What does it mean “the gates of Hades shall not prevail”?

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By BibleAsk Team


“The Gates of Hades Shall Not Prevail”

The phrase the “gates of Hades” is found at the following passage: “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 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” (Matthew 16:16-18).

Figuratively speaking, the devil held the “gates of Hades” when Adam and Eve sinned. But praise the Lord! Christ, by His death, entered Satan’s stronghold and bound him (Matthew 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 or Hades 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; Romans 6:23). For Jesus promised, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death and the grave will eventually be “cast into the lake of fire” with the devil and his angels (Revelation 20:14).

To interpret Christ’s words to mean that the “gates of Hades” are not to prevail against Peter (Matthew 16:18) is to go contrary to Christ’s own words in Matthew 16:21, and to make Peter’s reaction in (verses 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 Hades,” as it were, to overcome him when he allowed the devil to speak through him (Matthew 16:18).

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the “rock of our salvation” (Psalms 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 Corinthians 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,
BibleAsk Team

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