The Gates of Hades or the Gates of Hell?
Bible translations refer to the Gates as either “of Hell or Hades.” While most believers seem to think it doesn’t really matter which word is used, I think it’s important to be clear on what word Jesus used and what that might mean for His Ekklesia.
In the days of Jesus, hell was a literal place, more specifically hell was a garbage dump in Jerusalem, a local incinerator, known as a place of perpetual burning. Spiritually, according to Matthew 25:41, hell is a place prepared for the devil and demons and its final resting place of torment, forever.
Hades, however, means “underworld’, a place of death. In Greek mythology, which was very popular in Jesus’s day, Hade’s responsibility was to govern and rule the underworld and death. His two brothers were Zeus and Poseidon. Zeus, was the supreme ruler on earth and Poseidon, was the ruler of the waters. Together, these three made up a triune rulership over the universe.
Hades and the Ekklesia
Hades then represents, the domain of Satan, and the kingdom of darkness, because all things that contribute to death are part of Satan’s realm having his influence in every sphere of society.
This gives the Ekklesia greater clarity about its role and assignment.
Picture Jesus standing with his young disciples in this dark, demonically infested region, pointing to the Gates of Hades as the target of His Ekklesia!
In full view of these Gates, Jesus provides the mission and mandate of His Ekklesia. He was very strategic and made sure he took the twelve to this exact point so there would be no misinterpretation or confusion about what He is calling them to do. Christ’s Ekklesia is to co-labor with Him to access the Gates of Hades and bring heaven to earth.
The Gates of Hades represents all that opposes God’s will. Crime, corruption, lying, sexual immorality, pornography, ungodly ways of doing business, humanism, abortion, to name a few. All these, and more, have come out of these gates into our society. Our responsibility is co-labor with Jesus and bring the gospel to these “gates,” redeeming and reclaiming lives and systems.
Jesus Enters These Very Gates First
What must be noted here is that upon Jesus’ death and resurrection, He enters through these very gates ahead of His disciples. The Bible says that Jesus passed into Hades, preached salvation, and defeated death, hell, and the grave, making a public spectacle of principalities and powers (Acts 2:31; Rev.1:17-18; Col. 2:15).
Not only that, Jesus recovered the Keys of the Kingdom, namely our authority, which we lost in the Garden and He comes away victorious with the Keys in hand (Rev.1:18). He is now seated at the right hand of the Father as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev.20:13-14).
He now commissions His Ekklesia to co-labor with Him to do the same. His Ekklesia must show up on the field where the Gates of Hades are. This is our mandate and His mission. Discipling and baptizing nations begins at the Gates.
Characteristics of Gates
So what are some of the characteristics of Gates?
- Gates are both defensive and offensive structures. Gates don’t attack; they are built to keep things out and release things from within.
- Gates are legal transaction centers. Business, justice, and commerce were achieved at gates. Elders would preside over the transactions and serve as judges at the gates.
- Great battles are won or lost at the gates. Gates are the weakest part of the wall. At the gates, you can strike a decisive victory. Sometimes there are multiple gates along a wall.
- Gates come many forms, shapes, and sizes. We have personal gates that come through the senses, such as what we see, feel and hear. There are gates in each realm of society such as education, government, business and entertainment. And many more. We need wisdom and revelation to discern what these gates are and where they are located so we can access the keys of the kingdom and defeat them.
A Decision Needs to be Made
We have to make a choice, are we going to continue “doing church” or rise up to our calling and become Christ’s Ekklesia? The Gates stand as Goliath did over our cities, towns, regions, and nations defying the armies of the Living God. Are we going to try and suit up in Saul’s armor and “do church” or take what God has equipped us with onto the battlefield as Christ’s Ekklesia?
How do we penetrate the gates? What are the tools necessary to successfully complete the task? These will be topics in our next post in this series. Stay tuned.
Your turn: Love to get your thoughts on this. Leave a reply in the comment section below.