The Keys Of The Kingdom Of God

“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom,” Matthew 26'29.


It may sound exciting to read or hear that when Jesus said "I will give you the keys of the kingdom", He was saying that they are for all Believers in the present. But He wasn't. He was addressing Peter back in the day. And each key had its own door and each one was used once.

Jesus said those words after asking the Disciples these two questions: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” and “... who do you say that I am?” There were a few answers to the first question, But Peter answered the second one. He declared: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

And Jesus responded: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven". Then He said:

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven," Matthew 16'13-19.

First the realisation that "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” is the spiritual revelation that is the spiritual rock on which every true Believer stands. Jesus has been revealed to each one as "the Christ, the Son of the living God” by the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Further to that, Jesus said: "... and on this rock I will build My church ...". It is very important to understand here exactly what He is saying, and that involves understanding the meaning of the word church. The New Testament Greek word is ekklesia which is made up of ek and klesia (out and called) meaning called out.

So Jesus is saying that all those Believers who hold that He is "the Christ, the Son of the living God” has had it revealed to them by the Father, through the Holy Spirit. And they make up His Ekklesia, His Called-Out Ones.

But the fulfillment of the Lord's words to Peter would have to wait until the day when the first Kingdom key was required.


His message and teachings of the Kingdom of God were the Lord's focus in particular for His disciples' preparation. And it was the same in the final period, from Jesus' resurrection:

"... until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen" He was "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God," Acts 1'2-3.

So as soon as Jesus had ascended, the responsibility for what happened next fell to Peter. It was up to him to receive the first key of the Kingdom of God: the foundational key for The Ministry of Eldership-Oversight of the Body of Christ (His Ekklesia/Called Out People).

From then on he used the Lord's keys to open Kingdom doors one by one: 1. The Ministry of Eldership-Oversight of the Body of Christ (His Ekklesia/Called Out People). 2. Salvation and the Gift of the Holy Spirit to Jews, 3. Physical Healing, 4. Speaking to Rulers, 5. Immersion in the Holy Spirit to Samaritans, 6. Raising the dead, 7. Salvation to Gentiles.


The first thing that was brought to Peter's attention was the need for the foundation and righteous oversight of the soon-to-be Body of Christ (His Ekklesia/Called Out People). So Peter ... "stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,

'Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.
Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the immersion of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
And they prayed and said, 'You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.' And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles, Acts 1'15-17,21-26.

Thus the ministry of Eldership-Oversight for the Body of Christ according to the Word of Christ for the building of the Lord's Ekklesia was established.


"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.They were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven".

"... Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words'". “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.

By the time he had finished, the key had opened the door and the result was that -"Those who gladly received his word were immersed and that day about three thousand souls were added to them".


Peter was accompanied by the apostle John when he used this key and they seem to respond to this situation just as Jesus would have done:

Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.
And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them - walking, leaping, and praising God, Acts 3'4-8.

And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them, Acts 5'14-15.

Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.
There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed.
And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately.
So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord, Acts 9'32-35.


Once again the Holy Spirit enables Peter with Key 4.

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
“If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
“let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.


Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been immersed in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit, Acts 8'14-17.


At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.


So far so good. Peter's spiritual delivery area had been fairly safe. He had seen the Lord interact with a Samaritan woman and refer to the goodness of a male Samaritan. And with Jewish hierarchy. But not Gentiles. Christ's "go into all the world" command had not dawned on the apostles yet. So Peter didn't see this coming.

Here's how it went:

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. “Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. “He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”
And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.
So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.
In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.
And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.
And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.
“Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?”
And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.”
Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.

As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
“Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.
‘Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’
“So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
“The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ - He is Lord of all - that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the immersion which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. “Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered, Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be immersed who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
And he commanded them to be immersed in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

But in due course he was in trouble again and facing the apostles and brethren about what he had done. "You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them", they said sternly. When he explained what had happened "they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life'," Acts 11'1-2,18.


Some time later and in a very different scenario the Holy Spirit called out Paul and Barnabas "for the work to which I have called them". Consequently, they go on the first ever missionary journey. After an eventful journey, they arrive back at Antioch:

"Now when they had come and gathered the Saints together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles," Acts 14'27.

God had opened this door. However, some visiting Jews challenged and stated: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved". Needless to say, Paul and Barnabas "had no small dissension and dispute with them". So they were sent to the apostles, elders and congregation in Jerusalem about it.

There they related all the things that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying 'It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses'."

However, Peter was there. As the one who had opened the Kingdom door for the Gentiles he sat and listened. After much dispute he spoke: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the good news and believe". After saying that, and some more, "the multitude kept silent".

After some more missionary testimonies from Paul and Barnabas, James, who was leading the meeting, said: "...listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. "Therefore, I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God" (Acts 15).

And with that judgment from James, the job that the Lord gave Peter to do was complete.