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Revelation 1:18 (KJV)

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter

What are the keys of hell & death in the book of Revelation?

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The details John tells his reader about Jesus in Rev 1.12-20 are repeated in each address to the seven churches in Rev 2-3:

'To the angel of the church in [city] write: These are the words of him who [reiterated description]'.

Where the other addresses mention Jesus' eyes of fire, or that he is 'the first and the last', Rev 3.7 mentions not 'the keys of Death and of Hades', but another key:

the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens

This is a clear reference to Isaiah 22.20-22:

On that day I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and will clothe him with your robe and bind your sash on him. I will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.

This prophecy is part of a larger oracle in which Shebna, 'master of the household', is condemned to be replaced by Eliakim, who will receive this 'key of the house of David'. The exact reason for Shebna's criticism is not known (cf. Childs, Isaiah, 161-162), nor even the role he played in 'the household'. We might hazard to guess he, then Eliakim, was some sort of steward to Jerusalem's royal family, so that the 'key' symbolized his position of authority in bolstering the kingdom's security.

John has taken this symbol and attributed it to Jesus directly, rather than to a 'servant', as in the case of Eliakim. Isaiah's prophecy actually concludes with the dissolution of Eliakim's authority, possibly predicting the downfall of the Judean kingdom and David's house (Childs, 162). For Jesus to have this key in Rev 3 might suggest John intended for it to be read as a revival of this authority, rather than merely an allusion to the old prophecy.

'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.'

With the 'key of David' informing our understanding of 'the keys of Death and of Hades', it is evident that these keys symbolize that Jesus has been given authority over death itself, via his resurrection (demonstrated in the accompanying speech, 'I was dead and I am alive forever and ever').

Beale, The Book of Revelation, 214-215:

The "Son of man" claims in v 18b to "have the keys of death and Hades," which may be an objective genitive ("keys to death ...") or possessive genitive ("keys possessed by death ..."). Both options may be in mind: Christ has authority over this realm, and figuratively this realm is in his possession. This prhase could be understood through the use of a "key" image in the Targums or rabbinic literature

Beale does also connect the keys to Isaiah 22.22:

The Isaiah text was certainly attractive also because its imagery could be adapted so well as an apt description of the consequences of Christ's resurrection. It is utilized to indicate that through the victory of the resurrection Christ became king even over the realm of the dead in which he was formerly imprisoned.

But he continues with other possible influences or parallel traditions:

Targ. Pal. Deut. 28:11-12 asserts that God and no one else holds "the key of life and of the tombs," which John would not see as inconsistent with his description of Christ, since he views Christ as a diving being. 2 En. 42:1 refers to demonic "guardians of the keys of hell," Apocalypse of Zephaniah 6:11-15 portrays a heavenly figure like that depicted in Rev. 1:13-15, who "is over the abyss and Hades," where "all the souls are imprisoned."

Aune, "Apocalypse and Magic," contends that the picture of Christ holding the keys of Hades is intended as a poelmic against pagan magical practices derived from texts inn Egypt, which portray Hekate as a goddess who possesses the keys of the whole world and sometimes as sovereign over the realm of the dead and Hades. Aune acknowledges that Hekate was a "complex goddess with many associations" and that other gods (e.g., Aiakos and Anubis) were also explicitled portrayed as "holding the keys of the gates of Hades." In this light, a more general polemic could be intended, not merely against Hekate, but all the pagan gods popularly thought of as rulers of the underworld.

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Peace.

Hádēs (from 1 /A "not" and idein/eidō, "see/perceive/know") = not knowing/not understanding/not perceiving.

His people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge…the lack of the knowledge of God. They go to the grave because of not understanding as their religious leaders have no understanding of the Scriptures and are not feeding them with the Word of Truth from above.

In order to enter in to the heavenly knowledge (and come out of the “unseen”…the not knowing), we must humble ourselves (“I fell at His feet as dead”) in the presence of the Lord. Again, “Hades” = “unseen/not knowing/not perceiving/not understanding”.

The key to entering into His knowledge (and out of “Hades”….the not knowing) is to humble ourselves before Him (“I fell at His feet as dead”) when we hear His voice from Heaven speaking to us.

