Ekklesia Series // God’s Instrument to Disciple Nations

Over the last year, the Lord has really been shining His revelatory light over Matt 16:13-19. Here, we read of Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah, Anointed One).

The scriptures tell us that Jesus makes his way furthest north to the region of Caesarea Philippi, and then, he takes a two-day walk with His disciples to the Gates of Hades.

Jesus uses the backdrop of the Gates of Hades to give two of the greatest New Testament revelations to all of mankind.

Matt 16:13-18: “13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

The Region of Caesarea Philippi

The region of Caesarea Philippi is the seedbed for much occultic activity and idol worship. No devout Jew dare enter the region due to the spiritual darkness that permeates it.

The Gates of Hades itself sits as a cave at the bottom of Mt. Hermon. Shrines to the goat-man Pan and other gods, such as Caesar and Nemesis, are visible, along with temple prostitution, pagan worship, and ritualistic sacrifices.

Compare this region to San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New Orléans all rolled into one.

The Revelation of Jesus as the Christ

It’s actually at this very place and before these very gates that Jesus releases both the revelation that He is the Christ AND our assignment to build his Ekklesia (church).

It’s almost shocking to realize that in the darkest spiritual place on Earth, Jesus chooses to give two of the greatest revelations to mankind. Why not release the revelation in the temple at Jerusalem? Why here? Because the revelation of Jesus as the Christ at the Gates of Hades carries our Kingdom assignment, namely, to engage the powers of darkness and bring the saving knowledge of Jesus to all mankind as His Ekklesia.

Jesus never commissioned us to sit within the walls of our churches, but rather to engage the culture. The church, Christ’s Ekklesia, is created to take the revelation of Jesus Christ into darkest places on earth.

Final Thoughts

The revelation of Jesus as the Christ, legally authorizes and empowers us, as His Ekklesia, to bring people from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His glorious light.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. If you want, please leave a comment below.

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  1. Teresa Jul 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Wow – just as everything else Jesus did – it’s not what/where we would expect. He is so awesome – and just as you discussed, the reasoning is so huge and meaningful. Thanks

    1. Greg Simas Jul 25, 2016 at 8:50 am

      Thanks, Teresa. Good to dig into the context and setting to discover a deeper and broader meaning!

      1. Gyang Jul 28, 2020 at 3:03 am

        Thanks pastor for this informative insight, it was just yesterday that I was listening to a sermon by Emma Stark on the believers’ authority that she spoke on the ekklisia and mount Hermon. What struck me was when she mentioned it was King James that insisted that the translators replace the word “ekklisia” for “church” because he didn’t want any competition to his authority. Kind of reminds me of Herods’ plan to execute Jesus when he heard from the Magi that a king has been born.
        Thank you for the Ekklisia series Pastor Greg.

        1. Greg Simas Jul 28, 2020 at 4:01 am

          Yes, Gyang, this is true. For over 500 years we have been thinking been on a mission to partner with Jesus to build his “church” but His mission and ours have been different. We are now rediscovering His mission as His Ekklesia giving greater purpose and focus to what we all need to be doing, especially in the light of world conditions today.

  2. Brian Jul 25, 2016 at 8:32 am

    So good. I love how Jesus uses geography and timing … where he says certain things and when he says them. This is a foundational insight into the nature of the church. Encouragement for those who don’t live in the “Bible Belt” or some other church hot spot!

    1. Greg Simas Jul 25, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Hey Brian. So true. I always enjoy trying to place myself in these biblical events. Determining the setting is crucial to understanding a deeper truth or revelation the Holy Spirit might be trying to convey. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Julie Aug 13, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Hmmmm. Why is almost all of the revelation of Jesus only happening in our church buildings?
    Now, here in India, Jesus is constantly being revealed in dark places in the villages–totally unreached peoples operating in witchcraft are experiencing the power of God and being saved. What I see most in the cities among the more educated is that revelation of Christ and the building of the Church is really only happening inside church buildings, among people who already confess Christ. In both village and city, there is risk involved. Verbal and physical persecution is a potential backlash. We are addressing this slowly and have about 12 who are boldly and effectively revealing Jesus and partnering with the Spirit to build the ekklesia, but we have millions of people to reach, just in our little spheres of influence! Please pray for us!

    1. Greg Simas Aug 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Julie, I think I know what your saying, if I miss it help me by clarifying. I love what you said about Jesus being revealed in “dark places” in the “unreached people” groups. This is where the Ekklesia (we) are supposed to be. I think the problem is that we think “church” as buildings. You are establishing churches in these villages as people are saved. We don’t recognize them as churches because we generally believe that they have to be in a building in order to feel we’ve been successful. What you guys are doing and the fruit that you are seeing is amazing! Keep up the fruitful work. Start ekklesia’s right in the villages, if you can! 🙂


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