Grace and Peace
“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“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: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:17–18, KJV 1900)
Understandably, when John saw this vision he simply collapsed. The vision was overpowering, and John fell down, virtually dead. But the Lord—for He here clearly identifies Himself as the Lord Jesus—laid His right hand on John. This is the same right hand that holds the seven stars, who are the pastors of the seven churches in Asia. When the Lord touched John with His right hand, His first words were “fear not.” The vision preceding provided ample reasons for collapsing, but the words that follow were the Lord’s encouragement to rise up and “write.” The vision was overwhelming; the words were enabling.
The reasons for gathering himself together were these. Jesus is the first and the last. He is the one who was alive, who died, and who rose again from the dead to live forever. This was sealed with a solemn amen. In addition to everything else, the Lord Jesus—on account of His descent into Hades and His resurrection from that place—was the possessor of the keys of both death and Hades.
The word rendered as hell in the AV is actually Hades. This is not Gehenna, the place of final condemnation, but rather Sheol/Hades, the place of the dead where Jesus preached to the disobedient souls from Noah’s era (1 Pet. 3:19-20). Jesus is now the Lord of death, the conqueror of Hades.