074 - Silent Years - Synagogue

Link to presentation


Modern Judaism is very different from Jesus' Judaism which was distinct from David's Judaism, etc... We, as modern westerners, need to be aware of the religious evolution and history of Judaism to properly understand the Scriptures.


Synagogue started with groups of people at homes, not in a big building, after Exile, exploring a way to express their faith. Synagogue has 7 main elements. But note that all 7 are not found in every Synagogue building, but the 7 show up consistently


Basically a baptistry.

Synagogue was never meant to replace the Temple

Prior to AD 70, the doors to a Synagogue never faced Jerusalem in order to keep in mind that Temple was distinct. However, after AD 70 doors to Synagogues were built to face Jerusalem as a means of mourning the loss of the Temple

Mikveh was a ritualistic cleansing (not a conversion like baptism) basically every day, every time before you enter Synagogue.


The pillared section of the Synagogue which held up the roof.

  1. They didn't have the technology to span the desired length of the roof, so the columns/pillars were structural
  2. Had embedded windows to allow light into the center of the Synagogue in order to read God's light by God's light (sunlight)


Dead center is the Bema seat. (Bay-mah or Bee-mah but this isn't the bima seat of judgement in the NT)

Usually was just a slightly raised platform that someone would stand on as they read the text.

The Bema seat starts to move closer to a side of the room, as a stage, as Synagogues are influenced by Western culture. But in the Second Temple period the seat was always at the center so that God's people gather around the text.

Modern day churches have us gather more as an audience to see a performer rather than to gather around the text

Chief Seats

Everyone sat on the floor to hear God's word, but around the perimeter were seats for those who were "seasoned", "wise"... really it's that they were older and known as wise men in the community

Torah Closet

Where Torah was kept. Modern times there were more expensive and ornate art put here - the Torah Closet was the place where the valuable things were kept

This was introduced because prior to Exile the Jews might have been a people who didn't know the rules... yes they didn't follow them, but there wasn't a great system for making sure everyone knew them. So the Torah Closet existed to keep God's law safe and accessible by all of God's people

timestamp: 21 ish minutes - need to listen to Moses Seat again