Nehemiah and Prophecy

Sometimes you have to sit and think a while on what you've read. Eventually the Holy Spirit will reveal why God left this information for us.

Lessons Learned: The Gates of Jerusalem

Introduction

Nehemiah is mostly about the reconstruction of the wall with a little genealogy thrown in. This is one of those books that its easy to lose the value of. The wall in Jerusalem doesn't seem important initially, particularly from a Christian point of view, and neither does the genealogy. Sometimes you have to sit and think a while on what you've read. Eventually the Holy Spirit will reveal why God left this information for us.
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Lineage

The Jews were meticulous at keeping genealogy. As a descendant of African slaves, I wish there was a book that kept track of my answers, and I can admire the effort taken to keep track of this information. However, it's not just about knowing your ancestors for self satisfaction. This is all setting us up for the New Testament, for the Messiah. Several prophecies tell us the Messiah will be from the line of David and of the tribe of Judah (e.g., Jeremiah 23:5-6), which means we can only validate Jesus as the Messiah if He is from the line of David. Imagine if Jesus' lineage was the only lineage given in the Bible. Would it seem credible? How would someone during Jesus' day record the lineage of Jesus back to David if it wasn't already preserved? Throughout the Bible, God commanded His people to record these lineages so that when the Messiah appeared, there would be no question of His legitimacy.

The genealogy of the Levites was important for Temple duty, as well as, for the priesthood. Although, we don't need this information today it is easy to see why it was included.
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The Wall

The Wall is the main focus, which why we know there has to be some significance. Sure, we can excise sermons on leadership and working together, but surely there has to be more significance to the wall than that. I think there are two ways to look at the meaning of the wall: spiritually and prophetically.
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Spiritually

We know the Temple is significant because it was the house of God. The New Testament tells us that our bodies are the new Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), which means we should treat our bodies with the same respect the as the Temple of God. We can easily see the link between the Israelites' defilement of the Temple and their fall; we can translate that to spiritual meaning for defiling our bodies. Similarly, we can do the same thing with the wall.

The wall's purpose was to protect God's city, which included His Temple. This wall was created by the hands of God's people. Each family contributed to a section, and as they worked, the enemies of Israel constantly attacked. Similarly, we need a wall to protect ourselves from the devil's constant attack. This spiritual wall, is created by the body of Christ. Each of us much act together to protect each other from the influence of the world, which is controlled by Satan.
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Prophetically

Photocredit: Wikimedia Commons/Wilson44691
The wall also has prophetic significance. It is mentioned in a prophecy in both Ezekiel and Revelation.

Ezekiel 44:1-3 tells us that the God of Israel would enter through these gates and that it would be closed off. Some believe the east gate spoken of in Ezekiel is the gate Jesus used during His final entry and exit of the city. However, others believe the gate Ezekiel speaks of isn't part of the wall, but within the city.[1]

Confusion about this gate has led to what is currently called the Golden Gate. The Golden Gate is considered to be the east gate that Jesus entered, however, it is actually a reconstruction built many years after Jesus' era. Nonetheless, the Ottomans read this prophecy and decided to do what they could to prevent the Messiah from entering. Not only did that bricked over gate, they placed a cemetery in front of the gate to defile the land. Their logic was that the Messiah would not be able to walk over the uncleanness of a cemetery. Those who believe Ezekiel's prophecy refers to the gate Jesus entered before His death and resurrection, see this as fulfillment of the prophecy. The Ottomans were neither Christian nor Jew, but they were clearly skeptical enough to that they believed the Messiah might come and overthrow their empire. That says something.

I find it funny that the Ottomans thought their actions would stop the prophecy from coming true. God doesn't lie; He tells us continually that the way to tell a true prophet is by the fulfillment of their prophecies. If man could block the entry and prevent the Messiah from coming, God's prophecies wouldn't come true. That would discredit the Bible all together. Rest assured, whatever Ezekiel's prophecy means, God will enter the gate just as He said.

Also, Revelation 21:12-13 tells us that there will be a gate in the New Jerusalem. This gate doesn't match the description of the gate built in Nehemiah, though. Why do the descriptions differ? My guess is, because the New Jerusalem will be perfect and everlasting, whereas the Jerusalem we know exists in a world filled with sin. The old wall needed to accommodate all the problems such a world, whereas the new wall won't.
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References

  1. "What is the significance of the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem?". GotQuestions.org; visited April 2017

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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