The 4th of July and the Holy Temple
As a tour guide, I often have the privilege of standing on the Mount of Olives and looking at the spectacular view of the Old City of Jerusalem. I tell visitors that at the end of the Second Temple Period, in Jesus' time, we would not be looking at the Dome of the Rock, but rather, at the Holy Temple, which was considered throughout the world as the most remarkable of all buildings.
When I try to imagine what it would have been like to live with the Temple as the center of life, I often think about my Grandparent's home in Michigan which was the center of our world. In Hebrew, the word for the Temple is Beit HaMikdash which literally means a "holy house." So, I think the "family home" analogy works. It was a large home at the end of a block with a pool and tennis court. It was like a country club. For every national holiday such as Memorial Day or the 4th of July, there was always a big family BBQ at their place. Jewish holidays were also royal at their house. Just like the service in the Temple, the family BBQ's delighted all the senses. And, most importantly, the BBQ's brought the entire extended family together in harmony.
So, returning to the Temple, it's remarkable that this is also what the Bible points out as the most important aspect of the Temple. The Bible tells us, "And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8). It does not say that God will dwell in the sanctuary, but rather, that God will dwell among the people. When people came to the Temple, they experienced a holiness about being together in fellowship.
May you travel to Israel often, and may your own life experiences give you deeper insight into the Biblical and modern sites you will visit, and may the sites you visit give you deeper insights into your life.
Blessings from Israel, Leah
Licensed Tour Guide and Consultant to Essential Israel