Isiah 22:22-23


Isaiah 22: [22] And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open. [23] And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place, and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father."

Does this have relevance to the New Testament?


The whole of the OT has relevance to the NT. :wink:

Seriously, though, yes it does. This is a Messianic prophecy which talks about the divine authority the Messiah would have, for only God himself has the ultimate authority to rule Israel, as well as the whole of humanity.

The key of the house of David upon his shoulder refers to one who has the authority to speak for the king. Jesus, being the scion King of the House of David passed that authority onto Peter. Jesus told his Apostles that they would have the authority to forgive or retain sins. The peg in a sure place refers to Jesus’ authority being sure and certain, which thus makes the authority of his Church the same. There’s more that can be drawn from this prophecy, but that’s it in a nutshell.


This verse needs to be seen in light of the two preceeding verses. It is the commission of Eliakim as royal official giving him authority over all.It is a prefiguration of Jesus giving Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a sign of the authority given to him.



It has great relevance in the New Testament. Jews of the day would have known the scriptural significance in what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew chapter 6:18-18.

“18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”


Yes. These words concerning the chief steward over the household of the Davidic King Hezekiah are very similar to the words and ideas used by Jesus when he addressed Peter, suggesting an imperfect Old Covenant foreshadowing of a perfect New Covenant reality, namely, that Davidic King Jesus intended to make Peter the chief steward over his household, the Church:
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

Key / Keys: Isaiah 22 has “the key of the house of David”; Matthew 16 has “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

Open and shut / Bind and loose: Isaiah 22 has “he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open”; Matthew 16 has “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Household-supporting peg (that would one day give way) / Church-supporting rock (against which the powers of death would not prevail): Isaiah 22 has “I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. And they will hang on him the whole weight of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. In that day, says the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a sure place will give way; and it will be cut down and fall, and the burden that was upon it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”; Matthew 16 has “And I tell you, you are Peter, on this rock I will build my church. I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”

The notion that Peter was to be the chief steward over Jesus’ Church is also supported by the exchange between Peter and Jesus in Luke 12:
Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I tell you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. (Luke 12:41-46)

And, in John 21:
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)




We see this key again in Revelation 3:7.

7*“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Some modern day Catholic writers relate Isaiah 22:22 to Matthew 16:19, but I haven’t found any ancient commentaries relating the key of David to the keys of the kingdom of heaven. When was this connection first written about?


The earliest connection I could find at is in *An Inquiry Concerning Evangelical Churches *by John Owen (1616-1683), a Nonconformist Puritan. 2. Church-power, acted in its rule, is called “The keys of the kingdom of heaven,” by an expression derived from the keys that were a sign of office-power in the families of kings, Isa. xxii. 22; and it is used by our Saviour himself to denote the communication of church-power unto others, which is absolutely and universally vested in himself, under the name of “The key of David,” Rev. iii. 7; Matt. xvi. 19. (source) The marginal cross-reference “Isa. 22, 22” appears next to the entry “19. The keies,” in the Annotations section on Matthew XVI. in the 1635 Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible. (source, page 2146 / 2872)

Isaiah 22:22 was also associated with Matthew 16:19 by Matthew Henry (1662-1714), a Nonconformist minister, in his commentary on Matthew 16:13-20:2. It is the power of the keys that is given, alluding to the custom of investing men with authority in such a place, by delivering to them the keys of the place. Or as the master of the house gives the keys to the steward, the keys of the stores where the provisions are kept, that he may give to every one in the house his portion of meat in due season (Luke 12:42), and deny it as there is occasion, according to the rules of the family. Ministers are stewards, 1 Corinthians 4:1; Titus 1:7. Eliakim, who had the key of the house of David, was over the household, Isaiah 22:22. (source)St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) printed and locally circulated some leaflets or pamphlets in the Chablais in France about 1594-1596. They were later collected together and published posthumously in book form in 1672. The English version, The Catholic Controversy, is available online, here. In the book, he, at some length, associates Isaiah 22:22 with Matthew 16:19 on pages 254-256 (Part II, Article VI, Chapter III, where he discusses the authority of the pope, especially as it relates to the keys of the kingdom of heaven given to Peter).

