by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Matthew 16:17-19 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Caesarea Phillipi, where Yeshua (Jesus) revealed himself as Messiah to His disciples, was home to the Temple of Pan, a place so demonic that many of the rituals performed there are too horrible to mention in a daily devotion.
The city sits at the foot of Mount Hermon, which was known as the ‘Rock of the Gods’, referring to the many shrines built against it. At the foot of Mount Hermon sat the temple of Pan, the ruins of which can still be seen there. In the rear of the temple was a cave with a deep pool (which also remains there) from which spring water flowed. Ancient Pagans believed that the water symbolized the abyss, and that the cave was a door to the underworld. The cave at the rear of the temple was considered the ‘Gate of Hades’ because it was believed that Baal would enter and leave the underworld through it. God only knows what kind of spiritual activity passed through this realm of darkness.
It was here, in the most demonic place in Israel, that Yeshua chose to reveal, through Peter's spirit inspired proclamation, that He was Messiah, the Son of God. And it was in this place of repugnant darkness and spiritual degeneracy that the Lord announced His intention to build His "Church" (or "congregation"). And it was in this " Hell hole" that He gave us the assurance, "The Gates of Hell will NOT prevail against it."
We are planted where evil dwells, to proclaim and represent the Lord of Light. And we seem to be witnessing an advance of evil in this world that is unprecedented, and is becoming a "flood" reminiscent of the "Days of Noah". How precious and vital are the Lord's words, "The Gates of Hell will NOT prevail…" Believing those words, we will stand, every day, and we will overcome the power of Satan, by faith, especially as we continue to pray as He taught us, "Deliver us from evil." Not in our own strength or power – but in the power of God given to all His children through His Son!
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