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I hope I don’t ruin one of your favorite verses.

Ok, I kind of hope I do. But only so it can be one of your favorite verses in a better way.

In Matthew 16 Jesus takes his disciples to the district of Caesarea Philippi to ask them a question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They stumble around a bit giving the latest Facebook updates from the crowd. Then Peter pipes up. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” What a guy, Cephas. Jesus commends his outspoken disciple, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (v. 18). Since the Reformation there has been a lot of discussion about “this rock” and what it means for the authority of the Pope (not much it turns out). There has been little controversy, however, about the phrase “the gates of hell.”

I’ve heard several sermons on “the gates of hell” and have seen the phrase referenced in Christian books numerous times. The second half of Matthew 16:18 has to be one of the top ten favorite Bible promises. I can hear the voices right now: “Think about the picture here. Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Now tell me, how do gates prevail? When have you ever seen gates on the march? They don’t attack. They fortify. They are there to hold their ground. That’s all. Hell is not on the offensive, brothers and sisters. The church is. The church is marching into all the hells in this world, ready to reclaim every square inch for Christ. And when we storm the gates of hell, Christ promises we cannot fail. We will prevail! It’s time to put the devil on the run. It’s time to save souls and destroy strongholds. It’s time to reclaim this world for Christ. Listen up church, the gates of hell shall not prevail against us!”

Or something like that.

Of course, who can fault the zeal to save souls, make a difference in the world, or fight the good fight? The only problem is that the whole thing is built on faulty exegesis. One of the cardinal rules of biblical interpretation is to let the Bible interpret the Bible. So when we come to a phrase like “the gates of hell” we need to stop ourselves from imagining what we think this means, and do the hard work of finding out what it actually does mean.

The phrase pulai hadou (gates of hell) is a Jewish expression meaning “realm of the dead.” The same two words appear in the Septuagint version of Job 38:17–“Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness [puloroi de hadou]?”). They appear again in Isaiah 38:10–“I said in the middle of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol [pulais hadou] for the rest of my years”. In both passages, pulai hadou is a euphemism for death. Notice the parallelism in both passages. The first half of each verse clarifies that the second half of the verse is not about hell but about death. The gates of hell represent the passageway from this life to the grave.

Consequently, Jesus’ promise to Peter is not about storming Satan’s lair and conquering demonic powers. In fact, the repeated injunction in Ephesians 6 is “to stand.” Christ defeated the devil (John 16:11). Our responsibility is to hold fast and resist. Carman’s fantastic music videos notwithstanding, we are not demonslayers. The promise in Matthew 16 is not about venturing out on some Dungeons and Dragons spiritual crusade, but about Christ’s guarantee that the church will not be vanquished by death.

If you think about it, this makes much more sense of the imagery. Defensive gates can be used in an offensive way because Jesus is simply talking about death. Death stalks each one of us, but those who confess Jesus as the Christ know that death is not the end. We have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57). Jesus isn’t asking us to conquer anything, except perhaps our fear of the grave.

So preach and believe in Matthew 16:18 with all your might. But don’t misunderstand the promise. Jesus assures us of something even better than triumphalism here and now. He promises eternal life. With intense opposition and persecution, the early church was under attack from the gates of hell. But just as Jesus conquered the grave, so the gates of hell-death itself-will not prevail against those who belong to Christ. Or as Jesus himself puts it, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live (John 11:25).

That makes Matthew 16:18 a pretty cool promise after all.

A version of this article originally appeared in the November issue of Tabletalk.

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37 thoughts on “A Closer Look at the Gates of Hell”

  1. Nice. Really well expressed!

  2. Roy says:

    I would agree the passage is speaking more to Christ’s defense of us and our resultant perseverance. The context is interesting too in that Matthew hardly ever mentions geography and yet here he specifically tells us that they were at Caesarea Philippi, a city dedicated to the emperor and to the god of shepherds (Pan). And yet here is Christ, the great Shepherd, effectively telling his disciples that, over and above the gods of the pagans, the God-man (this is where Peter makes his great confession re: Christ) would ensure that the gates of hell (I take this to be the gate of the city before them in the immediate application) would not prevail against them. Sorry for the run-on sentence…

    P.S. Nice use of Rodin’s Gates of Hell in the picture – Rodin’s museum in Philadelphia is worth a visit if you’re in the area.

