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The Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
(Tiberian Hebrew: קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים‬ Qṓḏeš HaQŏḏāšîm) is a term in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle where God
God
dwelt. The Ark is said to have contained the Ten Commandments, which were given by God
God
to Moses
Moses
on Mount Sinai. It is thought to be located under the Dome of the Rock. The area was defined by four pillars which held up the veil of the covering under which the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
was held off the floor by two staves. Three hundred years later, it was the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
was kept during the First Temple.

Contents

1 Hebrew terminology and translation 2 Ancient Israel

2.1 Tabernacle 2.2 Solomon's Temple 2.3 Second Temple 2.4 Day of Atonement 2.5 Instructions for the Tabernacle

3 In ancient Judaism 4 In Rabbinical Judaism

4.1 Synagogue
Synagogue
architecture 4.2 Modern location

5 Christianity

5.1 New Testament 5.2 Christian traditions

5.2.1 Eastern Orthodox Church 5.2.2 Ethiopian Orthodox Church 5.2.3 Malabar Nasrani tradition 5.2.4 Roman Catholic Church 5.2.5 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

6 See also 7 References

Hebrew terminology and translation[edit] The construction "Holy of Holies" is a literal translation of a Hebrew idiom which is intended to express a superlative. Examples of similar constructions are "servant of servants" (Gen 9:25), "Sabbath of sabbaths" (Ex 31:15), " God
God
of gods" (Deut 10:17), "Vanity of vanities" (Eccl 1:2), "Song of songs" (Song of Songs 1:1), "king of kings" (Ezra 7:12), etc. In the Authorized King James Version, "Holy of Holies" is always translated as "Most Holy Place". This is in keeping with the intention of the Hebrew idiom to express the utmost degree of holiness. The King James Version of the Bible has been in existence for over four hundred years. For most of that time, it was a primary reference in much of the English speaking world for information about Judaism. Thus, the name "Most Holy Place" was used to refer to the "Holy of Holies" in many English documents.

Depiction of a Jewish High Priest
High Priest
wearing Hoshen
Hoshen
and Ephod
Ephod
included as an illustration in a Christian Bible; the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
is in the background (1890, Holman Bible)

A related term is the debir (דְּבִיר‬) transliterated in the Septuagint
Septuagint
as dabir (δαβιρ),[1] which either means the back (i.e. western) part of the Sanctuary,[2] or derives from the verb stem D-V-R, "to speak", justifying the translation in the Latin Vulgate
Vulgate
as oraculum, from which the traditional English translation "oracle" (KJV, 1611) derives.[3] Ancient Israel[edit]

layout of the tabernacle with the holy and holy of holies

Tabernacle[edit] The Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
was covered by a veil, and no one was allowed to enter except the High Priest, and even he could only enter once a year on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
(the day of atonement), to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense before the mercy seat. The Bible reports that in the wilderness, on the day that the tabernacle was first raised up, the cloud of the Lord covered the tabernacle (Exodus 40:33-40:34). There are other times that this was recorded, and instructions were given that the Lord would appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat (kapporet), and at that time the priests should not enter into the tabernacle (Leviticus 16:2). According to the Hebrew Bible, the Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
with representation of Cherubim. Upon completion of the dedication of the Tabernacle, the Voice of God
God
spoke to Moses
Moses
"from between the Cherubim" (Numbers 7:89). The area could be entered only by the High Priest
High Priest
on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
after sanctifying himself Solomon's Temple[edit] The Holy of Holies, the most sacred site in Judaism, is the inner sanctuary within the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
and Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
when Solomon's Temple and the Second Temple
Second Temple
were standing. The Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
was located in the westernmost end of the Temple building, being a perfect cube: 20 cubits by 20 cubits by 20 cubits. The inside was in total darkness and contained the Ark of the Covenant, gilded inside and out, in which was placed the Tablets of the Covenant. According to Hebrews 9:4 in the New Testament, Aaron's rod
Aaron's rod
and a pot of manna were also in the ark. The Ark was covered with a lid made of pure gold, known as the "mercy seat" (Exodus 37:6) which was covered by the beaten gold cherubim wings. Creating the space for the Divine Presence.[citation needed] Second Temple[edit] When the Temple was rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity, the Ark was no longer present in the Holy of Holies; instead, a portion of the floor was raised slightly to indicate the place where it had stood. Josephus
Josephus
records that Pompey
Pompey
profaned the Temple by insisting on entering the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
in 63 BCE. Day of Atonement[edit] Main article: Yom Kippur The Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
was entered once a year by the High Priest
High Priest
on the Day of Atonement, to sprinkle the blood of sacrificial animals (a bull offered as atonement for the Priest and his household, and a goat offered as atonement for the people) and offer incense upon the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat which sat on top of the ark in the First Temple
First Temple
(the Second Temple
Second Temple
had no ark and the blood was sprinkled where the Ark would have been and the incense was left on the Foundation Stone). The animal was sacrificed on the Brazen Altar
Brazen Altar
and the blood was carried into the most holy place. The golden censers were also found in the Most Holy Place. Instructions for the Tabernacle[edit] According to the Hebrew Bible, in order that God
God
may dwell among the Israelites, God
God
gave Moses
Moses
instructions for erecting a sanctuary. The directions provide for:

