Gateway Cities – Nathan Shaw
Most people today have a revival mentality. Revivals come and go. But how do you strategically open a nation so that the glory of God abides there on a continual basis? Firstly you have to discern and open the gateways. Cities are gateways. When heavenly gateways are open, heaven floods through a city. When demonic gateways are open, perversion infiltrates and dominates a city.
Every city is assigned a specific authority in the earth. The level of this authority determines how much of heaven or hell overflows from it to impact other cities and nations. In one sense every city is a gateway city. In another sense there are specific prophetic destinies on specific cities. It is in this second sense that I am using the term gateway city. A gateway city is a city that is destined to release profound heavenly blessing into the earth.
Everyone wants to be part of a gateway city. However, it is important to realize that those who live in these cities are no more special than the people in other cities. It is simply a difference of function or level of authority. Everyone in God's kingdom has a different function and different levels of authority. It is the same with cities and nations. When strategic gateways are open all the earth is blessed.
When a gateway opens everyone flocks to the gateway city to be blessed. But that is only one level of glory. When each gateway opens in a nation there is an increased level of glory. If each gateway city is strategically opened in a nation the whole nation can become a gateway. Gateway cities are no more special than other cities but they are strategic for other cities to be fully blessed.
Two strategic gateway cities in the bible are Hebron and Jerusalem.
Abraham and Hebron
Hebron is the place where Abraham dwelt after God told him to walk throughout the land of Canaan (Genesis 13:17-18). Genesis 13 tells us three significant things about Hebron:
- It was a place of spiritual vision. "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered" (Genesis 13:14-16).
- It was a place of faith. Abraham's dwelling in Hebron was a statement of faith that his descendants would occupy the entire land of Canaan.
- It was a place of devotion. “And [Abraham] built an altar there to the LORD” (Genesis 13:18).
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all lived in this region and were also buried there. The faith displayed by these three sons of covenant opened up a significant gate in the spirit. The enemy discerned the importance of this gate. When Jacob was 130 years old he and all his descendants left Hebron and went to live in Egypt. 400 years later God led the Israelites out of Egypt to conquer the promised land. At that time Hebron was occupied by the sons of Anak.
Giants In The Gate
The three sons of Anak were legendary warlords. Just the mention of them caused great fear in men's hearts. Anak is mentioned seven times in the bible, mostly in connection with his sons—three times in Numbers, once in Deuteronomy, twice in Joshua and once in Judges. His mention in all four books reveals the legendary status of his sons in the world of the time.
Hebron was a gateway city. The enemy arranged for the strongest warlords to rule this city. Even one of the sons of Anak would have been enough to strike fear in the surrounding nations. Imagine the combined force of all three. The enemy wasn't taking any chances. The city was impregnable.
Consider the contrast between Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai—the sons of Anak.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in tents. The sons of Anak lived in a fortified city.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were wandering sojourners. The sons of Anak were established warlords.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were sons of covenant and sons of faith. They encountered the God of covenant and believed His promises. The sons of Anak were servants of the enemy who ruled by demonically empowered fear.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: Three sons of faith.
Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai: Three sons of fear.
This was a battle over a gateway.
Caleb and Hebron
The generation that God led out of Egypt to conquer the promised land died in the wilderness. They never entered the promised land because of their unbelief. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who survived to champion and lead the next generation. Caleb took Hebron from the sons of Anak at the age of 85! Because of the unbelief of the Israelites he was denied obtaining his inheritance for 45 years. He refused to let this discourage him. Hebron was the most formidable stronghold in Canaan. A younger warrior really should have been assigned to confront this stronghold. But Caleb insisted. Not only would he take Hebron, he would also become a model of faith to his and future generations.
Hebron became the main city for the tribe of Judah. About 400 years later David ruled the tribe of Judah from this city. David's mighty men also lived in Hebron. The exploits of David and his mighty men were legendary. Consider the legendary nature of those who occupied this gateway:
- The sons of Anak were legendary. The surrounding nations lived in fear of them.
- Caleb was legendary. Every young Jewish boy wanted to be like Caleb.
- David and his mighty men were legendary. A whole chapter of the bible is dedicated to their exploits (2 Samuel 23, see also 1 Chronicles 11).
Caleb and David's mighty men displayed uncommon faith despite the odds. Under David's rule profound blessing flowed from Hebron into Judah and Israel. It was a gateway that heaven moved through to bless God's covenant people.
