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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Baptism and Salvation - the Difference?



What is the difference between baptism and salvation? Is salvation the sealing of the Holy Spirit and baptism the anointing of the Holy Spirit?



The word baptism, is from a Greek language word, in which the New Testament section of God’s Word the Bible was originally written, “baptizo” which literally means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge, to overwhelm or make fully wet.

 The word salvation is from the Greek word soteria, and it means deliverance, preservation, safety, i.e. to be saved from some harm or something harmful.

 In context of the Christian faith, salvation means to be saved from the consequences of sin, because of the Lord Jesus Christ having taken them upon Himself and borne them for us - the entire mankind. Since now the sins have been paid for, their consequence borne, therefore no one needs to do anything of their own to be delivered from suffering the consequences of their sins. Now, all that anyone needs to do is believe on what the Lord Jesus has done, admit being a sinner to the Lord and pray for His forgiveness for them, submit their life to Him, and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. On doing this, through the grace of God, because of the faith placed in the Lord Jesus Christ, person is delivered, or preserved, or made safe from the eternal death or irreversible harm he was destined to; i.e. he is 'saved', or has attained salvation from harm. This is not by virtue of any works of any kind done by the person (Ephesians 2:5, 8), but by a single prayer made voluntarily from a sincere heart in simple faith, without the mediation or intervention of any other person. This saved person now irrevocably becomes a child of God forever (John 1:12-13).

 Those who are saved, i.e., have attained salvation, only they have been asked by the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 28:19, to witness about their being saved through taking baptism. Salvation is not by baptism; rather, those who have been saved have been asked to get baptized. Notice the sequence of the Lord’s instructions in this verse: first a person has to become the Lord's disciple or follower, and then the disciple should be baptized.

Hence it is quite apparent that baptism and salvation are two different things. Baptism does not qualify anyone for salvation, but those who have received salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus, are expected to witness about it through taking baptism.

The moment a person is saved, he becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, who comes to reside in him (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 3: 16; 6:19) in His fullness – Holy Spirit is a Divine Person – He is cannot be given out in parts, and is not given out in parts (John 3:34). Nobody needs to do anything extra or special to receive the Holy Spirit, other than to believe in the Lord Jesus, accept Him as his personal Savior, and submit their lives to Him (see: ). Coming to faith in the Lord Jesus also brings the Holy Spirit into their lives, and this is expressed through different words, like being sealed (Ephesians 1:14) or being baptized by the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:15-17). To be 'sealed' means being given a mark of ownership - the presence of the Holy Spirit within a Christian Believer is a mark of the Believer being the possession of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). Similarly, being 'baptized' by the Holy Spirit means being 'fully wet' or being 'overwhelmed' or being 'dipped' - under the cover of the Holy Spirit. These are all various ways of stating the same thing, i.e., being possessed by the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Understanding Being Saved in Childbearing, 1 Timothy 2:15


   What does it mean that women will be saved in childbearing, as written in 1 Timothy 2:15?


    The thing stated in this verse has perplexed many, and many commentaries and explanatory notes have given various answers to clarify this statement. I am giving here what the Lord has given to me through praying about this and through some teachings given by some men of God. I hope the answer would be acceptable to you. To understand it, some other related things need to be seen and understood first; only then, by putting those things together and in a correct perspective can we properly understand that which is stated in this verse.

    Firstly, being “saved” in childbearing is not that spiritual salvation which has been stated in Romans 10:9-13 and other places in God’s Word. It is common sense and knowledge that not every woman who has given birth to a child is a “saved” woman; nor is it necessary that every saved woman will always have given birth to a child. The confusion and difficulty related to this verse is because of the word “saved” used here. In the original Greek language, the word that has been translated as “saved” here is ‘sodezo’ which commonly means to be ‘delivered’ or ‘saved’. But this is not the only meaning or sense that has been attributed to this word in God’s Word. For example:

