Blogs about the life of the real Jewish Jesus whose actual name was Yeshua. View his life, teachings and movement in the cultural context of first century Galilee and Judea. Using a Linguistic Model to more accurately understand what his words meant to his original Jewish apostles, followers and audiences.
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Experiencing the Temple that Yeshua Knew
In the second month of the second year (535 BCE),
amid great public excitement and rejoicing, the foundations of the Second
Temple were laid.After several
delays, the Second Temple was ready for consecration in the spring of
516 BCE. It would stand as the center of worship for the Jewish people
for the next 586 years -- until it was destroyed by the Roman armies in 70 CE.[i]
Judaism has now existed 1,943 years without a Temple.
During the 586 years it existed, the Second Temple
was the center of Jewish life and the focus of many of the thoughts of the
Jewish people. Whenever Jews prayed, they faced the Temple in Jerusalem, no
matter where they were in the world. They built their synagogues facing the
Temple whenever possible. Jews from around the world sent their offerings (money
& gifts) to the Temple.
addition to the religious functions of the Temple, it was also the seat of
government, heart of the justice system and the financial center of the nation.
To truly understand the importance of the
role of the Second Temple today, we would have to view it as an institution equal
to White House, Congress, Supreme Court, Vatican and Federal Reserve System -- all
rolled into one. It was the center of financial, political, justice and
religious power for the Jewish people. Its importance can be sensed by reading
the Mishnah, the Oral Law, which spends more time discussing the Temple than
Millions of Jews from the Diaspora visited the Second
Temple, at least once in their lives. The Torah commanded the Jewish people to
travel to the Jerusalem Temple three times every year to celebrate three
festivals. ELOHIYM[ii] commanded the Israelites:
times a year shall all your men appear before YAHWEH[iii]
your ELOHIYM in the place that ELOHIYM will choose [referring presumably to the
Temple in Jerusalem], on the festivals of Pesah
(Passover),Shavuot(Pentecost - the Feast of Weeks), andSukkot(the Festival of Booths). They shall not
appear empty handed. Each shall bring his own gift, appropriate to the blessing
which YAHWEH your ELOHIYM has given you” (Deuteronomy 16:16).
a city of 100 to 200 thousand people, three times a year on the pilgrim
Pentecost and Tabernacles, Jerusalem’s population swelled to 1 million people
(the exact number depending on the source of population estimates). On these
occasions this small ancient city had to cope not only with the throng of
people but also their sacrificial animals and offerings, necessitating
temporary increases in food supplies, accommodation, ritual bathing facilities,
water, and all aspects of commerce.[iv]The
number of Jewish pilgrims to the Temple was computed by the governor Gesius
Florus (64-66), who counted 256,500 paschal lambs at one Passover festival;
allowing ten persons to one lamb, this would make 2,565,000 pilgrims (Josephus,
"B. J." vi. 9).[v]
three times per year, Jews living in Galilee, Samaria and Judea would witness
masses of their fellow Jews traveling through their lands headed to or
returning from the Temple. This would have been something to behold -- and something Yeshua would have been aware
of, anticipated and participated many times during his entire life.
importance of the Temple in the life of Yeshua is something that is not
understood by many people today. Not being aware of and understanding the role
of the Second Temple in Yeshua’s Jewish world while reading the Bible, would be
like reading American history without knowing anything about the roles of the
White House, Congress, Federal Reserve and IRS. But learning about the role of
the Second Temple will elevate your understanding of the Jewish people, Yeshua and his followers to a new level.
verses mention Yeshua being at the Second Temple in the Gospels and twenty-six
in Acts mention the apostles and Paul being there. The verse about Yeshua
reveal the following:
● Yeshua went into the Temple.
● Yeshua taught daily at the Temple.
