Gate of Righteousness

“Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.”
Psalm 118:19-21

The past few days I have been reading through Ezekiel and the visions he was given from the Lord of His new temple. I can't say most of it was really engaging reading for me since I tend to be more of a visual learner and all the words about dimensions just tend to fog up my thinking. But today as I started to read about the gates into the outer temple court and the inner temple court I couldn't help thinking about what it would be like to walk up those stairs and enter the temple for myself.

Then he went to the gateway which faced east; and he went up its stairs and measured the threshold of the gateway...On the outer court was also a gateway facing north...After that he brought me toward the south, and there a gateway was facing south...Then he brought me to the inner court through the southern gateway...And he brought me into the inner court facing east; he measured the gateway according to these same measurements...Then he brought me to the north gateway and measured it according to these same measurements...” Ezekiel 40: 6, 20, 24, 28,32, 35

Above, I have put the best schematic I could find of what the temple was that Ezekiel saw and what the gates looked like that you had to enter to gain access to the temple. In the Psalm above that, the psalmist talks about the “gates of righteousness” and how the Lord must open them because He controls access to them. It is within those gates then that the psalmist says he praises the Lord because the Lord has become his salvation. Truly, it isn't until the gates have been entered, and one is standing in the temple of the Lord, that ones soul can be in a place where true worship and praise is possible. A place that is apart from the chaos of the world and where a person can be enraptured by the fullness of God and nothing else.

Jesus said that the gates that lead to the Lord are narrow, just as they are in comparison to the gates which Ezekiel saw in the Lord's temple. The steps are steep and the gates are narrow, in the temple and in Jesus.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

It is one thing to look on the temple from the outside and be impressed with its beauty and majesty. But it is a whole different thing to enter the gates and experience the temple from the inside – to be admitted in to be part of the Lord's people and engage in worship and praise in the presence of the Lord. That type of worship is only possible through the blood of Christ shed for our sinful nature.  We have no ability on our own to gain access through any gateway to the Lord. It is only through Jesus, the true gate, the righteous door to salvation, that we can enter into the sanctuary of the Lord and serve Him with a pure heart that sees nothing but His glory and worthiness to be praised.

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:11-15

Jesus is the only way to God, no matter what the world may say is right or wrong about that statement. Within the bible we are given the truth of who gives us access to the one and only living God, and that is Jesus – the perfect lamb – the One who confirmed an everlasting covenant – our only possible mediator to the Father – the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

[Jesus] is...Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises...merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:6,12
As Americans prepare for thanksgiving, which is to be celebrated here in just two days, we as Christians need to all the more prepare our hearts, souls, and minds to be always giving thanks to the Lord because of the access He has granted us to Himself through Jesus.


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