SF549 - The 10 Gates of Jerusalem
The 10 Gates of Jerusalem
by the late Dr. Fred Brown
(Preached at Bill Rice Ranch, Founders Week, 1981)
Many years ago I was preaching in Charleston, West Virginia. On the program was also a man I had never met, an older man named Harris Gregg, who lived in Chattanooga. He was called on to lead in prayer. I never heard anybody pray as he prayed. That old man had been talking to God for some time! What a prayer!
I was late getting to this meeting because of the weather. Harry Rimmer, on the same program, was also late getting there., So Dr. Gregg preached all day Sunday before we arrived.
We might as well have stayed home, because he had already captivated the hearts of the people when we arrived. So enamored were they of his ministry, we were hardly noticed.
When he was announced, he came to the platform, dropped his floppy Bible on the pulpit and simply said, “The Gospel as found in the second chapter of Genesis.” No matter where it was in the Word of God, every time he got up to preach, he would introduce it in the same way. If he were preaching from the book of Esther, “It is the Gospel as found in the book of Esther.” He could show you Jesus Christ on every page of the Bible.
I want God to let me see Christ in all the Scriptures.
I want to show Christ in the Gospel as found in the third chapter of Nehemiah. There we find some marvelous truths.
My subject is “The 10 Gates of Jerusalem.”
In the Song of Solomon, chapter 2 and verse 9, we have a remarkable statement: “My beloved (that is Christ) is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.”
In Luke 24:32, the two on the road to Emmaus said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” He revealed to them things concerning Himself “in all the scriptures.” He is on every page, in every book. Pictures of Him are all through the Word of God. So we may look for Him and things pertaining to Him “in all the scriptures.”
Isaiah 60:18 says, “Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” Gates play an important part in the life of a city. Particularly was it so in those days when cities had to be protected with walls and gates. When the gates were burned, the city was desolate and open to the enemy. But when gates were in their place, the city was safe. So there is tremendous significance about gates.
I shall not read all this chapter but just mark the gates for you.
In the third chapter of Nehemiah and verse 1, “They builded the sheep gate.”
In verse 3 is “the fish gate.”
In verse 6, “the old gate.”
In verse 13, “the valley gate.”
In verse 14, “the dung gate.”
In verse 15, “the fountain gate.”
In verse 26, “the water gate.”
In verse 28, “the horse gate.”
In verse 29, “the east gate.”
Then in verse 31, “the gate Miphkad.”
There are your ten gates. They repaired the area between them, then set the gates in their proper place.
The Sheep Gate--the Beginning
By this gate the sheep were brought into the city in preparation for sacrifice. At the sheep gate we see work of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, “slain from the foundation of the world.” This is the foundation Stone upon which God builds His program. All God’s expectations, then, now and forever, are in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The journey starts at Calvary. We must begin at the beginning. There is no other approach to God except the cross. The way of the cross leads us home. So we start at the starting place: salvation through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In describing the building of this gate, it says all--the priests, the princes, the common folks--were involved, indicating that salvation is the common need for all men. Everybody needs the access afforded by this gate. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was for everyone.
Some today say that Christ died only for a certain number of people. But the Bible says, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Every human being who ever breathed the breath of life, who has ever lived on the face of this earth as a son of Adam, needed salvation. Christ Jesus provided salvation for all people when He died on Calvary’s cross. If that were not true, then multitudes could shake their fists in the face of God for the rest of eternity and say, “You created me and gave me no chance at Salvation. I could not have been saved had I wanted to.”
Not true. Everybody who is lost will be lost without excuse. Christ provided for every sinner by His sacrifice on the cross. Everybody will be responsible for his own lost condition, because he has refused what Christ did for him.
John 10:9 says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.”
First Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.”
John 10:1: “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
When I was in college, Dr. Munhall came to campus to preach to the young preachers for three weeks. Already 91 years old, he was one of the greatest preachers I have ever known.
He talked one day about a preacher he knew in England. He told us how, when just a young student, this man would go out preaching at every opportunity. An old preacher connected with the school had a church nearby. Seeing the potential of this young man, he asked him to preach for him on a Sunday evening.
This older preacher, a huge man, about filled the buggy they rode in to the service. This young student was a rather small fellow. The big man couldn’t get up in the pulpit by way of a door (the pulpit stood out over the folks), so the sexton of the church would put up a ladder, and this big preacher would crawl up into the pulpit.
On the way to the church, he picked this young student preacher’s mind. Knowing he had but one sermon, he still asked him, “What are you going to preach tonight?” The young man told him. Then the older man asked, “What is your text?” The young man told him. “How do you illustrate it?” The young preacher told him some of the stories he used as illustrations.