John Calvin (1509-1564), in his Commentary on Isaiah, Chapter 22, Verse 22, associates Isaiah 22:22 with Matthew 16:19.Some commentators have viewed this passage as referring to Christ, but improperly; for the Prophet draws a comparison between two men, Shebna and Eliakim. Shebna shall be deprived of his office, and Eliakim shall succeed him. What has this to do with Christ? For Eliakim was not a type of Christ, and the Prophet does not here describe any hidden mystery, but borrows a comparison from the ordinary practice of men, as if the keys were delivered to one who has been appointed to be steward, as has been already said. For the same reason Christ calls the office of teaching the word, (Matthew 16:19,) “the keys of the kingdom of heaven;” so that it is idle and foolish to spend much time in endeavoring to find a hidden reason, when the matter is plain, and needs no ingenuity. The reason is, that ministers, by the preaching of the word, open the entrance into heaven, and lead to Christ, who alone is “the way.” (John 14:6.) By the keys, therefore, he means here the government of the king’s house, because the principal charge of it would be delivered to Eliakim at the proper time. (source)


Thanks, Todd977! You are a good researcher! :slight_smile:

It looks like we see this being taught by the time of the Renaissance. The earliest you found was John Calvin refuting an association between Isaiah 22:22 and Matthew 16:19, but because he is writing it means that somebody must have been asserting a connection. Soon after that there are some writers referencing a connection.

Are there any writings associating the keys of Matthew 16:19 to governing power before the Middle Ages? Or is this the earliest that this connection was noted in writing?


Here are quite a few:

Peter’s Primacy


Thank you. I see references to the keys of Matthew 16:19, but I don’t see any comparison of these keys to the power of the key of David in Isaiah 22:22 and Revelation 3:7. I guess I didn’t word my question well.


The only one I can find is St. John Cassian. This page has some info on it:

Ephraim The Syrian (350AD):

  1. Accordingly, the Son came to the servant; not that the Son might be presented by the servant, but that by the Son the servant might present to His Lord Priesthood and Prophecy, to be laid up with Him. For prophecy and priesthood, which were given through Moses, were handed down, both of them, and reached to Simeon. For he was a pure vessel, who sanctified himself that he might be like Moses, capable for both of them. There are small vessels which are capable for great gifts. There are gifts for which one is capable, by reason of their grace; yet many are not capable for them, by reason of their greatness. Thus, then, Simeon presented our Lord, and in Him offered both these things; so that that which was given to Moses in the wilderness, was received from Simeon in the Temple. But seeing that our Lord is the vessel wherein all fullness dwells, when Simeon was offering Him before God, he poured over Him (as a drink-offering) those two (gifts), priesthood from His hands and prophecy from His lips. Priesthood continued on the hands of Simeon, because of his purifications; and prophecy dwelt in operation upon his lips, because of revelations. When then these two powers saw Him who was Lord of both, they two united together and poured themselves into the vessel that was capable of both; that could contain priesthood and kingdom and prophecy. That Infant then, who was wrapped in swaddling clothes, because of His graciousness, clothed Himself in priesthood and prophecy because of His Majesty. For Simeon clothed Him in these, and gave Him to her who had wrapped Him in swaddling clothes. For when he gave Him to His mother, he gave along with Him the priesthood; and when he prophesied to her concerning Him, This (child) is set for the fall and rising again, Luke 2:34 he gave prophecy also with Him.
  1. Then Mary received her firstborn and went forth. He was outwardly wrapped in swaddling clothes, but secretly He was clothed with prophecy and priesthood. Whatsoever then was handed down from Moses, was received from Simeon, but continued and was possessed by the Lord of both. So then the steward first, and the treasurer lastly, handed over the keys of priesthood and prophecy to Him who has authority over the treasurer of them both. Therefore, His Father gave Him the spirit not by measure, John 3:34 because all measures of the spirit are under his hand. And that our Lord might show that He received the keys from the former stewards, He said to Simeon: To you I will give the keys of the doors. Matthew 16:19 But how should He have given them to another, had He not received them from another? So, then, the keys which He had received from Simeon the priest, them He gave to another Simeon the Apostle; that even though the People had not hearkened to the former Simeon, the Gentiles might hearken to the latter Simeon.

