“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, A-men: and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).
This verse is taken out of the Apostle John’s introduction in the book of Revelation, which was given to him while he was in exile on the isle of Patmos. Apparently the Roman authorities had interpreted John preaching as seditious and removed him from the mainland in an attempt to inhibit the growth of the early church.
While on this island, John had a series of visions of “things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” The Bible tells us that John “fell at the feet of Jesus as dead.” The Bible goes on and tells us that Jesus laid his right hand upon John, “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” (Revelation 1:17).
The celebration of our risen Christ is voiced by millions of believers throughout the world as they unite in worship to Him. He was clear in telling of His death and resurrection. In speaking to the Jews one time in the temple in Jerusalem, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
The opponents of Jesus had hoped to put an end to Jesus messianic claims by crucifying Him. As it turned out, God turned the tragedy into a triumph. The empty tomb and the grave clothes it all pointed to something unusual. Jesus appearances in a resurrection body constituted overwhelming evidence of what actually had happened.
The resurrection of Christ was a momentous event. It signified that Jesus’ saving work had been successfully accomplished. Through what He did at Calvary, Jesus made it possible for sinners to be forgiven and live forever with God.
When John heard and saw the risen Lord, he realized that he was not seeing a ghost. He was not having a hallucination or seeing a vision. Through the resurrection of Christ, the power that death had over the human race was forever broken, for He alone has “the keys of hell and of death.” While there is still a natural fear of death among human beings, the fact that Christ arose can lead us to say, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:55,57).Since “the last enemy that shall be destroyed” (1 Corinthians 15:26), we will have to face this foe until that time when “ there shall be no more death.” “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ (Revelation 21:4).
John had no fear and his persecuted brethren did not need to fear being killed. Should they be martyred, they had the assurance that the One who had conquered death would bring them safely into His presence. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:18 this, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. A-Men.” The promise of Christ is clear: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
We need to keep these words in our heart and remember that we have a Living Saviour, “Thank God!” Do you have this Saviour in your heart? If not just ask Him to come into your heart.