·        “made well” i.e., to be healed in Matthew 9:21; Luke 8:50; and Acts 4:9

·        “save yourself” i.e., to be delivered out of a predicament or serious situation, in Matthew 27:40

·        “healed” i.e., restored to health, in Mark 5:23

·        “deliver me” i.e., bring me out and restore me, in 2 Timothy 4:18

In other words, the “saved” written in 1 Timothy 2:15 is not meant to be for spiritual salvation, but is meant to convey being delivered, or brought out of, or made safe from something else, from a particular situation. Therefore now, we need to identify what that particular situation is, that is being alluded to here. This can be done by looking at two related things – firstly, starting with the role of women envisaged and determined by God since the time of their being created in Genesis; and secondly by looking at this verse in its immediate context.

First, let us understand the role of women envisaged and determined by God as made evident in the events related to their creation. The first mention of the need for a woman to be with Adam is given in Genesis 2:18; there God says, “… I will make him a helper comparable to him.” The purpose of God is very clear – the woman was to be one created by God, as comparable to Adam, so as to function as Adam’s helper. Here, in this discussion, it is important to note that even prior to the creation of a woman, when God envisaged about her, since then she was meant to be Adam’s “helper”; and not one who would lord over him or exercise superiority over him. The person appointed as “helper”, is neither supposed to be the “decision maker” nor the one exercising control; rather that person is supposed to work under and be obedient to the one he has been appointed as a helper. For a “helper” to become an independent officer and function as per his own will instead of according to the instructions and will of the person he is meant to help, is to go contrary to his assigned role, and to become disobedient.

Now, this does not in any way mean that the woman was created to be inferior to man and function as his “slave” – Adam was ‘incomplete’ without the woman, the woman was made to make him ‘complete’ and help him (1 Corinthians 11:11). For both, Adam and Eve, God had assigned roles and responsibilities to fulfill; they had to work together, cooperating with each other and fulfill those responsibilities. There was no thought or question of superior or inferior, or of one dominating the other. This differentiation and competition, and one trying to dominate the other came about due to the sin they committed (Genesis 3:16); this differentiation and tendency was not a part of God’s original plan for them.

To understand this, consider an illustration: Every large business company production house has an owner, and under the owner, look after and manage various activities, are various departments and their respective “Directors” – someone to look after the finances, someone to manage the human resources and employees, someone else to look after the procuring of raw materials, someone else to sell the finished products and promote the company, etc. All of these department heads are “Directors”, they are all working for the same owner, and it is only through their collective and collaborative working that the business house will do well, will prosper. None of the “Directors” is ‘bigger’ or ‘smaller’ than the other; they all complement each other. But the moment any one of these "Directors" starts to interfere in the functioning of another department, starts to assert himself as bigger or more important than another, problems start, which will not only cause him harm but will also harm the functioning of the whole business house. Similarly, in His original plan, prior to the entrance of sin into the world, Adam and Eve had their works and responsibilities, and mutually they helped and complemented each other. They were not meant to indulge in being playing 'superior' or 'inferior' but were meant to work and fulfill their responsibilities with each other's cooperation and help - the primary role was of the first created Adam, and Eve was meant to be his "helper"; she was to join with Adam to build a family and home with him; she was to be the 'home-maker' and to nurture the family. Through their working together, they were to subdue the whole earth and have dominion over all other created beings on earth (Genesis 1:27-28). To work in the Garden of Eden and to safe-guard it, to decide which fruit is to be eaten and which is not to be eaten, was the responsibility given to Adam (Genesis 2:15-17), even before the creation of Eve; subsequent to the creation of Eve, Adam's this responsibility was not shared with Eve. This was Adam's responsibility, and not Eve's since the very beginning.

