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Physical and Spiritual Gates

Ancient cities were often more like fortresses than cities, as we understand the term "city" today. The perimeter consisted of a massive stone wall (or walls) with gates to permit or prevent the entry of people and animals. In times of war, enemy forces often concentrated their attacks on these openings, typically the weakest part of the city wall, so the gates were usually constructed in such a way that they were flanked by, or actually part of, one or more defensive guard towers.

The Gates of Old Jerusalem

The Lion Gate at Jerusalem

The old city of Jerusalem has had numerous gates over the many thousands of years of Bible History. You can still walk through some of them today, while others have been sealed at one time or another. Individual gates have been known by various names, sometimes by two or three or more, through their centuries of existence.

The Sheep Gate, also known as Stephen's Gate, or the Lions Gate (Nehemiah 3:1,32, 12:39), is located on the east wall, north of the Temple Mount. It is shown in the photograph at left.

The Fish Gate was an ancient gate on the east wall, just west of the Gihon spring, where men gathered to sell fish, sometimes in violation of the Sabbath (2 Chronicles 33:14, Nehemiah 3:3, 13:16). It may be the same as the Middle Gate (Jeremiah 39:3).

The Old Gate, or Jeshanah Gate, was located at the northwest corner of the city during the time of Nehemiah, near the location of the present-day Holy Sepulcher (Nehemiah 3:6)

The Valley Gate, overlooked the Kidron Valley (Nehemiah 3:13)

The Beautiful Gate, near the Temple Mount, where Peter healed a crippled man "in The Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (Acts 3:1-10)

The Golden Gate was located on the east wall adjacent to the Temple Mount. Originally constructed by the Byzantines, it was later sealed by Muslims to "block the future path of the Messiah into Jerusalem."

The Dung Gate was one of the 12 or so gates that existed at the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:14). It was located at the southwest corner of the wall, and used for the disposal of garbage and dung. It led out to the Valley Of Hinnom. See also The Tyropoeon Valley.

The Fountain Gate was located at the southeast corner of the wall (Nehemiah 3:15).

The Zion Gate was on the south wall, overlooking Mount Zion. See also The Zion Bridge

The Water Gate (Nehemiah 3:26).

The Horse Gate was located between the Water Gate and the Sheep Gate (Nehemiah 3:28).

The East Gate (Nehemiah 3:29).

The Inspection Gate (Nehemiah 3:31).

The Jaffa Gate on the west wall.

The New Gate on the west wall just north of the Jaffa Gate.

The Damascus Gate on the north wall. Saul (later the apostle Paul) very possibly left the city through this gate on his fateful journey On The Road To Damascus.

Herod's Gate on the north wall, just east of the Damascus Gate.

Fact Finder: (a) What did Jesus Christ say about "gates"? (b) What is the physical city of Jerusalem a foreshadow of? (c) Who will not be allowed entrance into the New (i.e. spiritual) Jerusalem?
(a) Matthew 7:13-14, see also "Enter By The Narrow Gate"
(b) Revelation 21:1-4,22-26, see also The City To Come
(c) Revelation 21:7-8, 22:14-15, see also Your Pardon

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