Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east
Or, "whose face is the way to the east" F18; to the east of the house or temple; not to the eastern gate of the wall about the house; but to the eastern gate of the outward court; see ( Ezekiel 40:20 ) , for the man came from the wall he had measured unto this gate; which, with the other gates after mentioned, spiritually design Christ himself, who is the way, door, and gate, ( John 14:6 ) ( John 10:7 John 10:9 ) ( Matthew 7:13 Matthew 7:14 ) and this eastern gate more especially, where the prince sat, ( Ezekiel 44:3 ) , and which led into the outward court; and over against which was another that led into the inner court, and so straight on to the holy of holies, at the west end of the house. Christ and faith in him, and a profession of him, are the way into the outward visible church, and to the external ordinances of it, baptism and the Lord's supper; he is also the way or gate that leads into the inner court, or into spiritual communion and fellowship with God; he is the way of access to the Father, and through whom saints have communion with him; for there is no coming to him, nor enjoyment of him, but through a mediator; and Christ is he, and he only, by whom we can draw nigh to God, have audience of him, and acceptance with him: he is the gate also that leads to eternal life; the way to heaven and happiness lies through his person, blood, and righteousness; he is the only way, the new and the living way; the plain way, and open gate, yet strait and narrow: and went up the stairs thereof;
or the steps unto it, which were seven; see ( Ezekiel 40:22 Ezekiel 40:26 ) and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions express it here, and read, "seven steps"; according to Jarchi, there were twelve steps, which he takes from the Misnah F19; that there was a "chel" of ten cubits, and there were there twelve steps. It is certain that to the north and south gates there were but seven steps; though Lipman F20 observes, that it is possible there might be a greater declivity on the east side, which required so many steps. Some of the Jewish writers think this is to be understood of the height of the court of Israel above this court; as if it was said, from this court they went up seven steps to the court of Israel; but the plain meaning, as Lipman F21 observes, is, that these steps were without the gate, and are the height of the court from the mountain of the house to it: these Cocceius very ingeniously illustrates by the seven trumpets in the Revelation; which indeed are so many steps or gradual advances towards the kingdom of Christ, and the glorious and spiritual state of his church in the latter day; which will be introduced by the blowing of the seventh trumpet, when the mystery of God will be finished, and the kingdoms of this world become Christ's, ( Revelation 10:7 ) ( Revelation 11:14 Revelation 11:15 ) perhaps the man leading the prophet up these steps or stairs to the gate may signify the gradual increase of spiritual light and knowledge of the saints, in the person, offices, and grace of Christ, the way, the truth, and the life; indeed the whole work of grace on the heart is gradual; it is carried on by degrees; it is but begun, not yet finished, particularly the work of faith; believers proceed from one step to another; first see Christ by faith, then go to him, then lay hold on him, and retain him; their faith increases, and they go from strength to strength; and sometimes it grows exceedingly; the advances in it are many and manifest: and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad;
of the same measure. The Hebrew word F23 signifies both a threshold and the upper lintel; and the one may intend the one; and the other the other, and both these: some think they point at the two Testaments; or, as others, the two natures in Christ, and the strength of them, who is the gate, the way to God, the Mediator between him and man, and the mighty Redeemer. Cocceius, because mention is made of a third threshold, ( Ezekiel 40:7 ) , fancies that these three thresholds design the three witnesses, Father, Word, and Spirit; which three are one, and found in one gate, which is Christ; so that he that believes in him believes in all three; and he that has the one has the other: but it is a mistake of this learned man that these three thresholds belong to one gate; for that after mentioned is the threshold of the inner, and not the outer gate. Jarchi and Kimchi understand not the thresholds of the gate, but the posts of it.
F18 (hmydqh Krd wynp rva) "facies ejus via ad orientem", Montanus; "eujus facies, ejus", Vatablus.
F19 Middot, c. 2. sect. 3.
F20 Tzurath Beth Hamikdash, sect. 9. fol. 2. 2.
F23 (Po) "sumitur pro inferiore limine, et pro superliminari, sive superiore limine", Capellus, Sanctius.