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12 Gates of Jerusalem (Part I)

Discussion in 'Devotionals' started by rjones, Jan 12, 2008.

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  1. The book of Nehemiah is a book of restoration, a record of the rebuilding of the walls and gates of natural Jerusalem. But it is also a picture of the work God is doing in the restoration of His Church - the spiritual City of God (He. 11:10; 12:22).

    The city of Jerusalem had twelve gates, each with a significance in the daily life and historical experience of natural Jerusalem. Each gate has a spiritual counterpart, for they are a "shadow" of the reality that was to come (He.8:5; 10:1; Re.21:10-13). Each gate in the New Jerusalem is a single pearl (Re. 21:21). Jesus is the pearl of great price (Mt.13:45-46) and the only entrance into the City (Jn.10:9; 14:6). Each gate therefore depicts aspects of the finished work of the Cross of Christ, outworked in our experience.

    The Sheep Gate

    "Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel" (Ne.3:1).
    The Sheep Gate was the first to be restored, and was rebuilt by the High Priest and his fellow priests. It was called the Sheep Gate because it led out to the sheep markets, where lambs were sold for sacrifice in the Temple. This gate also led to Golgotha, the path Jesus took to the crucifixion.
    The Sheep Gate represents the experience of salvation made available by the Cross. This spiritual gate is the first to be built in our lives and was the first restored truth in the Reformation.

    The Fish Gate

    "The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place" (Ne. 3:3).
    This gate had been one of the main entrances into Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 33:14; Zephaniah 1:10). Merchants brought fish to the fish market through this entrance. The Fish Gate represents our witness, the Church reaching out to the world (Mt.4:19).

    The Jeshanah Gate

    "The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place" (Ne. 3:6).
    The word "jeshanah" means "old". The elders of the city would meet at the gate to discuss matters of community importance and issue judgment on disputes (Joshua 20:4; Ruth 4:11; Pro. 31:23). This gate represents both the eldership of the city (the leaders of the Body) and their guidance in the "ancient paths" of God (Jer. 6:16) in spiritual growth. Of interest, two men are picked out as rebuilders of the Jeshanah Gate: Uzziel, the goldsmith, and Hananiah, the perfume-maker (see 1 Pe. 1:6-7; 2 Cor. 2:14-15). Pastoral elders are the goldsmiths and perfume-makers of the Body!

    The Valley Gate

    This gate led to two main valleys that defined Jerusalem geographically and historically. The Hinnom Valley separated Mount Zion from the Hill of Evil Counsel and the "plain of Rephaim" to the south (Deu.2:20-21; 2 Sa. 21:16-22). Solomon erected high places for Molech in this valley (1 Kings 11:7), to whom children were sacrificed by fire (2 Kings 16:3; 23:10; 2 Chr.28:3; 33:6; Je.7:31). Josiah rendered the valley "ceremonially unclean" by spreading human bones over it (2 Kings 23:10,13-14). From then it became the garbage tip of the city. Because of its ceremonial defilement and its history of human sacrifice by fire, this valley came to be called "Ge Hinnom" or "Gehenna" - the name used for hell itself, the Lake of Fire (Mt.5:22; 10:28; 23:15,33).
    The second valley was called the Kidron, which means "turbid, dusky, gloomy". It was across this valley that Jesus crossed to go to the Garden of Gethsemane (Jn.18:1). It was into this valley that the pagan altars and images were burned during the cleansing of Jerusalem (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 23:4-12; 2 Chr.15:16; 29:16; 30:14).
    The Valley Gate represents firstly what we have been taken out from, snatched from the fires of hell by the grace of God; and secondly, a valley we enter by choice, the valley of suffering and cleansing (Ps. 23:4; 84:6-7).

    The Dung Gate

    "The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place" (Ne.3:14).
    The Dung Gate was the exit for city refuse and rubbish. Spiritual "dung" represents two things:
    The shame of the old life (Ro.7:24; 6:1-4,6; Re. 21:27; 22:14-15).
    The glory of the old life (Phil. 3:7-10).
    As God's new creation, we count both the shame and the glory of the old life as "dung" compared to knowing and experiencing the glory of Christ. We dump all this refuse out the Dung Gate.

