Visitors to Jerusalem know you simply cannot pack an entire visit into one day—there is just too much to take in! One of those cannot-miss places in your Jerusalem experience is the Southern Steps at the Temple Mount.
Located at the southern edge of the Western Wall, the Southern Steps may be slightly underwhelming at first encounter, but placed within context of biblical history, each step has its own story to tell! As commanded by God to Moses in Deuteronomy 16:16, the people of God made pilgrimage to Jerusalem and would ascend the Southern Steps to enter the Temple, after first washing the dust from their feet in one of the mikvot, or ritual baths. Even Jesus Himself and His family ascended these very stairs, which would have bustled with activity.
The steps are shallow and deep in some spots and perhaps a bit irregular in other places. This ensured a careful approach by worshipers and encouraged prayer and the singing of psalms and songs as they ascended.
Once at the top of the steps, pilgrims would enter through one of the two Huldah Gates, which are both still visible in the wall, even though they were sealed during the Arab/Crusader Era.
Another reason to visit the Southern Steps is based on the belief of many biblical scholars that this was the actual birthplace of the Church in Acts 2, as opposed to the traditional Upper Room location on Mount Zion. According to the context of Chapter Two, there would have been throngs of people in Jerusalem to commemorate the Festival of Weeks (or Pentecost). The Apostle Peter and the disciples are believed to have been among this group of faithful Jews and it would have also been the perfect venue for the Holy Spirit to move among the people after Peter’s sermon, when 3,000 Jews believed and were baptized.
And according to Acts 2:1–2, the reference to the “whole house” on the day of Pentecost gives credence to the Temple being that “one place” where “they were all together” in the house of God.
Be sure to ascend the Southern Steps when you visit Jerusalem! Make it happen
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