  3. Kathyz says:

    Thank you for the new perspective. A few years ago, I went to a Ray Vander Laan series in which he talked about this specific verse. Caesarea Philippi is surrounded by a sheer rock cliff and central cave where the people threw in sacrifices to their god, Pan. RVL postulated that as Jesus was standing with his disciples looking over the huge rock cliff that he used the play on words and could have said, “You are Peter (rock)” and then turning to point at the rock cliff, “and on THIS rock (the cliff) I will build my church.” So the church wasn’t being built BY Peter, but rather Jesus’ church was being built ON the previous place of pagan worship. Perhaps Jesus was explaining how his church would overcome even the pagan religions. What do you think of that interpretation?

  4. Tom Chantry says:

    I wonder, though, how one integrates prophetic language of Christ possessing the gates of his enemies? Both Genesis 22:17 and Genesis 24:60 speak of the Seed possessing the gates of enemies. Certainly this had some reference to the offspring of Abraham (and Rebekah) taking possession of the cities of Canaan – a matter of offense rather than defense, but in light of Paul’s assertion that the “seed” of those promises was one, singular Seed, ought we not see in it a reference to Christ’s offensive conquest of His enemies? Certainly death is an enemy which He has overcome, storming its gates in order to rescue His people out of death. When He employed the gate-storming language of those promises, did He not intend to say that His church would the instrument of His conquest?

  5. Dan Phillips says:

    Dauntingest. Post-title. Evar.

  6. Russell Woodbridge says:

    The greek phrase in Matthew 16:18 is found in ancient Greek plays and in those plays, the phrase is a euphemism for death. Kevin is spot on here.

  7. John says:

    +1 For the Carman link…

  8. michael henry says:

    Excellent post, and as otherwise noted, spot on. The context is usually ripped into “go get em boys!”. Double thanks for not having missional anywhere in the post.

  9. Mark P says:

    My favorite part of this post was that you referenced Carman’s demon slayer music video. Kudo’s my friend

  10. donsands says:

    Excellente Mundo!

  11. Ann Metcalf says:

    Kevin, thank you for explaining this. I have never considered the verse in the way you described. I want to continue researching! Good thing I have Logos :)

  12. Great post and good insights.

    Remember when Carmen and Petra got together for a little crusade to bring prayer back to school. Classic:

  13. Daniel F. Wells says:

    Not a disagreement, but a question. Given the difficulty of balancing historical versus reading audience (unlearned, immature, young disciples & OT-learned Jews), would Jesus’ words here be better understood in a more common-sensical/cultural manner (which favors the interpretation that Kevin is refuting) or a more literary-savvy perspective that sees “gates of hell” as symbolism for death that Jesus actively saves us from and in which we are passive?

    I tend to lean toward the former, though it is possible both perspectives are valid on a certain level.

  14. Erik says:

    Couldn’t help but think that, like death won’t overcome the individual believer, death won’t overcome the church. The International Bulletin of Mission Research said that each day 270 followers of Jesus are martyred for their faith, and yet the church still stands and grows.

  15. Matt G. says:

    Kevin–interesting perspective (and I certainly agree that this passage is worthy of greater consideration). The context of Caesarea Philippi seems to be extremely important to this narrative–especially since it was a pagan center of worship at the time. A quick online search for “gates of hell” reveals numerous claims that the waters at Caesarea Philippi were commonly known as the “gates of hell,” because people believed that Baal moved between heaven and earth through these aquatic “portals.” (More serious research would be necessary to substantiate this.) In addition, the cliff where this pool of water existed, which was the home to numerous pagan shrines, was commonly referred to as the “rock of the gods.”

