And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben…
Admitting to the sacred city, in the midst of which, was " the sanctuary of the Lord" (ver. 10), were twelve gates, three on each side of it, and bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Surely the significance of this arrangement was that the Divine Sovereign was always accessible to all his people; that he desired to be approached by them all in order that they might have fellowship with him, and that he might confer blessing upon them. In that kingdom, of which the vision is prophetic, the Divine Lord is accessible to all; and it is not only true that he may be approached by all who will seek him, but that it is his express, his strong desire that all his children should freely draw near to him and hold converse with him. God, as revealed and related to us in Jesus Christ, is accessible -
I. AT ALL TIMES. The gates into the kingdom, or into the near presence of God, shall "in no wise be shut," either day or night. There may be days and hours when we may be offered unusual facilities for coming before God, but there is no day and there is no hour when we may not draw nigh unto him, when he is not willing and even desirous that we should pour our prayers or our praises into his ear.
II. FROM ALL DIRECTIONS. These gates looked in all directions - north, south, east, and west. From all the four quarters of the land the children of Israel were to draw near to the sacred city and to the more sacred sanctuary of the Lord. From all possible directions are we now to approach God.
1. All geographical directions. There is no sort of favoritism anywhere. As well be born in any one place under heaven as in any other. There is no Jerusalem, no Gerizim, no Mecca, no Benares, no Rome, in the kingdom of Christ.
"Where'er we seek thee, thou art found, And every place is hallowed ground."
2. All moral directions. We may approach God from a great variety of spiritual standpoints.
(1) From that of the burdened sinner seeking forgiveness and release.
(2) From that of the son who has been painfully conscious of a long estrangement or a growing coldness, and who is anxious for full reconciliation and for close and happy, perhaps renewed, intercourse with his Father.
(3) From that of a rejoicing spirit longing to bring his gladness in holy and happy gratitude to the altar of the Lord.
(4) From that of the troubled and sorrowful soul seeking comfort of him who "raiseth up them that are bowed down."
(5) From that of the seeker after righteousness, who is longing for more complete deliverance from evil and greater likeness to his Divine Leader, asking for the cleansing and renewing influences of the Spirit of God.
(6) From that of the earnest worker in the vineyard, pleading for the effectuating power which alone will make his efforts to be crowned with a true success. But from whatsoever direction a man draws near to God he will find an open gate, a welcome, a response. But there is now one Name only that is inscribed. All entrance is -
III. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. He is "the Door," and "no man cometh unto the Father but by him." By him both Jew and Gentile "have access unto the Father" (John 10:7; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18). Jesus Christ is our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5); he is the one Propitiation for our sins, having offered the one sacrifice for sins forever (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:12). It is through him we come, and it is his Name we plead (John 16:23). He is the open Door, and whether we approach as sinners seeking reconciliation, or as children or friends seeking communion and blessing, we have constant admission to the ever-accessible Father of our spirits. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi.
WEB: and the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel, three gates northward: the gate of Reuben, one; the gate of Judah, one; the gate of Levi, one.