Pastor Jonathan’s Blog

The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

January 20, 2023

Mathew 16:13-20 (NASB) Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

What are the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven?

The image of “keys” is rooted firmly in the culture contemporary with our Lord and the Disciples and in the Old Testament as well. Consider Isaiah 22:15-23. There, God says to “this steward, to Shebna, who is over the [royal] house” that he is about to be replaced with a new steward, Eliakim.

Now, a “steward” is one who “wards” (guards) the “stead” (place, position and authority) of the master of the house.

The “stead-ward” was a servant, oftentimes a slave, who administered the affairs and assets of a wealthy family’s household. As we see even on episodes of Downton Abbey, it is the butler and the housekeeper, exactly like the ancient stewards, who have charge of all the keys for all the doors and every room in the house. And in a royal or noble household, the steward not only carried they keys but also admitted visitors into the royal/noble presence.

Hence, in Isaiah 22:22 God says of Eliakim, “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.”

A)    The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven is the confession the Jesus Christ is THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.

          Heavenly beings are called sons of God -Job 1:6;2:1; Genesis 6:2

          Jesus is THE SON of GOD Heb 1:4-8

          Jesus is THE Son of GOD and HE IS THE MAN of Psalm 1

          Jesus is THE ONLY BEGGOTTEN SON OF GOD- uniquely sharing HIS NATURE and being as much God as God the Father is God.

          Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the    Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made

How important are the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven?

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven

A)    The Key of David is the power to open the understanding of the scriptures. Revelations 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens..”

Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures  

B)    Without the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven people cannot understand the scriptures. Acts 8:30-31 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him

C)    The Scribes had the Keys and didn’t let anyone in- they didn’t even enter themselves. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” Luke 11:52

D)    I will give you the keys …

Catholic theologians have historically believed this passage proves Peter was intended to be the head of the Christian church. But, if we look at the early church, it was both Peter and James, the relative of Jesus, who will lead the church then centered in Jerusalem.

Certainly, Peter exercised a crucial role in opening the door to the Kingdom of God. On the day of Pentecost, through his preaching 3000 souls entered the Kingdom (Acts 2:41); God used Peter to open the door for the Gentile centurion Cornelius and his family (Acts 10:1-48); and Peter’s testimony at the Council of Jerusalem helped open the door for the Church to all Gentiles (Acts 15:6ff).

The power of the keys is not unique to Peter.

But Peter was not the only Apostle to exercise that power of the keys. Certainly Paul was the “Apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) and admitted them to the Church even when Peter— the incident with Cornelius notwithstanding—started waffling, such that Paul publicly rebuked Peter: Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed” (cf. Galatians 2:11)

And note that Paul began admitting Gentiles to the Church as Gentiles without first “consulting with flesh and blood,” without getting permission from “those who were apostles before me,” much less from Peter in particular (Galatians 1:16-17).

What happened to those in hell when Jesus showed up with the Keys?

Caesarea Philippi, then known as Panias, sat at the base of Mount Hermon. The early Canaanites worshiped Baal at Panias,

The Cave of Pan known as “The Gates of Hell” was at the foot of a cliff where spring water flowed directly from the cave’s mouth. This fast-moving stream, the beginning of the Jordan River, was created by seventy-two springs originating in the bowels of the mountain. The waters were so deep that ancients were unable to plumb the depths and therefore considered it bottomless.

Prisoners were thrown into the “Gates of Hell, to determine guilt for a crime. Ferocious waters gushed from a very large spring of this limestone cave. In ancient times, the water was fast-moving and would have propelled the bodies over the rocks, and death was guaranteed. The waters filled with human or animal corpses must have been a frightening sight.

A)    In the ancient world, gates were defensive structures to keep the enemy out, but Jesus doesn’t want us cowering behind them.

When he stated, “and the Gates of Hell will not prevail,” Jesus was suggesting those gates should be attacked.

His followers were challenged to not hide from evil and would be commanded to storm the Gates of Hell, which would not hold up under the triumphant forces of Jesus’ church.

B)    Jesus himself attacked the Gates of Hell –

*Jesus death was a fish-hook and trojan horse to destroy hell from within 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 1 Corinthians 2:8

*Jesus descended into hell– For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 1 Peter 3:18-20

*He liberated with all the OT saints

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,

He led captivity captive,

And gave gifts to men.”

9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:7-10 (KJV)

*He attacked the Gates of Hell with the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. Revelation 1:17-18

As He was descending He found John the Baptist and told him, John what are you doing here…get the HELL OUT OF HERE

He Found Elisha- What are you doing here Elisha- GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE

He found Abraham- GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE


Why is this message important:

Jesus will attack your hell with His Keys

You can attack people’s hell with the Keys he has granted you

Jesus Clears the Temple

December 9, 2022


In John 2:13-22, Jesus clears the temple courts of animals and moneychangers. This passage is often misunderstood as a text where Jesus displays his anger over the financial greed which was taking place in the temple, based on the quote, “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16). While certainly Jesus was concerned about greed, there is much more behind the scenes.

John 2:13

After a short sojourn in Capernaum, Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and the text implies that the disciples accompanied him (2:12, 17, 22; 3:22).

For the first time in the Gospel, we meet with direct notice of a Jewish liturgical feast: the Passover of the Jews is near. As an observant Jew, Jesus makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and enters the temple area.

The temple was the most important institution and building in Jewish life. It was the place where God dwelt among his people in a special manner, and thus it was a central factor and component in Jewish life.

The temple was God’s house, the place where he made himself known, instructed his people, and received their worship. As the psalmist sang, “How lovely your dwelling, / O LORD of hosts! / My soul yearns and pines / for the courts of the LORD” (Ps 84:2–3). The temple operated under the auspices of the high priest and the priestly aristocracy in The sale of animals and exchange of money occurred somewhere in the large outer courts of the temple, in the so-called Court of the Gentiles.

John 2:14

Upon entering the temple precincts, Jesus saw those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the moneychangers seated there. Since Passover was a pilgrimage festival, it attracted an international crowd of pilgrims, which swelled the population of Jerusalem with hundreds of thousands of people.

It was Herod the Great who around 19BC began to rebuild and greatly expand the size of the temple. It was Herod who also installed various courtyards within the temple area, including courts for priests, Israelites, women, and Gentiles.

The Court of the Gentiles was actually far larger than the Temple building itself, and its Inner Court, which were restricted to the Jews.

Historical writings at the time of Christ tell us that the area occupied by Herod’s Temple and its courts was over 35 acres, and the Court of the Gentiles occupied about 10 acres of that space. Modern archaeological excavations have confirmed this. So the area that Jesus cleansed was no small place.

Gentiles could get no closer to the Holy of Holies than this outer courtyard. Only Jews could enter the inner courtyard areas. In fact, archeologists have found a large stone that served to warn Gentiles from getting any closer to the inner courts than the outer Court of Gentiles. Its inscription reads: “No foreigner is to go beyond the balustrade and the plaza of the temple zone. Whoever is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.”

Since foreign coinage often carried the image of emperors or kings (Mark 12:15–17) and such images were considered a violation of the law (Exod 20:4), the pilgrims needed to exchange their currency to pay the temple tax and buy sacrificial animals in money acceptable in the temple (hence the moneychangers).

These God fearing foreigners would never have existed without the Diaspora, the wide diffusion of Jewish congregations throughout the known world.

In ever greater numbers, these people, called “fearers of God” (phoboumenoi ton Theon) attached themselves to local synagogues and observed as much of the Jewish piety as they were able. We know of one such man at Caesarea, named Cornelius, who kept the regular fasting days and hours of prayer. It is hardly surprising that some of the “God-fearers” should also want to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem in order to celebrate the major feast days in the Temple. So, to accommodate them, Herod the Great had constructed a large courtyard around the Second Temple, where they could gather and worship: The Court of the Gentiles.

When Solomon dedicated the original temple, we see a surprising prayer for the foreigner/Gentile:

“Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name. 2 Chronicles 6:32-33.

The court of the Gentiles was supposed to be a place of prayer!

