Jesus Christ is the One who became dead and lived again – He is the resurrected One, the One who not only defeated death but also has the keys of death and of Hades, and death and Hades are under His control. Praise the Lord!
God became a man – Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect human life, died on the cross, and even though He died, He lived again – He passed out of death into life, because death could not hold Him. Jesus was not just a man – He was a God-man, and He is resurrection life itself; death could not hold Him, and it was impossible for Him to be held in death.
He resurrected from the dead, and in resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit; the life He dispenses into us today through regeneration and throughout our Christian life is not just the divine life – it is the resurrection life.
No matter how hard the gates of Hades fight against the church, they will not prevail, because the resurrection life in the church will prevail and overcome!
The divine life we received at the time of our regeneration is the resurrection life, the life that passes through death and still remains living. Today the resurrected Christ is the living One, and He lives in us and among us; therefore, all the churches should be living as He is, full of life and overcoming any death.
The Lord wants that we would experience and enjoy the riches of the divine life, and many times hardships, sufferings, trials, and persecutions may come, so that this life would be manifested and enjoyed by us.
The Lord lives forever: He became dead and lived again, and this is His testimony; we as the church pass through death and live again as the testimony of the living Jesus.
Today we as believers in Christ need to live because of Christ by taking Him as our life and life supply; the more we eat the Lord as the tree of life and drink Him as the living water, the more we not only have life but also live and are living, that is, we are His living testimony (John 4:10; 6:57, 63).
How can we be the living testimony of the living Jesus? By eating Jesus, taking Him as our life supply, and enjoying Him for His testimony, the church as the Body of Christ.
Christ has the Keys of Death and of Hades: He Nullified Death and Overcame Hades!
As the One who became dead and lived again, Jesus Christ has the keys of death and of Hades (Rev. 1:18). At first the devil had the power of death and Hades, but through His death on the cross Christ destroyed the devil and nullified death; then, in His enlivened Spirit, He descended into the abyss and proclaimed His victory to the beings that were bound there.
After Christ took a tour of the death-land, He walked out of death, removed His grave-clothes, folded the face napkin, and simply walked out of death, taking with Him the keys of death and of Hades. Hallelujah for such a Christ!
Today death is still active, but we can testify that, though we may have loved ones that pass on, the keys of death and Hades are in the hands of the resurrected Christ. The key of Hades, the realm of the dead, is under His control, and the future of everyone there is under His authority.
Because man fell and sinned, death came in and is now working in all the fallen men to gather them into Hades. Death is like a big dustpan and Hades is like a trash can: death collects, and Hades keeps the dead.
But in the church life today we are no longer subject to death and Hades, for Christ abolished death on the cross and overcame Hades in His resurrection. Hades tried its best to hold Him, but it was powerless to do so (Acts 2:24); with Him, death has no sting and Hades has no power. Praise the Lord!
In the church life the keys of death and Hades are in His hand. It is impossible for us to deal with death; we simply do not have the ability to handle it. Whenever death enters, it will deaden many. But as long as we give the Lord Jesus the ground, the opportunity, and the free way to move and act among us, both death and Hades will be under His control. However, whenever the Lord Jesus does not have the ground in the church, death immediately becomes prevailing and Hades becomes powerful to hold the dead ones. We should praise the Lord that Christ has the keys of death and of Hades. Death is subject to Him, and Hades is under His control. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 4155-4156, by W. Lee)
Today we can be assured that Christ not only conquered death Himself, but He also has the keys of death and Hades! The Lord Jesus is in control of death and Hades, and death operates only under His control. Wow, even death serves His interest!
When we see this, we will be comforted. Jesus Christ overcame death, destroyed the devil, is victorious over the grave, and has the keys of death and of Hades in His hand (Heb. 2:14; Rev. 1:18). Now in His resurrection death is subject to Him and Hades is under His control.
This needs to become an experienced reality to us because, as we are waiting for the Lord’s return, saints will finish their course.
We do not grieve for the beloved ones and for the saints as those who do not have hope – we do grieve, but we are assured that this instance of death is under the authority and control of the resurrected Christ; therefore, we commit this loved one to Him, in His marvelous care. How wonderful!
In the church life today we are no longer subject to death and Hades, for Christ abolished death and overcame Hades in His resurrection. Christ not only defeated death – He nullified it; in 2 Tim. 1:10 we see that Christ nullified death, making it of none effect, through His devil-destroying death and death-swallowing resurrection. Praise the Lord!
Praise You, Lord, You have all the authority over death and Hades! The keys of death and of Hades are in Your hands, and You are in control! Thank You Lord for not only defeating death but making it of none effect through Your devil-destroying death and death-swallowing resurrection! Praise the Lord, today in the church life we are no longer subject to death and Hades because Christ abolished death and overcame Hades in His resurrection. Amen! Lord, cause us to see this and have such a realization!
Our Life belongs to the Lord: we need to be Faithful unto Death!
In His concluding word to the church in Smyrna the Lord says to her, Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).
When the Lord says such a word to the suffering church in Smyrna, He indicates that He will not rescue her from their persecution and suffering. The Lord may not divinely intervene in our life to save us from our suffering and persecution; but in all these we may more than conquer, more than overcome, through Him who loved us.
We need to be faithful unto death, and the Lord will reward us with the crown of life. The Lord may not outwardly intervene to save us from our suffering or persecution; He may allow it to happen.
His only requirement is that we would be faithful to Him unto the very end, until our last breath. He doesn’t require us to be “powerful” and “able” to the end – He simply wants us to be faithful unto death.
Our aspiration as believers in Christ and slaves of God, those who are learning to be stewards of God, is that we would be found faithful when He returns. We simply want Him to tell us, well done, faithful and prudent slave…
Being faithful unto death in Rev. 2:10 refers both to time and to our attitude. Our life belongs to the Lord; He owns us, and we belong to Him. Therefore, we must be faithful to Him even unto death; He purchased us with His precious blood, and we are wholly the Lord’s.
The Lord demands our all, and He tells us, be faithful unto death. As to our attitude, we must be faithful unto death; as to time, we must be faithful until death, and He will give us the crown of life.
The only way for us to be faithful unto death is by taking Christ, the faithful One, to be our person. Christ is the Faithful One; He is our faithfulness.
When Christ as the faithful One is wrought into our being, just as God cannot deny Himself, so we cannot deny our God-constituted being – we will be faithful until the end because Christ in us is the faithful One.
Lord Jesus, we aspire to be those faithful to You even unto death. Our life belongs to You. You are our Master and Lord. Work Yourself into us as the faithful One, the One who is faithfulness itself. Lord, we trust in You even when You don’t intervene to change things outwardly or to save us from suffering and persecution. We have only little power, but through You we can more than conquer, for You love us. Oh Lord Jesus, grant us to be those who are called, chosen, and faithful at Your return!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and portions from, The Conclusion of the New Testament, 4155-4156 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Returning to the Orthodoxy of the Church (2016 fall ITERO), msg. 2 (week 2), The Church in Smyrna.
- Hymns on this topic:
# His kingdom cannot fail; / He rules o’er earth and heav’n; / The keys of death and hell / Are to our Jesus giv’n. (Hymns #146)
# Praise Him! Christ is resurrected! / God hath raised Him from the dead! / All the pow’r of death is swallowed, / Man from death to life is led! / Broken through are hell and darkness / And His pow’r exhibited! (Hymns #124)
# Then unto Smyrna, suffering, sore— / “You have been tried, but something more— / Be faithful unto death,” we’re told / (Not just of body but of soul). (Hymns #1274)
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