Peter’s Keys

S. Kent Brown

S. Kent Brown, “Peter’s Keys,” in The Ministry of Peter, the Chief Apostle, ed. Frank F. Judd Jr., Eric D. Huntsman, and Shon D. Hopkin (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 91–102.

S. Kent Brown is a professor emeritus of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

Somewhere near the base of Mount Hermon, within sight of its towering prominences and sheer cliffs, Jesus speaks words to his Apostle Peter that find no correspondence in ancient scripture:[1] “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). What are we to make of Jesus’ promise? What are these keys? Latter-day Saints usually think of keys as the divinely bestowed, authorizing powers that allow a priesthood holder to exercise priesthood authority when performing an ordinance such as a baptism, a setting apart, or a sealing in a temple. Standing beside this Latter-day Saint understanding of such priesthood and temple keys are colors and contours that illuminate how people in the New Testament world may have understood the nature of Peter’s keys. To begin to understand, we first turn to a scene recorded in the book of Isaiah and then look at the promise of keys made to Peter at Caesarea Philippi. Along the way, it will become clear that the promised keys bear a relationship to “the gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18), to the next world, and to a greater knowledge of God.

The Key of the House

Isaiah’s record offers the one instance of an Old Testament person receiving keys. This man is named Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, and otherwise remains unknown. He is called by the Lord through Isaiah his prophet to serve as the royal treasurer. He succeeds an unreliable man named Shebna who has held responsibility “over the house,” that is, over the royal household (Isaiah 22:15). In evocative language, the Lord hands the duty to Eliakim with the words, “the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isaiah 22:22). It appears that, among his duties, this man is to hold the key to the main door of the palace.[2]

The New Testament picks up the language addressed to Hilkiah and places it in a totally different context. According to the book of Revelation, it is the Resurrected Christ who holds “the key of David.” Moreover, like Eliakim, he is the one who “openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). Obviously, in this passage the Risen Jesus is not in charge of the door to an earthly palace as Eliakim evidently is. Rather, he has responsibility for access into and out of the abode of God—that is, the heavenly palace[3]—or alternatively, into and out of the new city of David, or the New Jerusalem.[4] By extension, he controls the door or gate that leads into heaven. Further, this responsibility also has to do with access to heaven at the end-time when access means everything (see 2 Nephi 9:41).

What does this key of David, now held by the Savior, have to do with the keys promised to Peter? On one level, they appear to exhibit close ties to one another. How so? To answer, it is important to examine the scene wherein Peter receives keys. As a first step, we notice that commentators generally agree that Matthew’s record of Jesus’ words to Peter is Semitic in character. Generally, these Semitic touches are seen to include the Aramaic name “Bar-jona,” the expression “flesh and blood” for mortality, the term “the gates of [Hades],” the expression “shall be bound . . . shall be loosed,” and the play on the Aramaic word kephā that underlies both the Greek name Peter and the word “rock” (Matthew 16:17–19).[5] Why are these elements important? Because the presence of Semitic characteristics demonstrates that the story belongs to the early strata of Christian memory about Jesus’ ministry. For some scholars, much in the gospels derives from a generation following the Apostles and is therefore suspect. But the Semitic coloring of the account of Peter and the keys puts the memory of this scene among Aramaic-speaking eyewitnesses, the earliest of Jesus’ followers.[6]

At Caesarea Philippi

The earliest followers, of course, include the Twelve and others (see Acts 1:21–22). The narrative of the keys occurs when they and Jesus are traveling in the area of Caesarea Philippi, a Gentile city that lies some twenty-six miles north of the Sea of Galilee. The ruins of the city sit at the base of Mount Hermon where an enormous spring emerges. Of the three Gospels that report the event, Matthew alone recounts that Jesus entrusts keys to Peter (see Matthew 16:13–20; Mark 8:27–30; Luke 9:18–21). In an attempt to encourage his disciples to express what they now know about him after months of traveling with him,[7] Jesus asks them, “Whom do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). The disciples repeat back opinions that they have heard, all of which tie to the dead: John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the prophets, or perhaps Jeremiah (see Matthew 16:14). At this moment, Jesus addresses the disciples and springs the question, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15; Mark 8:29). Speaking for the others, Peter says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).[8]

