The following are the gates noted in Nehemiah Chapter Three. Each gate from the Jerusalem wall mentioned by Nehemiah is unique and has a specific message about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These messages are vivid and clear in our day just as they were in 445 BC and prior. These gates were used by God to reveal the coming Messiah to the Jews of that day. They reveal Him from His first coming sacrifice, to His Second Coming, and final judgment of man and Angels. It is fascinating how God finds many different ways to tell the message of Christ, the good news. This is one more. Praise be to God the Father who desires salvation for all. 1 Tim 2:4
The Sheep Gate (v. 1-2) Reminds us of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (John 10). This was the first gate repaired, for without the sacrifice, there is no salvation. Note that the sheep gate had no locks or bars, for the door of salvation is ever open to the sinner. This is the only gate that was sanctified, setting it apart as a special gate.
They sanctified it—As they began with the sacred offering as soon as they got an altar built, it was proper that the gate by which these sacrifices entered should be consecrated for this purpose, i. e., set apart, so that it should be for this use only.
The Fish Gate (v. 3-5) Reminds us of soul-winning, being “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).
The Old Gate (v. 6-12) Speaks of the old paths and the old truths of the Word of God (Jer 6:16 and 18:15). The people of the world are forever looking for “some new thing” (Acts 17:21), and they refuse to go back to the basic truths for salvation, eternal life, and everyday living. Jesus Christ and salvation is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Heb 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
The Valley Gate (v. 13) Reminds us of the humility of the Lord becoming the God/Man and the type of humility we should put on.
In Phil 2:1-10, we see Christ descending from the glories of heaven into the valley of human limitation and even death.
We do not enjoy the valley, but often God must take us there to bring a blessing to our lives.
The Dung Gate. (v. 14) Apparently this is the gate through which the waste and refuse of the city were taken. Imagine how difficult it would be to repair a gate in such a place! Certainly, this speaks to us of the cleansing of our souls (2 Cor 7:1; Isa 1:16-17; 1 John 1:9).
Later some of the Jews were to complain about the rubbish; see Neh 4:10.
The Gate of the Fountain (v. 15-25) Illustrates the ministry of the Holy Spirit; see John 7:37-39.
It is interesting to note the order of these gates: first, there is humility (the valley gate), then cleansing (the dung gate), and then the filling of the Spirit (the fountain gate).
The Water Gate (v. 26-27) Speaks of the Word of God, which cleanses the believer (Eph 5:26; Psa 119:9).
Note that this is the seventh gate mentioned, and seven is the Bible number for perfection, completeness—the perfect Word of God.
Note too that this gate needed no repairs! “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven” (Psa 119:89).
Gate: Needed no repair
The Horse Gate (v. 28) Introduces the idea of warfare.
Certainly, there are battles in the Christian life, and we must be ready to fight. 2 Tim 2:1-4.
Rev 17:14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
The East Gate (v. 29-30) Makes us think of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Matt 24:27.
In Ezek 10:16-22; 11:22-25., the prophet saw God’s glory depart from the temple by the east gate, but later in (Ezek 43:1-5), he saw God’s glory return “from the way of the east.”
James 2:23, “and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.”
The Gate Miphkad (Muster, Inspection, Master) (v. 31-32) Speaks of God’s judgment.
The Hebrew word miphkad – שַׁ֫עַר (mif-kawd’) means, “appointment, account, census, mustering.” It carries the idea of troops showing up for review. Certainly, God is going to call all souls up for judgment one day.
Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 3:10-20; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11-15.
Mat 21:42, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes?”
As you review these gates and their order, you can see the suggestion of the full picture of the Christian life, from the sheep gate (salvation) to the final judgment.
Rom 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”