Revelation 1:17-18 KJV (17) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. (John 14:6)

The “key”…or Way… out of our mortal death is to follow after Jesus in this: being planted together in His death (dying to sin), we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection (NOW as He is alive now and not dead as death has no more dominion over Him).

He was dead, and behold, “I am” alive for evermore. We must truly believe that Jesus is “I am”….He exists…He is alive now.

The Way of the Lord is to become “dead” to sin (becoming dead together in the likeness of His death) so that we may live His eternal life in the here and now for the Lord is alive now (“I am” = I exist).

The Truth…the “Amen”: The “I am”….is alive for evermore. He is alive now so that we may have His life now in this earth. His life is the eternal life that He is experiencing now in Heaven. As He lives, we shall also live through Him.

(18) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

“I am”: the Resurrection and the Life. He exists now. If Jesus is indeed alive now, we are to have His heavenly, eternal life now in this earth.

John 11:24-26 KJV (24) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

He that believes into Him, if he should be dying (to sin), he shall be living (the eternal life of Jesus…the resurrection life of Jesus now). Yet, many today take the Martha view and will go on their own way as Martha and not listen any longer. It is a "hard saying" for some.

(25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

If we should die to sin, we shall not die but live the eternal, resurrection life of Jesus now. Yet, Martha does not really confirm this here-and-now resurrection belief even though she does believe that He is Christ, the Son of God which shall come into the world.

(27)She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Some will not want to hear this (even though they preach it): that Jesus IS RISEN from the dead.

He is risen now so that we may have His resurrection now. His life is available now for He is no longer in the grave. They do not want you to hear this so that you don’t leave their church (the place where there is no understanding….Hades so to speak). They have a “watch” to make sure you do not understand these things.

They want to make the tomb a “sure thing” for us (their covenant with death and agreement with the grave) in their preaching and seal it with their handwriting of church dogmas and commandments so that we may never leave them.

Matthew 27:64-66 KJV (64) Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. (65) Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. (66) So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch

Even if we have all faith in Him, we cannot live His eternal life if we continue to sin.

We must die to sin in order to live His life now that He has now. If we continue to live after the flesh (after we believe in Him), we shall mortally die….but if through the Spirit (that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead) do we “mortify” (kill, slay, deaden) the deeds of the body, we shall live (His eternal life now that He has now). His Spirit will give our mortal bodies (in the here and now) His eternal life.

Romans 8:12-13 KJV (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

We use the “sword” of the Spirit to deaden the sinful deeds of the body in order to gain access to the Tree of Life.

Genesis 3:23-24 KJV (23) Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (24) So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The key to mortal death: If we have planted together in the likeness of His death (I was dead), we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection (behold, I am alive forevermore).

Romans 6:3-14 KJV (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

But we must remember this (know this): our old man is crucified with Him so that that the body of THE sin MIGHT /MAY be destroyed. It is through the Spirit do we destroy the body of the sin.

We must also die to sin completely so as not to serve the sin any longer in order to have His eternal life. Faith alone will not save us. We must use the sword of the Spirit to destroy the body of the sin out of our lives. We are to live after the Spirit and not walk after the flesh as we believe in Him.

(6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.

If we are dead with Christ (being made free from sin by the deadening of sin out of our lives), then we believe that we shall be also living now with Him.

(8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Death has no more dominion over Him….nor over those who have deadened sin in their lives with Him.

(9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

I was dead and, behold, now I am alive forevermore. Likewise, we are to reckon ourselves to be dead unto the sin but alive now unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let not the sin reign in our body so that we should obey IT (the sin) in the lusts thereof (sins that accompany THE sin). The lusts of envy, strife, wrath, hatred of one another come with the practicing of THE sin.

(12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (14) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace

The sin is the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil through the practicing of the lie:

Genesis 3:4-6 KJV (4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

When we speak evil of another based on a carnal commandment (the woman in the garden added “neither shall you touch it” to God’s commandment) or the teaching of men, we are being a “judge” (Elohim = judges). A judge knows what and who is good and evil.

Wanting to be seen as “wise” (your eyes shall be opened), people judge others (labeling them “evildoers”, “devils” ,etc and are going to hell as punishment ) using their carnal commandments of men as a basis for doing so as they know what or who is good and evil.

They are being judge, jury and executioner of others with their judgments upon them based on their own carnal commandments or teachings when there is only One Judge …One Lawgiver…who can save or destroy.

