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I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

 

And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Hades claims the soul of the lost, and “Death” claims the body. When the immaterial part of humans (soul and spirit) leaves the physical body, it dies.

To have the keys to something means that Jesus has the right over the place where the keys fit. Jesus has authority over death and the place of the dead. Jesus possesses authority over the Christian’s death and resurrection.

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Peter does not have the keys to Heaven or Hades. It is a myth that Peter will meet us at the Pearly Gates. The Bible does not affirm this; it is a fairy tale. He is not the keeper of the Gate of Glory. Jesus is the keeper of the Gate. Only He can lock and unlock these doors.

Before the cross, sins were covered but not purged. After the cross, Jesus vanquished sin completely. Old Testament sacrifices were I.O.U.s, but Jesus paid the total bill on the cross. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus has the keys to Hades.

Hades is not Purgatory. There is no biblical basis for Purgatory anywhere in Scripture. It is a religious fabrication. Hades is where the unsaved go when they die. Later, Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Re 20:13-14). 

Jesus has the key to “Death,” as well. Jesus is sovereign over physical death (Hebrews 2:14-15). No one dies until Jesus says so. Nothing will keep us alive one second longer than Jesus’ decision to keep us alive.

Principle:

The Christian is more than his body.

Application:

We are not our bodies; we live in our bodies. Our soul never dies. It goes to either Hell or Heaven. Only the body dies. Every person, Christian or otherwise, will rise from the dead. Some will rise to damnation, and others will rise to eternal life.

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).

Either we go up, or we go down. Our bodies wait for one of two resurrections.

Immortality conceived as a personal, conscious, disembodied existence that continues beyond the grave is not the same as the richness of eternal life blessing comprehended by the Bible. 

It is important to define what immortality is and is not: Immortality is not simple, endless existence after death. Dying does not terminate human life. Immortality relates to the material part of man (the body) rather than the immaterial. Both Christians and non-Christians live after death. Thus, immortality is not the same as eternal life, which God bestows on Christians at the point of salvation. 

When non-Christians die, they will put on immortality but not an incorruptible life. Immortality and incorruption are companion terms. When Christians die, they will put on both immortality and incorruption; they will experience both immortality and eternal life, a life free from the corruption of the human body and its ailments. Through the resurrection of Christ, the nature of their eternal state will be dramatically different from that of the unbeliever. They will possess a “body like unto His glorious body [resurrected body]” (Php 3:21).

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pe 1:3-5)

Immortality is not identical to eternal life, which only believers possess. But the believer will own a glorified body that is immortal, deathless, painless, and sinless by the resurrection (Ro 8:22-23; 2 Co 5:1-5). Thus, the Christian will be fully redeemed, body, soul, and spirit. 

The unsaved will neither possess eternal life nor an immortal body; their soul and spirit will go on existing forever, but their body will suffer “the second death” at the judgment of the white throne (Rev. 20:14). They will not experience annihilation but eternal conscious existence in separation from God. Only those who believe in Christ obtain that same immortality that Christ has (1 Tim 6:16). This kind of immortality, then, is brought “to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). Christian immortality belongs to the realm of the body as it affects the whole redeemed man.

We cannot correctly use immortality in reference to the soul but to the incorruptibility of the body, which affects the whole man. The destiny of the Christian is transformation into a body like the resurrected body of Christ (Php 3:21), a body suitable for citizenship in heaven (Php 3:20). Believers receive eternal life at the point of salvation. All believers will experience ultimate body corruption at death but will be clothed with bodily immortality by the resurrection. This is the reunion of the soul and spirit with the body in glorified form: deathless, sinless, and painless.

When Christians die, they go immediately into the presence of God (2 Corinthians 5:8). Jesus takes the sting out of death.

“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’

‘O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).

Non-Christians have no hope. Their only future from their viewpoint is a bleak, black, barren terminus of existence in some dank, cold, and clammy grave for their bodies and hell for their souls. Jesus takes the sting out of that hopelessness.

Only God alone has immortality (Ro 1:23; 1 Tim 1:17; 6:16). Humans are mortal, perishable, and carry the corruption of sin (Ro 5:12; 1 Co 15:42, 50). We can gain immortality and eternal life by being “brought to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10). Christ abolished death and provided God’s eternal life free from corruption to those who believe. Thus, human beings have no intrinsic immortality; their kind of immortality is derived as a gift from God by faith. Their eternal life is not only relegated to the age to come, but they possess it at the point of salvation. 

24Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (Jn 5:24)

In First Corinthians 15, Paul uses three words for immortality—athanasia, aphtharsia and aphthartos (1 Cor 15:42, 50, 52–54). He contrasts immortality with phthartos (what “is bound to disintegrate and die,” “perishable,” “mortal”); the physical human body is marked by weakness, dishonor, perishability, and mortality but the resurrection body is characterized by glory, power, immortality (1 Cor 15:42–44).

At the end of life’s long day, you will not say, “I am glad I belonged to the right political party,” or “I am glad I joined the Masons or the Knights.” “I am glad I earned at least $100,000 a year.” No, these things will become unessential when you meet the Lord Jesus.

Are you placing your confidence in religion? I hope you do not do that. The only person who has the authority of Heaven and Hell is Jesus. Place your trust in Him.

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