The prophet Ezekiel, the closed Eastern Gate, Jesus, and the Blessed Virgin Mary

Many ancient theologians such as Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine (and most of the Eastern Fathers) interpreted Ezekiel’s prophecy about the Temple’s closed eastern gate as a prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ. According to Ezekiel, only the Messianic lord/king/priest could enter through this eastern gate of the Temple.

“Then He brought me back
to the outer gate of the Sanctuary,
which faces East;
and it was shut.
And He said to me,
“This gate shall remain shut;
it shall not be opened,
and no man shall enter by it;
for the Lord, the God of Israel,
has entered by it;
therefore it shall remain shut.
Only the Prince may sit in it
to eat bread before the Lord;
He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate,
and shall go out the same way” (Ezek 44:1-3).

As the Catholic Church teaches, the Blessed Virgin Mary is perpetually a virgin – she did not have relations with Joseph after Christ’s birth in accordance with the prophecy of Ezekiel: “and no man shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.”

God entered creation through her womb and it was hallowed in this profound mystery. The “Prince” who is Jesus “sits in it to eat bread before the Lord.” Christ was nourished in the darkness of her womb. He gained the flesh and blood that He would offer on the cross to His Father. The “bread” reference refers to Bethlehem (which means “house of bread”). It also points forward to the supersubstantial bread of the Holy Eucharist which is His flesh and blood.

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