In the Bible, we find a reference to the practice of a magistrate carrying a golden key upon his shoulder as a badge of his office. That key determined who had free and unlimited access to the house or throne room - if you will. Isaiah 9:6 tells us of the Lord Jesus - "...and the government shall be upon His shoulder..."
Some questions you can ask yourself today are - Is the government of your life resting on the shoulders of Jesus? Does He hold the "key" as an emblem of who is allowed into or kept from your heart and life?
The Prophet Isaiah had the most wonderful vision of the coming Messiah. He described Him with these words - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
Notice what he said in describing the Messiah - "...and the government shall be upon His shoulder..."
What exactly did He mean by this depiction? And how does it pertain to you and me today?
In order to understand the full meaning of the Prophet's words, it is helpful to look at another portion of Scripture as found in Isaiah 22:20-22 which says - "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 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." Here we realize that Eliakim is actually a type of Christ for we find in Revelation 3:7 a similar depiction - only this time referring to the Lord Jesus Himself - "And to the angel 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."
As we step back from these two verses, we find similar associations in the above verse, such as - "commit thy government into his hand"..."And the key of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut, and he shall shut, and none shall open"..."These things sayeth He that ...hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth."
Please note the similarities - especially the references to - "government," "shoulder," and "key."
The Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6 said of the "child" being born and the "son" being given by God that "the government shall be upon His shoulder." What he was referring to here was the government of the universe as well as the church. It would be put into Christ's hands - to administer according to the Father's will and for His glory. It would be layed upon His shoulder. In other words, He would bear the "government" of all - with all of its official rights and majesty. He would exercise absolute and uncontrollable power over all.
This authority, power, and office would be emblemized by a "key." This "key" then would represent God's affirmation and approval of Jesus. It would denote His whole administration...His free and unrestrained access to the Door of heaven..and His absolute control in regard to the admission and exclusion of anyone into the kingdom of heaven. It would stand as a token of His right, sovereignty, and knowledge.
He would be considered to be God's key-bearer, ruler, or person of consequence. The weight of the "government" of God's people would be on His shoulder. He alone would rule, preserve, and govern His church. He would rule in the hearts of His people - enact laws for them... cause them to submit to them...subdue their enemies... protect their persons and property...and supply all of their needs.
"...and the government shall be upon His shoulder..."
"commit Thy government into His hand"
"And the key of David will I lay upon His shoulder"
In these clauses, we see a correlation between "government," "shoulder," and "key."
How do they relate to each other? And what idea is the Prophet desiring to convey to us as the readers of his prophecy?
He was referring to the common practice of magistrates to carry a golden key hanging down upon their shoulder...to have one embroidered on that part of the garment...or to have one carried before them by their servants. The most common practice was for them to carry a key or bunch of keys on their shoulder as a badge of their office. These keys were of considerable magnitude - large and heavy, bent and crooked, and made from wood, bronze, and iron. They were tied together with a cord, belt, or strap and hung from a kerchief on the shoulder. If there were a bunch of large keys, half hung in front, while the other half hung toward the back.
These "keys" were a badge of his office. They denoted a weight of honor and care bore by him. They represented the fact that his shoulders were fit and equal to the task of supporting and governing the people.
Revelation 3:7 says of Jesus - "And to the angel 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." In His kingdom, He has absolute control in regard to the admission and exclusion of anyone. The unlimited extent of that power is expressed with great clearness and force by the exclusive authority invested in Him to "open" and "shut." With the "keys" of His kingdom, He is able to "open" and "shut" any conceivable door.
Why is He able to do this?
Simply because "the government" of the universe is committed to Him and rests upon His shoulder.
Let's bring this teaching down to where we live.
We know that Jesus has the "key of David" and carries the "government" upon His shoulder for the universe.
But, what about your own personal life? Does He have full authority to determine which doors are allowed opened and which are to remain forever closed? Is He exercising the absolute right in deciding who or what is allowed into your life and who or what is not? Has the door to your past been shut, or does it remain open for some things to still have access to your heart and mind? Has the door to deception - for example - been shut, or do you still find yourself lying, cheating, and deceiving others for your own advantage? Has the door to fear been shut, or do you still find yourself under torment when "storms" arise in your circumstances?
A Pastor by the name of Jack Rockson once said - "People sought after Jesus because they knew He held the key to their circumstances."
Who holds the key to your circumstances? Is it the Lord Jesus or Satan?
Your answer will greatly affect the level of your faith.
The Philadelphia Church may have had a "little strength" or power, but they happened to have a "Big God" offering them a "Big Open Door." Even though their power was limited, His wasn't. Consequently, no man nor devil was about to "shut their door of blessing and service" because they had Jesus' promise - "I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." Their continual faithfulness to His Word and Will kept them in His favor - "hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name" (Revelation 3:8).
As a Christian, realize that you have given Jesus control of your life. Also realize that He holds the "key" to every "door" - "opened" or "closed" - that you will ever encounter.
He alone has the "key of David."
Look to Him for all of your opportunities in life.
When He "shuts" a "door" of service, friendship, labor, etc. do not attempt to "open" it. And when He "opens" a "door," be quick to grab the opportunity that He is setting before you.
Rest in the fact that the "government" of your life is "upon His shoulder."
Allow Him to decide who comes into your life and who steps out... when you should start and when you should stop...or when you are to settle down and when you are to move on.
Be faithful unto Him in the "place" where He has "planted" you, and you will receive His commendation as they did in the Church at Philadelphia.