Herod's Temple

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

Five hundred years elapsed. The temple as might well be supposed, became, during this time, in many respects sadly in need of repairs. Hereupon Herod the Great, to ingratiate himself with the Jews, conceived the idea of rebuilding it throughout. The old temple was pulled down to its foundation, and the building of the new one commenced B.C.19. It was this temple to which the Jews referred when they said to the Saviour at his first Passover, in the spring of A.D.28, “Forty and six years was this temple in building.” John 2:20.

It had been completed the year before, A.D.27, the very year in which Christ commenced his public ministry. To this temple, according to the prophecy of Haggai, the Desire of all nations had now come. Happy would it have been for the Jews, if, knowing the time of their visitation, they had received him as their Lord, and accepted the blessings he came to bring them.

Externally, this building, the temple built by Herod, was at once the admiration and envy of the world. “Its appearance,” says Josephus, “had everything that could strike the mind and astonish the sight; for it was on every side covered with solid plates of gold, so that when the sun rose upon it, it reflected such a dazzling effulgence that the eye of the beholder was obliged to turn away from it; being no more able to sustain its radiance than the splendor of the sun.” “It appeared at a distance like a huge mountain covered with snow; for where it was not decorated with plates of gold, it was extremely white and glistening.”

Looking Unto Jesus, pgs.82-83, Uriah Smith