Today’s Scripture: Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. 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 44:1-3
The Eastern Gate in the old city of Jerusalem was sealed by a Turkish Ottoman sultan called Suleiman the Magnificent. Around 1541, he commanded for the walls to be rebuilt, and they rebuilt the walls and this gate. Because they still had some foundation stones from the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, we believe the Eastern Gate is on the same spot as the previous gate. Suleiman had heard that the Jewish people believed the Messiah’s return was soon, and they believed the Messiah would come through that gate. So, in order to prevent that from happening, he built the gate and sealed it.
In 1967, the Jordanians had control of the gate and they decided to try and open the gate. So, they got their chisels and they started to chisel open the gate. On that very day, the Six Day War of 1967 broke out. These were all fighting men, and they dropped their chisels and went off to fight. The gate remained sealed.
A few days later the Jewish commandos came in and were about to liberate that part of Jerusalem. The Jews had not occupied that part of Jerusalem in the old city for centuries. The commandos had a tank and were trying to go in through the Lion’s Gate which is just to the right of the Eastern Gate. They could not get the tank through and they rammed the Lion’s Gate. Today you can still see where they hit.
The story is told that just before they came in, one commando said, “Let’s blow open the Eastern Gate, and we will surprise the Jordanians”. But, they had an observant Orthodox Jew in their group and he said, “Absolutely not; that gate stays sealed until the Messiah comes.” Isn’t that amazing? The Jordanians wanted to open it and they were stopped. The Jewish commandos wanted to open it and they were stopped. Today it is still sealed. Why is that significant? Because the Bible says that gate will be sealed, and the Messiah will come through that gate. Just as Jesus came the first time, so we believe He will come again.
Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.