According to statistics the modern city of Jerusalem has eleven gates, of which only seven gates are open. The eastern gate has been long sealed shut symbolizing the denial of entry to the Messiah into Jerusalem. This is a great contrast to the New Jerusalem which John saw that will have twelve open gates, gates that will never be shut.
When Rome destroyed the ancient Temple of Israel in AD70, it left only the outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount platform and complex. This outer wall shell, is known to Jews as the Kotel ha-Ma’aravi, and to most Westerners as the Western Wall or (wailing wall). Jews from around the world gather there to pray at the Wailing Wall for centuries. It is a fact that Jews place many scraps of paper called kvitlach that contains prayers into the crevices of the 65-foot high wall, hoping for answers to prayer.
The Jews continue till today to pray for the peace of Jerusalem just like their fathers did in the Old testament. They have been praying three times a day for thousands of years now saying “To Jerusalem, thy city, shall we return with joy,” and also quoting the Psalmist’s oath: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.”
The books of I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles, as well as almost every one of the Old Testament prophets of Israel convey to us detailed information of how her unfaithfulness to covenant with Yahweh caused Israel to be taken into exile in Babylon and why the magnificent First Temple came to be destroyed. The major prophets like Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah were sent by God to warn Israel of their downfall. The first temple was burnt down after great loss of life on the 9th of Av, 586 B.C. a restoration was spoken of by God through his prophets and it was fulfilled by a gradual restoration that culminated in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
600 years later Jesus the Messiah arrived, Israel once again enjoyed a modest place among the nations of the Middle East. But something was happening which was well noted by the Jews. Something that we can look back and notice what Paul was saw in 2 Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:”
Israel’s great military competence that she had enjoyed under King David was gone. The Kingship for Israel had been a vassal state under foreign dominion for centuries. It was no longer the glorified kingdom that they once had. Their hope for the Messiah was misplaced in one that would restore all that. They were oblivious of the plans of God through the covenant with Abraham; To bless all nations.
The only thing that remained were the sacrifices and offerings that characterized Judaism. The priesthood was corrupted and even denied the people the place to worship God through difficult barriers they placed as heavy burdens. There was so much internal politics that saw them divided into factions amongst the Herodians, Hellenists, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Scribes.
As the writer of Hebrews once said
“with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.”
(Hebrews 10:6) NIV
When the disciples the Disciples bragged about the splendor of the Temple to Jesus in Matthew 24 they received a shocking response that would go down as Jesus longest prophecy. He spoke about the end of that Jewish age that would also see the temple and city burnt down just like it happened in 586 B.C. Unfortunately most of Christianity see this as the end of the world and so disregard the relevance of message to the original and intended audience.
C.H. (Charles) Spurgeon in a sermon which he delivered in 1865 (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vo. XXXVII, p. 354), said:
Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, of any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feast of tabernacle, or the dedication? No, because, though these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away and we now live under a new heavens and a new earth, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it.
After Jesus resurrection and the commissioning of the Apostles to preach the word of salvation that could not be provided in that Old covenant age. This message also provided their escape from the coming catastrophe known as the pouring out of the wrath of God. Look at what the Hebrews author said
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: (Hebrews 6:18)
The Apostles made them know that they oblivious of God’s plan and even killed their covenant partner. They told them that had totally missed the special appointed time of her visitation from God, a visit personified in the manifestation of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. See what Peter says:
17 And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. 18 But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets – that his Christ would suffer – he has fulfilled in this way. 19 Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you – that is, Jesus. … 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obey him in everything he tells you. 23 Every person who does not obey that prophet will be destroyed and thus removed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and those who followed him, have spoken about and announced these days. (Acts 3)
About 40 years later, (32AD-70AD) and exactly as prophesied by Jesus Christ, the magnificent “Herod’s Temple” was completely destroyed, leaving not one stone upon another. Majority of the Jews were caught in this avoidable catastrophe that was spoken of for over 2,000 years.
This is the historical statement as given by Darrell G. Young, in his article “Oh Jerusalem, Thou that Killeth the Prophets”
“The Jewish zealots, reacting in opposition to Caligula’s campaign began a revolt against Rome, a revolt which led to Roman legion soldiers from Syria destroying the food stocks of the Zealots and the local Jewish population. The inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem died in great numbers via starvation. (Luke 21:20-23) Roman General Titus encircled the city, (later became Caesar) and began the siege of Jerusalem in April, A.D. 70. He posted his 10th legion on the Mount of Olives, directly east of and overlooking the Temple Mount. The 12th and 15th legions were stationed on Mount Scopus, further to the east and commanding all ways to Jerusalem from east to north. On the 10th of August, in A.D. 70 – (the 9th of Av) — in Jewish calendar reckoning, the very day when the King of Babylon burned the Temple in 586 B.C., the Temple was burned again. Titus took the city and put it to the torch, burning the Temple, leaving not one stone upon another.
Thus, Jerusalem was totally destroyed and as Jesus had predicted, and not one stone was left upon another. When the Temple was set on fire the Roman soldiers tore apart the stone to get the melted gold. The Menorah and vessels were carried to Rome and the treasury was robbed. But perhaps the most astonishing prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome is that it happened just as Daniel had predicted, in that the Temple was destroyed only after the Messiah had come, and not before he had presented himself to Israel! (Daniel 9:26) (Luke 19:41-45)”
This explains why John sees no temple in the new heaven and earth in Revelation 21:
“22 Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God – the All-Powerful – and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
The end of that old covenant age has been eclipsed with the establishment of God’s kingdom here on earth. Since that period the kingdom has been growing and finding expression in all places in the earth. The propagation of the gospel has seen transformation and cultures which will continue with the nature of kingdom. That old covenant age faded over time but this new one will spread and increase in glory and splendor and will overshadow the former that it will not be remembered in any way.
Celebrate this new covenant age. It will never pass away.
“21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesian 3)
Oh Jerusalem, Thou that Killeth the Prophets, By: Darrell G. Young