The Keeper of the Keys!
Scripture reading for December 23rd: Revelation 1-3
Today we come to the last book of the Bible on our journey through Scripture. Our goal has been to encounter Jesus in each book or letter and gain an understanding of Him that equips us to live out our faith in an authentic manner. The opening words “The revelation of Jesus Christ” give us an immediate understanding that this last book is all about Jesus Christ! It was written by one of the twelve disciples, John the beloved, while he was imprisoned on the island of Patmos. (Revelation 1:9) He was worshiping the Lord on a Sunday when he heard a voice speaking to him. Upon looking, he saw Jesus and heard Him speak to him a message that was to be written down for the churches that John served.
John describes the vision of Jesus in this first chapter of Revelation. Jesus appeared in such glory and power that John fell down as a dead man. (Revelation 1:17) We who are pentecostal might say that John was slain in the Spirit! Jesus touched John and spoke again. “Then He placed His right hand on me and said: “do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17b-18)
John was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. He and probably many others were suffering for their faith in Jesus. Some had already died, quite probably all the other disciples who walked with Jesus as John did. During this special worship time, Jesus came in visible form and then spoke words of faith and encouragement to this special apostle.
Jesus is the keeper of the keys of death and Hades! Satan was not in control and neither was Rome! Human authorities and governments have no power except that granted by our Lord for His purposes. Even though death looks permanent to us, Jesus conquered death and Hades and rose from the dead. He took the keys from Satan and holds the key for our deliverance from there as well! By faith in Jesus Christ, we are freed from our sins and their power to hold us in Satan’s abode. Jesus was dead and now lives forever as the first fruits of them that will live forever! What encouragement this truth gives to us!
Christians rejoice in this truth! Death has no power over us and the grave is not to be feared! Faith is the victory and we can rest assured without fear of what is to come! We know the one who is alive forever and has the keys!