Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:3-4)
WE ARE OUTSIDE, LOOKING AT THE EASTERN (GOLDEN) GATE of old Jerusalem. If you are standing beside the photographer who took this picture, directly behind you is the Mount of Olives. That’s where Jesus will stand upon His return to earth. The Mount of Olives will split in half, running straight behind you, away from you, east-to-west, out of which will come a large stream of water. Some of the water will flow eastward to the Dead Sea and the rest of it will flow westward to the Mediterranean Sea.
THE MOUNT OF OLIVES WILL DIVIDE TO THE NORTH AND TO THE SOUTH, leaving a valley from east to west. The Mount of Olives is beyond the little Kidron valley, and about 2,000 cubits (a little over a half-mile) from the Temple. That’s the same distance the people were to keep themselves from the Ark when they when they crossed over the Jordan river.
THE EASTERN GATE OF JERUSALEM is part of the scene the Prophet Zechariah wrote about in our text for today. Jesus will not remain upon the Mount of Olives after it divides. He will enter the Eastern Gate and enter Ezekiel’s Temple.
EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE WILL BE USED DURING THE MILLENNIUM (THOUSAND YEARS). Ezekiel focuses on the Eastern Gate that is to be used by the King. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same. (Ezekiel 44:2,3)
EZEKIEL SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD LEAVING JERUSALEM through the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 11:23) and later returning through the Eastern Gate to occupy the Temple (Ezekiel 43:2-4). In Jesus’ day, The Holy Spirit did not occupy the Temple. The Spirit had departed. Jesus was God in the Temple in His day. His turning over the money changers’ tables, wielding the scourge in His hand to cleanse the Temple and raising His voice was not appreciated. The people who were offended were in no spiritual condition to recognize their promised Messiah.
THE TWO STONE ARCHES IN THE PICTURE ABOVE are filled in with 16’ of cement and stone. The white stone structures covering the ground from the wall toward you, are the grave stones of people who wanted to be buried at the gate where the coming Messiah will enter the city. It was their hope to be resurrected from the dead when the Messiah walked from the Mount of Olives to enter the Temple.
OUR SONG TODAY, Just Inside the Eastern Gate, has been around at least since I was a boy. It was a favorite and still is today. It shares the hope of those buried outside the Eastern Gate. However, the song speaks of meeting you “just inside the eastern gate,” not “outside the gate.” Being buried “outside the gate” was as close as the people in the picture could get to the gate.
THERE ARE EIGHT GATES IN THE STONE WALLS OF JERUSALEM, but the eastern gate commands the most attention. It is NOT the same eastern gate Jesus and the Apostles walked through. That gate is below this gate, covered over. The following comments are helpful.
“THE EASTERN GATE OF JERUSALEM is also called the Golden Gate or the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2). In Hebrew, it is Sha'ar Harahamim, the “Gate of Mercy.” It is currently the oldest gate in the Old City, having been constructed in the 6th or 7th century AD. Also, it is the gate that gives the most direct access to the temple mount—if a person could pass through the arches of the Eastern Gate, he would be very close to where the Jewish temple used to stand. When Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives in Matthew 21, He used a gate in the same location as the current Eastern or Golden Gate.
“THE EASTERN GATE WAS SEALED SHUT in AD 1540–41 by order of Suleiman the Magnificent, a sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It’s believed that the reason for the closing of the Eastern Gate was to prevent the Jewish Messiah from gaining entrance to Jerusalem. Jewish tradition states that the Messiah will pass through the Eastern Gate when He comes to rule. The Muslim Suleiman was attempting to thwart the Messiah’s plans with sixteen feet of cement. The Eastern Gate has remained sealed for nearly the past 500 years.” (You will enjoy reading the full article above at: https://www.gotquestions.org/eastern-gate-Jerusalem.html
TODAY, ALL GENUINE CHRISTIANS ARE INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT and our bodies are the Temple of the Spirit. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1Corinthians 6:19-20) (All Christians are indwelt by the Spirit but all are not surrendered to the Holy Spirit and all are not endued with power from on high.)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 31, 2019 - THURSDAY
A.M. Exodus 25-26 P.M. Matthew 21:1-22
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)
Song for Today:
The Eastern Gate (3:10) (Gaither Group)
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