Opening discussion on prophets led to this Rich Mullins video:
Whole concert here .
Videos we showed, related to the "gates of hell/building church on secular rock/space theme:
More on Metallica here
-- Matthew 16
We watched this video below (not online, but highlights below, and another summary is here)
City of Pagans by Ray Vander Laan
Caesarea Philippi, which stood in a lush area near the foot of Mount Hermon, was a city dominated by immoral activities and pagan worship.
The Gates of Hell
To the pagan mind, the cave at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld, where fertility gods lived during the winter. They committed detestable acts to worship these false gods.
Jesus presented a clear challenge with his words at Caesarea Philippi: He didn't want his followers hiding from evil: He wanted them to storm the gates of hell.
Jesus' followers cannot successfully confront evil when we are embarrassed about our faith.
On the offense
As we listen to Jesus' challenge today, we as Christians should ask ourselves the important question: When it comes to the battle against evil, are we on defense or offense?
what's the ROCKin "on this rock"?
One writer summarizes this part of the video:
- protestantism in general has traditionally been that the rock Jesus was talking about was Peter’s confession.
- The Roman Catholic view is that Peter himself is the rock (their basis for him being the first Pope). The second view does have its merit, although quite a weak one, that it makes sense of the word play between Peter and rock.
- Ray Vander Laan offers up a third possibility that I had never considered. He mentions that in Caesarea Philippi there was a rock that had a cleft in it that people believed was the gates to the underworld. They believed evil spirits associated with the Greek god Pan would travel through those gates back and forth to Hades. Vander Laan believes that Jesus was referring to that rock that his church would be built upon. I believe his point is that the church is going to take supremacy over the gates of Hades and not so much that evil is going to be the basis for his church. LINK
The Protestant tradition has taken Jesus declaration here to say that His church was to be built upon the confession recognizing Him as the Messiah and the Son of the living God. This is a valid interpretation, as well, and is a practice supported by other scriptures.Ray VanderLaan and other Hebrew contextual scholars suggest a third interpretation which may be just as – if not more – powerful as the others, based on the context. Why would Jesus choose this place, the filthiest (morally) place within walking distance of his earthly region of ministry?
Might it be possible that he took histalmidim to the most degenerate place possible to say to them “THIS is where I want you to build my church. I want you to go out into the repugnantly degenerate places, where God is not even known. I want you to go out to places that make Caesarea Philippi look tame, and THAT is where I want you to build my church.” Because that is exactlywhat they did. They went to places in Asia Minor and the ends of the earth, where “gods” were worshipped in unspeakably awful manners and where Christians would be persecuted in horrific manner, and they gave their lives doing EXACTLY what they were told to do by their Rabbi.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the story of Caesarea Philippi and understand it in its context, it comes to life in ways it never had before. LINK
Different video, same theme, some overlap..filmed at "gates of hell"
Rob Bell on binding and loosing: "the Bible is a difficult book"
a free online read, pages 40-69
Velvet Elvis - pp. 49-50
Now imagine if a rabbi who had a new perspective on the Torah was coming to town. This rabbi who was making new interpretations of the Torah was said to have authority. The Hebrew word for "authority" is [i]shmikah[/i]. This might not even happen in your lifetime. You would hike for miles to hear him.
A rabbi who taught with [i]shmikah[/i] would say things like, "You have it said..., but I tell you..."
What he was saying is, "You have heard people interpret that verse this way, but I tell you that this is what God really means in that verse."
Now the rabbis had techincal terms for this endless proces of forbidding and permitting and making interpretations. They called it "binding and loosing". To "bind" something was to forbid it. To "loose" something was to allow it.
So a rabbi would bind certain practices and loose other practices. And when he gave his disciples the authority to bind and loose, it was called "giving the keys of the kingdom".
Notice when Jesus says in the book of Matthew: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
What he is doing here is significant. He is giving his followers the authority to make [i]new[/i] interpretations of the Bible. He is giving them permission to say, "Hey, we think we missed it before on that verse, and we've recently come to the conclusion that this is what it actually means."
And not only is he giving them authority, but he is saying that when they do debate and discuss and pray and wrestle and then make decisions about the Bible, somehow God in heaven will be involved.
Jesus expects his followers to be engaged in the endless process of deciding what it means to actually live the Scriptures.