The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

by Wayne Stiles

The walls and gates of Jerusalem have expanded and contracted over the centuries like the breathing of a living being.

Even today, the Old City of Jerusalem is such that we have to enter the city through gates—just as people did for thousands of years.

Golden Gate tb010310633 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Jerusalem’s Golden Gate, courtesy of

Gates were more than passageways. They served as places for personal business and civic affairs (see Ruth 4:1). Gates often took their names from the distant cities they faced, like Jaffa, Damascus, and Shechem.

There are 8 gates of Jerusalem today. But the Bible promises 12 in the future.

Jerusalem Quarters The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Quarters and gates of the Old City, from Wikipedia Commons

Today’s gates of Jerusalem mostly date from the time when Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls about AD 1537.

Jaffa Gate

Because the Jaffa Gate also faces Hebron, where Abraham is buried, Arabs call the gate, Bab el-Khalil, “Gate of the Friend,” because of Isaiah 41:8. The gate offers easy access to the Citadel Museum and a walk on the ramparts.

Jaffa Gate and opening in w The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Jaffa Gate, courtesy of

In 1917, General Allenby famously entered Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate, as seen in this newsreel video.

(If the video doesn’t appear in your RSS reader, click here.)

Zion Gate

Immediately south of this gate sits modern “Mount Zion.” Its Arabic name, Bab Nabi Daud, “Gate of the Prophet David”—came about because David’s tomb supposedly rests on Mount Zion. A misnomer on all counts, biblical Zion (as well as David’s Tomb), rests east of its modern designation.

The gate wears a pockmarked façade, voiceless scars from the fierce fighting for the Jewish Quarter in 1948.

Zion Gate from south tb010 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Zion Gate, courtesy of

Dung Gate

The unusual name stems from a gate that stood along the city’s south wall in the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:13). The Targum identifies the Dung Gate as the “Potsherd Gate” of Jeremiah 19:2.

In antiquity, the city dump lay in the nearby Hinnom Valley, and the Potsherd Gate served as the exit by which the citizens took out the garbage.

Old Jerusalem Dung Gate 2 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Dung Gate, by fr:Utilisateur:Djampa, via Wikimedia Commons

Golden Gate

Bricked closed for more than 1000 years, this gate is sometimes confused with the “Beautiful Gate” of the Second Temple (Acts 3:10). Muslim tradition holds that a conqueror or the Messiah will enter through this gate.

Indeed, the Bible does predict the glory of the Lord will enter the Temple by means of “the eastern gate” (Ezekiel 43:4), but who knows if it refers to this one. Regardless, no bricked gate will deter the Messiah.

Golden Gate from southeast The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Golden  Gate, courtesy of

Stephen’s Gate

Christians have identified this gate with Stephen’s name in honor of his martyrdom outside the city (Acts 7:58-60). However, Byzantines placed his death outside a northern gate.

Another name, “Lion’s Gate,” comes from the stone reliefs of two lions (or panthers or jaguars) that flank each side of the gate.

St Stephens Gate tb010310 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Stephen’s Gate, courtesy of

Herod’s Gate

Sometimes called the “Gate of Flowers,” or Bab ez-Zahar, this gate took Herod’s name in the 16th or 17th century because pilgrims mistook a Mamluk house near the gate to be Herod Antipas’ palace.

In this area the Crusaders penetrated the walls to capture the city in 1099.

Herods Gate tb010310664 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Herod’s Gate, courtesy of

Damascus Gate

A fine example of Ottoman architecture, this is the most beautiful of the gates of Jerusalem. Excavations below the gate reveal a triple-arched gateway that Hadrian built—the northern extent of the Cardo street from the second century.

Outside the gate, an Arab market offers fresh fruit and vegetables.  The Jews call it the “Shechem Gate,” and the Arabs refer to it as the “Gate of the Column.”

Damascus Gate tb010907368 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: Damascus Gate, courtesy of

New Gate

The antiquity of the city walls is betrayed by the “New Gate,” opened in 1887 as a means of convenient northwest access to the Old City.

I lodged for a week in the Christian Quarter years ago, grateful for the easy access the New Gate allowed to the city streets.

New Gate tb010310715 The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

Photo: New Gate, courtesy of

The Future Gates of Jerusalem

The 8 gates of Jerusalem have stood for centuries. But the Prophet Ezekiel predicted a day when the gates of Jerusalem would total 12—one for each of Israel’s tribes (Ezekiel 48:31-34).

These 12 gates will stand in the Millennial Kingdom when the Messiah rules the world from the Holy City.

Ezekiel also mentions that when the Messiah reigns in Jerusalem, the city will even receive an additional name: “The Lord is There.”

Questions: Which gate looks most intriguing to you? Is it hard to fathom that Jesus will reign one day in Jerusalem? Please leave your comment.

Related posts:

  1. The 4 Quarters of Jerusalem United One Day?
  2. A Tale of Two Cities – Jerusalem and Babylon in Prophecy [Podcast]
  3. The City of David—the Original Jerusalem

Please note: any pingback request should be made directly to Wayne Stiles


About ptl2010

Jesus Christ is coming soon

6 Responses to The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow

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  4. Very interesting. Thanks. I have never had a desire to visit the Holy Land, but I must admit the desire has grown in recent years.

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    • ptl2010 says:

      Hi! Thank you for your interest in The Gates of Jerusalem Today and Tomorrow. Appreciate if you would obtain permission for ping back from Wayne Stiles directly as stated in my note below.
      Thank you.

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