The Book is Opened (8:1-5)
- And when He broke the Seventh Seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
- And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and Seven Trumpets were given to them.
- And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
- And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.
- And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it onto the Land; and there followed peals of thunder and voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
1-2 Finally, the Seventh Seal is broken, opening up to reveal the seven trumpets that herald the doom of Jerusalem, the once-holy City which has become paganized and which, like its precursor Jericho, will fall by the blast of seven trumpets (cf. Josh. 6:4-5). But first, in this grand heavenly liturgy which makes up the Book of Revelation, there is silence in heaven for about half an hour. Milton Terry comments: “Perhaps the idea of this silence was suggested by the cessation of singers and trumpets when King Hezekiah and those with him bowed themselves in reverent worship (2 Chron. 29:28-29), and the half hour may have some reference to the offering of incense described in verses 3 and 4, for that would be about the length of time necessary for a priest to enter the temple and offer incense and return (comp. Lev. 16:13-14; Luke 1:10, 21).”
Alfred Edersheim’s description of this Temple ceremony helps us understand the setting reflected here: “Slowly the incensing priest and his assistants ascended the steps to the Holy Place, preceded by the two priests who had formerly dressed the altar and the candlestick, and who now removed the vessels they had left behind, and, worshipping, withdrew. Next, one of the assistants reverently spread the coals on the golden altar; the other arranged the incense; and then the chief officiating priest was left alone within the Holy Place, to await the signal of the president before burning the incense. It was probably while thus expectant that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias [Luke 1:8-11]. As the president gave the word of command, which marked that ‘the time of incense had come,’ ‘the whole multitude of the people without’ withdrew from the inner court, and fell down before the Lord, spreading their hands in silent prayer.
“It is this most solemn period, when throughout the vast Temple buildings deep silence rested on the worshipping multitude, while within the sanctuary itself the priest laid the incense on the golden altar, and the cloud of ‘odours’ [5:8] rose up before the Lord, which serves as the image of heavenly things in this description.”
Following this awe-filled silence, the seven angels who stand before God are given Seven Trumpets (the Temple liturgy used seven trumpets: 1 Chron. 15:24; Neh. 12:40. St. John seems to assume that we will recognize these seven angels; and well we should, for we have met them already. The letters of Revelation 2-3 were written to “the seven angels” of the churches, and it is they who are represented here (granting, of course, that these figures are not necessarily “identical” to the angels of the churches). They are clearly meant to be related to each other, as we can see when we step back from the text (and our preconceived ideas) and allow the whole picture to present itself to us. When we do this, we see the Revelation structured in sevens, and in recurring patterns of sevens. One of those recurring patterns is that of seven angels (chapters 1-3, 8-11, 14, 15-16). Just as earthly worship is patterned after heavenly worship (Heb. 8:5; 9:23-24), so is the government of the Church (Matt. 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23); moreover, according to Scripture, there are numerous correspondences between human and angelic activities (cf. 21:17). Angels are present in the worship services of the Church (1 Cor. 11:10; Eph. 3:10) – or, more precisely, on the Lord’s Day we are gathered in worship around the Throne of God, in the heavenly court.
Thus we are shown in the Book of Revelation that the government of the earthly Church corresponds to heavenly, angelic government, just as our official worship corresponds to that which is conducted around the heavenly Throne by the angels. Moreover, the judgments that fall down upon the Land are brought through the actions of the seven angels (again, we cannot divorce the human angels from their heavenly counterparts). The officers of the Church are commissioned and empowered to bring God’s blessings and curses into fruition in the earth. Church officers are the divinely appointed managers of world history. The implications of this fact, as we shall see, are quite literally earth-shaking.
3-5 St. John sees another angel standing at the heavenly altar of incense, holding a golden censer. A large amount of incense, symbolic of the prayers of all the saints (cf. comments on 5:8), is given to the angel that he might add it to the prayers of God’s people, assuring that the prayers will be received as a sweet-smelling offering to the Lord. Then the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascends before God out of the angel’s hand, as the minister offers up the petitions of his congregation.
What happens next is amazing: The angel fills the censer with coals of fire from the incense altar and casts the fire onto the earth in judgment; and this is followed by peals of thunder and voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. These phenomena, of course, should be familiar to us as the normal accompaniments of the Glory-Cloud: “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound…. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently” (Ex. 19:16, 18).
