3:8, THE KEY OF DAVID, THE OPEN DOOR
Jesus presents Himself to the church of Philadelphia as “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens”. This verse quotes from Isaiah 22, which tells the story of the transfer of the stewardship to Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. God declared through the prophet, “I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah… The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open and no one shall shut; and he shall shut and no one shall open” (Isaiah 22: 19-22). A study of 1 Chronicles 9 shows that the key of David was for opening “the chambers and treasuries of the House of God”, in other words, for the opening of the Sanctuary.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Thus Jesus, “who has the key of David”, is opening the chambers and treasuries of the heavenly sanctuary to the Church of Philadelphia. This introduces one of the most important themes of Revelation—“See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” (v.8). This theme of the “Open Door” is so important that it is repeated in the introduction to the Seven Seals, one of the longest and most critical sections in the book of Revelation: “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven” (Revelation 4:1). The original Greek wording, shows that this is not a door into heaven, but instead, the door is open in heaven, as if there is some kind of building with doors in heaven. And indeed, the Book of Hebrews tells us of just such a building, the Heavenly Sanctuary: “We have such a High Priest (Jesus), who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the Sanctuary and of the True Tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Hebrews 8:1,2) .
It is possible to learn about the heavenly sanctuary by studying the earthly sanctuary, because it was a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The tabernacle was built with two rooms: an outer sanctuary (the Holy Place) where daily sacrifices were offered, and an inner sanctuary (the Most Holy Place) where the yearly ritual of the Day of Atonement took place. There were two doors in the tabernacle, one into the Holy Place, and the other going from the Holy Place into the Most Holy Place (Ezekiel 41:23, 1 Kings 6:31-35).
The special “Open Door” that was set before the Philadelphia Church would not refer to the door into the Holy Place, which was open every day as the priest performed the daily ceremonies of the sanctuary. Hebrews 9 indicates that Christ entered into the Holy Place after His death and resurrection, and that the entry into the “Most Holy Place” was still a future event.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Thus the “Open Door” represents the entrance of Jesus our High Priest into the inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place, indicating that the heavenly events that were symbolized by the once-a-year Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) would begin during the time of the Philadelphia Church. As we will see in later chapters, the Day of Atonement is one of the most prominent themes in the Book of Revelation. The fact that the “Open Door” refers to the beginning of the antitypical Day of Atonement is supported by the fact that the end point of the prophecy of 2300 days in Daniel 8 (which identifies the beginning of the Day of Atonement) corresponds chronologically to the Philadelphia period.
Continue to next section: THE DAY OF ATONEMENT, 2300 DAYS
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]>1 Chronicles 9 describes the 212 gatekeepers of the Temple. “David…appointed them to their trusted office. So they and their children were in charge of the gates of the house of the Lord” (v. 22). Of these there were four who had a special position: “in this trusted office were four chief gatekeepers…They had charge over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God…and they were in charge of opening it every morning” (v. 26, 27). The Hebrew word for “opening”, metsolaw, is the same word that is translated “key” in Isaiah 22:22 (“the key of the house of David”). The chief gatekeepers were in charge of opening (with the key of David) the chambers and treasuries of God’s temple.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]>Detailed descriptions of the wilderness sanctuary and its services are given in Exodus chapters 25-40, most of the book of Leviticus, and Numbers chapters 8,9,15,28,29. The temple planned by David and built by Solomon is described in 1 Kings chapters 6-8, 1 Chronicles 22, 28 and 2 Chronicles 2-5. This temple was destroyed by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and its treasures were hauled away (Jeremiah 52). The prophet Ezekiel was given detailed plans for a new temple (Ezekiel 40-48) but no details have been given of the actual temple that was built after the Babylonian captivity during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. This last temple, enlarged and beautified by Herod, suffered the fate predicted by Jesus, (“not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down”) being destroyed by the Roman army in A.D. 70, never to be rebuilt. The earthly tabernacle and its priestly ministry is compared with the heavenly sanctuary and the ministry of Jesus in Hebrews 8-10. All through the book of Revelation are references to the temple (1:11,12, 2:1, 3:8,12, 4:1-10, 5:1-14, 6:9, 7:11,15, 8:3-5, 9:13, 11:1,2,19, 12:5, 13:6,8, 14:3,17,18, 15:5-8, 16:1,7,17, 19:4, 20:4,11,12, 21:3,5,22, 22:1,3).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]>Hebrews 9: 2,3 calls the two rooms “Agia” (the Holy) and “Agia ton Agion” (the Holy of Holies). Verse 8 refers to the Holy of Holies with the shortened name “ton Agion”, and states that the way into the Holy of Holies was not open while the first sanctuary was still standing (and the earthly sanctuary was still standing at the time the book of Hebrews was written, not being destroyed until 70 AD). Moreover, vs. 11,12 (KJV) indicates that Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary and “by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place” (Agia). If Paul had wanted to indicate that Jesus had immediately entered the Holy of Holies he no doubt would have used the word “ton Agion” as in verse 8. It is true that a number of English versions translate “ta agia” in verse 12 as “the Most Holy Place” but this is not consistent with the usage in verses 2, 3 and 8. Paul was comparing the earthly shadow (both Holy Place and Most Holy Place) with the heavenly reality, and stressed that Jesus has opened the heavenly reality in all its fullness. He was not comparing an old covenant or dispensation with the “Holy Place” ministry in the first room.