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P o t p o u r r i  S 4
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The temple of the Creator in the time of ancient Israel. Comprised with Barnes Notes: The temple of the Creator which was the temple dedicated and devoted to the service of God, was built on Mount Moriah. The first temple was built by Solomon, about 1006 years before Emmanuel: 1Kings 6:1. Solomon was seven years in building it: 1Kings 6:38. David, his father, had contemplated the design of building it and had prepared many materials for it, but was prevented, because he had been a man of war: 1Chronicles 22:1-9; 1Kings 5:5. This temple, erected with great magnificence, remained till it was destroyed by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar-II, five hundred and eighty-four years before Christ:.2Chronicles 36:6,7,19.

After the Babylonish captivity, the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, but with vastly inferior and diminished beauty. The aged men wept when they compared it with the glory of the former temple as mentioned in Ezra 3rd chapter. This was called the second temple. This temple was often defiled in the wars before the time of Christ. It had become much decayed and impaired. Herod the Great, being exceedingly unpopular among the Jews, on account of his cruelties, was desirous of doing something to obtain the favour of the people and accordingly, about sixteen years before Christ's physical birth as Emmanuel and in the eighteenth year of his reign, he commenced the work of repairing it. This he did, not by taking it down entirely at once, but by removing one part after another till it had become in fact a new temple, greatly surpassing the former in magnificence. It was still called by the Jews the second temple and by Christ's coming to this temple thus repaired, was fulfilled the prophecy in Haggai 2:7-9.

On this building Herod employed eighteen thousand men and completed it so as to be fit for use in nine years, about eight years before Emmanuel's birth. But additions continued to be made to it and it continued increasing in splendor and magnificence, till ANNO DOMINI 64.(64 A.D.). John says in John 2:20 "forty and six years was this temple in building"..Christ/Emmanuel was then thirty years of age, which, added to the sixteen years occupied in repairing it before his birth, makes forty-six years. .Barnes Notes:."This temple Herod the Great commenced repairing or began to rebuild, in the eighteenth year of his reign, that is, sixteen years before the birth of Christ.(Josephus. Antiquities, book xv. 1). The main body of the temple he completed in nine years and a half.(Josephus. Antiquities, book, xv. 5, 6), yet the temple, with its outbuildings, was not entirely complete in the time of our Saviour. Herod continued to ornament it and to perfect it even till the time of Agrippa.(Josephus. Antiquities, book xx. ch. viii. % 11). As Herod began to rebuild the temple sixteen years before the birth of Jesus.(proper name, Emmanuel)., and as what is here mentioned happened in the thirtieth year of the age of Jesus, so the time which had been occupied in it was forty-six years."

The word temple was given, not merely to the sacred edifice or house itself, but to all the numerous chambers, courts and rooms connected with it, on the top of Mount Moriah. The temple itself was a small edifice and was surrounded by courts and chambers half a mile in circumference. Into the sacred edifice itself our Saviour never went. The high priest only went into the holy of holies and that but once a year and none but priests were permitted to enter the holy place. Our Saviour was neither. He was of the tribe of Judah and he consequently was allowed to enter no farther than the other Israelites into the temple. The works that he is said to have performed in the temple, therefore, are to be understood as having been performed in the courts surrounding the sacred edifice. These courts will now be described.

What was the ancient temple.like? The temple was erected on Mount Moriah. The space on the summit of the mount was not, however, large enough for the buildings necessary to be erected. It was therefore enlarged by building high walls, from the valley below and filling up the space within. One of these walls was six hundred feet in height. The ascent to the temple was by high flights of steps. The entrance to the temple, or to the courts on the top of the mount, was by nine gates, all of them extremely splendid. On every side they were thickly coated with gold and silver.

But there was one gate of peculiar magnificence. This was called the beautiful gate:.Acts 3:2. It was on the east side and was made of Corinthian brass, one of the most precious metals in ancient times. This gate was fifty cubits, or seventy-five feet in height. The whole temple, with all its courts, was surrounded by a wall about twenty-five feet in height. This was built on the wall raised from the base to the top of the mountain; so that from the top of it to the bottom, in a perpendicular descent, was in some places not far from six hundred feet. This was particularly the case on the south-east corner and it was here, probably, that Satan wished our Saviour to cast himself down. On the inside of this wall, between the gates, were piazzas or covered porches. On the eastern, northern and western sides there were two rows of these porches; on the south, three. These porches were covered walks, about twenty feet in width, paved with marble of different colours, with a flat roof of costly cedar, which was supported by pillars of solid marble, so large that three men could scarcely stretch their arms so as to meet around them. These walks or porches afforded a grateful shade and protection to the people in hot or stormy weather. The one on the east side was distinguished for its beauty and was called Solomon's porch:.John 10:23; Acts 3:11. It stood over the vast terrace or wall which Solomon had raised from the valley beneath and which was the only thing of his work that remained in the sacred temple.

When a person entered any of the gates into this space within the wall, he saw the temple rising before him with great magnificence. But the space was not clear all the way up to it. Going forward, he came to another wall, inclosing considerable ground, considered more holy than the rest of the hill. The space between this first and second wall was called the court of the Gentiles. It was so called because Gentiles might come into it, but they could proceed no farther. On the second wall and on the gates, were inscriptions in Hebrew and Greek forbidding any Gentile or unclean person from proceeding farther, on pain of death.

This court was not of equal dimensions all the way round the temple. On the east, north and west, it was quite narrow. On the south it was wide, occupying nearly half of the whole surface of the hill. In this court the Gentiles might come. Here was the place where much secular business was transacted. This was the place occupied by the buyers and sellers and the money changers, which Emmanuel cast out.

