© 2000 Walter E. Gast
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The key represents the authority of the church to forgive sin in Jesus' name. Two keys represent dual authority to open heaven to repentant sinners and to lock heaven to the unrepentant. When emblazoned on an upside-down cross, they form the coat-of-arms of St. Peter who, according to tradition, asked that his cross be mounted upside-down because he felt unworthy to be crucified like his Lord.

Matt. 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, (n) and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades(n) will not overcome it. (n) 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be(n) bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be(n) loosed in heaven." (NIV)

John 20:21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (NIV)