Scripture Backdrops - Relevant Historical Insights into Scripture

The Pinnacle of the Temple

Matt 4:5 "Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,"

The "Pinnacle Of The Temple"

The Highest Place in the Temple

The "pinnacle" of the temple was the highest place among the "royal colonnade" gallery built by Herod within the area of the temple. The cloisters (porches in the NT) were among the finest architectural features of the entire Temple. Solomon's Porch (only remaining portion of the original temple built by Solomon) was also located here. They were a spectacular sight to behold, overlooking the Kedron valley.

Josephus and the Pinnacle

The historian Josephus gives an interesting description: 

"This cloister deserves to be mentioned better than any other under the sun; for, while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen if you looked from above into the depth, this farther vastly high elevation of the cloister stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth." -Antiquities, Book 15, Chap.11:5 

Some believe the distance to have been seven hundred feet. It was from here that the Priest on the highest pinnacle had watched, waiting for dawn, to give the signal for beginning the services of the day where he summoned his waiting brethren beneath to offer the morning sacrifice. 

Jewish Literature, the Messiah, and the Pinnacle

It is interesting to note that in rabbinic literature, the Midrash (Pesiqta Rabbati, 162a) plainly states the Jewish belief that Messiah would manifest himself standing on the roof of the temple. Not on any roof but "the" roof, as it states in the NT using the definite article "the pinnacle." 

No doubt that Satan enticed Jesus with the temptation to fulfill Malachi 3:1 before the designated time. 

Another interesting note is that the rabbis believed that the person identified by God in Psalm 91 is none other than the Messiah. This is exactly where Satan misquoted the Scripture about the angels: "He shall give His angels charge concerning you (and) in their hands they shall bear you up..." 

 


Bibliography on Ancient Customs

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
 

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