Temple of the Lord

The Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, where all Israelite males were commanded to offer sacrifices to the Lord, underwent several stages of reconstruction and development over hundreds of years. The first Temple was built by King Solomon to replace the aging Tabernacle, and it was constructed on a threshing floor on high ground on the north side of the city. Hundreds of years later King Hezekiah expanded the platform surrounding the Temple. When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. the Temple was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after a group of Jews returned to Judea from exile in Babylon. Herod the Great completely rebuilt and expanded the Temple once again around 20 B.C., making it one of the largest temples in the Roman world. But Herod’s Temple did not last long: After many Jews revolted against Rome, the Romans eventually recaptured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70. Not far from Herod’s Temple were several pools where Jesus performed healings. Jesus often met with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, which lay across the Kidron Valley, and it was there that soldiers arrested Jesus. Further east was the Mount of Olives, where Jesus began his triumphal entry one week before his crucifixion, taught his disciples about the last days, and eventually ascended to heaven after his resurrection.

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