Ancient Biblical GATES!

Shalom Partner and Friend of Israel,

Lift up your heads, O gates; and be lifted up, O everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates; even lift up, O everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? Jehovah of Hosts, He is the King of glory,” - Psalm 24:7-10. The Church – the Body of Christ, for the most part, has little or no knowledge of the existence of “GATES” or “PORTALS” and does not even recognize their significance. Historically, God has used “portals” in the events of man and continues to do so today. When we sing the verse in Psalm 24:7 - about the “Gates” or “Ancient Doors” - we have NO idea what we are singing about but it sounds good to our ears.

Ancient gates or doors are “portals” of access established by God from the third heaven to earth. They are un-obstructed by “demonic” interference in which angels travel from heaven and back again while provisions are delivered, revelation, transportation and translation are given to man. In Daniel 10:13 - Daniel is informed that the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” (today Iran) was withstanding (standing opposite) the angel for 21 days. Michael one of the chief princes (angels) came to help fight through the “portal” in the demonic land of Babylon (today Iraq) to give Daniel understanding. 

Genesis 28: 10-17 is where the story of Jacob’s dream is recorded… “He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” - Genesis 28:12. In verse 13; God is standing at the top of the ladder… “And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.” These verses are a wonderful account of how God reveals a “portal” in a dream to prophesy Jacob’s destiny to him.

God established a “portal” from the third heaven to Mt. Horeb / Mt. SinaiElijah sitting under a juniper tree was instructed to leave from there and go to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:11-18) to see and hear what God had to show him. Sometimes it is necessary to leave from where we are to another place to hear or experience God. Mt. Horeb was a “Portal” and it was here that God would (or could) speak to Elijah. One of the marvellous mysteries of God is the existence of portals, doors and passageways, leading to and from the heavenly realms. When you are standing in a portal, it feels like an open Heaven. A heavenly portal is a spherical opening of light that offers divine protection by which angels and heavenly beings can come and go, without demonic interference. God has designed portals to begin in the third Heaven, travel through the second Heaven, and open upon Earth. "He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven" - Psalm 78:23.

What are ancient doors and ancient gates? There are important facts that were known in Bible times to conquer a fortified city. The gates of a city were very significant! The gates were shut at nightfall (Joshua 2:5) because they were the chief point from which the enemy attacked (Judges 5:8). Idolatrous acts were performed at the gates (Acts 14:13). It was in the city gate, through which people constantly flowed, that agreements were verbally sealed in the presence of witnesses, a necessity in an era before the written contract. The agreement was witnessed and the deal was done! In Hebron, south of Jerusalem, sometime in 2 B.C. – patriarch - Abraham negotiated the purchase of the Cave of Machpelah as a tomb for his wife Sarah: And “it passed to Abraham as a possession in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city” (Genesis 23). The word “Machpelah” means; "doubled," "multiplied" or "two-fold" and Me'arat means "cave" so a literal translation would simply be; "the double cave!" 

The Bible records another negotiation, in the gate of nearby Bethlehem of Judah, several centuries later when Boaz wished to exercise his familial right to marry Ruth, the young Moabite widow of a kinsman. But Boaz was not first in line, and the match was only possible if another male relative, closer on the family tree, publicly waived his prerogative. “Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city” and sat them down in the gate. When the exchange between the two kinsmen ended to Boaz’s satisfaction, – Boaz addressed the crowd: “Today you are witnesses.” Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, ‘We are witnesses” (Ruth 4).

Gates” in Biblical Israel weren't just a doorway into the city. They were where prophets cried out and kings judged, and people met, like in the Ancient city of Dan. The “Israelite Gate” at Tel Dan is the site of the biblical city of Dan near the Lebanese border with Israel and has an ancient stone bench with, tellingly, seating for precisely ten people. It is referred to as “Justice in the gate” as the gate of the city was also a podium for the Israelite Biblical Prophets of old and champions and bearers of God’s Word in their day; “Hate evil and love good and establish justice in the gate.” – Amos 5:15. Not only must justice be done - it must be seen to be done! And for the Ancient Israelites, the one place in the city where transparency was guaranteed was at the city gate. It was an extraordinarily progressive judicial system for its day, but apparently could not entirely prevent official corruption. “They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly (truth).” - Amos 5:9-11. Amos raged against those “who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate!”

Excavation of the site, conducted over decades by the late Dr. Avraham Biran of Hebrew Union College, exposed an impressive Israelite city-gate complex and dated the Israelite Gate to the early 9th Century B.C. - the time of King Ahab. There seem to have been upper-story structures overlooking the vulnerable entrance to the city, presumably part of its defences. Another interesting feature is a raised square platform, with two steps ascending to it. Round, decorated stone sockets at the corners of the platform were possibly designed to hold the poles of a canopy. While it is possible that the platform had a “cultic” function - alongside it is an unadorned “standing stone,” often understood as an abstract representation of “a deity” seen as the base of the king’s seat in the city gate. Here he might sit in judgment, or simply to demonstrate his majesty as during this period, the Israelite king would go out to see and be seen by his subjects as a monarch who was normal during those times of tyranny and control.

