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Genesis 28:17
And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This
is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.

Matthew 16:18
And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will
build my Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

It is interesting to note that the first time the phrase
‘house of God’ was used in the Bible was in Genesis 28:17 and that is also the
first time the phrase ‘gate of heaven’ was used.
Also the first time the word Church was used in the Bible
was Matthew 16:18 and that is also the first time the phrase ‘gates of hades’
was used.
What can we learn from this? The scripture in Genesis is
describing the nature of the Church. That the church (house of God) is the gate
of heaven on earth. This means it is the point through which heaven’s influence
is released into the earth.

The second scripture in Matthew is showing us why the Church
is on earth here; to close the gates of hell. That is to shut down systems,
ideas, spirits or personalities who give hell access to this earth. In other words,
to exercise dominion.
The church does not exist just to do praise and worship or
to organize programs, sing, dance and celebrate our breakthroughs. The Church
exist to shut the gates of hell and open the gate of heaven. Jacob only saw a
gate but Peter was given keys. We have the right and authority to forbid or
permit. When evil occurs on the land God is NOT to blame. It is the church that
permitted it by our supine attitude towards things. We only focus on ourselves
and our breakthroughs. The first petition in the Lord’s prayer is ‘Thy Kingdom
come. Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. It comes before ‘give us
this day our daily bread’.

Therefore, as a Church we must be a voice against the rising
tide of evil. We can forbid or permit plagues, disasters, evil policies of
government, ideas and systems that are promoted by hell etc. But it starts by
changing our focus from ourselves to the kingdom and having a dominion and take
over mentality.

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