The Keys of the Kingdom

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.”    (Matthew 16:19 the Amplified Bible)

It is important to note that it is the keys “of” the kingdom and not the keys “to” the kingdom.  There is a difference.  The key to something gets you inside of it.  The keys “of” something, allow you to operate freely and move around as one desires within a place once the individual is on the inside.  For example, if I give someone the keys to a school, they can get inside the school but there may be doors that are inaccessible to them.  But, if I give you the keys “to” the school, you could open any door and move freely at will.  This is the point that Jesus is making.  He is giving us the keys to move freely at will within the Kingdom of God and to exercise the authority of that Kingdom.

The giving of keys symbolizes the ability to move freely at will is a biblical concept.  We read in Isaiah, “The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.” (Isaiah 22:22) Eliakhim in this chapter replaces Shebna who was over the house (22:13)  Shebna’s conduct has been selfish and he has taken advantage of his position and is being replaced.  On the contrary Eliakhim is called “My servant” (22:20) and because of his humility and heart for God, he is awarded the keys.  He becomes an authority. (It is important to remember that God requires a human co-laborer to bring about His Will on earth)  God has appointed Himself a man He could trust with rulership of His House.  This also pre-shadows Jesus.  Jesus was a man anointed with the Holy Spirit and He was completely submitted to and obedient to the Father.  Therefore, He was given authority (Matthew 28:18) and Keys (Revelation 1:3)

Jesus tells us how we can operate and bring the Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.  He tells us that what we “bind” will be bound.  Meaning that it will be forbidden or prohibited from operating.  Basically, He is telling us that if something around us is operating that is not in heaven, then we are obliged as God’s representatives and co-laborers  to bind or prohibit it by the power/authority given to us by God.  (Please see http://www.kingdomidentity.wordpress.com the blog entitled,  A Word about Words).  Conversely, once we have prohibited the operation of darkness, we now “loose” or allowor release what is free to operate in heaven. Therefore, through our spoken words, we release the realms of the Kingdom around us.  If it is free to operate in heaven , then it is free to operate around us and into our lives.

This is the keys to the Kingdom.  What we open is open and what we close is closed and the gates of hell will not prevail against us.  Charles Capps writes, “Someone might ask, ’What good would that do if it is already bound up there?’  Jesus is saying, ‘I will give believers authority and power to loose things on earth that are allowed in heaven and to bind things on earth that are not allowed in heaven.’  Just ask yourself, ’What things are not allowed in heaven?’  There is no sickness or disease in heaven, nor is there poverty.  There is no evil, no lack of any kind.  Heaven is a healthy, happy place.  Jesus said, “You have authority to bind evil forces upon earth that cause sickness, disease, poverty, and sin.’  What is loosed in heaven?  Life, health, abundance, happiness, joy, and peace.  Now you can understand why Jesus called the power of binding and loosing the keys of the Kingdom! (1)

In essence, we must understand authority in order to use the keys of the kingdom.  Our authority is twofold.  First, as a man on the earth (see previous two post called The Kingdom and the Kingdom and the Spirit man).  As God’s representative in the physical realm we have authority over all the earth. This was God’s original intention.  Secondly, our authority rests on what Christ has done for us.  We read in Ephesians, “according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the which is to come.  And He put all things under His feet…(Ephesians 1:17-22)  Shortly thereafter we read, “and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6)  We have been seated above all principalities and power with Christ.  Therefore, we have the God ordained authority to prohibit the works of the devil on our lives and the lives of those around us and in any circumstance where we encounter the enemy.

In summation, we must use our God given authority, by faith, to bind the spiritual forces of darkness and loose the kingdom of heaven over those same circumstances to yield an increase for the kingdom.  We should accept and dominate the earth until He returns.  This is the kingdom business.  Kenneth Hagin writes the concluding statements. “All authority that was given to Christ belongs to us through Him, and we may exercise it.  We help Him by carrying out His work upon the earth,  And one aspect of His work that the Word of God tells us to do is to conquer the devil!  In fact, Christ can’t do His work on the earth without us!  He can‘t get along without you any more than you can get along without Him.” (2)

Endnotes

1.  Capps, Charles, Your Spiritual Authority,  Harrison House, Tulsa, OK, 1994 page, 138-139.

2.  Hagin, Kenneth, The Believer’s Authority, Faith Library Publications, Tulsa OK, page, 27-28.

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The Kingdom Rulers Require Water and Spirit

“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

There are two requirements that Jesus has set before us.  They are being “born of water” and being “born of the Spirit.”  The latter (being born of the Spirit) we have already covered in the two post entitled, “The Kingdom” and “The Kingdom and the Spirit Man.”  The reader is encouraged to read these two before continuing here.  In this post, we will focus on the water portion of the verse and the role that Jesus played in opening this door for us.

Generally, there are two standard arguments for the meaning of being “born of water.”  The first is water baptism by immersion and the second is the actual physical birth.  In essence, being birthed on the earth as a human being created in the image of God.  (Again, See “The Kingdom and the Spirit man” for details).  When both arguments are considered, we will find that the answer lies in both positions.