In the next part of the story, Jesus congratulates Peter and points to the source of Peter’s testimony by saying, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). But Jesus does not leave matters here. He now gives to Peter the first hint about keys: “I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;[9] and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (16:18). Plainly, the term gates (Greek pylai) hints at the need for keys to open them.


Before going further, we need to say a word about the prominent term translated “hell” in this passage. It is the Greek term hadēs or, as we say in English, Hades. In the Septuagint, the Greek word hadēs generally bears the meaning of a permanent, dark underworld where departed spirits are confined (see LXX Job 7:9–10; 10:21–22). Later, the New Testament adjusts this view: here, hadēs is a temporary abode where the spirits of the dead await the Resurrection and Judgment (see Acts 2:27, 31; Revelation 20:13) and where Jesus preaches during the time that his body lies in the tomb (see 1 Peter 3:19–20; 4:6).[10] A similar notion appears in the Book of Mormon where we read that the “souls of the wicked [shall be] . . . in darkness, . . . as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection” (Alma 40:14; emphasis added). Similarly, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “hell . . . is annother modern term [that] is taken from hades the greek, or shaole, the (hebrew) & the true signification is a world of spirits.”[11]

But Hades has another meaning. In some passages, Hades is a name or title held by an individual in the underworld who has charge of the spirit prison. We find a hint of this meaning when the Risen Savior affirms, “I am he that liveth, and was dead . . . and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). The clear implication is that he has taken possession of those keys and now holds them in his hand. How do we know this? Behind such a notion stands the view that, when Jesus descends into the world of spirits after his death on the cross, he faces closed gates that keep the departed spirits inside a prison. Meeting resistance from those who hold the keys—death and hell (see Revelation 6:8; 20:13–14; 2 Nephi 9:12; Doctrine and Covenants 121:4)—he takes control of the keys from them and opens the closed gates. In the language of Isaiah, after this confrontation, he opens “the prison to them that are bound” and proclaims “liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

Importantly, at the beginning of his earthly ministry, Jesus virtually quotes these lines and applies them to his future activities: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives, and . . . to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). These words from Isaiah are both metaphorical and real. On a metaphorical level, Jesus offers liberty to those held captive by their sins and opens doors to them to escape the prison of their worst selves (see 3 Nephi 20:26). On the physical level, in coming to earth, Jesus invades the domain of Satan and engages in a contest for souls (see Isaiah 49:25; 53:12; 2 Nephi 2:29).[12] In a way, this contest persists into the afterlife because there he deals with those who have fallen under the sway of Satan’s powers. But he must first gain access to these individuals. And that means taking physical control of “the gates of hell” by holding the keys.[13] As we are reminded when we sing the hymn “We Sing All Hail to Jesus’ Name,”

He seized the keys of death and hell

And bruised the serpent’s head;

He bid the prison doors unfold,

The grave yield up her dead.[14]

In the end, of course, according to John’s revelation, the triumphant Christ will see to it that the twin evils “death and hell [are] cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14; see also Acts 2:24; Romans 6:9). This set of observations about Jesus’ postmortal ministry leads to hell’s gates.

The Gates of Hell

What do the gates of hell have to do with Peter’s keys? A lot, I suggest, especially because just before Peter is promised keys Jesus tells him that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the church]” (Matthew 16:18). The church in this passage points to the Savior’s future church for which the Twelve and other disciples will form the core.[15] Inside of that church will be its members, all of whom face the prospect of ending up in the spirit prison unless Jesus has control of the keys to its gates.[16] Thus Jesus’ promise that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against the church and its members because, as the keeper of the keys, he will free them from hell, has everything to do with “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:18–19). The same person holds both sets of keys, one that allows departed spirits out of Hades and the other that allows entry from prison into God’s kingdom. It is the latter set of keys that Jesus promises to entrust to Peter.

