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Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

BibleStudyontheBookofNehemiahChapter3:The
GatesofJerusalem
TheGatesofSpiritualProgression

3:18:ThenEliashibthehighpriestarosewithhisbrothersthepriestsandbuilttheSheepGatethey
consecrateditandhungitsdoorsNowthesonsofHassenaahbuilttheFishGatetheylaiditsbeamsand
hungitsdoorswithitsboltsandbars.AndnexttothemMeremoththesonofUriahthesonofHakkozmade
repairs.AndnexttohimMeshullamthesonofBerechiahthesonofMeshezabelmaderepairsAndJoiada
thesonofPaseahandMeshullamthesonofBesodeiahrepairedtheOldGatetheylaiditsbeamsandhung
itsdoors,withitsboltsanditsbarsAndnexttohimHananiah,oneoftheperfumers,maderepairs,andthey
restoredJerusalemasfarastheBroadWall.

IfyouhavebeenaChristianlongenoughyoullknowthatGodlikestohidethings.
WhatImeanbythatisHelikestohideimportanttruthsinplacesthatyouwouldntinitially
expecttofindthem...untilyoustarttodigthatis!Nehemiahchapter3isoneofthose
places.Onthesurfaceitisachapterdiscussing10differentgatesofJerusalemandthe
specificbuildersthathelpedrebuildthem.Butthatsjustthesurface.Whenyouliftthelid
andlookalittledeeperyoufindthatGodhashiddenwithinthosegatessignificantspiritual
truthforbothanindividualsChristianlifeaswell[1]asHispropheticplanfortheages.Now
thatsquiteabigcallIknowbutstaywithme!Theorderandpositionofeachgateisalso
veryspecificandgivesusinsightintothejourneythatGodtakeseachofHischildrenonas
wellasthejourneyofthechurchasawholeuntilthereturnofJesusChrist.Soforeachgate
wewillexploreitsmeaningforboththepersonalandpropheticsignificance.Thelayoutand
positioningofthesegatescanbeseeninthepicturebelow.

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Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

ThespiritualmeaningofthegatesofJerusalem

Asmentioned,thegatesofJerusalemhavebothapersonalandpropheticaspect.Illusea
tabletodisplaythissothatyoucanreadwhichevercolumnyouwant.

TheGateof
Jerusalem

PersonalSignificance

Prophetic/Historical
Significance

SheepGate
(Neh3:1,32)

Personalaspect:Noprizesforknowing
thatthisspeaksoftheveryfirst
experiencewecomeintoinourChristian
lifethatis,arealisationthatJesuswas
theLambofGodthattakesawaythesins
oftheworld.Thesheepgatethenspeaks
tousofthecrossandthesacrificethat
wasmadeforoursins.Itisthestarting
pointofeverythingbutyouwillalsonotice
ifyoureadtheentirechapterthatthe
sheepgateisalsomentionedatthevery
endoncewehavecomefullcircle.That
isbecauseeverythingstartsandends
withJesusdeathonthecross.

Propheticaspect:Thisgatepointstothe
firstcomingofJesusChrist2000years
agotobetheLambofGodwhotakes
awaythesinsoftheworld(John1:29).
Heisthesacrificeforetoldinthissheep
gate.Heisthedoorbywhicheveryone
mustentertobesaved(John10:79).

Personalaspect:Forus,itspeaksof
evangelismaswehavebeencalledtobe
fishersofmen(Matt4:19).Itisanatural
progressioninourChristianlifethatafter

Propheticaspect:Thisgatespeaksofthe
churchinthefirstcentury(theapostolic
era)wherebelieversonfireforGod
sacrificedallandwentouttoturnthe

Theveryfirstgate
mentionedisthe
sheepgate.Itwas
calledthesheep
gatebecausethis
wasthegatewhich
thesheepand
lambsusedinthe
sacrificewere
boughtthrough.

FishGate
(Neh3:3)

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Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

TheFishgatewas
mentionednext.It
wascalledthefish
gatebecausethe
fishermanof
Galileewouldbring
theircatchin
throughthisgateto
besold.

seeingthatJesusdiedforoursins,we
wouldthenwanttotellothersaboutit.
Surveyshaveshownthatbelieverswho
havebeensavedlessthantwoyearswin
themostpeopletotheLord.Theirsimple
testimonyofwhatJesushasdoneintheir
livesqualifiesthemtobegreatfishersof
men.Sothisisthenextstepinthe
Christianlife.

worldupsidedownwiththemessageof
JesusChrist!Andthatiswhathappened.
StartingwiththeJewsandthentravelling
outtotheGentilesinthethenknown
world,theApostlesanddisciplesofthe
Lordtrulywerefishersofmenandthe
growthofChristianityspreadrapidly
duringthefirstcentury.

OldGate
(Neh3:6)

Personalaspect:Thisspeakstousof
theoldwaysoftruth.AyoungChristian
havingexperiencedthesheepgate,then
thefishgate,soonseestheneedfor
experiencingtheoldgate.Thismeans
learningtheoldwaysoftruththatnever
change.Jeremiah6:16statesThussays
theLord,Standbythewaysandseeand
askfortheancientpaths,wherethegood
wayisandwalkinitAndyouwillfind
restforyoursouls.ToomanyChristians
todaywantsomethingnew.Thelatest
teaching,thelatestexperience...Orthey
trytochangetruthtomakeitacceptable
withwhattheworldthinksisrighttoday
(whichmaynotbethesameaswhatit
thinkstomorrow.)ButtheAncientof
DayscallsusbacktoHislong
establishedwaysthatdonotchangeand
remainthesameyesterday,todayand
forever.

Propheticaspect:Propheticallythis
speaksoftheperiodoftheChurch
Fathersaround100325AD(sometimes
knownastheAnteNiceneera).Thiswas
aperiodwhereadefenceofthefaithand
thetruthofGodwerefurtherestablished
tocounterattacksandpersecutionfrom
unbelievers.

Personalaspect:Examiningthepicture
aboveyounoticethatthereisalong
distancebeforeyoucometothenext
gate,whichisthevalleygate.Foranew
ChristiantheLordallowsahoneymoon
typeperiodwhereHeteachesyouand
Hispresenceisstronginyourlife.This
cangoonforsometimeasindicatedby
thepositioningoftheoldandvalley
gates.Butsoonerorlaterthevalleygate
mustcome.Thevalleygatespeakstous
ofhumblingandtrialsvalleytype
experiencesusedbytheLordforour
personalgrowth.Nevereasybutthe
Christianneedstorememberthatinthe
naturalnothingreallygrowsonthe
mountaintops,butitcertainlydoesdown
inthevalleys.Soitisinthespiritual.
Neveraniceexperiencebutitalways
producesfruit.

Propheticaspect:Inthehistoryofthe
churchthevalleygatewouldspeakofthe
humblingandsuppressionofthetrue
churchfollowingonfromwhen
Christianitywasmadeastatereligion
underConstantine(~390AD).Pagan
ritualswereadaptedandbroughtintothe
churchandspiritualregressionensued.
Thislongperiodcontinuedwiththedark
agesandthefurtherestablishmentof
RomanCatholicismasthefaceof
Christianitytotheworld.

Personalaspect:Againthereisquitea
distancetothenextgateindicatingthat,
unfortunately,thevalleyexperiencecan
carryonforsometime.Buttheresultof
thatexperienceisclearlyseeninthisnext
gatethedunggate.Thisiswherethe
rubbishisremovedandthisiswhat
happensinourownlife.Valley
experiencesareusedbytheLordtoclear
awaytherubbishsothattruefaith,

Propheticaspect:Thedunggatespeaks
oftherubbishthatbecameestablished
withinthechurchduringthedarkand
medievalagesleadinguptothe
reformation.Someofdoctrinalrubbish
thatneededremovingincludedthe
teachingsofindulgences,purgatory,
salvationbyvarioussacramentsand
works,exaltationofMaryastheMother
ofGodandthemanmadechurch

Followingfromthe
Fishgatewasthe
Oldgate.
Nehemiahisthe
onlybookinthe
Biblewhereitis
calledtheOldgate
anditmayhave
beenoneofthe
originalgates
made.

ValleyGate
(Neh3:13)

Severalvalleys
surround
Jerusalemandthis
gateapparently
openedouttothe
valleyofHinnom.

Dung(Refuse)
Gate
(Neh3:14)

AllofJerusalems
refuseandrubbish
wastakenout
throughthedung
gate,downtothe
valleyofHinnom,

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Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

whereitwouldbe
burned.

refinedbythefire,cancomeforthand
producefruit.Clearingawaytherubbish
inourlivesisnevereasybutthebenefits
ofthisexperiencecanbeseeninthenext
gate.Youwillnoticealsothatatthispoint
ofyourChristianlifethereisadramatic
turningofthecornerthattakesplace.
Fromthediagramabove,upuntilthis
pointwehavebeenmovingdownward
andtheexperienceshavebeenhard,but
havingcometothispointthereisasharp
turnintheroadandwebegintomove
upwardagain.

hierarchyandpapalauthority.Therewas
alottoberemoved!

