Matt 16:18-19 “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.”
What on earth would cause a man to steal an identification badge, arm himself with a shotgun and slip quietly into the Naval Yard and systematically mow down and slaughter his fellow man in cold blood? Why does a child gear himself up with weapons of war, enter a movie theatre and begin to shoot callously men, women and children? What would cause a woman to walk into a modern day planned parenthood facility and allow a butcher dressed in doctor’s garb to murder her unborn child? While in the same house of horrors where even 1 in 5 who visit profess to be born again?
Why are so called Christians running to the divorce court at unprecedented levels, allowing the fabric of our homes to be destroyed? How is it that what used to be called perversion is now a lifestyle persuasion? Suicide is now the leading cause of death in the developed world in persons aged 15-49. Heart disease, cancer, AIDS, and now Ebola continue to ravage the landscape of earth.
What on earth would make a woman sell her child and her own body for the fleeting pleasure of a momentary drug induced high?
Our minds have become assailed and assaulted by all manner of evil thoughts and imaginations with images flashing and burning in our minds.
The casualties are mounting all around and countless lives dangle in the clutches of despair.
But I hear the word of God echoing in my mind... “For this reason was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” 1 John 3:8
We are engaged in a battle of epic proportion. We are locked in an eternal struggle with life and death hanging in the balance bearing consequences far more stark than even the blooded shores of Normandy or the sands of Iwo Jima.
You see, we are engaged in a battle of heavenly proportions. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:10
It is time for the church to arise, full of the Holy Ghost and power and hit the beachhead of this battle.
Ready to announce to the devil; enough is enough!
A church that refuses to be refused and denies to be denied!
Enough stealing our joy, enough cancer, enough suicide, enough poverty!
No to drug addiction, and divorce!
Abortion must go!
Depression must go!
Perversion must go!
Devils, depravity and disease must go!
In Judges chapter 16 the word of God tells of Samson having driven back the Philistines into their boundaries enters into their stronghold of Azzah (Gaza).
This was the most powerful city and capital of the Philistines. It was here that the remnants of the Anakim were said to have remained. A stronghold of demonic activity and worship. Samson stormed into the center of this stronghold of the enemy and word of his arrival spread fast. “Samson is come hither” they clamored.
The feared warrior of the LORD was in their midst. Fear and worry gripped the hearts of the enemies of God as they surely murmured amongst themselves what to do. This indeed was the Samson they had heard about and had even seen in action.
It was this Samson who the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon and he single handedly slaughtered 1000 of the most skilled warriors of the Philistine nation. Surely the news of this man anointed of God in the center of their most revered stronghold; a city dedicated to the worship of the most foul devils brought fear to the core of the inhabitants.
Judges 16:2 declares that the Philistines laid in wait, fearful and quiet and timid as a mouse so as to not awaken this mighty man of God. They ordered the city gates shuttered and locked so as to lock him inside until day light when they poorly assumed they may have an advantage.
But Samson slept till midnight. (Ver.3) He had been told that his presence in Gaza was known. How little fear he felt, appears from the fact that he slept till midnight. Then he arose, went calmly to the gate, and (as it was closed and barred) lifted out its posts, placed the doors on his shoulders, and tranquilly proceeded on his way home. On this occasion however, the mighty act which he played off on the inhabitants of Gaza, was also the worst humiliation which he could inflict upon them.
The gates of a place symbolized its civic and national strength, inasmuch as they represented ingress into it. Samson enacted literally, as it were, the promise made to Abraham: “Thy seed shall possess the gate of its enemies” (Gen. 22:17)
(Gen 24:60) “May thy seed possess the gate of those who hate it!” indicates the popular diffusion of the idea that to take possession of an enemy’s gate is to obtain a complete victory over him. It was custom in the East that victorious Princes and armies would literally carry away the gates of conquered cities.
Here Samson exhibits total defeat to the stronghold of the enemies of Israel when he carries the esteemed gate of their city almost 20 miles to the top of the hill before Hebron. Israel’s triumph and the Philistines’ ignominy were both most plainly expressed when the gate of Gaza was lying before Hebron; for it was found appropriate to carry the gates of the chief city of the enemy to the chief city of the conqueror!