To the old man’s amusement and, he thought, to the young man’s consternation, he went up the ladder and into the pulpit, looked out over the audience, announced the young man’s text and preached his sermon, using all his illustrations.
After he finished, he introduced the young preacher, wondering what he would do after he had already preached every detail of his only sermon.
The young preacher didn’t hesitate an instant, didn’t bat an eye. Being smaller, he didn’t need the sexton’s help to climb into the pulpit. He went around and walked through the door into the pulpit. He laid his Bible down, looked out over the audience and stared particularly hard at the old preacher sitting there in front of him who had preached his sermon, and said, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” (Laughter.)
The young preacher illustrated it well. You have to go by the right way. Christ is not a door; He is the door. The sheep gate represents the one entrance into the presence of God--by way of the cross, where the sacrifice was made, where the blood was shed, where His dear Son died for us.
The Fist Gate Represents Our Call to Be Fishers of Men
The fish gate represents the fact that Jesus Christ has called us to be fishers of men. In Mark 1:17 Jesus said, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” This is the one work which this chapter declares all the people didn’t enter into. This is the work that some of them shirked.
It is still today the place where we find shirkers.
Nehemiah 3:5 says, “...but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.” Strangely enough, the most important work of every Christian is the one from which most are now shrinking. The greatest sin of the church is its members’, not trying to win people to Christ.
They claim only five people out of every hundred in the average church on any occasion ever try to win a soul to Christ. I know of no other organization which could long exist without some small input on the part of its membership. Only the church can survive such malfeasance of duty.
Any school in the country that opened with only five percent of its student body present would close its doors. Any factory that would open up with only five percent of its working crew there would close the doors. Yet the church limps along with so many deadbeats, so many loafers, so many shirkers, when only five percent of the congregation ever get involved in the one Great Commission it has. Shirkers instead of workers. It was true then; it is still true to this hour.
The one thing that will do more for you spiritually than any other is to know that you have had a little part in introducing someone to the Savior.
I was reared in a church with no attention whatsoever on personal witness. We didn’t even know you could own a personal Bible. I never owned one until I was called to preach and went off to study. The only two Bibles I saw were an old church-owned Bible on the pulpit, opened up and preached out of on Sunday morning, and an old Bible we had for show on a table in our house.
I knew nothing about soul winning., When I found I was left here for the purpose of telling others about Jesus, It scared me to death. I thought, I’m going to end up in Heaven without a soul to my credit if I don’t get busy for God! I thought I would go crazy before I won my first soul.
Then I had a little experience that made me realize what a thrill comes from knowing that you have had a personal part in introducing somebody to Christ.
While attending Bob Jones College, I went to preach in a small church in Florida. We would hold little meetings there to keep us from exploding! If you take a boiler and keep pumping steam into it, without a pop-off valve, you will have an explosion. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., would get up in the pulpit and preach to us every morning in chapel and get us all fired up. We would get so excited; and with no place to express it, we would go out in little communities around about and hold meetings to keep from blowing up!
I went to hold a meeting in a small town close to Panama City. Some souls were saved. I came back to school, walking about three feet off the ground--the happiest fellow you ever saw. I tried to tell the teachers about it, but they didn’t seem interested. Boy, I about lost my sanctification! I thought, This crowd is not even interested in my meeting! All they want me to do is study my subjects and bring in my lessons! Since I couldn’t talk about the meeting I was so excited about, I would walk around like a London fog, walking on my chin every time I stepped.
I got very few letters in those days. Nobody knew me; then nobody had two cents with which to buy a postage stamp. But one letter came. Was I excited! It was from a twelve-year-old girl who had been saved in my meeting. She wrote:
Dear Brother Brown:
I may never see you in this world again, but you led me to Jesus. When I get to Heaven and you get to Heaven, I am going to take you over to Jesus and tell Jesus that you are the one who led me to Him.
You talk about exploding! If somebody had cut my suspenders, I would have raptured all by myself! All of a sudden it hit me--the importance of an individual’s telling another individual about Jesus! It is incredible that a Hell-bound, undeserving sinner would get saved by the grace of God, spend his whole life in a world of lost sinners and end up in Heaven not having introduced one soul to Jesus Christ. Shirkers!
The church has to limp along with so little input from its membership in getting the Gospel to the hearts of men. Oh, the fish gate says it. God’s purpose for every one of us is that we be fishers of men.
The Old Gate--Abiding
The old gate stands for abiding. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
We are living in a day of “neos.” I start running when folks start calling themselves neo-anything. We have neo-orthodox, neo-evangelicalism, neo-this and neo-that.
