Chris Welch uses Designer Pro 365 to illustrate all 3rd level concepts

Monday, 11 August 2014

Jerusalem's Gates: an Australian Study


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 (Hebrews 11:10; 12:22). The edict for the rebuilding of Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes in 445 BC (Nehemiah 1:1-4; 2:5). The Temple had been rebuilt under Ezra, but the walls of the city itself lay in ruin (Nehemiah 2:17).
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 (Hebrews 8:5; 10:1; read also Revelation 21:10-13). Each gate in the New Jerusalem is a single pearl (Revelation 21:21). Jesus is the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46) and the only entrance into the City (John 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" Nehemiah 3:1.
The Sheep Gate was the first to be restored, and was rebuilt by the High Priest and his fellow priests (see Hebrews 4:14-15; 7:24-8:2). It was called the Sheep Gate because it led out to the sheep markets, where lambs were sold for sacrifice in the Temple (see John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). 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" Nehemiah 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 (Matthew 4:19).
The Jeshanah Gate (old)
"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" Nehemiah 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; Proverbs 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 (Jeremiah 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 Peter 1:6-7; 2 Corinthians 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 (Deuteronomy 2:20-21; 2 Samuel 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 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Jeremiah.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 (Matthew 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 (John 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 Chron.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 (Psalm 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" Nehemiah 3:14.
The Dung Gate was the exit for city refuse and rubbish. Spiritual "dung" represents two things:
The shame of the old life (Romans 7:24; 6:1-4,6; Revelation 21:27; 22:14-15).The glory of the old life (Philippians 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" Nehemiah 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" Nehemiah 3:15-19.
A number of places are associated with and accessed by the Fountain Gate:
The King's Pool - Pool of Shiloah/Siloam (Isaiah 8:6; John 9:7).The King's Garden (Song of Songs 4:12-16; Isaiah 58:11-12; John 15:1-8).Steps to Zion (Neh.12:37; Psa. 87:2; Heb. 12:22).Tombs of David (2 Chron.32:33; Act. 2:25-32).House of Heroes (2 Sam.23:8-39; 22:32-51).The Armoury (Rom.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 (Psalm 36:9; Isaiah 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" Jeremiah 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 (Jeremiah 17:5-8,13).Building broken cisterns (Jeremiah 14:3-4; 38:6; Genesis 37:24; Zechariah 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 (see also verse 39; Revelation 7:17; Psalm 23).
This is the experience accessed by the Fountain Gate - the living water, and its resulting fruitfulness (Genesis 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 Revelation 22:17).
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Copyright © 1995 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in these studies are from the New International Version of the Bible, © New York International Bible Society, used by permission. Other versions referred to are: KJV (King James Version), NKJB (New King James Bible), TLB (The Living Bible), Amp (The Amplified Bible) and The Message. All versions used by permission.
For more information on Bible Studies available, visit the Churchlink site on the World Wide Web at <http://www.churchlink.com.au/churchlink> or write to:
Churchlink
P.O. Box 1033
Newcastle 2300
Australia.


