The Symbolism of Nehemiah's Gates of Jerusalem - Part 4
The previous blogs in this series discuss how Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the gates of ancient Jerusalem was also a symbolic description of the stages in the lives of Christians. A summary of each follows:
The Symbolism of the Ten Gates of Ancient Jerusalem - Part 1
The first gate, the Sheep Gate, represents Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God
The second gate is the Fish Gate. In this stage of Christianity, we become “fishers of men” and tell others about our faith in Jesus.
The Symbolism of the Ten Gates of Ancient Jerusalem - Part 2
The Old Gate tells us that next we need to learn the “old paths” given to us in the Bible.
The Valley Gate represents the sorrows and trials that Christians must go through in order to reach the next stage in a Christian’s life.
The Symbolism of the Ten Gates of Ancient Jerusalem - Part 3
Through the Dung Gate the Lord clears the rubbish and garbage of vile sin from our lives.
The Fountain Gate symbolizes the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, which is now poured out into our lives.
The Water Gate stands for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit making the word of God come alive in our lives and cleanse us.
Now let’s move on to the last three gates.
The eighth gate in Nehemiah’s account is the Horse Gate which overlooks the Kidron Valley.
“From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.” (Neh. 3:28 KJV)
The Horse Gate was probably the gate from which horses entered and exited the city. Horses were not plentiful in Jerusalem, but they were needed for warfare. Horses can represent war in the Bible. Consider the following:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.” (Rev. 19:11 NIV)
This gate has two symbolic meanings. On the personal level, once we accept Jesus as our savior and receive the Holy Spirit, we become part of the spiritual warfare between good and evil that is going on all over. The second meaning of the Horse Gate is that it points to the day the Lord Jesus Christ returns to Earth on a white horse to destroy the armies of the Antichrist.
The next two gates are also prophetic of the last days, and notice in the diagram how close to each other they are.
The East Gate is next. It overlooks the Mount of Olives, the place to which Jesus will return, as prophesized in Zechariah.
“On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem,…” (Zech 14:4 NIV)
Jesus will enter Jerusalem through this gate at the second coming, as prophesized by Ezekiel.
“Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it.” (Ezek. 44:1-2 NIV)
The East Gate is indeed sealed to this day. The Ottomans sealed it in 1541, probably attempting to prevent the return of the Messiah. A cemetery was also created directly in front of it.
The last gate is the Inspection Gate. Little is known about this gate. The only time it is mentioned is in Nehemiah 3.
From the name of the gate, and that it closely follows the gate through which the Messiah will return, this gate must symbolize judgment day. Read the following verse:
“All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matt 25:32 NIV)
The Inspection Gate is the tenth gate, but the Sheep Gate is mentioned twice in Nehemiah’s account. He begins with the Sheep Gate, and also ends with it.
“And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.” (Neh. 3: 32 KJV)
Similarly, a Christian’s spiritual life begins and ends with Jesus. We begin by accepting His sacrifice, and end by standing before Him on judgment day.
Even the walls and gates of ancient Jerusalem, that were rebuilt 2500 years ago and recorded in the Old Testament by Nehemiah, reveal the deity of Jesus Christ who was to come 500 years later. Who can doubt the divine inspiration of the Bible?