    The Fountain Gate

    "Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through" (Ne. 2:14).
    The Fountain Gate appeared to be the gate in most ruin, so much so that it blocked Nehemiah's midnight inspection. This meant that, in the natural, the Fountain Gate must have been a centre of concentrated attack during the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army (2 Kings 25:4). Likewise, this gate's spiritual counterpart is a target of concentrated satanic attack.
    "The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King's Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes...Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armoury as far as the angle" (Ne.3:15-19).
    A number of places are associated with and accessed by the Fountain Gate:
    The King's Pool - Pool of Shiloah/Siloam (Isa. 8:6; Jn. 9:7).
    The King's Garden (Song of Songs 4:12-16; Isa. 58:11-12; Jn. 15:1-8).
    Steps to Zion (Neh.12:37; Ps. 87:2; He. 12:22).
    Tombs of David (2 Chr.32:33; Acts 2:25-32).
    House of Heroes (2 Sa.23:8-39; 22:32-51).
    The Armoury (Ro.13:12; Eph.6:11-17).

    The Fountain Gate derived its name from the fact that it was the primary access to the Fountain - the Gihon Spring, Jerusalem's sole perennial source of water. This fountain represented the life source of God Himself (Ps. 36:9; Isa.8:6). Prior to the captivity, Jeremiah prophesied:
    "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water" (Je.2:13).

    Of all the sins of Jerusalem, these two were singled out by God as the most severe. These two sins remain the most severe in the Church too:
    Forsaking the spring of living water (Je. 17:5-8,13).
    Building broken cisterns (Je. 14:3-4; 38:6; Ge. 37:24; Ze. 9:11).

    A cistern was like a well, built into the ground, but had no independent source of water. Water was brought from another source to the cistern, which held it in storage for later use. The Lord likens those who trust in their own resources to those who build broken cisterns - their lives leak joy, peace, faith and strength. Jesus encouraged us to come to Himself - the spring of living water (John 4:10-14).
    "On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him' John 7:37-38 .

    This is the experience accessed by the Fountain Gate - the living water, and its resulting fruitfulness (Ge.49:22). Further, it is at the spring of living water that the Holy Spirit is looking for the Bride (as pictured in Genesis 24:16,42-45; see also Re.22:17).
  2. Hello rjones,
    could you please give me the names of the 12 gates of Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah ?
  3. It seems the New Jerusalem is different than he old Jerusalem.

    Rev 21:10; And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
    Rev 21:11; having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.
    Rev 21:12; It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.
    Rev 21:13; There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.
    Rev 21:14; And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
  4. Neh 2:13 So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon's Well and on to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire.
    Neh 2:14 Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was no place for my mount to pass.
    Neh 2:15 So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned.
    Neh 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred and the Tower of Hananel.
    Neh 3:3 Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.
    Neh 3:6 Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.
    Neh 3:13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall to the Refuse Gate.
    Neh 3:14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, the official of the district of Beth-haccherem repaired the Refuse Gate. He built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.
    Neh 3:15 Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king's garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.
    Neh 3:26 The temple servants living in Ophel made repairs as far as the front of the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.
    Neh 3:28 Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.
    Neh 3:29 After them Zadok the son of Immer carried out repairs in front of his house. And after him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, carried out repairs.
    Neh 3:31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, carried out repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, in front of the Inspection Gate and as far as the upper room of the corner.
    Neh 3:32 Between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants carried out repairs.
    Neh 8:1 And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel.
    Neh 8:3 He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
    Neh 8:16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim.
    Neh 12:31 Then I had the leaders of Judah come up on top of the wall, and I appointed two great choirs, the first proceeding to the right on top of the wall toward the Refuse Gate.
    Neh 12:37 At the Fountain Gate they went directly up the steps of the city of David by the stairway of the wall above the house of David to the Water Gate on the east.
    Neh 12:39 and above the Gate of Ephraim, by the Old Gate, by the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped at the Gate of the Guard.

    Valley Gate, Water Gate, Refuse Gate, Gate of Ephraim, Fish Gate, Old Gate,
    Sheep Gate, Horse Gate, East Gate, Fountain Gate, hmmm maybe there were only ten gates for the old Jerusalem.

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