This guy didn’t get the memo about London’s most exclusive gated community.
That’s British parliamentarian Andrew Mitchell. He’s high, high up in the government. He’s so high up that he has an official residence on the same block as the Prime Minister. I’ve seen 10 Downing Street in London, the PM’s house. Well, not up close. I’ve seen it from the other side of those gates in the picture. Those gates are kept closed and guarded 24 hours a day. No one gets through unless they have reason to be let in.
Apparently the same goes for getting out.
Mr. Mitchell lives behind those gates. You’d think he could go in and out at will. He can’t. He tried, but the police wouldn’t let him. You see, there is more than one way in and out of Downing Street, and the government residents are supposed to use the other one. Mr. Mitchell didn’t want to. When the police guarding his and everyone else’s safety told him they wouldn’t open up for him, he opened up on them. “Learn your place! You don’t run this government!” I cleaned up the language for you, but you get the idea.
The Bible talks about gates a lot. Old Testament cities of a decent size were fortified; the Walls of Jericho had its gates locked up tight when the Israelites came to call in Joshua 6, and Jerusalem itself had multiple gates (you can check out Nehemiah’s redevelopment plan for them in Nehemiah 2:11-20). These walls and gates were erected for a purpose: keep out the kingdom’s enemies.
But you know what God says about gates in his kingdom? Open them up!
In Revelation 21, John describes the New Jerusalem where Jesus reigns in eternity. John tells us he sees beautiful and massive walls reaching to the sky, built on a multi-layered foundation of precious and semi-precious stones, and each of the four walls has three gates for a total of twelve gates in all. Each gate is carved from an enormous single pearl and the street leading to the center is made of the purest gold.
It sounds like a city built for an eternal kingdom. It’s beautiful and precious and the dwelling place of God and his people. Those massive walls and gates are just what John’s readers would have expected to protect such a city. Except for one thing.
The gates are always open.
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:25-27.)
The gates to God’s kingdom are open. Not just one of the gates, not just some of the gates, but all of them. How can this be? Because God himself is there, and – as this passage tells us – nothing bad will ever enter his city. It is not just a safe place, but a place where nothing unsafe can even possibly exist.
The gates to God’s kingdom are open. What does this mean for his people? It means we don’t need to pay a toll to cross over, we don’t need to know a secret password. All we need is to know Jesus.
The gates to God’s kingdom are open.