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It is mentioned in Matt. 16:13 and Mark 8:27 as the northern limit of our Lord’s public ministry. According to some its original name was Baal-Gad (Josh. 11:17), or Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23), when it was a Canaanite sanctuary of Baal.
It was afterwards called Panium or Paneas, from a deep cavern full of water near the town. This name was given to the cavern by the Greeks of the Macedonian kingdom of Antioch because of its likeness to the grottos of Greece, which were always associated with the worship of their god Pan.
Its modern name is Banias.
Here Herod built a temple, which he dedicated to Augustus Caesar. This town was afterwards enlarged and embellished by Herod Philip, the tetrarch of Trachonitis, of whose territory it formed a part, and was called by him Caesarea Philippi, partly after his own name, and partly after that of the emperor Tiberius Caesar. It is thus distinguished from the Caesarea of Israel.
See the Christian archaeological videos which describes this city and the cultural context surrounding Jesus Christ: On the Death & Resurrection of the Messiah (“Gates of Hell” segment) and On the Early Church (“Everything to Lose, Nothing to Gain” segment) part of the Faith Lessons video series). “In the midst of pagan self-indulgence, Jesus challenged his disciples to deny themselves and follow him. Christians today must also have the courage to boldly live out Christ’s message in a pagan society.”