The Old Gate can speak of spiritual realities in two distinctive directions:
- The Old Gate symbolises the old ways of the faith that God has already revealed. In order to be mastered by Christ, by repentant faith, we also learn the old faith from those who have been mastered by him. “Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jer 6:16). I speculate about the number of people named in the rebuilding of this wall. Maybe this speaks of the sheer number of those who have been and are committed to God’s ways, both dead and alive, that we can learn from. We can discern this from the first person named, Joiada (v6), which means Yahweh is Known, and reveals a truth that God’s Word reveals the God who has made himself known.
- The other reality is that of the ‘old man’ and the ‘new man’ i.e. When we come to Christ we come as sinners in need of mercy and salvation. Christ responds to us by forgiving us and making us new. “I am a new creation, no more in condemnation…” captures this old and new idea in a recent popular song, and this is likely derived from 2 Cor. 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, behold, the new has come.” Titus 3:5 also shows us the regeneration from the old to the new in Jesus Christ (Check it out)!
So in these two ways, we see a profound truth that God speaks to us. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35), is a reminder to the principle of ultimate reality and truth is found in the Word of God and in the incarnation of that Word – Jesus Christ. And following the Sheep Gate and the Fish Gate, we move on in Christ, and as the Old Gate is 90 degrees round the corner from the Fish Gate, the Old Gate marks a new direction in our intentional relationship with Christ our Saviour. The Gate likely served no specific purpose but as a general place of coming and going, because in Christ, access to the Father is made possible for all. And all this is preparing the believer for the next, inevitable part of journeying with God: The Valley Gate.
I took this picture in Capernaum in 2013 during a visit to Israel/Palestine in 2013 with Amos Trust
(Truth is, I couldn’t find a picture that adequately represented the message of this post)