Midas, no longer lured by dreams of riches,
Took to the woods, became a nature-lover;
He worshipped Pan... (Ovid 303)
(In Matthew 16:18, Jesus referred to the gates of Hades (Hell), or the underworld, believed by some to be the grotto at Caesarea Philippi, from which one of the sources of the Jordan River came. The grotto itself was part of a temple complex used in the worship of the Greek god Pan. Pan was the pagan god of sexual fertility, immorality, lust, rape and pedophilia, and was associated with Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and orgies, whose worshipers continued many of the sexual rites of the Old Testament gods of the Baal cult.)
Ron Cantor offers fresh perspective on the visit of Jesus (recorded in Matthew 16) with His disciples to Caesarea Philippi, an utterly pagan city ...
Imagine that you wake up one day in the Galilee and Yeshua says to you and the other disciples, “Come on guys—we’re going on a field trip!”
In Matthew 16 we see Yeshua and his disciples heading north from Capernaum, His headquarters. By car, it only takes an hour. But by foot, it is a good 12-hour hike. So why would Yeshua take His disciples on such a journey and to where they going?
Would you believe me if I told you, “To the gates of Hell?”
Matthew tells us that they visited Caesarea Philippi. Not be confused with the port city of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, Caesarea Philippi was an utterly pagan city. It was there that they worshipped Pan, the half goat, half man god of Greek mythology. He is often associated with every kind of perversion one can imagine.
Caesarea Philippi was so steeped in immortality that the rabbis reviled it and taught that no good Jew would ever go there. And yet, Yeshua, the greatest Jew of all, takes His Jewish disciples there on a field trip. But why?
... So Yeshua, standing before this massive rock that was thought many to be the source of immense spiritual power, says to Peter, who would lead the body of believers in its early days, in me you are far more powerful than this rock. He was saying that powers of Satan and pagan worship are not worthy to be compared to the Gospel message in the mouths of his apostles and prophets—whom Paul calls the foundation of the New Testament congregation (Eph. 2:20)
But then he says, “The Gates of Hell” will not prevail against the Messianic community. Now Gates do not typically go on the attack. Gates do not move. Of course in context He is referring to the Cave of the Gods, which was only a few meters from where they were standing. He was saying all the powers of hell could not overcome the body of believers.
Yeshua was not just another Greek god or mythical figure… as Peter said, he was the Messiah, the Son of the living God and the Gates of Hell will not overcome his congregation.
Story is here.