“Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 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…” Ezekiel 43
This photo of the Eastern, or “Golden” gate is approximately 100 years old. Ezekiel was an Old Testament prophet who foresaw the coming of the Messiah through this gate in the Old City. You can see the different sizes of stone in the wall around the gate… the ones on the bottom are most likely some of the 10,000 stones that still remain from the time of King Herod’s rebuilding and expansion of the Temple Mount, just prior to the time of Jesus.
The temple and the temple mount walls were destroyed by the Romans around 70 AD, and remained largely in a state of disrepair for 100’s of years until rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1540. But this gate is believed to be about a 1000 years older than that. Hebrew writing on the inside (above) was left by Jewish pilgrims about 1000 years ago. Today the gate is filled with rubble and blocked off. It is believed that when Suleiman became aware of Ezekiel’s prophecy, he so feared the fulfillment, he ordered the gate to be plugged up so no one could pass through. He also ordered a cemetery to be built along the wall outside the gate, knowing that it would be against Jewish laws and beliefs for a priest to approach the gate over the graves without becoming “unclean”.
In 1969, an archaeological student named James Fleming was inspecting the current gate when suddenly the rain-soaked ground beneath him opened and he fell 8 feet down into a pit of bones, looking at an ancient buried gate below the visible one. He snapped a couple of quick photos, and when he returned the next day, the tomb had been sealed with a cement slab by the Islamic custodians of the Temple Mount. The diagram above shows the two levels of the Golden Gate, as well as just how much of the original wall is below the surface today.
No further excavation or examination has been allowed. There are those who want to keep covered up any evidence that this area ever held a temple or anything else significant to Judeo-Christian faith.
As Jesus came to Jerusalem for the last time during Passover, he stood on the Mount of Olives before mounting a donkey (fulfilling prophecy from Zechariah 9 that the Messiah would come riding on a donkey). Before coming down the mount, across the Kidron Valley below, and up the other side through the Eastern Gate as hundreds welcomed him waving palm branches, he spoke these words according to Luke 13:34-35: “Oh 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! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
“Lift up your heads, O you ancient gates; be lifted up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle…The Lord Almighty — he is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10