God doesn’t speak to man very often, so when he does, it pays to listen. This is one of those occasions. John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos. He was in jail, I suppose. He was a political prisoner because of the faith of Jesus Christ for the witness and the testimony he had given. And he was transported in vision, and he heard in vision a great voice behind him and he turned around and saw someone who was so awesome in his appearance that John fell on the ground like a dead man as a result of seeing him. And this one that he saw reached down and picked him up and said,
Fear not, I am the first and the last, I am he that lives, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive forever more, and I have the keys of hell and death. Now if you’re going to know someone with a set of keys, the one who has the keys to hell—that is, the grave—and death is the one to know because he can get you out.
And he continued to say,
Write the things which you have seen, and the things that are, and the things which shall be hereafter. All this is in the mysterious Book of Revelation, the first chapter, verses 17 through 19. And this last statement in verse 19, is one of the keys to understanding the Book of Revelation.