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The Glory of Herod's Temple!

Spectacular Indeed!

                                THE TEMPLE 

                         Its Ministry and Service


From the book by that name, by Alfred Edersheim




WITHIN THE HOLY PLACE



     'There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that
shall not be thrown down.' - MATT. xxiv. 2.

     Of the four principal entrances into the Temple - all of
them from the west - the most northerly descended, perhaps by
flights of steps, into the Lower City; while two others led into
the suburb, or 'Parbar,' as it is called. But by far the most
magnificent avenue was that at the south-western angle of the
Temple. Probably this was 'the ascent . . . into the house of the
Lord,' which so astounded the Queen of Sheba. 1
     It would, indeed, be difficult to exaggerate the splendour
of this approach.   A colossal bridge on arches spanned the
intervening Valley of the Tyropceon, connecting the ancient City
of David with what is called the 'Royal Porch of the Temple.'    
From its ruins we can reconstruct this bridge. Each arch spanned
44 feet, and the spring-stones measured 24 feet in length by 6 in
thickness.     It is almost impossible to realise these
proportions, except by a comparison with other

......

1 1 Kings x. 5. According to Mr.Lewin, however (Siege of
Jerusalem, p.270), this celebrated 'ascent' to the house of the
Lord went up by a double subterranean passage, 250 feet long and
62 feet wide, by a flight of steps from the new palace of
Solomon, afterwards occupied by the 'Royal Porch,' right into the
inner court of the Temple.

......


buildings. A single stone 24 feet long! Yet these were by no
means the largest in the masonry of the Temple. Both at the
south-eastern and the southwestern angles stones have been found
measuring from 20 to 40 feet in length, and weighing above l00
tons.
     The view from this 'Royal Bridge' must have been splendid.
It was over it that they led the Saviour, in sight of all
Jerusalem, to and from the palace of the high-priest, that of
Herod, the meeting-place of the Sanhedrim, and the judgment-seat
of Pilate. Here the city would have lain spread before us like a
map. Beyond it the eye would wander over straggling suburbs,
orchards, and many gardens - fairest among them the royal gardens
to the south, the 'garden of roses,' so celebrated by the Rabbis
- till the horizon was bounded by the hazy outline of mountains
in the distance. Over the parapet of the bridge we might have
looked into the Tyropoeon Valley below, a depth of not less than
225 feet. The roadway which spanned this cleft for a distance of
354 feet, from Mount Moriah to Mount Zion opposite, was 50 feet
broad, that is, about 5 feet wider than the central avenue of the
Royal Temple-Porch into which it led. These 'porches,' as they
are called in the New Testament, or cloisters, were among the
finest architectural features of the Temple. They ran all round
the inside of its wall, and bounded the outer enclosure of the
Court of the Gentiles. They consisted of double rows of
Corinthian pillars, all monoliths, wholly cut out of one block of
marble, each pillar being 37 and 1/2 feet high. A flat roof,
richly ornamented, rested against the wall, in which also the
outer row of pillars was inserted. Possibly there may have
been towers 1  where one colonnade joined the other. But the 
'Royal Porch,' by which we are supposed to have entered the
Temple, was the most splendid, consisting not as the others, of a
double, but of a treble colonnade, formed of 162 pillars, ranged
in four rows of 40 pillars each, the two odd pillars serving as a
kind of screen, where the 'Porch' opened upon the bridge. Indeed,
we may regard the Royal Porch as consisting of a central nave 45
feet wide, with gigantic pillars l00 feet high, and of two aisles
30 feet wide, with pillars 50 feet high. 2   
     By very competent authorities this Royal Porch, as its name
indicates, is regarded as occupying the site of the ancient
palace of Solomon, to which he 'brought up' the daughter of
Pharaoh. Here also had been the 'stables of Solomon.'  When Herod
the Great rebuilt the Temple, he incorporated with it this site
of the ancient royal palace.  What the splendour and height 3 of
this one porch in the Temple must have been is best expressed in
the words of Captain Wilson: 4  'It is almost impossible to
realise the effect which would be produced by a building longer
and higher than York Cathedral, standing on a solid mass of
masonry almost equal in height to the tallest of our church
spires.'  And this was only one of the porches which formed the
southern enclosure of the first and outermost court of the Temple
- that of the Gentiles.  The view from the top of this colonnade
into Kedron was to the stupendous depth of 450 feet. Here some
have placed that pinnacle of the Temple to which the tempter
brought our Saviour.

