"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: "The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says:" - Revelation 3:7 HCSB

The phrase “Key of David” is only found twice in the Bible. It is found in Revelation 3:7 as seen above and in Isaiah 22 where Adonai granted Eliakim son of Hilkiah the “Key of David” and clearly meant the throne of Israel and the authority that came along with it.[1]

Keys are representative of power, ability or authority[2], but simply receiving the keys does not make us infallibly authoritative. Eliakim son of Hilkiah was given the keys but shortly thereafter gave away, was cut off and fell. The Church was given the Keys of the Kingdom but has miserably failed over and over again. Peter himself betrayed the Lord shortly after the statements in Matthew 16,18 were uttered.

There is only One who can infallibly rule – that is the Messiah, the Lord’s Anointed. Small wonder that the titles “the First and the Last”, Possessor of the Keys of Death and Hades and Possessor of the Keys of David all apply to Him. This is Yeshua ben Adonai as He now is. He is no longer presented as the Lamb, “Sweet Jesus Meek and Mild” but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of kings and Lord of Lords.

It would behoove us humans to remember that any authority that we do possess is derived. Eliakim was given the keys and when he was no longer worthy they were taken away. Immediately after Peter uttered the life-changing statement “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God”, he was given the keys. Within minutes, when he allowed the power to go to his head, he was rebuked with "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you're not thinking about God's concerns, but man's."[3] It is when the Christ is present in the midst of His Church that she has authority. If we are to have any spiritual authority at all, we must receive it as a boon from our King.[4]

Since the authority we have is derived, there is no room to boast except in Who is our Lord. We may not take that authority for granted and we may not use it to abuse one another. It must be wielded solemnly, reverently and with compassion.

Authority must be put to work. “All authority has been given to Me…go therefore.”[5] We are not to stand around congratulating ourselves on our good fortunes. We must not be like the wicked servant in the parable of the talents who did nothing with his gift. That one ended in the outer darkness. We must demonstrate our understanding of the value of the Keys by using them to free fellow slaves from the kingdom of darkness.

The key of David is the authority to sit on the Messianic throne and rule the world from Jerusalem. It is a promise to David that Yahweh made that someone from David’s line would sit on the throne forever.[6] There is only one person who is sinless and therefore may hold that key in perpetuity. Eliakim failed, Peter failed, the Church continues to fail – only the Messiah, the only begotten and sinless Son of God may permanently possess that key.

[1] Isaiah 22:19-25; This is one of several correlations between the books of Isaiah and Revelation. For example, the phrase “the First and the Last” is also only found in these two prophetic books (Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Revelation 1:11,17; 2:8; 22:13)
[2] Isaiah 22:22; Matthew 16:16-19 cp 18:15-20; Revelation 1:17-19; 3:7
[3] Matthew 16:23
[4] Matthew 10:1
[5] Matthew 28:18-20
[6] 2 Samuel 7:8-17