We begin today with a photo of the Second Temple Model of Jerusalem. This is the time of Jesus and the early days of the church. The wonderful model is now displayed on the grounds of the Israel Museum. Our view of the model shows pre-70 A.D. Jerusalem from the southwest (assuming we were photographing the city; not the modern setting of the model).
To the right of the photo is the dome of the Shrine of the Book. In the distance between the trees you will see Israel’s Knesset building.
Acts 3 begins with the account of Peter and John going up to the temple.
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. (Acts 3:1 NAU)
Following 1967 an excavation of area around the southern wall of the temple enclosure was conducted by Prof. Benjamin Mazar. Mazar describes the monumental stairway that was uncovered.
In the course of our excavations in the area facing the Western Hulda Gate, we uncovered a gigantic stairway which led from the Lower City (Ophel) to the gates. It is two hundred and fifteen feet wide; the foundation steps were cut into the natural bedrock on the slopes of the Temple Mount. The stairs were constructed of wide, trimmed and smoothed stone paving blocks, fitted together snugly. The stairway comprised thirty steps set alternately in wide and narrow rows. (The Mountain of the Lord, 143).
The Monumental Stairway led to the Double Gate which led into the temple precinct. We can safely say that Jesus and His disciples used these steps to enter the temple precinct.
Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, author of The Quest, calls attention to the virtual model of the Temple Mount in the time of Jesus. The brief video is helpful in understanding the area. Click here.
Perhaps another day we can discuss the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2, 10).