Glimpses of Israel - Jerusalem, The Second Temple Period

by Joseph Hunting

Since 1967 archaeologists have unearthed much of what remained of Jerusalem after the Romans had destroyed the city in 70 A.D. and the scale model reveals the grandeur of Jerusalem before it was reduced to ashes.

King Herod who reigned over Judea from 37 to 4 B.C. was responsible for the rebuilding of the Second Temple and for the many magnificent towers that served as fortifications. The base of one of these, the Phasael tower, is still clearly visible in the Citadel. Herod built the magnificent platform upon which stood the Temple. A portion of the retaining wall of this platform is the now famous Western Wall, the last remaining link with a glory Israel has not known for 2,000 years. The Temple itself was one of the most beautiful buildings of that day, being built of white marble and gold.

In the year 66 A.D. a general revolt broke out by the Jews against the harsh misrule of the Romans. The Roman governor of Syria Cestius Gallus failed in an attempt to crush the revolt and a fresh army led by Titus encircled the city in 70 A.D. The Temple was destroyed on the 9th Av. and the entire city was destroyed soon after.

Considering the important role the Temple played in Jewish affairs, both Solomon's and Zerubbabel's, together with the ostentatious additions added by Herod, plus the fact that there has been no Temple for nineteen centuries, the words of Messiah have great relevance: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:37-39)