Part 2 - Rebuilding the Gates of Your Life
Introduction: In the first part of this great tale of rebuilding Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) by the leadership of NechemYAH (Nehemiah) we discovered that before the exile the land of promise was designed to provide physical sustenance for the people to engross in Torah. Yisrael in the time of Mosheh (Moses) had spent Forty years of testing in the Desert to see if they would obey the Torah of YAHWEH before they could journey to that land of promise the Land of Milk & Honey. Just like the principles of Covenants which were progressive we are discovering that the rebuilding of Lives as with Yerushalayim is a progressive work.
From the Story of Yisrael we find a clear picture that is often repeated directing us to the Purpose of the Messianic Goal. We now begin to see that suffering and exile have the purpose of bringing Restoration. Therefore Messianic redemption is defined as freedom from the obstructions to Torah observance.
Rambam- (Hil. Teshuvah 9 and Hil. Melachim 12)
The abundance of Canaan was offered so the people might satisfy their physical needs and be free to engross themselves fully with the study of Torah & the performance of Mitzvot or the Commandments. However if the people indulged themselves with the Temporary its blessings became a pitfall & became a hindrance so blessing was replaced with famine, warfare, persecution and finally exile.
Through the subsequent years in the land however the people of Yisrael failed in their purpose to engross themselves in the ways of YAHWEH revealed through the Torah but upon being deprived of prosperity through Captivity they had returned to their Elohim and were now able to return to the land they had been cast off.
Through the work of Zerubbabel & the prophets Haggai & ZecharYAH (Zechariah) the Temple had been restored but the city walls still lay in ruin. It was then that NechemYAH was sent by the King to rebuild the City of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). From this great story we discovered that there is a Symbology that applies to each of us. Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) in the physical was the place where YAHWEH had chosen to place his name therefore his “Shekinah” or his presence that resided in the “Most Qadosh” place or the “Holy of Holies.”
What now became apparent was that Yerushalayim was also a picture of every believer and the temple symbolized the restored heart of the believer with the walls of Yerushalayim picturing the believer’s personality which after their rescue from the slavery of sin can be seen as walls that lye in ruin through the broken & burnt bricks of their life symbolized by the trials & difficulties that mould every person’s personality. The good news the “Besorah” of Yahshua however is that he too has sent NechemYAH or the “Consolation of YAH” the Comforter in the form of the RUACH Ha Qodesh to restore our personalities to be like that of Yahshua that we might do his will & live free of the assaults of Ha Satan.
Grieving the RUACH Ha Qodesh (The Holy Spirit)
As important as the Walls were to the protection of the people of Yerushalayim they served also to lift the esteem of its inhabitants because we remember how NechemYAH responded when he heard of the City’s condition when he was in Shushan (Susa):
NechemYAH (Nehemiah) 1:4 When I (NechemYAH) heard these words I sat & wept and grieved for some days and I fasted and prayed before the Elohim (G_d) of Heaven.
It is interesting that Sha’ul (Paul) speaks of laying aside the old human nature and putting on the New nature that YAHWEH is creating. We see this is the underlying work of the RUACH who is building that nature or we could say the personality that is pleasing to YAHWEH but when the RUACH finds us in distress meaning living with a broken personality Shaul pleading with believers says it this way:
Ephesians 4:30 Do not Grieve the RUACH (the Holy Spirit) of Elohim for that RUACH is the seal with which you were marked for the day of Liberation.
As the people of Yerushalayim needed to accept the leadership of NechemYAH so too we need to allow the RUACH to take charge of our life and not hold on to the old self.
Now that the walls of Yerushalayim have been rebuilt all is still not as it should be. There is now more to consider. A city with walls is great but there was still no gates hung so the City was still vulnerable. We will now look at how Gates serve in the lives of the People of Yerushalayim and how this might relate to ourselves.
The Gates of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)
Since the Gates of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) were made of wood they were extremely vulnerable and we read in:
NechemYAH (Nehemiah) 2:3 And NechemYAH said to the King, “May the King live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the City, the place of my Father’s Tombs, lies waste and its “Gates” are burned with fire.
You only need to watch Movies like “Lord of the Rings” to discover when an enemy desires to conquer a city they will burn and break through it Gates with a Ram & set fire to its Gates and once the gate is breached the battle is sure to be won.
