UNDERSTANDING OUR BIBLE
This week we will start looking at Jerusalem and how it plays an important role in the Bible.
A city rich in History, Traditions, and Cultures.
To view the pictures with this study go to my web.
Gen 22, God begins to fulfill his plan for the holiest city in the Christian world, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a religious center sacred to three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
In history, No other city has been beloved and fought over as Jerusalem.
This is a city that has been besieged about forty different times and destroyed (at least partially) on thirty-two different occasions. The rulership of Jerusalem has changed hands some twenty-six times. From the time of the establishment of the State of Israel in May of 1948 until 1967, the city was divided. Walls, barbed-wire fences and a desolated strip of non-human’s land cut through the very heart of the city, especially excluding the Jews from the Old City and the Temple Mount.
During the War of Independence when the Hagana used the home of a wealthy businessman – Mandelbaum – as a base of operations. When the cease-fire was declared in 1948, a “crossing point” opened next to the house and was called the Mandelbaum Gate.
Picture from my personal files.
It was the main crossing point for diplomats and Christian tourists until the city was reunified in 1967.
I shall never forget the experience I had in crossing through this Gate.
During that time the part of the Jewish Quarter was leveled and its synagogues burned. Jewish graves and monuments were desecrated or turned into latrines,
Since 1948 Jerusalem has experienced four wars. Jerusalem, “The City of Peace” has known wars and destruction since it existence was first known to us from the Biblical record.
Jerusalem has been fought over by armies of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mongols, Mamelukes, Turks, British, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Iraqis. Today some nations of the world consider it their responsibility and obligation to intervene in her politics and destiny.
After David’s death, Solomon (in 1015 BC began to “build a house for the Name of the Lord” (Chronicles 2 2:1). It took seven years and 183,300 men to build it the Temple, (Kings 1- 5:13-16; 6:38). It measured nearly 90 feet in length, 30 feet in width and 45 feet in height (1 Kings 6:2). The Holy Of Holies occupied one-third of the interior space, and the Holy Place, two-thirds. The complete details are described in Kings 1 – 6 & 7. When it was completed, the Glory of God filled the Temple (Chronicles 2 7:1).
Jerusalem was entirely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. The city and the Holy Temple were completely demolished and the articles of the Temple and its treasures were carried off to Babylon. Most of the inhabitants were taken to Babylon. Jerusalem was to lie desolate for seventy years.
The Ark of the Covenant disappeared at this time and has never been located as of this writing. Some make the claim that they have or know where it is. I will address this in the later lesson.
Seventy-one years later (445 BC) In 539 BC, Cyrus, king of Persia issued a proclamation to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a total of 42,360 people returned to Jerusalem and Judah to help rebuild the Temple, not including male and female servants and the musicians. All gave according to their ability, in order to finance the work.
In 167 BC the Greeks converted the Temple in Jerusalem into a show place to Greek idols.
King Herod refashioned it into an edifice of great splendor.
This temple—the last divinely approved sanctuary of the Jewish dispensation—was refurbished by Herod the Great commencing in 19 BC. It had been built in the days of Ezra, and was defiled and cleaned again in the days of the Maccabees, and was now raised to new heights of grandeur. Its construction was still going forward when Jesus blessed its courts with his presence, and it was not completed in every respect until AD 64, just six years before its last destruction.
Herod complained that the Temple of Zerubbabel was built like a fortress and was shorter than that of Solomon’s Temple by about 90 feet, because of a decree made by Darius, the Persian king. King Herod no doubt wanted to be remembered forever as the builder of the greatest temple of the Jews.
Although the reconstruction was equal to an entire rebuilding, still the Herodian Temple cannot be spoken of as a third Temple, for Herod even said himself, that it was only intended to be regarded as an enlarging and further beautifying of that of Zerubbabel’s.
The work of rebuilding the Temple began in 19 BC which was the 18th year of King Herod’s reign. There were 10,000 skilled laborers and according to Josephus (Ant. 15.11.2) the laity could not enter certain parts of the building, therefore 1000 Levites were specially trained as builders and masons, and carried out their work so efficiently and carefully that at no time was there any interruption in the sacrifices and other services. The work was started by leveling larger portions of the Temple Mount so that the new building might be erected on a broader base. It was also made much taller so that the white stone. gleamed in the bright Palestinian sun and could be seen from miles away.
The Wailing Wall today
A wall surrounded the whole area and a small portion of it remains to this day, known as “The Wailing Wall.”
Friday evening we could hear voices singing out as other voices join in devotions. The Sabbath, a holy day for the Jewish faith is beginning. The Jewish people would gather near “The Wailing Wall”. When we were there, no one was allowed to approach the wall for prayer as it was under guard by the Jordanian forces, We were told not to get close to the wall as they might think we were praying and would face arrest. This was in 1966.
This wall is the western wall of an ancient courtyard and for that reason, it is also referred to as “The Western Wall.” The Romans destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD after the Jewish people revolted against Roman rule.
The wall is the only remaining structure of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times until only part of the western wall remained.
While under the control of the Arab forces the Western Wall was subjected to far worse than semantic indignities. During the more than one thousand years Jerusalem was under Muslim rule, the Arabs often used the Wall as a garbage dump, so as to humiliate the Jews who visited it.
Moshe Dayan, at the
For nineteen years, from 1948 to 1967, the Kotel was under Jordanian rule. Although the Jordanians had signed an armistice agreement in 1949 guaranteeing Jews the right to pray at the Wall, not one Israeli Jew was ever permitted to do so. One of the first to reach the Kotel in the1967 Six-Day War was Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who helped revive a traditional Jewish custom by inserting a written petition into its cracks. It was later revealed that Dayan’s prayer was that a lasting peace “descend upon the House of Israel.”
Next lesson Friday we will continue the Temple Mound.
Travel and Education