The Key of David

The Biblical subject of the Key of David has come up, and we would like to give an explanation of the meaning of this. We need to ask ourselves some questions. What is the key of David? Is it a real key? How does it apply to the Christian and non-Christian life? To do this we must cover some groundwork first. It's very important to do this in order to have the full understanding of just what the key of David is. I would like to first turn your attention to a passage in the Old Testament Isaiah 22:22 this is the Messianic passage of Jesus. I would like to do the ground work, and then we will discuss what is the Key of David and how it applies to us.

Let's first look at the Old Testament the only scriptures in there are as follows Judges 3:25; Isaiah 22:22. There are no verses for keys, plural, in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is maphteach it means key, opening, or instrument. In all cases this word is used as a physical key, except in Isaiah 22:22, were it is spiritual. Even in a physical sense look at its meaning the key word there being opening. If we understand, simply, that a key is used to unlock something, or as an instrument to gain entrance to or enter in, then we are beginning to see a spiritual connection here. Even being used as a type in the Old Testament.

As we leave the Old Testament we are left with the understanding that the key was something to unlock, gain entrance, or to enter in. There is specifically a Messianic prophecy about keys being given to the coming Messiah. This causes us to now turn to the New Testament where God fulfills this promise.

There the word for key or keys is kleis. A key is used metaphorically. The idea is a keeper of the keys having the power to open and to shut. In the New Testament it's used to denote power and authority of various kinds. The verses are as follows Luke 11:52; Revelation 3:7, 9:1, 20:1; Matthew 16:19; Revelation 1:18. What we want to establish right off is the fulfillment of this Messianic Prophecy. First, we see Jesus has the key. This is found in Matthew.

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." (Matthew 16:19)

Second, it's clear that Jesus possessed keys and even though He gives them to Peter He still has keys.

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 (Revelation 3:7)

Notice, how this verse is almost exact with the Isaiah 22:22 passage, and a direct continual fulfillment concerning the Messiah!

This is totally clear of the exact fulfillment of this Prophecy concerning the keys and Jesus Christ. Now, some would say well Peter has been given the keys of the kingdom and only he, or the ruling structure, with which he has successors have that authority. Well, we are going to get into that in a moment. But right now we want to get into the aspect of what is the Key of David? And how does it apply to us? Let's look at the Matthew 16:19 scripture.

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.

First, do you remember what in both Old and New Testaments the word key meant? It was key, opening, opening instrument and in the New? A key, since the keeper of the keys has the power to open and to shut, was metaphorically to denote power and authority of various kinds. Jesus was giving Peter the authority and ability to bind or loose! In the Jewish synagogues there was, in Jesus' time, what was called an "Attendant, assistant, or officer." we find this in Luke.

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written. …And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him (Luke 4:17, 20)

The word minister means attendant or officer. This person was given the keys to a vault or locker which contained the scriptures, and he used the key to unlock and give them to the rabbi for him to read and give the interpretation. It was possible that the two, working together, gave understanding to the people. Moreover, those that had access to the scriptures, in a sense, held the keys to understanding and knowledge of the Kingdom! As we see in Jesus' sharp reproof of the lawyers in Luke.

Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:52)

Knowledge of the revealed will of God by which men entered into the life that pleases God. The religious leaders of the Jews had presumptuously 'taken away" so that they neither entered in themselves, nor permitted their hearers to do so.

As an apostle or representative of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom Peter, and the other apostles, working here on earth on Jesus' command had the ability to bind (keep back) or loose (give out) the knowledge and understanding of the Kingdom to others. This, in accordance with the fact of Peter's confession of faith in Matthew 16:18, is the real reason why he was given the keys. Not because of his false title of superiority. The unmistakable evidence for this is in the account of Simon the sorcerer Acts 8:14-23.

If we look at the evidence can we say that those who are true Christians can have the key of David? In a sense yes! Upon Peters confession of faith in Matthew 16:18, and the subsequent disposal of the keys to him for this confession, Jesus was putting down an example that whosoever makes this confession of faith is given these keys to be able to allow or disallow others into the Kingdom. Are we Apostles? Yes.

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:5,6)

This is given to all "true" believers. And it is up to us to dispose the understanding of the gospel to all people weather they want it or not. There are two things in understanding the key of David doctrine. One, Jesus the supreme Lord of all and Holy God has the Keys of the Kingdom and of David. Which is simply He and He alone has the power to allow or disallow individuals the understanding and the Knowledge of the Kingdom. Which is ultimately entrance into the Kingdom Revelation 3:7. He has the final say He is the opener and the shutter it's all upon His authority. Two, as true born again believers and disciples of Jesus Christ we have by our confession and obedience in Faith to Jesus Christ the keys of the Kingdom to give or withhold the Gospel to others.

Now, to sum up with the answers to the questions at the beginning of this study. What is the key of David? Is it a real key? How does it apply to the Christian and non-Christian life?

What is the Key of David?

It's the power and authority to let or disallow people knowledge or understanding of the Kingdom. This is given to Jesus Christ and is ever present with Him. He gives a copy or duplicate, if you will, to those that have professed true saving faith in Him. We are to use it to open understanding to others about the Gospel.

Is it a real key?

No, only a figure giving an object illustration of its meaning.

How does it apply to the Christian and non-Christian life?

To the Christian we know from Romans 1:5,6 that we are, if we are true Christians, in just as much authority as Peter and the others. We must be ever active to give the gospel out by our efforts to loose (give out) we communicate the Good News to others. In our silence we bind (withhold) that awesome news to others. To the Non-Christian as long as he refuses to hear the good news, and has no desire to have understanding of the Kingdom, he is shut out with hell as their destination.


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