O Clavis David


The fourth great “O” is: O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

English: O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

It reflects the following prophecies and Scripture:

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;

  • sceptre“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (comp. Isaiah 7:14-16, where the promise of “a child,” “a son,” is first made – a child who was, like this Child, to be “God with us”). The word translated “government” (misrah) occurs only here and in verse 7, it is probably to be connected with sat, “prince,” and Israel. Government was regarded as a burden, to be born on the back or shoulders, and was sometimes symbolized by a key laid upon the shoulder. Vizier means “burdened.” The Latin writers often speak of the civil power as borne on the shoulders of magistrates (Cic., ‘Orat. pro Flacc,’ § 95; Plin., ‘Paneg.,’ § 10).
    “His name shall be called.” It is not important whether we view what follows as one name or several. Isaiah does not mean that the “Child” should bear as a name, or names, any of the expressions, but only that they should be truly applicable to him.
    “Wonderful” The Messiah would be “wonderful” in His nature as God-Man; in His teaching, which “astonished” those who heard it (Matthew 7:28); in His doings (Isaiah 25:1); in the circumstances of His birth and death; in His resurrection, and in His ascension. “Wonder” would be the first sentiment which His manifestation would provoke, and hence this descriptive epithet is placed first.
    “Counsellor” As the Word, as Wisdom itself, as He who says, “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am Understanding” (Proverbs 8:14), He is well named “Counsellor.” None will ever seek His counsel in vain, much less repent of following it.
    “The mighty God” The term “El”, God, had been previously applied to the Messiah only in Psalm 45:6. It denotes in Isaiah absolute divinity; it is never used hyperbolically or metaphorically.
    “The Everlasting Father”  If the term “Father,” applied to our Lord, sits uncomfortably with us, we must remember that the distinction of three Persons in the Godhead had not yet been revealed (in Scripture). But the reference here is indeed to the Everlasting Father, the one Creator, Preserver, Protector of mankind who is absolutely eternal.
    “The Prince of Peace” A “Prince of Peace” had been long shadowed forth, as in Melchizedek, “King of Salem,” i.e. “of Peace;” and again in Solomon, “the peaceful one;” and Isaiah himself had already prophesied the peacefulness of the Messiah’s kingdom (Isaiah 2:4). Compare the song of the angels at our Lord’s birth (Luke 2:14). If the peacefulness has not vet very clearly shown itself, our Lord’s kingdom has yet to come into the hearts of most men. Christ is a Prince, often so called, Ezekiel 34:24 He is so by birth, being the King’s Son, the Son of God, and by office, power, and authority; He is so a Prince as that He is a King; He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour; and He is a Prince superior to kings, being the Prince of the kings of the earth, Acts 5:31 and He is called the “Prince of peace”, because he is the author of peace; just as He is said to be the “Prince of life”, Acts 3:15 for the same reason: He is the author of peace between Jew and Gentile, by abrogating the ceremonial law, the enmity between them, and by sending the Gospel to both, and making it the power of God to salvation to some of each of them, and by bringing them into the same Gospel church state, and making them partakers of the same privileges and blessings, internal and external, Ephesians 2:14 and He is the author of peace between God and sinners; He has made it by the blood of the cross, having the chastisement of their peace laid upon Him, in consequence of a covenant of peace He made with his Father, who was in Him reconciling the world to Himself.
  • “His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.” Isaiah 9:7 The Messiah’s kingdom shall ever increase more and more; there shall be no limits to it; ultimately it shall fill the world (comp. Matthew 28:18, 19). The continual spread of Christianity tends to the accomplishment of this prophecy. That the Messiah is to sit on the throne of David, suggests, but does not absolutely imply, His Davidic descent. That descent is, however, announced with sufficient clearness in Isaiah 11:1, 10 (see O Radix Jesse). A gradual establishment of the kingdom would seem to be implied, such as is taught also in the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven. The kingdom is to be both universal in respect of extent and in respect of duration eternal. God’s jealousy of his own honour, which is bound up with the prosperity and final triumph of his people over all their enemies, will assure the performance of all that is here prophesied.
  • Key_David_Bookcover“I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.” Isaiah 22:22 The first mention of the key of the house of David is found in the book of Isaiah, in a description of the duties of Eliakim, the royal chamberlain of King Hezekiah of Judah: 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 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. (Isaiah 22:20-22) The key of the house of David is symbolic for the government of Eliakim in Isaiah 22 (v.21), which is a type or symbol of the government of Jesus Christ as described in Isaiah 9. Note also that according to Isaiah, the government or kingdom of Jesus Christ is established, or founded, on a work of judgement (Isa 9:7). This is an important aspect of the key of the house of David.The key of the house of David, possessed by Christ, opens two important doors. In the travelling Tabernacle of Moses, there were two “doors”. Through the first door was the Holy Place, the first apartment. This is the door opened first chronologically in Revelation 4:1, in the heavenly Tabernacle, with the key of David. “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” Rev 4:1-2 The scene that John sees in heaven after the first door is opened, is a throne room (Rev 5:6-11).  In this scene, the one on the throne is God the Father, and the Lamb as it had been slain is Jesus, returning to His Father from His crucifixion. There is a book or scroll with seven seals which only Jesus as the slain Lamb can open, and the seals are opened in sequence from Rev. 6:1 to 8:1. Christ as the sacrificed Lamb is the only one qualified to receive the title deed to the Kingdom, containing the names of all the saved, the Lamb’s book of life. The type of this in the Old Testament is the kinsman redeemer Boaz, who by purchasing the land of Naomi, also took Ruth as his wife. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer, who by His sacrifice bought back ownership of the earth, which Adam had forfeited to Satan at the fall. By this, Jesus also takes those faithful believer’s He has redeemed as His bride, restoring to them their inheritance. “For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.” Psalm 37:22
    The second door opened the veil or door from the Holy Place into the Most Holy. On the Day of Atonement the high priest entered the Most Holy apartment of the Sanctuary or Temple, which was symbolic of the judgement of God’s people. In the Most Holy was the Ark of the Covenant, containing the standard of judgement the Ten Commandments of God (Exodus 20:2-17). The last of the seven churches is called Laodicea “a people judged” because they are living in the time of the judgement. This event is also described in Daniel: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down [set in place], and the Ancient of days [God the Father] did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgement was set, and the books were opened.” Dan 7:9-10 The books being opened in the judgement are the evidence, to include the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 3:5), which is Christ’s last will and testament: “And for this cause he [Christ] is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” Hebrews 9:15-17 Those being judged are the professed people of God, those who claim to be the heirs of Christ, the rightful inheritors of eternal life: “For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Matthew 19:29 

