Feb 28, 2016
The Jewish Temple was the heart and soul of Judaism. Solomon's Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second Temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel in 520 B.C.; it was not nearly as grand as Solomon's. Then, in 20 B.C., Herod the Great began the work of expanding and remodeling the Temple mount and Temple proper. The scale of this project was such that it would not be completed until the early 60's A.D.
The Temple mount was greatly expanded with much of the area dedicated to a paved court to which both Jews and Gentiles had access. It was named the Court of the Gentiles. The Court of the Gentiles surrounded the Temple proper.
A number of tunnel walkways and arched bridges connected the Temple complex to the city streets to the south, west and north. In the days of Jesus the majestic beauty of the Temple was the source of both national pride and spiritual security for many Jews. Here the priests offered the morning and evening sacrifices and facilitated the burnt offerings, sin offerings etc., of worshippers all through the year. At Passover, the national Passover Lamb was sacrificed here. On Yom Kippur the blood of a bull and goat were sprinkled on the Mercy Seat above the Ark of the Covenant for the sins of the High Priest and the nation. The Temple was the central focal point for the Jewish faith. The Temple and its ceremonies brought many in Israel a sense of security.
Jesus had something very different to say about the Temple.