Second Temple: The Temple and Jesus
Jesus spent much of his time in the Second Temple. He called it his Father's House, and a House of Prayer.
Christ's Prophesy of Desolation by Fausset
The Jews' "house was left desolate," according to Christ's prophecy, 37 years before the event; though Titus wished to spare it, the fury of his soldiers and the infatuation of the Jewish zealots thwarted his wish, and unconsciously fulfilled the decree of God; and fragments of old pottery and broken lamps now are found where the light of Jehovah's glory once shone, Hadrian, the emperor, in 130, erected on the site a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus. The apostate emperor Julian tried to rebuild the temple, POTTERY TRADE MARKS. but was thwarted by balls of fire which interrupted the workmen. The mosque of Omar has long stood on the site of the temple in the S.W. of the Harem area. But when "the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, "and when the Jews shall look to Jesus and say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord," the kingdom with its temple will come again to Israel (Luke 13:35; Luke 21:24; Acts 1:6-7). (See VEIL.)
Jesus and Herod's Temple
When Jesus came to Jerusalem he entered the Temple compound and many events are recorded in the Bible. For example He drove out the money changers, he taught in Solomon's Porch, and he sat near the treasury in the Court of the Women and noticed the widow giving her last mite to the Lord.
Jesus in the Temple ISBE
The chronological sequence of the Fourth Gospel depends very much upon the visits of Jesus to the temple at the great festivals (see JESUS CHRIST). At the first of these occurred the cleansing of the temple-court--the court of the Gentiles--from the dealers that profaned it (Jn 2:13 ff), an incident repeated at the close of the ministry (Mt 21:12 ff and parallel's). When the Jews, on the first occasion, demanded a sign, Jesus spoke of the temple of His body as being destroyed and raised up in three days (Jn 2:19), eliciting their retort, "Forty and six years was this temple in building," etc. (Jn 2:20). This may date the occurrence about 27 AD. At the second cleansing He not only drove out the buyers and sellers, but would not allow anyone to carry anything through this part of the temple (Mk 11:15-17). In Jn His zeal flamed out because it was His Father's house; in Mk, because it was a house of prayer for all nations (compare Isa 56:7). With this non-exclusiveness agrees the word of Jesus to the woman of Samaria: "The hour cometh, when neither in this mountain (in Samaria), nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father" (Jn 4:21). During the two years following His first visit, Jesus repeatedly, at festival times, walked in the temple-courts, and taught and disputed with the Jews. We find Him in Jn 5 at "a feast" (Passover or Purim?); in John 7; 8, at "the feast of tabernacles," where the temple-police were sent to apprehend Him (7:32,45 ff), and where He taught "in the treasury" (8:20); in Jn 10:22 ff, at "the feast of the dedication" in winter, walking in "Solomon's Porch." His teaching on these occasions often started from some familiar temple scene--the libations of water carried by the priests to be poured upon the altar (Jn 7:37 ff), the proselytes (Greeks even) in the great portico (Jn 12:20 ff), etc. Of course Jesus, not being of the priestly order, never entered the sanctuary; His teaching took place in the several courts open to laymen, generally in the "treasury" (see Jn 8:20).
Our Lord's Prediction by Edersheim
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 disciples 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' (Matthew 24:1,3). '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, 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' (Bartlett, Jerusalem Revisited, p. 115).
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! 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, 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.'
The Apostles - ISBE
Seven weeks after the crucifixion the Pentecost of Acts 2 was observed. The only place that fulfils the topographical conditions of the great gatherings is Solomon's Porch. The healing of the lame man (Acts 3:1 ff) took place at the "door .... called Beautiful" of the temple, and the multitude after the healing ran together into "Solomon's Porch" or portico (Acts 3:11). Where also were the words of Lk 24:53, they "were continually in the temple, blessing God," and after Pentecost (Acts 2:46), "day by day, continuing stedfastly .... in the temple," etc., so likely to be fulfilled? For long the apostles continued the methods of their Master in daily teaching in the temple (Acts 4:1 ff). Many years later, when Paul visited Jerusalem for the last time, he was put in danger of his life from the myriads of Jewish converts "all zealous for the law" (Acts 21:20), who accused him of profaning the temple by bringing Greeks into its precincts, i.e. within the coregh (Acts 21:28-30). But Christianity had now begun to look farther afield than the temple. Stephen, and after him Saul, who became Paul, preached that "the Most High dwelleth not in houses made with hands" (Acts 7:48; 17:24), though Paul himself attended the temple for ceremonial and other purposes (Acts 21:26).
The Passion Week and Herod's Temple ISBE
The first days of the closing week of the life of Jesus--the week commencing with the Triumphal Entry--were spent largely in the temple. Here He spoke many parables (Mt 21; 22 and parallel's); here He delivered His tremendous arraignment of the Pharisees (Mt 23 and parallel's); here, as He "sat down over against the treasury," He beheld the people casting in their gifts, and praised the poor widow who cast in her two mites above all who cast in of their abundance (Mk 12:41 ff and parallel's). It was on the evening of His last day in the temple that His disciples drew His attention to "the goodly stones and offerings" (gifts for adornment) of the building (Lk 21:5 and parallel's) and heard from His lips the astonishing announcement that the days were coming--even in that generation--in which there should not be left one stone upon another (Lk 21:6 and parallel's). The prediction was fulfilled to the letter in the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 AD.
The Temple in Christian Thought - ISBE
From the time that the temple ceased to exist, the Talmud took its place in Jewish estimation; but it is in Christianity rather than in Judaism that the temple has a perpetual existence. The New Testament writers make no distinction between one temple and another. It is the idea rather than the building which is perpetuated in Christian teaching. The interweaving of temple associations with Christian thought and life runs through the whole New Testament. Jesus Himself supplied the germ for this development in the word He spoke concerning the temple of His body (Jn 2:19,21). Paul, notwithstanding all he had suffered from Jews and Jewish Christians, remained saturated with Jewish ideas and modes of thought. In one of his earliest Epistles he recognizes the "Jerus that is above" as "the mother of us all" (Gal 4:26 the King James Version). In another, the "man of sin" is sitting "in the temple of God" (2 Thess 2:4). The collective church (1 Cor 3:16,17), but also the individual believer (1 Cor 6:19), is a temple. One notable passage shows how deep was the impression made upon Paul's mind by the incident connected with Trophimus the Ephesian (Acts 21:29). That "middle wall of partition" which so nearly proved fatal to him then was no longer to be looked for in the Christian church (Eph 2:14), which was "a holy temple" in the Lord (Eph 2:21). It is naturally in the Epistle to the Hebrews that we have the fullest exposition of ideas connected with the temple, although here the form of allusion is to the tabernacle rather than the temple (see TABERNACLE; compare Westcott on Hebrews, 233 ff). The sanctuary and all it included were but representations of heavenly things. Finally, in Revelation, the vision is that of the heavenly temple itself (11:19). But the church--professing Christendom?--is a temple measured by God's command (11:1,2 ff). The climax is reached in 21:22-23: "I saw no temple therein (i.e. in the holy city): for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof .... and the lamp thereof is the Lamb." Special ordinances are altogether superseded.
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