frequently mentioned in Scripture. It is called in Hebrew maphteah , i.e., the opener ( Judges 3:25 ); and in the Greek New Testament kleis , from its use in shutting ( Matthew 16:19 ; Luke 11:52 ; Revelation 1:18 , etc.). Figures of ancient Egyptian keys are frequently found on the monuments, also of Assyrian locks and keys of wood, and of a large size (Compare Isaiah 22:22 ).
The word is used figuratively of power or authority or office ( Isaiah 22:22 ; Revelation 3:7 ; Revelation 1:8 ; comp 9:1 ; 20:1 ; Compare also Matthew 16:19 ; 18:18 ). The "key of knowledge" ( Luke 11:52 ; Compare Matthew 23:13 ) is the means of attaining the knowledge regarding the kingdom of God. The "power of the keys" is a phrase in general use to denote the extent of ecclesiastical authority.
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary
Bibliography InformationEaston, Matthew George. "Entry for Key". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".