We have entered a momentous year. All around us unprecedented events are happening faster than we could have imagined. In closing last week, Pastor Mark mentioned the gates were closing as this is the final year of a Shemitah cycle. Why are gates important?
In Israel, gates were specific locations where business took place, marriages were arranged (Ruth 4), and problems between people were settled with witnesses (Amos 5). The king could address the people from the gates (2 Samuel 18).
The Hebrew word for gates, sha’ar, can have many and opposite meanings ranging from, “a place of controlled access,” to meaning “horrible things,” as it was used in Jeremiah 5:30 and 23:14.
In Ezekiel we see G-d, Himself exposing sin of the seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel (Ezek. 8:11) at the gate.
Ezekiel 8:13,14a And He said to me, Turn again and you will see greater abominations that they are doing. So he brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’S house:…Then He said to me, Have you seen this , O son of man? Turn again you will see greater abominations than these.
G-d does business at the gates also. He sees what His people are doing, as we just read in Ezekiel.
As you read the following verses, notice all that is taking place at the gates:
Lamentations 1:3,4 The roads of Zion are in mourning because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates [sh’areh’ha] are desolate; her priests are groaning, her virgins are afflicted, and she herself is bitter.
How very sad, when the joy and activity of people stops at the gates because people are not doing what is important to G-d.
Nehemiah 3:14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.
Even the Dung (Refuse) Gate had been destroyed with all the walls of Jerusalem. When the gates are destroyed, a nation has no way to protect itself from enemies. It was at that time that Nebuchadnezzar and his armies came in and destroyed the temple.
Genesis 7:16 And they entered, the male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.
G-D Himself shut the door, or the gate, to the ark. If you were inside, you were safe. Protection and provision were made for you. If you were outside, there remained only certain destruction.
It is time to be ready for the gates to close.
Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and loud voices called out in heaven: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.
The gates for the kingdom of the world are soon going to close – forever, but the gate to the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ are going to be open. This is a message that needs to be proclaimed. Who will be ready to go in?
Psalm 118:19-24 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD.
The righteous will enter through it.