The prophet Ezekiel was a descendant of the high priestly lineage of Zadok and would have become a priest in the temple in Jerusalem. However, he was one of thousands from Judah who had been carried off into exile by the Babylonians. When he was 30 years old — the age when he should have entered the priesthood — God called him to be a prophet to the other exiles.
Ezekiel had detailed visions full of symbolism. One such vision was so real, it was as if God took him to Jerusalem and showed him the idolatry taking place in the temple. The prophet then watched as the glory of God rose out of the temple, moved over the eastern gate and stopped above the mountain to the east of Jerusalem — the Mount of Olives. The fact that the presence of God departed over the Mount of Olives is very interesting, since that is the very location from which Jesus also ascended to heaven.
What a sad moment for this member of the priestly lineage to see — the glorious presence of God abandoning the temple. Jerusalem would now be trampled down by the Babylonians and the temple destroyed.
Ezekiel had another vision many years later in which he saw the glory of God return to the temple, entering from the eastern gate just as He had departed. Another prophet, Zechariah, prophesied that the Lord would descend from heaven with the saints and would stand on the Mount of Olives.
Because of these prophecies, the eastern gate of the Temple Mount is now sealed shut. The current walls of Jerusalem were built in the sixteenth century during the Ottoman Empire. When the sultan learned of a local belief in a coming Jewish messiah who would enter the temple from the east, he had the gate sealed shut and placed a cemetery right outside of it. He reasoned that the Jewish messiah would not defile himself by walking on graves to enter the temple mount.
Amazingly, the prophet Ezekiel also predicted the sealing of the eastern gate. Of course, you can be sure it will not keep Jesus from returning! The prophet Zechariah predicted a major earthquake as part of His return, and I am sure the gates will be opened wide to welcome Him!
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