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What does it mean in Revelation 1:18, where Jesus is said to have the keys to hell and death?

Keys are very important articles. It is interesting that the singular word ‘key’ is mentioned six times while the plural ‘keys’ only mention twice. This is true of the verse in question, and Matthew 16:19, And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Keys imply a dual purpose while the singular, a single purpose. In Revelation 1:19, Jesus is the only person that has the keys of hell and death. He alone is the one that can unlock hell (Hades, Luke 16:23, ...the prison house of the lost souls) And bring those souls out of that place, and He alone can open their graves and bring up their bodies (that death has claimed) and cast them both body and soul in hell fire. Matthew 10:28, and Revelation 20:13-14.

Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven (the realm of profession). They were for a dual purpose. He used those keys in Acts 2 to unlock the gospel door to the Jewish nation, and three thousand were saved.

He later went to the Gentiles in Acts 10 and unlocked the door to the Gentile world. From there on he fades out of the divine record, and Paul, the chosen vessel to the Gentiles, comes on the scene and enters that unlocked door and evangelizes the Gentiles.

Now the door that Peter opened, was that Christ is the door to heaven, John 10:9, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Though he had the keys before the resurrection, he never used them until after. That is because the door was not there until Christ died, was buried and rose again from the dead.

Have you enter this open door yet? It is the only door to heaven. You come in through this door by way repentance and faith in His sacrifice for your sins. Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen