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THE CITY-LIKE TEMPLE.
While this prophet, whose name was Ezekiel, slept by the river of Chebar, * he was carried in a vision to the land of Israel, and there appeared to him the frame or form of a city, situated on a mountain, or raised ground, to the south of where he stood; and there met him a man of a bright or shining appearance, having in his hand a line of flax, and a measuring reed of six cubits long.–(Ezek. chap. xl.) This man was prepared to show and explain to the prophet the different parts of this building, and to describe to him the pattern after which it should be constructed, in order that he might declare all that he saw unto the house of Israel. After describing the form, the dimensions, and the uses of each particular part, as well as the ceremonies to take place there, he informed the prophet that the circuit of this four-sided building was two thousand reeds, or five hundred on every side. Now allowing the cubit to be eighteen inches of our measure, which multiplied by nine, the number of cubits in a reed, and then by two thousand, we have the circumference of the city in inches, which, reduced to feet, gives us the square that is laid down in this plan, corresponding exactly with the lines of the four-sided city of Jeremiah and Zechariah marked yellow on the map. Nay more, take up any tolerably well-constructed map, that gives any thing like an outline of the former city and the surrounding elevations, and measure according to its scale a square of two thousand cubits, taking the tower of Hananeel as the north-east point, and it will enclose the space mentioned by the two last prophets, so that, as Mr. Fry says, “ Jeremiah's city of Jehovah,' and Ezekiel's city-like temple are found to occupy the same space.”
It is but fair to state that objections have been urged against this literal interpretation of these prophecies. It is said that they are but emblematical and refer to spiritual matters ; but if so, of what manner of use would be the reference to the topography of ancient Jerusalem ; what spiritual import or meaning could there be in the towers, the gates, the hills and valleys, brooks and wine-presses, described by the prophets ? What mystical or
* Chebar, a river of Mesopotamia, which falls into the Euphrates, near Karkemish. Strabo mentions it under the name of Abonas; Animianus, as Aboras ; Ptolemy, as Chaloras.
ITS SYMBOLICAL INTERPRETATION.
symbolical meaning can possibly be attached to the courts, the gates, the pavements, the porches, the chambers, the houses, altars, arches, palm trees, and decorations spoken of, and minutely detailed in the vision of the Babylonish captive? To get rid of this argument, another class of commentators have supposed that the prophet referred to the temple of Solomon, built on Mount Moriah, and restored by Zerubbabel, after the return from the captivity; or that rebuilt and beautified by Herod. But a comparison of the measures of both will prove their dissimilarity ; besides, Mount Moriah itself, on which Solomon's, Zerubbabel's, and Herod's temples stood, is not one-eighth of the space to be occupied by this "city-like temple,” which is to be twenty-eight stadia in circumference, or nearly a mile every
An object of very great moment leads us to make a further examination of the eastern wall. About midway between St. Stephen's Gate and the south-west corner, are the remains of a most remarkable gate, built up in the wall, and originally opening into the court of the Hareem Shereef, or the outer enclosure of Solomon's temple. This is called by the Mooslims Bab el-Derahei, and is supposed to be the Golden Gate mentioned in the time of our Saviour. The upper part of this gateway consists of a double arch, with part of the capitals and pillars, but all the rest is built up in the wall, and guarded with the greatest care by the Mooslims, not only because it is in the outer wall of the mosque, but because they have a tradition that through this
* Among this class of interpreters is Sir Isaac Newton, who has gone so far as to give a description of Solomon's temple from the very lines and boundaries shown to the prophet when conducted to a city raised up and set upon a very high mountain. This view of the subject appears to us extraordinary, when we consider the great knowledge of prophecy possessed by this eminent and highly gifted philosopher, as seen in his luminous interpretations of the prophecy of Daniel. The plates of this temple figured in his work, will, however, afford most valuable and useful information to all who study this remarkable prophecy. In further proof of the fallacy of the opinion as to its mystical meaning and its applicability to Solomon's and Zerubbabel's temple, I would refer my readers to the preliminary remarks on the fortieth to forty-eighth chapters of Ezekiel by Archbishop, afterwards Primate Newcombe.
