“What is meant by the keys of the kingdom?”
Thank you for your question.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” ESV
Jesus gave to His disciples [believers] the keys of the Kingdom.
Every Christian possesses the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The phrase “the keys of the Kingdom” has to do with binding and releasing. Bind means that a Christian can declare to a person if he/she rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ that their sins remain. Loose means that the believer can say to them, your sins have been forgiven, if they repent and confess Jesus as Lord [Romans 10:9].
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
The keys of the Kingdom of Heaven refer to the Word of God as seen in Matthew 23:13 which says, 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. ESV
The scribes and Pharisees through their traditions have added to the Word of God which prevented people from knowing the true Living God and making them unable to get saved.
Mark 7:8-13 [Jesus speaking to the scribes and Pharisees]
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” ESV
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. ESV
To make matters worse, the scribes and Pharisees who knew the Truth and had access to the Kingdom of Heaven so people can get saved didn’t go in themselves. That is why Jesus said about them in Matthew 15:14, “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” ESV
I hope this answered your question, Pamela.