Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The word “gate” is often used as a metaphor for a place of spiritual access. Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:7

In times gone by cities had literal gates. Some cities (like Jerusalem) still have the ancient gates intact. They served a significant purpose – to control the flow of traffic (of people, goods and ideas) in and out of the city. They also served to protect the inhabitants of the city, from thieves and raiders in times of relative peace and from an attacking enemy in time of war. Attacking armies targeted the gates of the city so as to take control of the city. Therefore gates needed to be especially watched and protected. They provided safety for the people of the city. The gates were also places the city elders met to make important decisions. They were often the place of the public market and the place where dignitaries were welcomed and special events were celebrated.

Today city gates exist but they are primarily spiritual or symbolic. Yes, there are occasionally literal gates in the city but these are mostly symbolic (like the Prince’s Gates or the Dufferin Gate on the Exhibition grounds in Toronto). Spiritual gates also control the flow of traffic in the city – primarily the trafficking of ideas and influence or of blessing and cursing. Jesus said that the Church needs to influence the gates of the city when he said: I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:18

If these gates are spiritual a couple of things become clear. There are gates of evil (the gates of Hades – places where the influence of hell is peddled) as well as gates of good or of heaven (where the influence of God is manifest). Both types of gates may actually be in the same place but some have come under the control of the enemy. What is also clear is that these gates in today’s world are places that control the flow of ideas and influence. Therefore our education system would be a gate as would our judicial system. We need to be possessing the gates of the city so that the King of Glory may come in and we must be continuing to maintain and watch that the gates are safe. Psalm 48 has been a guide for us: 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.

From the ramparts we will guard the gates. These spiritual gates need special watching and protection for they are often the target of the forces of evil attempting to defraud the city of its inheritance. When the elders gather to make decisions, we must be in prayer.

What we have discovered is that festivals and temples are also gates. One of the more significant festival gates is Halloween. The church needs to advance against that gate and reclaim and redeem this festival time so that the ideas and influence flowing through this gate become godly again. We do this by making this time of year a season of prayer and worship. In my city (Toronto) we are encouraging the Church to set time aside for praise celebrations across our region during October 30, 31, and November 1. Our hope is that churches, houses of prayer, and prayer groups come together to celebrate and dedicate these three days to Jesus Christ and His Church. We are calling churches to unite in their neighbourhoods for worship and redemptive action (neighbourhood prayer walks, active neighbouring) on the evening of the 31st.

This is a time in the traditional Church calendar, when we reflect on those that have gone before us in the faith (Reformation Day - October 31st, and All Saints Day - November 1st). We remember and honour the expression of Christ through their lives. Let us lift the Name of Jesus, and pray for our cities and regions.

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