After we have had the singers and their service in prophecy before us in 1 Chronicles 25, our eyes are now turned to the gatekeepers. In the New Testament we can recognize them in the overseers, they are the ones who supervise. Like desiring earnestly the gift of prophecy (1Cor 14:1-31Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual [gifts], but especially that you may prophesy.2For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in [his] spirit he speaks mysteries.3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.), the aspiring of the office of overseer is encouraged (1Tim 3:11It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].). The gatekeeper has the “task to minister in the house of the LORD” (verse 1212To these divisions of the gatekeepers, the chief men, [were given] duties like their relatives to minister in the house of the LORD.); the overseer has the task to supervise “how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1Tim 3:1515but in case I am delayed, [I write] so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.).
The leaders of the four thousand gatekeepers in total are mentioned (verses 1-111For the divisions of the gatekeepers [there were] of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.2Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,3Elam the fifth, Johanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh.4Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth,5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him.6Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor.7The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.8All these [were] of the sons of Obed-edom; they and their sons and their relatives [were] able men with strength for the service, 62 from Obed-edom.9Meshelemiah had sons and relatives, 18 valiant men.10Also Hosah, [one] of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first),11Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth; all the sons and relatives of Hosah [were] 13.; 1Chr 23:55and 4,000 [were] gatekeepers, and 4,000 [were] praising the LORD with the instruments which David made for giving praise.). The gatekeepers are at the four large gate buildings. Their big task is to see who is allowed to enter the temple and who is not. Those who are not allowed to enter they must keep outside, while all those who are allowed in must be allowed to enter.
We can apply this to receiving believers at the Lord’s Table to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Two dangers must be avoided. One danger is that of generosity, whereby anyone who wishes to do so can be received to the Supper without investigating. If an unknown person comes who claims to be a believer, this should be investigated. There must be witnesses (2Cor 13:11This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.). It is also important to establish that such a person does not live in sin (1Cor 5:1313But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.), that he has no wrong doctrine about the Lord Jesus and His work (Gal 5:99A little leaven leavens the whole lump [of dough].; 2Jn 1:1010If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into [your] house, and do not give him a greeting;) and that he does not belong to a group of Christians where public evil is not disciplined (2Tim 2:19b19Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”; 2Jn 1:1111for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.).
The other danger is a narrowness that refuses all those who do not belong to the same group of churches. Then believers are refused on other grounds than those just mentioned. The refusal of believers because of all kinds of not fundamental differences in opinion is sectarianism.
Although not everyone is a gatekeeper, all believers have the task of ensuring that the scriptural conditions for receiving or refusal are maintained. Being a gatekeeper is not an easy task.
The Galatians were not good gatekeepers. They have allowed false apostles to enter with their false teachings about the law (Gal 2:44But [it was] because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.). Like a true gatekeeper, Paul writes his letter to them, saying that he does not submit to such false brethren for one hour (Gal 2:55But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.).
The investigation of who or what should be admitted to the temple can also be applied to our bodies. For our body is also called “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1Cor 6:1919Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?). What do we allow to enter through eye and ear and thoughts and what do we absorb into our hearts? From the “gates” of the heart flow “the springs of life” (Pro 4:2323Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it [flow] the springs of life.
). That is why we must also watch over the entrances and exits of our hearts with the greatest care, and be gatekeepers for ourselves. We must condemn and remove what is not good, and allow what shapes us and makes our lives more to the glory of God.
Here we find Obed-edom (verses 4-84Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth,5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him.6Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor.7The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.8All these [were] of the sons of Obed-edom; they and their sons and their relatives [were] able men with strength for the service, 62 from Obed-edom.; verse 1515For Obed-edom [it fell] to the south, and to his sons went the storehouse.). He honored and watched over the ark (1Chr 13:13-1413So David did not take the ark with him to the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.14Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the LORD blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.). Here God honors and blesses him indeed (verse 55Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him.) by giving him eight sons and entrusting him and his sons with the care of a gate and the storehouse. Besides supervising the south gate, he also takes care of the food of the priests. In it we see a picture of teaching in the church (cf. Mt 24:45-4745“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?46Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.47Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.). That is a big responsibility. His grandsons (sons of his son Shemaiah) are “mighty men of valor” (verse 66Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor.) and “valiant men” (verse 77The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.).
Of one of the sons of Hosah, Shimri, is mentioned something special: “Although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first” (verse 1010Also Hosah, [one] of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first),). Possible causes for this may be that he has special qualities, given to him by God, with an accompanying spiritual attitude, or because his oldest brother does not care about the things of God.
Although nothing of the temple exists yet, David can arrange everything because God has already revealed His plan for the temple to him (1Chr 28:11-1311Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch [of the temple], its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat;12and the plan of all that he had in mind, for the courts of the house of the LORD, and for all the surrounding rooms, for the storehouses of the house of God and for the storehouses of the dedicated things;13also for the divisions of the priests and the Levites and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD and for all the utensils of service in the house of the LORD;). According to this plan David arranges everything. The keepers of the gates to be built are already appointed by lot, that is to say by the LORD Himself (verse 1313They cast lots, the small and the great alike, according to their fathers’ households, for every gate.). As a result, this designation is made without regard to the person.