Tonight’s antiphon speaks to the saving power of Christ. The “key of David” is the key that unlocks heaven for all the righteous dead awaiting the messiah.
O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.
There is a beautiful icon showing Christ’s decent into Hades to bring the righteous dead into heaven. The icon depicts our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ pulling Adam and Eve from Hades into heaven. This is what our Lord did after dying on the cross, and before he rose on Easter morning.
Keys are important symbols today, and were even more so in ancient Israel. The keeper of the keys held the authority of them. This tradition carries on in our modern-day verbiage of the Successor of Peter holding the keys entrusted to the Blessed Apostle by Jesus. These keys are shown on the flag of Vatican City State, incidentally.