We read in the Book of Kings the following suggesting that the Army under Nebuzaridan breached the Gates of Yerushalayim:
Melekim Bet (2 Kings) 25:3 In the fourth Month of the year on the ninth day of the Month when famine was severe in the City and there was no food for the common people the City was thrown open.
An interesting note at this point is that where there was a Gate there was invariably a Well right near it. The purpose of these wells was to put out the fiery arrows of the Enemy which were shot at the wooden gates to cause them to burn so they could be breached. We can now see the symbology that we read in the Brit Chadashah or the Nazarene Writings:
Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Also so often the Word of YAH is considered as being water that washes us clean:
Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
Even Yahshua speaks of living water when referring to the RUACH Ha Qodesh (the Holy Spirit) in:
YAHUchanan (John) 7:38- 39a He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;
From these words we can conclude that the RUACH is the living water that comes from the well within us to quench the fiery darts of the enemy.
The Importance of Gates:
Since the Gates of the City are shown to be so important we need to look at their significance not only in defence but also how they serve in times of peace and how they can also relate to us.
To understand how important the Gates of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) were we can look at a number of them to see how they functioned and for what purpose. The Gates were not just random Gates for any purpose but served specific purposes so we will endeavour to examine some important ones. Gates had the universal function of bringing things into the City and taking things out which will become more apparent.
The Gates therefore in the Life of a believer represent places of authority in your personality. Unlike the walls of your personality that represented thoughts and feelings the Gates represent the places you make decisions therefore the places you say “yes” to YAHWEH or no to Ha Satan therefore like the Gates of the City they allow or reject things from entering or send out or retain things from leaving.
The Sheep Gate: Ralbag- suggests that Temple sacrifices were brought in through this Gate.
In Yahshua’s time the Lambs that were kept at Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) would be brought in through this northerly gate and the people would usually sing the following:
Tehillim (Psalms) 118: This is the day that Adonai (YHWH) has made we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save now, I pray O Lord: O Lord I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
What upset the Kohanim (the Priests) was that the Lambs were coming into this Northern gate while Yahshua was entering in the eastern gate and the people were singing the same words to him.
This gate therefore in the believer’s life is where you receive Yahshua as your Saviour as he is the Lamb of Elohim who was sacrificed for your sins. This gate was the one from which the wall began to be rebuilt under NechemYAH (Nehemiah) and is the place where your restoration began also.
Eliashiv () the High Priest hung this gate with others and his name means “El restores.’
The Eastern Gate:
Jewish Rabbis say that the Messiah would enter through the “Eastern Gate” so to prevent this Suleiman the Magnificent in AD 1539 rather than rebuild the Gate had it walled up. Also there was a Muslim Cemetery placed in front of it believing that a Holy man would not defile himself by walking through it.
There are different Prophecies that relate to the Jewish Messiah foretold by known Old Testament prophets:
ZecharYAH (Zechariah) 14: 3 & 4; “Then YAHWEH will go forth And fight against those, nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And on that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall 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.”
Therefore the Mount of Olives which faces the Eastern Gate, will be opened by his coming. It is believed that in Yahshua’s day there was a bridge east of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) leading to the mount of Olives where the Red Heifer would be Sacrificed:
Hebrews 13:10-12 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Yahshua also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
Tehillim (Psalms) 24:7 says, “Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? YAHWEH strong and mighty, YAHWEH mighty in battle.”
The Eastern gate therefore represents for us that Yahshua the Messiah is the King of Glory that rules our life and will come to Rule from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). We therefore open this Gate and make him King & Ruler of our life.
The Fish Gate:
Almost every mention of the Fish Gate involved corruption of the people of Yisrael. The reason maybe that as a society becomes more corrupt its two most public manifestations involve firstly places of Religion:
YermeYAHU (Jeremiah) 32:34 “they set their abominations in the House which is called by my Name, to defile it.”
Secondly corruption is manifested through Business:
In the days of Yahshua we find this same corruption filtering into the Temple precincts:
MattithYAHU (Matthew) 21:12-13 Then Yahshua went into the temple of Elohim and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”
The significance of these principles should not be overlooked since every human being has gates relating to the Spiritual where we worship our Elohim but we also have Gates for our physical needs such as finances. We know we need money & a place to live as each one of us is in the pursuit of happiness but when our decisions begin to corrupt us it can lead to all sorts of difficulties. Therefore we need to control what comes in and what is acceptable. Scripture teaches:
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The Old Gate:
One theory about this gate is that it was called the “old Gate” because it belonged to the ancient city of Salem that was 1st built by Malkizedek (Melchizedek).