● Yeshua talked to the High Priest,
chief priests, scribes & elders at the Temple.
will find the diagrams very helpful, so please take time to locate the places
in the Temple mentioned below on the diagrams as you read.
first thing Yeshua would do when he went to the Temple is approach the public entrance on the south side
of the Temple Mount complex. If he was bringing an animal to sacrifice, he
would turn the animal over to the priests who would examine it and take it
(many Jews would purchase their animal at the Temple). Yeshua would then go to the mikveh and ritually immerse
(baptize) himself in order to be ritually pure, which was required for entrance
into the Temple complex. Next, Yeshua would head to the Huldah gates (see second diagram on the lower right side). After ascending a staircase three stories in
height, and passing through the gate, Yeshua would find himself in the
"Court of the Gentiles." Except
for bringing an animal, this would have most probably been the steps he took
every time he went to the Temple.
Yeshua offered sacrifices or prayed at the Temple, he would have walked through
the Beautiful Gate, walked across
the Court of the Women, through the Nicanor Gate into the Court of Israel. If you had wanted to
hear Yeshua or his apostles teaching at the Temple, you would most likely have
found them at Solomon’s Porch.
Now I want to invite you
to enjoy and participate in an experience that will not only expand your
knowledge of the Second Temple, but it can be a very enriching spiritual
experience too. Please watch the two short videos that take a little less than
14 minutes to view both. I know you will find it a very rewarding experience.
The second video has some Hebrew writing, but it is not necessary to understand
it to benefit from what you see. Think about the journey of Yeshua described
above and picture yourself walking with him -- and seeing the Temple through
the last blog, we covered the first part of Yeshua’s lesson on Anger -- An Angry Person Should be Tried in Court like a
– keep in mind that “anger” is the focus of Yeshua’s lesson. “Whoever says to a brother, ‘RAKA,’ shall be answerable to the
Sanhedrin.” [i] Yeshua
reveals that the seriousness of the offense has become greater by elevating the
crime to the next highest court – the
Sanhedrin. It is the highest court in the nation and would be the
equivalent of our Supreme Court. What makes this offense more serious than murder,
to keep things in the context established by Yeshua? It is because of what the
angry person said out of anger – “RAKA!”
is the English transliteration of the Greek word found in the ancient
manuscripts of Matthew. Interestingly, the Greek word is also a transliteration
of a Hebrew word into Greek. Keep in mind that when a translator working on a
translation of a Greek manuscript transliterates a Greek word, he only finds
the closest equivalent En…
I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one yod or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
(Matthew 5:18) In
the last blog we learned that a “jot” was really “yod,” the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So, now let’s
turn our attention to “tittle” and
see what it means. It is another one of those words you never hear or use in
everyday conversations. First,
let’s see look up tittle in an English
dictionary and see if we can find a definition. There is a definition and it is:
“a dot or other small mark in writing or printing,
used as a diacritic, punctuation, etc.” However,
when we look at a yod we do not find
any dots or small marks. Follow the arrow and look at the very upper left tip of the yod. ↓ י Do you see the small point? When we turn to the Jewish culture of Yeshua we find that the scribes had a name for it -- קוץ (QOTz). The translation of the word קוץ is “thorn.”[i] When Yeshua spoke he said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one yo…
Jesus’s earliest memories was no doubt watching and listening to his family when
they gathered to pray the Shema at sunrise
before the day’s work began and after the working work day was over at sunset.
He also heard and participated in praying the Shema at their synagogue. He was surrounded by neighbors who also
prayed the same prayer in their homes every day. The
Hebrew word for prayer is tefilah. It
is derived from the root Pe-Lamed-Lamed and the word l'hitpalel, meaning “to judge oneself.” This surprising word
origin provides insight into the purpose of Jewish prayer. The most important
part of any Jewish prayer, whether it be a prayer of petition, of thanksgiving,
of praise of God, or of confession, is the introspection it provides, the
moment that we spend looking inside ourselves, seeing our role in the universe
and our relationship to God. Most
of Jewish prayers are expressed in the first person plural, "us"
instead of "me," and are recited on b…