In the old testament the region known as Bashan was located east of the Jordan River. Specifically, it refers to the upper Transjordan east and northeast of the Sea of Galilee, extending north to and including Mount Hermon. Before Israel conquered it, Bashan was an Amorite stronghold ruled by two kings, Sihon and Og, both of whom descended from the giant clans known as the Rephaim and Anakim.
Its two capital cities were Ashtaroth and Edrei (see Num 21:33; Deut 1:4; 3:10; Josh 9:10; 12:4; 13:12, 31). The name “Ashtaroth” is the plural form of “Ashtoreth,” a Canaanite goddess more commonly known as Astarte. Israelite idol worship frequently involved “the Baals and Ashtaroth,” which were sexual fertility cults. These gods were actually demons which were worshiped through the carved images that they represented.
Bashan also has a more sinister reputation in the ancient Canaanite world. Ashtaroth and Edrei its two capital cities were known as the abode of the god Molech. This foul demonic idol was associated with child sacrifice listed in (Lev 18:21, 20:1-5). The cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei (and, more broadly, all of Bashan) came to be associated with the broader Underworld population of deified ancestors and ancient warrior-kings, such as the Rephaim. The demonized population of the Canaanites literally believed Bashan to be the gateway of the underworld-the dwelling place of the dead. In other words, this area was known to the local population as the literal gate and entranceway to hell itself. The Israelites considered all of Bashan to be the domain of these demonically inspired gods. It was also at Mt Hermon in Bashan that the fallen angels descended to before they carried out their abominable acts in Gen 6. Thus this area of Bashan and Mt. Hermon had sinister reputations.
After Israel subdued Bashan and the Amorities; the people in the region continued to associate this area with the worship of fallen angels. It was here that the wicked Jeroboam King of Israel set up a cult center in the city of Dan near the foot of Mt. Hermon. In 734 BC the Assyrians destroyed the city and eventually the Hellenists (Greeks) replaced them and set up a new cult center. The location formerly known as Baal-Gad and Baal-Hermon was named Paneas and devoted to the greek god Pan. This half-man, half-goat god of fright which the word (“panic”) is derived. This site featured cave grottoes and carved niches for the statues of these deities. It was here that worshipers would cast their sacrifices into the caves as offerings to Pan. This place was known as Banias.
Why is all of this important? Because in Jesus’s day the area formerly known as Banias or Bashan had been renamed Caesarea-Philippi.
It was here in Matthew 16 that Jesus stood with Peter and asked him “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” It was with this backdrop that Peter replied “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” And then Jesus declares to Peter “upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not withstand it”.
It was here that the King of Glory stood; He and His disciples literally standing at the specific place known in ancient times as the gates of hades/ the underworld. This thundering announcement was not just some trivial doctrinal declaration but a declaration of war upon the kingdom of Satan!
Pointing to this mountain known as the literal gates of hell; he announces that it would be here that he would build His church and it would be here that he would conquer the forces of darkness associated with the Underworld. In Paul’s words, Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them” (Col 2:15) and “ascended on high, leading a host of captives, and gave gifts to men” (Eph 4:8). In this latter passage, Paul quotes Ps 68:18, which makes it especially powerful because the mountain God ascends and conquers is none other than Mount Bashan (Psa 68:15).
It was here that Gen 3:15 was fulfilled , where Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God crushed the head of Satan.
It was this victory, this crushing defeat that Paul wrote about in Col 2:15 when he declares “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Understand this my friend; Jesus Christ stood in the literal midst of the demonic stronghold of His day and declared war on Satan. He then followed it up by completely dismantling and destroying the kingdom of darkness through the power of the cross. He descended into the literal bowels of hell and disarmed and spoiled Satan and his principalities. Our Lord and King Jesus Christ arose on the third day with all power over death, hell and the grave!!
Its time that the church finally gets the message! Jesus wears the victors crown! He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Its time to get to work and plunder the kingdom of darkness and announce to the demonic hordes of hell that enough is enough! The name of Jesus Christ rebukes you!
We do not serve a losing King. No matter what society may look like, no mater what popular culture may tell you, no matter what the doctor may diagnose, no matter who's in the White House; Jesus is still the King! Sickness is no match for His name, Sin is no match for Him, Satan is no match for our Lord.