FountainGate
(Neh3:15)

Personalaspect:Youwillnoticefromthe
picturethatthefountaingateislocated
extremelyclosetothedunggate.Inother
words,afteravalleytypeexperience
whererubbishinourlivesisclearedout
throughthedunggate,truefaithcomes
forthandthefountainsbegintoflowquite
quickly!Thisspeakstousoftheliving
watersoftheHolySpiritthatcleanseour
livesandempowerusforourChristian
life.Jesussaid:Whoeverbelievesinme,
astheScripturehassaid,streamsof
livingwaterwillflowfromwithinhim."
(John7:38)

Propheticaspect:Inchurchhistory,this
speaksoftheperiodbeginningwiththe
reformation(15171600).Itwasatime
whenthetruthofGodswordwas
establishedagainasBibleswereprinted
forthecommonmantoreadandthekey
truthofsalvationbygracethroughfaith
openedthefountainsofsalvationtoflow
again.

Personalaspect:Thenextgatewearrive
atisthewatergate.Thewatergateisa
pictureofthewordofGodanditseffectin
ourlife.Eph5:26stateshaving
washedherbythewateroftheword.
Psalm119:9statesthatitisonlythrough
Godswordthatwecanbeclean.Itisno
coincidencethatthisgatewaslocated
nexttothefountaingateasthetwooften
gotogether.TheHolySpiritistheone
whomakesthewordofGodalivetous
personally,allowingcleansing,
encouragementanddirectiontotake
placeinourlife.

Propheticaspect:From16001900the
wordofGodmadeadramaticimpactin
thelivesofmanyaroundtheworld.Some
ofthegreatmenofGodpreachedthe
wordincludingJohnBunyaninthetime
ofthePuritans,JohnWesley,George
Whitefield,CharlesSpurgeon,D.LMoody
amongothers.Thepreachingand
cleansingofthewordwentforthinto
countriesandcontinentspreviously
starvedofthewordthroughmensuchas
HudsonTaylor,AdoraimJudsonand
WilliamCarey.

Thehorsegate
wasclosetothe
Kingsstablesand
themenof
Jerusalemwould
ridetheirhorses
outofthisgateto
war.

Personalaspect:Thehorsegatespeaks
tousofwarfareashorseswereusedin
battleandbecameasymbolofwar.
Revelation19:11IsawHeavenopened,
andbeholdawhitehorseandhethatsat
uponhimwascalledFaithfulandTrue,
andinrighteousnessdoesHejudgeand
makewar.Spiritualwarfare,aswewill
seeinthisentirestudyonNehemiah,isa
requirementofeveryChristianbecause
weareallinabattlewhetherweknowit
ornot.Itisalsointerestingthatthehorse
gatefollowsthewater(word)gateforas
thewordgoesforththespiritualwarfare
issuretoincrease!

Propheticaspect:Horsesspeakofspeed
andwar.Fromthe1900sonwardsboth
ofthesecertainlyapply!Thespeedof
medical,technological,industrialand
scientificadvancementswasbeyond
comparison.Andyetwithitcametwo
worldwars,countlesswarsbetween
nationsandconstantethnicunrest.For
thechurchithasbeenonebattleafter
anotherwiththeriseofthecults,Biblical
criticism.Modernismandliberalism
leadingtoanincreasingapostasywithin
thechurch.Theultimatefulfilment
propheticallyofthehorsegatewillbein
theTribulationtheDayoftheLordas
describedinRevelation619.

EastGate
(Neh3:29)

Personalaspect:Ezekiel44:13the
gatethatlookedtowardtheeast,andit

Propheticaspect:Pleasetakenotehow
thelastthreegates(Horse,Eastand

Thefountaingate
islocatednearthe
poolofSiloahand
wasoftenusedby
thepeoplefor
cleaningbefore
proceedingonto
thetemple.

WaterGate
(Neh3:26)

TheWaterGate
leddowntothe
GihonSpringwhich
waslocated
adjacenttothe
KidronValley

HorseGate
(Neh3:28)

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TheEastgateis
locatedonthe
oppositesideofthe
MountofOlives.

Inspection
Gate
(Neh3:31)

Alsoknownasthe
Miphkadgate.The
wordinHebrew
hasamilitary
connectionand
accordingto
traditionitwasat
thisgatethatDavid
wouldmeethis
troopstoinspect
them.

Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

wasshut.TheLordsaidtome,Thisgate
shallbeshutitshallnotbeopened,and
nooneshallenterbyit,fortheLordGod
ofIsraelhasenteredbyit.Theeastgate
opensandlookstowardtheMountof
OlivesandweknowthatwhenJesus
returnsHewillreturntothismount.(Zech
14:4).HewillthenenterJerusalembythe
eastgate.Theeastgatethenspeaksof
thereturnofJesusChrist.Forour
Christianlifeitshowsusofourneedto
livewiththishopeandtolongforHis
return.Aspecificcrownisevengivento
thosewhodothis(2Tim4:8).

Inspectiongate)inthepicturearevery
closetogetherbecausesoaretheevents
whichtheysymbolise.Propheticallythe
eastgateisveryclosetothehorsegate
becausethedayofGodswrathends
withthecomingoftheLordJesusto
Jerusalemonearth.(SeeZechchapter
14).

Personalaspect:Thefinalgateisthe
inspectiongate.Thisgatespeakstousof
theexaminationofourlivesbytheLord.
Thisoccursinthislifeasindicatedby
Paulin1Cor4:4:ForIamconsciousof
nothingagainstmyself,yetIamnotby
thisacquittedbuttheonewhoexamines
meistheLord.Theultimatefulfilmentis
attheBemaseatofChrist(asspokenof
in1Cor3:1015,2Cor5:10)whereour
livesareinspectedandrewarded
appropriately.InourChristianexperience
weshouldbelivingwiththisinmind.We
arecalledtoliveourliveswitheternityin
view,caringmoreforthethingsof
eternitythanthetemporalthatwesee
aroundus.

Propheticaspect:Followingthereturnof
theLordthereisajudgementofthe
nationsthatwilloccuraswell.Thisis
recordedinthesheepandthegoats
judgementinMathew25:3146.From
herehewillseparateallthepeoplewho
survivedthetribulationintothosethatcan
enterintoHiskingdomonearth(sheep)
andthosethataretogointoeverlasting
destruction(thegoats).AndthentheLion
ofJudahshallreigninHisMessianic
Kingdom!

Thelivesandattitudesoftheworkers.

Thereareafewmoreimportantpointsthatcancomeoutofachapterlikethis,which
shouldbestated.Sofarwehavelookedatthegatesandtheirspiritualmeaning,butthere
areotherpointsfromthelivesoftheworkersthatwecanlearnfrom.

TeamEffort

Readingthroughthechapteroneofthefirstthingsthatweseeisthatthewhole
processwasateameffort.Ifthewallsandgatesweregoingtoberebuilttheneveryone
wouldhavetoplaytheirpart.Nowthisisbutapictureofhowthechurchismeantto
operate.No,thepastorisnotmeanttobeaonemanbandthatdoeseverythingwhilethe
othersrestandsitintheirpaddedpews.Weallhavedifferentgiftingsbutitisforthe
edificationofall.

Eph4:1113AndHegavesomeasapostles,andsomeasprophets,andsomeasevangelists,and
someaspastorsandteachers,fortheequippingofthesaintsfortheworkofservice,tothebuilding
upofthebodyofChristuntilweallattaintotheunityofthefaith,andoftheknowledgeoftheSonof
God,toamatureman,tothemeasureofthestaturewhichbelongstothefullnessofChrist.

Youwillnoticethatthegiftingsthatpeoplehavearefortheequippingofthesaintsintheir
worksofservice.ThisiswhatwelearnfromNehemiah.Somemayhavebeengiftedin
particularareasandtheyweretoworkinthoseareas,butallhelpedinwhateverwaythey
could.
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Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

Everyonehadsomethingtooffer

AndnexttohimHananiah,oneoftheperfumers,maderepairs,andtheyrestoredJerusalemasfarasthe
BroadWall.

MaybeyouareunsureofyourgiftingandwhatGodiscallingyoutodowithyourlife.
Maybeyoudontthinkyouhaveanythingtooffer.IfthatisyouthenrememberHananiah!
Yousee,hewasaperfumerbytradeandyethewasstillwillingtogetinthere,gethis
handsdirtyandhelpdohispartbyrepairingpartofthewall.Nowifaperfumercanbuilda
wallthenyoualsocanhelpinsomewayinthebuildingofthechurch!

Rebuildingoftenbeganathome

Vs10,23,30NexttothemJedaiahthesonofHarumaphmaderepairsoppositehishouseAfterthem
BenjaminandHasshubcarriedoutrepairsinfrontoftheirhouseAfterhimHananiahthesonofShelemiah,
andHanunthesixthsonofZalaph,repairedanothersection.AfterhimMeshullamthesonofBerechiahcarried
outrepairsinfrontofhisownquarters.