......

1 The suggestion is that of Dr.Barclay, in his "City of the Great
King. "
2 Mr.Fergusson, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible,
vol.iii.p.1462. 
3 Professor Porter has calculated it at 440 feet.
4 Recovery of Jerusalem, p.9

......


     These halls or porches around the Court of the Gentiles must
have been most convenient places for friendly or religious
intercourse - for meetings or discussions. 1 
     Here Jesus, when still a child, was found by His parents
disputing with the doctors; here He afterwards so often taught
the people; and here the first assemblies of the Christians must
have taken place when, 'continuing daily with one accord in the
Temple, . . . praising God, and having favour with all the
people, . . . the Lord added to the church daily such as should
be saved.' Especially do we revert to Solomon's Porch, that ran
along the eastern wall of the Temple, and faced its great
entrance. It was the only remnant left of the Temple built by the
wise King of Israel. In this porch 'Jesus walked' on that 'Feast
of the Dedication,' 2  when He 'told it plainly,' 'I and my
Father are one;' and it was thither 'that all the people ran
together' when 'the notable miracle' on the lame man had been
wrought at the 'Beautiful Gate of the Temple.'

     It was the rule when entering the Temple to pass in by the
right, and when leaving it to go out by the left hand. The great
Court of the Gentiles, 3 which formed the lowest or outer
enclosure of the Sanctuary, was paved with the finest Court of
the variegated marble. According to Jewish tradition, it formed a
square of 750 feet. Its name is derived from the fact that it was
open to all - Jews or Gentiles - provided they observed the
prescribed rules of decorum and reverence. In this court
tradition places eating and sleeping apartments for the Levites,

......

1 According to Succ. iv. x, benches or seats were placed there. 2
John x. 23.
3 We have adopted this name as in common use, though Relandus
(Antiq. p.78) rightly objects that the only term for it used in
Jewish writings is the 'mountain of the house.'

......


and a synagogue. But, despite pharisaic punctiliousness, the
noise, especially on the eve of the Passover, must have been most
disturbing. For there the oxen, sheep, and doves selected as fit
for sacrifices were sold as in a market; and here were those
tables of the money-changers which the Lord overthrew when He
drove from His Father's house them that bought and sold. 1
     Within a short distance, in the court, a marble screen 4 and
1/2 feet high, and beautifully ornamented, bore Greek and Latin
inscriptions, warning Gentiles not to proceed, on pain of death.
One of those very tablets, bearing almost the same words as those
given by Josephus, has been discovered in late excavations. It
was because they thought Paul had infringed this order, that the
infuriated multitude 'went about to kill him.' 2  
     Beyond this enclosure a flight of fourteen steps, each 9
inches high, led up to a terrace 15 feet broad, called the
'Chel,' which bounded the inner wall of the Temple. We are now
approaching the Sanctuary itself, which consisted, first, of
three courts, each higher than the former, and, beyond them, of
the Holy and Most Holy Places, with their outbuildings. Entering
by the principal gate on the east we pass, first into the Court
of the Women, thence into that of Israel, and from the latter
into that of the Priests. This would have been, so to speak, the
natural way of advancing. But there was a nearer road into the
Court of the Priests. For both north and south, along the
terrace, flights of steps led up to three gates (both north and
south), which opened into the Court of the Priests, while a
fourth gate (north and south) led into the middle of the Court of
the

...... 

