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Lesson Six - The Gates of the City (Part II)

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:

Most of the people had not heard the Scriptures before (Amos 8:11), and so there were four principal reactions to the Word:

  1. Worship (verses 5-6).
  2. Weeping (verse 9).
  3. Rejoicing (verses 10-12).
  4. 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:

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 miphkad here 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:

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:

  1. The Coming of the Glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 43:1-5; Isaiah 6:1-4).
  2. 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).

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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.

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