Who qualifies to display uncommon faith?
- Abramam did by walking through an occupied land in obedience to God even although he was old and childless.
- Caleb did—even at 85 years of age.
- David's mighty men did—even although when they first came to David they were distressed, in debt and discontented (2 Samuel 22:2)!
What did they all have in common? They didn't give up despite impossible odds. God gave them promises and they believed that the promises were true. As the renown healing revivalist Smith Wiggleworth would often say, “God said it! I believe it! That settles it!”
Hebron was a gateway city. Uncommon faith opened the gateway. The battle between the sons of covenant and the “sons of Anak” continues today. In preparation for the great end time battle we also must discover the importance of gateway cities. There are strategic gateway cities in many nations. Some strategic gateway cites are in the hands of powerful demonic strongholds. These gateways must be opened. Those with spiritual vision will discern that these cities are gates. Those with faith and wholehearted devotion will conquer these demonic strongholds. “Sons of Anak” conquer through fear and intimidation. Sons of covenant conquer through wholehearted faith in God's promises.
The principle is the same today: Uncommon faith opens gateway cities.
God loves cities because He loves people. He has a vision for each city on the earth. A city can become a gate for either great blessing or great perversion to enter the earth. A gateway city is a city that is destined to release profound heavenly blessing into the earth. There are many significant gateway cities on the earth today. As we understand the significance of these cities we will see a dramatic advance of the kingdom of God.
Jerusalem is the most important gateway city on the earth. The first time Jerusalem is mentioned in the bible it is ruled by a man called Melchizedek. Melchizedek was not only king of Jerusalem but also priest of God Most High (Genesis 14:18). In other words His authority connected both natural and spiritual realms. The book of Genesis records only one meeting between Melchizedek and Abraham. This meeting didn't happen by chance. It was divinely ordained. Melchizedek blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:19, Hebrews 7:1). Note the following important details about Abraham and Melchizedek:
- Abraham dwelt in the gateway city of Hebron.
- Melchizedek dwelt in the gateway city of Jerusalem.
- Through Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
- Through Melchizedek Abraham was blessed.
Melchizedek's significance is made very clear when you understand that the greater always blesses the lesser (Hebrews 7:7). The relationship between Abraham and Melchizedek shows the significance of the future relationship between Hebron and Jerusalem as gateway cities.
About 600 years after Abraham met Melchizedek the nation of Israel conquered the promised land. Although all the surrounding territory was captured the stronghold of Jerusalem remained in the hands of the Jebusites. It wasn't until another 400 or so years later that Jerusalem was captured by king David. Both Hebron and Jerusalem were difficult to capture. Hebron was difficult to capture because it was occupied by the sons of Anak who were both warlords and giants. Jerusalem was difficult to capture because of its geography. The fortress at Jerusalem seemed so impregnable that the Jebusites taunted David saying, “There is no way you can enter here!” (2 Samuel 5:6).
Hebron and Jerusalem: Two Strategic Gateway Cities
When Caleb took Hebron from the three sons of Anak he became a national hero. Today young boys look up to imaginary heros such as Superman or Spiderman. In bible days young Jewish boys looked up to heros such as Caleb and Samson. It is almost certain that Caleb was a major hero in young David's life, particularly as David grew up in the region of Bethlehem which is between Jerusalem and Hebron.
Caleb was a giant killer. As a teenager David followed in Caleb's footsteps by confronting and defeating the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 15). David's bold faith to confront Goliath was inspired partly by Caleb's confrontation of the sons of Anak. Both the sons of Anak and Goliath had an intimidating effect that paralyzed the whole nation of Israel. After killing Goliath, David became a national hero. King Saul became jealous of him and tried to kill him. David had to flee for his life and spent over ten years hiding from Saul. For most of this period he lived in the rugged and remote Judean wilderness. During this time his faith and courage was imparted to those who became known as David's mighty men. The parallels between Caleb and David are striking:
- Caleb and David were both giant killers.
- Caleb and David both trained up an army of fighting men who took a gateway city.
Eventually Saul was killed in battle. David was then welcomed as king by only one of the twelve tribes—the tribe of Judah. Hebron was the main city in the territory of Judah. David and his mighty men lived in Hebron for the next seven and a half years. Not only was David inspired by Caleb's example of faith, he was also living in the gateway city that Caleb had captured. Every day when David and his mighty men woke up they were strengthened, inspired and equipped by Caleb's legacy of faith.
