Jesus is coming back. Did you know that? He has promised that one day He will return to the earth as a reigning and conquering King. Some today believe this is merely a superstition. I don’t. I think this is a real event approaching on the horizon. You know who else believed that Jesus would return one day? Muslims in the 1500’s.
Proof of my claim that Muslims of the sixteenth century believed Jesus would return is based on rock solid evidence — the 15 foot thick stones that cover the Golden Gate (or Beautiful Gate as it was termed in the New Testament times). When the Turks took the city of Jerusalem around 1519 under the direction of the leader Suleiman, they wanted to make it hard for the Messiah to enter the city of Jerusalem. They were aware of Zechariah’s prophecy which says, “On that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. (Zechariah 14:4)” The Muslims believed that when Messiah comes, He will approach Jerusalem from the East, and enter the city via the Beautiful Gate. Knowing this, Suleiman enacted two security measures to protect the Turks from the promised Jewish/Christian Messiah:
- He closed off the Beautiful Gate with stones to prevent Jesus from entering the City as He promised.
- He created a graveyard right next to the closed off Beautiful Gate, believing that Jesus (as a priest) would not defile Himself by walking through a graveyard.
Seeing this “defense system” was comical to me. When Messiah comes, He will SPLIT THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IN TWO . . . I don’t think a few stones (regardless of size) will slow Him down. Also, Jesus RAISED THE DEAD. His relationship with cemeteries is absolutely unique in all creation. At His return people are either raised to eternal life or raised to eternal judgment. A few tombstones prove no match for someone with His authority and power!
Standing on the Mount of Olives and looking back at the Beautiful gate, however, also reminded me that when Jesus first came to the earth and presented Himself to the people on Palm Sunday, He indeed approached the city from the East. He rode down the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, and up to the city of Jerusalem, passing through the Beautiful Gate. He came in the first century as the suffering servant to bleed and die for us on the cross. The next time Jesus approaches Jerusalem from the East, He will come as a Conquering King, riding a Stallion (not a donkey), and ushering in the new reality His death on the cross opened up years earlier.
Humans (you and I included) sometimes think that we can “outsmart” God. We think we can deceive Him and He will never know. We think we can somehow avoid judgment by putting a few stones of our best efforts in His way. All these attempts are as futile as the Muslims efforts to prevent His triumphal second entry. Jesus, with His power and authority, is without parallel. The only appropriate response to Jesus Christ is to worship Him as Lord and Savior. Let us stop building worthless walls to keep Him out and instead welcome Him into our lives. As Psalm 24:7-10 says:
“Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory!”