I believe in the old ways, I believe that God’s Word does not change, and God’s Word concerning sin does not change. When people become neo-orthodox, they also become antinomian in their attitude toward sin. Things that once were written down in black and white in the Word of God as sinful, all of a sudden people begin to take lightly. Things that were once sinful seem not to be sinful to them anymore.
Read the list of the sins of the flesh in Galatians, chapter 5. Start with the word adultery. Who would have ever thought we would live to see the time when adultery would be glorified nationally on television and in magazines and by the stars of Hollywood?
The old ways, the old standards God’s Word against sin, do not deviate. God doesn’t change His standards. And we had better stick to what the Word of God says about these things. We had better hold up the standards given us in the Scriptures.
When people get away from the Bible, become amoral, then they preach a new gospel with a social emphasis. They get away from the blood, from Hell and judgment, and begin to water down the message and pervert it when they don’t stick to the old ways.
The Valley Gate--Humility
“Blessed are the meek.” One doesn’t have to be mousey to be meek. The Work of God says, “God resisteth the proud....” We are outnumbered when we push against God. Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” Only He could say that in reality without bragging, because the only meek Person in this world was the Lord Jesus Christ. But every one of us needs to learn something of this meekness.
The Apostle Paul had it. In Romans 1:1 he says he was three things--a servant, a gospel preacher, an apostle. He put first “servant.” Had he not been a successful servant, he could never have been a successful gospel preacher or a good apostle.
Without the servant’s attitude, we are no good to God. Pride just does not set well with Him.
The first servant God placed in this world was Adam. Since he didn’t like being a servant, he resisted and blew the whole thing.
Then Jesus Himself came, the last Adam. Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became a servant (Phil. 2:8). He dignified the office of servant for eternity. He showed us the meekest people are the ones who achieve the highest standing before God.
Christ never once stepped out of His capacity as a servant. He never took a step for Himself, never said a work for Himself, never did anything for His own advantage. He followed only the will of God for His life, spoke only what the Father told Him to speak, went only where the Father told Him to go. Never once did He do anything except what God sent Him into this world to do. As a result, He has been given a name which is above every name.
Servant is almost a dirty word anymore. People don’t want a menial job. They don’t want to get their hands dirty.
I was preaching in Dade County in Miami, Florida. The United States government spent a quarter of a million dollars trying to find out the job situation there. The mayor of the city took a whole-page ad in the newspaper after the government crowd spend a quarter of a million dollars, and his ad read something like this:
“I could have given the government that quarter of a million dollars’ worth of information on a postal card. There is no job shortage in Miami. In the morning paper one can find more ads for jobs than there are people out of work in the city any day of the year. It is just that they are not willing to do something that has a menial association with it.”
We want to be important; we want to be hand squeezers, main cheeses, chiefs, big shots. Nobody has the servant’s heart.
When Jesus came to the Upper Room--which was a borrowed room--there was no one to wash the disciples’ feet. Feeling uncomfortable eating with unwashed feet, they were wondering who in the world would wash their feet. Not Peter--he was the head spokesman. Were he to get down and do a menial thing like that, he would lose so much prestige. They couldn’t expect James or John to do it--they were shooting for the left hand and the right hand in the kingdom. Surely no one would expect Judas to do a thing like that--why, he was the treasurer of the organization. So who does it?
Imagine their consternation when the Son of God picked up a basin, girded Himself with a slave’s apron, and began washing feet. He didn’t say, “I have established you an ordinance,” as some folks make it. He said, “I have given you an example.”
It is a lot easier to make an ordinance out of everything than it is to obey it spiritually. It is a lot easier to make an outward show than it is to have reality in your heart. But the Word of God says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).
We are not going to be very successful as ministers of the Gospel of Christ until we become servants to Christ Himself. The servant’s attitude, the humility of heart, gives us a spirit to serve God in any capacity He places us.
The valley gate is the place of the humble heart.
The Dung Gate--Cleansing
The next gate is the dung gate, the place of cleansing. Just one man is mentioned as building the dung gate--Malchiah. There was no complaint about the dirty task, but he fulfilled it without a murmur.
The filth of this world, just as with our dirty sins, had to be removed. So Jesus Christ, without a murmur, did it by Himself. He took all our sins on Himself and went to the cross to take care of our sin problem. He personally took the responsibility for the dirty mess of the universe. He was besmirched in order to cleanse us and make us acceptable before God.
Aren’t you glad the One who was God’s own Son came into this world willing to do that for us? It had to be done, and He was the only One who could do it. Thank God, without complaint, He did the work of becoming sin for a sinful world and having it laid upon Himself. He stood at the dung gate for us so we could be clean.