you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open:

  • heaven...“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” 

    Matthew 28:18 Jesus here asserts that He, as Son of man, has received from the Father supreme authority in heaven and earth, over the whole kingdom of God in its fullest extent. This is not given to Him as Son of God; for, as God, naught can be added to Him or taken from Him; it is a power which He has merited by His incarnation, death, and Passion (Philippians 2:8-10), which was foretold in the Old Testament (Psalm 2:8; Psalm 8:5-8 & Daniel 7:13, 14), and with which he was imbued on the day that He rose victorious from the grave. The power is exercised in His mediatorial kingdom, and will continue to be exercised till He has put all enemies under His feet, and destroyed death itself (1 Corinthians 15:24-27); but His absolute kingdom is everlasting; as God and Man He reigns forever and ever. This mediatorial authority extends not only over men, so that He governs and protects the Church, disposes bureau events, controls hearts and opinions; but the forces of heaven also are at his command, the Holy Spirit is bestowed by Him, the angels are in His employ as ministering to the members of His body. It is with this authority that He imbues His apostles and their successors in the Church

    “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”  Matthew 6:19,

  • And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia write: These things saith the Holy One and the true one, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth, shutteth and no man openeth: I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength and hast kept my word and hast not denied my name. Revelation 3:7-8 Like the Philadelphians in Revelation 3 (see above ref the key of David), we must never deny the Lord, nor be overly proud of our attempts at holiness, remembering always from Whom our strength is supplied. “The keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19) are not to be confounded with “the key of knowledge” in Christ’s rebuke to the hypocritical Pharisees “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. The keys belong to Christ, but have been committed to His Church, but not unreservedly. If the Church errs in binding or loosing, He cancels the judgement. Binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful. The Church may open where Christ will shut, and shut where Christ will open. He alone openeth so that none shall shut, and shutteth so that none can open.

Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

  • “…To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Isaiah 42:7. Though in Christ, the Messiah has the power to heal both physical as well as spiritual blindness, it is the latter we should interpret here.
    “Come and lead the prisoners” we might understand as those Jews shut up under the law, i.e. entrapped by ignorance and hypocrisy, tied to the “letter and not the spirit” of the law (cf 2 Corinthians 3:6); “from the prison house” we may understand as those entrapped and enslaved by sin and Satan; “those who dwell in darkness” i.e. the Gentiles, destitute of all divine knowledge, having not known the prophets and the law as had the Jews.

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