Gates in the Bible: Gates of Jerusalem, Part 3: The Sheep Gate -- By Sue Ramsey and Lyn Chaffart
In last week's lesson on the gates of Jerusalem, we took a look at the history behind the only reference in scripture to all of Jerusalem's gates: the rebuilding of Jerusalem in B.C. 466, under the leadership of Nehemiah. We learned that if God has laid something on your heart, then you must follow Nehemiah's example and act upon it. You not allow yourself to become discouraged or to look the impossibility of the task. Instead, you must trust in the One who is in charge, and you WILL SUCCEED! Today's lesson takes us to the first gate mentioned in the series: The Sheep Gate.

"Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the SHEEP GATE. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel." (Neh 3:1 NIV)

The first gate mentioned in the rebuilding of Jerusalem was known as the Sheep Gate. It is believed to have been a gate in the eastern wall, near the pool of Bethesda [1], and it is believed that this was the gate by which the offerings or sacrifices were brought into the temple. In fact, it is suggested that this was the first gate rebuilt BECAUSE it was used for this purpose! [2]

Interestingly, the Sheep Gate is also the LAST gate mentioned in the list: "and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs." (Neh 3:32 NIV) This means that the Sheep Gate was not only the starting point, but it was also the ending point of the wall!

So what, then, is the significance for us today of a gate where sheep entered into the temple area for slaughter? What is the significance of a gate mentioned both first and last in a list?

Sheep and lambs are used in the Bible as symbols of Christ: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29-30 NIV)

Friends, Jesus is the Lamb of God. Jesus is the one who takes away the sin of the world! The Sheep Gate, then, speaks of the very first experience we come into in our Christian life - the realization that Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes away the sins of the world! The Sheep Gate speaks to us of the cross and the sacrifice that was made for our sins!

Jesus' death on the cross is the starting point of everything, and it is also the end of everything. Everything begins and ends with Jesus' sacrifice!

Have you passed through the "Sheep Gate"? If you have, then you've taken the first, most necessary step to a Christian life. If you have not, why not do so today? It is what He died for you to do! It is His greatest anticipation! Do it today, friend! Make Him happy by putting His sacrifice to work in YOUR life! If you would like to answer the Savior's Call, go to http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html 

Enough to ponder, friends, but do ponder this: The Sheep Gate speaks to us of the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. It is the starting point and also the end of everything. If you haven't already done so, don't wait! Pass through the Sheep Gate today!

God bless each of you abundantly.

Sue Ramsey & Lyn Chaffart Volunteers, Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org

[1] from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft [2] from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft

(To access the entire "Gates in the Bible" mini-series, please click here.)