This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Gatekeepers of the Temple

Do modern churches have gatekeepers? Yes, but unfortunately the reason has changed. As reported in Christianity Today, “Armed security at churches is becoming a new norm.” Why? “An estimated 617 worshipers have been killed in violent incidents in the U.S. since 1999, and the number of attacks at houses of worship has risen almost every year.”

The 212 gatekeepers of Solomon’s temple filled important “positions of trust” (v. 22). They were drawn from among the Levites, with rotating shifts that manned guard stations on all four sides of the temple (1 Chron. 26:12–18). Phinehas, son of Eleazar, had been in charge of the tabernacle gatekeepers, so this group had a heritage of zeal for God’s name (v. 20). In Numbers 25, Phinehas took action against a brazen example of sexual immorality and idolatry and thereby turned God’s anger away from Israel.

What were the gatekeepers’ responsibilities? These varied at different times in history, but their main duty was to guard the gates of the tabernacle or temple (v. 23). This wasn’t because God needed protection, but to prevent people from intentionally or unintentionally doing disrespectful or blasphemous things in God’s house. They had charge of the keys (v. 27), kept watch over the treasuries (v. 26), and served as stewards of the various articles and supplies needed for worship (vv. 28–29).

Gatekeeper functions recorded elsewhere in Scripture include preventing ceremonially unclean people from entering (2 Chron. 23:19) and collecting and distributing freewill offerings (2 Chron. 31:4; 34:9). They assisted in Josiah’s revival specifically by removing pagan idols from the temple (2 Kings 23:4). They were individuals who served behind the scenes with excellence!

>> Ushers or greeters serve as one kind of “gatekeeper” in our churches today. Today, thank one or more ushers for their service to your congregation.

Pray with Us

Will you encourage in prayer Moody’s graduate students whose spring break also begins this week? It’s a privilege to provide a Moody education for today’s Christian leaders, and we appreciate your prayer support for Moody Theological Seminary.

BY Brad Baurain

Bradley Baurain is Associate Professor and Program Head of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Moody Bible Institute. Bradley has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has just published his first book, On Waiting Well. Bradley taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Bradley and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Northwest Indiana.

Find Daily Devotionals by Month