Glimpses of Israel - Jerusalem (circa66AD)

by Joseph Hunting

Five hundred years prior to its destruction on the 9th Av (August) 586 B.C. the lavish splendour of Jerusalem during King Solomon's reign was revealed to the Queen of Sheba who commented, "I did not believe it until I came and my own eyes saw it. Truly the half has not been told me ..."

However, through the writings of the historian Josephus and the work of modern archaeologists much is now known of the Jerusalem that was again destroyed on the 9th Av 70 A.D.

King Herod was not satisfied with the Temple built over the ruins of Solomon's magnificent edifice. He was a builder extraordinaire. Even today there is the evidence of the magnificent towers he erected near the Jaffa gate, the incredible tomb he built for himself at Herodion and his winter palace at Massada. But his crowning masterpiece was the reconstruction of Zerubbabel's Temple which, in the time of Christ, had been "forty and six years in building." (John 2:20).

When I first visited the model of Jerusalem at the Holyland Hotel fifteen years ago I was spell-bound by the minute attention to detail its creator Professor Avi-Yonah had woven into the walls, towers and buildings of the Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans over nineteen centuries ago.

There it all was, just as it was when the Roman general surveyed Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus when he planned the siege and the City's ultimate destruction which took place in 70 A.D.

My thoughts raced to the passages in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles which spoke of Solomon's Porch in the Temple where Jesus taught during the Feast of Channukah and the Libertines' synagogue where Stephen preached. It was all there!

Those who had visited the model of Jerusalem before my first visit told me it was a MUST and like one who came to Jerusalem so many centuries before, "I did not believe it until I came and my own eyes saw it. Truly the half had not been told me ..."