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1:19‎  ‎1:20  
And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.
St. Caesarius of Arles
‘The “glassy sea” is the gift of Baptism; therefore, that is said to be before the throne because it is given before the Day of Judgment. Truly, what is said after this: “I have the keys of death and hell.” For He says this because he who believes and is baptized is freed from death and hell; and because the same Church, as it has the keys of life, also has those of hell. For it is said, “Whose sins you absolve, they are absolved, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.” [John 20:23]‘
St. Andrew of Caesarea
Instead of being dead, he has authority over bodily and spiritual death.
And if ‘I have the keys of death and Hades,” so that I make dead and make alive those whom I wish, and that I will bring down to Hades and bring up again, as it is written concerning me, and that, as the prophet says, escape from death belongs to me(Ps. 68:20), I would not have sent my own worshippers and disciples to an untimely death.
St. Bede
keys. Not only, He saith, have I conquered death by resurrection, but I have dominion also over death itself. And this He also bestowed upon the Church by breathing upon it the Holy Spirit, saying, "Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them,(Jn 20:23)" and the rest.
St. Beatus of Liébana
“And I am alive, and was dead, and behold, I am living.”

‘That is, I Who took on death for your salvation, enduring desertion. “And behold,” now I am persisting in eternity, divine.’

“And I have the keys of death and of hell.”

That is, ‘you have in Me…the keys of death, you who are as if dead;’  because the keys of life and death are one, which puts him who is living evilly into hell, which by penitence raises him who is living well to the heavens.

And He Who says, “Fear not”, has the power of life and death. Indeed, for the dead — that is, for sin — one is baptized by the Church; by the bath and by penitence, as the Apostle says — “Otherwise, what shall they do who are baptized for the dead” [1 Cor. 15:29] if they be not risen in Christ? And again, “if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above.” [Col. 3:1]

Therefore, He gives the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to those who rise again with Christ through penitence, as He says: ‘“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”‘ These are the keys of hell; they are also those of the Kingdom of Heaven, since He who has the power to forgive sins, will have called men out of hell. He places in the Kingdom of Heaven those whom He may lead back; and He places in hell those whose sins are retained, pulled down from Heaven. And He makes it so that one key may be the key of life or death to them.

And He who has said, “Behold, I am alive,” says ‘“I have the keys of death and of hell,” so that I may close them as much as I may wish; and whenever I wish, I may open them again.’

And those who are closed out of death, turned back around through the Resurrection, I will lead into the open light of day.

‘Of which keys, the Prophet Isaiah teaches us, saying, “I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” [Isaiah 22:22] For the key also is that same Lord Jesus Christ, Who both has opened the gate of life, and pulled down death’s entranceway.’

Nicholas of Lyra
And alive, and was dead In His assumption of humanity for the salvation of humankind, on account of which you should not fear, and behold I am living for ever and ever Because Christ, the Man, rose to immortal life. and have the keys of death and of hell That is, the power of leading the just from thence, which He also did in His own resurrection, and the power to shut up the impious there, which He will specifically do at the last judgment, saying that terrible word, “Depart you evil ones into the eternal fire.(Mt. 25:41)”
Jacobus Tirinus 

As I have returned from death to life, and am risen in glory, so will I cause my Church and her sons, from the tribulations by which they seem to be overwhelmed and extinguished, to rise in glory, to increase in growth, and to accomplish the more splendid triumph.


Cornelius a Lapide

For this I merited by my death, and therefore have I exhibited a type and specimen of it to the world in my death and resurrection.


Luis Alcazar of Seville

Whatever remarkable thing is denoted in the person of the priest (here presented to view) is all to be referred to those events befalling the Christian church, which are contained in the Apocalypse; for this person who first appeared to John acts the prologue to the whole spectacle, and thus places before the eyes the argument of the whole Apocalypse.


Haydock Bible

And alive, and was dead; always living as God, and as man was dead, died on the cross for the salvation of all men, rose again, triumphed over hell, death, and sin, and am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell, power over all, all things being made subject to me, even as man, or as God and man. (Witham)

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