|Absalom's Pillar similar to the condition it was in when I first visited it.|
I went down into the Kidron Valley also known as the King's dale, and as the Valley of Jehoshaphat and the Valley of Shaveh where King David's son had erected a monument to himself.
The Kidron Valley runs north-south between the Mount of Olives and the eastern wall of the Temple Mount and the City of David. This valley actually continues all the way to the Dead Sea.
The total length of the valley is 20 miles, and it falls 4,000 feet.
The Gihon Springs naturally filled this valley, but the settlers of Jerusalem diverted the water into pools and channels to be used by the city.
Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance”; he called the pillar by his own name.
It is called Absalom’s Pillar to this day.
2 samuel 18:18
Third born Absalom, the oldest living son of David and natural heir to the throne.
“Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised;
from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him.
When he cut the hair of his head he weighed the hair of his head
at 200 shekels by the king’s weight.” (2 Samuel 14:25-26)
In the Kidron Valley in full view of the City of David and the Temple, stands the monument below which is viewed by some as being the very monument Absalom built.
Josephus says, "Now Absalom had erected for himself a marble pillar in the king’s dale, two furlongs distant (440 yards) from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom’s Hand.
It was very ancient and very neglected when I was there, the dark patina of age was all over it at the time I was examining it.
It was not much to look at when I first saw it.
Today it is cleaned up and looks much better!
It is now a tourist attraction.
|Absalom's Pillar (Yad Avshalom) Cleaned up.|
I went inside of the dank neglected monument and read the scripture about it in my Bible while standing there inside, on location.
What a great experience to read scripture right were it happened!
I was the only one there, all by myself, reflecting on my incredible good fortune to be having a geographical experience with the scriptures that few will ever have in their life times.
The inside of the pillar was musty and very old.
Melchizedek, the king of Salem, came to Abram to congratulate him on his victory in war.
They met him in "the valley of Shaveh, which is (what was after wards called) the King's dale."
|Artist drawing from 1880 of Absalom's Pillar|
My dear friend, do you know how exciting it is to be able to read something in the Bible while on location where it took place.
I was beside myself.
Melchizedek brings bread and wine from Salem "to supply the exhausted warriors with food and drink, but more especially as a mark of gratitude to Abram, who had conquered for them peace, freedom, and prosperity."
This priestly reception Abram reciprocated by giving him the tenth of all, i.e., of the whole of the booty taken from the enemy.
Giving the tenth was a practical acknowledgment of the divine priesthood of Melchizedek.
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.
The word of the Lord came (Heb., was) unto Abram.
The expression denotes "the Lord manifesting himself by speech to his servant,"Abram.
The apostle Paul also received "revelation."
Paul says in Galatians 1:12, For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it...
God makes known his mind and will to man by revelation.
Although he had been highly trained in rabbinic schools and was “a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of [Jewish] religion” (Acts 26:5; cf. 23:6), he had discarded every un-scriptural notion he had learned in that man-made religious system.
No Jew had more reason than Paul to boast in his accomplishments in Judaism; but everything he had accomplished in the flesh before receiving Christ he counted “as rubbish” (Phil. 3:4–8), and even the elements of the story of Christ that he knew prior to his conversion were shallow and empty because of his unbelief.
What he now believed and preached he neither received … from man, nor was … taught by man.
There was no human source for Paul’s message.
The gospel was not invented by men nor transmitted to him by any human being.
Paul got from God through revelation.
The gospel Paul preached and taught was neither a human invention nor a human tradition, but was given to him directly by God through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Abram was obviously very worried about retaliation after the battle he had just fought and won.
So God assures him to "Fear not."
By the war with the Elamite king he had also made for himself powerful enemies; and though the immediate result was fortunate, yet many Canaanite nations may have witnessed with displeasure so the incredible exhibition of the power and energy of an “immigrant.”
Abram may certainly have feared attack from their overwhelmingly superior forces if they regrouped and aligned against him.
And thus the time had come when the patriarch needed and obtained assurances from God, first, of the bestowal upon him of offspring (Genesis 15:1-6), and, secondly, of the future possession of Palestine (Genesis 15:18-21).
The revelation of God is the true antidote to fear.
‘Fear not’ is the characteristic word of divine revelation.
It is of frequent occurrence from Abraham till John in Patmos.
