was old Jerusalem like in the days of Jesus? Well, for one thing the city was surrounded by a tall wall
much like other cities in AD 30. Also, since Jerusalem was part of the Roman empire,
one could see Roman soldiers marching
down the narrow winding streets of old Jerusalem.
In the map above, one can see the lower city in pink. This is where the
poor people lived. The upper city in blue is where the rich people lived
-- wealthy Pharisees such as Annas and Caiaphas
the high priest. In the northern part of the upper city was Herod's
palace, which may be seen in purple.
was unpopular with his Jewish subjects, so he tried to modernize
Jerusalem to win over the people. Therefore he started a massive
rebuilding program which included paved roads and monumental towers.
was built in the upper city of Jerusalem near the Jaffa Gate. This is
the palace where the wise men went to meet King Herod on their trip to
Bethlehem to see baby Jesus.
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
This King Herod wanted to kill
baby Jesus so God sent an angel to warn Joseph to take the family to
Egypt. When Herod died, they left Egypt and returned to Israel.
He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON."
It was Herod's grandson who became the new
ruler. The grandson was also called Herod. He was the ruler when Christ
But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean.
When he found out that he was in Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem in those days.
Herod's Palace was the center of city
government. In front of the palace he constructed the agora or market place.
King Herod also built the Antonia Fortress (for Roman Soldiers - this is
where governor Pilate lived), a hippodrome (for racing horses), an amphitheater (convicted criminals fighting
wild beasts), but the most impressive rebuilding was that of God's Holy
The Temple Mount was next to the
Kidron Valley and across from the Mount of Olives - See map above.
Herod doubled the height of the temple, and the walls where covered with fine
white Carrara marble. This project was
monumental; it took ten thousand
workers ten years to build the outer retaining walls around the Temple
Mount. God's Holy Temple occupied about 15% of
the land area in Jerusalem, and the white marble walls with gold
standards could be seen from miles away. It was so magnificent that
one of the apostles told Christ:
As He was leaving the Temple, one of His disciples exclaimed, "Behold, Rabbi, what wonderful stones! what wonderful buildings!"
Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone
upon another, which will not be thrown down."
prophecy came true in AD 70 when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. The Roman
soldiers set fire to God's Holy Temple and the gold melted and ran like
water. The Roman soldiers had to use crowbars to pry apart the giant marble
blocks to get the gold.
With all its magnificence, Old Jerusalem cannot be
compared to New Jerusalem.
the book of Revelation YHVH our God describes for us the city of New Jerusalem. This city is to be placed on
a New Earth, one that does not have a sun or a moon or a sea.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and
the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
New Jerusalem will be breathtakingly beautiful.
God creates this holy city for a his people after the Millennium.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God
out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
God will then live with men. It
will not be like now when God is in heaven and people are on
earth, but YHVH our God will live in this New Earth alongside us.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle
of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be
his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.
There will be great joy - no more
tears or sorrow. Past pains will fade away like a nightmare after
waking up. Besides, there will be no more death.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be
no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any
more pain: for the former things are passed away.
This great city will come down from heaven.
A new Paradise
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and
showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven
A city where the streets are literally
paved with gold is what God will create for us. This city will be far more
wondrous than Old Jerusalem.
And the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls; every several gate was of
one pearl: and the street of the city [was] pure gold, as it were transparent
This city does not need a temple
because YHVH Himself is inside it. He and His son Yeshua will be there.
This is what awaits us if we obey Him and have faith.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb
are the temple of it.
New Jerusalem does not need a sun or a moon,
glory of God, his Shekinah, will light up the city like a lamp.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in
it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light
The Bible also talks about New
Jerusalem in the book of Hebrews.
By faith he [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels,
to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,