Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Matthew 16: 19 reads:
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be
loosed in heaven.”
What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven and power to bind and loose that Jesus here
promises to give to the Apostle Peter?
Answer: The word key in the Scriptures symbolizes that one who has been duly authorized, has
the power to open something. We sometimes hear the expression, “He holds the key to the
situation.” Peter was not given the keys of authority as to who would gain an entrance into
heaven or not, but was given the privilege and authority of opening the message and work of the
Gospel to the Jews, and later to the Gentiles.
He used the first key on the day of Pentecost, after the anointing of the holy spirit, when he
opened the way for the Jews to enter into Christ’s Church, the Kingdom of heaven class
(Acts 2: 14-40). Three thousand Jews entered in through this opened door on that very day (verse
The second key was used three and one-half years later, when Peter opened the way for the
Gentiles to enter into Christ’s Church. The Lord sent him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius and
his household, who, accepting the message, and believing, became the first Gentile converts
Thus we see that Peter used the “keys” referred to in this Scripture, and there will not be any
occasion for them to ever be used again.
The ability to “bind” and “loose,” on earth and in heaven, while here expressed to Peter
specially, applied to all of the Apostles. They were guided by divine inspiration, making their
teachings infallible and authoritative. Whatever they bound upon the Church as duty or
obligation, was bound in heaven; and whatever they loosed on earth, such as the obligations of
the Mosaic law, were loosed in heaven.