The irony of this passage becomes obvious when we keep in mind that it is a prophecy against apostate Israel. In the worship of the Old Testament, the fire on the altar of burnt offering originated in heaven, coming down upon the altar when the Tabernacle and the Temple were made ready (Lev. 9:24; 2 Chron. 7:1). This fire, started by God, was kept burning by the priests, and was carried from place to place so that it could be used to start other holy fires (Lev. 16:12-13; cf. Num. 16:46-50; Gen. 22:6). Now, when God’s people were commanded to destroy an apostate city, Moses further ordered: “You shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God” (Deut. 13:16; Jud. 20:40; cf. Gen. 19:28). The only acceptable way to burn a city as a whole burnt sacrifice was with God’s fire – fire from the altar. Thus, when a city was to be destroyed, the priest would take fire from God’s altar and use it to ignite the heap of booty which served as kindling, so offering up the entire city as a sacrifice. It is this practice of putting a city “under the ban,” so that nothing survives the conflagration (Deut. 13:12-18), that the Book of Revelation uses to describe God’s judgment against Jerusalem.
God rains down His judgments upon the earth in specific response to the liturgical worship of His people. As part of the formal, official worship service in heaven, the angel of the altar offers up the prayers of the corporate people of God; and God responds to the petitions, acting into history on behalf of the saints. The intimate connection between liturgy and history is an inescapable fact, one which we cannot afford to ignore. This is not to suggest that the world is in danger of lapsing into “non-being” when the Church’s worship is defective. In fact, God will use historical forces (even the heathen) to chastise the Church when she fails to live up to her high calling as the Kingdom of priests. The point here is that the official worship of the covenantal community is cosmically significant. Church history is the key to world history: When the worshiping assembly calls upon the Lord of the Covenant, the world experiences His judgments. History is managed and directed from the altar of incense, which has received the prayers of the Church.
In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His Temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.
Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
And He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.
Then the channels of waters appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Thy rebuke, O LORD,
At the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils. (Psalm 18:6-15)
Several areas of the symbolic significance of trumpets are in view in this passage. First, trumpets were used in the Old Testament liturgy for ceremonial processions, particularly as an escort for the Ark of the Covenant; the obvious, prime example of this is the march around Jericho before it fell (Josh. 6; cf. 1 Chron. 15:24; Neh. 12:41). As G. B. Caird says, “John must have had this story in mind when he wrote; for he tells us that with the blowing of the seventh trumpet the ark appeared (11:19), and also that one of the consequences of the trumpet blasts was that a tenth of the great city fell (11:13).”
Second, trumpets were blown to proclaim the rule of a new king (l Kings 1:34, 39; cf. Ps. 47:5): “John’s seventh trumpet is the signal for the heavenly choir to sing their coronation anthem, praising God because He has assumed the sovereignty and begun to reign (11:15).”
Third, the trumpet sounded an alarm, warning Israel of approaching judgment and urging national repentance (Isa. 58:1; Jer. 4:5-8; 6:1, 17; Ezek. 33:1-6; Joel 2:1, 15). “John too believed that the purpose of the trumpet blasts and the disasters they heralded was to call men to repentance, even if that purpose was not achieved. ‘The rest of mankind who survived these plagues still did not renounce the gods of their own making’ (9:20; cf. Amos 4:6-11).”
Fourth, Moses was instructed to use two silver trumpets both “for summoning the congregation” to worship and “for having the camps set out” in battle against the enemy (Num. 10:1-9). It is significant that these two purposes, warfare and worship, are mentioned in the same breath. Gordon Wenham observes that “like the arrangement of the camp with the tabernacle at the middle, and the ordering of the tribes in battle formation, the silver trumpets declare that Israel is the army of the King of kings preparing for a holy war of conquest.” The irony in Revelation, of course, is that God is now ordering the trumpets of holy war blown against Israel herself.
