Jesus never entered the temple in Jerusalem

‎”Jesus never entered the temple itself. He could not enter the temple because He was not of the family tribe of Aaron, nor was he a Levite. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.” (Chip Thompson)

A simple but amazing fact.

Added: Ralph reminds us to qualify this:

There were 3 sections to the temple – the inner most holy of holies where only the head high priest was allowed and he had to be of the Levite lineage; the next section was for the Levite priests only and it surrounded the holy of holies; the third section (called a courtyard) was for the house of Israel which Jesus would be allowed to enter as He was a Jew; and the last section (also a courtyard) was for the gentiles. So technically Jesus did enter the temple but was only allowed into the courtyard for the house of Israel – if my understanding of the layout of the temple is correct.

The force of the original point still stands, of course, but is qualified with the above. Thanks, Ralph.

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115 Responses to Jesus never entered the temple in Jerusalem

  1. grindael says:

    This may help. It is a schematic of Herod’s Temple:

    The outer courts were enclosed by magnificent colonnades. Along the east side of the outer court ran what was called Solomon’s Colonnade; it was here that Jesus was seen walking during the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) and teaching the multitudes. Before long it became a customary meeting-place for the early church (see Acts 3:11; 5:12).

    The large outer court was called “the Court of the Gentiles” because it was devoted to the foreigners who had come to worship God at the Temple and they could proceed no further. It is interesting that Jesus chose to stop at this place to show forth His anger toward the moneychangers, the Court of the “Gentiles,” and this was not the first time that He came to the aid of non-Jews.
    The profanity and abuse of the moneychangers was no small thing. They treated the foreign guests with much contempt and even the Jewish authorities constantly scorned this place and abused the pilgrims who came to worship.

    Heading east through the Inner Courts one would come to the Court of the Women. Its name is derived from the fact that Jewish women were admitted thus far (but no farther). In this court, at the west end, was the ‘treasury’, the section where there stood thirteen trumpet-shaped containers for voluntary offerings of money. Jesus was sitting ‘opposite the treasury’ when he saw the widow put into one of the containers the two copper coins which were all that she had (Mark 12:41-44).

  2. grindael says:

    The Inner Courts were on a higher level than the outer court. To enter into the Inner Courts one would have to pass through the western gate of the outer court and up a flight of stairs that had 15 steps to the first court which was the Court of the Israelites. This inner court measured 187 cubits (280 feet) long and 135 cubits (202 feet) wide, and surrounded the whole Temple Proper. Against the walls were chambers which stored the utensils required for the services. There were 3 gates on both the south and north sides, making seven entrances in all. 11 cubits of the eastern end were partitioned off by a stone balustrade 1 cubit high, for the men (the court of the Israelites), separating it from the rest of the space that went to form the court of the priests.

    The innermost court was the Court of the Priests, which excluded all laymen. In the eastern part of this court, opposite the main gates leading from the other courts and the eastern entrance into the Temple area, so that it could be seen from a distance, stood the great altar of burnt offering.
    In this latter court stood the altar of burnt offering, made of unwrought stone, 30 cubits (45 feet) in length and breadth, and 15 cubits (22 feet) high. West of this was the Temple, and between the Holy Place and the altar stood the laver of cleansing.

    At its west side stood the sanctuary proper, comprising (from east to west) the porch, the holy place, and the cubical holy of holies. Into the holy place the priests entered to discharge various duties, in particular to offer incense on the golden-incense altar, as Zechariah did on the occasion when an angel appeared to him and announced the forth

  3. grindael says:

    coming birth of his son John the Baptist (Luke 1:8-23). No ordinary priest could hope that the lot for offering the incense would fall to him on more than one day in his lifetime (if that); the day when Zechariah received the angelic announcement was in any case the red-letter day of his whole priestly career.

    A double veil separated the Hall from the Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest could access, once per year on the Day of Atonement. There was no furniture at all in the Holy of Holies. The High Priest entered on the Day of Atonement in the autumn, when he presented sacrificial blood to expiate his own sins and those of the nation, which he represented (Leviticus 16:1-34).

    As you can see, the woman’s court is open in front of the Temple Entrance, and on the left would have been the Temple Treasury. That is where donations were taken, where Jesus saw the widow give her “mite”. No one but Priests of the Tribe of Levi were permitted inside the Temple, even Jesus. This is not hard to research. _johnny

  4. Ralph says:


    Maybe Aaron should change his thesis and state that Jesus never participated in the priesthood ordinances/rituals in the temple and never went into the priest section because although where Jesus was may be ‘part of the temple complex’, as you put it, it is still classed as IN the temple in the Bible. As Grindael wrote and in my first comment, there were sections radiating out from the Holy of Holies which only certain people were allowed, so why the segregation if it wasn’t part of the temple? I am not arguing for LDS temples, I am trying to find out why someone who believes in the Bible as written is trying to qualify what it states. If it says Jesus was in the temple, then doesn’t it mean He was in the temple?