1 Matt. xxi.12; John ii.14.   Compare also especially Jer. Chag.
78 a.
2 Acts xxi. 31.

......


Women. Thus there were nine gates opening from 'the Terrace' into
the Sanctuary - the principal one from the east, and four north
and south, of which one (north and south) also led into the Court
of the Women, and the other three (north and south) into that of
the Priests.
     These eight side gates, as we may call them, were all
two-leaved, wide, high, with superstructures and chambers
supported by two pillars, and covered with gold and silver
plating. But far more magnificent than any of them was the ninth
or eastern gate, which formed the principal entrance into the
Temple. The ascent to it was from the terrace by twelve easy
steps. The gate itself was made of dazzling Corinthian brass,
most richly  ornamented; and so massive were its double doors
that it needed the united strength of twenty men to open and
close them. This was the 'Beautiful Gate' and on its steps had
they been wont these many years to lay the lame man, just as
privileged beggars now lie at the entrance to Continental
cathedrals. No wonder that all Jerusalem knew him; and when on
that sunny afternoon Peter and John joined the worshippers in the
Court of the Women, not alone, but in company with the wellknown
cripple, who, after his healing, was 'walking and leaping and
praising God,' universal 'wonder and amazement' must have been
aroused.  Then, when the lame man, still 'holding by' the
apostles, again descended these steps, we can readily understand
how all the people would crowd around in Solomon's Porch, close
by, till the sermon of Peter - so fruitful in its spiritual
results - was interrupted by the Temple police, and the sudden
imprisonment of the apostles.


     The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its
appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they
were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial
purposes. Indeed, this was probably the common place for worship,
the females occupying, according to Jewish tradition, only a
raised gallery along three sides of the court. This court covered
a space upwards of 200 feet square. All around ran a simple
colonnade, and within it, against the wall, the thirteen chests,
or 'trumpets,' for charitable contributions were placed. 1 
     These thirteen chests were narrow at the mouth and wide at
the bottom, shaped liked trumpets, whence their name. Their
specific objects were carefully marked on them. Nine were for the
receipt of what was legally due by worshippers; the other four
for strictly voluntary gifts Trumpets 1 and 2 were appropriated
to the halfshekel Temple-tribute of the current and of the past
year. Into Trumpet 3 those women who had to bring turtledoves for
a burnt and a sin-offering dropped their equivalent in money,
which was daily taken out and a corresponding number of
turtledoves offered. This not only saved the labour of so many
separate sacrifices, but spared the modesty of those who might
not wish to have the occasion or the circumstances of their
offering to be publicly known. Into this trumpet Mary the mother
of Jesus must have dropped the value of her offering 2  when the
aged Simeon took the infant Saviour 'in his arms, and blessed
God.' Trumpet IV. similarly received the value of the offerings
of young pigeons. In Trumpet V

......

1 It was probably into one of these that the poor widow dropped
her 'two mites' (Luke xxi. 2).
2 Luke ii. 22, 24.

......


contributions for the wood used in the Temple; in Trumpet VI for
the incense, and in Trumpet VII for the golden vessels for the
ministry were deposited. If a man had put aside a certain sum for
a sin-offering, and any money was left over after its purchase,
it was cast into Trumpet VIII. Similarly, Trumpets IX., X., XI.,
XII., and XIII. were destined for what was left over from
trespass-offerings, offerings of birds, the offering of the
Nazarite, of the cleansed leper, and voluntary offerings. In all
probability this space where the thirteen Trumpets were placed
was the 'treasury,' where Jesus taught on that memorable Feast of
Tabernacles. 1
     We can also understand how, from the peculiar and known
destination of each of these thirteen 'trumpets,' the Lord could
distinguish the contributions of the rich who cast in 'of their
abundance' from that of the poor widow who of her 'penury' had
given 'all the living' that she had. 2 
     But there was also a special treasury-chamber, into which at
certain times they carried the contents of the thirteen chests;
and, besides, what was called 'a chamber of the silent,' where   
devout persons secretly deposited money, afterwards secretly
employed for educating children of the pious poor.
     It is probably in ironical allusion to the form and name of
these treasure-chests that the Lord, making use of the word
'trumpet,' describes the conduct of those who, in their
almsgiving, sought glory from men as 'sounding a trumpet' before
them 3 - that is, carrying before them, as it were, in full
display one of these trumpet-shaped alms-boxes (literally called
in the Talmud, 'trumpets'), and, as it were, sounding it. 4 

......

1 John vii,, viii.; see specially viii. 20.
2 Mark xii. 41; Luke xxi. r.  
3 Matt. vi. 2.
4 The allusion is all the more pointed, when we bear in mind that
each of these trumpets had a mark to tell its special object.    
It seems strange that this interpretation should not have
occurred to any of the commentators, who have always found the
allusion such a crux inter pretum. An article in the Bible
Educator has since substantially adopted this view, adding that
trumpets were blown when the alms were collected. But for the
latter statement there is no historical authority whatever, and
it would contravene the religious spirit of the times.

......


     In each of the four corners of the Court of the Women were
chambers, or rather unroofed courts, each said to have been 60
feet long. In that at the right hand (on the north-east), the
priests who were unfit for other than menial services on account
of bodily blemishes, picked the worm-eaten wood from that
destined for the altar. In the court at the farther angle
(north-west) the purified lepers washed before presenting
themselves to the priests at the Gate of Nicanor. At the left
(south-east) the Nazarites polled their hair, and cooked their
peace-offerings; while in a fourth court (at the south-west) the
oil and wine were kept for the drink-offerings. The musical
instruments used by the Levites were deposited in two rooms under
the Court of the Israelites, to which access was from the Court
of the Women.
     Of course the western colonnade of this court was open.
Thence fifteen easy steps led through the so-called Gate of
Nicanor 1  into the Court of Israel. On these steps the Levites
were wont on the Feast of Tabernacles to sing the fifteen 'Psalms
of Degrees,' or ascent, 2  whence some have derived their name.
Here, or, rather, in the Gate of Nicanor, all that was ordered to
be done 'before the Lord' took place. There the cleansed leper
and the women coming for

......


1 Jost (Gesch. d. Jud., vol. i. p.142) calls the Nicanor the gate
of Corinthian brass. On the origin of the name see Herzfeld,
Gesch. d, Y. Isr., vol. i. p.344.
2 Psalms cxx. to cxxxiv.

......


purification presented themselves to the priests, and there also
the 'water of jealousy' was given to the suspected wife.
Perhaps it will be most convenient for practical purposes to
regard the two Courts of Israel and of the Priests as in reality
forming only one, divided into two parts by a low balustrade 1
and 1/2 feet high. Thus viewed, this large double court,
inclusive of the Sanctuary itself, of Israel. would measure 280
and 1/2 feet in length by 202 and 1/2 feet in breadth. Of this a
narrow strip, 16 and 1/2 feet long, formed the Court of Israel.  

     Two steps led up from it to the Court of the Priests.  Here
you mounted again by three low semicircular steps to a kind of
pulpit or platform, where, as well as on the 'fifteen steps,' the
Levites sang and played during the ordinary service. The priests,
on the other hand, occupied, while pronouncing the blessing, the
steps at the other end of the court which led up to the Temple
porch. A similar arrangement existed in the great court as in
that of the Women.  Right and left of the Nicanor Gate were
receptacles for the priestly vestments (one for each of the four
kinds, and for the twenty-four courses of priests: 4 x 24 = 96).
     Next came the chamber of the high-priest's meat-offering,'
where each morning before going to their duties the officiating
priesthood gathered from the so-called 'Beth-ha-Moked,' or 'house
of stoves.' The latter was built on arches, and contained a large
dining-hall that communicated with four other chambers. One of
these was a large apartment where fires were continually burning
for the use of the priests who ministered barefoot. There also
the

......

