The Wailing Wall
Painting of the Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall is all that remains of the Jerusalem Temple where Jesus taught and healed. King Herod's Temple began as a remodeling project in 19 B.C. and its construction continued long after Herod's death. The Second Temple was finally completed only seven years before the Romans came and destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.

The "Wailing Wall" stands today in Jerusalem as one of the most significant holy places to both Jews and Christians, in the whole world. The Jews refer to it as the Western Wall (Kotel Maaravi). For hundreds of years this wall was a place of "wailing", prayers, and pilgrimages. The Western Wall stands 60 feet high and approximately 160 feet long. Great stones with Herodian masonry from the first century can be seen in the lower part of the wall. Jewish people gather at the Wailing Wall today to remember the Temple, the place where God's presence had been manifested as the sacrifices were made. On Fridays at sunset and on the eve Feast days and Fast days Orthodox Jews  gather at the Wall to mourn "the Temple that is destroyed" and the "majesty that is departed" from Israel.

In ancient times Abraham, the first Hebrew, was told by God to go to the land of Moriah and to sacrifice his only son. Abraham obeyed God but the angel of the Lord stopped him and provided a sacrificial animal as a substitute. Abraham learned the powerful lesson that one day God would sacrifice His only son for all of mankind, and it would happen on this mountain, Mount Moriah.

King David desired to build a temple on Mount Moriah, but God chose his son Solomon to build the first Temple. Later in Jewish history the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, and King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in 586 BC. It wasn't until the first century AD that the Second Temple was completed, the Temple of Herod.


2 Chronicles 3:1 - Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

Genesis 22:2 - And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Genesis 22:14 - Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."
 

Psalms 137:5 - If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

Isaiah 40:9 - O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Psalms 68:16 - Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.

Deuteronomy 11:11 - But the land, whither ye go to possess it, [is] a land of hills and valleys, [and] drinketh water of the rain of heaven:

The Western Wall was declared protected by the British Government during their administration in Israel. Shortly after the Arab riots of 1929 the league of Nations guaranteed safe access to the Western Wall for the Jews. The British protected the Jews from angry Arabs who would try to prevent them from coming to the Wall. Because of the increasing hostility Britain finally left the area on the "Eve of Departure" Israel liberated herself by becoming a state in 1948. Although the old city of Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan, and contrary to the armistice between Israel and Jordan, accessing the wall became forbidden to the Jews. After the Six-Day War in 1967 Israel took the old city back and the Jews could once again access the Western Wall.

Also see:

First Century Jerusalem - Western Wall

Herod's Temple - Archaeology

 

 

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