In the committing of the first sin in the Garden of Eden, whose consequences we are still suffering, there was a very major role of Eve taking upon herself a role entrusted to Adam, instead of continuing to fulfill the role and responsibilities assigned to her by God. Instead of remaining as Adam's "helper" she took on the role of being not only the "decision-maker" but also of ensuring implementation of her decision. Getting beguiled by Satan's clever talk (2 Corinthians 11:3), she not only took it upon herself to decide and implement which fruit should be eaten, but also made Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6, 12). Adam's error was that instead of refusing Eve and disallowing her eating the fruit, he too did what she said, and therefore made himself a party to her disobeying God; he too became guilty of the sin of disobedience. Instead of fulfilling God given role and responsibility, putting her hand into the other person's role and responsibility, sin entered and its curse has affected the whole creation (Romans 8:19-23), and to mitigate the effects of this sin God had to leave the glory of heaven, come down to earth to be humiliated and ridiculed, and to suffer the abominable death on the cross. It was because of this sin that Eve and womankind had to come under the subjugation of Adam and mankind (Genesis 3:16) - but this subjugation does not mean she had to become lesser or inferior to man and live a contemptible life as a slave of man. God's saying "Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you" was not stating or bringing in something new; it was only firmly emphasizing and ensuring that woman was to live and function as man's "helper" and not as the "decision-maker" and "controller", as was God's original plan for women.

Because God has asked the woman to be man's "helper", therefore God's Word repeatedly asks women to remain quiet, not to preach to men or in the Church, and to learn from their husbands and remain under his authority (1 Corinthians 11:3-10; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:11-12; Titus 2:15; 1 Peter 3:1-6). This is not to show them as inferior or lesser – because in God's eyes they are not in the least inferior to men, rather, both are equal (Acts 2:18; 5:14; 8:12; Galatians 3:28). But it is to ensure a proper fulfilling of the roles of men and women as envisaged by God; and for them to remain in obedience to God. Since the consequences of disobeying God are catastrophic, therefore if they do not bring themselves under the obedience of God, they will suffer destructive consequences. The work and role, specially the one related to making and building a family, to demonstrating motherly love and care, patience, forbearance etc. the way women can do, is virtually impossible for men to do likewise. Generally speaking, only the woman can teach the family and children to reverence and obey God; but this is a challenging task for men. A man can make himself an example of godly living, but only a woman can teach the children to emulate that example set up by the man. Also, it is not that the women have been absolutely forbidden to preach or minister God's Word to others; they have a very important role to play in the teaching and preaching of God's Word - but to other women and to children (Proverbs 31:26-30; 1 Timothy 5:5-10; Titus 2:3-5); only that in God's wisdom and planning, they have been forbidden from doing this in the Church or to men. Take note, Moses had been brought up in the royal palace, and taught by the very Egyptians who oppressed the Israelites. But in that environment of opposing the Israelites, it was Moses' mother who had been responsible for his upbringing. Consequently, as an adult, Moses did not walk and work like the Egyptians, but considered the Israelites as "his people" and Jehovah as his God, and for this he was even willing to sacrifice his Egyptian royal status and life of luxury (Acts 7:22-36; Hebrews 11:24-26). This is a very important role and function of ladies in a family, for which the men have no alternative solution. Looking at men and women from the superiority-inferiority, major-minor, better-worse perspective only brings problems; but looking at them from God's perspective and understanding the issue as God wants it understood brings peace and blessings.