After this seven and a half year period David was made king of the entire nation of Israel. It was at this point that he made the decision to conquer Jerusalem and make it his capital. God had been preparing David and his mighty men for this destiny for some time. There were two phases to this preparation. Firstly the years of adversity and hiddenness in the Judean wilderness. Secondly the years of blessing living in Hebron.
Hebron was more than a city that had been conquered. It was a gateway city. The blessing of heaven poured through the gateway. The atmosphere was charged with faith. Hebron was strategic for taking Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the greater gateway. After learning to keep the gateway open in Hebron for over seven years David and his mighty men were ready to conquer and maintain the Jerusalem gateway.
Today many gateways are in the hands of the enemy. Faith is necessary to wrest the gateway from the enemy. But faith is then necessary to keep the gateway open. To conquer a gateway and not have the faith to keep it open accomplishes little. That's why it's important to understand that God prepares us not only to conquer the enemy but also to keep the gateway open.
Caleb knew the significance of Hebron: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the three sons of covenant— had lived there and were buried there. Hebron wasn't significant because there were three bodies buried in the ground. It was significant because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's burial there was a statement of faith in the promises of God.
David knew the significance of Jerusalem: Melchizedek—the priest-king—had lived there. (David wrote about Melchizedek with great insight in Psalm 110). Once again the significance wasn't that Melchizedek lived in Jerusalem. The significance was that Melchizedek lived there in faith and under divine mandate.
Spiritual unity between two people is very powerful. Likewise, spiritual unity between two gateway cities is very powerful. The greatest kingdom advance came when both gateways—Hebron and Jerusalem—were opened. David brought the ark of God's presence into Jerusalem and established continuous praise and proclamation. The increase in governmental authority was profound. In a short period of time David conquered all the surrounding nations. The wealth from the plunder was used to establish Jerusalem as a witness to all the world.
Lessons for Today
Davids and Calebs are being trained to take gateways in our generation. Some are in hiddenness and contending with heavy demonic assignments designed to take them out. Some are occupying significant gateways and from there are being strengthened and positioned to take even greater gateways. Some of the most powerful gateway cities are not yet open. Two strategic elements are necessary to open gateways: Spiritual vision, and operating as citizens of two realms.
1. Spiritual Vision
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were seers. David was a seer. They could all see things in the spirit realm. This helped them discern gateways. The role of seers is important today. Seers help the body of Christ discern both demonic and heavenly gateways. But more than this, many also have an authority to equip Christians with increased spiritual vision. All new covenant believers are called to walk in an increased measure of the seer anointing (Acts 2:17).
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had profound experiences in which they encountered God directly. But being a seer is more than this. It involves seeing spiritual realities as more real than natural realities (see Hebrews 11:8-10). This is the type of faith that opens gateways.
2. Citizens of Two Realms
As new covenant believers we are citizens of two realms. Not only are we citizens of two realms, we are called to connect the two realms. This revelation is strategically important if we want to see gateways opened. We are citizens of both earth and heaven! Each citizenship gives us unique authority. We are to walk in the authority of both citizenships. Melchizedek was a prophetic forerunner of this reality. He was not only a king over a city, he was a priest in a gateway. That's why he had such great authority to bless Abraham.
Humans have been given authority over the earth (Genesis 1:26, 28). This is not an unspiritual reality. It is part of God's plan. Ultimately it is God's authority and He can give it to whomever He chooses. Satan stole this authority but it rightfully belongs to humans. Ultimately this authority will be fully restored to those for whom it was intended.
After Jesus' death and resurrection He told His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18 italics added). Jesus could legitimately say “and on earth” because when He was conceived in Mary's womb He became a man. Jesus commanded His disciples to operate in this authority. In other words Jesus took the authority from Satan and restored it back to humans. But that's not all. As Christians we are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). We have been given authority on the earth and in heavenly places. Revelation about Melchizedek and the dual citizenship of believers is about to become much more prominent.
It Is Time
It is time for the seer anointing to increase our spiritual vision.
It is time for us to discover what it means to walk as citizens of both earth and heaven.
The gateways over Hebron and Jerusalem were opened unexpectedly by those who walked in faith and spiritual vision. Once they were taken it completely changed the game plan. The same is about to happen.
It is time for gateway cities to open.
© 2015 Nathan Shaw.
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