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 16:18).
Based on what you are saying the gates of hell would have prevailed against the Church.
RONALD M. CRISS
MA in THEOLOGY, XAVIER University
Ron, what I am saying does not mean that the gates of hell have already prevailed against the Church. Let me clarify. The gates of hell can never prevail against the true Church that Christ is building.
Unfortunately, many Churches don't allow themselves to be built by Christ; instead, these Churches allow men to rule and build them! These are the churches that the gates of Hell will prevail against. But as long as, a Christian, Jew, or Church will allow themselves to be continuously built by Christ, the gates of Hell can never prevail against them.
Let's analyze the verse you quoted, Matthew 16:18.
- 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. (Mat 16:18 KJV)
Based on the first half of Matthew 16:18, many Christians believe that the Church was founded on the human Peter. But the Truth is that the Church is founded on the ROCK, which is Jesus Christ -- the SON OF GOD! There is a BIG contrast here.
Although Peter was appointed to be the Chief Apostle, he is still human, of this earth, and of the flesh. On the other hand, Christ is from Heaven, the only begotten Son of God the Father, who is in Heaven.
IF THE CHURCH IS FOUNDED ON PETER, IT IS FOUNDED ON AN EARTHLY MAN, WHICH IS SUBJECT TO CORRUPTION, FALSEHOOD, SIN, AND DEATH. SO, THE GATES OF HELL WILL PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH.
IF THE CHURCH IS FOUNDED AND BUILT BY CHRIST, WHO IS THE HEAVENLY SON OF GOD, WHO IS PURE, HOLY, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. THEN, THE CHURCH WILL BECOME THE BRIDE OF CHRIST! THE GATES OF HELL CANNOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE BRIDE OF CHRIST!
According to the STRONG'S Greek dictionary, the name Peter is from the Greek PETROS, which means a piece of ROCK.
The word ROCK is from the Greek PETRA (G4073), which means a mass of ROCK. This ROCK is Jesus Christ Himself.
IF YOUR CHURCH IS FOUNDED ON EARTHLY MEN, THE GATES OF HELL WILL PREVAIL AGAINST IT.
IF YOUR CHURCH IS FOUNDED ON THE HEAVENLY CHRIST, THE GATES OF HELL CAN NEVER PREVAIL AGAINST IT!
The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) has the following translation: ...and the forces of Hades (Hell) will not overpower it.
So what does it mean when Christ said, "I will build My church, and the forces of Hades (Hell) will not overpower it."?
The gates or forces of Hades (Hell) are the doctrines and forces of death and total destruction.
From Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible:And the gates of hell ... - Ancient cities were surrounded by walls. In the gates by which they were entered were the principal places for holding courts, transacting business, and deliberating on public matters. The word "gates," therefore, is used for counsels, designs, machinations, evil purposes. "Hell" means, here, the place of departed spirits, particularly evil spirits; and the meaning of the passage is, that all the plots, stratagems, and machinations of the enemies of the church would not be able to overcome it a promise that has been remarkably fulfilled. --BARNES
From The PEOPLE'S NEW TESTAMENT:
It is the essence of the teaching of the New Testament that the platform or foundation of the Christian society, the church, is this belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. It is then Peter's grand confession, faith in the Spiritual Rock, the faith that lays hold of Christ, belief that he is the Anointed of God, the Divine Savior, that the Lord pronounces the rock upon which he will found his church. That this view is correct is shown by a correct understanding of the declaration, The gates of hades shall not prevail against it. From the gates of the city always marched forth its armies. The powers of hades are represented by its gates. Just after these words the Lord talks of his death, or entering hades. Six months later the Sanhedrim sent him to death for making the same confession Peter had just made. See Mat_26:64-67. He was sent there from the cross, but the gates of hades did not prevail, for they could not hold him, and the living Savior, rising triumphant from the tomb, was the unanswerable argument that his own and Peter's confession was a rock that could never be moved. His resurrection demonstrated that he is the Rock. Hades did not prevail.
The PROPHET ELIJAH THOUGHT THAT HELL HAVE PREVAILED AGAINST THE CONGREGATION (CHURCH), BUT GOD SAID IT IS NOT TRUE
- ... the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (1Ki 19:14 KJV)
It may appear that God's Church or Congregation have been prevailed upon by Hell. But it is only in appearance, not in truth and reality.
BUT WHY IS IT THAT GOD ALLOWS THE EVIL FORCES TO ATTACK HIS CHURCH AND CHOSEN PEOPLE?
- Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. (2Ki 21:15 KJV)
- And as Elijah said to God: ...they have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets... (1Ki 19:14)
So, whenever the Children of Israel or the Church sin, God will allow the powers of Hell to punish and awaken them to repent. If in general, they will not repent, God has always reserved a remnant of His faithful people, and His Kabbalistic Grace is always available for them. With this approach, God has established a safety net to guarantee the existence and development of His Church and Chosen People.
GOD'S SAFETY NETS: THE SCIENCE OF GRACE AND HIS REMNANT TECHNOLOGY
- And it shall come to pass in that day, that the REMNANT of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. (Isa 10:20 KJV)
- The REMNANT shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. (Isa 10:21 KJV)
- And the REMNANT that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. (2Ki 19:30 KJV)
- For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a REMNANT, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. (2Ki 19:31 KJV)
- ...has God rejected His people? Absolutely not!... (Rom 11:1)
- God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the Elijah section--how he pleads with God against Israel? (Rom 11:2 HCSB)
- Lord, they have killed Your prophets, torn down Your altars; and I am the only one left, and they are trying to take my life! (Rom 11:3)
- But what was God's reply to him? I have left 7,000 men for Myself who have not bowed down to Baal. (Rom 11:4)
- In the same way, then, there is also at the present time A REMNANT CHOSEN BY GRACE. (Rom 11:5)
- And just as Isaiah predicted: If the Lord of Hosts had not left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah. (Rom 9:29)
- And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. (Jer 23:3 KJV)
- For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? (Eze 14:21 KJV)
- Yet, behold, THEREIN SHALL BE LEFT A REMNANT that shall be brought forth, [both] sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, [even] concerning all that I have brought upon it. (Eze 14:22 KJV)
- And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in THE REMNANT WHOM THE LORD SHALL CALL. (Joe 2:32 KJV)
Nothing and no one can thwart and go against the WILL OF GOD THE FATHER. In the end of God's Master Plan, anyone and anything that is against God will be completely destroyed and forgotten, without any root and branch.
- The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war... he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isa 42:13 KJV)
- But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it, and you would be found even to be fighting against God!" (Act 5:39 HNV)
NOTE: Bible verses used in this article is based on the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). If not, the quoted translation is mentioned.
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The BIBLE EXPLAINER AND REVELATOR