Now let us look into the immediate context of 1 Timothy 2:15. To analyze and understand anything from the Bible, it is imperative to look at it in its immediate context - along with the verses before and after it; moreover, it should also necessarily be seen along with the other related things given in the Bible. This chapter begins with instructions related to Christian service (vs. 1-8), followed by instructions related to behavior of women in Christian society (vs. 9-12), and the reason for this is also given (vs. 13-14). Because Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, necessarily had to give these instructions to Timothy, therefore it is an obvious conclusion that in the Church where Timothy was an elder or leader and had the responsibility of shepherding it, things were not being done according to God's instructions. Evidently, the ladies in that Church were doing things that were not in accordance with God's Word and Christian teachings. The women, having left their God given role and responsibilities, were involving themselves in the roles and responsibilities of men - were committing the same sin that Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, they were guilty of the sin of disobeying God, and would have had to suffer the deleterious consequences of their disobedience. It was to "save" or deliver them from the harmful consequences of their self-inflicted disobedience and to restore them to their correct positions, that they were told to "be saved in childbearing"; the implication was that by living out their proper role as the "helper" of their husbands and of "home-makers" and other family responsibilities, e.g. proper upbringing and teaching of children and taking care of the family, they will be able to "save" themselves from the consequences of committing this sin - they will thus be "saved" from both, the tendency and its consequences. This "being saved" is not the spiritual salvation that Romans 10:9-13 is talking about. That is why, the second part of this verse says, "if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control." Because whosoever truly 'loves' God, will also 'believe' in and be obedient to God's Word, and will not defile herself by disobedience, rather will remain firm in the 'holiness' of obedience, exercising 'self-control' no matter what the provocation by their natural tendencies or the ways and teachings of the world may be. The implication of the phrase 'childbearing' is to properly fulfill their familial responsibilities and role; and the meaning of this verse is that the women by reverting back to their role of home-makers and looking after their families, instead of getting into the roles and responsibilities given to men, will be able to "save" or deliver themselves from the consequences of disobedience.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Jesus Our Advocate 1 John 2:1-2

 This Audio Message has been Excerpted from Sangati Ka Ghar, Roorkee 9th May 2021 Worship meeting You Tube Video Link:

Bro. Aditya Macarius: Jesus Our Advocate 1 John 2:1-2

Belonging to Christ 2 Corinthians 5:15

 This Audio Message has been Excerpted from Sangati Ka Ghar, Roorkee 9th May 2021 Worship meeting You Tube Video Link:

Bro. Raj Kumar: Belonging to Christ 2 Corinthians 5:15

Thursday, April 29, 2021

David’s Census


Question: Who is responsible for the census ordered by David – God (2 Samuel 24:1), or Satan ( 1 Chronicles 21:1)?



2 Samuel 24:1 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah."

1 Chronicles 21:1 Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.


These verses appear to be contradictory, because on reading them the first thought that comes to mind is that in 2 Samuel 24:1, apparently it was God who got this thing done; whereas in 1 Chronicles 21:1 is seems that it was Satan who got this done – creating a confusion.

Before analyzing the situation to come to is understanding, it is necessary that we keep in mind the fact that God can use Satan too to accomplish His purposes, but He also sets and establishes the limits for Satan before he does anything against God’s people, as we see from the life of Job and the Lord Jesus’ conversation with His disciples before His being caught (Job 1:12; 2:6; Luke 22:31-32). Moreover, God had already warned His people, the Israelites, that if they break their covenant with Him, then He will hide His face from them (Deuteronomy 31:16-17), and if they provoke Him by their foolishness and vain works, He too would provoke them by foolish things (Deuteronomy 32:21). Another fact to be kept in mind is that from both accounts of the census, it is apparent that primarily the people of Israel were at fault, and David got involved secondarily, he was provoked into doing something  foolish.

Now let us come to 2 Samuel 24:1 – from its context, i.e., the previous chapter, chapter 23, we are able to understand that this incidence occurred at the latter time of David’s reign, during the years when he had become a great, powerful and dominant king of that region, not just within his own kingdom and people, but also amongst the surrounding kingdoms as well. Chapter 23 also tells us about his valiant military leaders and Generals, and their valiant deeds as well. With this background, we see that this chapter (2 Samuel 24) begins with the words “Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.” So, we can surmise that something had come into the lives of the Israelites and David, that angered God, and it became necessary for Him to teach Israel and David a lesson. From these aforementioned facts, the situation that comes to mind is that although throughout Israel there was an atmosphere of security, contentment, and prosperity, but now they thought of this security, contentment, and prosperity as not a result of God’s benevolence and grace upon them, but because of their great King and his mighty, valiant army and military leaders. Quite likely this feeling, of security because of the large count of his people, his huge army, and the valor of his army and its leaders had brought, or was bringing pride in David as well. That is why, firstly his General Joab tries to reason with him against doing this census, but is unsuccessful and has to go for it (2 Samuel 24:2-4; 1 Chronicles 21:2-4); and, secondly, after the census David holds himself guilty and repents of doing this (2 Samuel 24:10; 1 Chronicles 21:8).

