From the Preacher’s Pen… Have you ever forgotten or lost your keys? Whether it’s being locked out of your house or unable to get in and drive your car; having the keys–the right keys–is very important. And if that is a true lesson with house keys, or car keys, how much more so is it vital with Heavenly keys?

The Key

During the reign of King Hezekiah, Isaiah the prophet of God made a prophecy about the head of the royal household, Shebna. Apparently, from the context of Isaiah 22, Shebna was leader of the party that advocated an alliance with Egypt. God had repeatedly commanded His people to have nothing to do with compromise. Egypt represented all that was against the will of God. Agreement with them would never be right.

Before we continue, do we today sometimes have trouble understanding that same lesson?

God’s decree through Isaiah to Shebna was that Shebna had no right to even serve in the house of the king (Isaiah 22:15-16). God planned humiliation, deposition from his office and death as the shameful punishment for his compromise (Isaiah 22:17-19).

All this is the lead-up to a great lesson and prophecy of Jesus the Christ. Eliakim (meaning God will establish), son of Hilkiah (the faithful high priest) is to take over as head of the royal household. He will be faithful: Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder.  When he opens no one will shut; when he shuts no one will open. I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, and he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house. (Isaiah 22:22-23)

If some of those words about Eliakim, the one whom God would establish, sound familiar, there’s a good reason. In Revelation 3:8-12 God addresses one of the two truly faithful congregations, Philadelphia, and says:

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, says this: “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

Paul reminds us that whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). So the whole purpose of us learning about Eliakim is to see the lesson for us today. And God goes to great lengths to make sure we see that lesson by repeating it to faithful saints!

Jesus has the authority and the keys to heaven. He used those keys to open the door for us. And He shares those keys (if we use them properly) with us to teach others the Good News of salvation (cf. Matthew 16:19).

Eliakim was given the keys to do the job that God needed done for His people. Jesus was given the keys for the same reason. The Christians at Philadelphia saw the value of those keys in keeping God’s word so that no one would take their crown. Do we?

Eliakim was also called a peg or nail in a firm place for being a reliable, faithful servant of God. But his work would one day fail with the fall of Judah (cf. Isaiah 22:23-25). Jesus, however, becomes the ultimate keeper of the keys and His promises are still faithful, His doors still open: This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil (Hebrews 6:19).

Have you got the key?

— Lester P. Bagley




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