The Gates of hell shall not prevail against it

This is a unique site, it’s not very well preserved and for a lot of people they could well just walk by it. But for Christians this is, at least according to tradition, a very important site.
This is a pagan temple it’s thought that it was built by Philip the Tetrarch who was the son of Herod the Great. This makes him, nominally, Jewish, but his political position, all of Herod’s children’s political position was pretty tenuous and making nice with the Romans was always a good idea. The temple is thought to have been dedicated to Zeus and/or Bacchus.
Yea I know, “snore, thanks for the history lesson yada, yada”. But wait, there’s more, and this is the cool part. It is getting towards the end of Jesus’ incarnational ministry (that is just before He is crucified). They decide to camp in front of this temple and this is where Jesus asks: “Who do men say that I am.” After a little discussion, Peter makes his great confession: ” “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (ESV) Peter is saying that you are the promised one, the anointed one, the one sent by God, you are God the Son. This is where Jesus replies that the Father has revealed this to Jesus and, according to tradition, pointing back to this big rock that the temple has been carved into, “on this rock I will build my church.” That is first, there is a church, it is Jesus’ church, He expects His disciples to come together and meet as a church (this is in response to the lame comment I get a lot “ahhh..I go sit on a mountain/at the beach and worship Jesus, I don’t need no church.” Yea well Jesus thinks you do need one and He established one, so quit with the lame excuses and go to a real Bible believing church. Anyway, Jesus goes on to say: “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That is, against His church.
Essentially Jesus is saying that this temple is demonic, pagans say it is set up to worship “god(s)”, Jesus is saying “oh no, it is demonic and my church will be built upon this blasphemy. Further more this is a gate to hell and this will never prevail against My church.
So, the take away is this. Many Christians will make the case that any other “god” is a demon who has convinced people that he is “god”. One way you can make this case is by considering the one major difference between Christianity and every other religion and that is “grace”. You are saved totally through what God has done for you. We are saved because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have assurance of salvation, as believers, from that one fact. Jesus died to pay for our sins. By virtue of that we are saved and there is nothing else that can save us. This is grace because it is totally the gracious gift of Jesus to us. There is nothing at all that we can do to earn this, it is a gift that Jesus gives to all those whom He chooses to be saved. Every other religion is entirely about you, that is all about what you do. You jump through this hoop, you do this, you do that, yada, yada and maybe, maybe you will be saved. There are some locks, if you are a martyr in Islam by killing infidels, you get a straight passage. Otherwise, everyone is on a string and all they can do is hope that they did enough.
I don’t have that problem, I have the promises of Jesus, He died for me, He baptizes me to wash away sin and to give me new life, He gives me His Body and Blood for forgiveness, restoral, renewal and refreshment for my soul. My hope is entirely in Him and His promises, nothing else, NOTHING ELSE, will save me. The Gates of Hell that you see in this picture will never, ever prevail against His promises for me.
Ya, I’m making the case here that any other “god” is a demon, is someone who has simply lied and deceived in order to gain worship, which Satan is always looking for and to basically convince people that if you get on this treadmill and keep doing and doing, well maybe you might get saved. There’s no promise there, no hope, simply a way to destroy a human soul and condemn them forever. You can talk about any other belief you want, but they are all designed to grind you down, strip you of any hope and then leave you condemned and dead.

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