    Why would Jesus take his disciples to a pagan center of worship–a place condemned by Jewish rabbis? In light of Jesus’ profound statements, context (another cardinal rule of Bible interpretation) would be extremely helpful here, assuming that these two monikers (“gates of hell” and “rock of the gods”) are authentic: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock [pointing to the towering “rock of the gods”] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” The way that I’ve understood this is that Jesus is bringing the disciples to the physical border between their faith and the pagan world and clarifying that the good news of His gospel message will shine light into the darkness. The church that He will build will proclaim the truth of who Christ is and what He has accomplished as God carries out His rescue mission…and for those whom He has chosen to transfer from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son, there is nothing that the Enemy or any of his devices can do to stop him. This seems to set the stage for further instructions in passages like Matthew 28 and Acts 1.

    This doesn’t necessarily seem to be a mutually exclusive view from your notion of death, but if those names are true, they really shine a helpful light on a passage that has perplexed me (and many others!). Thanks for your thoughts!

  16. Luke Allison says:

    I like your exegesis on this. I think it’s a good reminder that when the average mainstream evangelical says “hell”, the idea they have in their head is extremely different than anything the Scripture points to.

    Hear me! I’m not saying “Hell doesn’t exist”. I’m saying the cultural picture of a “kingdom” located somewhere in a cavern with a throne of bones and armies of demons that Christians could actually “storm” is not to be found within the Biblical narrative.

    When so-and-so evangelical pastor gives the message you’ve parodied (and I’ve heard it numerous times), they’re not being careful with words. They’re assuming something that actually doesn’t exist.

    David Bentley Hart, love him or hate him, gave two lectures on death and dying in ancient religious thought at Asbury Seminary recently. Worth listening to, if only to get a feel for how “hell as a kingdom of demons” wasn’t really a part of any early thinking on the subject.

  17. Paul Smith says:

    Interesting suggestion, but a couple of questions/comments. One, you disparage another interpretation by using the word “think,” while you appropriate the honor of knowing what it “actually does mean.” In defense of your interpretation you give two verses from the LXX, (both in poetic sections!) and then infer that Jesus MUST have had this meaning in mind. In the immediate context there is no reference to either Job or Isaiah, and to think that Jesus’ disciples would make the jump to the LXX if, in all likelihood, he was speaking Aramaic, is a hefty conclusion at best. Would Matthew’s readers make that jump as well? With no textual markers or reference points? Perhaps, but we need more evidence to make that “assured” conclusion.

    The interpretation you dismiss actually fits into Matthew’s story much better than does yours – Matthew will end with the great commission to his disciples to go out into the world and make more disciples. They have the assurance, based on Peter’s confession and Jesus’ reassurance, that nothing will stop them. “Don’t be afraid of death” is certainly a benign promise at this point in the gospel story, and does not fit with Matthew’s overall Christology or ecclesiology.

    I appreciate the references and the concept, and I will research some more, but I honestly fail to see how this interpretation fits the “actually means” category unequivocally.

  18. Edward says:

    Just a suggestion. Jesus was alluding to the same thing John saw in Rev 9:1.

    “And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.”

    There is a key needed for it, and out of it comes demons who afflict. Sounds like the gates of Hell.

    Demons would work in opposition to the disciples and to Christianity attempting to pervert and distort doctrine and attempting to thwart the disciples through persecution.

    Jesus was telling them nothing will stop the building of His church, including demonic opposition.

  19. ken campbell says:

    Good article, and good main point. However I cannot believe it was pure coincidence that when Jesus uttered these words he was standing just yards from the cave known to pagan worshipers as ‘the gates of hell”.

  20. I had never realised that rocks were offensive (especially when compared to gates).

    I had always understood “gates” as a synecdochic term.

  21. Tim Carlson says:

    Kevin, I agree with Matt G. regarding a cardinal rule of biblical interpretation being that of context. Although you mention the context of the verse you are “exegeting,” you do not utilize the context to fully interpret the verse. What was the context? What was Jesus’ purpose in calling His disciples? What was their ultimate purpose in light of their calling? In view of Peter’s great confession, what is it’s relevance to “the gates of hell?” As I read your article, one conclusion you draw is, “Our responsibility is simply to hold fast and resist” and you utilize the “repeated injunction” from Ephesians 6 to support this. How does this square with “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation?” Or, “…we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

    When reading your article, one could easily infer our role as Christians to be more passive, i.e. “hold fast and resist.” However, Scripture clearly teaches through the examples of Christ, His disciples, the Apostle Paul, etc. that we are to be active and aggressive about the Gospel. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

