Figuratively speaking, the devil held the “gates of hell” when Adam and Eve sinned. But praise the Lord! Christ, by His death, entered Satan’s stronghold and bound him (Matt. 12:29). On this eternal truth rests the Christian’s hope of freedom from the slavery of Satan in this life, from his power over the grave, and from his dominion in the life to come. “Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
Christ’s victory over death is the central theme of Christianity. It was not possible for the devil to hold Christ in death (Acts 2:24), nor will it be possible for him to hold any of His children either (John 3:16; Rom. 6:23). For Jesus promised, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). Death and the grave will eventually be “cast into the lake of fire” with the devil and his angels (Rev. 20:14).
To interpret Christ’s words to mean that the “gates of hell” are not to prevail against Peter (Matthew 16:18) is to go contrary to Christ’s own words in Matt. 16:21, and to make Peter’s reaction in (vs. 22,23) meaningless. For the Bible says, “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Christ came to redeem mankind by His death. By refusing Jesus’ plan in verse 22,23, Peter had permitted “the gates of hell,” as it were, to overcome him when he allowed the devil to speak through him (Matt. 16:18).
The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the “rock of our salvation” (Ps. 95:1). He alone is the firm foundation of the church, for “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11), “neither is there salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12). In fact, Peter himself affirms in his writings that Jesus is the only rock upon whom the church is build (Acts 4:8–12; 1 Peter 2:4–8).
In His service,
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