"No foreigner is to enter within the balustrade and embankment around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his death which follows." Both Greek (above and there are 2 Greek signs discovered) and Latin versions of this warning were posted at regular intervals around the balustrade).The engraved block of limestone is about 22 inches high by 33 inches long. Each letter was nearly 1 1/2 inches high and originally painted with red ink against the white limestone. Part of another sign was unearthed in 1936. Currently locatated in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul, Turkey. It is a fairly well-known and understood archaeological find, labeled CIJ 2.1400
Rather more obscure is CIJ 2.1404 The Theodotus Inscription. Not all of the Second (or First) Temple is completely understood. 75 centimeters long.
The Theodotus inscription (CIJ 2.1404) was discovered in a Jerusalem cistern by R. Weill in 1913. It dates to the first century AD prior to the Temple's destruction. Significantly, the inscription reveals that three generations of priests served as the "rulers of the synagogue" (archisynagôgoi - the Greek word) mentioned in the dedication. Translation:
Theodotus, (son) of Vettenus, priest and
archisynagôgos, son of an archisynagôgos,
grandson of an archisynagôgos, built
the synagogue for the reading of the law and
the teaching of the commandments, and
the guest-chamber and the rooms and the
water installations for lodging for those needing them
from abroad, which his fathers, the elders
and Simonides founded
The area, above, is the larger map with the area pointing to the pool where the stone was found. The area C2 is where the stone was located, below in the larger map.
1913 photo of the discovery. Along with the inscription, additional artifacts were found in the cistern. They had been deliberately deposited there. Perhaps one of the members of the congregation, or someone who had received from their hospitality, planned to return to the site after the destruction of Jerusalem and buried the remains of the building, hoping to reconstruct it someday.
Max McLean Audio Bible, English Standard Version
1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists [Greek-speaking Jews] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, [brothers and sisters] pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”
15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
All of these people being obedient to the faith - until it comes to power, jealousy, and seeking to kill Stephen. Preceding the lies and the plots to kill, we saw in Acts 5 multitudes have come to the Temple. The Theodotus Inscription describes itself as a Synagogue having a worship place and lodging place for foreigners. Acts 5 had the disciples moving directly into Solomon's Porch, part of the Temple Mount. Acts 6 describes them in the Foreigners Freedman Synagogue.
This is overlooked. Not only did the disciples convert like a rocket - from hiding while the women go to anoint Jesus' body, but they are so bold, they are holding religious services openly as part of the Synagogue place reserved for Gentiles and doing service for Christ in the actual Temple. How did they have this boldness.... incredible.... priests were being converted.
Doesn't the statue say something about this? This is Glenna Goodacre's statue, not of Stephen, but the joy these men had to carry on Jesus' words and works. Jesus was tried at night by the High Priests, stripped, beaten almost to death, paraded, yet not destroyed. Even Josephus, the Judean General who switched sides to Rome to become the historian to 3 Emperors, wrote the Christians didn't disband after their Christ was killed. " After the Crucifixion of Jesus, James the brother of Jesus became the leader of the Jewish sect that would become known as Jewish Christianity. James "the Just", remained its leader until he was martyred c.62 AD."
Paul was the last of the men referred to as disciples to see the Resurrected Jesus. He proclaimed. John wrote 16 times of the Glory of Jesus. Peter wrote of the Glory. Sometimes today, we forget how the obscure death of one Man, who died for our sins, rocked the planet in just a few years. In less than 16 years, Emperors of the Roman Empire were bent on destroying all the people they could lay hands on for worshiping the Son of God.
1 Timothy 3:16
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory!