And I tell you that you are Peter,[and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Let me fix a few points first before I try to make my meaning clear.
‘I will build my church..’ Who makes this statement? Jesus is the Builder. There is no difficulty here. There are so many churches that cater to all sorts of believers. Those who build it may profess certain creed but they are kept by those who subscribe to their teachings. Some may profess their faith keeps the church which is a blatant lie. They rely on men to pack their halls and hear their slant to the Word of God. Even so they depend on man. It is obviously not what Jesus is telling. He is not telling of a church built on Peter since he rebukes him a little later in no uncertain terms that he is Satan!
Kingdom of Heaven :The church that Jesus is hinting at is not an ordinary one. It has a divine seal: it is impervious to the attacks of Satan. Either it must occur when Satan is finally bound and cast into bottomless pit or death is no more an event. (Jude. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.) It is not for us to seek things that God has chosen to hide from us. For example the time frame in which this is to be visible is by God’s calender. How will you predict it since St. Peter speaks of thousand years in human terms is like a flash? So it is waste of time to prove we are wiser than God. More than that it would be blasphemy! By many parables Jesus has warned us to watch and be ready. Any man who is intelligent and good sense will be circumspect and conscious of his time and place. Similarly Christians are instructed to be prepared. Those who have known the will of God and also are found doing them will be part of the kingdom of heaven.
Members chosen from all over the world,- and not of any particular church, make up the new heaven. As we are told in the Book of Revelations old will pass away. A new Jerusalem is not by any account a geographical reality but a figure of speech as it were.
Therefore we need to look at our public worship as pointing to a reality that would happen in future. For Christians a place of worship in which brotherly love guides each is a prepratory school. It is essential to encourage one another as well uphold our brothers in prayer and in good will. Hearing the word and not doing them as Apostle James points out is pointless. We measure ourselves as in glass and forget straightaway what we need to do. The word is meant to correct where we have come short. In the Church built by Jesus we are the Word in its effect. Jesus was the Word made flesh but we all will be the proof of it. The churches on the earth are and imperfect. It is rife with heresy, abuse and wickedness that must naturally come with serving two masters. State and Church has never made a perfect union. Nor it will on the earth. Kingdom of God or heaven is where God as Judge and as Love make State and religion as one..
Church of Christ, so we may conclude is not a historical church. The Church that we read in the Acts of Apostles, was already bedeviled by Satan and Jesus had correctly warned him during his earthly ministry. Simon Peter transcribed his masters teachings and gave a Hebraic form to it. He did not want to exclude those who were Jews. So he let them feel comfortable with certain elements of Jewish worship under his stewardship. Paul was in his own admission all things to all men. He made himself an Apostle and he wanted to accommodate gentiles. His goal was to spread of Jesus’ teachings as interpreted by him throughout the Roman Empire.. These churches are not built by Jesus. In such a case can anyone say he is surprised at the evil rampant in the Church of Rome or any other? These churches are tainted by earthly ambition or custom of men. I cannot say any of the church is Satan- proof.
The Church of Christ built by Jesus and will be called Kingdom of heaven.
Dan2:44“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. Prophet Daniel is speaking about future. Who all shall belong to it? No one knows the Father but the Son; similarly it is God’s office to reveal the Son. Peter had knowledge by what He revealed to him. Did he have in his mind the things of God? No he had not. Hence the rebuke from Jesus.
He is the one who chooses. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt 7:21) There will be a new earth and new heaven. The Church is made secure and eternal. Death is a past event. Being with God a new reality
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This is the Church of Christ Jesus meant and it will be built by Jesus.The work is in progress. ‘I go to prepare a place for you’, Jeus said. When he ascended to the skies the work of New Jerusalem began in earnest, Not the city of David but of His Father.
(To be continued)
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