The Fountain Gate--the Infilling of the Spirit
At the fountain gate we see the Infilling of the Spirit. It follows cleansing. One gate means the cleansing; the other gate means the Infilling. No Infilling until the cleansing. There is much tomfoolery being preached today about the filling of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, etc. The confusion, the outright false teaching on this is at an epidemic stage today. We are never commanded in the Word of God to be baptized with the Holy Spirit--that happens when we get saved--but we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that can happen many times. (It shouldn’t happen too often because we shouldn’t be that leaky.)
I heard about a fellow in a country church who, when they had their yearly revival meeting, would be the first one down front. He would start yelling, “Fill me, Lord, fill me!” After the meeting was over, he went back in sin again. The next year when the revival meeting came, he was up front again hollering, “Lord, fill me!”
People got sick of it.
So one year when a preacher preached and this fellow again hit the alter and hollered, “Fill me, Lord, fill me!” some old brother in the back shouted, “Don’t do it, Lord; he leaks!”
Being filled with the Spirit means being controlled by the Spirit. The two things keeping us from having the fullness of the Spirit are unyieldedness and sin. But when we are yielded and sin is confessed, the Holy Spirit fills us, and then He becomes the Lord of our lives. He controls us. And being controlled of the Spirit is the fullness of God.
To be filled with the Spirit gives us power. I never want to preach without the power of God. I don’t want to stand before God one day as a preacher who refused to be filled with the Spirit of God.
Every Christian can be Spirit-filled. Every Christian can have the power of God on every endeavor.
Oh, be sure you obey the injunction to be filled, to be turned over to and controlled by the Spirit!
Water Gate--the Word of God
At this gate we find the Word of God. This thrills me. All the other gates were repaired, but no repair is needed at the water gate. The Word of God is perfect, without error. He gave it to us in a perfect Book, infallible, eternal, indestructible. One had better not try to add to or take away from this Book; for if he does, God shall add unto him the plagues and curses written in Revelation.
People come around every once in awhile and talk about the errors in the Bible. There are no errors in the Bible. The errors are in people’s lives.
When I preached across the street from the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, the young folks kept telling me, “A young fellow over there, a brilliant sophomore, has threatened to come over here one night and blow up this church. He says he is going to embarrass us all and prove the Bible a pack of lies.”
I said, “Don’t worry about him. We’ll take care of him.”
Sure enough, a few nights later, this young sophomore, smarter right then than he would ever be again, came and sat down at the back with a look of disdain on his face. He was in an objective mood about everything that was said, disgusted about everything going on.
As soon as the meeting was over, he boldly and brazenly walked right down the aisle and up on the platform by me and said, “I don’t believe a word you are preaching out of that stupid Book. The thing is full of lies, errors and inconsistencies.”
I said, “Oh, you don’t believe the Bible?”
“You say it is full of lies?”
“Full of errors?”
He was a most positive young fellow. I said, “You have seen the evidence of this?”
“You know where they are?”
“You are not taking anybody’s word for it?”
I said, “That is quite remarkable.”
He said, “What?”
I said, “That you know so much against the Bible in such a short time. I’ve been studying it longer than you have been born, and I haven’t found any of those things. I know I’m not the brain you are, but I am a plodder, and I should have just accidentally run across some of those things in my study, but I haven’t. You know, son, you could really help me in my ministry.”
“I could help you in your ministry?”
“You surely could.”
“How could I help you?”
“You could be kind enough to take my Bible and mark all those lies and errors and inconsistencies for me. I’m not bright, son, but I am sincere. If there is any one thing I don’t want to do, it is go around the country preaching a pack of lies for the truth. If you will just mark those lies for me so I can warn people about them when I come to them, I will appreciate it.”
I laid my Bible over in his lap. He didn’t have a Bible. (People like that usually don’t.) He didn’t know what to do with it. He was like a father with a new baby. He didn’t know which end to hold up. I never saw such a confused fellow in my like!
He flipped through it two or three times really fast and got redder than a beet. Finally he laid it back in my lap and said, “I don’t know where they are.”
I said, “Neither does your lying professor! You are going to Hell on the testimony of somebody who is just as dumb about that Book as you are! There isn’t a man in that school over there who attacks this Bible who hasn’t been answered by people who have more scholarship in their little fingers than your dumb professor has in his whole body, Don’t you tell me. The greatest brain in the world that studies this Book can find no fault in it, just like you can’t find any in Jesus Christ.”
Brother, this is one Word that doesn’t need any repair.
