However, the passage in Revelation has been used inappropriately by a number of cults that ultimately descend from the Christian Identity Movement via Armstrongism. The Philadelphia Church of God, a splinter group from the Worldwide Church of God, produces a television program called Key of David.
The Key of David is most directly referenced in Revelation 3:7, “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: these are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.” The Old Testament reference is Isaiah 22:22. There, the prophet tells the palace secretary Shebna that he will be replaced by Eliakim, for God “will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David” (Isaiah 22:22). The one who holds the keys has the authority. Thus, the “key of David” implies control of David’s domain, which was promised to the Messiah in both the Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32).
Paul told Timothy to avoid “myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:4). There is no “special knowledge” beyond the gospel itself that will aid salvation. Any claim beyond faith in the work of Jesus tears out the heart of the good news: that the just will live by faith (Romans 1:17). There is no great vision, special knowledge, or Jewish lineage needed, only faith in Christ.
It is one of the deepest truths in the entire Bible, but it is a mystery to most Christians. However, the more you understand it, the more it stirs your imagination. It is a message from God—the message that Jesus Christ gives His Church to deliver to this world in this end time.
The key of David message is actually Christ’s gospel—the good news He brought when He came to Earth! It gives you a specific understanding of that gospel, and it adds a royal dimension. The firstfruits—those saints called out before Christ’s Second Coming—will share the throne of David with Christ during the Millennium. If you are going to be in the Kingdom of God, you must understand the real gospel: this key of David message!
Revelation 3:7 is part of a message from Jesus Christ to His Church. These are literally His own words, in red letter: “And to the angel [or messenger] 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.”
Christ is “he that hath the key of David.” This message comes directly from Him. He gave it to His Church, and He expects His people to share it with the world.
If you want to find God’s true Church, it has to be where the key of David message is. And where you find the key of David message, you will find Jesus Christ!
This is not the easiest truth to understand; it takes study and meditation. However, you can grasp quite a lot about it just by studying this passage in Revelation 3. Here are seven points from this short passage that will help you to understand what God is trying to show us in this end time.
1. It is the key ‘of David’God named this transcendent message after a man--a human being just like you and me.King David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) and is an important personality in this. But God wants us to realize that David is a type of all mankind.
The truth of the Bible is that God’s grand strategy is to save, and to build a relationship with, all mankind! Jesus Christ died for the world, not just a few people. He died so everyone’s sins could be forgiven. The fact that He named this key truth after a human is a clue that He wants each and every human being who has ever lived to understand this message.
This is God’s most highly exalted goal: He is recreating Himself in man! David understood that. He repented and obeyed God. He passionately submitted to God. That is why David’s name is here in Revelation 3. God’s plan is to teach every person who has ever lived to submit and repent like David—so they can be born into His Family! This is a universe-size goal God has given us. It’s hard to even imagine. You really have to study to understand the beauty and the glory of this goal.
2. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith HE that is holy, HEthat is true, HE that hath the key of David, HE that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (verse 7). Four times Jesus Christ is mentioned here. He is the focus. He is the Head of the Church! He is the living God, and He wants everybody to know He’s alive. He gives that key of David message, and then He opens a door to deliverthat message. He directly leads His Church.
Notice that this is Christ’s message to the church in Philadelphia. That is the sixth of seven Church eras described in these chapters. The seventh era, the one we are in now, is Laodicea (verses 14-22), an era when about 95 percent of Christ’s own Church turned away from Him—and lost their Head (Colossians 2:19). Only a remnant of Philadelphia remains.
If you find and hold this key of David, you will know that Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church. He gave us that wonderful key of David message. Wherever you find that message, you will also find the “HE that hath the key of David.”
3. Christ has the key of DavidChrist personally has the key of David; it is His. He gives it to us if we desire it and are willing to deliver it. We must deliver that message as a witness to the whole world. (Because of their sins, most won’t understand it today. But at least Christ’s message will be a witness against them. The Bible also prophesies of a future resurrection in which the vast majority—at that time living under God’s government--will listen to and understand Christ’s key of David message. In time, this truth will capture the imagination of the world.)
In Isaiah 40, God discusses “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness” of religious confusion. It is God’s voice, speaking through a man, and it is crying out with the key of David message! This world has uncountable different religions and a bewildering myriad of Christian denominations. Which one is right? Can they all be right? God says no. Only one can be right, and it has the voice and declares the key of David. This is the specific message and the specific voice.
The key of David is not really that complex, although it is incredibly profound. You do have to study it, because it’s right out of the mind of God. It is the most exalted message from God in this end time. It is the royal gospel of Jesus Christ—a message about mere human beings who will become kings sitting on a throne with Christ. If people heed God’s calling and Christ’s message today, they will be the bride of Christ and sit on a throne with Him as kings and priests (Revelation 1:6). What could be more inspiring? What could be more rewarding than to give yourself to God today and receive the monumental reward awaiting His very elect?
