Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 3 And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he[a] came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. 4 As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, 5 the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.Ezekiel 43:1-5
Through the Bible: Ezekiel 43-45
Yesterday we began talking about Ezekiel’s tour of the Temple. But remember, this was the second time God allowed Ezekiel a vision of the temple, and the third time Ezekiel sees the glory of God. We’ve seen this before, in chapters 1 and 10.
A Bible with chapter headings is useful for helping us understand what is happening here. Most English translations have some variation of these headings:
- Chapter 1: A Vision of God’s Glory
- Chapter 10: God’s Glory Leaves the Temple
- Chapter 43: God’s Glory Returns to the Temple
In 1:4-28, Ezekiel is in Babylon, on the bank of the Kebar Canal, when he has his vision of the throne sitting on a platform, supported by cherubim and powered by wheels within wheels. Then, in 10:9-18, he has the same moving throne vision.
God apparently has a great mobile throne plan.
In chapter 10:18, Ezekiel sees the cherubim “stop at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord’s temple” while the “glory of the God of Israel hovered above them.” Then, in 11:23, “the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city.” In my mind, I see God’s throne platform going up and over the wall of the city and heading toward Babylon. Which, you know, makes sense to me. How would all those wheels and cherubim get through a gate?
But in Chapter 43, there’s something different. For one thing, it doesn’t say anything about the throne, or the cherubim, or the wheels. It simply says,
Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 3 And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal.Ezekiel, 43:1-3
Granted, verse 3 could imply that all the details were the same as the first two visions. But there is something else different as well. Look at verse 4:
The glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate.
By way of the Gate. Through the Eastern Gate. Ezekiel makes this even more clear in the next chapter:
Then he brought me back by way of the outer gate of the sanctuary that faces east, but it was shut. 2 The Lord said to me: “This gate will be shut; it will not be opened, and no one will enter by it. For the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it will remain shut. 3 Only the prince may sit in it to eat a sacrificial meal[a] before the Lord; he will enter by way of the porch of the gate and will go out by the same way.”Ezekiel 44:1-4, NET
- In Ezekiel 43:4, the glory of the Lord will enter from the east, through a gate.
- In Ezekiel 44:2, the gate will be shut because the Lord has entered through it.
- In Ezekiel 44:3, a prince will enter it, have a sacrificial meal, and exit it.
- In Zechariah 9:9, the prophet prophesies that Zion’s king will enter the city on a donkey, and in 14:4 he says He will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of the city.
I want to be clear. GotQuestions is a great source for theological and Scripture questions, and they don’t agree with this interpretation. You can read their article here.
But here are some more facts:
- In Matthew 21, Jesus descends the Mount of Olives (v. 1), on a donkey (v. 3-6) and enters the Temple area (v 12).
- In Matthew 26:26-30, Jesus eats a sacrificial meal, and then exits the city and goes to the Mount of Olives.
- In 810, Muslims sealed the Eastern gate for the first time. It briefly was reopened when the Crusaders briefly held Jerusalem, but then we resealed in 1541 and has been ever since.
I love how perfect God’s Word is! Ezekiel’s third vision of God’s glory returning through the Eastern gate never mentioned the throne, the cherubim, or the wheels, because that’s not how God’s glory entered the city when He came back to Jerusalem.
God’s glory entered on a donkey.
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