"Let us go to the house of the Lord" (Ps. 122:1)

In 538 B.C., after the fall of Babylon, Cyrus, king of Persia, allowed the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1). About a century later, Nehemiah, a Jew who held the office of "cupbearer" at the court of Artaxerxes, received a royal commission authorizing him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 2-6). From that time throughout the Hellenistic period (333-63 B.C.), Jerusalem grew in importance as the political and religious center of the Jews.

As the population grew, the city began spreading over the western hill (area between of the Tyropoeon and Hinnom Valleys). Eventually, a wall was built that encircled the entire area called the upper city. In the years after the Romans conquered Jerusalem (63 B.C.), the city was completely transformed. This was mostly the result of the building program of Herod the Great, who was appointed king of Judaea in 40 B.C. Herod strengthened the existing walls and built a second wall to include more of the area west of the Temple Mount. Herod also fortified the citadel north of the Temple Mount that he renamed ANTONIA after Mark Antony.

Flagstones dating to the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) can still be seen in the area of the ANTONIA, as well as the symbols of a game that were scratched in the surface of some of the flagstones. It has been suggested that this same game may have been played in an earlier period, with Jesus as the object of the game (see Matt. 27:27-30).

Herod also built a beautiful palace in Jerusalem. Attached to this palace in the north was a citadel with three large towers. Herod's greatest project, however, was the rebuilding of the temple. Certain Jews hinted at the splendor of the temple when they said to Jesus: "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But, referring to his own resurrection, Jesus "spoke of the temple of his body" John 2:20-21).

After Herod's death his kingdom was divided among three of his sons: Archaelaus, Herod Philip, and Herod Antipas. Judaea (including Jerusalem) was given to Archaelaus, who was deposed by Augustus after a reign of only 9 years (see Matt.2:22-23). From then on, Judaea was attached to the Roman province of Syria and became subject to a Roman governor. The corrupt Pontius Pilate was governor at the time of Jesus' trial and crucifixion (Matt. 27).

During Pilate's harsh administration (26-36 A.D.), "relations between the Romans and the Jews deteriorated considerably.. .We are told that Pilate was widely disliked, that he was influenced by bribery, and that he angered the Jews by his extortions and frequent executions without trial." M. Stern, in The World History of the Jewish People, vol. 7, p. 128.

Sacred sites around Jerusalem: The "Last Week" of Christ

The last week of Jesus' life is called the "Passion Week" or "Week of Atonement." Jesus begins this week with supper in Bethany, (Beth-ani, house of the poor). Bethany was about 2 miles east of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (Mark 11: 1; Luke 19:29; John 11: 18) . Bethany seems to have been a favorite place of Jesus where he visited his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42; John 12:1-8). Here, Jesus taught Martha the better way and raised Lazarus from the dead (Luke 10:38 42; John 11: 1 -44).

The present-day village of Bethany is called El-Azarieh, which is the Arabic form of Lazarion, the 4th century A.D. name of Bethany as well as the name of the church that was built here. A new church was built in the 1950s. There are numerous rock-cut tombs in the area, but one impressive tomb with a vestibule and vaulted inner chamber is thought to be the tomb of Lazarus.

In John 12:3 it clearly states that it was Miriam (Mary), the sister of Lazarus and Martha that anoints Jesus and it is Judas who complains about the cost of the ointment. When Jesus was visiting in the home of Simon the Leper, it clearly states that it was a stranger, a woman who anointed Jesus with oil for his "burial" (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9). And in Mark 14:5 it is the disciples who are now complaining about the cost of the ointment. There were clearly two different women and two different meals that Jesus attended in Bethany. Jesus also began his triumphal entry into Jerusalem from Bethany (Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-38). (see tape catalog for series on John)

The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives was the place of many biblical events and has a prominent place in the prophesied events of the last days. Here, the Messiah will return, and "on that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east" (Zech. 14:4-5). On the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, where the road from Jericho ended, lay Bethphage, the traditional starting point of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40), and Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 11: 1) .

On the western side of the Mount of Olives was the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before he was taken to Pilate (Matt. 26:39).

