The Gates of Hell

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

(Matthew 16:17-19) KJV

A gate is stationary. It’s the weak point in a barrier that’s part of the defense of a place. Gates don’t move or go on the attack. On the contrary, if the gates of hell aren’t prevailing, then they must be under attack.

Nobody believes in hell any more, right? So how is it that Jesus spoke of it frequently, and left us an intriguing reference to the gates of hell? Who’s attacking the gates of hell, against which they will not prevail? The context of the passage tells us that it is the church. How many churches are attacking the gates of hell today, and what does it even mean?

The gates of hell as used here could be a physical thing, but we should also consider that it has a spiritual meaning.  A lost soul, someone living without Jesus Christ, could be said to be at the gates of hell, because if they died that’s where they would go. Hell is only a heartbeat away.

If a gate’s not going to prevail then it must be under attack. This means taking up an offensive position at the gates of hell in order to turn back any souls who stray too close. The only way that we can do this is to boldly proclaim a warning about the reality of hell.

Attacking the Gate of Hell is preaching the gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. “Salvation from what?” we hear atheists say all the time. Salvation from hell. Are we attacking the gate of hell?

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