UPON THIS ROCK
Pulpit Article 4/26/2019
The church of this generation does not, for the most part, understand its place in the world. It is evident in the lack of effect the body of Christ has on the world. In order to know our place in the world, we must understand what or whom we are built upon. There are a few in the body of Christ who understand and know our position in Christ and on WHOM we, the church, are built. I personally believe we have lost sight of the majesty of Jesus Christ. The church of today is intimidated by other religions. For the most part, the church is timid, afraid and feels powerless against any opposing forces. Although we are sheep unto Jesus the Chief Shepherd, we only see ourselves as sheep in every aspect. We have suffered many things of the kingdom of darkness against us. This is not God’s will, nor has it ever been His will for the church.
Ancient kingdoms were built upon mountains for protection and vision. Some mountains were so high they were uninhabitable. Mt. Hermon was one of these mountains. Jesus said I am come to send fire on earth, it was not completely apparent at that moment what exactly He meant. He spoke of a plan that had already begun by calling men out of Satan’s kingdom and join the Kingdom of Heaven to start a spiritual war that rages to this day! We do know that there is a kingdom battle for the souls of men. We are living in a spiritual world where kingdom is against kingdom. We are at war at this moment with the kingdom of darkness.
Matthew 16:13a When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Caesarea Philippi – Ancient Roman city located at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon. It was adjacent to a spring, grotto, and related shrines dedicated to the Greek god Pan. A stronghold city where the Roman Empire assumed control.
Situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mr. Hermon, Caesarea Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River. The abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. These temples were present and flourishing when Jesus came here to reveal His plan for the church. Caesarea-Philippi had to be in this location because the belief of the gates of hell where they worshipped their god Pan. Caesarea Philippi was built upon and got its strength from the pagan god Pan. Jesus would reveal how He would build his church; kingdom. Caesarea Philippi was a Roman stronghold. The city was under the control and ownership of Philip the tetrarch. It was named after king Herod’s son Philip and to distinguish it from Caesarea on the coast of the Mediterranean. The city was also a spiritual stronghold. Because of the cult worship there, it became a gate of hell where the demonic realm was opened up and overtook the entire area. Caesarea Philippi was at the southern foot of Mt. Hermon where temples were built to false gods; namely Baal, Pan, and Augustus. Caesarea Philippi was in the same region as Gadara, Magdala around the sea of Galilee. Out of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus cast out more devils in this area than any other area.
• All Galilee those possessed with devils. Matthew 4:23-25.
• Mary Magdalene (out of whom was cast seven devils) Luke 8:2.
• Demoniac of Gadarene Tombs. Mark 5:1-12.
• 2 demon possessed of the country of the Gergesenes. Matthew 8:28-34.
The whole region was infested with worship to demon spirits which brings demon possession. Antiochus Epiphanes and Alexander the Great who resided in this area promoted heathen God worship which led to this whole region being overrun and overtaken by demons. Whether people want to believe it or not, the worship of heathen gods such as those in Roman/Greek mythology, ancient Egyptian mythology etc. are all worship of demon spirits. When you open yourself to these demons, you open a gate in the spiritual where demons can infest, oppress and possess your life.
But high above all these temples was Mt. Hermon. The snow capped mountains of Mt. Hermon were the source of water for the Jordon river which developed from the dew which descended from the heavens. The dew would fall at evening, freeze on the top of the mountain, and melt during the day. The mountains were so high and so vast that it produced enough water to flow down from Mt. Hermon to become a supply to the Jordon river which in turn, supplied water to Israel. Simply put, Israel was supplied with waters of life from Mt. Hermon.
Psalm 133:3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
The peaks of Mt. Hermon were so high that they were uninhabitable by man. At the top, it was a different atmosphere. Mortal man could not abide there. The same is true of Christ and Heaven. No one can attain the position of Christ. You must be placed and built there by Christ Himself. Mt. Hermon has a history in the word of God to be a place of continual battle for territory. It was taken over from the two kings of the Amorites by the hand of Moses. Deuteronomy 3:8. It retaken by the Philistines, but Joshua recaptured it by cutting off the Anakims from the mountains. Joshua 11:21-23.
Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Jesus asks his disciples what the general consensus is about Him. No marvel, this world may see Jesus as a man with power but this is not who Jesus Is. Jesus does not ask this question to his disciples because He does not know. Jesus knew. He asked, in my opinion, for the disciples to see the difference in the testimony between the world and His church.
Who you say Jesus is matters everything! Jesus would build His church on the same principle as Caesarea Philippi was built upon the strength of the false god Pan.
16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Some were convinced Jesus was some Old Testament prophet that had returned. This is the world’s view of Jesus. Even today, many religions recognize Jesus. Some revere Him as a holy man, some a prophet, others view him as a man who operated in the power of God. All of these testimonies of Jesus are true. However, Jesus is much more than this.
The world had no basis for saying Jesus was John the Baptist; none for Elias/Elijah or Jeremiah or anyone else. If there was no scriptural basis, then their opinion had no merit and was therefore conjured up in the mind. The world has their opinion about Jesus. This is opinion without revelation from God. This is opinion through human reasoning.
You can believe Jesus has some power but not believe He has ALL POWER. To say He is a prophet is to day that God inspires Him to speak or knows things in the Spirit. To say Jesus has power with God is to limit who HE is; thus placing Him on the same level as heathen gods like Pan, Baal or even Rome’s newly deified emperor Caesar Augustus.
Do you do this in your life? Do you view your problems stronger or as strong as Jesus’ power to deliver? Do you look at problems at times and say to yourself “this problem is too big for Jesus?” You may not say those exact words but do you come before Him in prayer but doubt God’s ability and do not trust Him to deliver? The reason why so many people don’t have great victory in their life is because they don’t believe Jesus has all power. To them, He just has some power.
Do you view addictions or afflictions in you or your family’s life and question Jesus’ ability to deliver? Are there cases you label as hopeless? Are there people you look at and say they are too far gone? If so, Jesus isn’t CHRIST to you. Do you see Satan as a worthy adversary of Jesus Christ? If so, you have lowered Jesus to a lesser god of comparable power. In doing so, have we humiliated God? We must not humiliate the authority of Christ. Friend, Jesus is exalted so high that Satan is not even a worthy foe. He is a fallen angel reduced to an entity without the glory of God. He’s an embarrassment in comparison to the Son of God.
16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Your answer about who you say Jesus is matters EVERYTHING! You are the church. You are not the world. Your testimony of Christ will not be the same as the world’s testimony.
16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
When we say “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” we are saying “Jesus you are above all! You are stronger than EVERYTHING!” If we don’t see Jesus this way, then we’re seeing a different Jesus than who He really is! We are therefore, taking away part of His character. Those who preach that Jesus does not have all power are actually preaching another Jesus, another gospel and not the Jesus of the bible.
16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
God the father revealed unto Peter who Jesus was. He is the Christ! He is the Son of God. It can be said and testified of with the mouth, but the revelation in the heart must come from God the Father. When some people say Jesus is the Son of God, they speak it as though they were convinced by what someone said to them. But when God reveals it, it is in the heart. It has substance. It is a revelation you can stand upon anytime Satan comes against you! You can be confident that the Christ; the Son of the living God is more powerful to deliver from anything Satan throws your way.
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.
Contrary to what many in the religious would believe, Peter is not the rock Jesus was referring to in this verse. God does not build anything upon a man! Man is built upon God. There are two different words used in this verse to describe rocks. Notice the following words in the Greek and it will become very clear what Jesus is referring to.
Peter is NOT the Rock
Thou art Peter – Greek G4074 Petros pronounced pet’-ros Apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than G3037); as a name, Petrus, an apostle: – Peter, rock. Compare G2786.
Peter is G4074 – Piece of rock.
Upon This Rock -Greek G4073 petra pronounced pet’-ra Feminine of the same as G4074; a (mass of) rock (literally or figuratively): – rock.
Rock is G4073 – mass of rock. Mountain.