4. Christ sets before us an open door“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it …” (Revelation 3:8). Christ has opened a door for His Church to deliver the key of David. It is all God’s doing—not man’s. God gives many special miracles to enable His Church to proclaim this to the world through television, booklets, magazines and other means. This is not a hidden message; it is being broadcast and published through a miraculous open door.
Christ gives the unimaginably wonderful key of David message to His people today so they will deliver it to the world. Most people only have a surface knowledge of this wonderful truth. They can’t fathom what God is talking about here. God wants everyone to wake up to the incredible depth of what He wants to give us!
5. No man can shut itOnce Christ opens a door, “no man can shut it.” Even if that man led a trillion-man army, he could not shut the door God opened! God is challenging the skeptics here. That challenge shows that God is alive! He is a living God! When He sets out to do a work, no man is going to stop Him! He uses His almighty power to make sure nobodyinterferes. How encouraging! God proves to us daily that He is alive.
People act like God has nothing to do with this world; but He has a lot to do with it, and with all people. He always warns when people are heading toward catastrophe—and right now, this world is heading for the worst disaster it has ever experienced! That is the time when you need God, even if you don’t know it.
The phrase “no man can shut it” implies that Satan the devil will always try to shut that door, using men to stop God’s message. There’s always an ongoing war with Satan. Our book Raising the Ruins talks about that open door, and how the work can be stopped if God’s people don’t carry out their responsibility. Satan can do a lot of damage, as he has done in this end time.
But even though he is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), Satan can’t shut God’s open door. He doesn’t have any power at all compared to God. We have to stay close to God so He will empower us to deliver His message. Without God’s power, we would never be able to deliver His message in Satan’s world.
Our free booklet Habakkuk will show you how we had to fight in court to even get this message out through that open door. God performed miracle after miracle—and this wonderful little booklet will prove that to you. It proves God’s existence and how He empowers His very elect.
6. We have kept His WordRevelation 3:8 continues: “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word ….” God opens this giant door for His very elect if they keep His Word. He gives them His power only if they keep His Word!
Thankfully, the very elect have kept God’s Word. Though most of God’s people have turned away from obeying God’s Word in this end time, these Philadelphians never turn away. They kept God’s Word even as others were “casting the truth to the ground” (Daniel 8:11-12; this prophetic book was written for our time today—Daniel 12:4, 9).
If you understand this wonderful message, it will change everything in your life. You will have a future that inspires and moves you! If you keep God’s Word, He says, you’ll be delivering His message through that open door, and no man, not even a trillion men, can ever stop it.
7. We have not denied His nameRevelation 3:8 concludes, “thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” The Greek word for name includes everything that name stands for. In this case it particularly refers to Christ’s authority, His rule over His Church. Denying God’s name means denying His government.
Christ praises the Philadelphians for not denying Christ’s name—as most of God’s people have in this Laodicean era! Tragically, the great majority of God’s own Church have rejected their Head. The Laodiceans denied God’s government—they refused to let Christ rule them. They wanted to go their own way, the way of Satan’s world. As a result, Christ couldn’t give them His power, and couldn’t open a door for them. He won’t do those things unless we submit ourselves to Him! And a church without Christ as its Head can accomplish no more than a man can without his head! God can’t use such people.
But there is a remnant of faithful saints who will not deny Christ’s name! As a result, they have the power of God, and an open door that no man can shut! God makes some of the most powerful promises in the Bible here in this passage.
Spiritual Jews“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Revelation 3:9).
King David was a Jew, as was Jesus Christ. Romans 2:29, Deuteronomy 30:6 and other scriptures explain that when someone is converted, he becomes a spiritual Jew. God’s grand strategy is to make all of us into spiritual Jews. It’s not about the physical at all. We are all spiritual Jews if we follow the Jew, Jesus Christ.
Some of God’s own people say they are Jews when they are not—God says they are lying!We have to know what is a lie and what is not. This requires that we get to know what the key of David is. We must let Christ show us so that we’ll know who the spiritual Jews are and who are the liars, because there are a lot of liars claiming to be Jews today. This is part of our war with Satan the devil. He is a liar and the truth is not in him (John 8:44).
The “synagogue of Satan” mentioned in Revelation 3:9 was a foothold Satan had inside God’s Church that became the Laodicean era (verses 14-22). The people have become blind (verses 18-19). Now God is knocking on their door, trying to get in so He can turn them back to Him (verse 20). He keeps pleading with all of His people to turn back to Him so that they can understand and achieve their wonderful key of David future!
But there is a little remnant that is clinging to Jesus Christ’s key of David message. They walk through His open door and deliver the most wonderful message imaginable. This is leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when Christ will personally rule this Earth!That is the most wonderful news you could ever hear!