The Temple Warning Inscription
What did Jesus think when he saw this stone?
Josephus the Jewish historian of the first century A.D. wrote about the warning signs in Greek and Latin that were placed on the barrier wall that separated the court of the gentiles from the other courts in the Temple. Not until 1871 did archaeologists actually discover one written in Greek. Its seven line inscription reads as follows:
IS TO GO BEYOND THE BALUSTRADE
AND THE PLAZA OF THE TEMPLE ZONE
WHOEVER IS CAUGHT DOING SO
WILL HAVE HIMSELF TO BLAME
FOR HIS DEATH
WHICH WILL FOLLOW
When king Herod had rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem between 19 and 9 B.C. he enclosed the outer court with colonnades. The large separated area was referred to as the Court of the Gentiles because the "gentiles" (non-Jews from any race or religion) were permitted to enter this great open courtyard of the Temple area. They could walk within in it but they were forbidden to go any further than the outer court. They were excluded from entering into any of the inner courts, and warning signs in Greek and Latin were placed giving strict warning that the penalty for such trespass was death. The Romans permitted the Jewish authorities to carry out the death penalty for this offence, even if the offender were a Roman citizen. The engraved block of limestone was discovered in Jerusalem in 1871. It's dimensions are about 22 inches high by 33 inches long. Each letter was nearly 1 1/2 inches high and originally painted with red ink against the white limestone. Part of another sign was unearthed in 1936. It's current location is in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul, Turkey. Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey when the stone was found.
The Temple Warning Inscription is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and confirms events outlined in Scripture. When Jesus saw this inscription he knew that his own life would be the cost for the gentiles to go past this barrier.
Ephesians 2:13-14 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us"
Matthew 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in."
Isaiah 56:7 "These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
Mark 11:17-18 "And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine."