Today while studying Scripture, I came across a verse that stuck out at me like a sore thumb. I've always glossed over the first half of the verse to get to the second half of the verse. But today, the Spirit made me go slower, and the words literally jumped out at me, as if Someone had shone a light upon them. Perhaps He did indeed.
The verse in question is Matthew 16:19:
Whenever I gloss over this verse, it's always to get to the "binding and loosing". Most folks use that phrase with regards to spiritual warfare. But what stuck out at me today was this:
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven...."
In my mind's eye, I pictured a ring of lovely golden keys, given to every saint of God. Immediately, as the Spirit led my thoughts, I remembered of another set of keys -- the keys of Hell and death.
Christ says quite clearly in Revelation 1:18 that HE alone holds those keys. Even more interesting is when you think that if Christ is the Keeper of those keys, then it is not Satan who reigns in Hell. Our God reigns... Everywhere. Hell might be the one place that God has removed His omnipresence, but He is still omniscient and omnipotent over all His creation. Hell is not Satan's kingdom. All dominion belongs to Yeshua as the Judge of the whole earth.
But what a contrast -- Christ holds the keys to Hell and death -- and His saints hold the keys to His Kingdom. All authority has been given to Christ -- He is the Judge, the One sinners will face at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-12). By His ruling and the witness of what's written in the books, He passes sentence, and those not covered by His atoning blood are banished forevermore. Yet, to His Bride, the one He trusts, He has given the authority to open the very gates of Heaven. What an honor!
The keys on our ring are Prayer, Knowledge, Wisdom, Spirit, Truth, the Gospel, and Christ Himself. The only way into Heaven is through Him. And it is up to His Body, the Church, to proclaim Him to the ends of the earth. Not only that, but having the keys of His Kingdom also implies a few things. For us, the gates of Heaven are wide open. We can come in and commune with the Almighty (Rev. 1:6). We can ask Him to send us legions of His angels (Matt. 26:53). We can call on spiritual blessings to rain down upon us (Eph. 1:3). And the armies of Heaven are at our back (Luke 10:19).
The gates of Heaven won't open for merely anyone, but only to sons and daughters of the Most High (Eph. 1:5). Through Christ, we are now accepted into the Family of God -- but that family doesn't lump us in with the angels -- the Family of God is the very Triune Godhead Himself.
We are now accepted in Yeshua, the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). Our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). And Christ is the very Son of God. When we are glorified, as He is now, we will share in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Not to become gods ourselves, but to be higher than the angels (Hebrews 1:13, Revelation 3:21). This is why He gives us His authority and the keys to His Kingdom.
In the verse preceding the verse about the keys of the Kingdom, Yeshua tells us in Matthew 16:18:
The gates of Hell shall never prevail against His Church. Why? Because Yeshua Himself holds the keys to Hell and death!
Yeshua, quite literally, has authority over the gates of Hell, and He has the keys and the power to lock them. The gates of Hell CANNOT prevail because it is on YESHUA's authority that they remain locked. There is no way Hell can overcome the will of GOD.
No one else has the keys but Christ!
Being a saint of Yeshua, able to open the gates of the Kingdom, is not only an enormous privilege, but a glorious power. Once we understand those gates open by turning the key in our own hand, imagine the sway we could have in prayer if we but applied it! As Charles Spurgeon once said, "Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence." Think about that for a moment. When your will aligns with God's will, your prayer can move mountains! Nothing is impossible for God. An open door in Heaven means God listens to His saints. God blesses His saints. God provides for His saints. And God protects His saints.
And one day, we will ourselves walk through those very gates of Glory, and smile at the ring of keys given to us at Calvary, embossed with our name, dangling earnestly, and well-used, from the unbolted pearly lock.