The Jerusalem Post, on Christmas Day, announced the discovery of a seal used in the Temple worship in Jerusalem has been discovered. The article, which includes a video of the artefact, reported that:
“A 2,000-year-old clay seal from the Second Temple that was used to show that payment had been made for offerings to the Temple.
The 1cm.-by-1cm. ancient seal was found with the words “Pure for God” written in Aramaic. It is one of the first discoveries that deals with the administrative aspect of the Second Temple, and helps put a human spin on the day-to-day activities of the period, said archeologists…”
The article calls this the ‘Second Temple’, because the First Temple was the one built by King Solomon (ca 950 BC and who I wrote about as the rich playboy in About Me) and destoyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Both Temples were built on Mount Moriah, the hilltop where Abraham was prepared to sacrifce his son (which we saw in Session 5 was an allusion – before the event occurred – to the death of Jesus).
The account of the building of the Second Temple is found in the book of Ezra. The prophetic books of Zechariah and Haggai also deal with this rebuilding in the period 536 – 516 BC.
This seal also lends support to the Gospel accounts of Jesus overturning the tables of the moneychangers at the Temple, since it reveals extra-biblically that a payment system was in place in this Temple. In fact, since this artefact is dated to be 2000 years old, there is a reasonable chance it was in actual use when those Gospel-recorded events took place.