Sunday, December 20, 2009

Deacon Dulas: "O Clavis David"

Here's the 4th in the series on the "O" Antiphons by Deacon Jerry Dulas.

Listen to today's antiphon at


The fourth antiphon, like the second antiphon, contains two Old Testament prophetic types. In reading the "O" antiphon --

O clavis David,
et sceptrum domus Israel:
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
Veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Key of David
and Sceptre of the House of Israel:
He that openest and no man shutteth;
and shuttest and no man openeth:
Come, and lead out of the fetters of the house of prison,
those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

Translation: Jerry Dulas, based on KJV

-- we can see the two Old Testament types as the Key of David, and the Sceptre of the House of Israel. The promised blessing in this antiphon is the deliverance from the bonds of sin and death.

This antiphon is taken mostly from the Revelation of Jesus Christ to St. John (3:7), however, there is a passage from the Prophet Isaiah (22:22) which is also very similar to the Revelation text. It is no doubt that Our Lord Jesus Christ is quoting this Isaiah passage to St. John about Himself. Our Lord Jesus is the Key of David.

What do keys do? They lock and unlock things that are not meant for just anybody's use. The one who holds the keys has the authority to open or shut away the precious thing that is not meant for just anybody's use. The Key of David, (which in Old Testament times was symbolized by the six-pointed star of David), and the Sceptre of the House of Israel, (sceptres being a sign of power and authority) both show that Our dear Lord Jesus is the One who has Supreme, Divine authority to open and shut the gates of heaven.

Our Lord does this by leading out of the chains of bondage all those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Through His death on the cross, and His burial He accomplishes this. He goes into the grave, to lead us out of the grave. He suffers death, that He might lead us out of death into eternal life with Him in heaven. He opens the doors of heaven to us, by proclaiming to us that our sins are forgiven.

He does this for us through the means of grace; the Office of the Ministry. He has put men of God into His place to use the Keys to forgive the sins of the penitent, and to retain the sins of those who remain in impenitence. These men of God, Bishops, Pastors, and Deacons, each according to his calling and ordination, use the means of grace: The Gospel, Absolution, Baptism, Communion, and the Mutual Conversation and Consolation of Brothers, to lead all nations out of the darkness of sin, into the light of salvation.

So, if one follows the logical progression of the "O" antiphons, we were first introduced to God in the flesh, then God in the flesh on the cross with outstretched arms, which cross became a banner and an ensign to all nations. Now today, we have put before us in the words of the antiphon the means by which this God in the flesh, Who suffered and died for all nations, brings us out of sin and darkness, that is, by the means of grace; Word and Sacrament, which are given out by the called ministers of the Key of David, to unlock the gates of heaven. They administer these means of grace under the authority of the Scepter of the House of Israel.

This is why for us Christians it is important to go to the houses of God, especially during this season when there is an abundance of services, so that we might receive these gifts freely and abundantly. For by them the Holy Spirit creates and sustains faith and life in those who believe. Therefore, it is also our sincere pray as the Church, that our Key and Scepter might continue to lead all nations to parishes where the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and the sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution, so that they might be lead out of darkness into His glorious light. 


Deacon Dulas also provides this setting from Liber Usualis.  It is a different psalm tone than the one you'll here on Time Out.


Deacon Dulas is ordained into the pastorate and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (  In his own words, "My call is to serve as deacon and missionary-at-large to MN and WI at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tony, WI.  We are starting a mission here in Mayer, MN, and the surrounding area called St. Matthew Ev. Luth. Mission."

1 comment:

  1. Deacon Dulas' "ELDoNA-ness" came through on this one. 10 Table Talk Radio points to the first person who can find it!


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