John 2:15

Jesus then drove out those who supplied pilgrims with the proper temple coinage and the animals for the Passover sacrifices.

What was the intended purpose of this area? It was supposed so be a quiet area, an area devoted to prayer and the worship of God.

But what was going on in this area of the Temple in Jesus’ day? The Levites had turned it into an animal market.

Now let’s focus more clearly on the shame issue. When the Jewish people of Jesus’ day were selling animals and exchanging money in the Court of the Gentiles, they were in essence declaring the Gentiles to be second-class citizens, foreigners, excluded, outsiders.

John 2:16, Mark 11:17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of thieves.”

So picture this: The Temple area, a ten-acre space that issupposed to be a quiet place of prayer and worship, is filled with stalls of baying animals and their refuse, possibly thousands of shouting people, and no doubt arguments about prices. Instead of quiet, prayer, and worship, there is noise and chaos.

While it is true that they were “foreigners to the covenant” (Eph 2:12) between God and Israel, it is obvious that the original intent of the temple was to invite foreigners to come and pray. It was Solomon’s prayerful hope that God would answer their prayers, resulting in these foreigners coming to know God as the true God. In this way, the “outsider” could become an “insider.”

How difficult, though, it would have been for the Gentiles to pray in the environment found in the Court of the Gentiles, surrounded by the sounds… and smells… of animals, of the hustle and bustle of sellers trying to get a good price, of money changers clinging their coins. It would be a mixture of trying to worship in a bank and a barn all at the same time. Impossible!


How shamed they must have felt as they stepped around… and in… the remnants of cattle and sheep. It was a constant reminder that they did not belong. Despite Solomon’s prayer, I’m sure the Gentiles asked themselves a time or two, “Is this really the house of the true God? Does this God even care about us? Do these dirty animals and smelly conditions mean that God is not concerned about me and my prayers?”


Jesus, though, saves the day. He “drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables” (2:15). While it is clear that this cleansing of the temple is also a judgment of Israel for excluding the foreigner (see Jeremiah 7:11; Zech 14:21), it also creates a sacred space for the Gentiles—a place where they…too…can come to the temple and pray to the true God. Isaiah 56:7, quoted by Jesus in the temple cleansing in Mark 11:17, hits the nail on the head: “my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” All nations! Yes, God does care for the outsiders.

John 2:17

Jesus’ disciples recalled the words of scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The quotation is from Ps 69:10, but John has a subtle but very significant difference. In the ancient Greek version the text reads, “Zeal for your house consumed me” (Ps 68:10 †LXX), but in John the verb is in the future tense, “will consume me.” Jesus’ zeal for his Father is one of the principal reasons that he will be consumed on the cross.

Just as he saved the Gentiles from a shameful situation in the first century, he does the same today. There are many who feel like they are excluded—outside of God’s care and concern. Certainly God could not care for little ‘ole me” is their motto.




John 2:18–19

The temple authorities (the †Jews) then challenge Jesus: What sign can you show us for doing this? They are looking for some †sign from God that would provide sanction for Jesus’ provocative actions in the temple. Jesus gives them an answer: Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. The Gospels report that Jesus connected his actions in the temple with a statement that prophesied the temple’s destruction. His words and deeds in the temple recall the prophet Jeremiah, who threatened the destruction of the first Jerusalem temple if the people of Judah would not repent of their sins (Jer 7:1–15).4 These prophetic words of Jesus must have been quite memorable because they reappear, in a misunderstood (and twisted) form, in accounts of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion in Matthew and Mark (see Mark 14:56–59;15:29–30).

John 2:20

The temple authorities, however, do not understand, and they issue a further challenge: This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days? The construction work referred to is the renovation and expansion of the temple started by[…]

John 2:21

The temple authorities think that Jesus is talking about destroying and rebuilding the actual temple building, but John provides us with the intended spiritual meaning of Jesus’ words: He was speaking about the temple of his body. The Evangelist has taught that the †incarnate Word is the new dwelling of God in the world: the divine Word “made his dwelling among us” in Jesus (1:14). Similarly, when Jesus alludes to Jacob’s dream at Bethel (which means “the house of God”; 1:51), he suggests that his disciples will see that the incarnate Word is the “house of God,” the place of divine revelation. The bodily resurrection of Jesus—the raising up of the temple of his body after death—will be the sign that provides the Father’s confirmation and sanctioning of all that Jesus said and did (see comments on 20:20).