We can take it as it is, preach it as it is, and know we are preaching the truth. Don’t do as Eve did--add to it, alter it, omit some of it and bring a curse on the world. Just leave it like it is and believe every work in it. It doesn’t need any repair.
The horse gate depicts warfare. Second Timothy 2:1-4 tells us how to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. I don’t know if you are a peacenik or not; but when you become a Christian, you will lay aside your peacenik cowardice to become a soldier for Jesus Christ. As a soldier of Christ, you will have to stand up and fight the enemy; so you had better put on your fighting clothes. You had better get your armor in place. When you become a Christian, you have a warfare ahead of you, fighting on three fronts--the world, the flesh and the Devil. Either you are going to win, or they are going to win.
Saul was asked to destroy the Amalekites completely, but didn’t. He destroyed part of them. The Amalekites represent the flesh. They were the sons of Edom. Edom was flesh in the Old Testament. Saul, thinking there was something good about some of them, brought some back.
There is nothing good about flesh. All of it is bad. You can’t compromise with the flesh. I don’t care if it does act in Hollywood; flesh is flesh, and it is under the condemnation of God. There is nothing good about it, and you can’t compromise with it in any guise. If you don’t fight it, it will whip you.
Saul wouldn’t fight the flesh, so what happened? He lost his kingdom. And he dies with an Amalekite’s foot on his neck--defeated by the very thing he wouldn’t battle against.
In II Samuel, chapter 1, we read that David came in from fighting the Amalekites. God had put David in Saul’s place. David would fight the flesh, but Saul wouldn’t, so Saul lost his kingdom.
We are enlisted in a battle. We are not make-believe soldiers: we are flesh and blood--real, live soldiers for Christ. Read Ephesians, then get your armor in place. We are fighting a warfare against mighty powers in this world, so stand up and be counted. Hold your testimony for God because, as a soldier for Christ, you are to be a battler for Him.
You and I are called to a warfare. The Word of God says this war will continue from generation to generation. There is no complete victory in this life. No time can we say we have won the victory over the flesh and don’t need to fight any longer. Brother, we will never reach that sate in this mortal life.
A bunch of stuff is loose in this nation today. A guy is teaching--and he has a lot of other folks teaching--that, when you get saved, you have just one nature--denying you have an old nature. When this man was through talking with me, after an hour on that mess, he said, “It is strange that Dr. So-and-so is the only man who has been able to find this truth in the Bible.”
I said, “Strange to me, too, that Dr. So-and-so is the only man who has ever found that truth in the Bible!” I added, “You know, you and Dr. SO-and-so have the advantage over the rest of us poor sinners.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are the only two I know in this world who don’t need an Advocate to get at the right hand of God. He is there for sinners, and if you are not a sinner, you can dismiss Jesus Christ.”
We fight this battle until we are delivered and made into the lifeness of the Son of God. Keep your guard up and don’t listen to any of this stuff that is being taught about how you can lose your old nature. The Word of God plainly says you cannot. And anybody who says you can is a liar.
The East Gate--His Coming
Oh, how this thrills me! The east gate is the testimony of His coming. When I looked out the window of my hotel, located on the Mount of Olives, back toward the city of Jerusalem, bathed in brilliant sunlight, I was looking straight at the eastern gate. Oh, I thanked God that He will be arriving through the gate one day! It is now sealed; but, praise God, one day it is going to be opened for the Prince! The One who went away is coming again.
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”--Heb. 9:24-28.
There are three appearances there: He did appear to put away sin officially; He appears now in His bodily presence; and He will appear one day for us face to face. We will have a face-to-face meeting one day with our blessed Lord.
We have those same three appearances in II Corinthians, chapter 1 and verse 10: “Who delivered us [He did appear] from so great a death, and doth deliver [He now appears]: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.” He will appear again, thank God!
He told us in no uncertain terms, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” And the only way He can fulfill that promise is to come to the east gate. It was the way the Shekinah glory departed from this earth, and it is the way the Shekinah glory is going to return--through the eastern gate.
Then the gate Miphkad is the scene of judgment. It is the Bema seat when we will all appear to give an account of how well we have built, how well we have maintained our city, so to speak, how well we have rebuilt the walls.
Then when they got through there, they came right back to where they started in verse 32--to the beginning again, to the sheep gate. Christ is the First and the Last. He is the Beginning and the End. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the whole Alphabet. Thank God!
Visit the old city of Jerusalem. Look at those old gates around the city. We see our Saviour in every one of them. His work for us and our responsibility to Him are so plain, so visible, so strongly proclaimed in the gates of Jerusalem.