Tag Archives: History

The Temple at the Time of Christ

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The picture you see above is of a model of the Temple Mount and part of the city of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus.  The model is found at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.  On the upper right hand corner of the Temple Mount there is a another structure that has large towers in its four corners.  That is the Antonia Fortress.  It was built by Herod the Great and named for Mark Antony.  The covered area on the left hand side of the Temple Mount is the “Royal Portico.”  You will also notice that there are covered walkways along the inside of the wall that are lined with columns.  The covered walkway that is closest to you in this picture (you cannot see its columns) is Solomon’s Portico, also called Solomon’s Porch (see John 10:23).   The pinnacle of the temple is believed to be the top of the wall in the southeast corner (see Matthew 4:5; Luke 4:9).  As you view this picture you are viewing west (from where the Mount of Olives is, albeit you would not be this elevated).  So, as you follow along the top of the wall the pinnacle would be the platform area in the lower left hand corner.  The Large structure in the middle of the complex is the temple as it may have looked following its restoration by Herod the Great (see John 2:20).  The structure in the the middle of the Temple Mount is the temple complex.  Between the temple complex and the porticos was a small wall that you do not see in this picture.  This wall was called the Soreg and it separated the outer Court of the Gentiles from the areas that were considered sacred.  As you look at the front of the temple complex you will notice a small entryway in the wall.  If you were to walk through this entryway you would enter the Court of the Women.  If you continued walking straight ahead and up the set of stairs you would come to the Great Gate.  Once you went through the Great Gate you were in the Court of Israel.  The tall building is the temple proper, which is where the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies were located.   Between the Court of Israel and the temple is the Court of the Priests.  Between the Great Gate and the temple, and within the Court of the Priests, was the altar.  If you could see the temple from directly above it would look the letter “T” with the top part ofo the letter being the front of the building.  This front part of the temple was the Porch.  Once you passed the porch you would be in the Holy Place and if you continued walking you would go through a large curtain and enter the Most Holy Place (the Holy of Holies).

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