The Key Of David
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia
write—These things says He who is Holy, He who is true, He who has the
key of David, He who opens, and no man shuts; and no man opens."—Revelation
Here is another of Christ's names, or designations, or
descriptions given Himself. There are seven in all, and this is the sixth.
Let us consider this sixth.
I. He who is HOLY. Christ's name here is that
of 'the high and lofty One, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy.' He
is the holy One of God—hating sin, loving righteousness. Thus, while He is
the holy One, He deals in love with the feeble, and makes their enemies to
'know that He loves' (verse 9). With all Christ's infinite tenderness and
pity, there is holiness conjoined, and He says, 'Be holy, for I am holy.
II. He who is TRUE. This is frequently said of
Christ—He is 'faithful and true;' the 'true light;' 'the true bread;' the
'true vine;' the 'true witness;' the 'true God.' He is—the reality, the
truth, the substance, the wisdom, the filling up of all promises, and of all
symbols. All the promises in Him are yes, and in Him Amen. His words
are true, His works are true, His ways are true, His
invitations are true, His love is true.
III. He who has the KEY of DAVID. Both as
David's Son and David's Lord, He had a right to all that David had. Of
David's crown, and throne, and land—He was the rightful heir. But it is only
of David's key that He is here spoken of as the possessor. He had the
key—the right and the power of opening the gate, and admitting those who had
the right of entrance. He could open and no man could shut—this was grace.
He could shut and none could open—this was sovereignty. This combined grace
and sovereignty which He here proclaims is that which Philadelphia specially
needed, for encouragement on the one hand—and for stimulus on the other.
The reference here is to Isaiah 22:22—'The key of the
house of David will I lay upon his shoulder.' This was said to Eliakim, who
was thus set up as a type of a greater than himself—a greater than David.
Eliakim was royal chamberlain—a keeper of the house, like Joseph in
Pharaoh's palace. So Christ is represented as not only being the royal
possessor of the house, but He also to whom the keeping of its gate was
entrusted. He is 'the door' and He is the 'porter too;' He is the pasture
and the Shepherd too. 'All power is given to Him in heaven and in earth.'
'The Father loves the Son, and has committed all things into His hands.' He
has, we may say—many keys.
1. The key of David's HOUSE. The palace is His, and
He keeps the key of it, as the Father has given to Him. He opens and shuts
according as He will. Would you enter David's house? Apply to Him who has
the key. He is the true David, the true Eliakim—He is David's Son and
2. The key of David's CASTLE. Beside his palace,
David had a fort on Zion which he took from the Jebusites—a stronghold
against the enemy. So has our David a strong tower and fortress, into which
we run and are safe. This is the true 'tower of David, built for an armory.'
Would you get into this impregnable fort? Apply to Him who keeps the key. He
opens, and no man shuts.
3. The key of David's CITY. Yes, the key of
Jerusalem, both the earthly and the heavenly! 'Open the gates.' 'Lift up
your heads, O you gates.' These cries shall be heard, the key shall be
applied, and the gates flung open, and the great multitude that no man can
number shall enter in. Would you enter in to this glorious city? You must go
to Him who has its keys. No application was ever made in vain to Him. No
other key but His will open the gate to you.
4. The key of David's TREASURE-HOUSE. That storehouse
contains all we need. The unsearchable riches are here—and David says to us,
'I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich.'
But not riches alone—the bread of heaven is here—the hidden manna is
here—the white clothing is here—the royal wine of the kingdom is here. All
store of goods of every kind is here. Our David has the key. Would you be
rich? Come and get freely all you need—gold, silver, gems, bread, water,
wine and milk.
5. The key of David's BANQUETING-HOUSE. Here the
feast is spread—a royal feast; a bridal feast; a divine feast; a feast of
fat things! The king brings us into His banqueting-house, and His banner
over us is love. He spreads a table for us here in presence of enemies—He
will spread it for us before long in the presence of the angels. He says
here, Eat, O friends; drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved!
Some have said 'the key of David's harp,' inasmuch
as Christ is the theme of the Psalms of David, and they cannot be unlocked
without Him. But this sense is strained, though striking. Yet David does
sing of Him—'My heart is inditing a good matter. I speak of the things which
I have made concerning the King.' Messiah is his theme—his Alpha and
Omega—his first and last.
What comfort (1) to a minister, (2) to a church, (3) to a
saint—is the truth that Christ has the keys! The keys of the
universe—the keys of every sphere of labor—the keys of life, of death, of
the grave! What comfort is the truth that He has power to open and shut, at
His own gracious pleasure! All things are in His power. The keys are in
pierced hands! They hang upon the cross. Work on, O Philadelphian, with
your little strength! He opens great and effectual doors—however many the
enemies may be. He opens and none can shut. He shuts and none can open. How
blessed when He says, 'I have set before you an open door!' O feeble
Philadelphian, labor on. He is with you, and who can be against you? 'I have
set before you an open door.'
There are four tests, which, though not strictly
connected with the text, I would hang upon it, as suggested by the key
and the door:
(1.) Knock, and it shall be opened. He who keeps the
key of every door is always ready to open—more ready to open than we to
(2.) The doors of it shall not be shut at all by day, and
there is no night there. An ever-open door! Sometimes it is said knock,
and sometimes you don't need to knock—for it is open. Just enter in—enter at
once—enter in as you are.
(3.) The door was shut. Yes, shut at last! Then
knocking is too late. For when He shuts, no man can open. Oh, that eternally
shut gate! How dismal to those who, all their lifetime, saw it open, but
would not go in! They might have gone in, but would not. This is their
condemnation, and their eternal sorrow.
(4.) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. It is not
merely we standing at Christ's door—but Christ standing at ours! As if He
would say to us, Take the key—open and let me in. Shall Christ's knock be in
vain? It is the knock of love, earnest, patient, condescending love. He
really desires admittance. His knocking is no pretense. He wants to make our
souls His dwelling. Admit Him, and be blessed!