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The Persecuted Church


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Jesus said “…I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18b). This is said in response to Peter's spoken out loud confession of whom Jesus actually is, the son of the living God.  Jesus is then rock the church is built on and the confession of all Christians, Jesus is the Son of God- the eternal one.

Hades is the unseen world, (Hebrew) Sheol or (Greek) Hades (Luke 16:25). This is the place (state) of souls: Sheol is the place of departed spirits the only way to get there is to die. (Job.38:17: the gates of death, Ps. 9:13 the gates of death.) Those who died went to either Abraham's bosom (the faithful) or Gehenna (Mark 9:47 to be cast into hell fire—Gehenna.)

Not prevailkatischuo - to overpower: prevail (against).

In its primary sense it means that though one may die they will be resurrected again- all believers have the hope of being raised in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection. So death does not have a victory, the gates of Hades (not hell- the place where those who are in unbelief go) does not have a victory on those who believe. Jesus said in John 14:19 Because I live, you will live also.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

John 5:25 "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

John 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

In a secondary sense the book of Acts says God added to the church daily despite the persecution. There will always be the true Church because Jesus promised this – I will build my church, He will never leave or abandon it. There will always be a remnant of believers, large or small throughout history and He will be with them. He will continue to build his church despite the opposition to it.

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