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 Revelation Chapter 1 (Part 10) (verses 17- 18)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 1 (Part 10) (verses 17- 18)   Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:54 pm

Revelation Chapter 1 (Part 10) (verses 17- 18)

Verse 17a reads, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead.” That should be of no surprise to us. We would probably do the same. John just saw the glorified Lord in His vengeful state, during His second advent, His time of wrath. Daniel had several such reactions when he experienced his visions. In Daniel 8:9 we read, “While he [the angel Gabriel] was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.” In Daniel 10:9 it says, “Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.” Daniel plays opossum when he comes face to face with supernatural beings. Such visions were majestic and overwhelming for the ones who experienced them. In Daniel 10:16-18 it says, “‘I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.’ Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength.” Daniel had a panic attack because of the majestic being in his presence. But as majestic as angels are, they are not to be worshipped. John was awestruck by the angel who was talking to him, and in Revelation 19:10, it reads, “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Jesus never rebuked anyone for bowing at His feet and worshiping Him. There are lots of examples of that in the Gospels.

Jesus strengthens His own who worships Him. Verse 17b reads, “‘Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’” Be sure that He lifts you up and not you lift or exalt yourself. Jesus lifts up only those who are bowed low to Him. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.” The first thing an angel or the Lord will usually say to a person who they present themselves to is “Fear not.” God knows that fear cripples and He does not want us to be in fear. God gives us His strength to equip us to do His will. In strengthening Moses in Exodus 4:12, God said to him, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Jesus gives John a reason he shouldn’t be afraid: He tells him, “I am the First and the Last.” We already looked at this clause when we studied Revelation 1:8. Jesus is basically saying, “I am in charge, so no need to fear.”

Verse 18 gives more reasons why John should fear not. Jesus says, “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.” Jesus is life. He is the source of life through faith. All are dead who do not know Him even if they are physically alive. Jesus was the first to be raised to life to never die again. He does not just give life; He gives life more abundantly than simply living. He gives full satisfaction and fulfillment. It says that He holds the keys of death and Hades. Holding the keys to anything refers to dominion and authority over it. You recall that Jesus gave the keys of Heaven to the “little rock” or “pebble.” That is what Peter’s name means, which refers to the church (rather, the foundation of the church, as Peter represented the foundation of the Church). He goes on to say that the gates of Hades will not prevail over the Church. Jesus holds the keys to not only the gates of Hades but to all of Hades. Let’s first consider what it means that Jesus holds the keys to death. Then we will consider what it means that He holds the keys to Hades.

Because Jesus holds the keys to death, death no longer has dominion over you. When Adam sinned, his entire seed or offspring “died.” God promised that someone who will come not from Adam, but from Eve, that is, her seed, will crush Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15). Death in the bible means “separation from the life of God.” God said to Adam, “For in the day you eat from the tree you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). They ate from the tree and lived on for centuries more. They did not die the day they ate. Or did they? They absolutely died the day they ate from the tree because they were cast out from the fellowship of the life of God on that very day that they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. A Christian can also be dead (in this life only). Jesus gave life to the Christian’s spirit, but because the Christian’s flesh and soul did not get purified, a Christian who sins lives life as a dead person because they are living outside of the fellowship of God. 1 Timothy 5:6 says, “But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” Paul is discussing a Christian widow in this passage. He says that she who lives for pleasure is dead even though she is physically alive. She is dead because she has lost fellowship with God. Losing fellowship is not the same as losing salvation. A Christian cannot lose salvation (there are plenty of passages that prove this). But a Christian can come in and out of fellowship with God, which is equivalent to becoming alive and dead and alive again (alternating as many times as they sin and repent through the Cross). Inside of fellowship with God a Christian is alive; outside of fellowship with God, a Christian is dead. If a Christian physically dies, he or she rises to life. They are arising into God’s fellowship. A non-Christian is always dead; not only in this life, but also in the life to come.

