Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4
In the Bible, the gates are a subject-matter of spiritual teaching, in some cases even prophetic. This is why when we review the books of the Bible, we find that the theme of doors has been related to aspects of faith, commitment, choice, even situations of an apostate nature.
We find, among many examples that the blessing of Jehovah-God upon which the prosperity of Abraham’s descendants rests had to do with the gates, in this case, of possessing the gates of their enemies. We find, in the same way, that the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven has twelve gates; and even in Jesus Himself, He presents Himself as the door of the sheep.
Precisely because of its spiritual establishment and by the value of its teaching, we also find precise descriptions for its construction, including measurements and materials.
What is really a gate?
In biblical times, the gates of the city played a decisive role in the life and development of communities. They were not only the place through which people entered the city, and although many stories emphasize the element of security, their use was not only to prevent the passage of enemies. The gates acquired spiritual value related to truth, integrity, honesty; thus, to demonstrate that the word of someone engaged in some agreement was trustworthy, this agreement was declared at the gates of the city in the presence of all who entered and left through it. The gates of the city became the place of agreement.
The gates of the city were used as a house of laws, where commercial, legal, inheritance and even pacts with God were reached.
Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! Turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. … 11 and all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, we are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: Ruth 4:1-11
Some cities turned the gates of the city into centers of idolatrous worship, and there are testimonies in the Scriptures of various rulers who placed in it, and on the gates of the Temple, icons of idolatrous worship. (Haason, 2016)
The subject of gates is broad and it is not our task, at least at this time, to exhaust the subject. Rather, we want to stress some basic spiritual emphases that will help us not only to understand the spiritual teaching, but also to move properly in the spiritual growth of the Supreme calling.
The gates are the point where the good or bad of the people who dwell within them is established and concentrated.
It is evident in the case of when God confronts Cain for the death of his brother; notice the dialogue, sin is at the door,
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. Genesis 4:7
For this reason, too, it is possible to understand the instruction of the Lord, to paint with blood the lintel of the houses on the night of the first celebration of the paschal lamb, in Egypt; the message presented with the blood on the lintels is that those who are inside it are a just house,
For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. Exodus 12:22-23
The doors of the house is the place where it converges, like the residue of a mixture that is located at the bottom of the container, the good or the bad of what is built inside the house.
This is the spiritual principle that operates in the instruction given by the Law, to write the Word on the lintels of the doors of the house, not for ritual reasons, but to establish the spiritual impact that those who live within it are a worthy house,
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: Deuteronomy 11:20
A person with a high level of discernment can discern just by coming to the door of a house whether the dweller is a good person or a bad person. In this sense it is the instruction of Jesus to shake the dust from the shoes at the door of the house of one who does not receive the message of the Gospel.
The gates represent spiritual conditions, access to new spiritual states, or simply, a transition point.
The wide gate represents the way of perdition, the narrow gate is the way of life.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14
The spiritual teaching presented with the allusion that Jesus is the door of the sheep is not only of Salvation through Jesus, but more, of the need to divest oneself of human greatness, that is, to humble oneself, as He Himself did, in order to enter into (transition) a new state of revelation with the Father.
This point is evidenced when Jesus, faced with the refusal of the rich young man, concluded that it was easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle. For a camel to enter through an opening, it must first bend its front legs, lower its head, and begin to drag itself to the other side.
The message is clear. To enter through the door of the sheep demands to humble oneself before the Father,
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? 4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalm 24:3-5
But there is still a greater emphasis, and it is that which is incumbent upon us to present; it is that which is contained in Psalm 100.
David makes an invitation,
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:…
Apparently it is an invitation to adoration; but in reality, since his adoration does not belong nor is prescribed in the Law, it is the invitation to enter into new spiritual spaces, into new and different experiences of koinonia with the Lord; thus, the invitation becomes, in turn, an entry requirement: thanksgiving, thanksgiving for what, or for whom?… in this case, for the greatness of the Creator and for his Mercy.
And this leads us to establish a greater emphasis on the use of the gates,
The gates are a condition of admission, they are presented as requirements to pass to the proposed new stages.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving …
From the moment the psalmist adds a circumstantial object to his invitation, with thanksgiving, the invitation ceases to be an invitation and becomes an instruction to enter into the sacred precincts; so, the circumstantial object, with thanksgiving, is in fact the entry requirement.
The same is true of the prayer that follows,
… and into his courts with praise …
In both cases, with thanksgiving and with praise, they are attitudes and dispositions of the heart, not everyone is obliged to cultivate them, only those committed to the Lord.
This helps us to understand the reason why many people face spiritual stagnation: they do not meet the requirements to move on to other levels of spiritual growth and maturity.
Spiritual growth is conditioned; though by Grace, yet God gives nothing to anyone who is not committed to Him, or who is not willing to take care of what He gives,
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 2nd. Corinthians 9:10 (NKJV)
So, the new stages of maturity, of growth, of revelation, all of them have a condition of admission, to discover them is our work.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2
Let’s see the other aspect of David’s instruction. The psalmist’s invitation can be understood as a prohibition,
Don’t enter through His gates if you don’t have thanksgiving…
Don’t enter, don’t you dare, don’t you occur to enter through His gates if you don’t have thanksgiving for the Greatness of the Creator.
It is the invitation to enter, but it includes the access condition to do so, and to remain in that state.
And this aspect also helps us to understand why sometimes we have not been able to stay in some places, in some areas, or have not been able to resist under some circumstances: because we do not have the required condition that the place, or the circumstance, demands to stay there, or in front of them.
We have an example in the following parable,
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Matthew 22:11-12
In summary, as was pointed out at the beginning of the writing, the subject of the gates is a subject-matter of spiritual teaching, in some cases even prophetic.
Passing through a door must be a reminder, of the good or bad that we are going to find on the other side, of the spiritual condition or state in which we find ourselves, of the level of revelation to which we are exposed; but above all, a reminder of the requirements that God demands of us in order to promote our position.
And although a spiritual issue, it is also necessary to understand that the doors physically have a great weight of wisdom when accessing through them.
Some people are discarded to occupy even new administrative positions, precisely because they do not take care of their steps at the time of passing from one atmosphere to another; there are even those who incur in apostasy just by frequenting places that produce defilement.
Not every place is allowed to us, or it is not convenient for us to visit; even, we should not take every person to our homes, because the defilement deposits that they carry with themselves leave wicked residues in our spaces.
A gate is the entrance to a stage of growth, it is the point of transition between two stages of revelation, and it is the requirement to qualify for other levels of authority.
Haason, N. (2016, Sept 29). Ancient Toilet Reveals the Unique Way the Judeans Fought Idol-worship. Retrieved Nov 2018, from https://www.haaretz.com/: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/ancient-toilet-shows-judeans-fought-idol-worship-1.5443823
Pastor Pedro Montoya
 Genesis 22:17
 Revelation 21:12
 2 Kings 21:7
 Matthew 10:14