The enclosure within the second wall was nearly twice as long from east to west as from north to south. This enclosure was also divided. The eastern part of it was called the court of the women; so called because women might advance thus far, but no farther. This court was square. It was entered by three gates, one on the north, one on the east directly opposite to the beautiful gate and one on the south. In passing from the court of the Gentiles to that of the women, it was necessary to ascend about nine feet by steps. This court of the women was enclosed with a double wall, with a space between the walls about fifteen feet in width, paved with marble. The inner of these two walls was much higher than the one outside. The court of the women was paved with marble. In the corners of that court were different structures for the various uses of the temple. It was in this court that the Jews commonly worshipped. Here, probably, Peter and John, with others, went up to pray:.Acts 3:1. Here, too, the Pharisee and publican prayed; the Pharisee near the gate that led forward to the temple, the publican standing far off on the other side or the court:.Luke 18:9-14. Paul also was seized here and charged with defiling the temple, by bringing the Gentiles into that holy place:.Acts 21:27,28.

A high wall on the west side of the court of the women divided it from the court of the Israelites; so called because all the males of the Jews might advance there. To this court there was an ascent of fifteen steps. These steps were in the form of a half circle. The great gate, called the gate Beautiful to which these steps led was called the gate Nicanor. Besides this, there were three gates on each side, leading from the court of the women to the court of the Israelites.

Within the court of the Israelites was the court of the priests, separated by a wall about a foot and a half in height. Within that court was the altar of burnt offering and the laver.(basin).standing in front of it. Here the priests performed the daily service of the temple. In this place, also, were accommodations for the priests, when not engaged in conducting the service of the temple and for the Levites, who conducted the music of the sanctuary.

The following is a view of the temple and its courts, as here described:

The temple, properly so called, stood within the court. It surpassed in splendour all the other buildings of the holy city; perhaps in magnificence unequalled in the world. It fronted the east, looking down through the gates Nicanor and the beautiful gate and onward to the Mount of Olives. From the Mount of Olives on the east there was a beautiful and commanding view of the whole sacred edifice. It was there that our Saviour sat, when the disciples directed his attention to the goodly stones with which the temple was built:.Mark 13:1. The entrance into the temple itself was from the court of the priests, by an ascent of twelve steps. The porch in front of the temple was a hundred and fifty feet high and as many broad. The open space in this porch, through which the temple was entered, was one hundred and fifteen feet high and thirty-seven broad, without doors of any sort. The appearance of this, built as it was with white marble and decorated with plates of silver. From the Mount of Olives it was exceedingly dazzling and splendid. Josephus says, that in the rising of the Sun it reflected so strong and dazzling a brilliant radiance, that the eye of the spectator was obliged to turn away. To strangers at a distance it appeared like a mountain covered with snow. Where it was not decorated with plates of silver it was extremely white and glistening.

The temple itself was divided into two parts: the first, called the sanctuary or holy place, was sixty feet in length, sixty feet in height and thirty feet in width. In this was the golden candlestick, the table of shewbread and the altar of incense. The holy of holies, the most holy place, was thirty feet each way. In the first temple, this contained the ark of the covenant, the tables of the law and over the ark was the mercy seat and the two-winged cherubim. Other cherubim have four wings.

Into this place no person entered but the high priest and he but once in the year. These two apartments were separated only by a vail, very costly and curiously wrought. It was this vail which was rent from the top to the bottom when the Saviour died:.Matthew 27:51-53. Around the walls of the temple was a structure three stories high, containing chambers for the use of the officers of the temple. The temple was wholly razed to the ground by the Romans under Titus and his father Vespasian and was wholly destroyed, according to the predictions of the Saviour:.Matthew 24:2. The site of it was made like a ploughed field. Julian the apostate attempted to rebuild it, but the workmen, according to his own historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, were prevented by balls of fire breaking out from the ground. See Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses. Its site is now occupied by the mosque of Omar, one of the most splendid specimens of Saracenic.(Moslem culture at the time of the Crusades).architecture in the World.

Money Changers:.Matthew 21:12-14 "And Emmanuel went into the temple of God and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto them, It is written.(in Isaiah 56:7), My house shall be called the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple and he healed them."

The place where this was done was not the temple itself, but the outer court or the court of the Gentiles. This was esteemed the least sacred part of the temple and the Jews it seems, did not consider it profanation to appropriate this to any business in any way connected with the temple service. The things which they bought and sold were, at first, those pertaining to the sacrifices. It is not improbable, however, that the traffic afterwards extended to all kinds of merchandise. It gave rise to much confusion, noise, contention and fraud, in that the items mostly had to be purchased in Jewish money and so people had to exchange their Roman money for Jewish currency and like today those in control worked it for all they could.

Judea was subject to the Romans. The money in current use was Roman coin. Yet the Jewish law required that every man should pay a tribute to the service of the sanctuary of half a shekel:.Exodus 30:11-16. This was a Jewish coin and it was required to be paid in that coin. It became therefore a matter of convenience to have a place where the Roman coin might be exchanged for the Jewish half-shekel. This was the professed business of these men. Of course they would demand a small sum for the exchange and among so many thousands as came up to the great feasts, it would be a very profitable employment and one easily giving rise to much fraud and oppression.

The seats of them that sold doves. Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice back then:.Leviticus 14:22; Luke 2:23,24. Yet it was difficult to bring them from the distant parts of Judea. It was found much easier to purchase them in Jerusalem. Hence it became a business to keep them to sell to those who were required to offer them.

Mark adds in Mark 11:16-18 that he would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. That is, probably, any of the vessels or implements connected with the traffic in oil, incense, wine, etc., that were kept for sale in the temple.

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