Jerusalem means “city of peace,” and we know that’s not true in the natural, but for New Jerusalem, the heavenly city, it sure fits. Our earthly Jerusalem has been the epicenter of turmoil, but the city is going through a process of overcoming and attaining the promises. That is as true for us as it is for the geographic capital of Israel. Some teachings use the twelve gates as a process for spiritual maturity. That’s valid, but when we look at them as a monthly cyclical process rather than lifetime progression, we need to see things a bit differently.
After I had been tracking with the seasons for a while—matching tribes, months, gems, and constellations—I had another dream. I dreamt that people were trapped in the book of Nehemiah and I was helping them escape. While I believe that dream went far beyond this surface application, I added the twelve gates, which laid out nicely in the order listed in the Bible, and found that the repairers of each gate contain relevant messages for us.
While our primary focus is on becoming free, entering the promised land with the tribes, and following their journey, Nehemiah jumps ahead to promises fulfilled, yet Israel had let them slip away.
Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab are the villains in the story, trying to interfere with Nehemiah’s plans for rebuilding (Nehemiah 2.19; 4:1–3, 4:8, 4:11; 6:2, 6:6–8). The Horonites and Ammonites were two people groups God said to drive out of the promised land. Generations later, they were back, trying to undermine the rebuilding. This appears to be a picture of how we need to reinforce what our ancestors have conquered or take back ground that we have taken in the past in a previous seasonal cycle. (This means that you have not done something wrong if you need to keep fighting for freedom in a certain area. You are making progress. Keep going.)
As Nehemiah worked, the opposition came at him in the form of mockery, threats, and false reports (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:1–3, 4:8, 4:11; 6:2, 6:6–8). How many times have you begun to move toward a goal and heard the discouraging internal voice, “What makes you think you can even do that? Who do you think you are? You can’t pull that off. Even if you manage, it won’t work in the long run.” Like Nehemiah and his men, sometimes we have to work with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other, saying, “I cannot come down!”
To understand how the gates are relevant to our cycles throughout the year, check out Healing in the Hebrew Months: Prophetic Strategies in the Tribes, Constellations, Gates, and Gems by Seneca Schurbon
If you’ve enjoyed this post from Seneca, check out her books in the Healing in the Hebrew Months series: Prophetic Strategies Hidden in the Tribes, Constellations, Gates, and Gems and Shemitah for Christians: Living in Rhythms of Rest