What does it mean that the gates of hell will not “prevail” against the church and, by extension, its members? The Greek verb katischyō carries the sense “to overpower,” “to prevail,” “to overcome.”[17] But these meanings do not help us understand how gates overpower individuals, almost as if the gates attack and overcome a person. Although this imagery is possible,[18] it seems instead that the gates exercise power over individuals by keeping them inside Hades. That is, the gates prevent persons from gaining access to the saving power of the Atonement by keeping them inside the spirit prison. But because of Jesus’ Atonement and because he has taken possession of the prison’s keys, all will be released from this prison and be reunited with their bodies in the Resurrection (see Doctrine and Covenants 17:8; 18:5; 21:6).[19]

Departed Spirits

Relevant here is the disciples’ response to Jesus’ first question, “Whom do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). Significantly and probably unwittingly, they answer by pointing to some who are already dead: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, “or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). Their answer, in effect, spreads out a context for what follows in the conversation between Jesus and the disciples. Even though the keys that Jesus promises to Peter concern this life—“whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth . . . whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth”—they also have to do with the heavenly world and what will persist there to the end of time. That is one of the points of the clauses “shall be bound in heaven: and . . . shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19; see also Doctrine and Covenants 132:46, “eternally bound in the heavens”).

The then-future roles of these three deceased individuals makes this conclusion even firmer. Latter-day Saints are well aware of the task of John the Baptist in the latter days—to restore the Aaronic Priesthood and its keys—and are aware of Elijah’s role in bringing back the keys of the sealing powers (see Doctrine and Covenants 13; Doctrine and Covenants 110:13–16). What is less known are the tasks entrusted to Jeremiah. In Jewish literature, the prophet Jeremiah is seen as the person who has charge of the sacred tent and ark of the covenant until the end of time (see 2 Maccabees 2:4–7). According to the pseudepigraphical book of 4 Ezra, also known as 2 Esdras, among others God will send his servant Jeremiah at the end of days to make his people prosperous (see 4 Ezra 2:18). Hence, these three personalities perform tasks associated with the latter days whose effects last into the end of time. Thus, the effect of the disciples mentioning the names of these earlier individuals prepares the reader for an important element tied to keys that reaches into the next world, including the world of the dead.

The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

Concern for the next world, of course, is plainly present in the expression “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Five related but differing points are important here. First, possession of these keys does not mean that the holder is a mere doorkeeper, a person who checks the identity of those entering and leaving. By being entrusted with keys, Peter stands as Jesus’ fully authorized representative. This dimension appears in the verb “I will give.” On one level, the verb stands as a simple future tense and is to be understood as a promise that surely will later be fulfilled. That is, Jesus will give the keys to Peter at an undisclosed date in the future. In addition, the Greek future tense here is equivalent to the Aramaic imperfect tense and can bear a voluntative sense. That is, the verb may also carry the meaning “I will (or am determined) to give.” In this light, Jesus may be subtly emphasizing that the promised conferral of keys on Peter forms a key moment in his ministry among his disciples, a fulfillment that we see occurring at least in part on the Mount of Transfiguration.[20]

Second, we observe that the Greek term translated “heaven” (ouranos) is plural. Hence, it could be rendered “heavens” throughout verse 19—“kingdom of the heavens . . .” “bound in the heavens . . .” and “loosed in the heavens.” Although this kind of translation possesses intriguing possibilities for Latter-day Saints, the singular translation “heaven” is most likely correct. Why? Because the plural is simply a Semitism. It is the way that a person refers to heaven in Semitic languages (for example, shāmayim in Hebrew).[21]

Third, it is evident that the keys establish Peter’s authority over earthly church matters. This observation is buttressed by Jesus’ words “bind on earth” and “loose on earth.” Effectively, Jesus is handing to Peter the chief responsibility for leading his church. But Peter does not have to carry this responsibility by himself. As a matter of fact, the keys come to be held jointly among the Twelve, as Jesus later implies: “Verily I say unto you [Twelve],[22] Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).[23] A revelation that the Prophet Joseph Smith received in January 1841 confirms this observation: “[The] Twelve hold the keys to open up the authority of my kingdom upon the four corners of the earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:128; see also John 20:23; Doctrine and Covenants 90:6; 112:16).

