Q. Somewhere on the web a couple of years ago I read a story about a muslim Turk, Suleiman the Magnificent. I believe the story goes that he walled up the Eastern Gate in 1530 in defiance of a tradition of Christians who preached of a day when Jesus would return to Jerusalem and walk through the gate.
However, it turns out that his blocking the gate only fulfilled scripture that says the gate would be “walled up” and that “no-one” would enter through it again until Jesus Himself does upon his return.
I have read that scripture before (the walling up art), but I don’t remember where I read it (at I think thats what its referring too). Anyway, story goes that a muslim ruler after Suleiman hears of the Christian’s prophecy that no one would enter the Eastern Gate except Jesus when he returns and he decides to prove all those pesky Christians wrong by ordering the removal of the blocks from the wall. However, during the night before the project was to begin he died in his sleep (whoa). The project never took place the to this day the Eastern Gate is still walled up.
Have you ever heard of this? Any truth to it?
A. I’ve heard the traditions surrounding Suleiman and the East Gate. But the East gate, or Golden Gate as it’s known was walled up by the Arabs in 810, seven centuries before Suleiman’s time. When he built the current wall around Jerusalem in 1530-1540 the Golden gate was the only one he left as it was.
The tradition that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate is just that, a tradition. It’s based partly on the view that Jesus probably entered the city through that gate on the first Palm Sunday (Luke 19:37-45) and will do so again, and partly on Zech. 14:4 that says the Messiah will return to the Mt. of Olives. This makes the East Gate His most likely entry point into the City. But Scripture makes no such promise. It’s just man’s opinion.
Here’s the real story. Ezekiel 43:4 tells of the Glory of the Lord entering the Millennial Temple through the East Gate after the time of the 2nd coming. Ezekiel 44:1-2 says that this gate is then shut so that no one can use it because the Lord entered through it.
Like most things surrounding the Temple there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. There’s no agreement among scholars as to the location of the Millenninal Temple, to which Ezekiel 43 and 44 refer, but the east gate he spoke of will most certainly not be the gate that Suleiman is supposed to have shut up. A growing number of Scholars has concluded that the coming Temple will not be built on the remains of the previous two, but in ancient Shiloh a few miles to the North. Here’s a link to the article I wrote on the subject.