Because Jesus holds the keys to death, Romans 6:6-7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified (died) with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Jesus’ crucifixion has freed you from sin if you are a believer. Verse 14 says, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” One might say, “What does sin have to do with death?” This was mostly explained in the paragraph above. Sin is death. The bible even says that the wages of sin is death. The outcome of sin is death. If you work out sin, the wage you incur is death. When you sin, you die because you depart from the fellowship with God. In Christ, Jesus has conquered death so that Christians will not be separated from Him for an eternity. And even in this physical life, the Cross brings us back into fellowship because the payment always stands; it just requires us to repent and become obedient to Him again—it was our disobedience that brought us out of fellowship. So death has ultimately been swallowed up by His victory on the cross. We can say with 1 Corinthians 15:55, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”—implying it’s gone. The “sting” or pain of death is gone. Physical death can no longer hurt us because in actuality, Christians never die. Absent from the body is to be immediately present with the Lord and in His fellowship.

That was a very abbreviated explanation of death. Let’s talk about Hades because Jesus is in control of that too. Hades and Hell are not synonyms. Hell, as we think of it, actually does not yet exist. Hell is the lake of fire. Hades will actually get thrown into the lake of fire. Actually, the lake of fire may exist, but even if it does, it has not yet been used. It is not occupied at the moment. Hades is what is currently occupied. Revelation 20:14 says, “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.” So Hades is not Hell, for God will not throw Hell into Hell. He will throw death and Hades into Hell. The first to go into Hell will be the Anti-Christ and the false prophet. Satan will be the 3rd to go into Hell. But let’s talk about Hades. Hades is the holding cell of where all of the dead outside of Christ currently go when they die. For the Christian, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. For the sinner, to be absent from the body is to be in Hades. There they await their final judgment.

The resurrected Jesus said to Mary, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet returned to the Father” (John 20:17). If Jesus didn’t go to Heaven for the 3 days and 3 nights He was interred, where was He? He went to Hades to free the Old Testament captive Jews (and also the engrafted Gentiles who accepted the Jewish God Yahweh and abided by His commandments during OT times). There are plenty of verses pertaining to this. I’ll close with those verses, but just want to address a possible retort. While Jesus was on the cross, He said to the one on His right side, “Today, you will see me in paradise.” But one might say, “Wait a minute, that contradicts John 20:17. This verse says that the day Jesus died on the Cross He went to Paradise along with the criminal next to Him, but John 20:17 says that Jesus said after His resurrection that He had not yet returned to the Father who is in Heaven.” The key to this apparent conflict is in the definition of “Paradise.” Jesus didn’t go to Heaven immediately following the Crucifixion, He went to Paradise instead. The word “paradise” here, means “garden” in the Greek. The word is used only a handful of times in the bible. The Jews used the word to refer to either the Garden of Eden or to Abraham’s Bosom. In Luke chapter 16, the rich man in Hades has a conversation with father Abraham who is also in Hades, but separated by a “great chasm” (verse 26). Abraham was in the Paradise section of Hades, which was “far away (vs. 23)” from where the rich man was located. When the Old Testament saved Jewish people died in that dispensation, they went to Paradise, which was located in Hades, separated by a chasm from the unsaved that went there. So indeed, Jesus met with the crucified guy on His right side when Jesus went to Paradise in Hades to set the captives free and ushered them into Heaven, the New Paradise, where God has always resided on His throne. Today all who die in Christ go to Heaven, not to the now empty and defunct portion in Hades that was once Paradise.

I am closing by just listing with little commentary, the verses that point to Jesus going to Hades and setting the captives free:

Zechariah 9:11, “As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.” Hades here is referred to as a waterless pit. The rich man in the book of Luke begged for a drip of water to sooth his agony.

Ephesians 4:8-10, “This is why it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captives in His train and gave gifts to men.’ What does ‘He ascended’ mean except that He also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.” Hades’ actual location is in the center of our planet Earth: that is, the core of our planet according to bible verses that we will later study when we get to the topic of Hades.

Psalm 68:18, “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious—that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.” (See next 2 verses too). It was explained in Ephesians 4 that Jesus here is going from Hades to ascending out of it to Heaven and filling the whole universe.

Psalm 102:18-20, “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD: The LORD looked down from His sanctuary on high, from heaven He viewed the earth [where Hades is], to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.”

Isaiah 42:7, “[I have called you in righteousness...] to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Hades here is called a “dungeon,” as it is a holding cell for the dead outside of Christ.

Isaiah 49:9, “[I will...make you to be a covenant for the people...[and]] to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free’.” This passage refers to Jesus speaking to the saved Israelites in Hades, telling them to come out, and thus setting them free.

Isaiah 51:14, “The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.”

Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me...He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners...”
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Revelation Chapter 1 (Part 10) (verses 17- 18)
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