At the Ancient Dan there is also a famous Canaanite-era gate, one of the oldest of its kind still standing in the world, dating 4,000 years ago from the Bronze Age – “King David 'in the gate” - which is an intriguing Biblical example of this royal phenomenon even though it did not take place in Dan – concerns the rebellion against King David by his son, Absalom, in the early 10th Century B.C. Absalom’s initial success forced David to flee across the Jordan River and find refuge in Mahanaim. At the climax of the revolt, loyalist and rebel forces clashed in the forest of Ephraim, where King David’s army carried the day. It is said that the king “was sitting between the two gates” of the city (presumably Mahanaim), anxiously waiting for news from the battlefield. The victory is complete as a runner tells him…but Absalom his son is dead; “The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over by the gate, and wept.” David’s troops were dispirited, the Bible relates, their victory “turned into mourning.” Joab, David’s general, angrily burst in on the king, reprimanding him for his personal sorrow and ignoring his men, and warning him of disaster unless he reasserted his royal presence. “Then the king got up and took his seat in the gate. The troops were all told, ‘See, the king is sitting in the gate’; and all the troops came before the king.” - 2 Samuel 18-19. Allegiance was restored “at the gate” …and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jacob discovered a heavenly “portal” … He spent the night in a place where his forefather Abraham had "…called upon the Name of the Lord" (Genesis 12:8; 28:1). As he rested his head upon a covenant stone, a “portal” opened and Jacob saw a vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending on it. When he awoke from sleep, he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it... How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven!" - Genesis 28:16-17. Eager to mark the specific location where he had encountered the “stairway to heaven,” Jacob erected a monument and named the place - "Bethel" or "dwelling place of God." Several times after this, the Lord told Jacob to return to Bethel where He would speak to him.

"After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this. Immediately, I was in the spirit" - Revelation 4:1-2. The “door” in Revelation suggests God's invitation for us to have access to His heavenly realm and the Lord wants to open the “portals” of Heaven and release an un-paralleled visitation of heavenly hosts. Have you ever wondered why the Lord, who could speak to you anywhere, would instruct you to go somewhere else, so that He could talk with you too? “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” - Proverbs 8:34.

“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing they rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.” - Genesis 19:1. Lot was sitting in the gates of Sodom,” relates the Book of Genesis – and, to modern ears, the description “in the gates” sounds curious …but in Biblical times a gate (or "gates") was not just a passageway through the defensive wall surrounding the city. It was typically a massive and often complex structure, consisting of an outer gate and an inner one providing a second line of defence, with a space in between. Lot is waiting at the “gate” of Sodom when two angels appear to him. In the Ancient World, the gate of the City was not only an outlet …but also where meetings of great importance occurred.  In Genesis 18:21 the Lord states that He will go down to investigate or scout it out for Himself to see this evil which is stinking up the heavens; “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” The “go down” happens when the angels appear at the “gate or ancient door” of the City. 

The Bible calls a “portal” - "The Gate of Heaven" (Genesis 28:17), "the windows of heaven" (Malachi 3:10) and “a door – in heaven” (Revelation 4:1). A portal is an "entrance" from one dimension into another dimension. In the natural /physical world we live in, there are three dimensions of time, space and energy. In the other worlds of God's creation (Hebrew 11:3), there are also other dimensions of time, space and energy. A “portal” looks like “the eye and eye walls” of a hurricane/typhoon in the natural!

John 1:51 also speaks about a “portal” where the angels of God ascending and descending upon Yeshua (Jesus) - but it called the “portal” – “an open heaven!” When our Lord died on the cross, the VEIL of the temple was torn into two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45) signifying that He paid the price for an “open heaven.” Isaiah 25:8 - speaks about the covering VEIL cast over all people and spread over all nations. The early Church Age began from the City of Jerusalem with an “open heaven” (Acts 1:8; Acts 2:4). The Book of Acts provided the evidence of signs, wonders and miracles - the acts of the Holy Spirit.

Portals for Provision… In Psalm 78:23-25, God opened the doors of heaven and fed the Hebrews in the desert the food of angels; “Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven, man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.” Divine “portals” into the “heavenly realm” exist around the Earth today and the City of Jerusalem is one of them. In fact, it is the major portal on the face of the Earth. That's why both, David and Isaiah said that Jerusalem is the centre of the earth. Why do you suppose the enemy is trying to capture Jerusalem? He is trying to block or close off this portal!