The “judges” of the churches of men believe that they are being a judge for God (for God does know…) even though they do not have love for another (as commanded by Him) when they do this.

(5) *For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened**, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and e**vil. (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.*

There is only One Lawgiver and One Judge.

He that speaks evil of his brother (because of a carnal commandment that he is or is not following) is judging (ye are as “gods”…judges) his brother and is not a doer of the law (the law/commandment of Christ: have love for one another).

There is only One Lawgiver who commanded us to have love for one another. There is only One Lawgiver and One Judge who is able to save and to destroy. Who are we to judge another?

James 4:10-12 KJV *(10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (11) Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

(12)

There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?*

Thanks for reading.

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Interesting question: "What are the keys of hell & death in the book of Revelation?" (Rev. 1:18)

I tend to view this verse in light of similar details from the vision he goes on to record later. Let's compare the those three verses here in Revelation:

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.Rev. 1:17-19 (ESV)

John then records the details of the vision as instructed:

1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. 2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.Rev. 9:1-6 (ESV)

Then later in the vision he records:

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.Revelation 20:1-3 (ESV)

To answer your question "What are the keys of hell & death in the book of Revelation?" I would say this:

  1. The keys are to the bottomless pit or 'abyss'
  2. The keys here symbolize the one who has the authority to open and shut the bottomless pit
  3. Opening and closing of the bottomless pit, in apocalyptical prophecy, accompanies significant end time events, including: releasing of wrath upon those without the seal, the binding of Satan during the millennial reign, etc.
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The allusion here is to Christ's descent into Hades

1 Peter 3:18-21

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Paul also wrote that Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth (Ephesians 4:9) and conquered death and hell (1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Romans 10:7; Colossians 2:14-15).

These events are depicted in Orthodox Anastasis icons. These are sometimes referred to as icons of the Resurrection, but they really depict Christ's descent into Hades and the freeing of the captives. In all of these icons, discarded keys are always depicted at the bottom of the icon, haphazardly scattered - a reference to Revelation 1:18.

enter image description here

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A Key is a symbol of control of ingress and exit thus the one who holds the Keys says who will live or die, thus Jesus holds the power of life and death "given" to him by Jehovah God:-

NWT Matthew 28:18 "Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been GIVEN me in heaven and on the earth."

NWT John 11:25 "Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life;..."

NWT Acts 10:42 ( ) Added

"Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the one (Jesus) decreed by (Jehovah) God to be judge of the living and the dead.

Here we see Jesus' power to judge!

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Short answer: It is related to the first phrase of the book as all images and questions should be directed back to find their thesis: The revelation of Jesus Christ. God wants to show this to us.

That revelation deals with death and resurrection – not as theological concepts, but as a real living dynamic of a Person in His own body, moving around in their midst. “I am glorified within them” (John 17:10).

Longer answer:

I recently did a devotional translation of Revelation – seeing it as the Revelation of Jesus Christ like it says in the first verse and sticking with that throughout the book. I’d like to share the literal and paraphrase of that, because I think it provides insight:

My devotional literal translation with my parenthetical thoughts:

even The Always-Living! Namely, (you are in union with Me and you become dead because) I became-become dead! (It is Who I AM, and Who I was when you heard Me say that I was the lone kernel grain needing to go down into death for the increase of many by One). • And perceive! I presently-am-living into the eons of eons / forever and ever! • And I have the keys of Death and of “Lacking-Beholding” / Hades / the place where the dead go!

My devotional paraphrase

I am the One that is living! It is I Who become dead. So now that you are in union with Me at the place of My death, now perceive! It is I Who lives forever. I AM freshly slain, yet eternally living!

I think we come up with lots of different ideas about the content of Revelation when we stray from the opening phrase of the book. That is what I learned when I had completed translating it last August. I realized that “The revelation of Jesus Christ” is more than just the opening of Rev 1:1, but it is about the Risen Body of Christ and Jesus as the Life of His body, the church. It is like Col 3:3-4, we are dead – our life is hidden and needs to be revealed. Christ is our life… Or when Paul says “the living is Christ / to live is Christ”... As we see in Rev 5:6, the eternal reign of Christ encapsulates this “death, burial, resurrection”, which flows through us and out to others Rev 22:1-2 as the bride, New Jerusalem. Jesus is revealed in His body. Paul called it “only knowing Christ crucified among you” in 1Co 2:2 and said it was his only boast in Gal 6:14 about the cross that crucified him to the world and visa versa, and… this one thing he does in Php 3:8-13 about knowing Jesus in His suffering and being made conformable to His death, putting the old behind and straining forward into the new. So as you might notice in the above literal translation, I added parenthetical impression of our present vital union with Christ. He is Living and became dead. It is a nature statement just like Rev 5:6 is a kingdom governance statement:

