The gates of Jerusalem represent four aspects of the Israelites’ history that enabled them to enter the Promised Land, but had to be walled off or left behind in order for them to dwell securely in the Promised Land. Each of the gates faced a different direction, one eastward, one northward, one southward, and one westward.
The gate that faced eastward (1 Chronicles 26:14) represented the aspect of perfection that was lost in the garden of Eden. Although the Israelites were encouraged to strive toward perfection, they had to accept that they would never regain what was lost when sin entered the world. The sacrificial system that was practiced was intended to remind them that they needed a savior in order to dwell securely in the Promised Land.
The gate that faced northward (1 Chronicles 26:14) represented the aspect of slavery that the Israelites were delivered from when God took them out of Egypt. Although the Israelites thought about returning to Egypt because they thought life was easier there, they had to give up idolatry in order to have a relationship with God. The Israelites learned that God’s holiness would not be compromised so that they could be blessed by him. The way for the Israelites to dwell securely in the Promised Land was to cut themselves off from the temptation to sin.
The gate that faced southward (1 Chronicles 26:15) represented the aspect of the Israelites history that took place while they were wandering in the wilderness. During the time the Israelites lived in the desert, they were divinely protected. Although they were given manna to eat, many people died in the desert because it was not meant to be their permanent home. The conditions in the desert were harsh and life could not be sustained indefinitely. The Promised Land flowed with milk and honey as long as the Israelites obeyed God. In order for them to dwell securely in the Promised Land, they had to obey God’s commands consistently.
The gate that faced westward (1 Chronicles 26:16) represented the aspect of the Israelites history that was associated with miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea, water coming from a rock, and crossing the Jordan when it was at a flood stage. These miracles gave the Israelites the impression that God would do things to keep them alive, but once they entered the Promised Land, they had to live normal lives. The Israelites had to fight their enemies, plant crops for food, and raise families in order to dwell securely in the Promised Land.
A gate is a barrier through which people and things must pass. Thinking about barriers to our minds, a gate can represent a mindset that needs to be established in order for our minds to be protected from our enemy, the devil. From that perspective, the four gates of Jerusalem represent mindsets expressed in these scriptures. John 17:23, “…that they may be made perfect in one.” John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:58, “…your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”