The Twelve Gates Of The Holy City
(The Fifth Gate of The City, Zebulun)
Zebulun means: HABITATION! Not only does Zebulun mean a habitation, but a habitation to be desired. It is from a root word meaning: Enclose, reside, or dwell within. This is the gate where your Christianity leaves the individual realm and your conversation changes from ( I ) to ( we). The biggest problem we face in the ministry today is people who are wrapped up in the big `I'. Even to the point that they let you know without a doubt, "It is MY ministry".
I have met very few who have walked through the fifth gate. Even those who are proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom. Most of them are so caught up in what they are doing that they fail to realize that the last enemy, death, can only be conquered by the corporate body of Christ. Anyone who has come through this gate will find that everything they do; the way they think, what they do with their time, their talent and treasure, is always for the body of Christ.
I want to give you seven terms which describe this gate. We are God's:
1. Habitation; Eph. 2:19-22 says,
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's People and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a Holy Temple in the Lord. And in Him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling(habitation) in which God lives by His Spirit."
2. We are a temple. There are two Greek words for temple. "HIERON" which speaks of the temple in Jerusalem and refers to a temple that is not living. However, when Paul wanted to convey the truth of Zebulun, he calls us a temple in Eph 2:21,
"In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple."
In I Cor. 3:16-17 he said, "Know you not, that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit."
And in 2 Cor. 6:16, "For we are the temple of the Living God."
And in 2 Thess. 2:4, "He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
A thought question for you! Where is God's temple! In 2 Thess. 2:4 Paul is talking about the man of sin or the anti-Christ sitting in the temple of God!!!
In every one of these references the word used for `temple' is not the Greek word `hieron'. It is the Greek word `NAOS', which means a living temple. It can be rendered, "The inner sanctuary". Everywhere you see the word temple after the book of Acts, with only one exception, I Cor. 9:13, the Greek word used is `Naos' meaning a living temple.
3. We are a tabernacle.
Rev. 21:3 says, "The tabernacle of God is with men."
4. We are a house.
In 2 Tim. 2:20 Paul says, "In a great house there are vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor."
Heb. 3:5-6 says, "Moses was a faithful servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast."
5. We are a sanctuary.
Heb. 8:1-2 says, "We have a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in Heaven, and serves in the sanctuary the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
6. We are a building.
I Cor. 3:9 says, "For we are God's fellow workers, you are God's field, God's building."
7. We are a mansion.
Jn. 14:1-3 says, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions."
The Greek word for mansions is "MONE" and means, abode, dwelling place, a tabernacle, a house, a sanctuary, a building. All this points to Zebulun.
Would you like for me to tell you whether or not you have gone through this gate? One way you can tell is if you want to sit under anointed teaching no matter how long it lasts, and you desire to hear revelation teaching. Also, you can tell if there is an inward tug on your spirit that wants to be with your brothers and sisters on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
You cannot go through Zebulun by yourself. There is nothing in me that wants to be around you for seven days a week, but there is something of Him in me that wants to be with you. It is only when I slip from the spirit to the flesh that I have problems being around you. Listen to me, you had better get to know the family and the City that you are going to live in forever. You know, I would rather spend time with my brothers and sisters in Christ, than I would with my own flesh and blood family. I have more in common with my spiritual family. I am fortunate and give all the thanks to our Father that my family is a part of The Kingdom of God. I have no life by myself and you have no life by yourself. The life we live is; you in me and I in you and the two of us in Him. Paul said to the Romans, in Rom. 14:7, "No man can live unto himself."
Psalms 68:6 says, "God takes the solitary and sets him in families."
I have no joy without you and no peace. Jesus said, "This is my commandment that you love one another, that your joy be full." You cannot have fullness of joy without one another. The reason is, one of us could not hold it all, but all of us together can. If it comes down to a choice between His family and your own, there is no choice. His family always comes first. You say, "But I want my mother in this family." Your mother would be in this family, if she wanted to be.
When we pass through the experience of Zebulun we will no longer be concerned with my ministry, my family, my church, my healing, my testimony, my goals, and my vision. Instead, we will think in terms of our ministry, our church, our goals and our vision. Rather than always placing our wants, our needs, our desires first in our thinking, we will think first of how we can contribute to the needs of others.
Here is a test for you to take. When you speak of the church you attend, do you say they are doing so and so or do you say, “We are doing so and so?”
We will use our faith to pray for our brother's healing, instead of praying for our healing. Isn't this what Jesus was talking about when He said, "The greatest among you will be the servant of all." Do you realize that the gifts of the Spirit that Paul talked about in 1 Cor. 12 are only given as the Spirit wills and are to bless others and not the person the Spirit uses? 1 Cor. 12:7-11,
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common
one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the
message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
When we are in need financially, we find someone who has a greater financial need and bless them in the hour of our need. Is this not what Jesus meant when He said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added to you."?
Paul and Silas were an example of this. They were hurting, needed healing and deliverance, yet they ministered to and worshiped God. The only reason the saints of God are so individualistic, is because the ministry is. As long as the ministry keeps sending out their tapes and their books, there will be those who make gods out of them. Even men with sincere motives will not be able to handle it.
When I come in through Zebulun, I don't talk about my needs, I talk about our needs. I don't talk about my blessing, I talk about our blessings. I don't talk about my walk, I talk about our walk. I don't talk about my ministry, I talk about our ministry. So many churches are just stepping stones on some pastor's way up in his ministry.
Lord, help us to move out of our individual, self-centered mentality into a corporate understanding of the body of Christ. Give and it shall be given to you; this is Zebulun. Pastor, if, in your fellowship, you have only come to the place where you have big healing lines, then we have not matured very much. Your responsibility as a pastor is to train the people of God to minister life to one another. It is not your responsibility to be the only one in your fellowship who has the anointing to lay hands on people.
A pastor's responsibility is to bring you into a corporate relationship where the rivers of living water will be flowing from each of you to one another. Deut. 15:7-11 says,
"If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be open handed and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: `The seventh year, the year for canceling debts is near,' so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in you land."
Most people give because they expect something in return. In other words, they are for hire. They give of their time, talent, and money in order to get something. Most of you have been taught that if you will give your tithes and offerings, God will open up the windows of Heaven. Therefore, you are giving, otherwise, you would keep the money because you need it. You might as well keep your money, because your giving is cursed anyway. You can give because you know it is required of you and you want to be pleasing to your employer or to God. But, there is a giving that can be done where there is absolutely no motive to give in order to receive. God wants you to be like Him and give of your time, talent, and money because you love the people you give to.
Issachar became a servant unto tribute. This means he became a love slave, because he was not paid. When we become a love slave to God, we will not be able to be bought, because He has bought them. Like Issachar, we are under contract to Him and to Him alone. You could not begin to pay me what I am worth and, I could not begin to pay you what you are worth. When I approach the work of the Lord, I do it whether I get anything out of it for myself or not. You say, "Brother Johnson, you can't mean that!" Yes, I can. Because I have been through Zebulun and Issachar.
Through Zebulun, I left the individual realm, and now I have only one reason to live; that I might pour out my life for the Body of Christ. If this is not your reason for living, you are living in a lower realm.
You say, "But, that sounds so hard." No! The way of the transgressor is hard. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." When you pass through these two gates, it is no longer a sacrifice; it is a privilege. When you pass through Zebulun you no longer think as an individual, but in terms of Him and His Church. You are not concerned about your welfare, but the welfare of God's people. You are not concerned about your own finances, but the finances of God's people.
You are not concerned about your own health, but the healing of God's people. You are not concerned with your own reputation, but the reputation of God's people. You are not concerned with what your family and friends say about you, but you are vitally concerned about what they say about the Body of Christ. For you to pour out your life for the Body is not even a sacrifice, it is a privilege.
Zebulun is only the fifth gate. Five is the number of grace. His grace is always sufficient. Zebulun stresses the importance of the local assembly. There are so many people who have had a Reuben experience, and some have gone on to experience Simeon and even Levi and Judah but most of them have stopped here and become a law unto themselves, therefore they only minister corruption and death.
There must be an experience of this gate, and it must be experienced, it cannot be forced. We don't force people to go to church, and we do not condemn them if they don't. We cannot do anything to put it in the heart of a man to be part of the family of God. Only from the Christ nature from within through the power of the Holy Spirit can a man get a vision of a local assembly.
I have met a lot of ministers who have told me that God was leading them to do a lot of things. I cannot hear a word they are saying, because they are isolated from the Body of Christ. They are alone and are going about doing their own thing.
The principle of Zebulun is that he stayed, was in training, and learned about sailing before he went to sea. This is very important. Where did Jesus grow up? In a carpenter's shop in Nazareth. Whose territory was Nazareth in? Zebulun.
Matt. 4:13 says,
"Leaving Nazareth, He went and dwelled in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali - to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: `Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned.' From that time on, Jesus began to preach, `Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'."
Nazareth is a priestly city, and priests would gather in Nazareth before going up to Jerusalem to perform their priestly duties. So, who was there to observe the ways of the priesthood? Jesus. Nazareth was a crossroads of travel and every manner of thinking and cultural exchange took place there. This is why they say, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Jesus was submitted to ministry before He entered His ministry. Jesus, at the age of twelve, confounded all the teachers of the law. Yet, how long did He wait? How long did he practice the principle of Zebulun? 18 years!
I wonder how many young ministries are willing today to go through the Zebulun gate and become identified with a dwelling place; a local church, a people where they can learn about ministry before they go to minister? We must submit our ministry to the ministry of the Body of Christ, because in the multitude of counselors, there is safety. The new wine is still found in the cluster of Zebulun!
Proverbs 25:8 says,
"What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?"
Do you know that they held the courts in the gates of the city? The elders sat in the gates of the city. Here is good advice: Don't go hastily toward eldership unless you want to be revealed for not knowing what to do in a crisis.
Zebulun was the second stone on the breastplate of the high priest. The stone was a topez. Zebulun was the tenth son of Jacob, yet he rose to the position of number three. It is not where you start that is important, but where you are placed in the setting. Zebulun rose seven positions from his birth because he lived up to his name and became identified with the people of God.