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Thursday, June 23 2011

The Strait Gate

The Old City of Jerusalem has numerous gates - some very ancient, others relatively modern (only a few centuries old). Each were given a name, or names, to signify something about them, whether a utility or commercial purpose (e.g. the Fish Gate, the Dung Gate) or a destination (e.g. the Jaffa Gate, on the west side, facing Jaffa, or the Damascus Gate, on the north side, facing Damascus).

One of most well-known and oldest existing gates is the Mercy Gate (see also Christ's Mercy Seat), as it is generally known to Jews. In other times, it was known as the Beautiful Gate, and thereafter as the Golden Gate by later Christian-professing people. It is also known as the Eastern Gate, in reference to its location, on the eastern wall, at the center of the eastern side of the Temple Mount, facing the Mount of Olives (see the Fact Finder question below).

The Jewish belief is that the Messiah (see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah) will enter Jerusalem / the Temple through the Mercy Gate (usually referring to Ezekiel 44:1-3), which although they didn't recognize Him, has already been partially fulfilled. The Messiah's "triumphal entry" into the city and His clearing the Temple area of the peddlers and money changers was logically through that direct gate:

"19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 19:43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation [in referring to that Temple, see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?].

19:45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 19:46 Saying unto them, It is written [see The By-The-Book Messiah and Was Jesus A 'New Testament' Christian?], My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Luke 19:41-46 KJV)

The photograph below shows the Mercy Gate, or Golden Gate, as it appears in modern times. The gate is now sealed, as it has been since Muslims under Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) blocked it in 1541 with the specific intent to prevent the "Jewish" Messiah's entrance (they also built a cemetery in front of it). They, like most of the people of Judah, believe that the prophesied Messiah will be a mere human who cannot pass through stone. That's a correct assumption, but the Messiah has already passed through it back when it was open (as we read in the verses above), and when He returns, nothing physical will be able to prevent Him from entering Zion - from which all the world will learn how to truly worship and obey God, so that they too can enter (see Anti-Zion Is Anti-Christ).

"4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4:3 And he shall judge among many people [see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff], and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:1-3 KJV)

"Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city"

The Messiah's famous "narrow way" (i.e. narrow road) teaching actually begins with first entering through the right "gate" - the point of the lesson is that going a long way isn't worth anything if it's the wrong way.

The Mercy / Golden Gate

"7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it [see What's Your Angle?].

7:15 Beware of false prophets [see Is Your Religion Your Religion?], which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:13-23 KJV)

Luke (see The Gospel By The Gentile) recorded the same lesson, but with the warning that not only must we enter through the right (i.e. righteous) gate, we must do so when the opportunity is given to us. Just as in due time it opens, so too in due time it will be closed, "When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door." The present sealing of the gate is a prophetic object lesson.

"13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?

And he said unto them, 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us;

and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth [see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?], when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 13:30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last [see also Later Arrivals]" (Luke 13:22-30 KJV)

The ultimate meaning of those physical gates of the Old City is the spiritual gates of the coming New Jerusalem (the only Biblical mention of the famous "pearly gates" is on earth - see What Will Heaven Be Like?).

"21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 21:12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:10-14 KJV)

"21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:22-27 KJV)

The gates of the New Jerusalem are open to "they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

"22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." (Revelation 22:14-15 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') command the Israelites to construct the Tabernacle and the Temple with the entrance facing east?
See Why Did They Face East? and When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin


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This Day In History, June 23

79: Titus (see Titus Vespasianus) succeeded his father Vespasian as Roman Emperor. It was Titus who was in command of the Roman military forces that destroyed Jerusalem in 70, as prophesied by Jesus Christ (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones? and Jerusalem In Flames).

1180: The Genpei War in Japan began with the First Battle of Uji.

1298: Albert I, a Hapsburg, son of Rudolf I, became the new king of The Holy Roman Empire after deposing German king Adolf of Nassau.

1305: The Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge between King Philip IV of France and Robert de Bethune, count of Flanders, was signed. Strongly opposed by the Flemings (Flanders today composes the northern area of Belgium), the treaty involved the French for 20 years in military attempts to enforce it. Signed after Philip's victory over the Flemings at Mons-en-Pevele in 1304.

1314: The 2-day battle of Bannockburn began. A decisive battle in Scottish history; under the leadership of Robert I the Bruce, the Scots defeated the English under Edward II (1282-1327), regained their independence, and established Bruce on his throne. The battle was fought for possession of Stirling Castle, then the last stronghold of the English in Scotland. The Scots regard the battle as the culmination of their Wars of Independence, while the English regard it as a lamentable defeat. In 1964, on the 650th anniversary of the battle, an equestrian statue of Robert I the Bruce was unveiled on the site by Queen Elizabeth II.

1501: Pedro Cabral returned to Portugal after a voyage during which he claimed Brazil for Portugal.

1532: Henry VIII and Francois I signed a treaty of alliance against Emperor Charles V.

1565: Turgut Reis, commander of the Ottoman navy, was killed during the Siege of Malta (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1611: During his fourth voyage, English explorer Henry Hudson was set adrift in Hudson Bay (as it was later named after him) by mutineers on his ship Discovery. He was never seen again.

1683: English pioneer William Penn signed a friendship treaty with the native people in Pennsylvania (named after William Penn).

1700: Russia gave up its Black Sea fleet as part of a truce with the Ottoman Empire.

1713: Amidst an impending war with France, the French residents of Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine) were given an ultimatum to declare allegiance to Britain or leave. Some left, to various locations, including the French territory of Louisiana (named after King Louis of France) where they became known as "Cajuns" (a southern pronunciation of Acadian; the term "Dixie" originated from dix, the French word for ten).

1757: The Battle of Plassey. 3,000 British troops under the command of Robert Clive defeated a 50,000 man India army under Siraj Ud Daulah.

1758: During the Seven Years War, British and Hanoverian armies defeated the French at Krefeld in Germany.

1794: Empress Catherine II of Russia granted Jews permission to settle in Kiev.

1848: Workers in Paris rose in an insurrection known as the "June Days."

1868: Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for the "typewriter."

1887: The Canadian Rocky Mountains Park Act created the nation's first national park, Banff National Park.

1914: During the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa captured Zacatecas from Victoriano Huerta.

1940: Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) made a victory visit to Paris after his invasion armies conquered France to bring about "regime change" for the French people.

1967: Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, reaffirming the Church of Rome's law on celibacy (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).

1972: During the Watergate criminal investigation, U.S. President Richard Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman were recorded (by Nixon's own Oval Office recording system) discussing how to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI investigation of the White House.

1985: 329 people died when Air India flight 182, a Boeing 747, was brought down by an on-board bomb off the Irish coast.





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