    And yes, I accept that you were in an LDS temple when you were waiting in the ante-room. I have seen 2 USA temples (Provo and Jordan River) and I know the set-up. Here in Australia the waiting room is separate to the temple so if you lived here you would not have been in the temple, so you’re luckier than the non-LDS Aussies 🙂 .

  5. Ralph says:


    We know most of what went on in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was on the earth – it was for sacrifies. All that came under the auspicies of the Levitical Priesthood, as you have determined. Since Jesus’ Atonement all animal sacrifices have been made redundant as Jesus is the one and only sacrifice that is necessary so no we do not do animal sacrifices in our temple today. But you already knew that didn’t you.

    As far as being of the tribe of Levi to hold the Levitical Priesthood, we believe that God has changed that caveat and now all can hold it, just like many non-LDS Christians point to a scripture in the Bible saying that all the believers are now the priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) when the priesthood before then was only for the tribe of Levi or specially chosen people for the Nazarite priesthood.

    And the Aaronic priesthood (as we call it today again as you know) still deals with blood sacrifice. The only duties of the Aaronic priesthood are to look after the physical aspects of the church building, teaching/assisting the members AND tending to the sacrament which is symbolic of Jesus blood sacrifice. All these were the duties of the Levitical priests in the Bible.

    These days the temple is officiated by the Melchizedek priesthood and thus its purpose is different than when it was officiated only by the Aaronic priesthood as it was during the Biblical times. But as an ex-member you should already know and understand all this.

  6. grindael says:


    The Temple Proper was a separate structure from the outside or “side structures”. They were not considered the “Temple Proper” though they were a part of what was called the “Temple”. “Temple Complex” might be a better term; those who were not of the tribe of Levi were allowed into the “Temple Complex”, but not the “Temple Proper”, which was “THE TEMPLE” In the Bible this “Temple Complex” is called “The Temple”, but it was not really the TEMPLE, it was the “Temple Complex” that Jesus taught in. Jesus was barred from entering the actual TEMPLE. Aaron is correct that Jesus could not enter the Temple.

  7. grindael says:

    After passing through the “gate of Nicanor,” which led from the court of the women into the court of the men”, one then encountered “another raised platform, to which access was gained by twelve steps, and on which THE TEMPLE, as already described, was situated.”

  8. grindael says:

    Also, more modern translations say Jesus taught in the Temple COURTS, not in the Temple itself:

    When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. (Luke 19:45)

    Matthew 21:12
    [ Jesus at the Temple ] Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

    Every day he was teaching AT the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. (verse 47 not “in” the Temple)

    This is only a few examples, there are many more. The Temple Courts were spoken of as the “Temple” in general speech, but they were not really the Temple. The inner courts were “holy ground”, that only Israelites could enter, (women restricted to the woman’s court), but these were still “courts” and not the Temple itself. Again, Temple Complex is a better term to describe this. But that is not the Temple itself, though it is referred to as such.

  9. Kate says:


    “we believe that God has changed that caveat and now all can hold it, just like many non-LDS Christians point to a scripture in the Bible saying that all the believers are now the priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)”

    Please don’t mislead. Mormonism teaches a totally different priesthood than Christianity. Mormon priesthood is not open to all believers (think women and non LDS men). As a member you know this.

    Thanks for all the information. I know this topic is easily researched. I just never thought to research it, I guess I still have some LDS teachings to work out of my system…..:) I learn something new every day!

  10. Kate says:

    You forgot to answer whether or not money is exchanged in the LDS temples and also what about Jesus saying he would not dwell in temples made by hands. Aren’t LDS temples made by hands? Funny how the LDS here tend to pick and choose what to answer and what to ignore. I try to answer everything directed at me the best that I can.

  11. Rick B says:


    Kate You said that Ralph forgot to answer somethings. Well here are a few more things Mormons cannot or will not answer.

    Why is it we read how the Jewish temples were run in the OT, who was allowed to enter, when they could and why.

    Yet the LDS temples are totally different. Jewish Temples in the OT were not so we could do secret hand shakes, or get to a higher degree of heaven, or we did not need to be questioned first and earn our way in. I thought according to what Mormons tell me, they are the restored version of Christianity, yet were nothing alike.

    Now saving the best for last, I was in Israel for two weeks and will be going back for 16 more days in August of 2013. Their what is called the temple mount institute, you can easily Google it, or even take a trip over to Israel. They tell you and show you videos of the former temples and their workings. They are waiting to rebuild the temple spoken of in the Bible that happens after the rapture of the church and gets defiled for the whole world to see by the anti-Christ in the last days.

    They will tell you they have everything already to go even the quarried stones and can rebuild the temple in 3 months or less, They even have all the garments used right down to perfect sizes and details based upon the old testament. Yet they will tell you as I asked and they told me, They are not Mormons, They dont follow or practice Mormonism. Funny how if Mormonism if of God, why did He never tells these people? Why are they going off of OT ideas when they should be going off (cont)

  12. Rick B says:

    Why are they going off of OT ideas when they should be going off the Modern restored version of the temples according to God and His prophets? Tells me something is wrong here. Ralph, care to answer this one? Now I know the LDS at times think we/I am just making things up and dont have a clue. Funny thing though, I can back up every time what I say and LDS never seem able to defend what they say. So here is some hard core proof if you cannot figure out how to Google all this yourself. When I was over in Israel at the temple mount institute I asked for a business card and they gave me one. Guess whats on it? A phone number and web address.

