Overview of the Temple of Herod

The Temple Jesus knew was the Temple renovated, enlarged and beautified by Herod the Great. Architecturally it was new; religiously it was still Zerubbabel's Temple, rebuilt after the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile. The six centuries between the return from exile and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD are known in Jewish history as the age of the second Temple. Even though the synagogue was the commonplace of local Jewish life and worship, the Jerusalem temple was the commonplace of national Jewish life and worship. The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem told the world the fact that there is only one God. The synagogue was mainly a place of instruction, yet the Temple differed greatly, being a place of sacrifice. Jews within Israel, and those who lived outside Israel (the Diaspora), saw the Temple as the symbol of unity. Every year, Jews throughout the world send large contributions to the Temple, and most Jews longed for the opportunity to visit the Temple at least once in their lifetime. The Temple courts were always crowded, and Temple worship and sacrifices happened every morning and every evening.

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