phariseeMatthew 16:13-20 (KJV)
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

How often have we quoted from this verse or used it as our platform for Apostolic authority? Often we have heard it preached in regards to the revelation of God in Christ, the Son of the Living God. But is this series of scripture really talking about our concept and understanding of Apostolic authority? Does this scripture truly mean what we have many times heard in prayer meetings and altar services when zealous men and woman command that things be “loosed and bound” in the name of Jesus?

Most of my life I have believed that was the very essence of the meaning which scripture presents. I have often throughout life prayed some of the very prayers which focused on “binding forces of evil” and “loosing angelic hosts.” Often time it is called the “Lullaby Effect,” when reading scripture. What I mean by that is simply this: we read something so much and so often and hear it preached so much and so often that when we sit down for serious study in the word of God our mind practically skips right over the scriptures we have read because it thinks that there is nothing more to receive. Serious mediation and consideration of scripture is what often produces the stirring of that proverbial fish hook that tugs gently at your subconscious. “Something there, something there!,” is the voice that begins to increase in fervor until either you see it or you are on your knees in fervent prayer asking God to reveal what you know must be lying beyond reach of simplistic flesh and blood.

“Blessed are thou, Simon Barjona…” why? Because you have connected to an understanding and revelation of Who and What Jesus is. Many have declared Jesus to have been John the Baptist while others felt He was Elias or one of the prophets. Jesus was not interested in what other men thought but at that moment He was looking at men that He had chosen to follow and continue what would soon be known as Christianity and the Apostolic movement. It was important to Jesus that this core group of men understands the complex nature of the One God in flesh, reconciling man to Himself. One can almost see a serious pause among the disciples as they wondered who would answer first. Did they all know who Jesus was? I believe that some of them probably struggled with the nature of Jesus. Was it not Phillip who requested that they “see the Father?” One would think that the beloved John would be the quickest to the draw to answer this question but instead it is that impetuous and trailblazing Simon Peter.

The play on words is quite astounding when one takes a closer look. In relation to the fact that it was not revealed by means of “flesh and blood” Jesus calls him Simon Barjona. In other words the name being used is strictly a reference to something which is flesh and blood, “Simon, Son of Jonah.” It was a Spiritual revelation which the son of Jonah had come to realize that Jesus was the Son of God. Suddenly we see a shift in identity in relation to Simon Barjona which is based upon his revelation of who Jesus is. “Thou art Peter “Petros-small rock” and upon THIS rock “Petra- large rock” I will build my church.”

Ephesians 2:20-22 (KJV)
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Based on this rock (chief cornerstone) which is the revelation and understanding of the “Mighty God in Christ,” I will build my church. Everything in the church is based upon the dynamic aspect of the name and identity of Jesus. We preach Jesus, baptize Jesus, pray Jesus…everything is done in the name of Jesus. The gates of hell SHALL NOT prevail against the church because of the foundation which it stands upon.

Matthew 28:18 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Philippians 2:10 (KJV)
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Ephesians 1:19-23 (KJV)
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head (chief) over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

If you don’t get the identity of Jesus correct you have no future operating in the dimension of Apostolic authority. This is why the entire Old Testament consistently taught as the schoolmaster the essential Oneness of God. The schoolmaster was meant to lead to Christ. Did not Christ come to them and His own received Him not? Everything hinged upon the understanding of Who He was! The basis of this revelation thrust the concept of the keys of the kingdom and the aspect of binding and loosing upon the Apostles (which would be used to start the Ecclesia.)

When Jesus went on to say that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” I believe we completely miss the powerful dynamic of that phrase. The “IT” which is being spoken of does not connect to the CHURCH but rather connects to the “THIS” in relation to the PETRA. The Greek word used for “IT” is found to be “autos,” which literally translated means “Him, Myself, Same or He Himself.” Because the powers of hell (see Eph. 1:19-23 again) cannot overcome Jesus then it is self-evident that what is founded upon the very chief foundation that is Jesus cannot be overcome also.

1 John 2:13-14 (KJV)
13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

We are overcomers for the simple and powerful fact that THE OVERCOMER dwells inside of us as Born Again(from above) believers.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Fail to understand the identity of Jesus; you play around with the most important foundation of the church! Fail to understand who Jesus is we then will fail to understand who we are IN HIM! Based upon this revelation of who Jesus is, Jesus then reveals to Simon Barjona, called Peter now, who he is in Him. You are “little stones” which are building up the spiritual house of God whose foundation is Jesus the Christ! Check out what “Petros” writes later on to the church.

1 Peter 2:5 (KJV)
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

What is more powerful is the connected we find from Genesis 3:15 and this account. Genesis 3:15 is the powerful promise of the bruising of the heel and the bruising of the head in relation to the seed of the woman. Look carefully though at the scripture in Genesis.

Genesis 3:15 (KJV)
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The serpent (the adversary or Satan) is the one who is being addressed here in this scripture. The two seeds are presented which we find later on as the seed of the kingdom and the wicked seed. The wicked seed or Satan will bruise HIS heel but IT (connected to HIS) shall bruise the head.

Call it what you want but I see quite a dynamic connection being presented. Take this scripture and now compare with Matthew’s account in relation to Jesus and the Gates of hell.

Matthew 16:18 (KJV)
18 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 ROCK (Jesus, the Son of the Living God) and the powers of hell (death or grave) cannot prevail (overcome) IT. The head that will inflict the wound upon the heel is in a position to which the heel comes down to crush. The reference of the serpent crawling on its belly eating the dust of the earth must be kept in mind.

What the powers of hell did not understand was that by INFLICTING THE WOUND (bruising the heel) was the very thing that enabled the crushing of the head (bruising of the head.) It was SIMULTANEOUS! Had hell known the consequence of inflicting the wound I doubt it would have pushed for the death of the cross!

(End of Part 1)