Our latest Bible picture story is of the 12 year old Jesus in the Temple, (Luke 2:41-51). Picture 1 shows Mary Joseph and Jesus stopping for a moment on a hillside overlooking Jerusalem. As they admire the view, many people are making their way to the temple for the Passover feast.
Picture 2 shows the family climbing the steps approaching one of the gates in the outer wall of the temple complex. Some artists have shown the Shofar being blown when depicting this story, I've checked this out from two sources and both have confirmed that the shofar was not blown at passover. If you would like to know what the shofar sounds like, click here. (It sounds remarkably like me practicing my bugle when I was in the boy scouts!) Picture 2 also shows Jesus carrying the sacrificial lamb on His shoulders.
I've been asked the question "Should the Lord Jesus, being sinless, have been taking a lamb for a sacrifice? Might this suggest that He had sins to atone for?"
The answer is no! The Passover is very different from the day of Atonement. The Paschal lambs offered at Passover were not considered as an atonement for sin, or a sin offering. Passover is a time when the nation of Israel celebrates the deliverance of the LORD by means of the blood of the lamb. For a more detailed explanation click here.
This was again foreshadowing the sacrifice of Jesus. Just as the Israelites were safe from Gods judgement as they took shelter under the blood of the lamb applied to the door posts and lintel, we can only be safe from the judgement of God on our sins by taking refuge under the shed blood of Christ which is applied when we fully trust in Jesus and His sacrifice as the only way back to God. (John 14: 6)
Picture 3 shows Mary and Joseph on their way home from Jerusalem and discussing where Jesus is. It was a three day trip from Jerusalem to Nazareth, so they were almost half way home when they realised that Jesus was missing!
Picture 4 (above) shows Jesus in the temple reading from a scroll. Mary and Joseph are looking on in the background. The Hebrew text on the scroll is readable and Jumbo, (our language expert), informs me that it's from Exodus 12!
Picture 5 (right) shows Mary and Joseph talking with Jesus. The viewpoint is from the 'Eastern Gate' looking across the 'Womens Court' to the Temple.
The bronze doors of the Nicanor Gate are now open revealing the magnificent 'Golden Vine' of the temple just inside the porch. The golden doors are open so the curtain, that was the subject of the 'Defending Rembrandt' post, is drawn across the entrance. You can just make out the Altar to the right of Jesus' shoulder. In the larger version of this picture you can see, (if your eyesight's good), a scarlet line around the waist of the altar.
There is no mention in the scriptures of a scarlet line around the Altar of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness nor in that in the Temple of Solomon, but according to Middot 3.2. a red line surrounded the middle of the Altar that stood in front of Herod's Temple.
Source 'The Quest' pg367.
It's now 3-4 days after the passover and work on the Temple has resumed as can be seen by the Herodian craftsmen carrying timber in the background of this picture.
Following our discussion on symbolism in the paintings of the earlier Bible artists, (see comments on the 'Elsie Anna Wood' post), I decided to add some symbolism into this picture. I've shown the body of Jesus touching the Altar, (although the Altar is some distance away). This is a reminder that, 21 years later, the 'Lamb of God' would be sacrificed, not on an Altar but on a cross, for the sins of the world.
A very short distance from this spot (the Holy of Holies) in Old Testament times, God had provided a Ram as a substitute for Isaac. This was a foretelling of Gods plan to provide a perfect sinless sacrifice (Jesus) to die as a substitute for the sins of the world so that "Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". John 3:16.
There are 5 pictures in this set which brings our total Bible picture count to 725.
What did Herod's Temple look like?