1 Lev. vi. 20.
     
......


heads of the ministering courses slept, and here, in a special
receptacle under the pavement, the keys of the Temple were hung
up at night. Of the other three chambers of the Beth-Moked, one
was appropriated to the various counterfoils given as a warrant
when a person had paid his due for a drink-offering. In another
the shewbread was prepared, while yet a third served for the
lambs (at least six in number) that were always kept ready for
the regular sacrifice. Here also a passage led to the well-lit
subterranean bath for the use of the priests. Besides the Beth-
Moked there were, north and south of the court, rooms for storing
the salt for the altar, for salting the skins of sacrifices, for
washing 'their inwards,' for storing the 'clean' wood, for the
machinery by which the laver was supplied with water, and finally
the chamber 'Gazith,' or Hall of Hewn Stones, where the Sanhedrim
was wont to meet. Above some of these chambers were other
apartments, such as those in which the high-priest spent the week
before the Day of Atonement in study and meditation.

     The account which Jewish tradition gives of these gates and
chambers around the Court of the Priests is somewhat conflicting,
perhaps because the same chambers and gates may have borne
different names. It may, however, be thus summarised. Entering
the Great Court by the Nicanor Gate, there was at the right hand
the Chamber of Phinehas with its 96 receptacles for priests'
vestments, and at the left the place where the high-priest's
daily meat-offering was prepared, and where every morning before
daybreak all the ministering priests met, after their inspection
of the Temple and before being told off to duty.  Along the
southern side of the court were the Water-gate, through which at
the Feast of Tabernacles the pitcher with water was brought from
the Pool of Siloam, with a chamber above it, called Abtinas l
where the priests kept guard at night; then the Gate of the
Firstlings, through which the firstlings fit to be offered were
brought; and the Wood-gate, through which the altar-wood was
carried. Alongside these gates were Gazith, the hall of square
polished stones, where the Sanhedrim sat; the chamber Golah, for
the water apparatus which emptied and filled the laver; and the
wood-chamber. Above and beyond it were the apartments of the
high-priest and the council-chamber of the 'honourable
councillors,' or priestly council for affairs strictly connected
with the Temple. On the northern side of the Priests' Court were
the gate Nitzutz (Spark Gate), with a guard-chamber above for the
priests, the Gate of Sacrifices, and the Gate of the Beth-Moked.
Alongside these gates were the chamber for salting the
sacrifices; that for salting the skins (named Parvalt from its
builder), with bathrooms for the high-priest above it; and
finally the Beth-Moked with its apartments.  The two largest of
these buildings - the council-chamber of the Sanhedrim at the
south-eastern, 2  and the Beth-Moked at

......

1 The Talmud (Yonia 19, a) expresses a doubt as to its exact
localisation.
2 It is very strange what mistakes are made about the
localisation of the rooms and courts connected with the Temple.
Thus the writer of the article 'Sanhedrim' in Kitto's Encycl.,
vol. iii. p.766, says that the hall of the Sanhedrim 'was situate
in the centre of the south side of the Temple-court, the northern
part extending to the Court of the Priests, and the southern part
to the Court of the Israelites.' But the Court of Israel and that
of the Priests did not lie north and south, but east and west, as
a glance at the Temple plan will show!  The hall of the Sanhedrim
extended indeed south, though certainly not to the Court of
Israel, but to the Chel or terrace. The authorities quoted in the
article 'Sanhedrim' do not bear out the writer's conclusions.

