In the Kingdom Age during the ministry of our Lord many men in Israel were undecided on the fact that Christ was the son of God. Certain men were saying that he was John the Baptist; some said he was Elias; and some said he was Jeremiah. (All three mentioned were men recognized as Prophets of God.) The disciples however were questioned directly by Christ as He asked them, “But who say ye that I am?” Peter answered as he recognized the fact that Christ was more than a Prophet. Peter recognized that Christ was… the son of the living God.
• Matt 16:16…And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter had a Divine Revelation from God concerning the deity of Christ. In response Jesus made an unusual statement in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my Church”. The subject of the Church was never spoken of by the Prophets in the Old Testament however; Jesus foretold of the Church …in Matthew 16:18. Jesus likewise stated He would be the builder of that Church.
• Matt 16:18…That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
The rock…the Church would be built upon was not Peter as the system of Roman Catholicism proclaims. The rock the Church is built upon is actually the person of Christ. Christ foreknew His own death and foretold that He would build His Church. New Testament Scriptures later prove the mystery of the Church was birthed through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Peter’s revelation of Christ came through enlightenment from God. Enlightenment to Christ gave Peter understanding of the will of God in the Kingdom Age. The Revelation of Christ was revealed to the heart of Peter, directly from the Father and not by flesh and blood. Peter’s acknowledgement of Christ did not come from his own… natural understanding.
• Matt 16:17…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
In that period of time where the Kingdom message was presented to Israel, Peter understood the Messiahship of Christ and the promised Kingdom on earth. Christ thus stated in Matthew 16:19,
• Matt 16:19…And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven
In other words Christ gave Peter Kingdom authority on Earth as all men will have in the future Kingdom of Heaven. Peter had a Divine nature and a revelation of the Messiahship of Christ in his heart. Christ would never turn His Kingdom on earth over to the rule of people who do not have a divine nature. This prompted Christ to say,
• Matt 16:19…and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Peter had received Kingdom authority on Earth. Binding and loosing relates to mans authority in the Kingdom of Heaven. Divine Revelation gives man discernment between right and wrong; and good and evil. Binding and loosing is mans power to discern these things in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the future Kingdom of Heaven man will be in perfect harmony with God. Binding and loosing will be necessary in that Kingdom however; it’s not to be misinterpreted in this present Church Age. All saints in the Kingdom of Heaven will have power to declare things to be bound or loosed on Earth as they fully understand the will of God. Man will have heavenly knowledge and understand what’s lawful and unlawful on Earth as it is in Heaven. Earth at that time will be like Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven when God restores the earth and Christ reigns as King. Man will once again have dominion over the earth like Adam had before the fall. Remember, man was created in the image of God. When man receives the power to bind and loose in the Kingdom Age…it will also fulfill prophecy,
• Mal 3:18…Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
The Kingdom message and the Kingdom Age were taught in Matthew’s Gospel however; that message changed in the latter part of Christ’s Earthly ministry. The Church was foretold by Christ in Matthew 16:18. Why? The message of the Kingdom of Heaven which came through John the Baptist, Christ, the twelve disciples, and the seventy was the plan of God for Israel’s Kingdom on earth. Tragically, Israel rejected the Kingdom message and the King himself. Because of Israel’s rejection the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth was postponed until the 1000 year reign of Our Lord.
Matthew 16:21 unfolds another mystery of the Church as Jesus charged his disciples to tell no man from that time forth that He was the Christ. The Kingdom message to restore Israel was halted in the plan of God at that point time. Why? Israel’s rejection and unbelief caused the Kingdom message to cease through fulfillment of prophecy; and the actual Kingdom of Heaven on Earth was postponed until return of our Lord in the 1000 year reign. Jesus foreknew the Church and the beginning of a new Age as He told the disciples from that time on… that He would suffer, die, and be resurrected from the grave on the third day.
• Matt 16:20-21…Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
In the latter part of the Lord’s ministry scriptures indicate Peter’s understanding of Christ’s death was very limited. In one breath Peter acknowledged Christ as the Messiah; in another breath Peter could not fathom the fact that Christ had to suffer, die, and rise from the grave as prophesied. Peter was limited in knowledge of what the Prophets taught concerning Christ’s death and resurrection. Peter ignorantly rebuked Christ because he lacked understanding concerning how Christ would suffer, die, and be resurrected on the third day.
• Matt 16:22…Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
In Matthew 16:22 Peter was talking from his own understanding instead of Divine Revelation. Peter had Kingdom faith; not New Testament faith as we have today. Peter’s understanding at that time was based on what the Prophets said about the Kingdom and restoration for Israel. Peter’s knowledge was limited on what the Prophets said about the death burial and resurrection of Christ.
Human reasoning and natural understanding caused Peter’s disbelief. Peter was talking like a natural man and no longer from Divine Revelation. Jesus rebuked Peter for this cause,
• Matt 16:23…and He said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
After the death and resurrection of Christ, Divine revelation came to Peter through the truth of the Gospel according to the Prophets. The Church was birthed under the Grace Dispensation as the Law was done away with. The promised Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost and enlightened the hearts of believers with a Divine revelation of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Peter’s understanding of Christ changed. Peter’s understanding changed from Kingdom revelation… to revelation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ by Grace. Peter’s Epistles beautifully express his enlightenment to this Divine revelation… after the death of Christ in the Church Age.
In this present Church Age, through the truth of the Gospel the Holy Spirit continues to reveal the same person of Christ …in suffering, death, and exaltation. Divine revelation given by the Spirit of God continues today upon those who receive the truth of the Gospel message according to the Prophets. The person of Christ is revealed to the hearts of men through the blessing of the Church, the body of Christ. When people receive the person of Christ they become members of His spiritual body. Confession is thus made because of salvation in the human soul. Upon this very rock…Christ presently builds His Church from the Throneroom. This Church, the body of Christ revealed to men through the Gospel message is what Christ foretold in Matthew 16:18.
In conclusion Christ foretold that He would build His Church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18) Christ now seated upon His Throne in Heaven became the head of the Church and all believers in this Grace Age became members of His spiritual body. (Col. 1:18) Christ presently adds to the Church daily. (Acts 2:47) Christ from His Throne gives gifts unto men to govern local Churches. (Eph. 4:11) Christ sets men in authority to oversee the local churches. (1 Cor.12:28) The mystery of the Church that Christ purchased with His own blood is now revealed in all the New Testament writings. (Acts 20:28)