Matt 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (ESV)
I predict this question will stretch you:
Are you inside or outside the gates?
Here is another passage to ponder while you answer the question:
Rev 1:17-18 “Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates (The Message)
Don’t have it figured out yet? OK how about these verses:
Rom 5:12-13 You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. (The Message)
Here is another hint: Hell (Hades) hádēs (from 1 /A “not” and idein/eidō, “see”) – properly, the “unseen place,” referring to the (invisible) realm in which all the dead reside
Now that I have you thinking. Check out these verses:
Mat 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (ESV)
And this reference from Isaiah:
Isaiah 9:1 But [in the midst of judgment there is the promise and the certainty of the Lord’s deliverance and] there shall be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time [the Lord] brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He will make it glorious, by the way of the Sea [of Galilee, the land] beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in the land of intense darkness and the shadow of death, upon them has the Light shined. (AMP)
The answer should be obvious now. We, on this Earth, are on the inside of the gates.
Religion teaches us that Hell is a place to avoid going to. The law-hungry, sin-avoidance, powerless-club members threaten us with severe punishment if we don’t keep up with the bylaws and stumble over the rules. Religion is opposed to the power of God. Religion is fed by the enemy. The enemy wants you to stay trapped in bondage forever! Jesus sets us free.
Maybe the thought that we are inside the gates perplexes you. You see Hell as the eternal torture chamber of God. That is where He sends all the misbehaving sinners. The religious, self-righteous, pious pontificators… they want you to believe God has a plan of thumb screws and fingernail removal for all those people they don’t like. “Well you know so and so deserve it. Look at what they did.” Boy oh boy does that get me fired up.
Let me say that Jesus absolutely does not do that. He didn’t do that. He can’t do that. The only people He ever got angry with were those who denied His grace and insisted on their religion. Hell is a place that denies God. OK, deep breath, that discussion is for another post.
If you aren’t born again then you are dead. The Bible is very clear on that issue. It really is a matter of life and death. We chose life over death. We chose Heaven over Hell. We chose Jesus over self.
John 5:24″Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (NAS)
Still we are on this planet which is not Heaven. We bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. The judgment we face every day is Hell coming against us. We are alien and strangers on this Earth. We are not in a battle against flesh and blood but against the enemy. Jesus defeated the enemy on the cross. He willingly submitted to the leaven of Herod and the Pharisees. He willingly gave up His life to win the victory over death. He now has the keys to the gates of Hell and death and gives them to us. Said differently…He is in me, He is King, He is my brother, He is my groom, we are one in Spirit.
So the gates of hell have no hold over me. I get to come and go. I visit the Heavenly Places. I am seated in the Heavenly places. I am not bound by the lies of hell. I am not ruled by the deception of the enemy. I have access to the supernatural provision of God as my inheritance that makes impossible stuff possible. I get to open the gates and usher Heaven in. I get to invite my favorite ministers of Heaven into every situation. I get to call on the power of the name of Jesus to change any circumstance.
I don’t have to agree with what hell says. Hell sounds like “that isn’t possible” or “that is just how it goes” or “that is our lot in life” or “God is teaching you a lesson” or “you have some hidden sin” or “you brought this on yourself” or “God doesn’t really do that” or “that was for a time past” or…it goes on and on and on and on. That is the voice of hell.
Jesus said that the gates will not prevail against you. Go right up to those gates of hell, pull out your keys and blast those gates wide open. How do you do it? Stop believing the lies. Instead believe Jesus. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Believe what God has said. He isn’t mad at you. He has given you access to the Kingdom. You can declare with certainty that the Kingdom of Heaven is here.
With that new understanding, can you see how important it is to bring the Kingdom to all those around you? They may be so veiled in darkness that can’t see what you see but you can bring the Kingdom in a tangible and supernatural way. The veil gets lifted, you point to the gate, the way, the truth, the life… your bring Jesus and they get a set of keys of their own. Wow, do I like that image. Come on! Remember those verses above in Matthew about Jesus declaring the Kingdom is near? Here are the next few verses:
Matt 4:18 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. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (ESV)
Can you see it now? Jesus is so excited to set the people free from death, the place of hades. He wants to open the gates and he wants others to help. That is you. That is me. Reach in your pocket and grab those keys. You haven’t lost them. Tell hell to back off. Open the gates. Here comes Heaven!