Fourth, certain earthly church matters now come under Peter’s authority. In rabbinic law, “to bind” and “to loose” mean “to forbid” and “to permit,” that is, to forbid or permit activities under the strictures of the law of Moses.[24] But Jesus’ words about keys and their associated authority carry a much broader sense because, from now on, Peter will carry the same powers over followers that Jesus does. These powers include remitting sins (see 1 John 3:5; Doctrine and Covenants 132:46) [25], withholding remission of sins (see John 20:23),[26] establishing doctrine (see Luke 11:52; Doctrine and Covenants 84:19),[27] excommunicating and reinstating to full membership (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:46–48),[28] and overseeing ordinances and keeping them pure (see Doctrine and Covenants 124:33–36; 132:7).

Fifth, turning to the celestial realm, it is clear that what Peter does on earth carries with full effect into heaven and into the next life. This is where the true power of the keys lies. What Peter and his fellow members of the Twelve offer is a link to God’s kingdom and a grand future beyond death. This link is underlined by the passive voice “shall be bound in heaven” and “shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Almost consistently in scripture, passive verbs without a subject point directly to the actions of God. The binding in heaven and the loosing in heaven are not done by Peter and the Twelve but by the Father.[29] Hence, the earthly actions taken in the church such as baptizing, remitting sins, and reinstating to full church membership are fully effective in heaven and in the next life.[30] As the Lord reminds Joseph Smith, who possessed the keys of the kingdom in modern times, “whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:46).

We now come full circle to the passage from Isaiah’s book that we cited at the beginning. There we find Eliakim the son of Hilkiah charged with keeping the door that leads into and out of the palace. With “the key of the house of David,” he “shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isaiah 22:22). Clearly, he controls entry. Similarly, “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” that are held by Peter and his fellow members of the Twelve control entry, in this case entry into God’s kingdom. That kingdom has been brought to earth by the Savior. As his authorized representatives, Peter and his fellow Apostles allow entry into the earthly manifestation of that kingdom—namely, the church. Notably, entry into the church is also entry into the heavenly congregation. Why? Because they are one and the same and are inextricably linked (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:69).

The Key of Knowledge

But this is not the end of the matter. The “keys of the kingdom” also embrace “the key of knowledge,” specifically, the knowledge of God (Doctrine and Covenants 128:14; also 84:19). The first appearance of this expression in the New Testament, in Luke’s Gospel, indicates that this key is one of celestial entry. On an occasion when Jesus confronts his opponents and, in a strong rebuke of the scribes, or specialists in the law of Moses, we hear him almost shout, “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered” (Luke 11:52). Plainly, Jesus’ words indicate that “the key of knowledge” allows access or entry, exactly what the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” allow. This observation receives support from adjustments in the Joseph Smith Translation to these words of Jesus where we read, “Ye enter not in yourselves into the kingdom; and those who were entering in, ye hindered” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 11:53). More than this, in his condemning statement, Jesus seems to hold up not only the scripture but also the sacred rites that scribes fence off as too holy to share with common people, including the nature and meaning of sacred ceremonies, covenants, and laws.[31] The Joseph Smith Translation buttresses this observation too by calling “the key of knowledge, the fullness of the scriptures” (JST, Luke 11:53). Such a key, of course, opens a door to heavenly knowledge (see Luke 24:31–32 where, implicitly by a key, eyes and scriptures are “opened” by the Resurrected Jesus).[32]

According to modern scripture, the key of knowledge is equivalent to the “key of the mysteries of the kingdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:19). Broadly speaking, these mysteries include “obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:11). In this light, the key of knowledge has to do with gaining a full and correct grasp of salvation and all of its parts. That knowledge, then, allows us to enter properly into the church and into the kingdom of heaven.