Because of the Israelite’s shifting their confidence regarding their security, contentment, and prosperity to their great and powerful King and his valiant army, and David, who knew God so well and closely, too paying attention to the thoughts being given by Satan, his not paying heed to the warnings against doing so, not first asking God about doing it, and his succumbing to the provocation of Satan, displeased God (1 Chronicles 21:7). As long as David was running for his life from Saul, he consulted God about all his decisions. But now that he had become honorable, the King over all Israel, he became complacent and started to take decisions on his own – his deciding to carry the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-8), the ordering of this census, his act of adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 23:7-10), etc. are all examples of this complacency that had crept into him. David and Israel were guilty of taking God for granted and lightly, and denying God His glory and honor. God is very particular and jealous of His glory and honor and does not take its being disregarded lightly (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11; Psalms 50:21-22). Therefore, God had to teach the lesson, to both, Israel and David (Malachi 2:2). 

Satan is always on the lookout; the moment some inappropriate or wrong desire crops up in the hearts of God’s people, he immediately steps in to stir it up into a flame that will severely harm the Believer (James 1:12-15). Israel and David broke the sanctity of God’s wall and stepped out of it, and immediately the serpent bit them (Ecclesiastes 10:8). To teach this lesson to David’s people and to David, God allowed Satan to provoke him (1 Chronicles 21:1). After the census, David realized his grave error and was very penitent for it too, but he and his people had to go through the chastening. 

Through the consequences of that census God had to firmly teach Israel and David that their security, contentment, prosperity, and help was neither in the number of the people, nor in the strength and valor of their army and the greatness of their King. But it is God and God alone who is their security, the cause of their contentment and prosperity. For God’s people to trust in anyone or anything else is not only dangerous, but is also very harmful – and this is a lesson for us today as well.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Six days of Matthew 17:1, or, Eight days of Luke 9:28 – which one is correct?



Why is there an inconsistency in the number of days between Matthew 17:1 and Luke 9:28 – which is correct?




    The question does seem to be a challenging one, and at a glance, there does seem to be an inconsistency, a contradiction between the two descriptions of the event, in the Word of God. The answer found through the application of the basic principles of Bible interpretation; since it is nearly always the ignoring of these principles that gives rise to such presumed and inappropriate inconsistencies, whereas actually there is no contradiction in the Word of God. The basic principles of Bible interpretation are – every word, phrase, verse, and section should always be studied in its context, never out of its context; and every word of the Bible should be paid attention to, because no word in the Word of God is in vain. Also, always keep in mind that in the original writing in the original languages, there was no division into chapters and verses as we have now in our present-day Bibles. The divisions into chapters and verses that we have in our present-day Bibles, is an artificial one, introduced centuries after the books of the Bible had been compiled together, and has been done to help making it easier to study and refer to a particular part. Therefore, we always ought to study and interpret according to the ongoing subject matter and thought process of the part under consideration, and not according to the artificially divided subject matter and thought process. Let us now look at these two verses based upon these principles:

It says in Matthew 17:1 “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves”;

And in Luke 9:28 “Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray.