The domed Chapel of Ascension on top of the Mount of Olives is the traditional spot from which Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-12). [In actuality it is the actual area of the Crucifixion, see Gods Master Plan for details] (insert photo of location of crucifixion)

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when "most of the crowd spread their garments on the road," saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt. 21 :8-9). As Jesus walked between Jerusalem and Bethany during the last week of his life, he instructed the disciples. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus discoursed on the signs of the second coming (Matt. 24: 1 51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 12: 37-48; 17:20-37; 21:5-38) and gave the parable of the ten virgins, the talents, and the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:1-46).

Garden of Gethsemane

On the night that Judas betrayed Jesus, the Master "went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered ... for Jesus often met there with his disciples" (John 18:1-2). The garden, called Gethsemane, was opposite the city on the Mount of Olives. The name Gethsemane means "oil press" and suggests that Gethsemane was in or near a grove of olive trees (Matt.26:36; Mark 14:32; Luke 22:39). "It was a small property enclosed, 'a garden' in the Eastern sense... amidst a variety of fruit trees and flowering shrubs" (Edersheim, p.533) . Botanist claim that some of the olive trees in the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, pictured here, are actually 3,000 years old. Some where near this spot Jesus prayed for all mankind, subjecting his will to the will of his Father: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." After this, Jesus returned to his disciples, saying, "Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand. " After Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, Jesus was taken to "Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders | had gathered" (Matt. 26:36-57).

Calvary and the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea

Jesus was next taken before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Here, Jesus was accused by the priests of "forbidding [the people] to give tribute to Caesar." He was condemned, scourged, had a crown of thorns placed on his head, and delivered into the hands of the chief priests "to be crucified" (Luke 23:2; John 19:1-16).

On the Mount of Olives is the Church of Pater Noster and a rock-cut Jewish tomb which is most likely the actual Garden Tomb.

The tomb was made with two chambers: a vestibule for relatives who came to mourn for the dead, and a second chamber where the corpse was laid. The tomb is thought to have belonged to Joseph of Arimathaea, who "wrapped [the body of Jesus] in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb." The next day the tomb was sealed by the chief priests and Pharisees, fearing that Jesus' disciples would steal the body "and tell the people, He has risen from the dead" (Matt. 27:58-66). On the first day of the week "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre ... [and an] angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said"' (Matt. 28:1-6).

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, marking the place where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, and where he was laid in a tomb and then resurrected

Bible Study - Jerusalem (New Testament Period)

Looking out over Jerusalem from the heights of the temple, Jesus was over come with emotion knowing that the city would soon be destroyed: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" (Matt.| 23:37.) Then as Jesus withdrew from the temple area for the last time, the disciple called his attention to the magnificent buildings. Jesus' response was to foretell the doom of Jerusalem, prophesying "there will not be left here one stone upon another" (Matt. 24:1-2).
-- Luke 2:22-39. Jesus came to Jerusalem as a baby, to be circumcised and to receive his name.

-- Luke 2:41-50. Mary and Joseph "went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover." At age 12, Jesus was found "in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions."

-- Matt. 21:12-16; Mark ll:15-18; Luke l9:45-48; John 2:13-25. Jesus drove the money changers away from the temple grounds.

-- Mark 12; Luke 19:47; John 7:14-53; 8. Jesus performed miracles and taught the people of Jerusalem.

-- Matt. 21. Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem and gave the parables of the two sons and the wicked husbandmen.

-- Matt. 22: 1-14. Jesus gave the parable of the marriage of the king's son.

-- Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38. Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple.

-- Matt. 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-49; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-13. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed, and arrested.

-- Matt. 27:32-56; Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-46; John 19:16-37) Jesus was crucified to "save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21).

-- Matt. 27:57-66; Mark l5:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John l9:41-42. Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.

-- Matt. 28:1-15; Mark l6:1-ll; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18. Jesus was resurrected.

-- Mark 16:9; John 20: 11-18. The resurrected Christ was seen by Mary Magdalene.

-- Luke 24: 12; John 20:4. Peter and John raced to the garden to discover the empty tomb.

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