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The Gates of Jerusalem: The Fish Gate

May 2nd 2010 13:28
The Fish Gate was in the east wall, just west of the Gihon spring, where the men sold their fish – kind of like a fisherman’s wharf. It was also known as the Middle Gate and is the modern day Damascus Gate. This gate was one of the main entrances into Jerusalem – therefore it was heavily traveled by foreigners and outsiders.

Nehemiah 3:3-5
3 "The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, made repairs.
4 Next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok the son of Baana made repairs.
5 Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord."

The sons of Hassenaah rebuilt the Fish Gate with the help of others. Hassenaah means “thorny, piercing”' and represents those on the cutting edge of God's purposes in evangelism. This gate represents the importance of reaching out in evangelism to the lost as fishers of men.
Matthew 4:18-22
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,
22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

The order of the Fish Gate:
1) Jesus called
2) They followed
3) He made

The natural progression in our Christian journey is to go from the Sheep Gate to the Fish Gate. Surveys have consistently shown that believers who have been saved less than two years win the most people to the Lord. Their simple testimony of what Jesus has done in their lives qualifies them to be great “fishers of men.” The loss of simplicity can diminish our ability to effectively witness. II Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

When we lose our simplicity, we tend to “explain and defend” rather than to “share and testify”.

Something I find interesting about the Fish Gate is the people continued repairing the wall around the Fish Gate after the gate itself was repaired. The Hebrew word for repairs is used 35 times in Nehemiah 3 alone and it has the idea of strengthening, encouraging, making something strong - principles that have application to far more than material gates and walls! Even churches that are good at fishing are not good at repairing the walls around the fish they have caught. We have a responsibility to new converts to strengthen them, repair them, prepare them, and get them ready to be used by God.
Ephesians 4:11-13
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Another insight we gain at the Fish Gate is that not everyone joined in the work. Nehemiah 3:5 Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord." There is still a lot of nobility in the church – people who are above the hard work of the Lord. They are the ones who hire pastors rather than call pastors. Hired pastors do the work – called pastors lead the work and there is a BIG DIFFERENCE!

The "idea of the nobles not putting their shoulders to the work of the Lord" in the Hebrew is that "they would not submit to what the Lord wanted them to do". The real issue was submission. Maybe they thought they had a better plan, maybe they didn't like how Nehemiah was doing it. Whatever the reason, they were the only people mentioned who did not join in the work!

The Fish Gate represents our witness - we are to be fishers of men, but we must not stop here. After we are saved (Sheep Gate) and we begin sharing our faith (Fish Gate) we must be equipped with the truth of God in His Word which brings us to the next gate - The Old Gate.


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