    Calvin states, “It is a promise which eminently deserves our observation, that all who are united to Christ, and acknowledge him to be Christ and Mediator, will remain to the end safe from all danger; for what is said of the body of the Church belongs to each of its members, since they are one in Christ. Yet this passage also instructs us, that so long as the Church shall continue to be a pilgrim on the earth, she will never enjoy rest, but will be exposed to many attacks; for, when it is declared that Satan will not conquer, this implies that he will be her constant enemy. While, therefore, we rely on this promise of Christ, feel ourselves at liberty to boast against Satan, and already triumph by faith over all his forces; let us learn, on the other hand, that this promise is, as it were, the sound of a trumpet, calling us to be always ready and prepared for battle. By the word gates (πύλαι) is unquestionably meant every kind of power and of weapons of war.

  22. Ken Sears says:

    When I was a young boy in Catholic Church, and I would hear that verse, I’d picture these gates of hell, the Devil’s home, somehow sprouting feet and attacking the Vatican or something. Of course, it’s an absurd, anachronistic and also un-linguistic understanding of the Lord’s words, but quite understandable in a young child who’s been programmed to understand “hell” and “Church” quite narrowly. I am now quite convinced that, when Jesus told these twelve Jewish men, who knew their biblical history (and Jesus KNEW that they knew it), that He, Jesus, would build His “q’hal” (his congregation, assembly, His own PEOPLE), the sense was quite clear, if not quite credible. It’s anachronistic to have Jesus telling his disciples, via this one word “church” alone, “I’ll create a new body of believers, born of the Spirit, in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile”. Yes, that is in fact what happened, but there’s no way the disciples could have grasped that at the moment, and the question is whether Jesus intentionally spoke something utterly meaningless to his followers. Indeed, what Jesus said to them WAS not and COULD not have been “utterly meaningless” to the disciples, because there was PLENTY of content and substance in the words and phrases to “mean” something to the disciples. They knew what God’s “q’hal” was in revealed history. They KNEW what “sheol” was (Death, the Grave) and the image raised by Jesus words immediately summons up graphic associations from the history of God’s deeds. Therefore, the question to ask is, “WOULD Jesus have used these terms, which certainly WOULD have immediate meanings to his disciples, if He DIDN’T want to bring up those associations?” I don’t believe He would have. I believe that the immediate, historical associations the Lord’s words bring up are essential to their interpretation. They only enhance, and deepen, the further revelations that ensuing history brought as to the meaning of “Church”.
    And so, what “immediate meaning” do I believe Jesus conveyed, on the spot, to these Jewish men, with the words “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”? I am profoundly convinced Jesus is saying to them: “I will gather MY q’hal, my people-of-God, and the gates of death will not stand up against them.” There’s a vivid, and theologically shocking, image here, summoning up memories (for any good Jewish boy who regularly went to Sunday– er, Sabbath School) of Joshua leading the “church” (q’hal) of God against the first obstacle to their possession of the Promised Land, Jericho. And just as Jericho’s walls, and gates, crumbled before the power of God, so Death itself will crumble before the onslaught of Jesus’ nation, with Jesus, the Firstborn from the dead, leading them through in the power and victory of his resurrection.
    Naturally, there is a stunning assertion here, when Jesus speaks to his disciples about “MY q’hal”. Historically the ‘q’hal’, the congregation in the wilderness, the chosen nation, belongs to GOD. So for Jesus to call them HIS, well….
    As I said, I believe that Jesus’ words would have had an immediately graspable sense, replete with historical associations, but that is not to say His words would have been quite credible, there on that dusty road outside Capernaum, to a hopeful but uncertain group of Jewish men who had yet to pass through the Cross, and beyond.