Peter was a rock, but he was not the Rock upon which Jesus would build His church. Jesus is the Rock! Not only is Jesus the Rock upon which the church is built, Jesus is the “Mass of Rock” meaning He is the Mountain on which the church is built. You must see this to get the full picture.
UPON THIS ROCK
As Philip the Tetrarch built his city and kingdom upon the gods they believed in an worshipped, so Jesus was revealing to the disciples that He would build his church upon this same concept. As Hermon was high above Caesarea Philippi, Jesus is far above Satan and all other principalities. The comparison of Mt. Hermon towering far above the temples built in Caesarea Philippi is the wonderful revelation picture of the vast difference between Christ and the foolish kingdoms built upon small heathen Greek gods with limited power.
I personally believe Jesus took the disciples to the location to give them a visual revelation of how much greater the kingdom of Heaven is compared to the strongest of the kingdom of darkness.
In Daniel’s vision of the last days, he sees, in Daniel 2:31-45, a dream of king Nebuchadnezzar that God reveals to him of the kingdoms and how they will end with the kingdom of God. Christ is the stone cut without hands that smites the other kingdoms becomes an exceeding great mountain. Kingdoms are built upon mountains. Jesus is more than just a stone or rock, but a Great Mountain!
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
Ancient kingdoms were built upon mountains for position, protection and vision. Kingdoms were built with indestructible materials; gold, silver and precious stones. This are materials that cannot be destroyed with fire. Kingdom walls were built using huge stones. These stones could not be moved, burned or penetrated through. Jesus revealed to Peter that he, Peter, was a rock and Jesus would build him, as well as all others who trust Him to be the Christ the Son of the living God, upon this Rock; Jesus Christ!
What Rock are you built upon? You may say “I’m built upon Jesus Christ.” You may have well said, however, let’s qualify what we mean. What is your view of Christ? Is Christ above all to you? Is He some powerful; mostly powerful or all powerful? Your view of Jesus in this respect matters much more than you realize.
The church is part of the kingdom of Heaven on earth right now. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. The church is the “called out” ones. We have been called out of one kingdom into another. When you repented and were saved, you actually renounced your citizenship of one kingdom and become a citizen of another. No one can be citizens of two kingdoms at the same time.
FAR ABOVE ALL PRINCIPALITIES
Paul’s prayer for the church of Ephesus was that they would receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is what we need in our own hearts. We need to understand the position, not only where Christ is in His authority, but the position of the church on which His church is built. If you understand where Christ is in His authority and that the church is built UPON HIM, then you will, by default, see our wonderful authority and victory in Christ in this life.
Ephesians 1:15-23 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
THE GATES OF HELL
The term “the gates of Hell” is a very interesting one. Gates are entrances into strongholds of kingdoms.
We are caught up in a spiritual battle of kingdom against kingdom. There is a constant pull for territory and dominion. The demon spirits that have/are taken/taking over our area. Hell is constantly at war with the church, but the church is rarely at war with Hell.
Right below Hermon, the mountain of God, Satan builds with the intent to hinder the kingdom of God. Who do men say that I am? Why ask this question? Rome is tied to their Roman/Greek gods. Pan was one of these gods. Around this area, there were many demon possessed individuals. As previously mentioned, this is the same area where Magdala and Gadara are situated. Amazingly where resided Mary Magdalene (from whom was cast 7 devils) and Legion (from whom was cast 3k-5k devils)
Grotto of Pan
The spring emerged from the large cave which became the center of pagan worship. Beginning in the 3rd century B.C., sacrifices were cast into the cave as offerings to the god Pan.
Pan, the half-man half-goat god of fright (thus “panic”), is often depicted playing the flute. This city, which was known in ancient times as Panias, is not called by the Arabic form of this name, Banias.
Baal was also worshipped here in Caesarea Philippi. Baal is a well known false god in the Old Testament. Make no mistake, these gods had power because they were actually demon spirits. This is why worship and trust in them raised kingdoms from them such as Egypt, Philistines, Babylon etc.
Finally there was a temple erected for Caesar Augustus which is where the city gets half its name. Roman emperors were glorified and deified. The worship of these gods actually opened up the gates of hell in their regions.
THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT
Just as Moses returned to the kingdom of Egypt declaring “God said let my people go” so shall the church enter Satan’s domain and kingdom preaching to all “the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Come out and be a part of this kingdom.”
You are now in the kingdom of Heaven and as a church are built upon Jesus Christ. Your duty is now to go into the dominion and kingdom of Satan through the gates of Hell and preach/publish the gospel of the kingdom of God and telling the enslaved masses that they can be free of Satan’s tyranny. They don’t have to remain slaves any longer. The gates of hell cannot and will not stop you!
As the generation of Joshua approached Jericho, the entire city went immediately on lock-down. The city was shut up because of the children of Israel. No one went in and not one went out. The same is true of the church. Satan is not going to just let us come on in. The gates of hell will be shut up. This will not stop the church. The children of Israel were commanded to walk the entire perimeter of the city and march. They marched for seven days revealing “We’re here and were coming in whether you like it or not.” For seven days Israel did not leave. They encompassed the city. Jericho might have thought they could wait them out and hope Israel would leave. Satan waits the church out in hope we will give up and leave. Sadly we do! We must lay hold and claim what God says is ours! Claim it in the Spirit! Fight for it in the Spirit!
The problem with the church today is we do not wait for the power of God to change our situations. The church does not even believe in the power of God will change things anymore. The whole idea of being God’s people is for us to go to God with any problem and trust in Him; His power to effect that situation. God has and will always work with the church confirming His word with signs following. Sadly the church has cut off the power of God and has been reduced to trusting in earthly things as all other forces on the earth have. Hence the reason why the church is of little or no consequence in the world.
Joshua was directed by God to circle Jericho for seven days. When the people were obedient to God, the power of God did the rest. This is how the church must operate today. When the church gets back to believing and trusting in God to work and move with them, then the world will see and know God is real!
Are you built upon Jesus being the Christ, which means He is all powerful or are you built upon the Jesus as the world view Him as being some powerful. If Jesus is not all powerful to you, then there will be a point in which the gates of hell will prevail against you.
Jesus did not say the gates of hell would not try to stop it, but He did say they would not prevail against it. Bottom line is this; push against the gates until they open. If you stop storming the gates, then it is evidence you don’t believe what Jesus said. Keep pushing in faith! As Joshua, keep marching around until the power of God tears down the walls. It’s His will to do so! Why? Because Satan has people inside who are enslaved. They want to be free. But more so, God wants them free! He wants to send you into Satan’s domain to tell them God wants to set them free. You will be met with opposition, but that opposition will NEVER stop you. If you stop, it is because you chose to stop, not because you didn’t have the power to prevail against the gates of Hell!
Luke 10:17-20 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
If you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God which positions Him in Heaven far above all principalities, then there will be no device Satan can conceive that you won’t believe Jesus is not FAR ABOVE!
All forms of addiction must break at the feet of Jesus. All forms of oppression must break at the feet of Jesus! Any other device conceived by Satan must break at the name which is above every name; Jesus CHRIST!
Because Jesus is the foundation on which the church is built, the church is the most powerful kingdom in this world. Why then is the church not making a bigger impact the world? Perhaps it’s because we don’t understand the revelation of Jesus Christ, His victory and the Rock/Mountain on which the church is built.
The church is the salt and light of the world. The church is victorious of all the power of the enemy. The sight of Caesarea Philippi in the backdrop of the enormous Mt. Hermon gives us a great understanding of how much greater Jesus and His church is in comparison to any and all other kingdoms of this world and Satan’s kingdom beneath. Church, we are on the winning side! We are part of the glorious church!
What does it really mean when we say Jesus I believe you are the Christ, the son of the Living God? We’re saying Jesus is ALL POWERFUL!
Could it be that the church for the most part is defeated all too often because we don’t honestly view Him as the Christ?
God is in the midst of her and she shall not be moved. Psalm 46:5
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [is] from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:5-6
We are part of the kingdom which cannot be moved. Although it has the power to move and shake other kingdoms, it is unmoveable!
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29