The Golden Gate (The Gate of Mercy)

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by Doris Murdoch

 

Golden Gate
The Golden Gate looking across the Kidron Valley from the Mount of Olives

The Gate of Mercy, found in Old Jerusalem, is also called The Golden Gate. It is the only eastern gate of the temple mount. The Lions’ Gate is on the eastern side but enters into the Muslim Quarter instead of the Temple Mount. The Golden Gate has been walled up since medieval times in fulfillment of the prophecy found in Ezekiel 44:1-3:
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.”

In the apocryphal text of the Gospel of James (Protoevangelium), the Golden Gate of Jerusalem was the scene of the meeting between the parents of the Virgin Mary, Anne and Joachim, after the Annunciation; the gate became the symbol of the virgin birth of Jesus. Protoevangelium is the term for the first declaration of the gospel, which occurs in Genesis 3:15. It is a prophecy that Christ will overcome the devil and redeem mankind. The first proclamation of the gospel comes immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve and shows God’s intention of saving men from sin.

It is also said that Jesus passed through the Golden Gate on Palm Sunday, giving the gate messianic importance by Christians along with the Jewish significance. Some equate it with the Beautiful Gates mentioned in Acts 3, the story of the lame man and his encounter with Peter and John:

Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

The Arabic name Bab al-Dhahabi (also Bab al-Zahabi) means Golden Gate and Gate of Eternal Life. Muslims have named each gate of the two, one being the Gate of Mercy and the other being the Gate of Repentance.

The Golden Gate was walled up in 810 AD by Muslims and then reopened by Crusaders in 1102 AD. Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent regained Jerusalem in 1187. He rebuilt the gate together with the city walls, but walled it up in 1541 AD; the gates have remained closed until the present and will probably be that way when Christ returns.

How do you think this will happen? Will Jesus come through the gate on a donkey? Will Jesus cross through the center of the split Mount of Olives as He approaches the Golden Gate? (Zechariah 14:4) Will Jesus arrive at sunrise? There are numerous cemeteries of varying faiths in the area; will these dead be the first to rise up? (Acts 1:10-11) With so many varying Christian faiths present in the Holy Land, how will this all come together at the return of Christ? What about the Christians, Jews and Muslims? What role will each play in the end times? When the Living Covenant returns, do you think the Ark of the Covenant will appear again? There are so many questions to be answered; what an exciting time there will be when the True Living God, Jesus Christ, makes His return to Jerusalem!

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