Thursday, October 16, 2008
GateWay is to the East #2
Jesus Christ will physically return to earth in vengeance on the enemies of God. Known as the “Commander of Heaven’s Armies,” Christ will appear in sky like lightning, and every eye will see Him. His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives, on the very place from which He ascended, and thus fulfill a prophecy made almost 2,000 years by two angels on the Mount of Olives:
“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!’” Acts 1:9-11
When Christ returns, He will enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate of the Old City walls. In so doing, He will fulfill not only the prophecy of these two angels, but in-numerable prophecies recorded by God’s prophets for the benefit of mankind.
The Eastern Gate, approximately 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of the Glory of the Lord:
“After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with His glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway.” Ezekiel 43:1-4 (NLT)
Ezekiel’s vision was no ordinary vision, for He witnessed nothing less than the Glorious Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ezekiel describes in his vision what Jesus told His disciples when warning them to guard against false prophets who claim the Messiah has arrived – that he is in this place or that place. Jesus tells us not to believe such people, for when He returns, all eyes will see Him simultaneously:
“For as lightning lights up the entire sky, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 24:27
Ezekiel’s vision offers further details of the Lord’s Glorious Appearing:
1) He will appear from the east.
2) The sound of His coming will be like the roar of rushing waters.
3) He will enter the Temple through the eastern gateway.
The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ will once again walk through the Eastern Gate is confirmed in Ezekiel 44:
“Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. And the Lord said to me, “This gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut. Only the prince himself may sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord’s presence. But he may come and go only through the entry room of the gateway.” Ezekiel 44:1-3
Not only does this passage reiterate certain details of the Lord’s Glorious Appearing, but it offers substantial evidence to the unbeliever that the Bible is the Word of God. Why? Because Ezekiel 44 demonstrates the astounding accuracy of bible prophecy, providing evidence that can verified firsthand by anyone who doubts.
Over 2,600 years ago, the Lord declared the Eastern Gate would be shut and would remain closed until the Messiah arrived to open it. Yet, for almost five hundred years now, it’s been closed. In this generation, the Messiah will open it.
The Eastern Gate is one of eight gates built into the walls which surround the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Eastern Gate provides the only entrance from the East, and it faces the Mount of Olives. The Eastern Gate was destroyed during the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. Fulfilling Christ’s prophecy that “not one stone will be left on top of another” Matthew 24:2. Prior to this, the Eastern Gate had never been sealed.
It’s been over 465 years since Suleiman sealed the Eastern Gate, and despite numerous well-documented attempts to open it, the gate has remained sealed just as the Lord proclaimed to Ezekiel over 2,600 years ago.
So is the sealing of the Eastern Gate merely a coincidence? Or is it a bona fide partially fulfilled bible prophecy, poised for its ultimate fulfillment on the day the Messiah comes to open it? To find the answer, we only need to examine the variousness of Ezekiel’s prophecy and compare them to the historical record. In so doing, we will learn the identity of the Prince who will open the Eastern Gate and what His doing so will mean for the world.
The first question a person might ask is why is the gate closed? In the aforementioned passage, the Lord tells Ezekiel the eastern gate must be closed because, “The Lord, the God of Israel, entered here.” Ezekiel 44:2
“The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, ‘Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!’ Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: ‘Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.’ His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.” John 12:12-16
As this passage states, the triumphant entry of Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled an additional prophecy, one made over 500 years earlier by the prophet Zechariah.
“Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – even on a donkey’s colt.” Zechariah 9:9
This is only one of the numerous Old Testament Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but if any doubt exists as to the identity of the rider on the donkey, it should be swept away two verses later when we read of God’s promise to the world.
“Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon.” Zechariah 9:11
Christ sealed this covenant with His blood on the cross not long after His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Because of His sacrifice, many have been freed from eternal damnation in hell (death in a waterless dungeon).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Lamb of God who wipes away the sin of the world. He is the Prince who will “sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord’s presence” Ezekiel 44:3. Because Jesus blessed the Eastern Gate with His coming, it has been sealed shut. No man, no army, and no person but Jesus Christ Himself can open the Eastern Gate ever again. This is God’s promise.
The fact that the Eastern Gate remains closed to this day is God’s testimony to doubters throughout the world. Some have doubted the Lord until they can see Him with there own eyes and touch the scars on His body, most of the world demands physical evidence for belief. The Eastern Gate is their physical evidence. It is the testimony of Jesus Christ, and soon, it will be the stage on which the Glory of God will be revealed for all the world to see.
Is this not Awesome!