At the end of the first century B.C., the Romans annexed this place to the kingdom of Herod the Great. Herod built a temple close to the springs here, and dedicated it to his patron, the Roman Emperor Augustus. After the death of Herod the Great, his kingdom was divided among his three sons. The north and the Golan Heights were awarded to Philip, who called this place Caesarea Philippi. And he made this place the capital of his kingdom in 2 B.C.
Caesarea Philippi was a famous place for worshipping the god Pan, who lived in nature. Next to the flowing spring and the rich vegetation, the Panaeon was constructed. Therefore the place was also called Paneas or Pameas (Banias, according to the Arabic pronunciation).
Jesus brought his disciples to this Gentile area in his last year of ministry. An extremely message would be given here.
There is a huge rock in the temple of the Pan. After Peter confessed that Jesus was Christ, Jesus said,
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Mat 16:18-19
This is the first time Jesus talking about the Church recorded in the Gospels. The Church should be established. And the Church has the authority to pulling out people from the Hades, leading them into the Heaven. This is the reason why Church should be established. And this is why Jesus proclaimed this message in a Gentiles’ area but not in Judea . The Church belongs to all peoples and should set her goal on all peoples. This is why Jesus proclaimed this message in an idol worship center but not in Yahweh-seeking Judea . The Church should make disciples of all original idol-worshipping peoples. The establishment of Church is not for the saved people but the lost.
Today the North American churches and many churches around the world seem to forget why Jesus established the Church. Many of them behave like the knowledge, the academy or the master/doctor degrees can save the world. If you don’t get a doctor/master degree, it’s difficult for you to lead a church in North America . After getting degrees and discouraging many non-intellectual believers, these guys know only teaching knowledge that does not change life to the saved congregation inside the walls of their churches. They seldom or never lead the lost from the Hades to the Heaven as the message of Gospel is too simple for them. Why do they have to study for ten years if they already know the message of Gospel before they went to the seminary? These never-evangelists claim that they should mobilize others to do evangelism. And the outcome is that no one cares about the salvation of the lost. The doctors can teach “very important” knowledge nonstop and the congregation can learn “very important” knowledge nonstop until the second coming of Christ.
They think they are serving God.