|...the gatekeeper opens|
Part Four: Gatekeepers
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation..."
"He stationed the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of YHVH so that no one should enter who was in any way unclean."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens..." John 10:1-3
The last article, the Sheepfold (click on highlighted words to view content), illustrated the continuity of Hebraic perspective in Yeshua's words regarding a "fold" as any fixed residence or abode holding the inhabitants of a family. This is the Kingdom Yeshua spoke of as now being within or among the faithful, those who keep YHVH's Words, and the fence surrounding that Kingdom as YHVH's covenant contained in His Words (with emphasis on verse one). This is the good news of the restoration of the Kingdom of YHVH which Yeshua proclaimed as the reason for His being sent by His Father. As seen in the article, A Nation of Priests, within the confines of that Kingdom are the priests who have made themselves to be servants of YHVH's purposes. To become a true "priest" in YHVH's Kingdom is to keep YHVH's Commandments just as Yeshua did - the high priest of our confession.
Traditionally, we have been taught the gatekeeper to be the Father, YaHoVeH. However, the Greek word used in John 10 above is thyroros and actually means "a doorkeeper" - a servant who "attends to what" comes in and out a particular door to the Kingdom. It is the same word Yeshua uses in Mark 13:34, for servants in which authority (the Greek word ecksousia - see Authority) is given to the doorkeeper, the servants He leaves in charge "...to every man his work" - the work, the gifts, assigned or apportioned to him by the Father. Those who embrace the Life exampled by the Elder Brother of the family of Israel become priests, doorkeepers, gatekeepers, to the house of the Father - to the abode of, the Kingdom of YHVH.
"And I will place on his shoulder
the key of the house of David.
He shall open, and none shall shut;|
and he shall shut, and none shall open. " Isaiah 22:22
The English word gatekeeper has its origin in the Hebrew word show'er, which speaks of a porter or doorkeeper, one who guards the opening to the temple. The gatekeepers mentioned in 1Chronicles 26:12, 2Chronicles 23:4 and 2Chronicles 23:19 were Priests, set apart by YHVH to minister holiness (separation) throughout the House of YHVH. Armed with a passion focused on the things of YaHoVeH, they were the last line of defense from the outside world into the holy place where YHVH dwelt among man. Their role was to prevent anything unclean from entering the holy temple, whether it be ill intentions of plunderers to unclean rituals - these guys guarded the gates of the temple night and day with a steadfast vigor. It was at the gates where Judgments were dispersed. These are the gates of the Kingdom of YHVH and it is to the gatekeepers that Yeshua has entrusted His keys to His Father's Kingdom - to open or to close. So, just what are these openings that are to be guarded so closely?
|"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18-19|
When Yeshua says in Matthew 16:19 that He has given to His disciples within the family of Israel, not the keys TO but the Keys OF the Kingdom, authorizing them to be the gatekeepers to the Kingdom, the House of YaHoVeH, the Holy Temple of His Father - He is speaking from the Hebraic perspective of Isaiah 22 concerning His authority to disperse His Key among the faithful. We have seen how, with Yeshua's Resurrection from the dead, that Temple has now passed from Without to Within those who receive the Spirit of YHVH. The Kingdom of YHVH is now among those inhabiting the Kingdom. The keeper of the keys has the power to open and to shut whatever passes through the gates of the Kingdom. In Matthew 18:18 Yeshua reiterates about how those keys are to be implemented and the context of that passage is concerning behavior, exactly what the Words of YHVH's Covenant instruct us in - the Light of Life found in Deuteronomy 30:11-20.
There is but one sheepfold and one shepherd. Scripture does not define a "physical" Israel and then another "spiritual" Israel. That doctrine is borne of Christian replacement theology but is not found in scripture. The gatekeeper is at once an individual and Israel, both represent the whole community which carries to its supreme point the mission of the nation, while calling each person to enter individually into that mission, so that it shall be the mission of the nation and not merely the individual. Yeshua also speaks in John 10 above about those attaining the Kingdom through means other than "the Door" - the Life He led as an example of what it means to be a true shepherd. These are the tares found among the wheat that are to be gathered up and removed. So, how is it possible for someone to be in the Kingdom and NOT be a priest?