Fifth, trumpets were also blown at the feasts and on the first day of every month (Num. 10:10), with special emphasis on Tishri 1, the civil New Year’s Day (in the ecclesiastical year, the first day of the seventh month); this Day of Trumpets was the special liturgical acknowledgement of the Day of the Lord (Lev. 23:24-25; Num. 29:1-6). Of course, the most basic background to all this is the Glory-Cloud, which is accompanied by angelic trumpet blasts announcing the sovereignty and judgment of the Lord (Ex. 19:16); the earthly liturgy of God’s people was a recapitulation of the heavenly liturgy, another indication that God’s redeemed people had been restored to His image. (This was the reason for the method Gideon’s army used to rout the Midianites, in Judges 7:15-22: By surrounding the enemy with lights, shouting, and the blowing of trumpets, the Israelites were an earthly reflection of God’s heavenly army in the Cloud, coming in vengeance upon God’s enemies.) The Biblical symbolism would have been very familiar to St. John’s first-century readers, and “in any case John himself has told them clearly enough that the trumpets were an escort for the ark, a proclamation of the divine sovereignty, and a summons to general repentance; and by placing them in the hands of the Angels of the Presence he has indicated their close association with worship.”
As J. Massyngberde Ford notes, there are four striking “reversals” in the text:
- From the Throne and altar, the “mercy seat,” comes wrath;
- Incense, the “soothing aroma to the LORD”(Lev.1:13), becomes an agent of death (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14-16);
- The trumpets, which called Israel to worship, now become heralds of her destruction;
- The heavenly liturgy itself, appointed for Israel’s sanctification, becomes the means of her overthrow and dissolution.
The First Trumpet (8:6-7)
- And the seven angels who had the Seven Trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
- And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown onto the Land; and a third of the Land was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
6-7 Not only reminding us of the fall of Jericho, the judgments brought about by the sounding of these trumpets also are reminiscent of the plagues that came upon Egypt prior to the Exodus. Together, they are represented as destroying one third of the Land. Obviously, since the judgment is neither total nor final, it cannot be the end of the physical world. Nevertheless, the devastation is tremendous, and does work to bring about the end of the Jewish nation, the subject of these terrible prophecies. Israel has become a nation of Egyptians and Canaanites, and worse: a land of covenant apostates. All the curses of the Law are about to be poured out upon those who had once been the people of God (Matt. 23:35-36). The first four trumpets apparently refer to the series of disasters that devastated Israel in the Last Days, and primarily the events leading up to the outbreak of war.
As the Seal-judgments were counted in fourths, the Trumpet-judgments are counted in thirds. The First Trumpet sounds, and a triple curse (hail, fire, blood) is thrown down, affecting a third of the Land; three objects in particular are singled out. St. John sees hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown onto the Land. The blood of the slain witnesses is mixed with the fire from the altar, bringing wrath down upon the persecutors. The result of this curse, which has some similarities to the seventh Egyptian plague (Ex. 9:22-26), is the burning of a third of the Land and a third of the trees, and all the green grass (i.e., all the grass on a third of the Land; cf. 9:4). If the trees and grass represent the elect remnant (as they seem to in 7:3 and 9:4), this indicates that they are not exempt from physical suffering and death as God’s wrath is visited upon the wicked. Nevertheless, (1) the Church cannot be completely destroyed in any judgment (Matt. 16:18), and (2) unlike the wicked, the Christian’s ultimate destiny is not wrath but life and salvation (Rom. 2:7-9; 1 Thess. 5:9).
To those pagans who scoffed that God had failed to rescue Christians from their enemies, St. Augustine replied: “The whole family of God, most high and most true, has therefore a consolation of its own – a consolation which cannot deceive, and which has in it a surer hope than the tottering and falling affairs of life can afford. They will not refuse the discipline of this temporal life, in which they are schooled for life eternal; nor will they lament their experience of it, for the good things of life they use as pilgrims who are not detained by them, and its ills either prove or improve them.
“As for those who insult over them in their trials, and when ills befall them say, ‘Where is thy God?’ [Ps. 42:10] we may ask them where their gods are when they suffer the very calamities for the sake of avoiding which they worship their gods, or maintain they ought to be worshipped; for the family of Christ is furnished with its reply: Our God is everywhere present, wholly everywhere; not confined to any place. He can be present unperceived, and be absent without moving; when He exposes us to adversities, it is either to prove our perfections or correct our imperfections; and in return for our patient endurance of the sufferings of time, He reserves for us an everlasting reward. But who are you, that we should deign to speak with you even about your own gods, much less about our God, who is ‘to be feared above all gods? For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the LORD made the heavens’ [Ps. 96:4-5].”