To conclude, the scene that takes place in the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi brims with terrestrial and celestial meaning. Disparate elements such as keys and foundation, rock and gates, and the next world intersect in a stunning revelation to Peter and his fellow disciples. Jesus appears to be drawing out of his disciples what they have learned about him during their months of travel with him when he asks, “Whom do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). But he will enrich the conversation in unexpected ways beyond Peter’s affirmation that he is the Christ.

The disciples seemingly do not know that they are fixing the nature of the discussion that follows by pointing to prominent persons who have died yet will play important roles in the last days: John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. On this occasion, they surely do not expect Jesus to promise to grant full power to them inside his kingdom, beginning by promising the keys of the kingdom to Peter. But he does, making an astonishing promise of power, a dimension that he later reinforces when he assures them that eventually they will “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28). This promise, with celestial and terrestrial dimensions, points to a framework that what Peter and his fellow Apostles will do in the earthly church carries with full force into the next world. This remarkable aspect is made possible by Jesus’ actions during the hours that his body lies in the tomb, wherein he takes control of the gates of the spirit prison and offers an escape for the imprisoned spirits that have departed this life. Effectively, through the power of his Atonement, Jesus provides not only an escape from the prison but also an entry into his heavenly kingdom, an entry that he places in the hands of Peter and the Twelve by transmitting keys to them. Finally, it becomes clear that Jesus guides the whole experience so that his future earthly church becomes the repository of celestial power whose reach extends into the heavenly world. Thus Peter, along with his fellow members of the Twelve, become the administrators of the house of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 112:16; 124:128).[33]


[1] Outside of scripture, similar scenes appear with Michael the Archangel as keyholder; see 3 Baruch 11:2, translated by H. E. Gaylord Jr., and 4 Baruch 9:5, translated by Stephen E. Robinson, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983 and 1985), 1:674 and 2:424.

[2] R. B. Y. Scott and G. D. Kilpatrick, “The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1–39,” The Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes, ed. George Arthur Buttrick (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1980), 5:293; Joachim Jeremias, “kleis,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, 9 vol., trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–74), 3:750 (hereafter TDNT).

[3] Jeremias, “kleis,” in TDNT, 3:748.

[4] R. H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1971), 1:86; Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes, The Revelation of John the Apostle (Provo, UT: BYU Studies e-Book, 2013), 93.

[5] Oscar Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 2nd ed., trans. Floyd V. Filson (London: SCM Press, 1962), 192–93; Jeremias, “kleis,” in TDNT, 3:749–50; Karl Ludwig Schmidt, “kaleō,” in TDNT, 3:520; Jeremias, “pylē,” in TDNT, 6:924; W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison Jr., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Volume II (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1991), 605, 627; Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 14–28, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 33B (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1995), 466, 469–71.

[6] Colin Brown, “The Gates of Hell and the Church,” in Church, Word and Spirit: Historical and Theological Essays in Honor of Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed. James E. Bradley and Richard A. Muller (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 33; Hagner, Matthew 14–28, 465–66.

[7] Hagner, Matthew 14–28, 463; John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005), 657.

[8] A number of scholars hold that this scene is out of place, likely belonging to a post-resurrection event or to the last supper; see, for example, Rudolph Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition, 2nd ed., trans. John Marsh (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 259; Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 176–91.

[9] An enormous literature exists on the genuineness of Jesus’ saying because of the presence of the term “church” (Greek ekklēsia) in this passage, a word that many hold to be an addition by a later generation of Christians into the text. See, for instance, Schmidt, “kaleō,” in TDNT, 3:501–31, especially 504, 518–26; Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 193–204.