Homily on Our Lord

“13…David handed over the kingdom to Solomon, and was gathered to his people; and Jesus handed over the keys to Simon, and ascended and returned to Him who sent Him…” - Aphraates, xxi, 13 (~344AD)

Aphraates - Demonstration 21


I found this…

St Cyprian of Carthage (c. 200-258) seems to associate Matthew 16:19 with the ruling authority of bishops in the Church.

  1. Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: “I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers. (Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle XXVI: Cyprian to the Lapsed)


Right on!

THANKS sooooo much!


THANKS so very much!


Excellent Todd, THANKS



Thanks, I had forgotten that one:)



Again … are you demoting our Lord and Savior [God] to a mere Steward? :rolleyes:

In the Davidic Kingdom - the Prime Minister was given an Office … an Office continues - even if and when an office holder is removed or dies - which necessitates a replacement … Thus Eliakim assumes the Office of Prime Minister … Eliakim still answers to the King, but in the absence of the King speaks with such authority that what he locks, remains locked and what he unlocks remains unlocked and the people know his authority and they call him Abba [which is “Father” or daddy, papa etc]

Even though the King names a Prime Minister and gives him the key of authority DOES NOT MEAN that the King has relinquished any authority … The King always maintains the Master Key if you will - and if the King comes and Opens a Gate [Door = what have you] that his Prime Minister Closed … well - He is the King - He is the possessor of Total Authority as opposed to Delegated Authority

King = Absolute Authority
Prime Minister = Delegated Authority

In this case - no one other than the King himself can undo what the Prime Minister decrees


Jesus Christ - Lord, Savior, Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Messiah, God!

Peter - The Rock, Holder of the Keys of Authority - regarding the Gates of Heaven - from Matthew

k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

You may want to disregard what Jesus said [a OT quotes less verbatim are widely accepted while this nearly verbatim quote from Isaiah is denied] - the Church does not and neither do I :wink:

What you see is Calvin refuting the the equating of Christ [the King\ with the King’s Representative and rightly so … Calvin then equates the holder of the keys with an office that resides lower than Christ in Matthew and uses Isaiah as the proof …

Calvin does [wrongly I believe] open that office to many persons through the ministers of teaching … but Jesus did not - in fact - give the key or keys to all those present but solely to Simon - renamed Peter - the Rock [singular] upon which He [Jesus] would build His [Jesus’] Church - that what one person Peter opened no other could shut and what Peter closed no other could open …

This has to be a singular office or else the possibility of One Opening - Another would close … And Jesus made it so

For example - some Ministers practice and promote infant Baptism - other Ministers refute the very idea of infant Baptism … there are many more examples within the Churches of our separated brethren - sadly


Yeah… wow! That was impressive!

It looks like we see this being taught by the time of the Renaissance.

Are there any writings associating the keys of Matthew 16:19 to governing power before the Middle Ages? Or is this the earliest that this connection was noted in writing?


It seems to me that this is a classic example of how the Church works. She doesn’t feel the need to defend what is not being disputed. That is, if no one has created a controversy, saying, “this teaching of the Church is mistaken”, the Church doesn’t feel it necessary to formally prove its teachings. We see this, time and again, in the history of the councils of the Church: the ecumenical councils are all called in response to a controversy that calls out for resolution.

With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that the discussions of the connection between Isaiah 22:22 and Matthew 16:18 appear during the time of the foment of the Reformation – after all, it was in this period that vigorous dissent from the teaching of apostolic authority appeared. (Prior to that time, plenty of discussion took place, disputing which apostle had authority, and to whom succession of that authority fell… but there wasn’t dissent that this authority existed.)


Thank you. The article was helpful.


Happy to be of service :slight_smile:


REALLY good information




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