    Luke 9:28 very clearly provides its context – about eight days after these sayings; therefore, now it is up to the reader to look into and understand this context, and then taking that into consideration interpret the rest of the verse appropriately. Please also note that here “sayings” (plural) has been stated, and not “saying” (singular) – implying that it was eight days after all that had happened prior to the statement of Luke 9:28, that this event took place. If we look at the verses preceding Luke 9:28 then we see that immediately before, in 9:18-27, is an important discussion that the Lord Jesus had with His disciples, which is consistent with Matthew 16:20-28; this discussion is ‘one of’, and is the final one of the series of sayings or events given before this. Prior to this discussion, in 9:11-17 is the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand by the Lord, using five loaves and two fishes; and prior to that we have the Lod sending His disciples for preaching (9:1-6), Herod getting perplexed and worried regarding the Lord (9:7-8), and the disciples returning from their preaching assignment and reporting their experiences to the Lord (9:10). All of these ‘sayings’ or events, collectively form the context of Luke 9:28. Therefore, according to the context, Luke 9:28 is to be understood as follows – it was eight days after the Lord sent the disciples to preach and their returning back to report, followed by their going to a quiet place, then a crowd following them there, and the Lord’s miraculous feeding the crowd, that the Lord took three of His disciples and went up to the mountain.

    Whereas the context of Matthew 17:1, is the last part of the immediately preceding chapter, i.e. Matthew 16:21-28, which is similar to the discussion the Lord had with His disciples in Luke 9:18-27, and forms the final ‘saying’ of ‘these sayings’ of Luke 9:28. It was ‘after six days’ of this discussion between the Lord and His disciples, during which Peter was severely reprimanded by the Lord for trying to be His counselor and manager (Matthew 16:22-23), that the Lord went up to the mountain with three of His disciples.

    Keeping the context of both these descriptions (Matthew 16:21-28; Luke 9:18-27) in mind, the obvious conclusion is that it was eight days after ‘these sayings’ of Luke 9:1-17, and six days after the discussion of the Lord with His disciples that the Lord went up to the mountain with His disciples.

    God’s Word is always incontrovertible, consistent, true and trustworthy; even if there appears to be any error in it, it is always due to the short-comings of us human beings in seeing and analyzing it properly through our limited wisdom; the apparent error is never in the Word of God. Hence, it is a request to all the readers that if they feel there is something inconsistent or contradictory in God’s Word, then they should prayerfully and repeatedly read and study that portion in its context; and should also look at it and analyze it along with the ongoing subject matter and thought process, instead of interpreting it only on basis of the artificial divisions into chapters and verses.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Understanding Matthew 16:28


Question: How do we understand the Lord Jesus' statement in Matthew 16:28 "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom"?



To understand the statement of the Lord Jesus related to the Lord's Kingdom, or the Kingdom of Heaven, we need to keep in mind some other statements as well. It is a general tendency that as soon as we come across the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" or "Kingdom of God", we start thinking of and understanding it as referring to the future Kingdom of God that will be established at the end of the world and after its final judgement. There is nothing wrong with this, it is okay to think along these lines, but here this is not the only understanding of what the Lord has said. Because if this seen as the only possible explanation, then this joins it to the second coming of the Lord, which is an event of an uncertain date, and people have been waiting for it for nearly 2000 years. Therefore, the understanding the Lord’s statement of Matthew 16:28 in that context seems impractical, and difficult to accept, leading to the confusion related to the acceptance of this statement of the Lord. But if we look at Matthew 21:31, where the Lord Jesus while responding to His opponents and critics says, “… Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.” We see here that the Lord Jesus is referring to the entry of tax-collectors and harlots into the Kingdom of Heaven/God in the present continuous tense, and not the future tense (‘they will enter’), nor of any uncertainty (‘will be able to enter’). The evident implication is that at the very time when the Lord Jesus was saying this, the entry into the Kingdom of Heaven/God was happening, it was underway. Therefore, to understand that the only interpretation of the statement ‘entry into the Kingdom of Heaven/God’ was to see it as a future event would not be a factual interpretation, or the only applicable meaning.

To understand this statement of the Lord given in Matthew 16:28, consider some things the Lord Jesus had said regarding the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven, during His time of Ministry on earth:

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mark1:14-15). The Lord began His ministry with the call to repentance, since “Kingdom of God is at hand” – pay attention to the words of the Lord, the kingdom is not in the distant future, but is at hand – it’s time has come; He did not say that the kingdom is going to come, rather, that the time is fulfilled and it is at hand.

