Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

What Are the Gates of Hades?
 
Matthew 16:18 NKJV — “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
 
The Cave
The Lord was near a cave at Caesarea Philippi when He asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  After they answered He then asked a personal question of Peter, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the Living God.   The Lord said that He would build His church on the truth of those words.  And He said the Gates of Hades would not prevail against the church.  The cave that the Lord was near was believed to be the gateway to the underworld where the Greek god Pan lived.  So it would seem that the Lord was clearly teaching that Paganism which was usually the worship of nature in some way would not prevail against His church.  But obviously, the Jewish religion, the Moslem religion and every other religion also resists the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Even many so-called Christian religions miss the mark when it comes to their understanding of who the Lord is.  But none of the evil devices of Satan will be able to destroy the actual church that the Lord is building.
 
The Power of Satan
Gates are doors that keep in what should be kept in and keep out what should be kept out.  Gates in the walls of cities in the Old Testament were places where elders judged issues.  Thus the Gates of Hades must represent the power of Satan.  He works in various ways, but ultimately none of his lies or wicked spirits are going to be able to defeat the church that is built on the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
 
When we look at the state of the church in the large sense, one could wonder if the Lord would even be welcome in some of these organizations and congregations. The simplicity of the Gospel and the simplicity of New Testament worship have been lost.  The church that is visible has become an organization and it is no longer a vibrant organism as it was intended to be.  But there are faithful people who still worship the Lord in the way that He wants to be worshiped.  Those who are faithful today must feel like Elijah in the Old Testament.  After slaying 450 prophets of Baal (and maybe another 400 prophets of Ashtoreth), he ran from Jezebel.  He was not afraid of her prophets but he apparently was afraid of her.  Even though the Lord had sustained him while he was tired and depressed and hungry until he reached Mount Horeb (Sinai), the Lord had not sent him there.  When the Lord asked him what he was doing at Mount Horeb he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life (1 Kings 19:14).”  He thought he was all alone but the Lord assured him he was not.  He said, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him (1 Kings 19:18).”
 
Only 7000
Knowing that there were faithful Jews besides himself should have been encouraging.  But there were 2 to 3,000,000 people that left Egypt.  About that same number entered the land. How many people were there in Israel now near the end of the Kingdom age?  There had been a lot of wars and a lot of people had died but surely there were a lot more than 3,000,000 at this point.  David’s incomplete census in 2 Samuel 24 had 1,300,000 men in the army.   That did not include the Levites. The soldiers had wives and children and there were older people not able to fight so I suspect at that time there had to be a lot of people.  And only 7,000 of them were faithful?  That is not very encouraging, particularly if we apply that to our own day.  How many really faithful people are there in the visible Church today?  
 
What about Us?
I have to admit that I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to resist the peer pressure and paganism of Elijah’s day. So I must ask the question, “Have I been faithful to the Lord in my day?”  Am I more concerned about the regeneration of individuals or am I more concerned about the reformation of society?  Am I still carrying out the Lord’s commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20 where He says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  To be sure that He is with us, we must be faithful to Him.  
 
I do not want to be a part of those who have a form of godliness but who deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5).
 
I know that there are people that are faithful today.  I hope and pray that there are more than 7,000.  The Lord says that the gates of hell will not prevail against (or defeat) the church.  I want to be used in that victory.  If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God then I am sure that you do as well.
 
Bruce Collins
 
Meditation for the week of October 4 and 11, 2020

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