Sections of the Jewish Temple
Mostly From Icons, p. 10-11
The Outer Court is also known as the Court of Gentiles
Gentiles or non-Jews were not allowed beyond this court. Traders could be found here selling birds and animals to be used for sacrifices. It was also a place to change Roman money into Temple money (money-changers). [When Jesus got angry with these people and threw them out of “His Father’s House” he did this because they were giving the people a very poor exchange rate, and so were make lots of money at their expense, after all, they had to buy the sacrifices with Temple money!]
The Court of Women
Women and children were not allowed to beyond this area. It was a favourite meeting place for families when they came to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. [This was probably where Mary would have been looking for Jesus when he was 12 years old.]
The Court of Israelites
Only Jewish men were allowed to enter here. They would see the altar of sacrifice and the offers being made to God. At the time of Jesus, animal sacrifices were an important part Temple worship.
The Court of Priests
This was exclusively reserved for priests. In this area was the altar on which the birds and animals were sacrificed. Only domestic animals would be sacrificed. This included pigeons and doves, the offerings of poor people.
The Holy of Holies
This was the innermost and most sacred part of the Tempe. A large veil covered its entrance. Only the high priest was allowed to enter, and he only went in once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. He offered sacrifices and asked God’s forgiveness in the name of all the people. On this day only he spoke aloud, in full, the name of God. [You will learn much later from the Gospel of Jesus’ trial that during this trial, before the High Priest, when asked, Jesus said he was the Son of the “Blessed One”. The Jewish authorities were then able to accuse Jesus of blasphem, because only the High Priest...
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