The wicked, on the other hand, have only wrath and anguish, tribulation and distress ahead of them (Rom. 2:8-9). Literally, the vegetation of Judea, and especially of Jerusalem, would be destroyed in the Roman scorched-earth methods of warfare: “The countryside, like the city, was a pitiful sight, for where once there had been a multitude of trees and parks, there was now an utter wilderness stripped bare of timber; and no stranger who had seen the old Judea and the glorious suburbs of her capital, and now beheld utter desolation, could refrain from tears or suppress a groan at so terrible a change. The war had blotted out every trace of beauty, and no one who had known it in the past and came upon it suddenly would have recognized the place, for though he was already there, he would still have been looking for the city.” Yet this was only the beginning; many more sorrows – and much worse – lay ahead (cf. 16:21).
- And the second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood;
- and a third of the creatures that were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.
8-9 With the trumpet blast of the second angel, we see a parallel to the first plague on Egypt, in which the Nile was turned to blood and the fish died (Ex. 7:17-21). The cause of this calamity was that a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. The meaning of this becomes clear when we remember that the nation of Israel was God’s “Holy Mountain,” the “mountain of God’s inheritance” (Ex. 15:17). As the redeemed people of God, they had been brought back to Eden, and the repeated use of mountain-imagery throughout their history (including the fact that Mount Zion was the accepted symbol of the nation) demonstrates this vividly. But now, as apostates, Israel had become a “destroying mountain,” against whom God’s wrath had turned. God is now speaking of Jerusalem in the same language He once used to speak of Babylon, a fact that will become central to the imagery of this book:
Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Destroyer of the whole earth, declares the LORD,
And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And roll you down from the crags
And I will make you a burnt out mountain….
The sea has come up over Babylon;
She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves.
(Jer. 51:25, 42)
Connect this with the fact that Jesus, in the middle of a lengthy series of discourses and parables about the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 20-25), cursed an unfruitful fig tree, as a symbol of judgment upon Israel. He then told his disciples, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it shall happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive” (Matt. 21:21-22). Was Jesus being flippant? Did He really expect His disciples to go around praying about moving literal mountains? Of course not. More importantly, Jesus was not changing the subject. He was still giving them a lesson about the fall of Israel. What was the lesson? Jesus was instructing His disciples to pray imprecatory prayers, beseeching God to destroy Israel, to wither the fig tree, to cast the apostate mountain into the sea.
And that is exactly what happened. The persecuted Church, under oppression from the apostate Jews, began praying for God’s vengeance upon Israel (6:9-11), calling for the mountain of Israel to “be taken up and cast into the sea.” Their offerings were received at God’s heavenly altar, and in response God directed His angels to throw down His judgments to the Land (8:3-5). Israel was destroyed. We should note that St. John is writing this before the destruction, for the instruction and encouragement of the saints, so that they will continue to pray in faith. As he had told them in the beginning, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it; for the time is near” (1:3).
The Third Trumpet (8:10-11)
- And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters;
- and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
10-11 Like the preceding symbol, the vision of the Third Trumpet combines Biblical imagery from the fall of both Egypt and Babylon. The effect of this plague – the waters being made bitter – is similar to the first plague on Egypt, in which the water became bitter because of the multitude of dead and decaying fish (Ex. 7:21). The bitterness of the waters is caused by a great star that fell from heaven, burning like a torch. This parallels Isaiah’s prophecy of the fall of Babylon, spoken in terms of the original Fall from Paradise:
How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
But you said in your heart,
I will ascend to heaven,
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly,
In the recesses of the north.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.
Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit. (Isa. 14:12-15)
The name of this fallen star is Wormwood, a term used in the Law and the Prophets to warn Israel of its destruction as a punishment for apostasy (Deut. 29:18; Jer. 9:15; 23:15; Lam. 3:15, 19; Amos 5:7). Again, by combining these Old Testament allusions, St. John makes his point: Israel is apostate, and has become an Egypt; Jerusalem has become a Babylon; and the covenant-breakers will be destroyed, as surely as Egypt and Babylon were destroyed.
The Fourth Trumpet (8:12-13)
- And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
- And I looked, and I heard an Eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe; Woe; Woe to those who dwell on the Land, because of the remaining blasts of the Trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!
