And I say also unto thee .... I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ~ Matthew 16:18.
Many are the enemies of God’s covenant children, but equally, at work for them are very many potent declarations of God’s favour, conferring unspeakable advantage, to ensure the defeat of their enemies is sacrosanct (Genesis 22:17).
It is my well considered position that the spiritual arts of binding, loosing and decreeing become a ‘fait accompli’ only for those who have mastered the discipline of dealing with the elders at the gates of hell decisively. When we effectively disable the elders of hell, then the keys of God’s kingdom become ours, and our brighter days on earth begin to dawn.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is our Christian duty to fully exercise ourselves in the believers’ dominion, and to teach the gates of hell some fundamental lessons on the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10-11; Psalms 105: 21-22). However, the just question to ask at this point is: who or what do these gates stand for?
Understanding the Gates of Hell
In ancient city-states, gates were strategically important to the defense systems and the economic life of the cities, and were therefore places of maximum fortifications. The cities were usually surrounded by walls, and it was at the gates that elders in councils met and courts of justice were held (Deuteronomy 16:18).
Furthermore, businesses and other deliberations on public matters by the elders of the state also held at the gates. Thus, gates symbolically represented the wisdom, pronouncements, decisions, policies and powers of the city-states.
Flowing from these above, it becomes clearer that our Lord Jesus was talking about the machinations, the counsel, designs, plots, purpose, powers and the strength of Satan when He made reference to the ‘gates of hell’ in that public discourse (Matthew 16:18-19).
Indeed, all the evils being experienced in this world and all the confrontations that men suffer - the enmity, hostilities, violence, etc - are direct assaults from the army of demons that pontificates and marches out against our world from the gates of hell (Genesis 24:60; Job 38:17). And, that’s the more reason we must be adroit in the use of our believers’ authority in Christ Jesus.
Where the ‘enemies’ are identified and their ‘gates’ located, we should pursue them to their premises in the realms of the spirit and besiege them through everlasting prayers in their own cities.
Happily, Jesus Christ indicated that the gates of hell shall not prevail. What a re-assurance! But, this also means that their strength will not be able to sustain their plots as we advance against them. It is our duty, therefore, to repel the foes, and move in faith against the pits of hell under the banner of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, this calls for constant prayers and fasting, but it’s worth all the costs (Matthew 17:21).
Pulling Down Satanic Strongholds
The devil still enjoys stealing, throwing snags and mounting bulwarks on the pathway of the Christian. But, we must be precise at checkmating his aggression through prayers and tenacious fights of faith. However, no one ever became effective in prayer who never learnt the spiritual art of pulling down satanic strongholds.
Satanic strongholds describe where Satan entrenches himself in the lives of men to fence them off from the light of the gospel. It is a fortress from where Satan resists and opposes truth in the lives of men, to shut them away from the benefits of redemption and from the sunshine of God’s glory.
Strongholds are shaped in thoughts and opinions that contradict the positions of God’s Word. See, satan is not actually ‘miles’ away, only ‘minds’ away from men. In other words, the devil is as close to you as your mind will accommodate him.
When a mind is captured by evil words, it begins to generate unbelief and sins of the worst sorts. Besides, an evil mindset creates a conducive environment for stubborn yokes, sicknesses and wickedness. Hence, Jesus Christ said, ‘Take heed what ye hear’ (Mark 4:24). And again, ‘Take heed therefore how ye hear’ (Luke 8:18).
You must govern your mind by filtering the things you allow your ears to hear and your eyes to see. What you hear, how you hear and what you see can turn your world around, either for good or for evil (Luke 11:35; Matthew 24:4).
Whenever Satan steals anything from a person, a group, a family, a community or even a nation, he normally hides it in his stronghold. It is the only place he is sure that no ordinary power can take such things back from him.
Meanwhile, in military senses, it is normal to match force with force in a bid to accomplish a task or a mission; and, anything that constitutes an obstacle is usually pulled down.
It is only when satanic strongholds are destroyed that the cause of Christ begins to triumph everywhere we go. Christian believers are soldiers of the cross, with mandates from heaven to build a virile kingdom here on earth for our God (2 Timothy 2:3). We have the orders to rout, root out and pull down hindrances on our way to accomplishing this mission (Jeremiah 1:10). And, we are commanded to “pull down” satanic strongholds and tear down his fortifying walls (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).
Please note that spirituality is very essential to victory in spiritual conflicts. The warfare is directed at us, hence it is referred to as ‘our warfare’, but the weapons that will bring the victory are God’s. And God is ever eager to avenge us once we fight the battle in His own way and in accordance with His prescription.
In order to wear the crown of glory and keep ranks among spiritual diadems of beauty, we must embrace supernatural strength to take the battle to the enemy’s gates, to effectively judge and defeat the cohorts of evil (Isaiah 28:5-6).
Friends, never dwell on the defensive line. Be offensive in spiritual warfare to invalidate the deeds of hell, repeal the orders of devils and set aside their pronouncements by the instrument of God’s Word. Even today, launch prayer assaults against their gates from your covered positions under the cross of Jesus (Colossians 2:14-15). The gates of hell shall never prevail against you, in Jesus Name. Happy Sunday!
- Bishop Taiwo Akinola,
Rhema Christian Church,
Otta, Ogun State, Nigeria.
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