PREFACE

The first person to see this document observed, "That picture doesn't look like the Gates of Hell". I said, "Yes. It doesn't." The reason it doesn't is that the visible Gates of Hell are not horrible, threatening, or frightening, to see. Mostly, they are actually attractive and appealing to humans. That is part of the great deception maintained on by Satan.

This is a personal study of an issue of extreme importance to saved Believers and even more importance for those who are not saved because of what their end will be. I am not presenting a scholarly work but rather a Spirit driven exploration of this topic. If you have a genuine interest in what awaits the self-condemned at the end of the age, plow on. It will take some time to understand what the Holy Spirit has shown me and connect it up in your mind.


The GATES of HELL

What does this mean ?
Where are these gates?
What exactly are they ?
How did become established ?
What can or should we do about them ?

These are some of the issues I plan to explore.

ESTABLISHMENT

I realize that what I am about to cover next is already known to you. I just want to be sure we are on the same page ... thinking along the same lines.

At some point in cosmic history, one of the archangels, maybe named Lucifer, garnered support from one third of all the angels to join him and make a run at God's throne. They did not have the power to overthrow God and were banished by being "sent down to the earth", where we know the fallen leader as Satan, the devil, etc.

Before the angels there was only the Triune God existing in eternity. Through the second person, Christ to us, all creation was established. He created the Sons of God, the angels. The word son does not connote physical gender but rather relationship to the Father.

The angels obviously were created with free will, else Lucifer could not have rebelled. God chose to expel the rebels rather than destroy them. He determined their ultimate future to reside in a place called Hades. Sheol, Hell, or whatever familiar term you prefer. God established Hell and made it Satan's dominion. Hell already exists in the spiritual realm. The eternal fires and torment have not yet been turned on as they will be when God replaces the present cosmos with a new heavens and new earth.

Meanwhile, Hell is operational and has manifestations in the natural realm. Gates. Hell is gated to contain the occupants.

You know the flow of events in the Garden of Eden. After Adam's sin, God put curses on the serpent, the woman, the man, his descendants, and the planet earth. He then banished the humans, like He did the angels, and expelled them from the garden because the Tree of Life was there and they were no longer allowed to eat from it to sustain life. Eventually they died. It matters not whether the story is allegorical or literal. It represents the underlying truths.

They went to the "east of Eden", behind the gates of Hell. God obliterated Eden and all humanity has been born, lived, and died, prisoners behind the gates of hell with the master they chose to obey. No one escapes from Hell. The gates are firmly locked from the outside, confining all within.

God was not satisfied to leave it like this or to destroy His original entire creation. Instead, he launched a plan to redeem as many of mankind as were willing to reverse Adam's choice. Through earth time, He elected to rescue certain people and bring them out from behind the gates. These persons lived in both the natural and spiritual realms. To name a few so you see what I mean: Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David.

These are some of the remarkable characteristics of the "Gates of Hell":

1. In the natural world they are visible but not seen as what they are. I'll explain this later. In fact, they are very attractive to human perception. That's why I chose the pleasant roadway scene for title image. Behind the gates there is plenty of light ... natural and artificial.

2. In the spiritual world they are invisible to those behind the gates but visible to us who are saved and endowed with Spirit light by which we see them. The gates and surrounding walls admit NO light from the spiritual realm. All is darkness. The demons know this ... the humans do not. The humans are relying on their natural senses for all their discernments. Their spirits are essentially dead within them but able to be brought back to life by God according to His plans and methods.

3. Though the humans behind the gates cannot escape, and in fact don't know they are confined there because they are spiritually deaf and blind, the demons are free to go in and out and meddle in the affairs of the world. 4. True members of Christ's true church, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, can go through the gates at will. This is a very specific power which enables God, working through His children, to send in rescue teams who bring out such condemned as will accept the terms of redemption.

IMAGERY

If you use an internet search engine to look for "gates of hell images" you will be confronted by more than 22,000,000 images like these at www.google.com/.



Since the beginning or visual art, Satan and Hell have been depicted in horrific views of fire and tormented human bodies.

We have no scriptural information telling us in what form the condemned will exist and I don't plan to speculate on that here. We do not know our own future eternal form of manifestation except that Paul says whatever Jesus is like we shall be also. Jesus mentioned preparing places for us in heaven where there are "many mansions" in the Father's house but we don't know if He meant that literally or figuratively.

The images of hell are plainly meant to frighten humans. Seeing them, who would want to go there? The irony is ... everyone is already in the holding pen awaiting their second death. They just don't know it. The renaissance masters depicted Hell in many paintings.

Perhaps the best known hellish images are from The Inferno, part of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. A book from the fourteenth century was illustrated with engravings and woodcuts by Gustave Doré. Some are shown here.

The various punishments "fit the crime" as described in Dante's poem. The final image of people upside down in smoking chimneys "scared the hell out of me" when I was a child and could not resist repeatedly perusing my father's copy of Dante's Inferno, probably the 1948 edition. I was, and still am, claustrophobic. I don't know what became of the book.














GO

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to (X)the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB

This instruction from Jesus, Messiah, was given before He ascended into heaven and prior to the beginning of His church. We, the church, are to "go" and do what He said. He gave us His reasons in the following passage.

[Jesus] “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter [petros], and on this rock [petra = THE rock] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [some translations read Hell] will not overcome it. Matthew 16:15-18 NIV

In this passage He explains His intentions ... to build His church on The Rock of these truths: (1) He is the Messiah, the Son of God sent to earth, and (2) the Father has revealed Him to be so in order that men many know and believe this truth.

If you are one of those convinced that His play on words with "rock" means He would build His church on Simon Peter, you have been mislead. The church is built on the revelation of the truth about Christ; not on any single human being. He did specifically recruit Paul to be His apostle to the Gentiles. He has anointed many through the ages to carry out His work in the world.