‘Fear not-I am thy shield’ whatever force comes against thee, ‘and thine exceeding great reward,’-perhaps in reference to Abram's refusal to take anything from the spoil.
But God says this to us all.
In these antique words the very loftiest and purest principles of spiritual religion are set forth.
He that loves and trusts God possesses God.
He that possesses God has enough for earth.
He that possesses God has enough for heaven.
It is possible for a man to have God for his.
‘I am thy Reward,’-not merely Rewarder, but Reward.
How can one spiritual Being belong to another?-plainly, By mutual love.
The Gospel assures us of God’s love, and makes it possible for our love to be fixed on Him.
Faith gives us God for ours.
The highest view of the blessings of the Gospel is that God Himself becomes our reward.
How sad the insanity of men appears, in the ordinary aims of their life, its rewards and its objects of desire!
How they chase after vanity!
The possession of God is enough for us on earth.
God the all-sufficient object for our spirits, His love, the communication of Himself, the sense of His presence, the depths of His infinite character, of His wondrous ways, of His revealed Truth.
Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7
Abram may have done exactly that and his loving God responded with revelation to encourage him and comfort him as we read in Genesis 15:1.
And I was allowed to stand in the very valley where Abram and Melchizedek stood and read my Bible.
The day is soon coming when Jesus Christ will return to the Mount of Olives and walk down the valley and up to the east gate to the temple mount.
In the near future, the world will witness the most awesome event in all of human history.
Jesus Christ will physically return to earth in order to exact vengeance on the enemies of God.
Known as the "Commander of Heaven's Armies," Christ will appear in sky like lightning, and every eye will see Him.
His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives, on the very place from which He ascended, and thus fulfill a prophecy made over 2,000 years ago by two angels on the Mount of Olives:
"After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!'" Acts 1:9-11When Christ returns, He will enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate of the Old City walls.
In so doing, He will fulfill not only the prophecy of these two angels, but innumerable prophecies recorded by God's prophets for the benefit of mankind.
The Eastern GateApproximately 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of the Glory of the Lord:
"After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with His glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway." Ezekiel 43:1-4Ezekiel's vision was no ordinary vision, for He witnessed nothing less than the Glorious Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel describes in his vision what Jesus told His disciples when warning them to guard against false prophets who claim the Messiah has arrived - that he is in this place or that place.
Jesus tells us not to believe such people, for when He returns, all eyes will see Him simultaneously:
"For as lightning lights up the entire sky, so it will be when the Son of Man comes." Matthew 24:27In addition, Ezekiel's vision offers further details of the Lord's Glorious Appearing:
1) He will appear from the east.
2) The sound of His coming will be like the roar of rushing waters.
3) He will enter the Temple through the eastern gateway.
The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ will once again walk through the Eastern Gate is confirmed in Ezekiel 44:
"Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. And the Lord said to me, "This gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut. Only the prince himself may sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord's presence. But he may come and go only through the entry room of the gateway." Ezekiel 44:1-3Not only does this passage reiterate certain details of the Lord's Glorious Appearing, but it offers substantial evidence to the unbeliever that the Bible is the Word of God.
Because Ezekiel 44 demonstrates the astounding accuracy of bible prophecy, providing evidence that can verified firsthand by anyone who doubts.
I stood there at the closed east gate in 1977 and threw a rock at it and the rock bounced off the blocks closing the gate.
The day is coming soon when I will be able to throw a rock through the gate!
For hundreds of years, the Eastern Gate offered convenient, unfettered access to the Temple courtyard.
Yet, for almost five hundred years now, it's been closed.
In this generation, the Messiah will open it.
The History of the Eastern GateThe Eastern Gate is one of eight gates built into the walls which surround the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The Eastern Gate provides the only entrance from the East, and it faces the Mount of Olives.
The Eastern Gate was destroyed during the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, and the subsequent destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, thus fulfilling Christ's prophecy that "not one stone will be left on top of another" Matthew 24:2 .
Prior to this, the Eastern Gate had never been sealed.
Sometime in the sixth or seventh century, the Byzantines rebuilt the Eastern Gate.
The exact year they did so remains a matter of debate.
However, for our purposes, what happened after it was rebuilt is of much greater importance.
In the year 1541, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed the Eastern Gate.
Historians disagree as to why he did this, but legend abound that, learning of the prophecies which predicted the Messiah's entrance through the Eastern Gate, Suleiman tried his best to make sure it wouldn't happen during his reign.
And just in case a sealed entrance didn't thwart the Messiah's coming, Muslim built a cemetery directly in front of the gate - conventional wisdom being that a Jewish Holy man would never defile himself by walking through a Muslim cemetery.
It's been over 465 years since Suleiman sealed the Eastern Gate, and despite numerous well-documented attempts to open it, the gate has remained sealed just as the Lord proclaimed to Ezekiel over 2,600 years ago.
The Identity of the Prince
So is the sealing of the Eastern Gate merely a coincidence?
Or is it a bona fide partially fulfilled bible prophecy, poised for its ultimate fulfillment on the day the Messiah comes to open it?
To find the answer, we only need to examine the various components of Ezekiel's prophecy and compare them to the historical record.
In so doing, we will learn the identity of the Prince who will open the Eastern Gate and what His doing so will mean for the world.
The first question a person might ask is why is the gate closed?
In the aforementioned passage, the Lord tells Ezekiel the eastern gate must be closed because:
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.At the time the Book of Ezekiel was first written, this statement prophesied a future event.
However, this event transpired a few hundred years later, when Jesus of Nazareth triumphantly entered the Eastern Gate in preparation for the Passover festivities:
"The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, 'Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!? Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: 'Don't be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey's colt.' His disciples didn't understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him." John 12:12-16As this passage states, the triumphant entry of Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled an additional prophecy, one made over 500 years earlier by the prophet Zechariah:
"Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey - even on a donkey's colt." Zechariah 9:9This is only one of the numerous Old Testament Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but if any doubt exists as to the identity of the rider on the donkey, it should be swept away two verses later when we read of God's promise to the world:
"Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon." Zechariah 9:11Christ sealed this covenant with His blood on the cross not long after His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Because of His sacrifice, many have been freed from eternal damnation in hell (death in a waterless dungeon).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Lamb of God who wipes away the sin of the world. He is the Prince who will "sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord's presence"
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."
Because Jesus blessed the Eastern Gate with His coming, it has been sealed shut.
No man, no army, and no person but Jesus Christ Himself can open the Eastern Gate ever again.
This is God's promise.
The fact that the Eastern Gate remains closed to this day is God's testimony to doubters throughout the world.
Just as Thomas doubted the Lord until he could see Him with his own eyes and touch the scars on His body, most of the world demands physical evidence as a prerequisite for belief.
The Eastern Gate is their physical evidence.
It is the testimony of Jesus Christ, and soon, it will be the stage on which the Glory of God will be revealed for all the world to see.
The Glorious AppearingJust as the two angels testified following the ascension of Jesus, the Lord will one day return just as He left.
When He does, He will come as a conqueror, the Commander of Heaven's Armies.
His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives, and He will go out to fight against God's enemies:
"Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him." Zechariah 14:3-5Zechariah 14 further describes what this day will look like, the day when Christ will establish His Kingdom on earth, a kingdom which will never be destroyed:
"On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, yet there will be continuous day! Only the Lord knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light. On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously in both summer and winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord ? his name alone will be worshiped." Zechariah 14:6-9When speaking to His disciples, Jesus confirmed that He will one day fulfill the prophecies of Zechariah:
"Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Matthew 24:29-30He will also fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah:
"The heavens will be black above them; the stars will give no light. The sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will provide no light." Isaiah 13:10And the prophecies of Joel:
"The earth quakes as they advance, and the heavens tremble. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord is at the head of the column. He leads them with a shout. This is his mighty army, and they follow his orders. The day of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can possibly survive?" Joel 2:10-11As well as John:
"The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood." Revelation 6:12This is why Jesus came - and why He will come again. For as Jesus said Himself:
"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God's law will remain until its purpose is achieved." Matthew 5:17-18Even the smallest detail of God's law will remain until its purpose is achieved.
Some would view the sealed Eastern Gate as a small detail in the course of human events.
But God has a great purpose for it.
One day soon it will play host to the greatest event in human history, the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ. And the result will be further fulfillment of the law and the prophets:
"In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished. Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven's Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people." Isaiah 24:21-23And, finally, God will dwell among His people.
ConclusionThe sealed Eastern Gate is evidence of bible prophecy fulfilled. It provides visible evidence for everyone in this generation.