The Lord Himself says in Luke 11:20 "But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you"; implying that the presence of the Lord and His working shows that the Kingdom of God is present. Sometime later, "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."" (Luke 17:20-21 – the ‘within you’ here can also be translated ‘amongst you’ or ‘in your midst’ – as is done in HCSB, ESV2011, NASB, EBR, LEB, NET, TS2009 translations). At the beginning of His ministry the Lord says that the Kingdom if God is at hand; during the ministry, He teaches the learned Pharisees, the scholars of God's Word, that the Kingdom of God does not come like a thing or an event, but was already present amongst them right at that very moment, implying it was amongst them because of the presence of the Lord amongst them. If they believed in the Lord, if they accepted the Lord, then they would enter the Kingdom of God.

Look at Mark 12:28-34; the Scribes want to trap the Lord regarding the commandments of God; at the end of this conversation the Lord says to that one Scribe who had asked Him the question and then had unquestioningly accepted the Lord's answers as correct, “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him” (Mark 12:34). The Lord Jesus was saying to that Scribe that by virtue of having accepted the correct understanding of God's commandments, you are quite near to the Kingdom of God, now take the next step and turn this theoretical knowledge into a practical experience, apply your knowledge in your life practically, obey the commandments of the Lord, and you will enter the Kingdom of God.

From the above we can understand that the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven, that the Lord Jesus talked and taught about, it was accepting the Lord as Savior, coming into His obedience, becoming submissive to Him, which is in accordance with John 1:12-13 – becoming a child of God by coming into faith in Him, and thereby becoming entitled to be with Him in His Kingdom.

A short while before His being betrayed and caught for crucifixion, the Lord Jesus in John 14:18-20 also said to His disciples: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” In other words, the Lord promises His disciples to always be with them after His sacrifice and resurrection. Although unseen, yet since then He always has been with His disciples.

Through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the Cross, and His resurrection from the dead, the way to salvation, to entering heaven got opened and became available for all of mankind, and anyone can now enter through faith in Him and repentance from their sins; i.e. the Kingdom of heaven or the Kingdom of God was now available to everyone.

Keeping these things in mind, when you see what the Lord Jesus said to Peter in Matthew16:19 and in the preceding verses in context of the formation of the Church, i.e. the body of Christian Believers, then that which the Lord Jesus said to Peter can be paraphrased and understood as follows: “I will give to you the keys to get people into heaven, i.e. the way to salvation, and whosoever accepts that key, i.e. the gospel of salvation, the door to enter heaven will open for that person; but the one who rejects that key, i.e. rejects the gospel of salvation, the door to enter heaven will be closed for that person” – and we see in Acts 2 that at the first using the key of the gospel i.e. preaching of the gospel done by Peter, three thousand people repented and accepted the Lord, and became His disciples (Acts 2:41), i.e. by accepting the key of the gospel, the door to enter heaven was opened for them.

The same context also applies to Matthew 16:28. At the time when the Lord Jesus had said this thing, many of those who were then present there would also have been present at the time of Peter's first preaching, and would have been living till the establishing of the first Church, and it is quite possible that many of them would have been witnesses of this incidence of Acts 2. These witnesses then would have seen the arrival of the Kingdom of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the lives of those coming into faith in the Lord Jesus, and these witnesses would have seen the transformation it brought in the lives of those who came to faith in the Lord Jesus – all this before the witnesses themselves got to taste death. Moreover, as the Lord Jesus had promised, He was with His disciples then and is with them even now. In this manner all aspects of Matthew 16:28 are fulfilled in the establishment of the Church through the first preaching of Peter in Acts 2; and there is no necessity to see this in context of the second coming of the Lord – which is the greatest obstacle in accepting this statement, as the only valid fulfilment if this statement.

This again goes to show that to avoid falling into errors in understanding God's Word, it must always be seen and studied in its context and in light of other related verses or passages of the Bible.