PMW 2020-041 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Matthew 16:18 our Lord spoke these famous words to his leading disciple:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
This passage has generated significant debate because of grammatical difficulties within it. Some scholars even emend the text to “straighten out the problem.” There is an awkwardness in having stationary gates actively attempting to prevail or conquer the church. How can gates attack?
Another problem is determining what Jesus means by hades. This Greek word is the common translation for the Hebrew word sheol in the OT. Sheol (and therefore, its Greek translation hades) can refer to the place of the dead, signifying either the place of rest for God’s people or the place of torment for the sinner (hell). Or it may simply mean “the grave,” without any other connotation one way or the other (it represents death irrespective of reward or punishment). The NT uses each of these meanings in various places. Continue reading