Echoes From the Campfire

Well, when the time comes that He wants to call me home, I’m willin’ to go.  I leave things to Him and don’t let worry mess with my sleep.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Way of the Coyote)

    “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.”
              –Hebrews 11:13-14(NKJV)
There are two places I like to do my morning devotions and reading.  The first is a rocker in the living room; it sits by a little stove and in front of a window that faces the east.  This is my “reading station #1”  The other place is on the back deck.  We have a little table and I enjoy sitting there while reading, my chair there faces east.  I cannot see the sun on the horizon as it rises, but soon it is high and the rays shine through the trees.  
    The other day I was sitting at station #1 and some thoughts meandered through my mind.

         “I will meet you in the morning,
          Just inside the Eastern Gate;
          Then be ready, faithful pilgrim,
          Lest with you it be too late.

              I will meet you, I will meet you
              Just inside the Eastern Gate over there;
              I will meet you, I will meet you,
              I will meet you in the morning over there.”
                        –Isaiah G. Martin

         “Signs of the time are everywhere
          There’s a brand new feeling in the air,
          Keep your eyes upon the eastern sky
          Lift us your head redemption draweth nigh.”
                        –Gordon Jensen

Then I thought of the verse in Matthew, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (24:27, NKJV)
    The eastern skies, the Eastern Gate are all related to the coming of the Lord.  We may use them metaphorically and symbolically, but they are more than that.  It was through the Eastern Gate that Jesus went from the Mount of Olives and entered Jerusalem.  “The Eastern Gate was sealed shut in AD 1540-41 by order of Suleiman the Magnificent, a sultan of the Ottoman Empire.  It’s believed that the reason for the closing of the Eastern Gate was to prevent the Jewish Messiah from gaining entrance to Jerusalem.  Jewish tradition states that the Messiah will pass through the Eastern Gate when He comes to rule.  The Muslim Suleiman was attempting to thwart the Messiah’s plans with sixteen feet of cement.”  (GotQuestions)
    There is much bickering and argument among scholars as to the gate, which one was the original, and other things that keep things astir.  However, there is much written, especially in Ezekiel about the Eastern Gate and Zechariah also mentions it.  In all of this the key thought is that we are to be looking for the coming of the Lord.  It seems that so many Christians are becoming bound to the land.  They are not homesick for heaven, their eternal home.  Perhaps it is because they have not seen it, but more likely they don’t want to leave “Sodom.”  They are satisfied here, becoming complacent and comfortable.  Roots have been put down instead of a tent that is moveable.  No longer do they consider themselves pilgrims but residents of earth.
    As for me, every morning when I sit and look at the eastern skies and see the sun shine through I will look for the coming of the Lord.  Listen, Christians, it is time to unshackle yourself from this old earth and begin to look up, stay alert, and be ready.

         “Keep your lamps all trimmed and burning;
          For the Bridegroom watch and wait;
          He’ll be with us at the meeting
          Just inside the Eastern Gate.”
                      –Isaiah G. Martin