  23. Ken Sears says:

    PS I also hope I haven’t ruined anybody’s favorite verse! :)

  24. John Coleman says:

    There are three things in this verse that have relevance. One is location, the other is the revelation and the last is the Gates of Hell.
    The first thing is location, which is Caesarea Phillippi. The significance of this is that this was a stronghold of Paganism. Sacrifices to gods were common. At any rate Jesus took his disciples to the badlands for a reason. The very mention of location in the context of the passage tells us there is something to know. Otherwise location would not have been mentioned. He chose to have that setting for the revelation of two profound things.
    The second thing is the revelation of who he was. Hence the question of whom say you that I am. Up jumps Peter and says thou art the Christ. In return comes blessed art thou, for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto you. Simply put we have revelatory knowledge from God revealing truth to a follower of Christ. Jesus said in John, I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. How fitting that God chose to let revealed truth of who Jesus was be the foundation of the Church. So revealed Truth, and knowing that Jesus is the truth is the rock.
    That last thing is also connected to the first in this instance. There were there for a reason. There was a cave with a spring of water bubbling up from down in the earth, that was referred to as the Gates of Hell. There were actually sacrifices placed in the cave as they thought it was a gate to the underworld. So here we find a place where pagan rituals are being practiced and there is little to no presence of a belief in GOD. Then then cave is the Gates of Hell. Jesus on sight was teaching that unbelief and pagan foolishness would not prevail against the Church and it’ foundation of revealed truth.
    Even today there is mass confusion in the lost world. There is also mass confusion in the establishment because of NO REVEALED TRUTH. Because of no truth there is little to no true Jesus. The reason is that the natural man receiveth no the things of the Spirit, because they are spiritually discerned. In the simplest of terms, the Establishment is full of unbelievers. In many cases even the Pastors and Leaders. Remember, in that day many will say, Lord I have cast out demons in your name. The reply being Sorry, I never knew you. The first fruit of revealed truth is the Holy Spirit convicting the individual that they are indeed lost(natural without God). If there has never been a moment of Holy Spirit conviction unto salvation, ther has Ben no, true conversion. Jesus said Behold I stand at the door and knock. He said that I must go, so that the Father will send the comforter, who will guide you into all truth. Hence the Holy Spirit active in conviction unto salvation and afterward giving spiritual guidance to the believer. Seminaries however well intended will not produce spirit led men and women of God. The training is profitable only if coupled with a real following of where the Spirit leads. Why was Peter told, blessed art thou? Why was the Holy Spirit sent?

  25. John Coleman says:

    Sorry for the typo’s. Got to love the iPad. It corrects things and makes them wrong.

  26. Bob H says:

    I have another take on this verse, whether it’s true or not only God knows. Genesis 22: 17-18 states “I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gates of your enemies…” Through Jesus’ death he gained victory over death and the devil; in doing so he gave the believers victory over hell’s gates so that we may enter and rout the enemies camp.

  27. Chris Klessens says:

    In the first part of this passage, Jesus asks His disciples who the people think He is. They relate to him the conflicting and vague answers that have been circulating. Nothing stable or sure. If the people and His disciples were to be honest, they would have to confess that they were “in the dark” on this one. The meaning of the word “hades” is important to realizing what the verse in question is pointing out. Hades in Greek came to be used to denote death, but as I understand it, this was in the sense that one went to a dark place when one died, a place where one could not see anything. One of the main meanings of “hades” is “unseen”. This was exactly the situation as far as the identity of Jesus went. His true identity was “unseen” or in “hades”. The contrast to this came when God REVEALED to Peter Who Jesus was. There were two things revealed to Peter. First, Jesus is the Christ. That was good, but then again, people had a lot of different ideas about who and what type of person the Christ was prophesied to be. The second part of the revelation to Peter was that the Christ was the Son of the Living God. Once Peter made his confession, this knowledge was out of “hades” and placed in plain sight. Furthermore, Jesus said that it would never be concealed or unknown again.