A wooden ark, gilded inside and outside, for the Tablets of the Covenant, with a pure gold cover as the "mercy seat" for the Divine Presence; A gilt table for the "Table of Showbread", on which loaves of bread were arranged; A golden menorah, lampstand of 7 oil lamps for a light never to be extinguished; The dwelling, including the curtains for the roof, the walls made of boards resting on silver feet and held together by wooden bolts, the purple curtain veiling the Holy of Holies, the table and candlestick, and the outer curtain; A sacrificial altar made of bronzed boards for its korban/sacrifice; The outer court formed by pillars resting on bronze pedestals and connected by hooks and crossbars of silver, with embroidered curtains; Recipe and preparation of the oil for the Lampstand.

In ancient Judaism[edit] The Magdala stone
Magdala stone
is thought to be a representation of the Holy of Holies carved before the destruction of the Temple in the year 70.[4] In Rabbinical Judaism[edit]

Women praying in the tunnel at the closest physical point not under Islamic Waqf jurisdiction to the Holy of Holies

Traditional Judaism
Judaism
regards the location where the inner sanctuary was originally located, on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
in Mount Moriah, as retaining some or all of its original sanctity for use in a future Third Temple. The exact location of the Kodesh Hakodashim[under discussion] is a subject of dispute. Traditional Judaism
Judaism
regards the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
as the place where the presence of God
God
dwells. The Talmud
Talmud
gives detailed descriptions of Temple architecture and layout. According to the Babylonian Talmud Tractate Yoma, the Kodesh Hakodashim is located in the center North-South but significantly to the West from an East–West perspective, with all the major courtyards and functional areas lying to its east. The Talmud
Talmud
supplies additional details, and describes the ritual performed by the High Priest. During the ritual, the High Priest
High Priest
would pronounce the Tetragrammaton, the only point according to traditional Judaism
Judaism
that it was pronounced out loud. According to Jewish tradition, the people prostrated themselves fully on the ground when it was said. According to the Talmud, the High Priest's face upon exit from the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
was radiant.[citation needed] While under normal circumstances, access to the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
was restricted to the High Priest
High Priest
and only on Yom Kippur, the Talmud suggests that repair crews were allowed inside as needed but were lowered from the upper portion of the room via enclosures so that they only saw the area they were to work on.[5][6] Synagogue
Synagogue
architecture[edit] Judaism
Judaism
regards the Torah ark, a place in a synagogue where the Torah scrolls are kept, as a miniature Holy of Holies. Modern location[edit]

The Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone
under the Dome of the Rock, a possible historical location for the Kodesh Hakodashim.

