Last week, some visitors to the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem reported that they had seen the Second Temple reappear, and though the Messiah hasn’t yet arrived, the reports were indeed accurate. A new project from The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and ArchTour is perhaps the closest you can get to experiencing the Temple, at least until it is really built.
The newly unveiled project uses virtual reality, a new technology used mainly for gaming and entertainment, in a way its innovators probably did not anticipate: immersing the user in a religious journey. The participant sits while wearing a special set of virtual reality goggles, which put him into a three-dimensional depiction of the world of the Second Temple.
The tour begins in the open air shuk (market) in Jerusalem of approximately 2,000 years ago. It wanders by Robinson’s Arch and the Royal Stoa in the southwest corner in all their full glory, before passing in through the gates of the Temple. The virtual tour brings “visitors” through the Temple courtyards, past the altar, into the midst of the priests and their daily activity.
The tour ends inside the Temple, where the visitor can see the menorah, the seven branched lamp, and the rack that held the show breads. Though animal sacrifices are not shown, the High Priest is seen performing the ketoret, the daily service in which the incense composed of 11 spices was burned on the small ‘Gold Altar’.
And Aharon shall burn thereon incense of sweet spices; every morning, when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn it. Exodus 30:7