And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore, it shall be shut (Ezekiel 44:2)

Why would the Lord shut a gate? The verse says it is “because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it”. What could that mean?

When did the Lord enter by it and how did He come? Why did He come?

The verse prior to v2 Ezekiel is describing his encounter with God. Anytime there is an encounter we know that God is relaying information for us. He comes to reveal His Kingdom, His way, His heart or what is to come. He exposes the enemy and reveals the authority that He gives us over every enemy.

Ezekiel explains the vision and we can interpret it with other scriptures.

Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut (Ezekiel 44:1)

This is the “outer gate” that was shut. It is significant that it faces towards the east.
Notice on this account Ezekiel said the Lord “brought me back” which means he had been here before and seen something and was made to understand it.

Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple (Ezekiel 43:1-5)

In this scripture Ezekiel explains how the Lord brought him to this same gate before and he beheld the glory of God. He describes this glory as coming from the way of the east. It is significant that this is an Eastern Gate. It is a gate with particular meaning.

In the New Testament, the east gate in Herod’s temple is where Peter healed the lame man. (Acts 3:1-10)

Ezekiel also relates this encounter to the one he had previously which means there is a connection to what the Lord revealed to him on a previous encounter. This encounter is in Ezekiel chapter 1.

This is exactly how the Lord leads us. He speaks again and again and again connecting events and encounters which lets us know it is the Lord speaking to us.

In verse 10 of this encounter the Lord direct Ezekiel to share the vision of the “temple” to “house of Israel”.

From scripture, we know it is a temple. Is this temple in the heavens or is it on earth?

10 “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern (Ezekiel 43:10)

Why would describing this temple bring shame upon the iniquities in the “house of Israel”?

What was the “temple” for but to give us a pattern, a symbolic way to access God. To meet with God both corporately and individually. We can read about this encounter and understand that first God met with Israel, face to face and then in the temple. Today we have that encounter with God and He meets with us in our temple that is born again and dedicated to Him.

When we understand the purpose for the temple then we can consecrate it for the Lord. When we read the word of God and see how the Lord dealt with Israel and their work and the condition of the temple we can know that the same applies to us.

I want to insert here that in Israel the “temple” that sits in the Promised Land is inhabited by Muslims who blaspheme the Lord Jesus Christ. They worship false gods and desecrate the temple and the Father has judgement laid in store for them if they continue to reject Christ and choose not to repent. It is a sign of the times that points to His return.

There is judgment for that and God is very clear about it.

No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore, I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever (Ezekiel 43:7-9)

Verse 7 tells us where this temple is located.

And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever (Ezekiel 43:7)

This is the throne of God, His authority and dominion. It is the place where He dwells. He chooses to dwell in the “midst of the children of Israel forever”

The first mention of the east gate on this altar is in chapter 40

Then he went to the gateway which faced east; and he went up its stairs and measured the threshold of the gateway, which was one rod wide, and the other threshold was one rod wide (Ezekiel 40:6)

The gateway was the way to enter the altar and it contained stairs. This was where the priest would gain entrance to make things right with God by offering a sacrifice for the sins of Israel.

The first time we see where God shut the door to man was at the east of the Garden of Eden.

24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24)

What is the significance of east?

East translates “in front of” and “to approach or go up to someone” it also translates “ancient past”, “forward” and “past”, “before” and “of old”.

In the Old Testament, the east is often used as a reference point for where enemy nations or foreign people would come from (Judges 6:3, 33; 7:12; 8:10; compare Ezekiel 25:4, 10; Matt 2:1; 24:27; Rev 16:12).[1]

It is drawn from derivatives of kdm, meaning “before” or “in front of” (Gen. 11:2; Ezek. 40:6)[2]

What does it look like to stand in front or before the Glory of God? This is what we need to communicate to make God known. This is what we need to explain to the world like Ezekiel.

There is so much more I want to study and understand but for now I am reminded that there were 10 virgins, 5 who had oil and 5 who had to buy oil. And the 5 who went to buy oil found the door was shut, they were too late to meet the bridegroom. Let us get oil.

 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)

[1] Major Contributors and Editors. (2016). East. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Kselman, J. S. (2011). east. In M. A. Powell (Ed.), The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated) (Third Edition, p. 210). New York: HarperCollins.