The subject of this discourse is His closing remarks stating that the Gates of Hell will not overcome it. Some translations read "not prevail against it" or similar wording. In my near forty year trying to walk in the light of the Spirit, I had always thought in terms of Satan and his evil empire constantly attacking the church; making us defenders.

Credit where due, I heard a sermon in which the preacher advocated for the opposite. He believes the "gates" are on the defensive now that the church exists. We are to be the attackers, invading the realm of evil and bringing out from behind hell's gates those who can be saved. This is not simple evangelizing but consciously taking the battle TO the enemy of man and God. I have pondered this for some time. I believe the Holy Spirit is urging me to recruit warriors for the battle, using my words to express the revelation I received.


AUTHORITY & POWER

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. Isaiah 42:1-7 King James Version

He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:



Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-20 NIV, Jesus quoted Isaiah 58:6

The men (no women permitted) in the synagogue must have sat stunned, mouths agape, when Jesus announced that He Himself is the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. "Freedom for the prisoners".


WHERE to GO

Obviously, through the "gates" to where the captives are.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Take a look at some of the "gates" which hold humanity spiritual prisoners. Some are obvious and familiar because we have been taught to associate them with sin.


GOVERNMENT halls and chambers are the centers of greatest worldly powers and filled with people who are not only Satan's captives but his willing accomplices in controlling or influencing world events. Governments worldwide are riddled with corruption and scandal ... the tip of the iceberg.

The Believer who can rescue any of the prisoners held behind Hell's government walls can potentially cause many ripples in the pond. One true witness to Christ inside government can have enormous impact.

CHURCHES run by wolves in sheep's clothing. Such was the "church" of the Jews in the time Jesus was on earth. It is no different today. Hundreds of millions of souls are trapped in false beliefs. Sadly, this includes many which claim to be Christian. Satan has installed his friends in many pulpits. They preach what sounds good but does not lead to salvation. Any teaching which leads to a path other than the one Christ set out for us, is serving Satan. It doesn't matter that well intentioned people believe their own false teachings. "If the blind lead the blind both will fall into the ditch." [Matt 15:14].

BIG BUSINESS is like big government. It harbors people with extreme ambition and desire for wealth, power, and control of others. This not to say that business is in itself corrupt. Business serves the needs of humanity for earthly goods and services which are essential to ordinary life.

Transportation, communications, health care, food, electricity and so on serve mankind. In a capitalist economy like ours in the West individuals and organizations are taught to compete, sometimes viciously, to lie, cheat and do whatever it takes to "win". Once rescued and converted they can have a positive impact on the hell gates.

PRISONS hold the most captives proportionate to their populations. Those behind bars behind the Gates of Hell face an uphill battle if they even attempt to turn to God. Thankfully (though I haven't the courage to do it) there are men and women disciples who go into prisons and working at rescuing inmates from the devil's grip.

Every visit to a prisoner is a visit to Jesus Himself, He said. If you can do it, GO to prisoners. [Image from wikipedia.org is Utah State Prison].

RED LIGHT DISTRICT in Amsterdam exemplifies bottom tier of life's lost. Prostitutes, drug addicts, street toughs, skid row bums, and myriad others have fallen into the pit. Rescue Missions operate in every American inner city zone, reaching out to the hopeless with food, shelter, clothing, and the Love of God through Jesus Christ. It must take a special calling from God to impel a person to carry the assault on Hell to such places. Is He calling you to go there? [Image from wikipedia.org].

EDUCATIONAL institutions, from universities down to inner city elementary schools, are riddled with anti-God philosophy. Agnostics, atheists, and leftists, indoctrinate youth according to their agenda. Public policy and officials supervise the exclusion of religion from campuses. This is a kind of gate where a teacher or volunteer can plant seeds of faith which, like yeast, can spread through the population and bring some out into the light.

TENEMENTS, ghettos and blight stricken areas ar filled with people hopelessly under Satan's thumb. Because of the conditions in which they live, day in and day out, it is difficult for them to believe it possible there IS a God who cares for them.

The human condition is to crave carnal satisfaction. The spirit is dead within most occupants. Possibly God has given you a burden to rescue some of these victims behind the gates of hell. I personally have no knowledge of how to reach them. I pray someone does.



The visible Gates of Hell are abundant to the spiritual sight of Believers. There are captives everywhere ... serving as dedicated nurses because of altruism but nevertheless lost behind Hell's Gates. Supermarket cashiers, policemen, soldiers, judges, doctors, plumbers ... where to stop ?

You are empowered to storm the Gates of Hell to some degree or other. What you think is the smallest contribution to this war may be great in the eyes of God. You have to search your heart and assess your personal gifts, skills, and talents to discover how to carry on the assault.

Storming the Gates of Hell is a task for any Believer, not just those with credentials, training, or membership. I was led to salvation by the example of an ordinary person I met. She had no training. She simply loved God and it showed in her life ... her joy and peace in Christ.

The one thing you do not need to worry about when you are face to face with a person who is seeking God or receptive to His message is what you will say.

"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." Luke 12:11-12 NIV


GO ARMED
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Cor 10:2-4 NIV
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:7 NASB
Therefore put on the full armor of God,(T) so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians: 6:13-17


WHEN you go, know with absolute certainty that HE goes with you every step of the way. Be sure to LISTEN to the guidance of the Holy Spirit whose task it is to convict. You can do nothing on your own. Do not leap out ahead of the Lord. He will nudge you when you come across a field to be plowed, or seeded, or cultivated, or possibly harvested. Just keep in mind that YOU are the worker ... the vineyard is His and He calls the shots.

God richly bless you as you go


Written by Wayne Hepburn, July 2012. I herewith place this document in the Public Domain


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