Easton's Bible Dictionary: M. G. Easton, M.A., D.D.
Frequently mentioned in Scripture. It is called in Hebrew maphteah
, i.e., the opener (Judg. 3:25
); and in the Greek New Testament kleis
, from its use in shutting (Mt. 16:19; Lk. 11:52; Rev. 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 (comp. Isa. 22:22
The word is used figuratively of power or authority or office (Isa. 22:22; Rev. 3:7; Rev. 1:8; comp. 9:1, 20:1; comp. also Mt. 16:19, 18:18). The "key of knowledge" (Lk. 11:52; comp. Mt. 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.
Original from The Bible Foundation - bf.org. They claim public domain status for their original text.