Psalm 122:2 joyfully announces: ”Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” How I can relate! It is an amazing, almost overwhelming feeling to walk that sacred ground. Sometime back, the Jerusalem Post contained an article about the restoration of one particular gate which caught my eye... the Jaffa Gate. The Jaffa Gate was reopened to the Old City... as the “finishing touch” to a two-month renovation and cleaning project. The gate is one of four main entrances to the Old City, built by Suleiman the Magnificent, during the Ottoman rule and inaugurated in 1538. It is the most used entrance for tourists entering the walled Old City which is home to key holy sites in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It stands at a right angle to the western exterior wall of the Old City. Made of large, sand-colored hewn stone blocks, the entrance is about 20 feet in height and the wall above it rises another 20 feet. It marked the end of the ancient highway leading from the Jaffa coast to the capital city. Today it leads into the Muslim and Armenian quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. The restoration was part of a $4 million project launched by the Israel Antiquities Authority in 2007 to" tidy" up all of the two and a half miles of the Old City walls… after years of neglect, destruction and weathering. Broken stones on the Jaffa Gate were replaced and an elaborate Arabic inscription above the gate itself was reattached. Even the façade which was covered with automobile exhaust residue was cleaned with lye. In 1898 the Jaffa Gate began to be heavily used after being enlarged. Rather than having visiting Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany dismount his carriage to enter the Old City, the ruling Ottoman Turks had part of the adjacent wall torn down to allow his carriage to pass through. Many have thought it a shame to have violated the ancient structure. Perhaps, the Kaiser could have walked in like General Allenby did a few years later in 1917.After 1948 the Jaffa Gate remained closed while Jerusalem was a divided city under Jordanian control. In 1967 when Israel captured the city's eastern sector the Jaffa Gate was reopened. The antiquities authority decided to leave pockmarked stones from firefights which occurred there … so as to keep the character and history of the entrance intact... something to remember... a price had been paid there. Quite a colorful history. In fact all of Israel has a "colorful" rich history! Though the walls of the Old City are a sacred treasure of antiquity to the Land, as a believer, I look forward to an appointed glorious future day appointed for that sacred turf. ONE far greater than Kaiser Wilhelm will pass through those portals! The Son of God Himself! Someday, those stones will hear us cry out welcoming the King of Kings to the Holy City. May we pray with the Psalmist…”Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.” (Ps 24:7) Even so, Come Lord Jesus! Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem...
LAURIE BARNETT is the founder of Shadows of the Messiah, a Bible teaching ministry that shares the richness of the Hebraic foundations of Scripture with women in the Body of Christ. Laurie began examining the Jewish background of the teachings of Jesus and of the New Testament more than 25 years ago.