Prophetic meaning for gatekeeper
In ancient times the gatekeeper served in various places: the city gates, the temple doors, and even at the entrances of homes. The porters in charge of the city gates had to make sure they were closed at night and were in them as guardians. Other guardians were stationed as watchmen on the door or in a tower, from where they could see those approaching the city and announce their arrival.
These lookouts cooperated with the gatekeeper (2Sa 18:24, 26), who had a great responsibility since the security of the city depended to a large extent on him. Also, the porters transmitted to those within the city the messages of those who arrived there. (2Ki 7:10, 11.) To the porters of King Ahasuerus, two of whom plotted to kill him, they were also called court officers. (Est 2: 21-23; 6: 2.)
In the temple.
Shortly before his death, King David extensively organized the Levites and temple workers. In this last group were the goalkeepers, which amounted to 4,000. Each goalkeeper division worked seven days in a row. They had to watch the house of Jehovah and make sure that the doors opened and closed in due time.
(1Cr 9: 23-27; 23: 1-6.) In addition to the responsibility of being on guard, some attended to the contributions that people brought to the temple. (2Ki 12: 9; 22: 4.) Sometime later, the high priest Jehoiada put special guards on the doors of the temple when he anointed the young LORD asking, to protect him from Queen Athaliah, who had usurped the throne.
(2Ki 11: 4-8.) When King Josiah undertook the fight against idolatrous worship, the porters helped remove the tools used in the worship of Baal from the temple. Then they burned all this out of town. (2Ki 23: 4.) In the days of Jesus Christ, priests and Levites worked as porters and guards in the temple rebuilt by Herod.
They had to stay constantly awake in their position so that they would not be caught off guard by the superintendent or officer of the Temple Mount, who suddenly appeared in his rounds. There was another officer who was in charge of casting lots for temple services. When he arrived and knocked on the door, the guard had to be awake to open it, as it might surprise him asleep.
Regarding staying awake, the Misná (Middot 1: 2) explains: “The temple mount officer used to hang around each of the guards, carrying several burning torches in front of him. To the watchman who was not standing, who did not say: ‘temple mountain officer, peace be upon you ‘and it was manifest that he was asleep, hit him with his cane. I also had permission to burn her dress” (see also Rev 16:15).
These porters and guards were stationed in their places to protect the temple from theft and prevent entry to any unclean person or potential intruders.
In the homes. In the days of the apostles, some houses had doormen. For example, in the house of Mary, the mother of Juan Marcos, a servant named Rode answered when Peter knocked on the door after an angel freed him from prison. (Acts 12: 12-14) Likewise, it was the girl employed as a porter in the house of the high priest who asked Peter if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. (Jn 18:17.)
Pastors In biblical times, shepherds used to keep their flocks of sheep in a sheepfold or fold during the night. These sheepfolds consisted of a low stone wall with an entrance. The flocks of one man or several were kept in the sheepfold at night, with a doorman who guarded and protected them.
Jesus resorted to the custom that existed of having a sheepfold guarded by a doorman when he referred to himself figuratively, not only as of the shepherd of the sheep of God but also as the door through which these sheep could enter. (Jn 10: 1-9.)
Christians Jesus highlighted the need for the Christian to remain attentive and to the expectation of his coming as executor of Jehovah’s judgments. He resembled the Christian to a doorman whom his master commands to stay alert because he does not know when he will return from his trip abroad. (Mr 13: 33-37)