12 Like the ninth Egyptian plague of “thick darkness” (Ex. 10:21-23), the curse brought by the fourth angel strikes the light-bearers, the sun, moon, and stars, so that a third of them might be darkened. The imagery here was long used in the prophets to depict the fall of nations and national rulers (cf. Isa. 13:9-11, 19; 24:19-23; 34:4-5; Ezek. 32:7-8, 11-12; Joel 2:10, 28-32; Acts 2:16-20. In fulfillment of this, Farrar observes, “ruler after ruler, chieftain after chieftain of the Roman Empire and the Jewish nation was assassinated and ruined. Gaius, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, all died by murder or suicide; Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa, and most of the Herodian Princes, together with not a few of the leading High Priests of Jerusalem, perished in disgrace, or in exile, or by violent hands. All these were quenched suns and darkened stars.”
13 The flying Eagle-cherub (4:7) rules the Trumpets section of the Revelation (cf. Hos. 8:1), and it is appropriate that St. John now sees an Eagle flying in midheaven, warning of wrath to come. The Eagle, like many other covenantal symbols, has a dual nature. On one side, he signifies the salvation God provided for Israel:
For the LORD’S portion is His people;
Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.
He found him in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
Like an Eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spread His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions. (Deut. 32:9-11; cf. Ex. 19:4)
But the Eagle is also a fearsome bird of prey, associated with blood and death and rotting flesh:
His young ones also suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there is he. (Job 39:30)
The prophetic warnings of Israel’s destruction are often couched in terms of eagles descending upon carrion (Deut. 28:49; Jer. 4:13; Lam. 4:19; Hos. 8:1; Hab. 1:8; Matt. 24:28). Indeed, a basic aspect of the covenantal curse is that of being devoured by the birds of the air (Gen. 15:9-12; Deut. 28:26, 49; Prov. 30:17; Jer. 7:33-34; 16:3-4; 19:7; 34:18-20; Ezek. 39:17-20; Rev. 19:17-18). The Eagle-cherub will reappear in this section of Revelation as an image of salvation (12:14), and at the end will be replaced by (or seen again as) an angel flying in midheaven proclaiming the Gospel to those who dwell on the Land (14:6), for his mission is ultimately redemptive in its scope. But the salvation of the world will come about through Israel’s fall (Rom. 11:11-15, 25). So the Eagle begins his message with wrath, proclaiming three Woes that are to come upon those who dwell on the Land.
Like the original plagues on Egypt, the curses are becoming intensified, and more precise in their application. St. John is building up to a crescendo, using the three woes of the Eagle (corresponding to the fifth, sixth, and seventh blasts of the Trumpet; cf. 9:12; 11:14-15) to dramatize the increasing disasters being visited upon the Land of Israel. After many delays and much longsuffering by the jealous and holy Lord of Hosts, the awful sanctions of the Law are finally unleashed against the Covenant-breakers, so that Jesus Christ may inherit the kingdoms of the world and bring them into His Temple (11:15-19; 21:22-27).
 Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ in the Canonical Scriptures (New York: Eaton and Mains, 1898), pp. 343f. See also Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1980), pp. 167f.
 Edersheim notes here that “the practice of folding the hands together in prayer dates from the fifth century of our era, and is of purely Saxon origin.”
 Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, p. 167.
 Tobit 12:15 speaks of ”the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.”
 To offer a sacrifice with “strange fire” (i.e., man-made fire, not from the altar) was punished with death: Lev. 10:1-4.
 For an in-depth study of this whole subject, see James B. Jordan, Sabbath-Breaking and the Death Penalty: A Theological Investigation (Tyler, TX: Geneva Ministries, 1986), esp. chaps. 3-5.
 The symbolic use of incense is therefore appropriate (but of course not binding) in the liturgy of the New Covenant.
 G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1966), p. 108.
 Ibid., p. 109.
 Gordon J. Wenham, Numbers: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1981), p. 102.
 Caird, p. 111.
 J. Massyngberde Ford, Revelation: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1975), pp. 135f.
 St. Augustine, The City of God, i.29 (Marcus Dods, trans.; New York: The Modern Library, 1950, pp. 34f.).
 Josephus, The Jewish War, vi.i.1.
 According to William Telford, this mountain was a standard expression among the Jewish people for the Temple Mount, “the mountain par excellence”; see The Barren Temple and the Withered Tree (Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, 1980), p. 119.
 F. W. Farrar, The Early Days of Christianity (Chicago: Belford. Clarke and Co., Publishers, 1882). p. 519.