The Twelve Gates Of The Holy City
(The Forth Gate of The City, Judah)
The first gate of The Holy City is Reuben and means: (Behold a son). The second gate is Simeon and means: (He who hears). The third gate is Levi and means: (Spiritual ministry).
We now come to the fourth gate of the City, the Tribe that Jesus was a member of. Rev. 5:5 John said,
"Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
The fourth gate of The Holy City is Judah and Judah is an experience. Judah means praise, worship, reverencing the Lord. It means to praise Him with your hands extended. I see that hand extended two ways. Unto Him and unto others.
Judah is always first. It is the first stone on the breastplate of the High Priest. In the Book of Judges it was the first tribe to face the enemy when Israel went to war. In the Tabernacle of Moses, Judah was the first tribe to move out or to lead. Judah was always camped by the entrance to the Tabernacle.
Jacob's sons, by order of birth, were Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Yet Judah moved from fourth place to first place. You can make a very interesting study of the order of their birth verses the order of their arrangement on the breastplate.
We will find out, as we study Zebulun and Issachar, that both of them move from ninth and tenth place to third and second place on the breastplate of the High Priest. They jumped seven positions and as we study them, you will see why they got promoted. There is a principle in this. Someone says, "Well, you know I was born last." "Pray for me brother, I just don't have the advantages that some people have." "I came into life with four strikes on me already"
What place did Judah come in? Fourth! In what place did he end up? First! Zebulun and Issachar started out ninth and tenth and ended up second and third. Joseph started in a pit but he ended on a throne. Jesus started in a manger, but now He is Lord of all.
You say, "But, Brother Johnson, I don't have the kind of advantages you have had. I don't have one bit of pity for you because, in this Kingdom, after the first two gates, it is up to you where you go from there. There is a real proving and a real testing of your heart as to what you really want to accomplish after the first two gates. You can go into this City as far as you want and if you stop, don't blame me, don't blame the Lord, don't blame the devil, don't blame your wife, don't blame your kids, your in-laws your out-laws or any one else!!
This gate speaks of the experience of praise (confidence, faith, trust in God) coming from the Christ nature within you. There is a Judas type of praise that betrays the Lord Jesus. Judas praise is the praise that comes from ones mind or from ones talents. It might surprise you to learn that the name Judas also means praise. The Judas praise that betrays the Lord Jesus is whenever we praise from our mind or our talents. When we praise from our minds we are merely giving mental assent to His word. When we praise from our natural talents or abilities we do so in order to impress men. We know better, but so often we are like the priest of Malachi, we have given Him the lame and the sick out of the herd.
I predict to you that before this year is over and when you are in praise and worship, God is going to speak to you and say, "Stop the show." "Because, what you are offering up is an abomination and you can either start over or go home." I don't know why it is that we think we can imitate the incense.
Much of the singing in the church today in the form of soloist, quartets and groups is a demonstration of their musical talents and abilities and is an abomination in the site of the Lord. Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:40-41,
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in Heaven."
"God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
In spirit means your heart is in it. If your heart is not in the meeting, stay home. Do you know what all this is coming to? It is God confronting the church with taking on responsibility. The third gate is talking to spirit-filled people and telling them to learn to minister to others.
If you will refuse to praise God from your minds and your talents and allow your praise to come from deep within your inner being, the Lion of the tribe of Judah will begin to sound forth within you and miracles will begin to happen, and people will be healed. From within you is flowing forth of an anointing that will touch lives and set people free.
Prov. 28:1 says,
"The wicked man flees, though no one pursues him, but the righteous are as bold as a lion."
The lion is the standard of the tribe of Judah. When you and I begin to praise Him, there comes forth from us a boldness of God which releases the anointing of God in our worship service and brings forth the anointed word. Amos 3:8 says,
"The lion has roared, who will not fear?"
The Bible says to clap your hands, but tradition says don't. The Bible says to dance before the Lord, but tradition says don't. The Bible says to bow and to kneel and to open your mouth and sing aloud, but tradition says you can't do that. Jesus said that when you stop these things you are in vain worship!
