62. And I have the keys of hell and death, signifies that He alone can save. By "keys" is signified the power of opening and shutting; here the power of opening hell, that man may be brought forth, and of shutting, lest, when he is brought forth, he should enter again. For man is born in evils of all kinds, thus in hell, for evils are hell; he is brought out of it by the Lord, to whom belongs the power of opening it. That by "having the keys of hell and death," is not meant the power of casting into hell, but the power of saving, is because it immediately follows after these words:
Behold, I am alive for ages of ages;
by which is signified that He alone is eternal life (n. 60); and the Lord never casts anyone into hell, but man casts himself. By "keys" is signified the power of opening and shutting, in Revelation also (3:7; 9:1; 20:1; also in Isa. 22:21, 22; in Matt. 16:19; and in Luke 11:52). The power of the Lord is not only over heaven, but also over hell; for hell is kept in order and connection by oppositions against heaven; for which reason, He who rules the one must necessarily rule the other; otherwise man could not be saved; to be saved is to be brought out of hell.