What are the differences and similarities between a synagogue and a temple?
The temple was a fancy building in Jerusalem where Jews worshiped. On special occasions, like the feast of Passover, Jews would travel to the temple (Luke 2:41). Only the priests were allowed to enter the temple (2 Chronicles 26:18). Here the priests would offer sacrifices for the sins of the people (2 Chronicles 7:12). The temple in Jerusalem was the center of worship for the Jews (John 4:20).
Synagogues also were places where Jews worshiped. But unlike the temple, there were many of these buildings in different locations (Mark 1:21). The Jewish synagogue probably arose when the Jews were slaves in Babylon. During this time, the Jews were far away from their homeland and the temple was completely destroyed. So, they could not go to the temple to worship God. Jews formed synagogues as places of worship and to study the Law of Moses. This practice continued after the temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem (Psalm 74:8). Since Jews met each week in synagogues, Jesus and the apostles often taught in them (Luke 4:15; Acts 17:1-2).
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