......


the north-western angle of the court-were partly built into the
court and partly out on `'the terrace.' This, because none other
than a prince of the house of David might sit down within the
sacred enclosure of the Priests' Court. Probably there was a
similar arrangement for the high-priest's apartments and the
priests' council-chamber, as well as for the guard-chambers of
the priests, so that at each of the four corners of the court the
apartments would abut upon 'the terrace.' 1  
     All  along the colonnades, both around the Court of the
Gentiles and that of the Women, there were seats and beaches for
the accommodation of the worshippers.

     The most prominent object in, the Court of the Priests was
the immense altar of unhewn stones, 2  a square of not less than
48 feet, and, inclusive of 'the horns,' 15 feet high. All around
it a 'circuit' ran for the use of the ministering priests, who,
as a rule, always passed round by the right, and retired by the
left. 3 
     As this 'circuit' was raised 9 feet from the ground, and 1
and 1/2 feet high, while the 'horns ' measured 1 and 1/2 feet in
height, the priests would have only to reach 3 feet to the top of
the

......

It ought to be remarked that about the time of Christ the
Sanhedrim removed its sittings from the Hall of Square Stones to
another on the east of the Temple-court.
I We know that the two priestly guard-chambers above the
Watergate and Nitzutz opened also upon the terrace. This may
explain how the Talmud sometimes speaks of six and sometimes of
eight gates opening from the Priests' Court upon the terrace, or
else gates 7 and 8 may have been those which opened from the
terrace north and south into the Court of the Women.
2 They were 'whitened' twice a year. Once in seven years the
high-priest was to inspect the Most Holy Place, through an
opening made from the room above. If repairs were required, the
workmen were let down through the ceiling in a sort of cage, so
as not to see anything but what they were to work at.
3 The three exceptions to this are specially mentioned in the
Talmud. The high-priest both ascended and descended by the right.

......


altar, and 4 and 1/2 feet to that of each 'horn.' An inclined
plane, 48 feet long by 24 wide, into which about the middle two
smaller 'descents' merged, led up to the 'circuit' from the
south. Close by was the great heap of salt, from which every
sacrifice must be salted with salt. 1
     On the altar, which at the top was only 36 feet wide, three
fires burned, one (east) for the offerings, the second (south)
for the incense, the third (north) to supply the means for
kindling the other two.  The four 'horns' of the altar were
straight, square, hollow prominences, that at the south-west with
two openings, into whose silver funnels the drink-offerings, and,
at the Feast of Tabernacles, the water from the Pool of Siloam,
were poured. A red line all round the middle of the altar marked
that above it the blood of sacrifices intended to be eaten, below
it that of sacrifices wholly consumed, was to be sprinkled. The
system of drainage into chambers below and canals, all of which
could be flushed at will, was perfect; the blood and refuse being
swept down into Kedron and towards the royal gardens.  

     Finally, north of the altar were all requisites for the
sacrifices - six rows, with four rings each, of ingenious
mechanism, for fastening the sacrifices; eight marble tables for
the flesh, fat, and cleaned 'inwards;' eight low columns, each
with three hooks, for hanging up the pieces; a marble table for
laying them out, and one of silver for the gold and silver
vessels of the service.

     Between the altar and porch of the Temple, but placed
towards the south, was the immense laver of brass, supported by
twelve colossal lions, which was

......

 1 Also a receptacle for such sin-offerings of birds as had
become spoiled. This inclined plane was kept covered with salt,
to prevent the priests, who were barefooted, from slipping.

......


drained every evening, and filled every morning by machinery, and
where twelve priests could wash at the same time. Indeed, the
water supply to the Sanctuary is among the most wonderful of its
arrangements. That of the Temple is designated by Captain Wilson
as the 'low-level supply,' in contradistinction to the
'high-level aqueduct,' which collected the water in a rock-hewn
tunnel four miles long, on the road to Hebron, and then wound
along so as to deliver water to the upper portion of the city.   

