“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
The “keys of the kingdom” that were given to Peter was the revelation that Jesus was the Messiah;“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). By Jesus’ own testimony, this revelation came to Peter from the Father in heaven.
These “keys of the kingdom” opened up the heavenly realm to man in a way that had never been done before. Peter used these keys at Pentecost to open up the kingdom of heaven to those who accepted his word and, like Peter himself, had faith in Christ Jesus as the risen Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus also told Peter that whatever he bound on earth would also be bound in heaven, and what he loosed on earth would also be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19); this too, he told the other disciples after they too, had entered in to the revelation of Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 18:18).
This binding and loosing has been misunderstood and misused throughout the Church age, and particularly in the modern era. It doesn’t mean what it has been taken to mean by religious charlatans, but means that the revelation received by Peter would be released through him and the other witnesses of Christ’s life, to those who received it in their hearts, and it would be bound to those who had not faith.
This great salvation, the letter to the Hebrews says, “was first spoken of by the Lord and confirmed to us by those that heard” (Hebrew 2:3). Peter was one of those that heard; at Pentecost we saw it loosed in the power of the Spirit to those that would take hold of it.
In like manner, it is being released today and is free to those who take hold of it in faith.