According to the Rabbis, the Temple in Jerusalem belonged to no particular tribe, but to all Israel. As if to prove this, the boundary between Judah and Benjamin passed through the middle of both the city and the Temple so that, according to tradition, the porch and the sanctuary were in Benjamin, while the altar and the Temple courts remained in Judah. The Shekinah, the divine presence of the Lord, filled the Temple of Solomon like a cloud (2 Chron 5:13,14) so that the priests could no longer stand to minister. God’s presence remained in the Holy of Holies for only a short season, and was never experienced in the Second Temple. As the Rabbis lamented: “For three years and a half abode the Shekinah on the Mount of Olives, waiting whether Israel would repent, calling upon them, ‘Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.’ And when all this was in vain, then the Shekinah returned to its own place.” The stones of the Temple sanctuary were twice “poured out in the top of every street” (Lamentations 4:1) on both occasions in the Jewish month of Av. And at Tish B’Av, to this day, these events are remembered during a time of deep mourning by the Jews. Twice also, there were those who wept as they prophesied the Temple’s coming destruction. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet was imprisoned by King Zedekiah for his prophecies. They were offensive; not what Judah’s king desired to hear, therefore the voice of the prophet had to be silenced. Centuries later, Yeshua “beheld the city and wept ” as he rode out of Bethany on the foal of a donkey. Like Jeremiah, Jesus was deemed to be offensive and a week later he was nailed to a Roman cross. In AD 70, Rome under Titus fulfilled the prophecy spoken by Jesus, that “not one stone would remain upon another” and the beautiful Temple, restored over a period of 46 years by Herod the Great, was burned. Temple stones were scattered as the Romans pillaged the molten gold, which, in the intense heat, had flowed into the cracks. Moriah‘s esplanade was abandoned and became a rubbish heap until the Mosque of Omar was built on the Temple Mount in AD 691. The object of the founder, Abd el Melek Ibn Merwan, was to make Jerusalem a place of Islamic devotion in place of Mecca which was at that time the seat of a rival, Caliph Abdullah ibn Zubair.
Known by the Jews as Kotel Hamaravi, the Western Wall is an outer wall of the Second Temple. Built of thick, corroded limestone, it is close to 500 meters in length. The accessible section, which is not engulfed in other structures, is 60 meters long; while the largest stone is 45 feet long, 15 feet deep, 15 feet high, and is thought to be more than one million pounds in weight. The wall has become a place prayer and lamentation, especially on the Jewish feast days.
Jews were prevented from praying at the Wailing Wall after the 1948 war until the annexure by Israel of Arab East Jerusalem immediately following the Six Day War in 1967. Over many years the Western Wall has become a place where prayers are written and slipped into the fissures between the stones. Today, Alon Nil has made it possible to Twitter prayers, which are printed and taken to the wall!
Even as the prophecies of Jeremiah, Jesus, and many other Biblical prophets have been accurately fulfilled, so the multiplicity of yet unfulfilled Bible prophecies will come to pass. One of these, written in startling detail, is the prophecy of the Third Temple. Ezekiel prophesied during the Babylonian captivity after the destruction of the First Temple, calling the Jewish exiles to repentance, reminding them that God would restore them to their land and ultimately punish their enemies. His Temple prophecy (Ezekiel 40-43) is remarkable in its fine detail, giving precise measurements and layout of the sanctuary and the outer courts. The Second Temple was not the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s vision as he was clearly shown that the Shekinah glory of God would fill this new Temple. (Ez 43:5) However, it is possible that the building of Ezekiel’s Temple will take place quite soon under unusual circumstances and will later be re-consecrated. (Ez 43:20-27) A Third Temple will be erected in the very near future on the Temple Mount in accordance with Revelation 11:1, 2. This temple is also implied in 2Thessalonians 2:4 speaking of the son of perdition who will exalt himself above “all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” This son of perdition will exalt himself as God in Jerusalem’s Temple in the not too distant future.