The Catholic Defender: The Office Of The Keys
"When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:13-15) From this point on, there have been many people try to give an explanation of who Jesus is. Some denied the Divinity of Christ as the Arians did as the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do today.
Some denied Jesus having two natures rejecting either his humanity as the Donatanst did as well as the Nestorians.
Others denied Jesus was necessary for salvation for all rejecting original sin as the Pelagian doctrine. There are several entities who have been confused to who Jesus is. "Simon Peter said in reply (to Jesus Question, who do people say that I am), 'You are the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God' ( Matthew 16:16). St. Peter identifies who Jesus is and this has been the basis for the Catholic Church ever since. "Jesus said to him (Peter) in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father" (Matthew 16:17).
This is a great indication that the Lord can anoint a person revealing that the Father here worked through St. Peter. This is the foundation of the teaching of Papal Infallibility.
Jesus is the great "I Am" and has the power to transmit authority creating a new office. The keys of this office supersedes the keys given to the household of King David (Isaiah 22:22-23):
"And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father's house." Jesus continues, "And so I say to you, you are Peter, (Kepa), and upon this rock (Kepa) I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). This is a most important verse because it provides the hope that those waiting in "Prison" (1 Peter 3:19) will be liberated through the Christ through the Church. The Power of death will not overcome the Church because Christ has laid the foundation on St. Peter. St. Paul writes, "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" St. Paul continues, "But thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:55-58). The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church! Jesus continues speaking to St. Peter, "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" (Matthew 16:18-19).
The Lord is clear that he is giving his authority to his Church. Isaiah prophecies the Lord's authority in his word saying, "No weapon fashioned against you shall prevail; every tongue you shall prove false that launches an accusation against you. This is the lot of the servants of the Lord, their vindication from me, says the Lord" (Isaiah 54:17) What Jesus is giving to St. Peter "is the lot of the servants of the Lord"! This is important. Look at some of the weapons formed against the Papacy today. The Mormons have developed a counterfeit claiming that the Church went into apostasy shortly after the death of the last Apostle, that Joseph Smith was given the true gospel of Jesus Christ in 1829. This false man made doctrine rejects the Papacy and the Lord's establishment of this office. The Seventh Day Adventist have developed a doctrine beginning in 1863 teaching that the Papacy begins in 538 and received a mortal wound in 1798. The SDA is creating new doctrine explaining what they believe the 1260 years mean in prophecy. They believe the bible is identifying who they point to as the anti-Christ. Both the Mormons and Seventh Day Adventist accuse the Papacy of being the anti-Christ.
Protestants by their very nature protest the authority of the Catholic Faith ranging from denying the foundation of the Church to Sola Scriptura. There are many who deny the Papacy because of indifference, in toleration to the truth of God's word. As Catholics, we can be encouraged that the Lord's promise is true. No weapon created will prevail against it. The gates of Hell will not overcome it. We can trust the teaching of the Catholic Faith as it has been handed down to us through Apostolic Succession. Pray for the Pope that his arms will continue to be raised to defeat the enemies of Christ!