course of Law a Key (as a Diploma) was received by the Jewish student who had passed his examinations for the high position of Doctor of Law. The key handed to the student had the words 'receive authority to bind and to loose' inscribed on the key. Having mastered the Law, the Doctor of Law could now say what was lawful and what was unlawful. The scribes in the day of Jesus looked upon Keys as their insignia of their office to be interpreters of the moral law.


The giving of the Keys of Knowledge allude to the custom of the Jews in creating a Doctor of the Law, which was to put into the accomplished studentís hand, the keys of the chest where the book of the law was kept, denoting the authorization to take and read it; and the binding and loosing, allude to the fashion about the Jewish books, which were in rolls, and the teachers shut them by binding them up with a string, which they untied when they opened them.


Christ gives his apostles power to shut or open the book of the gospel to people. When ministers preach pardon and peace to the repentant, wrath and the curse to the unrepentant, in Christís name, they act then pursuant to this authority of binding and loosing.

All the disciples were given authority to use the Keys of the Kingdom and the right to exercise both moral and spiritual laws when they were sent two by two and also the seventy disciples He commissioned to go ahead of Him to the villages throughout the country, to the people of His own race. Jesus confirmed the authority given when He appeared to them after He had been resurrected.

Disciples do not have the authority to admit mankind into the Kingdom of heaven. Disciples are witnesses. Entry is granted by those who accept the witness of Christ. The Keys of The Kingdom is also the Christian profession of the church and everybody who received Christ as Saviour proceed into the Kingdom through Christ.
All who are saved have the keys to open doors for others willing to enter the Kingdom of God.

The Keys of Doctrine are also called The Keys of Discipline and The Keys of Knowledge to explain to the world the Will of God.

Peter therefore had reached the state and platform of spiritual belief and maturity on which Christ is truly recognised. The incident recorded is not meant to be interpreted or understood that Peter was given special authority above others in The Kingdom of God.

The Keys of the Kingdom will bring to pass on earth the kind of effect that takes place in heaven. The Kingdom will reign and rule on earth as it is in heaven.
The Key was symbolic in Scripture used to speak of Christís complete victory and His authority. It was also used as need of deliverance from imprisonment brought about by sin and the law to human nature.

The Key of Discipleship illustrates Godís forgiveness and is made effective through the preaching of the Gospel. The key is a symbol of living faith as well as locked up obstacles to faith. Galatians 3:23 ďBefore this faith came, we were held prisoners by the Law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come we are no longer under the supervision of the law.Ē

The authority Jesus assigned to His disciples regarding binding and loosing on earth was granted to Peter and all other disciples to know the freedom or condemnation of a person based upon the hearer's response to the acceptance of Jesus.It is in heaven that all sin, sickness, demons and evil are bound and loosed.

It will be done according to what God has already established and is easily understood in the Lord's Prayer 'Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven'. (Matt 6:10) In Matt 18:18 the term of binding and loosing is again addressed to the disciples of Jesus, this time in reference to forgiveness and again in John 20:23.

Binding and loosing is a call to repentance, binding the sin and loosing the conscience, and having the assurance of forgiveness. To bind is to declare which is obligated (required), to loose is to declare that which is both intentional and voluntary. Binding and loosing is not authority to determine but announces guilt or innocence, to the hearers of God's Word.
Humans cannot forgive sins, but they can know of forgiveness of sins when Christ is accepted or rejected.

Binding and loosing is accomplishing God's rule on earth, restricting on earth things that are restricted or restrained in heaven and setting free the things on earth which are liberated in heaven. Binding and loosing is redemptive and is based on what the Kingdom of God allows and what the Kingdom forbids.

Binding and loosing is what is permitted or forbidden in the body of believers. All make such judgements of the principles of God's Word, when believers do this they can be assured they are in accordance with heaven.

This does not mean that God bows to human authority and actions, but that a Spirit-led Christian leader carries with them the awesome authority of heaven itself. When the Church says an unrepentant sinner is bound in sin, it is what God's Word says, and if the sinner repents, he has been released and loosed from sin, God's Word agrees.

Binding and loosing is deciding what is and what is not God's will. This promise is given to all Christians. All who profess allegiance to Christ their King, belong to the Kingdom of God here on earth and including the spiritual realm. It is a reference to the distribution of the Gospel. This promise was given to all believers to bind and loose with 'spiritual authority'.

Whatever is declared unlawful or improper must already be bound in heaven and whatever is loosed on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.

The Roman Catholic church also lays false claims as to loosing and binding, and believe only it can forgive sins. It believes wrongly for only God can forgive sin, no human being or a deceased saint, which also includes Mary of Nazareth, Jesus' mother. A pope cannot forgive sin for The Bible says all are sinners, there are none who are righteous. Only the One Supreme Creator God can forgive sins.

In regarding forgiveness of sin, Christ laid out specific instructions for dealing with sins, acting in accordance with God's Word.

Luke 11:52 Those in authority who teach Godís Word have the responsibility to open the peopleís minds and not obscure their understanding by faulty interpretation and erroneous systems of theology. Christians can keep themselves in ignorance.

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

The words "bind" and "loose" are rabbinic terms meaning "to forbid" and "to permit.

Only when Jesus ascended on high, after his resurrection did He give the gifts of the Keys, then this power was actually given, not to Peter only, but to all the rest.


In Matthew 18:18 included granting them authority in matters of church discipline.


Whatever the church declared to be wrong or right would have been anticipated and ratified in heaven by divine sanction. Heaven sets the standard, earth follows heaven's lead.

The same influence was given to the apostles and the church as a whole. It is not an exclusive gift to any one person or church.

SCRIPTURES Matthew 16:19, 18:18, Luke 11:52, John 20:23.
QUESTIONS 1] What did Jesus say to Peter? 2] What did Jesus say to all disciples? 3] What are the Keys to the Kingdom? 4] What is binding and losing?

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