Rev 5:6 = A slaughtered little lamb standing (in resurrection). The picture describes Who Jesus is by Nature forever. He was slain from the foundation of the world.

Notice in Rev 13:8 that it is not the “book of Life”, but the Book of Slain Lamb Life”!

What does Rev 12:11 say about conquering? … conquered him by the blood of the Lamb…

These are not abstract concepts that mean anything, but express Jesus Nature and Eternal Character. This mindset needs to be in us and to share that same mindset-heart attitude with each other (Php 2:1-11). That is the body substance (Col 2:17). That is where greater love comes from (John 15:13, 1Jo 3:16). People can slip from “holding fast to Jesus as the Head” (Col 2:19).

That is the key of David in true form whether in Isa 22 or in looking at David’s heart for God to have a permanent Habitation. It is this freshly slain kind of new and living way in God’s permanent habitation that “seals the deal” (Heb 10:20).

One last thing: it is how we “know” Jesus in that Matt 7:21-23 sense. It is not about doing Christian things or building bunkers, but learning Christ (Eph 4:20, Mat 11:29). Eternal life is knowing Him and the Father (John 17:3).

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In Revelation 1:18, what are the keys of Hades/hell & death?

Revelation 1:18 (NASB)

"And the living One; and I [a]was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."

Jesus died as a perfect man for mankind and is the first be resurrected from the dead as an immortal spirit , now living in his heavenly home, Paul said:

Romans 6:9 (NASB)

" Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him."

For the rest of mankind Jesus is "the resurrection and life."Jesus during his earthly ministry performed resurrections, (John 11:38-44, Luke 7:11-15, 8:49-56) and only through him can resurrection to everlasting life be possible.

When his friend Lazarus died and as he approached Bethany Martha went to meet him, she said to him: 21“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." (John 11:21-25 NASB)

In harmony with that ,he said to John : "I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."(Revelation 1:18b) This means that God has given him the authority to use the keys to release others from the grave and from the effects of Adamic sin. Having the keys, he is in a position to release his faithful followers from the bondage held on them by death and Hades.

FIGURATIVE USE OF THE WORD "KEY"

The word "key" is used in a figurative way in the scriptures to symbolize power , authority, and even government. Eliakim for example was placed in a position of authority and trust and a father to the people of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 22:20-22)

Jesus,in his message to the congregation of Philadelphia said:

7 "He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:

8 ‘I know your [a]deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. (Revelation 3:7-8 NASB)

Having the "key of David" means that he is Heir to the covenant made with David for the Kingdom, the spiritual Israel of God. (Gal.6:15-16) Luke wrote:

Luke 1:32-33 (NASB)

"32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

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Rev. 1:18 (YLT)

"and he who is living, and I did become dead, and, lo, I am living to the ages of the ages. Amen! and I have the keys of the hades and of the death."

Christ - he who is living and I did become dead - held the keys to death and Hades. The keys were to the gates of Hades.

Hades is Strong's Gr. 86 and was the unseen realm in which all the dead resided; the place of the departed souls.

Luke 16:19-31 provided a glimpse of the unseen realm of Hades consisting of two parts: Abraham's bosom, or paradise where Lazarus was comforted; and the bottomless pit commonly referred to as the abyss, or the deepest part of hell where the rich man was in constant torment.

A gulf or chasm separated the two sections (vs. 26) so that none could cross between them. Both sections were contained in Hades. The implication is that the each soul was judged at their death and consigned to the correct section depending upon their worthiness / righteousness and all were waiting for release. Hades was a holding pen, a prison.

Rev. 1:18 links Hades with the state of being dead / departed where all souls were waiting.

Matt. 16:18, speaking to Peter, Christ said,

"`And I also say to thee, that thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it;" (YLT)

Christ had told His disciples that Hades would not prevail against His church; His body. Hades had gates or doors keeping those departed souls within its prison walls.

