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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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is frequently mentioned in Scripture, as well in a natural as in a figurative sense. The keys of the ancients were very different from ours; because their doors and trunks were closed generally with bands, and the key served only to loosen or fasten these bands in a certain manner. In a moral sense key has many significations: "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 22:22 ,—he shall be grand master and principal officer of his prince's house. Christ promises to St. Peter, that he should first open the gate of his kingdom, both to Jew and Gentile, in making the first converts among them, Matthew 16:19 .

It is observable that no supremacy is here given to St. Peter; as the power of binding and loosing belonged equally to all the Apostles, Matthew 18:18 . The term binding and loosing was customarily applied by the Jews to a decision respecting doctrines or rites, establishing which were lawful and which unlawful. ( See BIND. ) And it may also denote, to bind with sickness, and to loose by restoring to health. Jesus Christ says that he has the key of death and hell, Revelation 1:18 ; that is, it is in his power to bring to the grave, or to deliver from it; to appoint to life or to death.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Key'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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