John 2:22

Like the temple authorities, Jesus’ disciples did not understand his words at the time. But when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. In 2:17 and 12:16, the disciples are said to remember. This activity goes far beyond simple recollection. At the Last Supper, Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit “will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you” (14:26). The disciples’ remembering will be guided by the Holy Spirit in them after Jesus’ resurrection. The New Testament writings often speak of Jesus’ resurrection as the key to fully understanding the Scriptures in their depths. In Luke 24 the risen Jesus, standing in the midst of his disciples, “opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45; see 24:25–27). When John tells us here that the disciples came to believe the scripture, he probably refers to the whole Old Testament, which, when read in light of Jesus’ resurrection, clearly speaks of the death and vindication of the †MessiAH.


There is a big difference between a survivor and an overcomer. A survivor is someone who suffers a terrible attack and lives to tell about it. This is great and noble, however in the Kingdom of God we are given the greater aspiration of becoming an overcomer.

An overcomer is someone who suffers a terrible attack then rises up to defeat his attacker. An overcomer has bounce back ability, he doesn’t stay down when he falls but bounces back to regain higher heights than what he lost.

Survivors are victimized. Overcomers are victorious. Survivors have wounds. Overcomers, like Jesus, have scars.

The biggest difference is in reward. In the Kingdom of God survivors don’t inherit the promises. Overcomers do. Revelation 2:7 “He who has an era, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

We overcome the great dragon by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of the New Covenant.

Scripture tells us that angels and demons (especially satan) are spiritual creatures gifted with intelligence, will, freedom, and initiative.

Those modern theologians who identify Satan as an abstract idea of evil are completely mistaken. That is a is true heresy openly in contrast with the Bible and the teachings of the Church .

Lucifer (Satan) was the most perfect being created by the hands of God before creating the world. His God-given authority and superiority over the other angels was recognized by all, so he thought that he had the same authority over creation as God.

Beginning with our forefathers, satan seeks to enslave men by making them obey himself and disobey God. He was successful with Adam and Eve, and he hoped to continue with all people, with the help of the other rebelling angels (now demons).

Through disobedience Adam gave satan the kingdoms of this world. Luke 4:5-8 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ 

One of the dangers of falling into the tempting offer of  political power (the kingdoms of this world) is that we could easily become the persecutors instead of the persecuted. The blessing of Our Lord is for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake NOT for those who do the persecution. Those persecuted for righteousness sake are overcomers. Those who persecute in the name of Christ have denied the faith.

We cannot resist the temptations of the devil to disobey the Word of God unless we submit to God.

We can’t get our life together and then seek God. Without God’s Grace we can’t get our life together period. Come as you are, that is God’s Grace.

James 4:7-10 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up

The truth of salvation is this: Jesus came “to destroy the works of the Devil” (I Jn 3:8), to free man from Satan’s slavery, and to establish the kingdom of God after destroying the reign of Satan.

 However, between the Birth of Christ and the Second Coming of Christ, the Devil tries to entice as many people as possible to his side. Therefore, Paul tells us that “we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). 

Draw your strength from the Lord

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Paul’s wording in Greek expresses this command with a passive verb (literally, “be strengthened in the Lord” to indicate that it is not a matter of the readers exercising their own strength but a matter of relying on Christ to strengthen them.

To do this requires a deliberate choice to Put on, to clothe oneself with, Christlike attitudes and actions that Paul now describes as the armor of God. 

Christians are to be fully armed with both defensive and offensive equipment by clothing themselves with the full armor of God.

Paul now explains the first strategic objective in this conflict—so that you may be able to stand firm.

 Defeating Satan is God’s work and has been accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ. Our assignment is to stand. This is how we overcome.