  
Continuing the study of the restoration of the gates of Jerusalem (read Isaiah 60:1-3,5,11,18), we will look in this lesson at the six remaining gates, each of them representing a work of restoration in the Church (1 Corinthians 10:11; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1).
The Water Gate
"...and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower" Nehemiah 3:26.
In Scripture, water represents the word of God (John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 10:22). And the word of God was closely associated with the Water Gate. Note also that it was the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel (Mt Zion) who are recorded as repairing the Water Gate.
"...all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law" Nehemiah 8:1-3.
The date recorded for the commencement of this reading was the first day of the seventh month, which was the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1). Three things happened during this time:
The Book was opened (verse 5).The people were instructed (verse 7).The Word was made clear (verse 8).
Most of the people had not heard the Scriptures before (Amos 8:11), and so there were four principal reactions to the Word:
Worship (verses 5-6).Weeping (verse 9).Rejoicing (verses 10-12).Obedience (verse 13).
The spiritual reality of this gate is also being restored in our day, as God's Word is opened and we act in obedience to that Word.
The Horse Gate
"Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house" Nehemiah 3:28.
Even before its destruction, God promised to restore the Horse Gate (Jer. 31:30-40). This was the gate where the King's chariot passed through.
Read Job 39:19-25. In the Bible, the horse represents two attributes in the Christian life:
Discipline (James 3:3).Warfare (Zech.10:3; Songs 1:9).
The Lord is restoring to His Church a military discipline, so that we may be harnessed for battle (Revelation 6:2; 19:11; 17:14).
The Miphkad Gate
"Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate..." Nehemiah 3:31.
The Hebrew word used for this gate's name is miphkad,which can be translated in many ways - "appointment, mandate, designated spot, mustering, the numbering in a census." For this reason, different Bible versions render this gate in different ways- "the Inspection Gate", "the Muster Gate" and "the Gate Miphkad". But why was this gate called miphkad ?
The word miphkad is used only three passages (one of them a repeated story). Read 1 Chronicles 21:1-22:2. The miphkadhere was the "number" of the soldiers taken in the census. Because David was a fighting man, yet was to rely on God's strength in battle, God had, it appears, specifically told David not number his army (note verses 1-3,6-7), for Moses had taken two censuses at God's own command (Num.1:1-2; 26:1-2; Ex.20:12-16). The result of David's transgression was judgment from God. But the angel was stopped by God at the threshing floor of Araunah. There David was commanded to build an altar before God, and it was there that the temple was later built.
So what did miphkad mean to the people of Jerusalem? Firstly, it meant the actual census held by David; secondly, and most importantly, it meant the temple site itself - the "appointed place" where the ark eventually came to reside (1 Chronicles 22:1,6-10). The only other use of miphkad is in Ezekiel 43:21, where it means "appointed place". The Miphkad Gate led into the Temple courtyard, the "appointed place" of God's presence.
Today, God is restoring the Miphkad Gate in His Church – the appointed place of meeting together in the manifested presence of the Lord (Hebrews 10:25; Matthew 18:20; Psalm 133).
The Ephraim Gate
The Ephraim Gate did not need restoration, for it was already intact. Ephraim means "double fruitfulness." Anything that is "double" means requires a previous measure as a reference point for the doubling. The double fruitfulness of today's Church is measured against the original fruitfulness of the early Church. This gate in the Church is not restored, but rather fulfilled. The Ephraim Gate was also associated with the Feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:16-18), which is God's pattern for the last day harvest. The focal day of this feast was the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:2,12-17), which also has a spiritual fulfilment in the Church (Revelation 8:1-5). As His Church, we are called not only to be fruitful, but doubly fruitful (John 15:1-8; 14:12).
The Gate of the Guard
This gate (also called the King's Gate because it led to the palace) also needed no repairs (see Nehemiah 3:29; 12:39). There were two kinds of guards: the guards at all the gates (7:1-3) and the keepers at the Guard Gate (7:45,73). This last kind were not simply recruited, but appointed as a lineage, just like the priests, singers and temple servants (Nehemiah 10:28-29,39; 12:45-47; 13:4-5).
Read 1 Chronicles 9:17-26. The responsibilities of the gate-keepers (as an order within the temple) were to:
Guard the thresholds of "the Tent" - the Temple (verses 19-25).Responsible for the rooms and treasures in the house of God (verse 26; Romans 11:33; Colossians 2:2-3).Had charge of the key for opening each morning (verse 27; Luke 11:52; Matthew 16:19).Had charge of the articles used in temple service (verse 28).Were assigned to take care of the furnishings and consumables (verse 29).
One particular man set apart as a gatekeeper was Obed-Edom (read 2 Samuel 6:12; 1 Chronicles 13:13; 15:18,19,24; 16:4-5,37-38). The gatekeepers were those who had such an experience of the riches of God's presence that they devoted their whole lives to ushering others into the presence of God. Read Psalm 84:10 (also whole psalm).
The East Gate
"Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs" Nehemiah 3:29.
The East Gate was another gate that needed no repair. It was the middle of the three gates that led into the Temple compound - the other two being the Water Gate and the Gate of the Guard - and had a special prophetic significance for the people of Israel (read Ezekiel 47:1; 10:1-5,15-19) and represented two things:
The Coming of the Glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 43:1-5; Isaiah 6:1-4).The Coming of the Lord of Glory - both the First Coming (Zechariah 9:9-10; Luke 19:29-49; 21:37-38; Ezekiel 44:1-2) and the Second Coming (Matthew 24:27; Zechariah 14:3).
The week before His crucifixion, Jesus spent each night on the Mount of Olives . Each morning he would enter through the East Gate (Matthew 24:1-3; Mark 13:1-4). He later ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) and will return the same way He left (verses 10-11; Ezekiel 11:1-3,23). At that time He will again pass through the East Gate into the city of Jerusalem - psalm 24
Copyright © 1995 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in these studies are from the New International Version of the Bible, © New York International Bible Society, used by permission. Other versions referred to are: KJV (King James Version), NKJB (New King James Bible), TLB (The Living Bible), Amp (The Amplified Bible) and The Message. All versions used by permission.
For more information on Bible Studies available, visit the Churchlink site on the World Wide Web at <http://www.churchlink.com.au/churchlink> or write to:
Churchlink
P.O. Box 1033
Newcastle 2300
Australia.

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