"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',"
That's an amazing statement. But it's a statement that raises questions. Such as, what were these keys? Who are they for? Are they keys for use today?
As always, the basic principle for finding such answers is by reading the context and noting a few other things too, like:
What is the context and what things are being referred to, who is being addressed, what is their cultural setting and what would they understand Jesus to be saying?
The context is Matthew 16'13-19. Jesus had asked His disciples: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
"Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'
Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Eklesia/Called-Out Ones, 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'".
The context is about what Jesus says to Peter (the word "you" is the singular Greek word for "you" throughout).
The specific things that emerge are:
- Peter's answer to the Lord's question ("You are the Christ, the Son of the living God") was revealed to him by the Father.
- That personal revelation would be the foundation on which the Lord would would build those He would call (His Ekklesia).
- Jesus promised to give Peter "keys" (for a spiritual purpose).
- The keys would carry heavenly authority (to open spiritual "doors").
Peter and the Disciples would not have understood much about what Jesus was saying or the implications.
The keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, then, were given to Peter for specific purposes.