The Eastern Gate

SERMON TOPIC: The Eastern Gate

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 20 August 2006


Sermon synopsis: What is the mysterious Eastern Gate in Jerusalem and why has it been sealed for so long? Why have the Muslims built a cemetery next to it and why is it kept out of bounds? Who is the king who will return to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and open this long sealed entry to Jerusalem?
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The Golden Gate



The Coming of Zion’s King



Zion’s King comes from the East

The Eastern Gate seen from the Garden of Gethsemane

The photo above is of the Golden Gate in the walls of the city of Jerusalem. The photo was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane. Between the Garden and the Gate lies the Kidron Valley. On the night of His betrayal our Lord left the city of Jerusalem and crossed through the Kidron Valley and into the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36; Jn 18:1).

The King rejected and the destruction of Jerusalem foretold

John 19:12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” … “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The King rejected and the destruction of Jerusalem foretold

Matt 27:24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

The King rejected and the destruction of Jerusalem foretold

And as Jesus was led away to be crucified:

Luke 23:27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 31 For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Jesus prophesied the future destruction of Jerusalem because it did not recognize the Messiah.

Luke 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Destruction of Jerusalem

The destruction of Jerusalem was a cause of great celebration for Rome.

Vespasian was made emperor in 68 AD. 2 years later he allowed his son Titus to destroy Jerusalem and its temple after a long siege and carry off its sacred objects.

When the legions of Rome finally got to Jerusalem they camped at the Mount of Olives . Immediately after their arrival a trench was cast about Jerusalem. A 9-mile long wall was constructed in 3 days that totally enclosed the city. This was in fulfillment of Jesus’ words:

Luke 19:43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.


Destruction of Jerusalem

Luke 21:20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Destruction of Jerusalem

According to Josephus over 1 million Jews died

Another 97,000 were carried away as slaves!

By 73 AD there was no Jewish rule left in Palestine.

One of Vespasian’s descendants, the emperor Hadrian, rebuilt the city in the next century and renamed it Aelia Capitolina and prohibited Jews from entering the city.


Jesus also predicted the temple’s destruction:

Matt 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Destruction of the temple foretold

When the Romans led by Titus (who later became the Roman emperor) put down the Jewish Revolt in 70 A.D. they demolished the Temple stone by stone down to the level of its foundations.

In the city of Rome there stands a monument called the “arch of Titus” commemorating the victory over Jerusalem.

On the side of the monument is a relief, which portrays the triumphant Roman soldiers carrying off the spoils of the city.

Destruction of the temple foretold


The most prominent object in the centre of the relief is a huge golden candlestand taken from the temple.

Ironically one of the motivations of the religious leaders for killing Jesus was to prevent this:

John 11:47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place* and our nation.” * i.e. the temple

Destruction of the temple foretold

Matt 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus talks of false Christs:

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ’ and will deceive many.

Matt 24:23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

The true Messiah will come again

He then implies that the true Christ will be recognized by his coming from the East (i.e. the next entrance through the Eastern Gate):

Matt 24:26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Returns from East

Jesus wept over Jerusalem and speaks of the desolation of her house*. He implied that he will enter Jerusalem at a later date, but that this time they would recognize his Messiahship and echo his disciples’ anthem: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Matt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house* is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” * i.e. the temple

The Messiah will return to Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives East of the Temple Mount

The Temple mount seen from the East

Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives

The disciples were immediately informed that he would come back in the same way i.e. back to the Mount of Olives on the east of Jerusalem.

Returns from East of Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives: Jesus ascended from here and will return again here

Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk.

The mount of Olives is prime property for burial because of the coming of Messiah

According to tradition, when the Messiah comes and the Golden Gate opens, the souls in these tombs will be first in line to move on to eternal heaven.

Jews believe the Messiah will come from the Mt Olives (East)

The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives

Excerpt from "http:// search? olives.htm+mount+olives+split+messiah&hl=en&gl=za&ct=clnk&cd=10"> The Mount of Olives has traditionally been revered as the site from which the Redemption of the Dead will begin in the end of days (Bereishit Rabah 33:11 and Bavli Ketubot). This is one of the reasons why Jews have always wanted to be buried in Jerusalem, and particularly on the Mount of Olives. Many famous graves are located there… These include the Tomb of Zechariah the prophet, Yad Avshalom, and the family grave of the priests of the House of Chizir (Chronicles 1 24:15). According to tradition, the royal graves of some of the kings of the House of David, and particularly that of King Uzziah, may have been nearby (See Tosephta to Baba Bathra 100) The prophet Isaiah is also said to be buried near the Kidron. Towards the top of the mount are ancient graves ascribed to the prophets Chulda, Chagai and Malachi.

Jews believe the Messiah will come from the Mt Olives (East)

Zech 14:3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah… 8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. 9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

The Jordan River exists because the Jordan Valley exists. The Jordan Valley exists because it marks the joint of a great tectonic-plate fault. Geologists have long recognized and studied it. It is part of the network of fault lines, which make up the Great Rift Valley.

The Mount of Olives will split in two

The Great Rift Valley stretches from the southern part of Africa northwards to the Red Sea and further up through the Jordan valley in the area just north of Israel.

The black lines on the map below illustrate some of the major known joint boundaries in the region.

Faults are relatively harmless during the years that they are building up pressure as they attempt to slide past one another, but when the joint finally slips and releases the incredible tension that has built up, earthquake!