We could say that this Gate speaks to us of the Old ways of Truth therefore it speaks of return or “Teshuvah” a path that we know we have been called to & have chosen believing it is bringing us to the complete truth of our faith:
YermeYAHU (Jeremiah) 18:15 “Because My people have forgotten Me, They have burned incense to worthless idols. And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in pathways and not on a highway,
YermeYAHU (Jeremiah) 6:16 Thus says YAHWEH:
“Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.
As we journey on this path which is an Ancient path we will find rest for our souls which have spent enough time wallowing in the mire of ignorance & Torahlessness but now have found a truth that brings joy to our hearts. The joy of celebrating what YAHWEH has commanded, & knowing that it is according to his will and Word. Though we still have many questions we know our Heavenly Father can see the intents of our heart which we know is pleasing to him. We are, on a progressive path that can only be complete when the Master and our Bridegroom comes to lead us in the absolute way of Truth therefore we look forward to that day.
The Dung or Refuse Gate:
The original name of this gate in Hebrew is Sha'ar Ashpoth, literally translates to "gate of the garbage," It was situated where the Hinnon Valley was. The Hinnom Valley received its name from Hinnom who made his children walk through fire in the worship of Moloch. Sh’lomo (Solomon) built altars to Moloch here for his wives, and after him, Ahaz and Manasseh made their children "pass through the fire" in the Valley of Hinnom. Josiah (YoshiYAHU) rendered it ceremonially unclean by spreading human bones and other corruptions (2 Kings 23:10,13-14; 2 Chron 34:3-5). From that time forward, it became the garbage dump and cesspool of the city. There was constant fire and smoke here from burning refuse at the time of Yahshua.
In the believer this gate is significant in that through it YAHWEH desires to remove the junk from your life. Interestingly the ruler hung this Gate suggesting that certain people of leadership should be used to help eliminate the rubbish from your life. This is the place where you expel those things that need to be removed from your life just as the inhabitants used this gate to remove all the waste of the City and destroy it. We could say that this gate helps us remove the baggage of our past life that we may receive a life that is purified of the unwanted weight:
Ibrim (Hebrews) 12:1 We too then having so great a cloud of witnesses all around us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race set before us.
The General Understanding of the Gates:
From the Book of NechemYAH (Nehemiah) we see a great picture of the Rebuilding of the Esteem & Honour of the Great City that YAHWEH has eternally chosen to place his Name and presence. To the Believer this story is a great Metaphor because we too need our walls rebuilt but to fully be protected from external attack YAHWEH needs the Gates rebuilt and hung as well. This therefore reflects on the decisions one makes and is expressed by the Words one speaks whether they be constructive or potentially destructive. We recite each Shabbat the following and it would be good to reflect on how this teaching is revealed in those Words:
Tehillim (Psalms) 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O YAHWEH, my strength and my Redeemer.
As the progression of rebuilding Yerushalayim becomes apparent in this story the truth that YAHWEH is in the process of restoring our thinking and our decision processes revealed through our words become apparent also.
A very good example of closing the Gates was found last week when we read:
Tehillim (Psalms) 38:12-13 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me;
Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, And plan deception all the day long.
13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth.
14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear, And in whose mouth is no response.
Truly these words are so insightful when dealing with difficult situations in our life for we know, that YAHWEH is a strong Fortress for those who trust in him.
We have in this grand tale of the Rebuilding of Yerushalayim a deep spiritual lesson of YAHWEH through the guiding hand of His RUACH (Spirit) empowering us to restore our life to be that which Yahshua desires. If we choose to be led by his spirit we will see changes as we begin to reflect his light just as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun which can only bring Glory to Him. Torah Study was never meant so that we could overwhelm another with our point of view through complex intellectual rhetoric but was meant that we may become like him in nature & understanding.
What we notice however with the story of Rebuilding Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) is that we have dealt with the defence of the inhabitants of the City from external attack which reveals to us that through our personality, decisions and words YAHWEH is desiring each one of us to be able to resist the attack of the enemy as well as our human sinful nature.