After His death on the cross, Christ went into that prison to preach to those waiting (1 Pet. 3:19). Since they were already dead, and had already been judged and correctly assigned to each section in Hades, Christ was not giving those in Hades another chance at salvation. His preaching - good news - was to tell those anxiously waiting that He had defeated death with His resurrection, and that He would be coming soon for them.

His disciples and apostles were spreading that good news on earth to all who would listen. But, only He could take that good news to those waiting in the realm of the dead.

Keys open doors. That Christ held the keys to Hades, where ALL of the dead and departed souls were waiting meant that He was going to open those doors and release the departed souls to their final resting place.

And, we find that release prophesied in Matt. 25:31-46. After describing entry into the kingdom in the parables of the ten virgins and the five talents, Christ told them that when He came in His glory that He would sit upon His throne (judgment), and gather the nations before Him to separate the sheep from the goats; the sheep to inherit the kingdom of righteousness into life eternal - that is heaven, and the goats into everlasting punishment.

Eternal life and eternal punishment are only determined after death of the physical body (Heb. 9:27). The separated souls in Hades had already faced judgment at their individual deaths.

We all must live, and when we die we face our individual judgment either for eternal life in heaven with all of the saved (1 Thess. 4:17), or eternal punishment cast into outer darkness for those unworthy (Matt. 22:13; 25:46).

The problem that most people have is recognizing the timing of that release from Hades as having already happened. No one could enter into heaven before Christ did (John 3:13), and He was telling those living in the first century A.D. that He was going to come back in their lifetimes to judge those who had crucified Him and were persecuting His saints.

That is what they were all waiting for. That is why all the future tense verbs were used in the NT. That is what was still future for them, and that is why they were constantly encouraged to endure, to persevere because He was coming back soon - in their lifetime.

Revelation opened with the time statement in the very first verse.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:" (KJV)

Revelation closed in the very last chapter with five statements that He was coming soon, that the time was at hand for those who heard John prophesy again (vs. 6, 7, 10, 12, and 20). Five times Christ told them He was coming quickly.

Those of the first century A.D. were the ones who would see Him a second time (Heb. 9:28). We, nor any other generation than that in which He was manifested on earth cannot have a second appearance of Him, as we have never seen Him even one time.

He repeatedly told them that all of these things were going to be completed in that generation (Matt. 12:41-45; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:38; 13:30; Luke 11:29-32; 11:50-51; 21:32).

The timing of the opening of the gates of Hades was when He returned in judgment against those wicked who had crucified Him (Rev. 1:7) and at that time He would be bringing His kingdom with Him (Matt. 22:1-14).

That judgment was poured out in that first century A.D. against the city (Jerusalem) in which was He was crucified. That judgment was seen in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70. Once that old covenant sacrificial temple was destroyed, Christ separated all those out Hades (Matt. 25) and then threw Hades into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:12-15).

As Hades would not prevail against His church, and as His church is in existence today, then Hades no longer exists.

Christ held the keys to the realm of the dead. Christ opened the doors of the prison of Hades. Christ threw Hades into the lake of fire after the judgment against Jerusalem.

Since the destruction of that temple in A.D. 70, forever more, all those who die in the Lord go home to heaven (Rev. 14:13). Those Christians who remained alive after that judgment (1 Thess. 4:16-17) were and are raised up into the air at their bodily death to meet the Lord and to go home to be with all the saved.

For more scriptural evidence of the timing of His "second" coming, the judgement day prophesied against Jerusalem, and the time of the last days see the posts at ShreddingTheVeil for all ten parts of It's Not The End of The World; all eight parts of The Signs of Revelation, Daniel and The End Times; Frequent Mistakes Part III: The Last Day, and many others.

(Bold emphasis is mine.)

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Keys represent authority. So he has authority over Death and Hell (Hades in original Greek, but continuing the Jewish thought of Sheol, it is a place of existence, yet not true existence. It is a place of waiting for the resurrection for the Pharisees, yet a place of eternal suffering for Sadducees. So depending on the school of thought, Hell could be correct translation, or it is wrong.).

Christ has the power to open the gates of Hades and release those within.

He shows his complete authority he has over Death and Hades in 20:14, when they too are thrown in the lake of fire.

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