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Church and BYU Team Up to Create Immersive 3D New Testament Jerusalem

Come and see!  That is the great invitation of the Gospel.

When Jesus launched his ministry of salvation so long ago and half-a-world away, he started with this invitation. Two of John the Baptist’s disciples saw Jesus passing by.  John declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples left from following John and thereafter followed Jesus who turned to them and asked, “what seek ye?”  In response they said, “Rabbi…where dwellest thou?”

“Come and see,” was his simple reply.

How many of us, like those two faithful disciples of long-ago, have desired to walk with him and see the places where he lived, walked, taught, healed, and saved?

Now a new digital tool makes that reality more accessible. The BYU Virtual Scriptures Group and the LDS Motion Picture Studio collaborated for more than five years to create one of the most stunning, accurate, and realistic 3D interactive representations of ancient Jerusalem ever created.


Walk through the vast temple courtyards while visualizing the many stories that took place there. Picture Jesus cleansing the temple (John 2:15; Matt 21:12). Explore the vast courtyard area around the Antonia Fortress where Paul was snatched from certain death by the Roman soldiers (Acts 21:26-40). Walk up to the “middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14) with its warning inscription that separated the Gentiles from the Jews. Walk through the gate where Peter and John healed the lame man (Acts 3). Walk into the Court of the Women where Mary brought the baby Jesus to be presented and where the widow deposited her two mites into the temple treasury. Ascend the 15 semi-circular steps where the Levites would sing and play their instruments before you enter the Court of the Israelites. Walk around the Court of the Priests where the sacrifices were performed and then burned on the altar. Go into the Holy Place and approach the veil that was rent at the crucifixion of the Savior. Walk into the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest could enter in antiquity.

Look at the ancient city from a bird’s-eye view. Select one of many different points around the city to explore the surroundings and click on the info dots. Come and see and understand the “lay of the land” and the relative distances that you read about in the stories of the New Testament. Visualize the walk of the blind man as he walked from the temple down to the Pool of Siloam with clay in his eyes. Look down at the city from the two different pinnacles on the south end of the temple mount to imagine what Jesus might have seen as the devil was temping him to throw himself down. Explore the region around the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the invalid on the Sabbath Day. Look down at the Holy City from the Mount of Olives as you read Jesus’ prophecies of her destruction (Matt 24). Explore the Kidron Valley as you contemplate the triumphal entry and the Savior’s long walk from the upper room to Gethsemane. Imagine the long and difficult path Jesus walked from there to Caiphas’ Palace, to Herod’s Palace, and then to Calvary.

Come and see!  Without money and without price.  Download for free at http://virtualscriptures.org/. Or search for “Virtual New Testament” on the Google Play or iTunes store.

Lead image courtesy of Taylor Halverson

Dr. Taylor Halverson is a BYU Teaching and Learning Consultant, an executive at Book of Mormon Central, co-founder of the BYU Virtual Scriptures Group, and travel leader to destinations worldwide (join Taylor on a delightful Book of Mormon Cruise from May 20-27, 2017: bountifultravel.com/may-20-2017-book-of-mormon-cruise/). Visit him at taylorhalverson.com.

Dr. Tyler Griffin is an associate teaching professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, the co-founder and co-director of the BYU Virtual Scriptures Group, and co-editor of a new book Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again: Daily Inspiration from the Prophet Joseph Smith.

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