Divine “portals” into the heavenly realm exist around the Earth today and the City of Jerusalem is one of them. In fact, it is the major portal on the face of the Earth. That's why both David and Isaiah said that Jerusalem is the centre of the earth. Why do you suppose the enemy is trying to capture Jerusalem? He is trying to block or close off this portal. The ancients considered Jerusalem to be the centre of the earth for several reasons;

(1) Geographically: Jerusalem is located on a land bridge that touches Asia, Africa and Europe: "Thus said the Lord God; this is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her." - Ezekiel 5:5. In fact, medieval maps call Jerusalem “Umbilicus Mundi” (Navel of the World) and show it as the centre of the universe (possibly a reflection of The Book of Jubilees 8:12-20).

(2) Spiritually: Certainly Jerusalem is the "centre" of the world in that it is central to God's plan for the human race; “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” - Isaiah 2:3 (also see; Isaiah 28:16, 59:20 Psalm 4:12). Everyone on the earth is affected, in one way or another, by the City of Jerusalem.

(3) Prophetically: The spiritual importance of Jerusalem extends into Eternity. Referring to Christ's Second coming the Bible says; “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain'" - Zechariah 8:3.

The “Portal” Gates of JerusalemToday a visitor can enter the Old City of Jerusalem by one of seven gates. Some gates were named by location. The Jaffa Gate faces west towards Tel Aviv and Joppa. The Damascus Gate is in the North wall where a traveller would enter if he had come from Galilee, the Golan Heights and Damascus. The Zion Gate is, logically, on Mt. Zion near the traditional Tomb of David and site of the Upper Room of the Last Supper. The Dung Gate faces south towards the Hinnom Valley where refuse from the city was dumped in former times into the valley. The Sheep Gate (or St. Stephen's Gate, or Lion's Gate) is next to the sheep market and so on.

The present walls around the Old City were built from 1537-1541 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent after the Turkish Ottoman conquest of Israel. At that time most of the Ancient walls of Jerusalem were reduced to rubble. Suleiman ordered that Jerusalem be fortified to protect its people against marauding Bedouins. The walls of the Old City of Jerusalem were rebuilt upon the foundations of the walls constructed during the time of the 2nd Temple and the later during Roman expansion. In the Jewish Quarter in the Old City one can see an uncovered section of the wall built by Nehemiah at the time of the return from the Babylonian exile; “Walk about Zion, go round about her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels; that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God for ever and ever. He will be our guide for ever.” - Psalm 48:12-14.

The Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock) is clearly visible - whether viewed from the Mount of Olives, or from the Lutheran church tower across from the Holy Sepulchre, or from the Citadel Museum roof. Normally tranquil and peaceful with its park like setting; one would hardly guess that this small parcel of land of less than 50 acres - is the centre of the world and the hottest piece of real estate anywhere on earth. Biblically speaking, it's most exciting history lies yet ahead.

Gate of Mercy – Eastern Gate or the Golden Gate (Sha’ar Haachamim) … “Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looks toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the Lord to me; this gate shall be shut, it shall NOT be opened, and NO man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the Prince; the Prince!” – Ezekiel 44:1-3. The Eastern gate remains shut and is awaiting the coming Prince of Peace! The Golden Gate was walled up and closed by the Arabs in the year 810 and remains closed now for 12 Centuries. It is a now-closed double-gate said to be awaiting a miraculous opening when the Messiah Yeshua comes and the dead are resurrected. The North portal is known as the Gate of Repentance, and the Southern Portal, the Gate of Mercy. It is the most important and most impressive “gate” in Jerusalem, and the only visible entrance to the city of Jerusalem from the East. This oldest of all the gates to the City was the only one NOT rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent in AD 1539-42. Monolithic stones in the wall just above ground have been identified as 6th Century BC masonry from the time of Nehemiah, (Biblical Archaeological BAR Review Mar/Apr 1992).

Since the Messiah is to come from the East (Matthew 24:27), it was concluded that His judgment would be at the Eastern Gate… This is one reason for the many Muslim, Christian, and Jewish graves on the Eastern slopes of the Temple Mount, in the Kidron Valley, and on the Western slopes of the Mount of Olives. Jews link the Messiah's arrival with this gate and Christians have for centuries associated the Golden Gate with Palm Sunday and also with the Lord’s Second Coming (Luke 19: 35 – 38). Jews expect the Messiah to come through the Golden Gate. Muslims also expect their Islamic “Mahdi” to return to our world at the End-of-Age to participate in the final judgment. Christians believe it will be the Lord Jesus Christ who will conduct that final judgment. Zechariah 14:4-5 clearly states that the Messiah of Israel will return to Jerusalem from the summit of the Mount of Olives and then surely proceed into Jerusalem from the east in the direction of the Golden Gate. Because of the Messianic association with the Golden Gate which clearly symbolizes both judgment and mercy and because of the Arabic names attached to the gate - all three faiths have wanted to be buried as close as possible to the Golden Gate. The assumption was that the dead in the immediate vicinity would be the first to be raised.

