The Cave of Pan

Pan is often depicted as a half-goat and half-man, carrying a flute or even a pitch fork. In Greek mythology, he is both a Shepherd & Forest god and a god revered by soldiers who creates of panic and mesmerizes the enemy with his halucinating flute.As a eunuch, he attracts female sea nymphs. In 20 BCE, Herod the Great built a temple over the cave. As seen on coins, this temple had a gate. In most ancient mythologies, the Shepherd god comes out of the underworld once a year and brings for the seasons. The fact that the cave of Pan in actuality is a karstic cave spring should further corroborate this. Archaeologists found evidence that animal sacrifices were thrown into the mouth of the cave, into the abyss. It is highly possible that when Jesus and his disciples looked out over Ceaesarea Phillipi they saw the cave of Pan and the Greeks binding goats and offering sacrifices to Pan. Perhaps now Jesus’ play on words In Matthew 16 becomes clear: "...and on this Rock (Mt. Hermon), I’ll build my church (instead of the cave of Pan) and the gates of Hades (the entrance to the cave of Pan) will not overcome it. I will give you the keys (perhaps a priest holding a set of keys at the entrance to the temple) of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth (perhaps seeing a goat being bound for sacrifice)..."


The Cave of Pan at Caesarea Phillipi
Image Credit: Samson Tours

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