Who’s in, who’s out?

Who’s in, who’s out?

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens, and no one will shut, and who shuts, and no one opens. – Revelation 3:7

Revelation 1:17-18

 17 Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Isaiah 22:20-24

 20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you.

 21 I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah.

 22 I will give him the key to the house of David– the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.

 23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall.

 24 They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family.”

Everyone misplaces important keys from time to time, not to mention a wallet or purse. But knowing that does not make it any less exasperating when it happens to you. Berating yourself does not make things better. Resorting to haphazard searches and wasting time are frequently our normal go to routines but they do not get us any closer to finding what we have misplaced.

A better plan is to remain calm and think through where you have been and the actions you have recently performed. Where is the last place you remember having or using the lost item? Go through a thorough and systematic search of the most logical and reasonable places the lost object might be hiding.

It makes sense to start with the messiest parts of our dwelling, office, or vehicle. Of course for some of us, we may have way too many areas to choose from. Lost items tend to get misplaced in the most cluttered areas of your home or workplace. Search these untidy locations systematically, shifting debris off to the side as you search.

In the ancient world, keys would unlock and open access to what was beyond. They could also prevent access. Keys were often a symbol of authority and power. Both the wealthy in general and the rulers and monarchs in particular would entrust the keys to their treasury and other wealth to loyal and devoted servants. The holder of the key yielded the power and authority of its owner.

In the days of Hezekiah the king of Israel, he had a faithful steward named Eliakim. Eliakim was entrusted with the Hezekiah’s key to the treasury. Thus Eliakim Had authority over all of Hezekiah’s household. Further, the holder of the key had special access to the king himself. He alone could prohibit or allow others into the presence of the king. Putting it another way, access to king Hezekiah’s presence was granted through Eliakim alone. In the same way, access to the Father and His presence is through the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Hezekiah being of the family of David had a special key. It was called the key of the house of David. Faithful Eliakim was given the key to the house of David– the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them (Isaiah 22:22).

The apostle John uses the same imagery (Rev 3:7). The reference to the Lord Jesus Christ holding the key of David echoes Isaiah. Christ holds the key to the Father’s household and the promised, coming messianic kingdom. Access is granted or prevented through Him and Him alone. He has the power and authority to open and shut the door. The authority of the Lord Jesus Christ is complete and final. The Lord Jesus Christ possesses ultimate and absolute power.

John 5:26-27

 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

John 14:6 I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.

His decisions cannot be reversed. When He opens a door, it cannot be shut. And when He shuts a door it cannot be opened. Christ has supreme authority over death and Hades. As such, Jesus controls death itself and judgment. Regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, today we would say, “the buck stops here.”

Revelation 1:17-18

 17 Do Not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

REFLECT & PRAY

Supreme and final power and authority belongs to the loving and gracious Lord Jesus Christ.

Father, thank you that I have the privilege of calling You Father! Indeed, You are my heavenly Father.

INSIGHT

Have you ever been locked out, or worse thrown out of someplace you desired to be? In the ancient world of this time, Jewish synagogues were just about everywhere. When Jewish people recognized that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Messiah of Israel, the local synagogue had to make a decision as to what would happen to them. Too often Jews who believed in Jesus were excommunicated. In Philadelphia, the synagogue doors were shut to them and they could not enter in. It was as though, the local congregations put up a sign, “Your kind is not welcome here!”

But there’s more. The local synagogues erroneously thought that they had the final say in matters of faith and access to the living God. They did not. Rather, the scales of balance and judgment are in the hands of the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

It is poignant, personal, and touching. Empathizing with their sense of rejection, the Lord Jesus Christ softly reassures the local Jews for Jesus of Philadelphia that the doors to the true and eternal synagogue of heaven are wide open to them and they are always welcome.

When you are personally excluded. How does that make you feel? Perhaps what the Lord Jesus Christ did for those excluded in the synagogue of Philadelphia He will do for you.

The chief priests and Levites were granted sole custody of the temple key (1 Chronicles 9:27). Similarly, they thought that they held the key to David’s house. They could not have been more wrong!

The key of David belongs to David’s son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Israel. Local Jewish believers may not get into the local synagogues, but what does that really matter? They have box seats in the Father’s true and eternal synagogue.

How tragically ironic. Those who thought they were right, were dreadfully wrong. They were given every opportunity to examine and recognize their beloved and longed for Messiah. But they failed to correctly identify and receive Him. They may have had the keys to the local synagogue, but they wound up being locked out of the Father’s eternal congregation that He had set aside for them. The price of entry was faith. And they failed in their unbelief.

John 1:11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.

Romans 10:1-3

 1 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.

 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.

 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.

Of all the things that you are sure you are absolutely right about today, could you possibly be wrong about any of them? Sanity checks, self-examination and talking to trusted counselors regarding my “rightness” have become a part of my personal regular maintenance.

What keys are on your keychain?

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