THE EASTERN GOLDEN GATE.
very gate the Christians and the Jews are one day to enter in, and retake Jerusalem. The Turks, therefore, regard with a certain degree of jealousy and aversion all Christians whom they see approaching near it; and they would in all probability inflict a severe punishment on the Jew whose temerity might lead him to inspect it too closely. I never approached it but some Mooslim soon appeared, looking upon me with suspicion ; especially as I generally went with a measuring line and a notebook in my hand. It can be plainly distinguished from Mount Olivet; though much mutilated, enough yet remains to show that but little of the Greek or Roman architecture was used in its construction, the capitals of the pillars being surrounded with leaves, rather in the style of the Egyptian, and the architrave being adorned with some of the floral ornaments peculiar to Hebrew architecture, and so well defined in sacred history, in which the pomegranate, the vine, and the lily-work were blended so as to produce the most beautiful effect.
These ornaments are well exhibited in the tombs of the kings, which are of undoubted Hebrew origin, and in other specimens of similar architecture about Jerusalem ; but they are very much defaced on this gate.
The principal cemetery of the Mohammadans is placed beneath
PROPHECIES REGARDING THIS GATE.
this gate, on a strip of level ground that intervenes between it and the steep declivity of the valley of Jehoshaphat; and in it are generally to be seen some Mooslim women mourning over the graves of their relatives. The large stones I before described, are seen well in the vicinity of this gate; while the doorway is built up of small ones similar to those used in constructing the modern Turkish wall. Bonomi states, that “proceeding to the interior of the Golden Gate,” he discovered that “ a central row of noble Corinthian columns, and a groined roof had once formed a stately portico of Roman workmanship;" this may, however, be a part of the decorations added by Herod Agrippa. (See Hogg's visit.)
Sandys relates a curious old legend respecting this gate. He says “that the emperor Heraclius returning from his Persian victory, attempted to have entered thereat in all his glory, but was miraculously prohibited until he had put off all his princely ornaments, in a simple habit, bearing a part of the cross on his shoulders.” Not only was this the gate of Benjamin in the ancient city, but it corresponds precisely to the gate of that name mentioned in the City-like Temple seen by Ezekiel, and also to that spoken of in the Revelations.
We see that this gate faces the Mount of Olives, looking towards the east, and is in that portion of the wall that was left standing. Here I would again refer my readers to the remarkable vision of Ezekiel, (xl. 6,) in which an eastern gate of Jerusalem is spoken of, and described with an accuracy and precision that is not used with respect to any other part. In this vision the prophet seems to have had a prospective glance of many centuries to come.
He is first conducted into the city by a gate “which looketh towards the east,” and which was the gate of the outer court or sanctuary of the temple. All its parts are here described with the greatest minuteness, as it was intended to be the type or model for all the rest. The two following chapters contain a description of the measurements and ornaments of the temple, and the prophet says in chap. xliii. v. 15, “Now when he had made an end of measuring the inner house, he brought me forth towards the gate, whose prospect is towards the east, and measured it round about.” “ Afterwards he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east : and behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the
CLOSURE OF THE EASTERN GATE.
east, and his voice was like a noise of many waters, and the earth shined with his glory.”—(chap. xliii. v. 1, 2.) This, the prophet says, was in accordance with the vision that he saw by the river of Chebar when he came to destroy the city, and the same is repeated in the fourth verse. May not this have been fulfilled when the Lord came from Bethpage, which is eastward of the city, and made that triumphal entry when the people cast their garments in the way, and acknowledged him as a prince, crying, “ Hosanna to the son of David ?”
In the commencement of the succeeding chapter the prophet states, that he was again brought back by “the way of the gate of the outer sanctuary, which looketh towards the east, and it was shut. 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.” This evidently refers to its present state, for in the third verse he says, “ 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.” Thus alluding to the Messiah's second advent, when “his feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east."-(Zech. xiv. 4.) In the remaining portion of Ezekiel's prophecy this gate is so often referred to as to render it a prominent object, and one well worthy the attention of the enlightened biblical scholar. Tradition states it to be the golden gate of the temple, and from this gate it is that the inspired writer says, that the waters are to issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea, where having arrived they shall be healed.—(Ezek. xlvii. 8.) The sea referred to is evidently the Dead Sea, to which the valley of Jehoshaphat leads from beneath this gate.
Regarding the restoration of the Jews, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the wonderful events that are yet to take place in a spot round which the movements of the different kingdoms of the earth seem to revolve as around a common centre, some faint glimmering of light appears to have long existed among the Mohammadans, as we learn from their many traditions; and particularly from that interesting manuscript lately published by the Oriental Translation Society, entitled “The History of the Temple of Jerusalem, by the Iman Jalal-Addin Al Siuti, written in