ISRAEL - Jerusalem at the Time of Destruction

Arno Froese

In the 1970s, prominent archaeologist Nahman Avigad, who was conducting excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, came across a small complex in the Jewish Quarter.

The structure, which became renowned as “the Burnt House,” turned out to be one of the most meaningful testimonies of how the city lived, and fell, in the first century—the house of a priestly family razed when the Romans captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.

However, the tradition had started centuries earlier, after the first Jewish Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

Half a century after the discovery of the Burnt House, today a popular museum, a lot more is known about what Jerusalem looked like and how its people lived on the eves of those days of destruction.

“We have extensive knowledge about both moments because destructions have the ability to freeze the instant in time,” Tel Aviv University Prof. Yuval Gadot told The Jerusalem Post. He is the co-director of the Givati Parking Lot Excavation of the City of David by the Temple Mount. 

“This is one of the reasons we know less about the Babylonian conquest compared with the Roman one: It appears that the Babylonians did not destroy everything at the same level and with the same intensity than the Romans did.”

“Even though we do not have any archaeological evidence for the First Temple, we know that the Temple Mount was the city’s focal point, and we believe that the palace of the king was also very close to it,” he said. “Over the decades, archaeologists have uncovered remains of imposing public buildings, a sophisticated bureaucracy and writing system, a rich material culture.”

“Recently, archaeologists even discovered a fountain with running water in the Western Wall tunnel,” said Dr. Guy D. Stiebel, senior lecturer at TAU. “The city was larger than the Old City today. The palace of the king stood not far from the area of Jaffa Gate, surrounded by gardens. We know that the priests and the ruling class lived in large houses and were heavily influenced by the Roman customs.”

As the archaeologists pointed out, the traces of Jerusalem’s past are all over the city. And 2,000 years later, Jerusalem has not ceased to represent a symbol and an attraction to people and visitors from all over the world., 28 July 2020

Arno's commentary

The prophecy of the destruction of the temple is found in Matthew 24:1-2: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” That was fulfilled in the year 70 AD, when Roman forces conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the second temple. 

Will there be a third temple? Jesus makes vague reference to it in Mark 13:14: “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.” We note the words, “standing where it ought not.” This could indicate that a third temple will be built within or without the temple compound, which many believe will take place during the reign of Antichrist.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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