By Callie Mitchell, SAVED News International Correspondent, Jerusalem, Israel
One thing I love about living in Israel is how experiencing the culture often allows me to discover depth of meaning in God’s word almost accidentally! Of course, it’s really through the Lord’s sovereignty, but sometimes it catches me by surprise! The most recent adventure into the living word of God has been an understanding about the authority of keys! Consider this prophecy about Yeshua from Revelation 3:7: “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” And Matthew 16:19, in which Yeshua is speaking to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” In western culture, I’m not sure we understand how powerful these passages are, because we have a different relationship with keys than how culture operated in the Middle East in bible times, and even today! In the States sometimes we use a term “key money” when dealing with renting space. More commonly, it’s referred to as a “security deposit.” Well, in Israel, “key money” has a much more powerful legal meaning in real estate that simply a deposit. This is an agreement that is largely dying out as practices become more westernized. In previous generations, however, tenants would actually buy the key to their apartment. They would pay a very small symbolic monthly rent in exchange for the large sum they paid for the key. If the owner wanted to sell or find another tenant, they could only do so if the tenant was willing to sell back the key, thus this arrangement gives the tenant a highly protected status, and a great deal of authority over the property. Devin and I were recently involved in a project in which this very process took place. The owner informed a commercial tenant that they were no longer planning to renew the lease, and had to make an accepted offer to buy back the key in order to close the deal. In another case, a friend explained that his ministry was required to share access to a particular gate on their building with a man who had inherited the key rights from his grandparents, and was unwilling to sell! They likewise could not simply change the lock, because this man had legal right to the key! These key rights are quite powerful in Israel!
When cross-referencing Matthew 16:19 (about Peter) with Matthew 18:18 (to the body of believers), which also speaks of binding and loosing. I trust that the Lord has granted authority in the areas that He has uniquely chosen for each of us! My prayer for you all is that the Lord would show you the power and protection in the keys you have inherited from Messiah Yeshua, keys that He bought with the high price of His very life!