1. The ‘Key of David” text

Jesus wrote these words to the church of Philadelphia:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that
is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth (Rev 3: 7).

3. Old Testament references to the Key of David

Old Testament references to the Key of David are found in the book of Isaiah and are written in reference to Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. The Lord said that Eliakim would rule in Jerusalem in a time when the city and its inhabitants would be in trouble. The prophecy is written to convey the image of  Judah as a house which would be governed by Eliakim.

God said that He would commit the government of the house of Judah to Eliakim and that he would be a father to them. Poetically, the house of Judah had a “key” which would be laid on Eliakim’s  shoulder.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah.

And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government (memshalah/H4475) into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

And I will fasten him [as] a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.

And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that [was] upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken [it] (Isaiah 22: 20 – 25).

The meaning of government or memshalah/H4475 in Isaiah 22

The word memshalah is used to refer to:

    • the dominion of a king over geographical regions
    • military power
    • the rule of God in the earth
    • political rule

The meaning of key in Isaiah 22

The word key literally means key, an instrument that opens a door. God said that He would lay the key of David on Eliakim’s shoulder. What does this mean?  In medieval times,  for example, important people who were given the city keys were free to leave and enter at will. Today, mayors in countries such as the United States award the keys of  their cities to outstanding individuals in a gesture of honor and recognition.

Explanation of the concepts

God was really saying that Eliakim was being awarded a very high honor as ruler over Judah.  God would give him full rights of authority to accomplish the job. As a result, he would symbolically  “open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open”.

Let’s go back to the Book of Revelation

Jesus  revealed Himself as the one who held the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth (Rev 3: 7).”  We know from Isaiah 22 that:

  • only highly privileged persons were awarded the Key of David. 
  • The key of David was given only to rulers of the house of David
  • The person with the key held the final authority
  • The person ruled with power and authority

We can therefore make  quite a few inferences about Jesus based on the cross reference with Isaiah 22:

  • He held the key of David because He was born as a human into the Tribe of Judah
  • He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords – all power is His in heaven and earth
  • As ruler, He can delegate authority to His church

Jesus used the same Greek word for Key when delegating authority to His church

“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” (Mt 16: 19)

This is the same revelation given to Eliakim:

 ” And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

Got the revelation about the high honor given to believers in the earth?  By the way, why would Gentile believers care two  hoots about the Key of David? See you next time.

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