Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Today, as enter more fully into our current study, my heart is excited as I consider the events set forth in Matthew 16 as Jesus ministered to His disciples in Caesarea Philippi. While these verses in our Manna for Today lay the foundation for the events that transpired there, deeper study of the place, the time, and the meaning of Jesus’s Words unfold for us a depth of understanding that will launch your spirit into the heavenlies as you prepare to walk in what Jesus says. A major part of that study is to more fully under-stand where Jesus shared this teaching. It’s more than a geographical location, or the name of a town. There is deep spiritual significance to be gleaned. Let’s look more closely.
The name of the town Caesarea Philippi came from two men; Caesar of Rome and Philip, son of Herod the Tetrarch. But it is what was IN that place that holds such significance. It was located at the foot of Mount Hermon, the Mount of Transfiguration, the place where one of the main headwater fountains of the Jordan River broken open to the surface, and for many years, the center of Baal worship. Already you can see great significance. But look further. It was in this town that a temple had been built to the Greek god Pan. It was built over the entrance into a cave from which Jordan’s headwaters emerge. When the Greeks built it, they did so viewing its waters as the passageway of their gods to the underworld, and they called it “The Gates of Hell.” And keep in mind that Pan was the Greek god of shepherds, goats, and was the instigator of high levels of prostitution and bestiality. Its corruption was beyond imagination.
In that same location, there was also a temple built to Zeus, the greatest Greek god who was himself considered very corrupt; a temple to Nemesis, the Greek goddess of retribution to anyone who resisted Zeus or other Greek gods; a temple to Caesar, the greatest political/military leader of his day; and an arena of the dancing goats, where brazen prostitution and bestiality with goats was openly practiced; all this was built side-by-side at the base of Mount Hermon.
Can you imagine the vileness and corruption that permeated the atmosphere all about Caesarea Philippi when Jesus was there with His disciples? It was considered so vile, sinful, evil, and corrupt that Jewish Rabbis forbade Jewish people from traveling there. This was the place where scene of Matthew 16:13-21 took place. In the days ahead, we will apply this to what Jesus confronted, the power with which He confronted it, and how it applies to the Church today.
Manna for Today – Matthew 16:13-21; John 6:63; John 15:7; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 11:12