We must be careful that we do not engage in eisegesis (reading into the text) rather than exegesis (reading out of the text) when looking at the words of scripture. To say that not keeping the Words of the Father is lawlessness is correct. But just looking at the words written on the page of Matthew 5:17-19 shows there is no mention of "lawlessness" in them. It says that those who relax His Words for themselves and teach others to do so will "...be called least in the Kingdom" - but they are still in the Kingdom. So, how do we rectify colliding information? We find the Truth in these words by holding up that information to the other words of Yeshua, not by making assumptions. Revelation 19:10b says that the spirit of prophecy (the spoken oracles of YHVH) IS the testimony of the Life of Yeshua. What else, then, does Yeshua say about this situation? In Matthew 13:36-43 are found these words from Yeshua, "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers..." Now, apparently there will be sin and law-breakers in the Kingdom until the "end of the age". These are the tares spoken of in that parable. It is those who make themselves "priests" who will be left in the Kingdom to "shine like the sun" at the Day of YHVH.
I daresay that when you first came to the Father, like me, you were a law-breaker - someone who did not accept as valid and, consequently, did not practice YHVH's Words. But He still allowed you access to the Kingdom to learn of Him that you might align your behavior to His Words as evidenced in Acts 15:21. He did not condone your behavior, but He gave you time to "grow up" into Him. He didn't shun you if you didn't quite immediately measure up but was patient with you, encouraging you to continue in the journey. If you are like me, you are still learning. There are all kinds of folks in the Kingdom right now, all learning and all coming from different starting points just like you and I did - but it will be those who prove themselves faithful to the Words of the Father in this life that will be counted among those priests of the first resurrection. As we see they did in the first century, we should allow the Spirit of the Father to work on each of us to bring us out of darkness into His Light in His timing and that can't happen without exposure to that Light within the qahal.
|...the sacred offering of firstfruit|
Yeshua became our example of being a firstfruit, living in the world - but not of it. Those who would become His disciples should follow His example of life lived in this world. We read about Yeshua in Titus 2:14, "…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of ideal acts" (not "good deeds"). Back in John 17:18 we read: "Just As you have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." As a member of His Body, Yeshua has sent us to display His Nature and Likeness to the world just as He displayed the Nature and Likeness of His Father. When we separate ourselves from worldly ways, YHVH will receive us as promised in 2Corinthians 6:16-17: "Or what agreement has the temple of Elohim with idols? For we are the temple of the living Elohim, just as Elohim said, 'I WILL MAKE MY DWELLING AMONG THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM, AND I WILL BE THEIR ELOHIM, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE says YHVH. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN and I will welcome you'." Isn't it interesting that the apostle Sha'ul (Paul), Christianity's favorite person to quote as supporting the abolishment of Torah, uses Torah to validate his directives (Leviticus 26:12, Isaiah 52:11)? These promises of YHVH remain for those who maintain a behavioral lifestyle that, even though while in the world, are separate from the ways of the world. This is how we show to the people in the world the example Messiah lived before His disciples about two thousand years ago.
A reader recently wrote to ask, "Is there any real validity to the idea of having a life goal or 'purpose'? Because I am still trying to figure out what that is, except to have a relationship with YHVH." He has a point - just what is the "purpose" lived out in YHVH's Kingdom? What is "the hope of our calling" (as some translations paraphrase Ephesians 1:18)? My purpose, my calling is to become a priest in YHVH's Kingdom. My purpose is now intertwined with His Purpose - to be a Gatekeeper stationed in His Kingdom to preside over every circumstance that presents itself before me moment by moment, right now, in this lifetime. This is what it means to keep the testimony of the Life of the Son - to bend, to conform our lives to His Example of Life. Those who do so will be among the first resurrection on the Day of YHVH - ruling and reigning as priests in that Kingdom alongside Yeshua because they have embraced Life by exercising the Keys to the Kingdom while here on earth.
There is only one "coming" mentioned in all of scripture - the Day of YHVH. But, this is the mystery of echad - to be one in His Spirit is to BE Yeshua in this world. Just as those becoming priests in YHVH's Kingdom comprise the Body of Yeshua, so Yeshua is the Right Arm of YHVH (Isaiah 52:10, Ephesians 1:20) - not replacing Him, but exemplifying His Nature. So, the "Day of YHVH" will be that time when His Spirit will prevail over the spirit of man. The Spirit of YHVH and those who have become Him, Yeshua and the saints, will be manifest on that Day (1Corinthians 6:2, Zechariah 14:5, Romans 8:19). But, with YHVH, a day is as a thousand years so that manifestation has been ongoing since the Resurrection of Yeshua which fulfilled the Covenant, i.e., if Yeshua has come to live and abide in you - has He not come? How long will that last before the Day of YHVH? Only the Father knows (Acts 1:7) - but, perhaps, on the third day.
We began this series with Yeshua's words of becoming like a child. It is fitting to end the series with Peter's words:
do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior…" 1 Peter 1:14-15
Part One: the Scriptural Gospel
Part Two: A Nation of Priests
Part Three: the Sheepfold
Part Four: Gatekeepers
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.