Friday, December 10, 2010

Keys to the Kingdom

To understand Apostolic Succession in the light of the Catholic Church we must first understand this key phrase, “the keys to the kingdom”.  This phrase shows up only twice in the Bible yet it packs a great amount of significance.  Let’s first look at Matthew 16:19, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  This sounds like the passing of authority from Christ to Peter.  Now let’s look at the verse before, Matthew 16:18, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”  When Christ changes Simon’s name to Peter he is calling Simon rock.  That is the literal translation of his name.  So we can see in these two verses Christ passing authority.  Now let’s look at the other verse concerning “the keys to the kingdom”.

Let’s look back to an oracle in a deep dark corner of the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah.  In Isaiah 22 we see the passing of authority from Shebna to Eliakim.  In Verse 22 it reads, “I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts no one will open”.  We can see that Christ, the Heavenly Davidic King, referenced this historical verse as his setup for his church.  To further this point let’s look at the previous verse in reference to Eliakim it reads, “I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority.  He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah”.  Again we see the passing of authority from an authority head to their successor.

This sets up Apostolic Authority and Succession.  We should be immensely
grateful that Christ gave us a leader of our Church which, “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against” for if we did not have a leader we would be left with chaos.  Christ left us with a united Church to stand until the “day of the Lord”.  The lack of unity is what causes Protestants to have so many “churches” where one person who disagrees can go and start their own church.  Does this make sense?  Is this Biblical?

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