At present it is conjectured that it is located under the Dome of the Rock which stands on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
in Jerusalem, though the exact location of the Most Holy Place
Most Holy Place
is not known with absolute certainty. Most Orthodox Jews today completely avoid climbing up to Temple Mount, to prevent them from accidentally stepping on the Most Holy Place
Most Holy Place
or any sanctified areas. A few Orthodox Jewish authorities, following the opinion of the medieval scholar Maimonides, permit Jews to visit parts of the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
known not to be anywhere near any of the sanctified areas. Orthodox Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, who come especially from those groups associated with the Temple Institute and its efforts to rebuild a Temple, seek to conform to the minimal requirements for coming near the Temple, such as immersing in a mikvah ("collection of water"), not coming during or following menstruation or immediately following a seminal emission, not showing their back towards its presumed location, and other strictures. To avoid religious conflict, Jewish visitors caught praying or bringing ritual objects are usually expelled from the area by police.[7] Christianity[edit] New Testament[edit] The Greek New Testament
New Testament
retains the pre-Christian Septuagint
Septuagint
phrase "Holy of the Holies" hágion (sg n) tōn hagíōn (ἅγιον τῶν ἁγίων)[8] without the definite article as "Holies of Holies" hágia (pl n) hagíōn (ἅγια ἁγίων)[9] in Hebrews 9:3. In the Vulgate, these are rendered as sanctum sanctorum and sancta sanctorum, respectively. Christian traditions[edit]

This section needs expansion with: Seventh-Day Adventists. You can help by adding to it. (October 2014)

Certain branches of Christianity, including the Eastern Orthodox Church,[citation needed] and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
continue to have a tradition of a Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
which they regard as a most sacred site. The ciborium, a permanent canopy over the altar in some churches, once surrounded by curtains at points in the liturgy, symbolizes the Holy of Holies. Some Christian churches, particularly the Catholic Church, consider the Church tabernacle, or it's location(often at the rear of the sanctuary), as their symbolic equivalent of the Holy of Holies, due to the storage of consecrated host in that vessel. Eastern Orthodox Church[edit] Main article: iconostasis The Greek phrase refers to the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
or Temple. The name in Greek for the Sanctuary
Sanctuary
of a Church is Ἱερόν Βῆμα (Hieron Vema, see Bema#Christianity), in Russian it is called Святой Алтарь (Svyatoy Altar), and in Romanian it is called Sfântul Altar. Ethiopian Orthodox Church[edit] A cognate term in Ge'ez is found in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: Qidduse Qiddusan, referring to the innermost sanctuary of an Orthodox Christian church, where the tabot is kept and only clergy may enter. This is also called the "Bete Mekdes. Every Ethiopian Orthodox Church has one, and it is covered with a Curtain. There are Three ways to enter (most of the time) and those three doors are also a way to reveal the Holy Trinity. In the middle there is always an Altar where the Church's Tabot
Tabot
is kept. There can be as many altars as the number of Tabots."[10] Malabar Nasrani tradition[edit]

A church of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Catholic Church
in Kerala, South India still following the Jewish Christian
Jewish Christian
tradition of keeping the Holy of Holies veiled by a red curtain in the tradition of the Ancient Temple of Jerusalem, much like their Orthodox counterparts viz. the Jacobite Syrian Church and the Indian Orthodox Church.

The Saint Thomas Christians
Saint Thomas Christians
(also known as Nasrani or Syrian Christians) from Kerala, South India
South India
still follow much Jewish Christian tradition.[11] In Nasrani tradition the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
is kept veiled for much of the time. The red veil covers the inner altar or the main altar. It is unveiled only during the central part of the main Nasrani ritual. The main ritual of the Saint Thomas Christians
Saint Thomas Christians
is the Qurbana
Qurbana
(derived from the Syriac word "Qurobo" meaning "sacrifice").[11] Roman Catholic Church[edit] The Latin Vulgate
Vulgate
Bible translates Qṓḏeš HaqQŏḏāšîm as Sanctum sanctorum (Ex 26:34). Reproducing in Latin the Hebrew construction, the expression is used as a superlative of the neuter adjective sanctum, to mean "a thing most holy". It is used by Roman Catholics to refer to holy objects beyond the Holy of Holies, and is specifically often used as an alternative name for a tabernacle, due to the object being a storage chamber for consecrated host and thus where the presence of God
God
is most represented. The Vulgate
Vulgate
also refers to the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
with the plural form Sancta sanctorum (2 Chr 5:7), arguably a synecdoche referring to the holy objects hosted there. This form is also used more broadly in Catholic tradition with reference to sanctuaries other than the Temple in Jerusalem. A notable example is for the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Palatio ad Sancta Sanctorum, a chapel in the complex of St John Lateran in Rome. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit] Main article: Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
(LDS Church) The Salt Lake Temple
Salt Lake Temple
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) contains a Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
wherein the church's president—acting as the Presiding High Priest—enters to fulfill the relationship between the High Priest
High Priest
of Israel and God
God
in accordance with the LDS interpretation of the Book of Exodus
Book of Exodus
(Exodus 25:22) and Mormon religious texts. See also[edit]

