Key to Eden
O Clavis David
20 December 2017
What does a key do? When I ask that question to most groups the first answer I get is, "It lock things." But that is only half the answer and the worst half. A key also unlocks. One key usually can do both. But we focus on the prohibitive power of the key, its ability to shut us out. This tragic focus on the negative is based in our inbred presupposition that we should not have access. We hear the resounding "Thou shalt not..." quite clearly in our own hearts. This was swallowed by the human heart in Eden when Adam and Eve took the fruit forbidden by their heavenly Father and Creator. They thought they would gain access to god-like knowledge through heeding their enemy. Here was the key to power, success, and god-like pre-eminence: knowledge. They gained knowledge all right, but only the tragically clear insight that they had traded their perfect relationship with their God for understanding the power of death and decay. They pawned His love for their knowing. They became outcasts from the bosom of His love in the garden now locked for their good. They could never go back. The key to God's heart they lost by swallowing it, choking to death on what ought to have been their greatest glory.
 
The key has in these last days been returned to us fallen and dying creatures in the person of Christ, who is Himself the key. The key to heaven is not a thing, but a person. He opens and no one can shut (Rev 3:7). He is the key to the heart of God. He is God's bleeding heart, ripped open by our wickedness and bleeding out blessings from the cross and death of the Key of David. He has opened heaven for us, who have no key powerful enough to open our heavenly home. No matter how much we know it will never suffice, for Christ is the key not your much-vaunted knowing. Often I hear people say, "Yes, pastor, I know," when I tell them what they need to hear. Knowing is one thing, having the key is another, as is clear in the case of our first parents, who knew it alright, but died because of their knowing. Only when Christ ignores our knowing and opens our heavenly home for us will we know aright, seeing our God face to face.
 
Christ is the key of David. He is the key to the kingdom ruled by Him. He rules there in the love that He has for us fallen creatures. What we choked on and are dying from, He swallows down, taking it into Himself as the God-Man begotten of the Father from eternity and born of the Virgin Mary. Our sin He consumed into His person that He might become that great key to open Eden to us once again. For us He opens and no one can shut.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Irenaeus of Lyon
"Scripture says, 'The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life' (Gn 2:7). It was not angels, therefore, who made us or formed us, neither had angels (nor anyone else) the power to make an image of God, except the Word of the Lord, nor any power remotely distant from the Father of all things. For God did not stand in need of [intermediary beings], in order to accomplish what He had Himself determined with Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things. To the Son and the Spirit He speaks, saying, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness' (Gn 1:26). He took from Himself the substance of the creatures [formed], and the pattern of things made, and the type of all the adornments in the world.
 
"Truly, then, a writing declared, which says, 'First of all believe that there is one God, who has established all things, and completed them, and having caused that from what had no being, all things should come into existence' (Shepherd of Hermas). He contains all things, and is Himself contained by no one. Also Malachi among the prophets rightly said: 'Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?' (Mal 2:10). In accordance with this, too, does the apostle say, 'There is one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all' (Eph 4:6). Likewise, the Lord says: 'All things have been handed over to me by my Father' (Mt 11:27). All things were handed over manifestly by Him who made all things. For He did not deliver to Christ the things of another, but His own. By the words 'all things' [it is implied that] nothing has been kept back [from Christ], and for this reason the same person is the Judge of the living and the dead; 'who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens' (Rev 3:7). For no one was able, either in heaven or on earth, or under the earth, to open the book of the Father, or to behold Him, with the exception of the Lamb who was slain, and who redeemed us with His own blood, receiving power over all things from the same God who made all things by the Word, and adorned them by [His] Wisdom, when 'the Word was made flesh' (Jn 1:14).
 
"Therefore, even as the Word of God had the sovereignty in the heavens, so also He had sovereignty on earth, inasmuch as [He was] a righteous man, 'He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth' (1Pt 2:22). He was pre-eminent over those things which are under the earth, He Himself being 'the first-born from the dead' (Col 1:18); so that all things, might behold their King; and that the Father's light might meet with and rest upon the flesh of our Lord, and come to us from His resplendent flesh, and that thus man might attain to immortality, having been invested with the Father's light." 

 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.20.1-2
Revelation 3:7-13

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 'The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. "'I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" (ESV)
Prayer
O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel, You open and no one can close, You can close and no one can open: Come and rescue the prisoners who are in darkness and the shadow of death. Amen.
 
For all the helping professions, whose practitioners are exceptionally busy during the Christmas holiday, that they would be upheld as they uphold the suffering
 
For all those who do not know that Christ is the key to heaven, that they would be converted and live
 
For Hilary Haak, that the Lord Jesus would grant her every blessing and joy while carrying a baby girl in her womb
Art: JANSSENS, Jan  The Annunciation (17th c.)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Sent by smurray@mlchouston.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact