The tour of the Temple by Ezekiel began at the east gate. At the end of the prophet’s tour, nearing the end of the
general description of the Temple, Ezekiel was back at the east gate,where he first saw the man with a reed in his
hand standing at the entrance.

Ezekiel 44:1 Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.”

The East Gate Shut

 Why was the east gate shut?

Ezekiel 44:2–3 “Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.”

 The gate was shut because of the prince. The prince is introduced in an abrupt manner, without comment or explanation. There is no previous description by which he could be identified. It was as though Ezekiel took for granted that his hearers knew all about this prince and who he was.

The Hebrew word is ‘nasi’. It means “an exalted one” (a king or sheikh) or captain, chief, cloud, governor or ruler! It can also means a “rising mist”. The word is not necessarily connected with royalty.

The Prince is Christ

 Fifteen times from Ezekiel chapter 44 to chapter 48, the word “prince” occurs. The prince denotes the very function of Christ in his capacity as an omnipotent ruler with power as one lifted up or exalted. Christ is styled “Messiah the Prince” (Dan 9:25), “the Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6), “the prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:5), “the Prince of life” (Acts 3:15) and “a Prince and a Saviour” (Acts 5:31).

The Prince is to Inherit the Land

 Ezekiel 48:22 Moreover from the possession of the Levites, and from the possession of the city, being in the midst of that which is the prince’s, between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.”

Ezekiel 45:1 “Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, ye shall offer an oblation unto the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about.”

Ezekiel 45:7 “And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side and on the other side of the oblation of the holy portion, and of the possession of the city, before the oblation of the holy portion, and before the possession of the city, from the west side westward, and from the east side eastward: and the length shall be over against one of the portions, from the west border unto the east border.”

 Christ inherits his portion of the land. It is part of the holy oblation and the central position of the division of the land. Thus we are reminded of the promises to Abraham. “And Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Yahweh, who appeared unto him” (Gen 12:7).

The seed, Christ (Gal 3:16), will inherit the land.

The Prince Has Sons

 Ezekiel 46:16–17 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons’; it shall be their possession by inheritance. But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons’ for them.”

prince

Ezekiel records that the prince has sons. These are spiritual sons, spiritual children, the saints, the multitudinous seed of Abraham’s promise. Isaiah the prophet wrote extensively of Christ. “Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand” (Isa 53:10).

 Christ had no natural offspring at his first advent, but his seed will be evident in the day of the Kingdom. We think of the incident with Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch when the eunuch asked Philip to come up into the chariot. The eunuch had been reading from Isaiah 53. “The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgement was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32–33).

The eunuch desperately wanted to know of whom the prophet was speaking. He felt a kindred spirit with the person in the passage, for he too was unable to declare his generation.

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).

That very truth cheered the heart of the eunuch.

Ezekiel records that the prince will give gifts unto his sons (46:16) and to the servants (46:17). The sons will be the immortal saints. The servants will be the mortals in the land. However there is a distinction in the gifts to be given. There will be permanence and superiority of the immortal sons in his land over the mortal servants. The latter will have their life spans increased (Isa 65:20) but they will still be mortal.

A principle will be seen in the Kingdom Age. Immortality must still be held out as the hope of mankind.

The Prince And His Movement

 Ezekiel 46:8 “And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of that gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof.”

This verse speaks of the movement of the prince. The prince shall go “forth” (ie go out) from the porch the same way as he entered, whereas the people (mortals) leave the Temple by the gate at the opposite end to which they entered.

Ezekiel 46:9 “But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.”

Ezekiel 46:1–2 ”Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.”

With Ezekiel 44:1–3 and 46:1–2, we have two sets of eastern gates. The outer east gate (the outside gate of the eastern outer court) was shut. Once the glory of Yahweh, manifested in Christ and the saints, enters the Temple, the eastern gate will be permanently closed. This will demonstrate to Israel that the Shekinah “glory”, which departed from the city (Ezekiel 11:23) would never again leave. This also implies that Christ, who is the embodiment of the “glory”, will not leave the Temple.

However Christ will use the precincts of the outer court on the eastern side, and through the inner gates.

The inner east gate will be opened and closed at regular intervals when certain ceremonies will be performed. It will be used by Christ when he appears before worshippers. The opening of the gate will have great significance.

This we will consider, God Willing, in our next article.