Gates of Hell

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Gates of Hell
Text: Matthew 16:13-20
Occasion: General
Audience: General
Theological Tradition: General
Topic: Jesus' stories made sense to His listener
Author: D. Mackey


When we understand the context of Jesus' stories, they often have more meaning

How to Get There

The Greek word in this passage 'community' or 'church' is Ekklesia, meaning a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation.

The Greek word translated 'hell' is Hades, the place of departed souls.

Jesus is approaching or in Ceasarea Philippi and tells the disciples that the gates of hell will not prevail against My church. Why teach that in Ceasarea Philippi?

In Caesarea Philippi is a geological formation called 'The Gates of Hell'. It is a large outcropping of rock with a cave and a spring in it. In Jesus' time, caves were entrances to Hades and springs symbolized the abyss. This cave was the center of goat worship, the god Pan. It was immoral, degrading and to us, uterly disgusting. Jesus was saying right here in this town is the Gates of Hell and the church will prevail against death and Satan. And we have.

Things to Watch For

For more information see Bob Bell's boo, "Velvet Elvis" and/or look up 'Gates of Hell' on the internet.

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