The keys

I had a friend of mine say to a group of friends of whom I was one of. He said, “when Jesus died he went to hell to get the keys of death and hell.” That statement was followed with; “He also, went to hell to minister to the those in prison. 1 Peter 3:19”

I have studied the Bible, read articles and yet I still struggled to find answers of how I can understand these topics better or be corrected in any error on my part.



Hello Jeff, thank you for the concern, question in regards to the keys? I am going to share a few other scriptures to help in your understanding.

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Matthew 27:51‭-‬53 NKJV

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Revelation 1:18 NKJV

Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Ephesians 4:8‭-‬10 NKJV

Verse 8 is an original testament quote from Psalm 68:18.

Scripture teaches both the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is established. Same goes with scripture when in many passages it shares a complete truth.

Pray this helps, ask another question after you check this our. Be more than happy am ready to help.


Thank you so much. I will look into those passages deeper. This has helped me a lot and I appreciate your response.


Hello, Jeffrey @jeffaspenson. Your question has stumped many, even biblical scholars who debate the meaning of 1Pet. 3:19. I agree with those who say this particular passage is about those who lived before the flood. The only ones who survived were Noah and his family. All those who died had been living in such wickedness, God had to destroy them by the flood.
Verse 19 also says that Jesus went to Hades through the Spirit. So, He did not go there in a physical form. He went there to preach to those who had been destroyed for their wickedness to give them opportunity to believe in Him or be judged.
If you look further down in 1Pet. 4:5-6, Peter explains what he meant by 3:19.

Rev. 1:18 is a description of the power and authority Christ has over both physical and spiritual death, as well as Hades.
Revelation 20 tells us how the keys to Hades will be used when Satan is bound for 1000 years during the Millennium. After the 1000 years he is released to reek his final havoc. Then Satan and all who rejected Christ will receive their final judgment and are thrown into the eternal lake of fire.

Jesus made another statement in Matt.10:28 that is another illustration of God’s authority over life and death when He said,
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

I hope this helps with your understanding of the question you asked.


This will be a different view but I believe it will make the most sense.
with respect @sgewehr comment

I think that putting Jesus in the role of preaching to the dead (bodily or spiritually) is an argument for post mortem forgiveness, purgatory. Granted for some people purgatory is a place to pay for your earthly sins to receive post mortem rewards. Not sure that this gets a lot scriptural traction.

Here is a link to a thread that ask a similar question.

Get back to us with any comments or question.

To clarify, I do not espouse to the concept of purgatory. My reason for agreeing with the view I originally put forth is that the antediluvian civilization did not have the Law and the Prophets to inform them. Therefore, to me, the justice of God would be to have Christ go in the Spirit to preach to those souls living prior to the Flood. There must have been some knowledge of God, though, because Noah was considered righteous in his day.

1 Like

Thank you @sgewhr I appreciate your reply and view on this topic.

Thank you @Jimmy_Sellers for your input and views. I appreciate you taking the time. I will take it all into consideration as I study this passage.

1 Like