     The 'low-level' aqueduct, which supplied the Temple, derived
its waters from three sources-from the hills about Hebron, from
Etham, and from the three pools of Solomon. Its total length was
over forty miles. The amount of water it conveyed may be gathered
from the fact that the surplusage of the waters of Etham is
calculated, when drained into the lower pool of Gihon, to have
presented when full, 'an area of nearly four acres of water.' 1
     And, as if this had not been sufficient, 'the ground is
perfectly honeycombed with a series of remarkable rock-hewn
cisterns, in which the water brought by an aqueduct from
Solomon's Pools, near Bethlehem, was stored. The cisterns appear
to have been connected by a system of channels cut out of the
rock; so that when one was full the surplus water ran into the
next, and so on, till the final overflow was carried off by a
channel into the Kedron. One of the cisterns - that known as the
Great Sea - would contain two million gallons; and the total
number of gallons which could be stored probably exceeded ten
millions.' 
     There seems little doubt that the drainage of Jerusalem was
'as well managed as the water supply; the mouth of 

......

I See Barclay, "City of the Great King," pp. 292-336.

......


the main drain being in the valley of the Kedron, where the
sewerage was probably used as manure for the gardens:
The mind becomes bewildered at numbers, the accuracy of which we
should hesitate to receive if they were not confirmed by modern
investigations. We feel almost the same in speaking of the
proportions of the Holy House itself. It was built on immense
foundations of solid blocks of white marble covered with gold,
each block measuring, according - to Josephus, 67 and 1/2 by 9
feet. Mounting by a flight of twelve steps to the `Porch,' we
notice that it projected 30 feet on each side beyond the Temple
itself. Including these projections, the buildings of the Temple
were 150 feet long, and as many broad. Without them the breadth
was only 90, and the length 120 feet. Of these 60 feet in length,
from east to west, and 30 feet in breadth, belonged to the Holy
Place; while the Most Holy was 30 feet long, and as many broad.
There were, therefore, on either side of the Sanctuary, as well
as behind it, 30 feet to spare, which were occupied by side
buildings three stories high, each containing five rooms, while
that at the back had eight. These side-buildings; however, were
lower than, the Sanctuary itself, over which also superstructures
had been reared. A gabled cedar roof, with golden spikes on it,
and surrounded by an elegant balustrade, surmounted the whole.
     The entrance to the 'Porch,' which was curiously roofed, was
covered by a splendid veil. Right and left were depositories for
the sacrificial knives. Within the 'Porch' a number
of 'dedicated' gifts were kept, such as the golden candelabra of
the proselyte queen of Adiabene, two golden crowns presented by
the Maccabees, etc. 
     Here were also two tables - one of marble, on which they
deposited the new shewbread; the other of gold, on which they
laid the old as it was removed from the Holy Place. Two-leaved
doors, 1  with gold plating, and covered by a rich Babylonian
curtain of the four colours of the Temple ('fine linen, blue,
scarlet, and purple'), formed the entrance into the Holy Place.  
     Above it hung that symbol of Israel, 2  a gigantic vine of
pure gold, and made of votive offerings - each cluster the height
of a man. In the Holy Place were, to the south, the golden
candlestick; to the north, the table of shewbread; and beyond
them the altar of incense, near the entrance to the Most Holy.
     The latter was now quite empty, a large stone, on which the
high-priest sprinkled the blood on the Day of Atonement,
occupying the place where the ark with the mercy-seat had stood.

     A wooden partition separated the Most Holy from the Holy
Place; and over the door hung the veil which was 'rent in twain
from the top to the bottom' when the way into the holiest of all
was opened on Golgotha 3 

     Such was the Temple as restored by Herod - a work which
occupied forty-six years to its completion: Yet, though the
Rabbis never weary praising its splendour, not with one word do
any of those who were cotemporary indicate that its restoration
was

......

