Matthew 16:16-20

Mat 16:16 (KJB)
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Peter then answers quickly, as always, that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah and the Son of the living God. Peter rightly spake when he did not equate Jesus with some prophet or that He was the forerunner to the Messiah, He was the Messiah. They had seen that Jesus had the attributes of Deity because no one could raise the dead or even have authority over the devil unless they were definitely of God. (Mat 9:33 KJV) And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. No prophet of old ever cast a devil out of a person. Jesus was the fulfillment of all the prophecies in Scripture concerning the coming Messiah. The word “art” is in the present tense meaning that Jesus being the Christ will never change. He is as much the Son of God today as He was back when He walked the dusty roads of Palestine.

Mat 16:17 (KJB)
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Jesus then commends Peter for what he stated. He did not do this over and above the other disciples because He does not show partiality to any Christian. (Mat 11:25 KJV) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Jesus prayed back in Matthew 11 and thanked His Father that He revealed spiritual truth to babes and not the wise. The wise in this case would be the Pharisees and Sadducees who thought they had great wisdom and knowledge because of their position. Whenever we receive any spiritual truth from the Scriptures, it is not us discovering it but the Holy Spirit revealing it to us. This verse gives great insight as to how spiritual understanding comes about and that is God opening our spiritual understanding of the Scriptures. At the time Peter made this declaration, they only had the Hebrew scriptures so verbal revelation was still being used by God but Jesus makes it plain that Peter came to this truth, not by any man, but by God the Father Himself. “Barjona” in Hebrew means “son of Jona.”

Mat 16:18 (KJB)
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

This one verse has probably caused more confusion in church history than any other. Jesus makes a declaration that He is going to build His church. Now if He built that church upon Peter, we would have a problem because Peter was martyred about 67 A.D. which would mean the church would have ended in 67 A.D. However, Jesus had something else in mind when He declared “that thou art Peter.” Jesus was focusing on the declaration that Peter made concerning who Jesus was and the fact that He received it from His heavenly Father. The declaration being Jesus was indeed the Son of God and the prophesied Messiah. The Rock that Jesus is going to build His church on is Himself.

(1 Cor 10:4 KJV) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

(Luke 6:48 KJV) He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

(Psa 94:22 KJV) But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

(Psa 92:15 KJV) To show that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

(Psa 89:26 KJV) He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

(Psa 78:35 KJV) And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.

(Psa 62:7 KJV) In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

(Psa 31:3 KJV) For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

When we look at these spiritual lessons on rock, does any of these look like they could be applied to Peter? The answer is no. Look at some of the failures of Peter:

1. Denies Christ three times
2. Wants to keep Christ from the cross
3. Loses faith and begins to sink in the Sea of Galilee
4. Peter fears the Jews in Acts and is confronted by Paul
5. Peter cutting off the ear of Malchus
6. Pride in not letting Jesus wash his feet

These six will give enough information as to why Jesus was not speaking of Peter as the rock that He will build His church upon. When we look further in this verse we also read that the “Gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” There is no way that Peter could ever fend off the attacks of Satan because they must be done spiritually. Jesus showed His power and authority over the kingdom of Satan and only He has the power to grow the church in the midst of the coming attacks. Now to the word “church.” Many feel that this word is not a good translation of the word “ekklesia” which means “called out assembly or congregation.”

However, the word “church” is an excellent translation because of what it stands for.

(1 Cor 11:20 KJV) When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

(Rev 1:10 KJV) I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Both of these words “Lord’s” is the Greek word “kuriakos.” The word means “belonging to the Lord.” Over the years since this was penned, the word “kuriakos” arrived in Old English under the word “cirice” and then into Middle English under “chirche.” It then became the Scottish word “kirk.” Then it eventually became the word “church.” The word church has maintained its original meaning as “belonging to the Lord.” So when we speak of the body of believers, when we call them the church, we are saying that they belong unto the Lord. Isn’t He the one who bought us with His blood and redeemed us? Therefore, we belong to Him forever, so the word “church” is an excellent translation for “ekklesia” because it shows the relationship between the believers and the Lord.

Mat 16:19 (KJB)
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.

Jesus then continues on and now teaches that the church is going to have authority on earth and that authority will be the preaching of the Gospel. The keys of the kingdom are symbolic and refer to the preaching of the true Gospel to the world. (Rom 10:17 KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. For when one hears the true Gospel being preached and becomes saved, they enter the Kingdom of Heaven eternally. Now as to the case of “thou shalt bind” and “thou shalt loose.” Both of these actions are backed up by Heaven. Now the response from Heaven is such, “shall be bound” and “shall be loosed.” Now both of these are one word in the Greek and are in the perfect tense. The perfect tense is the tense of the completion of an action. It indicates a continuation and present state of a completed past action. They may also be understood as “having been loosed” and “having been bound.” They both show a past action that the loosing and binding has already taken place and is not a future action but a continuous action which is already sealed. What is in view here is the fact that God has already named those He planned on saving from the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4 KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Therefore, we go out into the world with the true Gospel and those whom God has qualified to hear and be saved will be loosed from their sins and will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who are the non-Elect will not become saved and will remain in their sins thus remaining bound.

Mat 16:20 (KJB)
Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Before the disciples were able to get out and preach that Jesus was the Messiah, He had told them not to because He had a certain time table to which He had to adhere and did not want any problems before that time. After the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost, then the disciples would be free to preach the whole counsel of God without restriction. They still had much learning to do at this point but the Holy Spirit would bring it all back to them when the time was right.