The Altar had three ramps and they were called a “kevesh.” There is a main ramp called a “Kevesh Gadol” that went up to the Altar, and going around the Altar was a platform called a “Saviv”, and there was a ramp going up to it called the “Kevesh Saviv.” Then there was another ramp that went down to the base of the Altar called the “Kevesh Yesod.” The blood from the particular korbanot was thrown above or below a red line that went around three sides of the Altar. It was also thrown at the corners. Next to the kevesh on the southeastern side there was a pile of ashes and bird remains after they have been slaughtered (skin, feathers, etc). There was a hole in the Azarah floor where these will be put.
West of the Altar you come to the 12 steps called “Ma’alot.” This is where the kohanim will stand when they give the priestly blessing from Num 6.22-27 during the Tamid service. Only the priests who have officiated in the morning service can do this blessing. As you come up the 12 ma’alot you come to an eight story high gateway. To the right there is a marble table and to the left there is a golden table, These were used for the Lechem Ha Pannim (“Bread of the Faces”) that were going to be put on and taken off the Shulchan Lechem Ha Pannim (Table of the Bread of the Faces). The incoming course of priests came in on a Sabbath, and the bread that was already on the table in the Heichal was replaced by 12 new loaves. The incoming bread was put on the marble table and the outgoing bread was put on the gold table. Altogether, there were 13 tables in the Azarah.
There was a veil or curtain, called a “Parochet” at this massive doorway called “The Heavens” and this was the veil that was torn when Yeshua died. The door was 40 cubits high (68.9 feet) and 20 cubits wide (34.45 feet). Inside that door was the Great Gate. When it was opened it was so loud you could hear it in Jerusalem. It was 20 cubits high (34.45 feet) and 10 cubits wide (17.22 feet). It was half the size of the outer gate called “the Heavens.” Above the Great Gate was four windows and before the gate was four pillars with golden vines hanging off them. These golden vines had precious gems as “fruit” hanging on them. People would donate a golden leaf or a gem and have their name put on the leaf. When this vine got too heavy, it would come down and the leaves and gems were used to support elderly priests or used for those who were sick. These leaves were nearly the size of a man.
The Court of the Women was called the Lishkat Ha Nashim. At the western end you have what is called the Nicanor Gate. There were 15 ma’alot (steps) leading up to this gate. There were 13 gates leading into the Azarah. Any gate that opened up to the Azarah had the kedusha of the Azarah, except the two small doors on the north and south side of the larger Nicanor Gate. These small doors, especially the one on the north, will play a role in several Temple ceremonies. The Lishkat Ha Nashim had four smaller chambers located outside of the court. At the southwest corner the was the Chamber of Oil; at the southeast corner there was the Chamber of the Nazarites. At the the northwest corner there was the Chamber of Lepers and at the northeast corner there was the Chamber of Wood.
Some may ask “What does all this Temple stuff have to do with me?” Here is just one small example of how knowing the Temple will help with an understanding of Bible prophecy. Most people who study Bible prophecy have heard about the Abomination of Desolation. But, most people don’t know that Ezek 8.3 refers to the Abomination of Desolation. We know that this idol will stand in the Heichal (Holy Place) according to Matt 24.15, but the passage in Ezekiel reveals there will be other places. Ezek 8.3 says, “And he stretched out the form of a hand and caught me by a lock (tzitzit) of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court where the seat of the idol of jealousy which provokes to jealousy was.” Where is the “north gate of the inner court?” This gate was called the “Shaar Ha Korban” or the “Sacrifice Gate.” The Abomination of Desolation will be a crucifix (Isa 40 through 46 describes it), which is the ultimate symbol in Christianity that the “sacrifices have been done away with.” We know that the false Messiah will be against the Torah because he is called “lawless” in 2 Thes 2. The word “lawless” is “anomos” which means against or opposed to the Torah. The Greek word used in the New Testament for Torah is “nomos.” The False Prophet will put the Abomination of Desolation (a crucifix is an idol) in the Holy Place, but he will also put one at the Sacrifice Gate to show that “no more sacrifices will be needed or brought through this gate again” and the sacrifices have been done away with in “Jesus.” The False Messiah will claim to be “Jesus” and that he is the “end of the law of sacrifices.” That is why the korbanot are stopped midway through the Birth-pains. This is just one, small example of how an understanding of the Temple can bring out more information about Bible prophecy.
As we have mentioned before, the Court of the Women was called the Lishkat Ha Nashim. It was a “lesser” courtyard because it had a “lesser” kedusha. The definition of kedusha is “to designate, to set apart for the service of God by formal and legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of periods of time are marked by limits on man’s activities of work.” So, as you go up in levels in the Temple, the kedusha changes with more restrictions and with certain activities that could only be done there. For example, the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim had the highest kedusha. But, the High Priest was the only person who could go in there, and that was only on Yom Kippur. Here is the concept of kedusha. There are many nations, but only one has a higher kedusha (Israel). There are many tribes in Israel, but only one has a higher kedusha (Levi). There are many families, but only one has a higher kedusha (Aaron). There are many priests, but only one has a higher kedusha (High Priest). There are many lands, but the land of Israel has a higher kedusha. There are many cities in the land, but only one has a higher kedusha than the others (Jerusalem). Jerusalem has many places, but the Temple Mount has a higher kedusha. The Temple Mount has many locations, but the Sanctuary has a higher kedusha. The Sanctuary has several locations, but the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim has a higher kedusha. The year has 12 months and many days, but only Tishri 10 has a higher kedusha. There are many languages in the world, but Hebrew has a higher kedusha than the others. The Hebrew language has many words and names, but only one name has a higher kedusha (YHVH). And on only one day do all these things with the highest kedusha come together, and that is Yom Kippur.
God is no respecter of persons and he is not partial, but we need to understand the concept of kedusha because that concept comes from him. That is one of the purposes of the Temple. It was to teach the concept of kedusha. That is why the Temple is called the “Beit Ha Mikdash” which means “House of Kedusha.”
The name “Court of the Women” is somewhat a misnomer. It certainly was for women, but it was a courtyard for assembly for everyone. Families gathered in this courtyard. We don’t have many ceremonies here, but there are things that take place here, and in the corner buildings. The court was 135 cubits long and 135 cubits wide, almost as long as a football field wide and long. It was a huge area. The buildings are described in Ezekiel and there was a controversy for a long time as to whether these buildings were on the outside or on the inside corners of the Lishkat Ha Nashim. Almost every picture of the Temple showed the buildings mentioned earlier on the inside, but we know now they were on the outside (more on that later).
In Part 5 we will pick up here and begin discussing the eastern Gate to the Lishkat Ha Nashim, the buildings just outside this gate and what they had to do with the Sanhedrin and the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer).