In the following verses (and many others), the word "key" is used in an untraditional way. Typically you would use a key to unlock a lock. The supposed "lock" is highlighted in bold in every verse.

Matthew 16:19

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

D&C 7:7

And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.

D&C 13:1

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

Is there one united meaning of the word "key" in the scriptures, from an LDS perspective?

  • 2
    Embedded in this question is an assumption that the power of the ministry of Peter, James and John and the ministering of angels generally are not or do not contain anything to unlock. However the Scriptures indicate that the ministering of angels has certain prerequisites (see Hebrews 1:14) and is therefore not freely available to all without exercise of keys. In Matthew 16:19 the Lord already states that the keys He gave to Peter entail power both to bind and to loose many things on Earth and in heaven. There are many Scriptural references to things bound and things loosed in both places.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Mar 5 at 16:33
  • 2
    "The heavens were opened", "His tongue was loosed", "deliverance to the captives", "bind up the law, seal up the testimony", "a sealed book", "I shut up heaven that there be no rain", etc. This power to bind or seal and loose on Earth and in Heaven is operative and is subject to those very same keys, which is also attested by the exercise of power on the part of others who had been given authority by God, including Elijah in his prayer to God to seal up the heavens.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Mar 5 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


Yes, "keys" refers to priesthood keys

Every day, you probably have the experience of opening doors by using a key. Holding keys can be symbolic of a person having authority and access. Priesthood keys held by the Lord’s servants authorize them to direct how priesthood authority and power are used in the work of salvation and exaltation.

Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood pertaining to His Church. He has conferred upon each of His Apostles all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on earth. The President of the Church is the only person authorized to exercise all those priesthood keys.

Temple presidents, mission presidents, stake presidents, bishops, and quorum presidents also hold priesthood keys that allow them to preside over and direct the work they have been commissioned to do. Because of the keys of the priesthood, we can have access to the ordinances, covenants, blessings, and powers we need in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father and our Savior and become like Them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .