The Old City of Jerusalem has eight major gates today. They are the Lion’s Gate,
Herod’s Gate, Damascus Gate, the New Gate, Jaffa Gate, Zion Gate, the Dung Gate and
the Eastern Gate. The Eastern Gate is unique because it is the only gate that is sealed
shut. This is regarded by some as a fulfilment of biblical prophecy.

The Eastern Gate is known in Hebrew as the Gate of Mercy (sha’ar harachamiym).
It is also called the Golden Gate, which was the name given to it by
some Crusaders in the seventh century AD. It is the gate that gives direct access to
the Temple Mount. Thus, some Jews used to gather to pray near this gate as it is the
closest they could get to the temple site. However, when the area became a Moslem
cemetery in the Ayyubid period, the Jews could no longer pray at the gate. Hence,
the Jews began to pray at the Western Wall. It is also superstitiously regarded as the
place which the parents of Mary met after the Annunciation, and became venerated
as a symbol of the virgin birth of Christ.

This final sealing of the gate was done by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman in 1541. It has
remained shut since then.

Is This Ezekiel’s Eastern Gate?

The sealing Eastern Gate is popularly regarded in Christian circles as the fulfilment of
prophecies found in the book of Ezekiel. Firstly, Ezekiel 10:18-19 talks about the glory of
the Lord leaving the temple through an eastern entrance. “Then the glory of the LORD
departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the
cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went
out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of
the LORD’S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.” (Ezek. 10:18-
19) The glory of the LORD will finally settle on the Mount of Olives. “And the glory of the
LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east
side of the city.” (Ezek. 11:23)

Secondly, in Ezekiel 43:4, the glory of the Lord is said to return via a gate facing east.
And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is
toward the east.” (Ezek. 43:4)

Thirdly, the eastern gate is revealed in Ezekiel 44:1-3 to be shut, “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.” (Ezek. 44:1-3) Further details of this prince is given in Ezekiel 46:12 – “Now
when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or peace offerings voluntarily
unto the LORD, one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall
prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath day: then he
shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate.

Some would thus interpret this gate as the gate of Christ’s triumphant entry to Jerusalem
during Palm Sunday since the glory of the LORD is said to have entered via this gate
(Ezekiel 43:4; Matt. 21:1-11. The command to seal the gate in Ezekiel 44:1-3 is seen as a
fulfilment of the sealing completed by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1541. The gate will
remain shut till the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Refutation

However, there are several reasons why the current Golden Gate is not the Eastern Gate
that is spoken of in the prophecies of Ezekiel.

1. The eastern gate mentioned in the book of Ezekiel is the gate of the temple and not of
the eastern wall. In Ezekiel 10:19, the eastern gate is said to be the “east gate of the
LORD’s house”. In Ezekiel 44:1, the eastern gate is described as the “gate of the outer
sanctuary”. Thus, it is the gate of the temple building, and not that of a city.

2. The current gate is not the same gate in which the Lord Jesus Christ entered during
Palm Sunday because it was constructed centuries after the birth of Christ (likely by
Justinian I during 50 AD). It was constructed on top of the original gate which
Nehemiah built. The lower gate is therefore the gate which Jesus entered Jerusalem in
AD 30.

3. The temple which Ezekiel saw in a vision in Ezekiel 40-47 is not the temple during
Ezekiel’s or Jesus’ time because its dimensions are significantly larger. The temple in
the vision is the Millennial Temple which will be constructed when Christ returns to
this earth. Jerusalem during the Millennium will have 12 gates and not 8. The gates are
named after the tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 48:30-35). With this in mind, we see that the
temple of Ezekiel 40-47 and therefore her eastern gate will not exist till Christ returns.

4. The prince in Ezekiel 44:3 and Ezekiel 46:12 is not the Lord Jesus Christ. This is
because the prince is said to prepare a sin offering for himself and for he people. “And
upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a
bullock for a sin offering.” (Ezek. 45:22) Christ as the perfect Son of God has no sin
and hence does not need to make a sin offering for Himself. Christ Himself is the
perfect sacrifice for sins. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering
oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he
had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;From
henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath
perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:11-14)

The current Golden Gate is thus not the eastern gate(s) that is mentioned in the prophecy of

The Interpretation of Ezekiel Prophecies

We are now left with the task of interpreting Ezekiel’s prophecy. First, we have to
understand that there are actually two eastern gates in view found in two very different
periods of time. The eastern gate in Ezekiel 10-11 is the eastern gate of the temple during
the time of Ezekiel. This is the temple that will soon be destroyed in 586 B.C. The glory of
the Lord is seen to depart from the eastern entrance to settle in the east mountain because
of the gross sin and apostasy of the people (i.e. Ichabod). The LORD’s glory stood over the
Mount of Olives in judgment of the entire city of which the people will be taken to exile to
the east (i.e. in Babylon).

On the other hand, the eastern gate in Ezekiel 43:4 and 44:1-3 is the eastern gate of the
Millennial temple. Just as how God’s glory left the first temple constructed by Solomon, it
will return to this new Millennial temple. The gate is to be shut until the Sabbath or the day
of the new moon when the prince shall enter to make sacrifices for himself and for the
people as part of the worship of Christ during the Millennium (c.f. Ezekiel 46:1-2).

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

Note: Pray for the pilgrims to the Holy Land. Safety is of the Lord (Psalm 121)