The Nugget has received requests from
subscribers to run a series focusing on gates in the Bible. The Bible is full of
references to gates, many of which were in relation to the gates of ancient
Jerusalem. This ongoing series, "The Gates of Jerusalem", looks at what these
gates can teach us today. Many thanks to Nugget author and Answers2Prayer
volunteer, Sue Ramsey, for supplying the research that this series is based
upon. For previous lessons on "The Gates of Jerusalem", please see:
The Gates of Jerusalem, Part 5
The Old Gate
In last week's lesson on the gates of Jerusalem, we saw that the second gate
mentioned, the Fish Gate, speaks to us evangelism. The reason the Fish Gate is
mentioned after the Sheep Gate is that the first thing God wants us to do once
we've accepted His gift of salvation is to tell others about the Good News of
Salvation! Today's lesson takes us to the Old Gate.
"Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired
the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and bars.
NKJV" (Neh 3:6 NIV)
The third gate mentioned in Nehemiah's account was known as the "Old Gate", or
the "Jeshanah" gate, as translated in some Bibles. Commentaries are not in
agreement as to why this gate is referred to as the "Old Gate". One theory
states that this is the "gate of the old town", explaining this by calling
Bezetha, a suburb or village in front of the gate, the "new town" . Another
theory states that it is called the Old Gate because it belonged to the ancient
city of Salem that was first built by Melchizedek .
There is also some question as to where this gate actually stood. It is said to
be: "Either the modern Damascus gate, the main entrance to the city on the north
side; or a gate a little further eastward." 
But despite the lack of agreement between scholars, the Old Gate still speaks
two important messages to us today.
First of all, the Old Gate speaks to us of the "old ways of truth". After
experiencing the Sheep Gate and becoming a Christian, and then beginning to
share our faith with others, thus passing through the Fish Gate, we often begin
to go through trials and we find that our newly-found faith is being tested.
When this happens, it is time to enter through the Old Gate to learn the ways of
truth that never change.
This returning to the "old ways" is an ancient truth, an admonition given in the
early days of Bible history. As early as the book of Deuteronomy, Israel was
admonished to: "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long
past." (Deut 32:7 NIV). When the people refused to do so, God turned against
them. The prophet Jeremiah admonished them: "Stand at the crossroads and
look; ASK FOR THE ANCIENT PATHS, ask where the GOOD WAY IS, and WALK IN IT, and
you will find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV). And when "His
people recalled the DAYS OF OLD, the days of Moses and his people . . ." (Isa
63:11 NIV), they remembered how God's hand was mighty and powerful to save. They
turned back to Him and He saved them.
Friends, when our faith is tested, when circumstances crowd around us that seem
too big to overcome, when it seems that the problems are even too big for God,
we are told to enter through the "Old Gate". "Remember the DAYS OF OLD"! Enter
into God's Word! Look back and remember God's hand in history! We can be
encouraged that the God who parted the Red Sea is big enough to bring us through
whatever circumstances we face!
But this isn't always easy, is it? And herein lies the second important lesson
to be learned from the Old Gate.
The Old Gate was rebuilt by Jehoida the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of
Besodeiah. If you look a few verses earlier in the chapter, you will notice that
the Sheep Gate was rebuilt by priests and the Fish Gate by brothers. In fact,
most of the gates were rebuilt by people who were related in some way, but we
are not told of any particular relationship between Jehoiada and Meshullam.
Why is this significant? Because so many things in life cannot be done by
ourselves! It's too easy to become discouraged! Is it any wonder that the church
is told fourteen times in the New Testament alone to "Encourage one another
daily" (Heb. 3:13)? When God gives us tasks or allows us to go through
circumstances that are too big for one person, we can rest assured that we don't
have to do it alone! Besides having God by our side, we also have the body of
Christ to encourage us!
Enough to ponder, friends, but do ponder this: When discouragement sets in, when
the task before you seems too big, remember the Old Gate! Remember to look back
in the days of old, and be encouraged that this same God is with you today. But
don't try to go through it alone. Remember to reach out to your brothers and
sisters in Christ for strength to carry on!
Join us next week to take a look at what the Valley Gate has to teach us.
God bless each of you abundantly.
Sue Ramsey & Lyn Chaffart
Volunteers, Answers2Prayer Ministries,
 (from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition,
Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. on Neh.
 (from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition,
Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., on Neh.
 (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft,
on Neh. 3:6)