Water baptism is a symbolic/prophetic act in the physical realm that expresses a spiritual reality.  FF Bruce summarizes, “Christian baptism even more emphatically symbolizes the new beginning for every one who by faith-union with Christ shares His death and burial in a spiritual sense and rises with Him to newness of life.” (1)  Baptism is an outward physical manifestation of a spiritual reality.  Thus, in order for one to demonstrate to the world his being “born of the spirit” one would declare it through water baptism.  Contextually, Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus, in the third chapter of John, and He uses language that would have been familiar to Nicodemus.  “Converts to Judaism were said to become ‘as newborn children’ when they were baptized to remove Gentile impurity.  ‘Born of water’ thus clarifies for Nicodemus that  ‘born from above’ means conversion, not a second physical birth.” (2)   Nicodemus became confused that he needed to be converted because, in his mind, he was already converted. (see also the Kingdom post).  Hence, it seems relevant that “born of water” in this context can be-speak of water baptism as it is the only expression in the physical realm of the spiritual reality of the Christian entering the Kingdom.  David Stern explains further the position on water baptism, “Immersion in water is connected with ritual cleansing of the body….while the Holy Spirit gives power for turning from sin and living a holy life; both bespeak of aspects of purification.  This is why being born of water does not mean ordinary human birth; moreover, since everyone is born of water in that sense, it would be silly for Yeshua to make a condition out of it with the word ‘unless.’” (3)

Agreed, the interpretation of water baptism is most applicable for this verse. However, there is the argument of being “born of water” as being born a human that may have a deeper spiritual reality than Mr. Stern’s will allow.  To reiterate, water baptism is a physical act of a spiritual reality.  It is what we do in the physical realm to demonstrate being “born of the Spirit” in the spiritual realm.  If this is the only application then Jesus is being extremely redundant.  To paraphrase, Jesus would be saying that “unless one performs the physical act of the spiritual reality and is born-again which is the aforementioned spiritual reality, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  It would appear to be a redundant statement.  Perhaps the physical birth itself has some application here as well.

To understand this we must look at what man was created to be and to do in the beginning.  “Then God said, Let us make man in our image and according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, overall the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26) Man was created to have authority over all the earth.  The bible says that “The heavens, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the sons of men.” (Psalm 115:16)  God designed that dominion over the earth is in the hands of men.  Hence, it takes a human to become the image bearing representative of God on earth, to usher in the Kingdom of God.  God has limited Himself to utilize His Creation in order to have dominion on the earth.  The spiritual Kingdom of Heaven cannot invade the physical  realm of earth without the utilization of God’s representative on earth.  This is why it is necessary to be a person, a human being, born of water, to enter the kingdom.  One must first be a human before one can demonstrate heavenly power on earth.  It is a prerequisite that one must be a person in order to enter the kingdom by the blood of Jesus.

God, because of His character, will not revoke the authority that he gave to men.  God must redeem and use men to display and destroy the works of the devil because He doesn’t take back what he has given.  Therefore, God had to become a man sot that a man could save that which was lost.  Adam gave away the authority over the earth to the devil at the fall of humankind.  A man had to come and retrieve that which was given away.  Hence, it was essential that Jesus be “born of water” to qualify in the physical realm to be the image-bearer and representative of God.  Hence, the requirements are exactly the same for the Christian.  Jesus called Himself, “The Son of Man” which identified Him more with His Humanity than with His Divinity.  He came as a man, anointed by the Holy Spirit, go get back what man had lost.  This could only be accomplished by a man, a human being.  Charles Capps concludes, “Jesus came by the legal entry, through birth.  He had all the authority of a man.  He lived as a man and was anointed with the Holy Ghost.  He went before us and destroyed the devil’s works.  He went to the cross, gave up His life, and became the supreme sacrifice…The fleshy birth is the legal entry into the earth.  But because Jesus is the Head of the Church and the firstborn from the dead, He became the door, or legal entry, into the Kingdom of God.  There is no other way.  You can’t get there by the church door.  You can’t get there by being baptized.  You can’t get there by paying your tithes or by being good.  You must be born again, and Jesus is the door of that new birth.  Just as physical birth is the legal entry into earth, the spiritual birth though Jesus Christ is the only legal way into heaven.” (4)

Hence, when we, as Christians, exercise our God-given authority as His Image bearers, and our rights as “citizens of heaven” having been born again, then the Kingdom of God comes to earth through us.  Indeed, one must be born of water and Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.
Endnotes

1.  Bruce, F.F.  The Gospel and Epistles of John, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1983, page 84.

2.  Keener, Craig, The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1993, page270.

3.  Stern, David, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament publications, Clarksville, MA, 1992, page 267.

4.  Capps, Charles, Your Spiritual Authority, Harrison House, Tulsa, OK, 1994, page 147-148.