The Gates of Hades Did Not Prevail

In Matthew 16, Jesus famously said that He would build His church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it.  If you have been reading this blog for the past couple of weeks you know that “the gates of Hades” would be synonymous with “the gates of death.”  Therefore, Jesus was saying that the church He was building would transcend death.  That is, death would have no power over its constituents.  It could not keep anyone from becoming part of it; it could not remove anyone from being a part of it. 

What you next need to give thought to is the word “church,” for many of you will imagine something with a human pope or pastor in charge of it.  This is because you are thinking of the word according to what it has come to mean in our day.  Yet the word did not have this meaning when Jesus spoke it.  Rather, church was a word for an assembly, a convocation, a congregation, a group or crowd called out – even a civic or political gathering.  Of course, Jesus was doing the calling.  In other words, Jesus was saying that His group would not be depleted by death – that death had no claim on the crowd He was assembling. 

Who then would be included in this group Jesus was claiming?  Only those for whom He died.  And for whom did He die?  For the whole world (1 John 2:2). 

Therefore, Everyone Is Going to Heaven – even those who had died even before Jesus came (Romans 14:9)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

One Reply to “The Gates of Hades Did Not Prevail”

  1. ’Rather, church was a word for an assembly, a convocation, a congregation, a group or crowd called out – even a civic or political gathering. Of course, Jesus was doing the calling.’

    I wholeheartedly agree with you here, Mike. And I would like to mention that Jesus still does the calling and gathers those who are called out by Him (Heb 10:25) in the spiritual realm, i.e., in the Kingdom of God.

    It’s a miracle to see how precious life can be when He gives His love shining ‘endlessly’. 😉 We don’t have to die to go to heaven when we have love anytime just like a vision of hope in our heart.

    Honestly, my convictions were somehow blinded by just one look from these eyes of Him. In one single moment everything changed when He was calling…
    Our Lord Jesus Christ, He mends and fixes anything but he much rather calls for you (especially when you are standing in the rain and He wants to make you smile 🙂 ).

    Moreover, Jesus loves to call sinners who are finally enabled by Him to sin no more:

    (1) “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” (Jn 5:14)

    In that case, Jesus healed a man “who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years” (Jn 5:5), He didn’t accuse him of sinning but gave him faith to believe that it would be possible to stop sinning.

    (2) “Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (Jn 8:10-11)

    The “woman who had been caught in adultery” (Jn 8:3) was obviously a sinner. But again, no reproaches from our Lord. Only implicit forgiveness and the command to stop sinning ‘from now on’.

    I believe that Jesus gave both of them the power to break with sin because He called them. Without being called by the Lord, without hearing His voice – and thus defenselessly falling in love with Him (!) – nobody could ever to get rid of their sinful desires and behavior [described in Romans 7 and by Luther’s “On the Bondage of the Will”].

    Another example which helps you understand the effective power of Jesus’ voice was His way of making disciples:

    “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
    Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
    And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
    Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (Mt 4:18-22)

    In my humble opinion, this is one of the most amazing and powerful images that emerges with such simply sublime expressive power… A few plain words, but the response was BOOM 🙂

    Some time ago somebody said to me, “Those reactions of the Jesus’ disciples were anything but normal. They left their base of life, their jobs, and their families; yet for what reason? That is not to be conceived at all.”
    Of course, I would agree here, but I would argue, “They lost their head because of God’s love for them!”

    Also, it was a promise Jesus gave us when He said,

    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (Jn 10:27-28)

    Indeed, many words to say a simple thing: the LORD’s love is always Love with a capital L, isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.