Foundation Stone, the rock at the centre of the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
in Jerusalem Honden, the most sacred building at a Shinto shrine Most Holy Place, in various religions Sanctum sanctorum, a Latin translation of the biblical term Holy of Holies Solomon's Temple, in ancient Jerusalem Warren's Gate, an ancient entrance into the Temple platform in Jerusalem

References[edit]

^ Strong's Concordance, Gesenius devir ^ The Solomonic Debir according to the Hebrew Text of I Kings 6 J. Ouellette - Journal of Biblical Literature, 1970 - JSTOR "The immediate implication of this reading is that the holy of holies was built "from within the debir," that is ... The LXX simply transliterates dabir, while the Vulgate
Vulgate
has "oraculum", thus suggesting a derivation from dbr "to speak." ^ The Damaged "blueprints" of the Temple of Solomon. L. Waterman - Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1943 - JSTOR "The term "holy of holies" has long been accepted as a later descriptive term applied to the debir. The Hebrew word debir, rendered "oracle" in the versions, is a mistranslation based on a false etymology. The term itself signifies only the back or part behind, for example." ^ Kershner, Isabel (8 December 2015). "A Carved Stone Block Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2015.  ^ Talmud
Talmud
Mas. Pesachim 26a ^ Talmud
Talmud
Mas. Eiruvin 105a ^ Shragai, Nadav (1 September 2003). "Three Jews Expelled from Temple Mount for Praying". Haaretz. Retrieved 12 April 2017.  ^ "Ezekiel". google.com.  ^ "NEW ADVENT BIBLE: Hebrews 9". newadvent.org.  ^ Stuart C. Munro-Hay, Ethiopia, the unknown land: a cultural and historical guide, (London: I.B.Tauris, 2002). p. 50 ^ a b Ross, Israel J. (1979). "Ritual and Music in South India: Syrian Christian Liturgical Music in Kerala". Asian Music. 11 (1): 80–98.

v t e

Temple in Jerusalem

Structures

Tabernacle First Temple
First Temple
/ Solomon's Temple Second Temple
Second Temple
/ Ezra's Temple / Herod's Temple Third Temple
Third Temple
/ Ezekiel's Temple

Elements

Altar Ark of the Covenant Shekhinah Holy of Holies Seven-branched candelabrum Foundation Stone Mercy seat Solomon's Porch Temple treasury Boaz and Jachin Western Wall Warren's Gate Western Stone Wilson's Arch The Sanctuary Molten Sea Urn for ashes of the Red Heifer

Priesthood

Priestly sash Ephod Holy anointing oil Priestly breastplate Priestly tunic High Priest Sacrifice Priestly robe Priestly undergarments Priestly turban Priestly divisions Shemen Afarsimon Priestly crown Urim and Thummim Priestly covenant

History

Bar Kokhba revolt Siege of Jerusalem Tisha B'Av Judaea Capta coinage

Temple Mount

Gates Excavations Mount Zion City of David

See also

Replicas of the Jewish Temple Navel of the World Temple Denial

v t e

Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
topics

People

Moses Kohanim High Priest
High Priest
of Israel Israelites Levites Bezalel Tribe of Judah Oholiab Kehath Tribe of Levi Jeremiah Joshua Samuel Solomon Menelik I

Contents

Tablets of Stone Ten Commandments Manna Aaron's rod Cherub

Locations

Mount Sinai Jericho Jordan River Holy of Holies Tabernacle Ai Shiloh Gibeah Gilgal Eben-Ezer Philistia Beth Shemesh Kiriath-Jearim Temple Mount Dome of the Rock Well of Souls Cathedral of Chartres Tana Qirqos Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion

Related

The Sign and th

.