Satan has the power of death in Hebrews 2:14,15

Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death.

Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades in Revelation 1:18

I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Does Jesus have the power of death?

  • He has power over death, being the son of the living God, and the first fruits of the resurrection.
    – Lucian
    Jul 18 at 15:13

Jesus has the power of life - life eternal. He IS 'the Life'! (John 14:6) He gives life to the dead. As the second Adam from heaven, he is "a quickening [life-giving] spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45). But he has power OVER death, and death is subject to him, due to become the last enemy to be destroyed - by the triumphant, risen Christ (vs. 26).

Of necessity there yet still has to be death because there is still sin. And "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." A few verses previously: "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (5:20-21).

Continually, the Bible contrasts Satan's power of death with Christ's gift of life. Satan has that power due to being a lying murderer from the beginning (John 8:44); he is a usurper. Yet for as long as humans sin, they must die, receiving death as their 'wage' for the works of sin they have built up. They must reap what they have sown. However, the good news of the gospel is that Christ enables deliverance from the satanic death-hold over them because Christ has "the keys of death and Hades". He also has the power to cast Satan and his hordes into the eternally burning lake of sulphuric fire, which will be exercised at the last trump.

A point of note is that Christians know that death has lost its sting, for them, because they have already started that life eternal in Christ, which is the first resurrection. Christ was the first-fruits of that, and they are the first harvest. This is detailed in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Verses 55 to 57 make these significant points:

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Someone may have a lot of power (including the power of deception) and may be keeping billions imprisoned behind the gates of Hades, but the one who has the keys to unlock those gates lets the prisoners out. That one is Jesus and he has been releasing a continuous stream of Satan's prisoners since his resurrection (which proves he has defeated death). That is why he promised his followers that he builds his Church, and the gates of Hades cannot overcome his Church. That is true even now. But when Jesus returns in glory to exercise his crown rights over the earth, then we will see him exercise his power of life for those who put faith in him, and render righteous judgment to Satan & Co.

Christ's death and resurrection has already, effectively, destroyed Satan, who is a dead demon walking - and he knows it. The sooner believers in Jesus believe that, the sooner they will discover Satan's power to just be a deception, based on lies, and they will be able to repeat 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Power OVER death trumps power to cause death - any day! Jesus is both authorised to destroy his enemies and to raise to life those for whom he died.

  • 1
    @Nigel J I use the term 'gates of Hades' to refer to those who, while still alive in the flesh, are spiritually dead prisoners of Satan. He won't release them, but Christ triumphant has the keys and liberates whosoever he will. They become his Church, the gates of Hades now powerless over them even while they live in the flesh. This is not speaking of those who have died physically and find themselves in torments, such as the rich man. There is no release for them as Jesus said in his exposition of what happens after death. Sorry I didn't make that clear.
    – Anne
    Jul 20 at 11:30

First, the author of Hebrews appears to be making a direct contrast between the Devil with the power of death, vs, Jesus who is the source of life:

  • 1 John 5:11, 12 - And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
  • John 1:4 - In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.
  • John 8:12 - Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Second, the "key" that Jesus has is called various things in Scripture:

  • Rev 3:7 - To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the One who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. (See Isa 22:22)

This "key" is something that was delegated to various people as follows:

  • Matt 16:19 - 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.”
  • Luke 11:52 - Woe to you experts in the law! For you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

Further, the Key in the hand of Jesus in Revelation is also used to bind Satan:

  • Rev 1:18 - I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
  • Rev 20:1 - Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the Abyss, holding in his hand a great chain.

Thus, the fact that Satan is bound, the one holding the "power of death" (Heb 2:14, 15) is part of the reason that in Rev 21:4 we are told that -

‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,’ and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”

It is also for this reason that the angel of the abyss (another name for Satan who come from the abyss, Rev 11:7, and finally thrown back into the abyss, Rev 20:1, 2) is called:

Rev 9:11 - They were ruled by a king, the angel of the Abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek it is Apollyon. [= "destroyer" as opposed to creator as is Jesus.]

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