People constantly demand to see miracles, and they constantly demand visible proof of God's existence.
The sealed Eastern Gate provides them with all the proof they need.
Still, many will argue the sealed gate is mere coincidence.
Unfortunately, they will only realize the folly of their error when Jesus Christ returns in the Glory of God to open the gate Himself.
That will not be a happy day for the enemies of God, especially Satan.
Satan would love to prove God wrong by opening the Eastern Gate himself.
But he lacks the power and authority to do so.
Neither Lucifer, nor man, nor any power in the universe can open what God has closed.
But this generation will witness the purpose of God fulfilled when the Eastern Gate is opened in order to receive the King of kings.
He is the Lord of lords, the Prince of Peace, the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ...
"Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven's Armies - He is the King of glory" Psalm 24:7-10Amen, come Lord Jesus!
I had been told, while at the East Gate in 1977, that the grave yard had been placed there by Muslims because a prince would not walk through the grave yard.
Additionally, for Muslims each of the two doors of the double gate has its own name: Bab al-Rahma, "Gate of Mercy", for the southern one, and Bab al-Taubah, the "Gate of Repentance", for the northern one.
A strange placement of a grave yard at the entrance gate.
There may be validity to the story that I was told so long ago.
The Dome of the Rock is on top of the temple mount.
Today, it is at the very core of a bitter dispute between Palestinians and Israelis.
Only Muslims are allowed to visit the Islamic shrine.
But in 1977, when I was there, everyone was allowed to visit it.
The Dome of the Rock is the oldest Islamic building to survive.
The Dome of the Rock is located on a rocky outcrop known as Mount Moriah, where, according to scripture, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice.
There are inscriptions inside the building that say Islam is the final true revelation and culmination of the faiths of Judaism and Christianity.
The building is actually not a mosque but a ciborium, erected over a sacred site.
The rock that Abraham used as an alter to obey God when he was tested to sacrifice Isaac. Genesis 22.
|The Large Rock|
Our Islamic tour guide took us under the big white rock through a hole in it.
There is a small room space under the rock.
Muslim tradition also has it that an angel will appear here with a trumpet call to announce the Last Judgement at the end of the world.
The slabs of Marble and pillars were beautiful.
There are Turkish tiles that adorn the shrine's exterior which are faithful copies of the Persian tiles that Suleiman the Magnificent added in 1545 to replace the damaged originals.
The lower half of the exterior is white marble.
The Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 and the Dome of the Rock was given to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church with a cross on top of the dome.
Jerusalem was recaptured by Saladin on 2 October 1187, and the Dome of the Rock was reconsecrated as a Muslim shrine.
Just around the corner from the Dome is an Arab bus station.
Above this bus station is the place of the skull, "Golgotha."
|Golgotha way before the bus station that was built below.|
I stood inside of this tomb and I can honestly say I bore witness to it being the tomb we read about in the New Testament.
I being a young foolish man at the time wanted to get up on top of Golgotha.
The tomb garden is below the level of Golgotha and is walled.
The wall against Golgotha was around 12 feet high.
I noticed an old iron spike hanging out of the wall around seven and a half feet up.
I jumped up from a bench and grabbed onto it and used it to get up to the top of the wall.
I was up there illegally on Islamic property, or at least that was what I was told.
I walked through a small grave yard on my way to the top of Golgotha over looking the bus station.
Someone had placed three circles made of stones up there.
They were placed as you would imagine, where the three crosses of Calvary would have been.
I naturally stepped into the center circle.
Something happened to me and all of the scriptures concerning this spot came flooding into my awareness.
I had a good view of Jerusalem.
It started to get too overpowering and I started shaking.
Until I couldn't take it any longer and jumped out of the circle.
I did not know that on February 2, 1977 I stood 20 feet above the ark of the covenant with the dried blood of Jesus which fell onto the mercy seat.
The blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, has to be poured upon the mercy seat for the redemption of man kind.
For centuries, people have tried in vain to locate and recover the ark of the covenant.
One man did find it 5 years after I stood above it.
It was back on Jan. 6, 1982 when Ron Wyatt realized what he had found during the excavation of the Ark of the Covenant.
Here is a man who has confirmed one of Ron Wyatt's discoveries.
Here are several videos of Ron speaking.