The Gates of Hell

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at The Gates of Hell.
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.” Mt. 16:18
The usual application that one hears about this church is as follows: Satan goes about the world like a lion seeking whom he may devour. He is attacking the church, which consists of believers. But praise God his attack will fail!
But that, I believe, is an incorrect reading. The verse talks about the church being founded upon the rock (gospel of Christ) and the gates of hell not prevailing against it. Let’s take a look.
Upon this Rock
I could spend an entire blog upon the Rock, but suffice it to say the Rock is not Peter, a good man but still a man. It is “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt. 16:16). The church is founded upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Gates of Hell
But the real solution to the wrong application is the term gates of Hell. What are gates? They are barred entrances into a city, building, etc. The only person to ever use a gate as a weapon was Samson (Judges 16:3). Gates are defensive, not aggressive.
So the implication is that the “gates of Hell” is a defensive term. Now consider the following:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” Ephesians 6:11-18. Emphasis added.
This describes a soldier going to war. And what kind of armor is he wearing? For the most part offensive weapons! Notice there is no protection for the back, it is all forward looking and, dare I say it, aggressive!
Satan controls this world, we Christians belong to the army of God which is attacking the stronghold of the Devil. Taken in this light, Matthew 16:18 is saying that we, the attacking force, will prevail over Satan’s forces. The very gates of Hell cannot stop us.
So What Are Our Weapons?
Well, Ephesians 6:17 gives us a good idea: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Elsewhere we are called ambassadors, ministers of light. God has given to us the Word of God (Sword of the Spirit) and a Salvation message. In fact in Ephesians 6:15 we are to be shod with the gospel of peace, which is the gospel of salvation by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
How Do I Do That?
There are differing ways of communicating the gospel. Writing is one way. As an author I often include the gospel in my novels. I also write my blogs from a Christian perspective. There is also door to door witnessing that fundamental Baptist churches are known for. You simply visit people and if they are open to the gospel present it to them verbally or at least a written tract.
I Can’t Go Door to Door or Write Well Enough
That’s fine. You can carry a tract in your suit pocket or shirt pocket (men) or in your purse (women). Hand them out. My wife is a good example of this. She will engage people in the store and hand them a tract at the very least. She also will talk to them. I often leave a tract on the restaurant table after eating. I leave it with a tip.
I’m Housebound and Can’t Get Out?
Sorry to hear that, but you can still be a witness. You can witness to visitors by simply telling your story. Most people like to hear about somebody else’s conversion. It gives you an opportunity to share the gospel. And you can also give visitors tracts.
What Else?
The ‘what else’ is simply prayer. In Ephesians 6:18 prayer is right next to the armor. Why? Well look at the modern soldier. Along with all their armor they have the ability to communicate to their leaders directly. In the not so distant past military units had a radioman who could communicate with their commanders. Going all the way back to Paul’s day soldiers had a means of communicating (archaic by our standards), but the point is that they could get directions from their commanding officers. And, as Christian soldiers, so can we! Our means of communicating is prayer.
So you can always pray. Pray for your family, pray for your friends, pray for your neighbors, and don’t stop praying! Prayer, when based on the Word of God, works!
The church is not fort to protect us from the evil outside, but an attacking force that the gates of Hell cannot withstand. In Ephesians 6:13 we read, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Satan is not going to sit back and just allow you to attack at will. He will counterattack and when that happens God will give you the strength to stand immovable. Then you move forward.
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.” Mt. 16:18
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57.
We are on the winning side. In Christ we already have the victory. Yes there are many battles to be fought and we may lose some of them, but the war is already won!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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