The Bible describes a great earthquake that will strike Israel, such as never has occurred before. It will be extremely powerful, causing a great rift to open, along a known fault, that will run from Jerusalem in both directions all the way from the Mediterranean Sea in the West to the Dead Sea in the East. The Mount Of Olives, East of Jerusalem, will be split in half. Seismologists have identified a fault line, the position where two tectonic plates meet, running through the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem.

In 1967 a US Geophysical survey team analysed the Mount of Olives. They discovered a geological fault line running from the Dead Sea behind the Mount of Olives all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. They stated a tremendous shock would cause an open fault line to appear, just as prophesied 2500 years ago in Zechariah 14:4.

The specific fault line, which passes through the Mount of Olives, can be seen in this map

The positioning and orientation of this seismic fault line meets the exact requirements of Zechariah’s prophecy

The Eastern (Golden) Gate

This is the oldest of all the gates to the city. Monolithic stones in the wall just above ground have been identified as 6th Century BC masonry from the time of Nehemiah.

The Eastern Gate is the oldest of all the gates to Jerusalem and was the Eastern entrance to the Temple Mount in the Old City.

The ancient Eastern gate to Jerusalem could be the one mentioned as the "Beautiful Gate" in Acts 3:2,10. The term Golden Gate may have been derived from the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible*.

* In the earliest Greek New Testament, the word for 'beautiful' is oraia. When Jerome translated the New Testament into Latin in the 4th Century he changed the Greek oraia into the similar sounding Latin aurea, rather than to the Latin word for 'beautiful.' So the Latin Vulgate text read 'Golden Gate' instead of 'Beautiful Gate.'


The Golden Gate was walled up by the Arabs in the year 810.

The present walls around the Old City were built from 1537 to 1541 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent after the Ottoman conquest of Israel. At that time most of the ancient walls were reduced to rubble. Suleiman ordered that Jerusalem be fortified to protect its people against marauding Bedouins.

The Eastern (Golden) Gate today

But this gate to Jerusalem was sealed. The Muslims believe that since the Jews expect that Messiah would come through this gate they would try to prevent any possibility of His return.

Today the Temple Mount is under Muslim control, just over the Golden gate and it is guarded very closely.

The interior corridors of the gate are exceptionally beautiful and well-built according to published reports. Sadly, visitors to the Temple Mount today are not allowed to inspect the interior of the gate. Nor can tourists walk through the Muslim cemetery along the Eastern Wall to inspect the exterior of the gate.

According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will enter the Temple Mount through the Golden Gate. Following this belief Christians also used the gate for Easter ceremonies during the Byzantine and Crusader periods. It was closed at various times by the Muslims, who built a cemetery around it. Muslims know that death and cemeteries are a ritual impurity for Jews. If the Messiah is supposed to enter through the Golden Gate, He must pass through a cemetery, thus causing Him to be impure and unable to enter the Temple Mount. This is Islam's way of hindering the coming of the Messiah.

The Muslim cemetery

The Golden Gate (Gate of Mercy) in the eastern wall of the Temple Mount

The Eastern Gate will be shut

Ezekiel prophesied that this gate will remain shut until the prince (Messiah) comes:

Ezekiel 44:1 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. 2 The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it. 3 The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”

According to Ezekiel the Eastern Gate was to be sealed up and no man would ever again be permitted to enter through it until after the Lord Himself once more enters it in glory during the Millennial Reign.

In his vision the prophet Ezekiel measures the courtyard of the sanctuary and notes that a wall has been constructed across the area to make a separation between the Jewish house of worship and a "profane place" located on one side of the Temple Mount:

He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place" (Ezekiel 42:20).

It’s possible that the Dome of the Rock is that “profane place”. It might remain, together with the Mosque of Omar and the Al Aksa Mosque, to the end of the 7 years.

The profane place

Probably due to the earthquake that splits the Mount of Olives when Jesus returns

Psalm 24:7-9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

The Eastern Gate will be opened

The glory returns to the temple

Ezek 43:1 Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 6 While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. 7 He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever.

The Eastern Gate will be opened

Time of the Gentiles

Luke 21:20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near…. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

According to Jesus the time of the Gentiles ended in 1967. After the War of Independence in 1948 Israeli forces were in control of West Jerusalem, the newer Jewish Section of the city.

The Old City of Jerusalem, the biblical city, fell into the hands of Jordan and was later annexed by them.

Jerusalem became a divided city and remained that way for the next 19 years, until 1967.

Time of the Gentiles

Prophetically, the Old City of Jerusalem had to come under Jewish control.

4 passages of Scripture describe a specific mid-Tribulation event regarding the Temple. Each passage (Daniel 9:27; Mt 24:15; II Thess 2:3-4; and Rev 11:1-2) speaks of the 3rd Jewish Temple.

All 4 make the point that in the middle of the 7-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will take control of the Temple and commit the abomination of desolation.

These verses view the Temple as having been rebuilt, and presuppose Jewish control of the Temple mount, as well as the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Jewish control of Jerusalem was clearly fulfilled in the Six Day War of 1967.

Jesus foresaw the church age - The whole world has the gospel preached to them.

Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

At the end of the age there will be a defilement of the temple (by the image of the antichrist), which triggers a genocide of the Jews when this event causes them to recognize that antichrist is a false Messiah and subsequently reject him:

The Messiah will come again

Matt 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

The Messiah will come again


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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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