The Gates of Jerusalem
In the story of Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem to rebuild its fortification wall we see that there are ten gates incorporated within the structure. At first glance these gates might not seem very significant to us, after all they’re just gates. However, if we scrutinize the name of each gate and their placement within the story, we discover a kind of blueprint for our Christian walk. Are these names and their order in Nehemiah’s account some sort of coincidence? You be the judge—I’ve listed the gates in the exact order they appear in the Bible..
The Sheep Gate
The repairs to the wall had to start somewhere, right? I feel it is absolutely appropriate that our walk of faith starts here as well—for two reasons. First, we are likened to sheep who have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) who are exhorted to enter by the narrow gate (Luke 13:24). But more importantly, Who is it that we believe and follow?
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
The Fish Gate
Salvation is found in Christ Jesus alone; there is no work that we can do to earn our deliverance. Nevertheless, the born again believer is grateful and Christian duty is the common reaction to that sentiment. It is in fact our reasonable service (Romans 12:1).
Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17
Are you beginning to see a pattern emerge?
As we share our faith or as others witness our religious behavior, someone will inevitably start asking questions. That’s a glorious consequence because so many times I won’t have the precise answer they’re looking for. I’m drawn back to the Old Gate, the Bible and as a result we’re both blessed. Jesus Christ is both the Word (John 1:1) and the rejected stone which became the chief cornerstone (Acts 4:11).
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work . 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Valley Gate
Trials and tribulations are a certainty when we walk with Jesus. Oh we’re not being singled out because of our faith for no one is exempt; believers and non-believers have problems to cope with. What we have is the opportunity to manage our problems differently. In our observance God is glorified.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
The Refuse Gate
I must defer to the King James Version because in it this opening in Jerusalem’s wall is referred to as the Dung Gate and as we all know, ‘dung happens.’ The reality is we’re all going to mess up and satan’s going to come along and remind us how dungy our walk is. The key here is to remember that our adversary isn’t pleased when we fall; he’s pleased when we don’t get up.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
The Fountain Gate
Our Savior is the fountain of life (Psalms 36:9), His law is a fountain of life (Proverbs 13:14), and the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27). The worst we can do is to forsake the Source and hewn for ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13). After the valley and dung how refreshing it is to come back to the fountain. As we mature in the faith we soon learn that the fountain is portable.
“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14
The Water Gate
In the typology we might think the Fountain Gate and the Water Gate refer to the same thing. Well (pun intended), to a certain degree they do. The fountain is the source and the water itself is that which we drink up, soak in, and share with others. It quenches our thirst and cleanses the soul.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word Ephesians 5:25-26
The Horse Gate
Now we’re getting into some exciting stuff, because when I think of horses, I think of Christ’s return. Will you be on one of these mighty steeds?
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints Jude 1:14
The East Gate
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4) Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. (Ezekiel 43:1-2)
If you go to Israel today (so I am told) you will see that the East Gate is all bricked up. It’s been that way since the Seljuk Turks sealed it in about 1100 AD. I’m told that they had learned from the scriptures that Christ would be returning via the east Gate and this was their attempt to thwart His arrival. Silly Turks. Little did they know that they merely were fulfilling prophesy. Anybody think Jesus is going to turn away when He finds the East Gate closed? Me either.
Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. 2 And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. Ezekiel 44:1-2
The Miphkad Gate
Miphkad means command from the root word which means the appointed place and it speaks to judgment. Every believer should understand that there are two judgments; God shall judge the righteous and the wicked (Ecclesiastes 3:17). The righteous will stand before the Lord and have their works judged; their salvation however is secure:
Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire1 Corinthians 3:13-15
And the wicked will also be judged. Their eternal future is secure too, however…
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.5 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15
The Sheep Gate
Wait a minute; we started with the Sheep Gate. Correct! We have come full circle–the Sheep Gate is mentioned at the very beginning and very end of Nehemiah chapter 3. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come (Revelation 1:8). Our story begins with Jesus and ends with Jesus; that is of course if you want to call eternity in Heaven with Him a finale.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:11-12