Ezekiel 44:1, 2
Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looks toward the east; and it was shut.…
What is the true significance of this closure? Much has been made of it by fanciful exposition; but surely the true lesson is that which lies upon the surface, viz. that the closed gate would be a continual reminder that the people must reverently abstain from using the entrance through which the Most High himself had once passed. It was another symbolic utterance of the truth that we must "put off our shoes" when we stand on "holy ground." The fact that there was a closed gate in this visionary, this ideal temple, may not unfittingly suggest to us (though it cannot be said to teach us) -
I. THE WAY THAT IS BARRED. If we try to enter the kingdom of God by the way or the gate of:
1. A false independence; if we attempt to reach the saving and redeeming truth of God by our unaided intelligence, unwilling to learn of him who came to teach us, to be to us "the Wisdom of God," - then we shall find no entrance there (see Matthew 18:3; 1 Corinthians 3:18). The same may be said of:
2. Unholy indulgence; and of:
3. The favorable opportunity in the future. Whoever seeks to enter the kingdom of Christ by these doers will find no open gate, but a barred way; he must enter by the way of childlike faith, of purity, of immediate decision. The closed gate may also suggest to us, by contrast -
II. THE OPENNESS OF THE KINGDOM. There is a very valuable and most precious sense in which no gate is shut that was ever open into the kingdom of God. No man, let him be who or what he may, let him have been anything whatever in the past, coming to the gate of the kingdom of Christ in sincere penitence and simple faith, will find it closed against him. By whatever path he may have approached, by whatever influences constrained, if he be earnestly desirous of seeking God and serving him, he will find himself before an open door. Christ himself/s the Door, and he is ever saying, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." But the true lesson of the passage is -
III. THE CONSTANT DUTY OF REVERENCE IN THE WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF GOD. The shut gate said (in effect), "Where God has come, you may not enter; there must be another way for the feeble and sinful creature than that taken by the almighty and holy Creator; realize the immeasurable difference between yourself and him." It is well that there should be raised, now and again, the reminder that the Lord whom we serve is the Most High and the Most Holy One; that it becomes us to worship him and to speak for him in the spirit of deepest reverence; that if a "holy boldness" may be cultivated, an unholy irreverence is to be most sedulously shunned; that our dearest Friend is our Divine Lord, worthy of the profoundest homage our hearts can pay him, claiming the fullest subjection we can bring to his feet, as we worship in his house or work in his vineyard. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.