Oneofthethingsthischapterrevealsisthatoftentheworkersbeganrebuildingthe
wallsofJerusalemoutsidetheirownhomefirst.Theydidthinkofothersandknewthat
collectivelytheywouldcontributetothewallasawholeyetindividuallytheystillwantedto
makesuretheirownhomehadasolidwallofprotectionsurroundingit.Theprincipleforus
istomakesurewehavetakencareofourlivesathomefirstbeforeweareusedtohelp
others.Wehavetomakesurethatwearenotdifferentpeopleinandoutsideofchurch,nor
areweanydifferentwhenweareathomealonewhennoonecanseeus.Oneofthethings
thatJesushatedthemostwastheplayactingofthePharisees.Theylikedtobeseenas
spiritualamongthepeoplewhileinrealitytheywereactuallywhitewashedtombsJesus
said.LetusallmimicNehemiahsmenandmakesurethatourhomelifeistakencareoffirst
beforeanyministeringorservicetoothersisundertaken.

Theworkwasvoluntary

Yep!Noonegotpaidorwereevencoercedintorebuildingthewalls.Theyall
volunteeredknowingthatthegloryofGodsnamewasatstake.Andwhatsmoretheydidnt
expecttoberewardedfortheirwork!IheardCharlesSwindolspeakontheradiorecently
andhementionedthatoneofthebiggestareasofdiscouragementcomeswhenChristians
thinkthattheygettheirrewardsinthislife.Iwouldhavetoagreewiththat.Weshouldcheck
ourmotivesintheworkthatwedotoensurewearenotdoingittoreceivetemporalrewards
hereandnow.Weshouldalllivewitheternityinview.Thisbringsmetothelastbutvery
encouragingpoint.

Godisarecorderofnames

Whatelsecanwegetwhenwereadachaptersuchasthis?Well,wecanbe
encouragedthatGodtakesthetimetorecordnames.Hesarecorder!TheBibledoesntjust
sayandlotsofpeoplemaderepairstothewall.No,itspecificallynameseachpersonthat
maderepairsandthathasbeenrecordedforallofeternity!IlovetheverseinMalachithat
says

ThenthosewhofearedtheLORDspoketooneanother,andtheLORDgaveattentionandheardit,
andabookofremembrancewaswrittenbeforeHimforthosewhofeartheLORDandwhoesteemHis
name.AndtheywillbeMine,saystheLORDofhosts,onthedaythatIprepareMyownpossession,
andIwillsparethemasamanspareshisownsonwhoserveshim.Mal3:16,17

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Bible Study: The gates of Jerusalem Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

OurlivesandactionsarerecordedbytheLordforourrewardsinthelifetocome.Nothingis
donefortheLordinvainonthisearth,evenifnooneelseseesit.Sodontloseheartinyour
workfortheLordknowingthatGodisnotunjustsoastoforgetyourworkandthelove
whichyouhaveshowntowardHisname,inhavingministeredandinstillministeringtothe
saints.

[1]Ifirstwrotethisstudyin1998(orthereabouts).WhenIstudiedthischapterIcouldseethattherewere
personalandpropheticaspectstothegatesandnotedwhatIsaw.WhatIdidntrealizehoweveristhatallof
thegateshavebothapropheticandpersonalsignificance.Specifically,Ididntrealizethatinthegatesthereis
aprogressionthroughoutchurchhistoryfromthefirstcomingoftheLordtoHisreturnattheendoftheage!
Prettycoolstuff!Sonow(2014)IthoughtIdupdatethisstudywiththenewinsightthatIhave.Abookthat
helpedmeseethatallofthegateshavepropheticsignificanceintheplanofGodfortheageswasMessianic
PsalmsbyNorbertLieth.Thisbook(whichIrecommend)isnotonthistopicspecificallybuthasapageortwo
aboutthegatesofJerusalemwhichhelpedextendmyunderstandingonwhatGodwaspropheticallyshowing
andmotivatedmetodigalittledeeperinthischapteronceagain.

BibleStudiesintheNehemiahSeries
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter1Understandingthenatureofthefall
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter2Thereproach,therockandtherubble
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter3Thegatesofspiritualprogression
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter4pt1Sanballat'sinitialattackonthemind
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter4pt2Sanballat'sphysicalpersecution
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter4pt3Ourstand:ThearmorofGod
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter6pt1Geshem'sworldlycompromise
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter6pt2OurDefense:TheHeavenlycall
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter6pt3Sanballatandtheangeloflight
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter7Tobiahthat'good'man(not!)
NehemiahBibleStudyChapter13Tobiahinthetemple!

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