  28. Kevin, I really like your interpretation. I was always hesitate about understanding it as church attacking “gates of hell”. If it was meant to signify this why Jesus simply not used the phrase “gates of hell would not defend themselves against my church”?
    What I would suggest is that natural reading of this passage really suggests that Christ anticipates that this is the church which will be under attack. So isn’t it possible that He is using “gates of hell” as a synecdoche (as it was suggested in one of the previous posts but not developed). With such understanding “gates of hell” stands for evil authorities (authorities used to sit in gates of cities – compare Ruth 4). So in a sense Jesus would said “Commanders of evil forces will not prevail against my church”. This would of course include inflicting death or any other assault on church and her members.
    Blessings from Poland – Stanislaw

  29. Kevin, I really like your interpretation. I was always hesitate about understanding it as church attacking “gates of hell”. If it was meant to signify this why Jesus simply not used the phrase Gates of hell would not defend themselves against my church”?
    What I would suggest is that natural reading of this passage really suggests that Christ anticipates that this is the church which will be under attack. So isn’t it possible that He is using “gates of hell” as a synecdoche (as it was suggested in one of the previous posts but not developed). With such understanding “gates of hell” stands of evil authorities (authorities used to sit in gates of cities – compare Ruth 4). So in a sense Jesus would said “Commanders of evil forces will not prevail against my church”. This would of course include inflicting death or any other assault on church and her members.
    Blessings from Poland – Stanislaw

  30. Ken Sears says:

    Stanislaw, I think that the major problem in your interpretation rests in the unexamined assumption that “Hades” self-evidently conjured up notions of “hell” (as popularly conceived now, i.e., the devil’s “kingdom”) and its attacking armies of evil forces/demons/fallen angels. You have extrapolated from “gates” (which can’t attack anybody) to a synecdoche conjuring up a sort of infernal kingdom with its armies to, finally, the notion of The Church standing up under the assault of the devil. And the unavoidable question is whether the Lord could possibly have intended that the disciples jump through that many conceptual hoops (and based on what concepts held by the Jewish people?) in order to arrive at His “point”. To me it strains credulity–painfully so! Especially when the far more “face-value” meaning, demonstrably deeply rooted in the Jewish worldview and immediately accessible to the disciples, makes manifest sense. “Hades/Sheol” is the place of death. Its figurative “gates” are its power–primarily the fact that no one can escape, or return from, Death. To speak of these gates “overcoming” or “prevailing” is NOT to stretch either language or concept too far, nor to require that they denote evil forces on the attack. An army that attacks a city and fails to breach its walls most CERTAINLY has been overcome, defeated, prevailed over, by those walls. It is entirely plausible to adduce that Jesus is speaking here of Death (figuratively a walled city) being under attack BY Jesus’ “congregation” (just as Israel in the wilderness was the “church” of Yahweh). And Death’s walls, and gates, will NOT prevail over the onslaught of this new nation of God with the new Joshua, the Messiah, in the lead. Such an image would have been immediately implied and grasp-able to the men Jesus was speaking to that day, and, as I noted before, would have been PACKED with theological implications stunning to consider. Even if they couldn’t fully BELIEVE it all yet, they COULD get the point. I suggest that the notion of “Hades” as the lair of the devil and the “gates” as the devil’s forces attacking The Church, particularly as we understand The Church now, is so wildly remote from both any cultural-religious understanding the disciples had and, in fact, any scriptural basis, that the notion Jesus would have WANTED to convey such an idea with this language is simply incredible.

  31. A.G says:

    I think your explanation is correct, but I believe we may also be coming closer to the parallel literal interpretation of this verse that has been out of our realm of understanding before this season in history. If CERN opens a “gateway” into another “dimension” we may soon see that this scripture is the Church’s promise of ‘provision and protection.

  32. Marcel Matte Calgary says:

    Kevin, I enjoyed your article. Thank you for it but I there is one section of your short posting which I do not find agreement with:

    “Now tell me, how do gates prevail? When have you ever seen gates on the march? They don’t attack. They fortify. They are there to hold their ground. That’s all. Hell is not on the offensive, brothers and sisters.”

    Gates are only one component of the structures of the kingdom of darkness. And while yes, gates are recognized as static structures which serve to isolate properties/domains from that which is outside and gates are not used to attack, it is inaccurate to extend the static nature of gates to the kingdom of darkness. Satan is very much on the move as he is like a roaring lion which seeks to kill and destroy. In killing and destroying he is very active in using willing people and their resources to expand his kingdom. I do agree that we have the battle victories in Christ and we win the war in Christ, can we say that Satan never takes back that which he loses? Perhaps the church needs to be better at occupying.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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