Friday, August 22, 2008

Jesus in the Temple

Jesus in the TempleOur latest Bible picture story is of the 12 year old Jesus in the Temple, (Luke 2:41-51). Picture 1 shows Mary Joseph and Jesus stopping for a moment on a hillside overlooking Jerusalem. As they admire the view, many people are making their way to the temple for the Passover feast.

Picture 2 shows the family climbing the steps approaching one of the gates in the outer wall of the temple complex. Some artists have shown the Shofar being blown when depicting this story, I've checked this out from two sources and both have confirmed that the shofar was not blown at passover. If you would like to know what the shofar sounds like, click here. (It sounds remarkably like me practicing my bugle when I was in the boy scouts!) Picture 2 also shows Jesus carrying the sacrificial lamb on His shoulders.
Update: 31.08.08
I've been asked the question "Should the Lord Jesus, being sinless, have been taking a lamb for a sacrifice? Might this suggest that He had sins to atone for?"
The answer is no! The Passover is very different from the day of Atonement. The Paschal lambs offered at Passover were not considered as an atonement for sin, or a sin offering. Passover is a time when the nation of Israel celebrates the deliverance of the LORD by means of the blood of the lamb. For a more detailed explanation click here.
This was again foreshadowing the sacrifice of Jesus. Just as the Israelites were safe from Gods judgement as they took shelter under the blood of the lamb applied to the door posts and lintel, we can only be safe from the judgement of God on our sins by taking refuge under the shed blood of Christ which is applied when we fully trust in Jesus and His sacrifice as the only way back to God. (John 14: 6)

Picture 3 shows Mary and Joseph on their way home from Jerusalem and discussing where Jesus is. It was a three day trip from Jerusalem to Nazareth, so they were almost half way home when they realised that Jesus was missing!
Picture 4 (above) shows Jesus in the temple reading from a scroll. Mary and Joseph are looking on in the background. The Hebrew text on the scroll is readable and Jumbo, (our language expert), informs me that it's from Exodus 12!

Picture 5 (right) shows Mary and Joseph talking with Jesus. The viewpoint is from the 'Eastern Gate' looking across the 'Womens Court' to the Temple.
The bronze doors of the Nicanor Gate are now open revealing the magnificent 'Golden Vine' of the temple just inside the porch. The golden doors are open so the curtain, that was the subject of the 'Defending Rembrandt' post, is drawn across the entrance. You can just make out the Altar to the right of Jesus' shoulder. In the larger version of this picture you can see, (if your eyesight's good), a scarlet line around the waist of the altar.
There is no mention in the scriptures of a scarlet line around the Altar of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness nor in that in the Temple of Solomon, but according to Middot 3.2. a red line surrounded the middle of the Altar that stood in front of Herod's Temple.
Source 'The Quest' pg367.

It's now 3-4 days after the passover and work on the Temple has resumed as can be seen by the Herodian craftsmen carrying timber in the background of this picture.

Following our discussion on symbolism in the paintings of the earlier Bible artists, (see comments on the 'Elsie Anna Wood' post), I decided to add some symbolism into this picture. I've shown the body of Jesus touching the Altar, (although the Altar is some distance away). This is a reminder that, 21 years later, the 'Lamb of God' would be sacrificed, not on an Altar but on a cross, for the sins of the world.

A very short distance from this spot (the Holy of Holies) in Old Testament times, God had provided a Ram as a substitute for Isaac. This was a foretelling of Gods plan to provide a perfect sinless sacrifice (Jesus) to die as a substitute for the sins of the world so that "Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". John 3:16.

There are 5 pictures in this set which brings our total Bible picture count to 725.

Related posts:
What did Herod's Temple look like?
The Quest


Horseman said...

For these pictures, it seems that you have a slight variation in style. The colors seem more developed, … maybe. For certain there is less line work. To my eye it seems more realistic – and the lighting effect certainly adds to that perception. You made mention in the previous post comments that you have been criticized as having your art too busy (though I do not see it that way). Was your intention to reduce the emphasis on the line work to avoid this “business” in the art? Yes or no, my eyes like better what they see. Boy Jesus in the temple with the holy men is my favorite of yours so far!

Horseman said...

Sorry, meant to write "busyness", NOT "business" - my spelling is not so good.

deboraw said...

Graham, I agree with horseman. There is a variation in style, and it has a pleasant affect. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Hi Horseman/Deboraw
I have been reducing the opacity of the line-work so that the base colors show through. This has the effect of softening the pictures. The lighter the line work is the more 'painted' the pictures look.
I've been experimenting more with light and dark too. A hard black outline can give a picture more of a 'comic art' feel.

The criticism about some of my pictures being too busy I think referred to the amount of people, props etc that were in them.

There's actually 7 months between these two pictures. The first one I did back in February, the second one I finished last week!

deboraw said...

Levi wanted to hear what a shofar sounded like. I said, No, my son, you do not want to hear that. We were on the phone at the time. We both heard what the shofar sounded like. Lol. Why do they never listen? And at his age! Ha! Should I say thanks Graham. I was only deaf in one ear, but now...;p)Lol. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Now you know why I didn't take up the bugle professionally-!!

Unknown said...

Good to see, Graham, that you are making use of my research. I specially like the painting showing Mary and Joseph talking to Jesus. The Temple and surroundings look so much more realistic now. Congratulations.

Leen Ritmeyer said...

That last comment was supposed to have come from me and not from my son Daniel.

Bible artist said...

I was trying to figure out who Daniel was!
Thanks Leen. 'The Quest' has been enormously helpful.

Bible artist said...

I didn't follow Josephus' description of the 'Babylonian curtain' that you kindly sent me Leen as the curtain is some distance away. I will refer to that description though if I show a closer view of it. Thanks.

Paul Green said...

I also like the Mary, Joseph and Jesus illustration Graham. The framing, the sense of scale and the lighting contrast are all very effective.
It serves to highlight the gigantic task the young Jesus had ahead of him. Well done.

deboraw said...

Graham, Just curious, the scroll is from Exodus 12? Did you choose the 'scroll' or how did you come up with Exodus 12. How do you come up with different 'props' for the different pictures? Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Paul g:
Thanks Paul.

I copied the Hebrew text from a photo of an ancient Old Testament scroll I found on Google. I didn't know it was Exodus 12 until Nathan translated it! So I didn't choose that particular chapter.

I get hold of pictures of various items such as lamps, furniture, jars, tools etc from books, Bibles and web sites. I will then re-draw them to fit.

deboraw said...

Thank you Graham. Many of the illustrations that I have are devoid of logical backgrounds. For instance, one shows Jesus teaching...standing at a podium as our modern day preachers would do, which brings a thought...I know that the teachers taught sitting down, so...what would a 'teacher teaching in a synagogue' look like? The synagogue would probably be similar to their flat roofed houses with brick (?) walls? The Rabbi would be seated with his scroll of course? Well, back to work. Thank you much--Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Hi Deboraw
I've copied and pasted (below) a couple of exerts from past posts that talk about synagogues. Hope they're helpful:

I Found a couple of interesting things out recently to do with synagogues that might be helpful to other Bible artists also.

1). Synagogues in the days of Jesus were often built without roofs!
Coming from Manchester, which is famous for it's rainfall, the concept of a roofless building is a strange one! I don't think I've ever yet seen a Bible illustration that depicts an open-air synagogue, so watch this space!

Speaking of roofs, (or lack of them), Paul Beck left some helpful comments about them on my 'No more Domes'. post. Check it out! (Thanks Paul).

2). Synagogues were built on high ground
Whenever possible, synagogues were built at the highest point of a town or city. So, If you happen to be showing an external view of one, remember to illustrate the buildings around at a lower level.

It was also the practice of those involved in 'Idol worship' to build their temples on high ground, the idea being that they were closer to the false deities that they worshiped, (Sun Gods, Moon gods, etc). These are referred to in the Old Testament as 'The high places'.

Many Bible artists use the 'Star of David' as a Jewish symbol in their Bible pictures. For instance on decorative panels in synagogues etc. This symbol wasn't used till much later. Images of the 'Menorah' have been around for a lot longer, so perhaps a menorah would be a more suitable image.

deboraw said...

Thank you for that! Much appreciated. Sometimes I forget--I should check older posts, also. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

I like to point people to the older posts as there are well over 100 now, and I still do go back and add updates to them.
To make it easier, I've added the 'Posts by Topic' section too.

deboraw said...

Graham, I find the idea of a 'roofless' building interesting also, however, would it not in the drier climate be a good thing? Most houses/buildings were darker with few windows, and the light source was poor. A roofless building would give more light so that study would be easier. Roofless buildings could make the pictures of 'study' in the synagogue much brighter. Would the students have sat on the floor with clay tablets, did they learn in 'rote' fashion repeating the scriptures. I'm thinking of young people, but older men would gather for study also at certain times, I think--maybe? Deboraw

Nathan P. Daniel said...

The roofless building thing reminds me of when I was studying Nebuchadnezzar's palace for my project, which Saddam Hussein rebuilt during his reign--how considerate of him, haha. The throne room on the reconstruction has no roof, and this seems like the same thing as with the synagogues.

Now what we ought to do for that Exodus 12 text is translate the script from Modern Hebrew back to the Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew of Christ's day.


Bible artist said...

I get the message Jumbo. We can try to be too accurate on details that no one can see anyway! ;0)
I did copy the Hebrew text though from what was supposed to be an ancient fragment of scroll from Jesus' day on Google images!

If you go to the home page of the 'Nazareth Village Project' and click on their 'Best seller' link (bottom right), you will see the cover of the book 'The Nazareth Jesus Knew' which shows an interior photo of a reconstructed synagogue from the time of Jesus. You can see the stepped seating around the outside of the room.
This is a 'roofed' synagogue which as you can see is pretty dark inside.
(This is an excellent book by the way).

deboraw said...

Graham, Hey, that was pretty neat. I think a 'roofless' building would improve the light. I do try to check some of these things out, but time is always at a premium, so a point in the right direction is always welcome. I'm fascinated by the head coverings, the buildings, and the things that made life what it was. It does look like an interesting book. Maybe I could get a copy of (several) books for my husband, (uhmm, I'm sure he COULD read them, blink,blink) for the holidays. ;p) Lol! Thank you much. Deboraw

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