Jesus said in Matt. 15:7-9 says,
"You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: `These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"
Many spirit-filled people think that because they sing three or four scripture songs and that is worship. I will be bold to make this declaration to you, I doubt very seriously if any of us have experienced the kind of worship that our God is seeking. Vain worship is vanity, empty, useless, futile, worthless and a waste of time. How many of you would want to spend your life time worshipping Him in this way and then hear Him say; "In vain you worshipped me?"
Paul said in Acts 17:23,
"For as I walked around and observed your objects of worship, I even found an alter with this inscription, to an unknown God; whom therefore you ignorantly worship, I will declare Him to you."
This is ignorant worship. What is the difference between vain worship and ignorant worship? Vain worshiper is not sincere. Ignorant worship is just that, without true knowledge of what is worshipped. Col. 2:23 says,
"Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
Self-imposed or will worship needs a cheerleader. Will worship works like this: Stand up. Raise your hands. Praise the Lord. Clap your hands. Kneel. Dance. In principle, if we stop here, we are no different than those people who have a kneeling pad on the back of their pews, and a piece of paper saying when to use it.
I am looking for a spontaneous flow of praise and worship that is done decently and in order. As it stands right now in our development toward maturity, we must be led into worship where we flow out to the Lord. If we ever come into maturity in our daily ministering unto the Lord, when we come together there will be a spontaneous breaking forth of praise and worship.
Now, I want to show you two things that Judah or praise will do. Rev. 18:20 says,
"Rejoice over her, O heaven" Rejoice, saints apostles and prophets" God has judged her for the way she treated you."
Rev. 19: 3 says,
"And again they shouted: `Hallelujah!' The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever."
Praise destroys Babylon. In other words praise destroys confusion and the word Babylon means confusion. Babylon is a spirit and as they continued to say, "Hallelujah" smoke began to rise out of Babylon. If you will begin to praise and enter in through this fourth gate, you will destroy the confusion in your life.
Secondly, praise will bring you out of the prison house and every limitation you think that you have. Remember in Acts 16 when Paul and Silas were in prison. They began to sing and worship the Lord and the prisoners heard them. The world is shaking in fear and the church doesn't know what to do about it. In the midst of all this fear and confusion, God is raising up a people and a City who will lift up their hearts and hands and praise Him.
We cannot praise God out of our own strength. This is why Paul said in Gal. 4:6,
"Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, the Spirit who calls out `Abba, Father'."
It is not me crying, "Abba, Father." It is not you crying, "Abba, Father." It is the Spirit of His Son crying, "Abba, Father." So, even in our praise and worship, it is God who is at work in us to both will and do His good pleasure. There is not enough strength in me to praise Him with my whole heart.
In Genesis 49:8 Jacob prophesied and said to Judah,
"Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you. You are a lion's cub, O Judah, you will return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness - who dares arouse him? The scepter will not depart from beneath his feet, until He comes to whom it belongs, and the obedience of the nations is His. He will tether His donkey to a vine, His colt to the choicest branch; He will wash His garments in wine, His robes in blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, His teeth whiter than milk."
It is obvious from this that Judah is number one. Judah was an overcomer he rose from number four to number one in position on the breastplate of the High Priest. This prophecy speaks of rulership, of government, of preeminence. Psalms 149: 6-9 is a commentary of Gen. 49:8-11. It says:
"May the high praises of God be in their mouths and a double edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples...to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all His saints."
This speaks of the hierarchy, principalities and powers and dominion in the kingdom of darkness. When we praise the Lord through the power of His Spirit within, the rulers of this dark world are being bound with fetters. You can enter into the rulership of Judah. When we praise the Lord, it puts our hands on the neck of the enemy.
In Gen. 49:9. there is listed three stages in the growth of the lion. Judah is a lion's cub. He crouches and lies down. In other words, he humbles himself. Like an old lion - who dares arouse him? I see a growth here. Cub = baby, lion = young adult, and old lion = father. We can draw this comparison. 30 fold, 60 fold, and 100 fold. Also, Outer court, Inner court, and Holy of Holies. Or, Thanksgiving, Praise, and Worship.
