9. The East Gate

(Nehemiah 3:29)

The East Gate has several names:  Golden Gate; The Beautiful Gate; or The Gate of Mercy.  This Gate is the closest in proximity to the Temple whereby worshippers would enter bringing their gifts and offerings.  This Gate faces the Mt of Olives, and would have been in direct line of sight when Jesus prayed and was arrested just before his crucifixion.

Ezekiel 44:1-2 says, “Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east.  And it was shut. And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it.”  Jesus entered this Gate at Passover when the people waved their palms in celebration.  And despite the attempts by Muslims who closed it up before and after the Crusaders opened it again, it was sealed shut in 1540-1 by the Islamic sultan of the Ottoman Empire Suleiman the Magnificent, in order that the coming Messiah would be kept out.  

What a curious thing to think that this would work. Even so, Suleiman actually fulfilled the above Scripture from Ezekiel unknowingly, as God had already ordered the Gate to be sealed.  That the Gate faces East is of course symbolic of the rising sun.  Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings…”  

The glorious truth is this:  Jesus the Messiah for Jews and Gentiles did indeed come as the long-awaited Saviour of the world.  He was crucified and he was sealed in a tomb. But three days later he rises from the dead in resurrection power to begin the revolution of the Gospel.  The East Gate on earth may be shut, but it neither stopped the Messiah, nor stops us from repentant faith and true worship in spirit and truth.  

In God’s Edenic plan, the Garden was planted by God in Eden “in the east (Genesis 2:8).  So by the time we come to the Book of Revelation, which charts the return via redemption history to the New Jerusalem, where we read, “And I saw no temple in the city, for the temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light the nations will walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day, and there will be no light there.”  (21:22-25).

The irony of the East Gate being permanently sealed shut to prevent Messiah from going through it!!  Too late!!  Hallelujah.  Not only has Jesus gone through the Gate, He has gone through the grave and death, and he lives forever more, in the New Jerusalem where the gates are never shut!  Christ is our hope; Christ is our joy; Christ is our life.

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