1 There was also a small wicket gate by which he entered who
opened the large doors from within.
2 Psalm lxxx. 8; Jer. ii. 21; Ezek. xix. 10; Joel i. 7.
3 Matt. xxvii. 51.  The Rabbis speak of two veils, and say that
the high-priest went in by the southern edge of the first veil,
then walked along till he reached the northern corner of the
second veil, by which he entered the Most Holy Place.

......


carried out by Herod the Great. 1
     So memorable an event in their history is passed over with
the most absolute silence. What a complete answer does this
afford to the objection sometimes raised from the silence of
Josephus about the person and mission of Jesus!

     With what reverence the Rabbis guarded their Temple will be
described in the sequel. The readers of the New Testament know
how readily any supposed infringement of its sanctity led to
summary popular vengeance. To the discples of Jesus it seemed
difficult to realise that such utter ruin as their Master
foretold could so soon come over that beautiful and glorious
house. It was the evening of the day in which He had predicted
the utter desolation of Jerusalem. All that day He had taught in
the Temple, and what He had said, not only there, but when, on
beholding the city, He wept over it, seems to have filled their
minds alike with awe and with doubt. And now He, with His
disciples, had 'departed from the Temple.' Once more they
lingered in sweet retirement 'on the Mount of Olives." 2
'The purple light on the mountains of Moab was fast fading out.  
Across the city the sinking sun cast a rich glow over the
pillared cloisters of the Temple, and over the silent courts as
they rose terrace upon terrace. From where they stood they could
see over the closed Beautiful Gate, and right to the entrance to
the Holy Place, which now glittered with gold; while the eastern
walls and the deep valley below were thrown into a solemn shadow,

......

1 The first mention occurs in the Babylon Talmud, and then
neither gratefully nor graciously. (Taan. 23 a.; Baba. B. 3, b.;
4 a.; Succ. 51 b.)
2 Matt. xxiv. 1,3.

......

creeping, as the orb sunk lower, further and further towards the
summit of Olivet, irradiated with one parting gleam of roseate
light, after all below was sunk in obscurity.' 2

     Then it was and there that the disciples, looking down upon
the Temple, pointed out to the Master 'What manner of stones and
what buildings are here' The view from that site must have
rendered belief in the Master's prediction even more difficult
and more sad.  A few years more, and it was all literally
fulfilled! 

(NO! Not fully fulfilled at all. A part of the Temple Wall did
not come to the ground in 70 A.D. when Titus and his army
desolated Jerusalem. That Wall is today known as "The Wailing
Wall." In the end time prophecy of the desolation of Jerusalem,
this wall will come crashing down, and the prophecy of Matthew
24; Mark 13; and Luke 21, will all come to pass. Those end time
prophecies are expounded in detail on this Website - Keith Hunt)


     It may be, as Jewish tradition has it, that ever since the
Babylonish captivity the 'Ark of the Covenant' lies buried and
concealed underneath the wood-court at the north-eastern angle of
the Court of the Women.  And it may be that some at least of the
spoils which Titus carried with him from Jerusalem - the
seven-branched candlestick, the table of shewbread, the priests'
trumpets, and the identical golden mitre which Aaron had worn on
his forehead - are hidden somewhere in the vaults beneath the
site of the Temple, 

(No! They are not there. In today's space age technology [2009]
if those things were there they would have by now been discovered
- Keith Hunt)


after having successively gone to Rome, to Carthage, to
Byzantium, to Ravenna, and thence to Jerusalem. But of 'those
great buildings' that once stood there, there is 'not left one
stone upon another' that has not been ' thrown down.'

......

1 Bartlett, Jerusalem Revisited, p.115.

......

                            ...................

Note:

The Wailing Wall proves the prophecy of Matthew 24 has NOT YET
been fulfilled. When it is fulfilled the Wailing Wall will come
crashing to the ground, truly then one stone will not be left on
another that shall not be thrown down.

The prophecies for Jerusalem and the wall that is left of the
Temple is yet to come to pass.

Keith Hunt

Entered on this Website March 2009


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