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    The Golden Gate

    January 27, 2012  by Administrator  •  Jerusalem

    The Golden Gate, as it is called in Christian literature, is the oldest of the current gates in Jerusalem’s Old City Walls. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) used to appear through this gate, and will appear again when the Messiah comes (Ezekiel 44:1–3) and a new gate replaces the present one; that is why Jews used to pray for mercy at the former gate at this location. Hence the name Sha’ar Harachamim , the Gate of Mercy. In Christian apocryphal texts, the gate was the scene of a meeting between the parents of Mary, so that Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate became a standard subject in cycles depicting the Life of the Virgin. It is also said that Jesus passed through this gate on Palm Sunday. In Arabic, it is known as the Gate of Eternal Life. In ancient times, the gate was known as the Beautiful Gate.

    Remains of a much older gate dating to the times of the Second Jewish Temple were found. The present one was probably built in the 520s AD, as part of Justinian I’s building program in Jerusalem, on top of the ruins of the earlier gate in the wall. An alternate theory holds that it was built in the later part of the 7th century by Byzantine artisans employed by the Umayyad khalifs.

    The gate is located in the middle of the eastern side of the Temple Mount. The portal in this position was believed to have been used for ritual purposes in biblical times.

    In Jewish tradition, this is the gate through which the Messiah will enter Jerusalem. Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed off the Golden Gate in 1541 to prevent the Messiah’s entrance. The Muslims also built a cemetery in front of the gate, in the belief that the precursor to the Messiah, Elijah, would not be able to pass through the Golden Gate and thus the Messiah would not come. This belief was based upon two premises. First, according to Islamic teaching Elijah is a descendant of Aaron, making him a priest or kohen. Secondly, that Jewish priests are not permitted to enter a cemetery. This second premise is not wholly correct because a kohen is permitted to enter a cemetery in which primarily non-Jews are buried such as the one outside the Golden Gate.

    The Golden Gate is one of the few sealed gates in Jerusalem’s Old City Walls, along with the Huldah Gates, and a small Biblical and Crusader-era postern located several stories above ground on the southern side of the eastern wall.

    Source : Wikipedia