The Temple in Jerusalem that stood in Jesus’ time is commonly referred to as Herod’s Temple or the Second Temple. It was a total rebuild and upgrade of the much more modest structure built after Jewish people began to return to their homeland at the end of the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 3). It was completed about 520 BC. Herd began his reconstruction in about 19 BC. Parts of Herod’s structures were still under construction even as Jesus visited it during His ministry (John 2:20-21; Matthew 24:1-2).
There are lots of resources available to help us visualize what this structure and the complex surrounding it probably looked like. These resources are helpful because the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 and the current Temple Mount is occupied by an Islamic Mosque and the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine.
Here are a few resources I have enjoyed in my research:
- Discussion and images of parts of the “separating wall (soreg)” inside the temple grounds preventing Gentiles from approaching the main Temple building are found here and here.
- An extensive Wikipedia article on the “Second” (i.e., Herod’s) Temple
- A 14 minute animated video envisioning the reconstruction of the Temple by Herod’s workers
- A short 3D animation of what the finished Temple possibly looked like
- A 15 minute animated video of the destruction of the Temple in AD 70
- A large number of artistic drawings of the Temple from Solomon to Herod created by Leen Ritmeyer and his artistic team
- A 7 + minute animation of the Second Temple created with the help of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Our photo is by Berthold Werner and is available at the www.goodfreephotos.com website. It is from the large scale model of the 1st Century City of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.