Israel Unveiled Vol. 1: Herodian Street
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
By Amir Tsarfati
If there is one place in Jerusalem where it is not maybe, could be, possibly, that it is 100% sure that we can say, “I walked where Jesus walked”, it is right here. This is the Herodian Street from the time of Herod the Great, from the 1st century BC. It was one of the most bustling and busy streets of Jerusalem at that time and, right below, is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount.
This is the street that, originally, started down at the pool of Siloam and made its way, all the way up, towards the Antonia Fortress which was on the northwestern corner of the Temple Mount. This particular street was the main street that led the Jewish people, all the way from the Pool of Siloam towards the area of the Temple Mount where they could buy, from the different shops around, the sacrificial animal to bring with them up to the temple as their sacrifice.
During the time of Jesus, right above me, was the arch that supported the monumental staircase which led those who wanted to do some shopping to the great shopping mall on top of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great. This particular arch, today, is called the Robinson’s Arch named after the American archeologist, Edward Robinson, who found it in the 1800s.
This street is made up of amazing street pavement with amazing floor pavement that is in perfect shape. Some of them are dented because of the heavy stones that fell down here during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. We must remember that those stones were supposed to show the might, the strength, and the power of Herod the Great, and of the Roman Empire. The smallest stone here weighs 2.5 tons and the largest over 600 tons.
A person that comes from a small village in Galilee feels so small and so insignificant compared to the splendor, the might, the strength, and the size of the rulers of this world and of the buildings that are towering above him.
We found amazing things along this street and one of them was in the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. We found there not only a niche where a person could stand but also a Hebrew inscription that said, “lebeit hatekiya, to the house of trumpeting”. We believe according to what we know from rabbinical teachings that this is where the priests used to stand and blow the trumpets in order to announce the coming of the Sabbath, the new moon, or definitely the holidays.
But also, the coming of an important person. Up until today even in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, whenever either the President of Israel or a president of another country is visiting, they are welcomed with the trumpets.
Trumpets, we know, are an instrument that was already commanded by Moses to be created in the middle of the desert to direct the movement of the camps.
It is a way to get people’s attention. It’s amazing that the only place we found it is in the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount because obviously, it was meant to be directed to the most populated area of Jerusalem of that time.
We also found on one of the stones here, a verse from Isaiah (Isaiah 66:14) a Hebrew verse carved in the stones that were placed here 2000 years ago. A verse that says, “When you see those things, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish as the grass of the field.” (Isaiah 66:14)
Definitely, if you read Isaiah 66 this is a Messianic verse. This is a prophetic verse about the return of the Messiah and, of course, the re-establishment of Israel back in their land. So, it is a very important thing.
But the most important thing that I want to touch on this morning, here, are the stones that are right here behind me. These stones are the testimony of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Around 40 years before the destruction, to be more accurate it was 38 years before, Jesus Himself prophesied that not even one stone would remain on top of the other that should not be rolled down.
What we see behind me is the testimony to the words of Jesus, during times when everybody was sure that there was no force in the world, there was nothing that could ever possibly cause the temple of the Jews to fall and be destroyed once again. The people of Jerusalem in 32 AD were people who were sure that everything was fine. Religiosity is okay. We can do whatever the law tells us to do. We can celebrate the holidays. We can do the right things. The heart doesn’t really matter as long as we fulfill commandments. Everything is fine. They were pretty sure that God was really happy with them.
Whereas all throughout the Scriptures, the prophets were showing that God is not interested in sacrifices or in holidays when the heart is not ready. God said in Isaiah chapter 1, “Why do you bother me with all of those things. First of all, I want you to get your heart right and only then come before me and you will see that I will do great things with you.”
Jesus came and unveiled the mask of hypocrisy. He taught here, in this area, and one of His teachings was the coming destruction over Jerusalem, because of its lack of faith and because Jerusalem missed her visitation.
I remember the day (10 Sep 11) I was in New York City, visiting for the first time the high rises of Manhattan, and I was on the top of the Empire State Building. The day before I taught in a church, it was September 9th, 2001. I taught about “Will There Be Peace” and the possible coming Islamic terrorism into the United States. I remember, while on top of the Empire State Building, looking at the twin towers that were part of the World Trade Center, I asked my host what could possibly happen if something is going to hit those buildings? Will they fall to the right or to the left? How are they constructed to withhold such an impact?
My host was looking at me very surprised. He answered and said that these buildings were meant to collapse like a stack of cards as they were designed to have their metal beams disconnect from one another. So nothing around would be destroyed from the collapse of the building.
All of us on top of the Empire State Building that afternoon had no idea that the following morning would be a milestone in the history of America and the world. We watched with our very own eyes the collapse of the Twin Towers as they were vanishing from the skyline of New York City forever.
As sure as everybody was then that nothing was going to happen, I believe, the residents of Jerusalem, at the time of Jesus, we're sure that no force in the world would destroy their temple. Jesus’ words were sincere, truth, and they were about to be fulfilled.
It is interesting that everybody likes to take Jesus’ words very seriously when it comes to ancient prophecies having been fulfilled by Him. But when it comes to future events then people are very cautious. People are afraid to take His words as literal as they should. Jesus said, “those days that no stone will remain on top of the other, all will be rolled down,” and behind me is a testimony to the truth of the words of the Lord.
Yet today we have so many people that still live in a world where they just eat, drink, and be merry. They don’t understand that great judgment is awaiting this world according to the Word of God, exactly as He said.
I remember the Scriptures as the disciples came to the empty tomb in Matthew 28:6, the angel told them, “He is not here; for He is risen; as He said.” The power of the words of Jesus. He said He is going to rise. They did not take those words literally. They may have thought that this is something figurative and yet Jesus meant every word He said.
When they came to the empty tomb, it is the angel that had to tell them, “He is not here, as He said.” It is not until a few weeks later when they saw Jesus and not only after He resurrected, and was performing miracles with them.
But the day Jesus ascended to heaven. The Bible says in Acts 1:10 that as the disciples watched the angel said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
The same manner, in like manner, the same way that you are watching His ascension, you will be here with him when He returns. You see, He will return. First, He will return to take His bride, to take those who belong to Him, as Jesus promised in John 14:3, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” He is in heaven,”
He is up there, and He will come and take His bride to be where He is, first. Then, of course, we know that in Zechariah 14 it says that “Behold He comes and His saints are coming with Him and His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.”
Do you take His words seriously? Do you understand that in the same manner, He came, He will return? Do you understand that in the same manner, He resurrected, He will come back again? Don’t be like the people of Galilee who were amazed, although they heard over and over, again and again, about the resurrection. Don’t be like the people of the world who do not understand that all that can be shaken, will be shaken, and only the things of God will remain standing.
Do you understand the times and the seasons? The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, the people of the world say “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, my brothers, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. Let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those that sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Whether you are still alive, or you are dead, He will come and take us to be with him. And that will be a shocking thing for the world because that will mean great tribulation is coming to this world while we are gone.
Brothers and sisters, behind me, is a token that the Word of God is true, that the truth is sometimes hard to digest, and sometimes it’s hard to understand. But if you are in the Word, if you are with the Lord, not only do you have to understand it, and read it, but you also have to be prepared for it.
Let us not sleep as others do. Let us be awake and sober. The Word of the Lord is true.