ESV - 18 And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
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The Key to Death referred to here is the key to the second death, which is the death of the soul. The second death is found only in the lake of fire where those with the mark are tormented forever in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb (Rev. 14:11). It is under a lock so no one can enter or escape without permission. Christ has the authority to remove those in the fire if they finally repent, and the authority to put in anyone if they do not repent. The key to Hades is needed because Hell or Hades is also under a lock so no one can enter or escape without permission. Hades will exist until the final judgment after which time it will be cast into the lake of fire so it ceases to exist separately. Christ has the authority to release souls from Hades or put them in temporarily until judgment time. In neither case is it possible to persuade Christ through prayer to let anyone go from hades or the lake of fire. It is all a matter of judgment taking into account earthly life and behavior after earthly life is over, as recorded in the books (Rev. 20:12).
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