    Here is the link to the temple mount institute. and for all those to inclined to call and ask about Mormonism here is the phone number. 02-6264545 weird number and I dont know how to dial that for an international call, but if you want you can figure it out. Here is also a fax number if you want to send an request something. 972-(0)2-6574529

    So LDS people, you really should give serious study to whether Mormonism is true or false since eternity in the lake of fire is forever. And from what I can tell, many LDS dont really study like they say they do. I say that from the lack of answers or replies.

  13. grindael says:

    The Israelite Temple was God’s “sanctuary” on earth. It was built for a specific purpose, to have a place where the yearly sacrifice could take place. Why? To teach the tribes about atonement, and to prepare them for the Messiah, who would make the one and only sacrifice for the whole world. The Levites were chosen to carry this out every year. When Jesus came, he was sacrificed on earth, for the sins of the world and the yearly sacrifice was finished. The temple was rent when he died, and it’s purpose fulfilled. Jesus, after his resurrection, entered the “heavenly sanctuary”, as Paul explains,

    (Hebrews 9:1-28)

    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Verse 15)

    There was no no need for the Levitical Priesthood, and we have just one “Melchizedek” Priest, who was qualified, as Paul explains,

    “And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.” (Hebrews 7:15)

    Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews 7:26-27)

    Therefore, “…when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. (Hebrews 7:11-12)

    No Mormon “High Priest” can qualify for this, there is no need. God no longer dwells in temples made “with human hands”, because of the sacrifice of Jesus. This is all very simple, but Mormons have made it very complicated, and taken away the focus from Jesus and put it on Joseph Smith and men.

  14. fightinglee says:

    I think there should also be some discussion in this article that the requirement of Levite heritage and the act of offering sacrifice as temple worship may not be consistent.

    Gideon, a judge of Israel, was from the Josephite tribe of Manasseh. Commanded of God to build an altar, Gideon made an acceptable burnt offering to the Lord, and was in no way condemned for his action (See Judges 6:24-26). The prophet Samuel was from the Josephite tribe of Ephraim, yet he too offered sacrifices (1 Samuel 1:1; 1 Samuel 7:9-10; 1 Samuel 10:8; 1 Samuel 13:15). Many Bible scholars, and there is a general consensus. see this idea that only descendants of Aaron could offer sacrifices was a late (post-exilic) concept in ancient Israel. It led to such anomalies as the later chroniclers assigning Samuel to the tribe of Levi in 1 Chronicles 6:33-38 to justify his having offered sacrifices. It is interesting that the first sacrifice offered for the Israelites after they left Egypt was performed not by a Levite, but by Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, a non-Israelite (Exodus 18:12).

    I am not saying that Christ was therefore allowed to enter into the temple, but I will say that this idea of Levites performing the duty seems not to be consistent or entirely agreed upon. This really has very little bearing in the mind of most mormons. We also believe Adam did not perform his temple worship in an actual building. So, we do not doubt that Christ could have done whatever he needed to worship wise in the wilderness or wherever. The building is less important than the rituals.

    It does not appear Christ sees the temple as a worthy place of worship necessarily anyway at the time that he comes into ministry. He has to clear it because it has been made a den of thieves. In mormon belief, had the temple been defiled, it would no longer be a holy place of worship anyway and would need to be rededicated.

    Mormons believe that mountains, or high places of solitude can be temples. So in our view, therefore, Christ went up unto the Mount of Transfiguration with three of his apostles. He didnt just go anywhere, but it appears they went up onto a mountain.

    In Christian teachings, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth. This is noteworthy, because, in mormon theology, the temple is the connecting point where heaven and earth meet. That is where we would assume Christ entered the “temple”, so to speak.

    There is actually a lot of correlation there with mormon belief. You could write a doctrinal thesis just on this one experience, because it is an incredible point of doctrine that i think all christians (yep i am including mormons) overlook in research, symbolism, and overall coolness (sorry, lack of a better word).

  15. RikkiJ says:


    I’d like to help clarify your perception of Samuel. Samuel was not from the tribe of Ephraim. He was an Ephrathite. These are 2 different things.

    The word Ephraim is “אֶפְרַ֫יִם” whereas the place Ephrata, which is where the Ephrathites come from is completely different. Ephratah was a region in which Bethlehem was located (Micah 5:2). An Ephrathite was a person who lived in this region, and it is entirely possible for people from any tribe to live in this region. Once again an Ephrathite is a regional designation, whereas the tribe of Ephraim is a lineal designation. Zuph, the forefather of Samuel was from this region. On the other hand, Elkanah was ‘living’ in the hill country of Ephraim. This once again bears on his regional status, not his lineal status. There is no discrepancy with Samuel being a Levite. A person can be of Levitical descent and still be living in the hill country of Ephraim.(1 Samuel 1:1)

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