Gates of Jerusalem (GAME)

Gates of JerusalemTime

20 minutes

This game teaches about the gates of Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s time and uses them as a metaphor for how we should conduct our Christian Walk.  Participants will play a dice and memory game to familiarize themselves with the gates and the lessons that they teach.


  • Printouts of the file, “Gates of Jerusalem – Cards.”  (You can download this file from the website on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Dice (2)
  • Small candies to use for rewards for right answers (enough for everyone to have 2-3 pieces each)
  • Lamination sheets and a laminator (optional – best if you plan to play the game multiple times)
  • Bible


  • Nehemiah 3
  • Psalm 23:4, 119:97-98
  • Matthew 4:19, 24:27
  • John 1:29, 7:38
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
  • Ephesians 6:10-17
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
  • 1 John 1:9
  • Revelation 19:11, 22:12



  • Print the file “Gates of Jerusalem – Cards.” (in color, preferably)
  • Cut out the pictures and their descriptions.  (Be careful not to separate the pictues form the descriptions underneath them.)
  • Fold the pictures over so that the descriptions are on the opposite side.
  • Glue the two sides together.
  • Laminate all the cards. (optional)
  • Arrange the cards according to the order pictured on the second slide in the file with the cards.
  • Mark the Scriptures in your Bible with a bookmark so that they will be easy to find.
  • Practice the script.


Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to play a game to teach us about the gates of Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah.”
  • “We can read about these gates in chapter 3 of the book of Nehemiah.”
  • “In this chapter, Nehemiah organizes everyone to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so that they can protect themselves and their Temple from their enemies.”
  • “The gates he mentions in the story were real gates at the time, but we can also use them as a reminder about how we should live as Christians.” (Point out the cards you’ve laid out in the shape of the walls of Jerusalem.)
  • “These cards represent the walls and gates of Jerusalem.”
  • “The ones that look like rocks are the parts of the wall.  They don’t move.”
  • “The ones with pictures on them represent the gates, and you can open the gates by turning over the card.”  (As you go through the next part of the script, turn over the cards and read the descriptions on the opposite side.  Then, return the cards to their original position with the picture showing up.)
  • “The first gate is the Sheep Gate.  It was used to bring sheep into the city for sacrifices, and it was very close to the Temple for this reason.  It reminds us that Jesus went to the cross like a sacrificial lamb.  We should remember that He died to pay for our sins. When we accept this gift, we become Christians.”  (Have a volunteer read John 1:29.)
  • “This first gate represents the gate we walk through when we give our hearts to Jesus.”
  • “The second gate is the Fish Gate.  This gate was used by fishermen to bring their fish into Jerusalem to sell.  It reminds us that as followers of Jesus, He is calling us to become “fishers of men.”  That means that we should try to help others know about Jesus.”  (Have a volunteer read Matthew 4:19.)
  • “The third gate is the Old Gate.  We aren’t sure why it was called the Old Gate, but it may have been because it was part of an older city and brought to Jerusalem.  It reminds us that God’s Truth is older than time.  When Satan tries to trick us with lies, we should use God’s Truth to fight against him.”  (Have a volunteer read Ephesians 6:10-17.)
  • “The fourth gate is the Valley Gate.  It opened into a valley on the west side of the city of Jerusalem.  Mountaintops are exciting, but valleys are hard.  They represent the difficult things we go through that help us depend on God and make us stronger.  There is nothing growing above the treeline on a mountain, but valleys are typically lush with growth.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
  • “The fifth gate is the Dung Gate.  This is the gate that led to the Valley of Hinnom, where the people burned their garbage.  This gate represents how God uses the valleys in our lives to show us some of our garbage and sinfulness.  When God shows us what is sinful and bad in us, we should get rid of it like smelly garbage (or poop!) so that we can follow Jesus.”  (Have a volunteer read Hebrews 12:1-2.)
  • “The sixth gate is the Fountain Gate.  It was at the end of the Pool of Siloam, and provided refreshing waters for the people of the city.  It represents the streams of Living Water that should flow from us to bless others.  Once we have gotten rid of the ‘dung’ in our lives, God’s Living Waters (which represent God’s Word and His Spirit) can flow through us.”  (Have a volunteer read John 7:38.)
  • “The seventh gate is the Water Gate.  This gate was at the beginning of a famous tunnel that King Hezekiah dug to bring water into the city in case enemy armies lay siege to Jerusalem.  Because the water came through a tunnel, it couldn’t be poisoned by their enemies.  The Water Gates reminds us that we should wash every day in the Word of God by reading our Bibles.  God’s Word is always pure, and Satan can’t poison it.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 119:97-98.)
  • “The eighth gate is the Horse Gate.  It was the gate where the horses were taken for water.  Horses in the Bible represent war, so this gate reminds us that we should always be ready to do battle with spiritual forces of evil.  (Have a volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.) It is also pointing forward to the time when Jesus will come again.  The Bible says He will come again riding on a white horse.  (Have a volunteer read Revelation 19:11.)
  • “The ninth gate is the East Gate.  It was on the east side of the city and faced the Mountain of Olives.  This gate is very important for Jews and Christians, because the Bible tells us that Jesus will come the second time from the East.  This gate reminds us to have hope because Jesus is coming again.” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 24:27.)
  • “The tenth and final gate is the Inspection Gate (or Muster Gate). It opened to a road that led to Miphkad (“appointed place”).  This is where the people were numbered for the Temple tax.  It reminds us that we should take time at the end of each day to allow God to review the day with us.  If He brings to mind sins we have done, we should confess them and ask for forgiveness.  (Have a volunteer read 1 John 1:9.)  It also points forward to the time when Jesus comes again.  There will be a time of judgment for believers called the Bema Judgment.  At this time, He will evaluate all that we have done and reward us for our good works. (There is no punishment at this judgment.).”  (Have a volunteer read Revelation 22:12.)
  • “In the story in Nehemiah, he mentions the Sheep Gate again at the end of chapter 3.  This is to remind us that everything begins and ends with Jesus and that He is coming again.”
  • “So, here’s how to play the game.”
  • “The youngest person goes first.”
  • “He or she rolls two dice and then has to tell us the name of the gate for the number he/she rolls and what the gate means.” (Point out the numbers in the upper, right-hand corner of each gate picture.  The Sheep gate is numbered both 1 and 11, because it is mentioned twice in the story.)
  • “For example, if you roll a 2 and a 3, that equals 5.  You would have to tell us the name and meaning of the Dung Gate.”
  • “If you roll a 12, the person on your left gets to pick which gate you have to tell us about.”
  • “If you get it right (or mostly right), you get a piece of candy!”
  • “After your turn, the person on your right gets to roll.”
  • “Ready to play?  (Play several rounds.  Then, you can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the message and the Debrief Questions to apply the lesson to their personal lives.)


Rhyme Time

When gate meanings are unlocked

We understand our Christian walk.


Debrief Questions

  • Which gates are hard for you to understand? (Explain to help make their meaning clearer.)
  • What gates have you already gone through in your life?
  • What was that like?
  • Which gate do you think is the coolest?  Why?
  • Who could you teach about the gates?

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Filed under Game, Nehemiah

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