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Where were Jesus and His disciples when this discourse occurred? They were in Caesarea Philippi and could have been at foot of Mt. Harmon where there is a cave called the gates to Hades. Where there were also statues of gods place around, Pan being the most prominent. Jesus, I believe intentionally waited to ask the question, who do people say I am, till they were at this location. Peter then states the true statement, " You are the Christ, the Son of the living God". Jesus then declares his response was inspired by His Father, so Peter's answer was his spirit, not his flesh. Matthew 16:13-20. Jesus then told Peter, that he was a small rock but Jesus was the cornerstone[ 1Peter 2:4-8 ] and the gates of hell or hades and I believe implied, even all these false gods could not prevail over Him and His church. Who is His Church not material buildings, but all born-again believers? Because Jesus is The Cornerstone His church will stand and all believers can rest assured of this.
What are the “gates of hell?” Gates can refer to a means of both entering and exiting a walled city. They can also refer to the means of preventing prisoners from escaping their place of imprisonment. We know with reference to Hell or Hades, its gates are not intended to keep people out; they are intended to keep people in as if they were in prison. One of the purposes of the Church is to release the prisoners of hell through the liberating Gospel of Grace and thereby allowing Jesus to open the gates of hell with a special Key. (Revelation 1:17-18) When Death itself is destroyed, hell’s gates will also be destroyed and all its prisoners will be released. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26; Revelation 20:13) Eventually, Hell will likewise be destroyed completely. (Revelation 20:14) That, in my opinion, is what Jesus meant when he said that the Gates of Hell will not be able to prevail against the on-slot of the Church's ever growing attack to release its prisoners. (Matthew 28:18-20)
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