© 2000 Walter E. Gast
All rights reserved.

Copyright Information

Gates have various meanings in Christian art. A gate, when shown open, may be used to represent the entrance to Paradise or the gospel's invitation to enter into heavenly rest. A gate may also represent death or departure from earthly life. Gates can also symbolize exclusion, as in representations of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. A gate may also be used to represent the separation of the righteous from the damned at the Last Judgment. A gate that has been broken down is symbolic of the powers of hell, which Christ conquered by His Resurrection.

Isa. 38:10 I said, "In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death(n) and be robbed of the rest of my years?" (NIV)

Matt. 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, (n) and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades(n) will not overcome it. (n) (NIV)

Rev. 22:14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (NIV)

Glastonbury Thorn
According to legend, the Glastonbury thorn budded from the staff planted by Joseph of Arimathaea when he took refuge in Glastonbury. Because it blooms on or near Christmas day, it has become a symbol of the Nativity.

Season: Christmas

The goat usually represents those who are condemned at the Last Judgment. This use is taken from the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew. By extension, the goat may be used to represent demonic forces.

Matt. 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (NIV)

Grapes are symbolic of Holy Communion and of the blood shed by Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of sin. Grapes are also symbolic of the fruitfulness of the Christian life.

Matt. 26:27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the(n) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)

Season: Holy Week, Communion Sundays