GATEWAY CITIES – Part 1
by 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, 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
Hebron is the place where Abram dwelt after God told him to walk throughout the land of Canaan.
“Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you." Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD (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. Abram'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 [Abram] 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. As you read through these verses note the prominence and renown of these warlords.
- And they [the twelve men that Israel sent to spy out the land] went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) (Numbers 13:22). The three sons of Anak are named making the point that they were renown. Specific mention is also made about the antiquity of Hebron. Hebron was a well established stronghold.
- Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there (Numbers 13:28). The descendants of Anak are specifically mentioned. They were the strongest of many warlords.
- There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." (Numbers 13:33). The descendants of Anak are specifically mentioned. They were giants.
- "Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, 'Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?'(Deuteronomy 9:1-2). The descendants of Anak are specifically mentioned. “Whom you know, and of whom you heard it said,” shows that they were legendary and undefeatable.
- Now to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a share among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, namely, Kirjath Arba, which is Hebron (Arba was the father of Anak). Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak from there: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. (Joshua 15:13-14). The three sons are specifically named.
- And they gave them Kirjath Arba (Arba was the father of Anak), which is Hebron, in the mountains of Judah, with the common-land surrounding it. (Joshua 21:11). Hebron was a mountain stronghold.
- And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said. Then he expelled from there the three sons of Anak.(Judges 1:20). The three sons are specifically mentioned.
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.
It is interesting to contrast Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with 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, on the other hand, were servants of the enemy who ruled with 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.
Give Me This Mountain
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's faith is remarkable. This is his bold proclamation.
“And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said" (Joshua 14:10-12).
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 of the territory 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?
- Abram 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 renowned 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.
To read Gateway Cities Part 2 click here
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre www.fireanddestiny.org, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel www.celebrationchurch.xyz.
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