[10] Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Luke, The International Critical Commentary, 5th ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989), 397–98; Jeremias, “hadēs,” TDNT, 1:146–49; Walter Grundmann, “ischyō,” in TDNT, 3:399–401; Draper and Rhodes, The Revelation of John the Apostle, 57.

[11] Wilford Woodruff Journal, June 11, 1843; quoted in Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1980), 213; spelling in original preserved.

[12] Walter Grundmann, “ischyō,” in TDNT, 3:399–401; S. Kent Brown, Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, and Dawn Pheysey, with Nicole Cannariato, Beholding Salvation: The Life of Christ in Word and Image (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: BYU Museum of Art, 2006), 90–93.

[13] Jeremias, “hadēs,” in TDNT, 1:146–49. Hugh Nibley holds that Jesus already possesses the keys and therefore only has to open the gates to the spirit prison; see Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and Todd M. Compton (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: FARMS, 1987), 107–9.

[14] Richard Alldridge, “We’ll Sing All Hail to Jesus’ Name,” Hymns (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 182.

[15] The Greek pronoun “it” in the expression “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” is the feminine autēs and could agree with either the feminine term for “rock” (Greek petra) or the feminine word for Church (ekklēsia). But it stands closer to “church” in the statement and is therefore the natural antecedent of this noun; also see Jeremias, “pylē,” TDNT, in 6:927; Hagner, Matthew 14–28, 472.

[16] Jeremias, “hadēs,” in TDNT, 1:148–49; Grundmann, “ischyō,” in TDNT, 3:398; Jeremias, “pylē,” in TDNT, 6:924–28.

[17] Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), 425; Grundmann, “ischyō,” in TDNT, 3:397–98.

[18] Jeremias, “pylē,” in TDNT, 6:927.

[19] Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J. Ostler, Revelations of the Restoration: A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants and Other Modern Revelations (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 177, 1029; Stephen E. Robinson and H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000–2005), 1:151–52.

[20] Jeremias, “kleis,” in TDNT, 3:749–50; Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity, 104–5; D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner, Verse by Verse: The Four Gospels (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006), 340–41; S. Kent Brown, “The Twelve,” in The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ: From the Transfiguration through the Triumphal Entry, ed. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006), 119.

[21] Helmut Traub and Gerhard von Rad, “ouranos,” in TDNT, 5:513; Friedrich Blass and Albert Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. Robert W. Funk (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), §141(1); G. Bartelmus, “šāmayim,” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren and Heinz-Josef Fabry, 15 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974–2006), 15:205.

[22] According to Matthew 18:1, “the disciples” are the hearers of Jesus’ words in the first half of chapter 18 (v. 2–20). The expression “the disciples” is in some cases limited to the Twelve, as implied in Matthew 18:18, and, in other cases, includes other followers; see Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, “apostellō,” in TDNT, 1:424–27; Schmidt, “kaleō,” in TDNT, 3:517–18.

[23] Jeremias, “kleis,” in TDNT, 3:752; Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 211.

[24] Friedrich Büchsel, “deō (lyō),” in TDNT, 2:61–62; Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 210–11.

[25] Büchsel, “lyō,” in TDNT, 4:335–37; Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 211.

[26] Büchsel, “katara,” in TDNT, 1:449.

[27] Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 211; William Barclay, The First Three Gospels (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1966), 94–95.

[28] Büchsel, “deō (lyō),” in TDNT, 2:61; Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 211; Raymond E. Brown, Karl P. Donfried, and John Reumann, eds., Peter in the New Testament (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1973), 97, 99.

[29] Jeremias, “kleis,” in TDNT, 3:751, 753 n. 86; examples are numerous.

[30] Traub and von Rad, “ouranos,” in TDNT, 5:519.

[31] Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), 239–42.

[32] Jeremias, “kleis,” in TDNT, 3:744–48.

[33] Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, 209–10.