If you want to “catch up”, the first blog in this series was The Symbolism of the Ten Gates of Ancient Jerusalem - Part 1 , and the second was The Symbolism of the Ten Gates of Ancient Jerusalem - Part 2 . They discuss how Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the gates of ancient Jerusalem was also a symbolic description of the stages in the lives of Christians.
The first gate, the Sheep Gate, represented Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Passing through this gate symbolizes accepting Jesus as our savior who died on the cross for our sins.
The second gate is the Fish Gate. This gate stands for the second stage of Christianity, whereby we become “fishers of men” and tell others about our faith in Jesus.
The third gate that Nehemiah rebuilt was the Old Gate. This gate tells us that next we need to learn the “old paths” given to us in the Bible.
The fourth gate is the Valley Gate, which represents the sorrows and trials that Christians must go through in order to reach the next stage in a Christian’s life.
That brings us to the fifth gate, the Dung Gate.
“But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. “ (Nehemiah 3:14 KJV)
This is the gate through which the people of Jerusalem would take their refuse and rubbish to be burned in the valley of Hinnon. It is interesting to note that the Greek word for hell (Gehenna) and the Hebrew word for hell (Gehinnom) are derived from this valley where rubbish was burned.
Notice that the distance to this gate is relatively long, and in a downwards direction in the above diagram. Once the Dung Gate is reached, the wall turns sharply upward. In other words, the Christian “turns the corner” in his spiritual life.
The symbolic meaning of this is gate is that after we travel through the Valley Gate, the Lord clears the rubbish and garbage of vile sin from our lives. It is these sins in our hearts which must then be taken through the Dung Gate and destroyed by fire, so that we may grow in righteousness.
The Fountain Gate is next, and it is very close to the Dung Gate. The Fountain Gate was located near the Pool of Siloam. The spiritual meaning of this gate that the living water, which is the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, is poured out into our lives.
The next gate was the Water Gate, which was near the Temple.
The Water Gate symbolizes how the outpouring of the Holy Spirit makes the word of God come alive in our lives and cleanse us. . Because of the living water, we become separated from the things of the world, and live connected with God, through Jesus Christ.
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38 NIV)
There are three more gates in Nehemiah 3. These last three gates are prophetic, and symbolize the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the end of the present age.
I will discuss the Horse Gate, the East Gate, and the Inspection Gate in Part 4.