Just a quick one about Peter’s confession in Matthew. I’m sure many Catholics would know what Matthew’s Jesus said when He praised Peter. “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
In the Greek, “gates of hell” is actually pylai Hadou, “gates of Hades.” In the Old Testament, “the gates of death” denotes the place were the dead go (Job 38:17; Psalms 9:13; 107:18), and in Isaiah 38:10 the phrase “the gates of Sheol” is used in the same way (cf. Job 17:16 “the bars of Sheol”) - the words “death” and “Sheol” are even connected with one another. The Greek hadēs is generally the NT equivalent of sheol, and the same phrase is used in this sense in Septuagint Isaiah 38:10 as well as in Wisdom of Solomon 16:13; 3 Maccabees 5:51 and in Psalms of Solomon 16:2.
That’s a nice juxtaposition there if you ask me. Peter proclaims Jesus as “Son of the living God;” in turn Jesus promises to build a Church that “the gates of Hades” (i.e. death) will never take hold of.
I said: At the height of my days, in the gates of Hades (pylais Hadou)
I shall leave behind my remaining years.
I said, I shall not see the salvation of God on the earth;
no longer shall I see a man from my kindred.
I have left behind the rest of my life;
it has gone out and departed from me
like the one who having pitched a tent takes it down;
my spirit in me became like the web
of a weaver who approaches to cut it off.
In that day I was given over as to a lion until morning;
thus he broke my bones,
for I was given over from day to night.
- Isaiah 38:10-13 LXX
For it was neither herb nor poultice that cured them,
but your word, O Lord, that heals all things.
For you have authority over life and death
and you lead down to the gates of Hades (pylas Hadou) and bring back up again.
- Wisdom of Solomon 16:12-13
As the elephants and the armed force accompanying them were going out around the gate, the Judeans saw both the dust of the passing throng and heard the roaring crowd and, believing this to be their last moment of life, the end of their wretched suspense, gave themselves over to lamentation and wailing and began kissing one another, embracing their relatives, falling upon their necks, parents their children, mothers their daughters and yet others holding newborn infants to the breast as they drew their last milk. Nevertheless, when they considered all the help from heaven that had fallen into their share in the past, they threw themselves prostrate with one accord, parted their newborn from the breasts and called out to the ruler of every power with an exceedingly loud cry, entreating him to show them mercy by making an appearance, they who stood even now at the gates of Hades (pylais Hadou).
- 3 Maccabees 5:48-51
When my soul slumbered, away from the Lord, I slipped for a short time,
in the lethargy of those that sleep far from God.
For a short time my soul was poured out to death,
close to the gates of Hades (pylōn Hadou) with the sinner,
when my soul separated from the Lord, God of Israel,
except that the Lord helped me with his pity forever.
He pricked me, like a goad for a horse, that I might awaken unto him;
my savior and protector at all times saved me.
I will acknowledge [to] you, O God, for you helped me to salvation,
and you did not count me with sinners for destruction.
Remove not your pity from me, O God,
nor your remembrance from my heart until death.
- Psalms of Solomon 16:1-6