The Gates of Hell
Larry M. Vredenburgh
May 3, 2006
The Gates of Hell are invisible barriers that stand in the way of the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
They sometimes can be an attitude. The People of Israel opposed Sampson because he afflicted their enemy, the Philistines. Sampson's real, physical attacks against the Philistines generated opposition among his own people (Judges 15:12).
Opposition to the advancement of the Kingdom of God usually manifests as a response to the spirit of Fear. More than any other unclean spirit in Satan's arsenal, Fear paralyses those whom God has chosen to advance his Kingdom.
Even though the children of Israel had passed through the Red Sea, and had witnessed the daily presence of the Lord, when they faced the prospect of advancing the Kingdom into Canaan, opposition, the Gates of Hell, stood in their way, and Satan used one of his most formidable weapons, the spirit of Fear as a defense.
No wonder God repeats the admonition, “Take courage and do not fear,” so many times throughout the Bible.
Only Caleb and Joshua were able to defeat fear through faith. Joshua after all, knew God nearly as intimately as Moses. He served God right beside Moses. I would presume that Caleb caught Joshua's contagious faith.
Later in the history of Israel, the army stood paralyzed by Fear before the taunts of Goliath. It took David who was practiced in defeating the spirit of Fear to correctly size up the situation when he said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine to oppose the army the Living God?” Goliath was the physical representation of the Gates of Hell. A force opposed to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. The key of the Kingdom that David possessed to open the gates was faith; a practiced arm, a slingshot and 5 smooth stones.
In reality, David slew Goliath with one stone and a sword. In the New Testament we learn the stone is Jesus and the sword is his Word. So we confront fear and open the Gates of Hell with the keys of the Kingdom. We advance with the rock of our faith, Jesus, and we slay the enemy with the Word – the Sword of the Spirit.
We need to recognize fear for what it is. It is Satan's first line of defense. It is like mustard gas used in World War I. It can blind and kill, but through faith we are immune to its affects. Faith is our gas mask.
But fear of advancing the Kingdom should be welcomed. For when we see and feel its effects, we know that Satan has tipped his hand. He has unwittingly revealed his defensive strategy. We know the Gates of Hell are nearby. There is a stronghold of Satan, that the Kingdom of God hasn't penetrated, and we have the key to enter and release the captives.
Often those captives are right in our own ranks, for when the Gates of Hell are opened and the presence and glory of God floods territory seized by Satan, the eyes of the blind are opened, fear is defeated, and death has lost its sting.
We are the army of God! We are empowered by the Spirit of God! We have crossed the Jordan River at flood stage; no obstacle can prevent our advancement. We are led as Joshua was by the Angel of the Lord, who gives us strategy at every turn and for every conflict that we face!