In the Middle Ages the Jews were forbidden to bury on Mount Moriah, which is inside the walled Old City of Jerusalem. Instead they buried their dead opposite the gate and to the South on the Mount of Olives. This Jewish cemetery is the oldest in continuous use anywhere in the world. A burial plot, it is said, if it were available there, could cost $50,000 or more. The Christian cemetery lies in the bottom of the Kidron Valley (in sad condition) while the Muslim burial area covers the eastern Temple Mount hillside up to and surrounding the Golden Gate. The Bible indicates that Yeshua (Jesus) passed through this gate many times while He was in Jerusalem. Since Jewish religious tradition teaches that the coming Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate and so to prevent this, the main reason for Muslims sealing the “gate” during the rule of Suleiman.

Unlike the lush expanses of grass associated with many cemeteries, the Mount of Olives is a mountainside of stones. Ironically, Yeshua (Jesus) ascended up into Heaven from the Mount of Olives, which overlooks the Eastern Gate to the West. And, yes, ironically from that stony mountain top, Yeshua ascended as the “chief cornerstone” for the up-building of Mount Zion. It is to the Mount of Olives that Yeshua will return in these Last Days. 

The Gates of Heaven are never shut! The shutting of the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem is symbolic of the fact that Israel “shut” the gate to God through unbelief as they knew not the Messiah upon his visitation to them 2,000 years ago …and their rejection of the Messiah stands as a historic monument symbolized in concrete by the Eastern Gate – the shut gate to Old Jerusalem. Yeshua prophesied to Israel about the desolation of the Second Temple which continues to this very day. The shut gate also symbolizes the reality of the supernatural battle that is even now waging over the Temple Mount …but the Lord shall return and open the gate, and rebuild the Temple, and New Jerusalem and all Israel shall know the Lord! We Gentile are not unique and like Israel many have turned their backs on God and have “shut” him out too. Today it is evident as God has been “shut” out of the hearts of unbelievers, schools, government and in fact almost every place except the Church and the lives of true believers. Isn’t it amazing that we have learnt that God is speaking to us even through the shut (Golden) Eastern Gate that though JUDGEMENT …but there is also MERCY for Israel …and for us too?

We live in a changing world! The fast pace of life in this 21st Century helps to facilitate the rapid changes and especially with the world locked-down with the Wuhan Corona Virus deliberately spread by Communist China. Doesn’t it just make us think that what God has “shut” no man can open! (Revelation 3:7; Job 12:14) Only God can open up the economies and “gates” to the nations of the world that were “shut” and if we humble ourselves and PRAY! (2 Chronicles 7:14) We need to repent and cry out to God to forgive our nation’s sin and He will hear from heaven and heal our land and remove this pandemic!

God is moving in a significant way in this time and in this generation… He is preparing us for the Kingdom of God way of life. Many today are expecting some severe adjustments as the old Babylonian style ways MUST come down to make room for the New Jerusalem style of living. It is greatly reassuring to know that we as true believers are the children of Abba Father - our Creator, who is the One-in-charge of Heavenly affairs, the affairs of mankind and all history. We are today more than ever convinced that the miraculous works of God are accelerating even at a faster pace! Faith is increasing upon the earth and we must stay vigilant keeping our lamps oiled and not to be asleep - not spending time with God just like the 5 virgins without oil and wake up too late! Maranatha Lord Yeshua!

God’s Word is true! He IS watching to see how the nations are treating His people – Israel. God will have mercy on Israel through Gentile believers acting as mediators towards them! This is one of the most amazing revelations ever given to the Church – an opportunity to do something that carries the highest priority in the heart of God. Yet, sadly, so few have seen the potential and the rewards of serving God in this manner - as agents of mercy to Israel and the Jewish people! Israel was and still is despised today and a despised nation continually turning away from God BUT nothing ever altered the purpose of God for that nation. The despised element is always a noticeable element in the purpose of God. When the Saviour of the world came, He came of that despised nation; like IsraelHe Himself was; “despised and rejected by men,”and there is that despised element; “…things that are despised God has chosen,” 1 Corinthians 1:28. Now, more than at any time is the time to support Israel and the Jewish people - the Lord’s Brethren! We are witnessing the nations and people turning their backs on Israel. Thank you for your prayers and generous financial support especially during these very difficult times. With “lockdown” and difficult “recovery” still lying ahead we ARE reminded that the Wuhan Corona Virus has caused many dire needs and continue to increase here in Israel upon the already most vulnerable! Once again – Thank you!

We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information. With Shalom to you and your family always,

Alf & Julie Saunders

01st August, 2020

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