The only way you can get some people to thank the Lord is to give them something. Thank you Lord for saving me. Thank you Lord for healing me. Thank you Lord for filling me with your Spirit. We should thank the Lord for these things, but what if the only way He can get us to praise Him is by giving us something? Usually it is only something we like. How many us will follow in David's footsteps and praise the Lord when He disciplines us?
Praise, on the other hand, occurs as a result of our receiving a revelation of Him. In order for our praise life to flourish, we must be seekers of the Kingdom of God because praise is a result of revelation. Paul said in Rom. 10:17,
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
What about worship? You say, "Well, Brother Johnson, I didn't hear you shouting as loud and I didn't see you dancing like you usually do!" You old lion! No, it is just that as you mature you get smarter. Someone who is experienced in true worship, knows that volume has absolutely nothing to do with the anointing. I trust that the lion cubs will not misunderstand some of the old lions.
Gen. 49:11 says,
"He will wash His garments in wine, His robes in the blood of grapes."
Isaiah 5:1-2 says,
"I will sing to the one I love a song about his vineyard. My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside (Zion). He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with choice vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a wine press as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only (Ishmaels) bad fruit."
There are four things in a vineyard. 1. The vine and the branches. 2. The hedge or wall. 3. The tower. and 4. The wine press! Wine in scripture can mean the blood of Jesus but it can also mean joy. What is the purpose of a vineyard? To produce wine. Wine is alive and active. Grape juice has no life in it. The local church is a vineyard and the purpose of any local assembly is to produce the joy of the Lord, which is His strength. In order to do this there must be the vine and the branches, the hedge, the tower and the watchman is in the tower which signifies ministry, and the wine press.
Back to Genesis 49:11,
"He will wash his garments in wine, and His robes in the blood of grapes."
If you were to see Judah, you would not have any trouble knowing where he had been. He has been in the wine press. Judah is the only one in the wine press. It takes two to seven people in the press to make it work. In the wine press they would sing and shout and dance and something would begin to flow. The wine press was constructed so that the wine would pour from an upper vat into a lower vat. When you learn to minister to God in praise, joy will begin to flow from your innermost being. This joy will be for those in a lower vat or those who have not yet learned the joy of the Lord. David said in Psalm 22:3,
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest (dwells in) the praises of Israel."
Deut. 33:7 gives a four fold blessing of Judah,
"Hear, O Lord the cry of Judah; bring him to his people. With his own hand she defends his cause. Oh, be his help against his foes!"
If you and I will allow this Judah nature to come forth from within us, God will hear the voice of Judah. He will bring him unto His people. His hands shall be sufficient for him. God will be a help to him against his enemies.
Judah is the first stone on the breastplate and this stone is a sardius. A sardius stone is red (ruby) and is pliable. The word sardius means red or ruddy. David was ruddy in color. Rev. 4:3 says,
"And He that sat on the throne had the appearance of jasper and sardius."
Full of praise. Gen 49:12 says, (NIV) "His eyes will be darker than wine" or (KJV), "His eyes shall be red with wine." He shall be saturated with praise.
Have you ever considered what Tribe of Israel you are a member of? Probably not! I had never considered this or even thought it is a possibility because I am not a Jew. Most Christians today have never been taught the difference between The House of Judah and The House of Israel. Without going into a detailed discussion of this subject, basically, The House of Judah was those associated with the Tribe of Judah from where we get the name Jew. However, the Ten Tribes of Israel became known as The House of Israel. The House of Israel was not known as Jews. Abraham was not a Jew and neither was Jacob.
The Ten Tribes of Israel never returned from captivity to Jerusalem but migrated North West into Europe and mainly to the Islands of the British Isles. It might surprise you to know that The House of Israel is made up of mostly Caucasians. As a result of this, if you could trace your heritage all the way back to Jacob you might be surprise to find out that you are one of his descendants.
I discuss this in my article on The Lost Tribes of Israel that you can read on my website, www.rejoicinglifeministries.com