A common link among all religions is an emphasis on the atmosphere of their worship. One need only to look at the magnificence of the world’s religious shrines to sense the awe that they are designed to inspire. The temple of Jerusalem built by King Solomon would certainly be among the greatest shrines ever built.
The sacred Temple was the object of legend in Israel. The building was described as: shining white marble and gold, with bronze entrance doors; it was said that one could not look at the Temple in daylight as it would blind you. In the words of the Rabbis, “the world is like unto an eye; … the pupil is Jerusalem; but the image within the pupil is the temple.” Imagine the shock of the disciples who, while marveling at the majesty of its hewn stones, were told by Jesus, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Mt 24:2). How could this be?
In one of the most theologically significant conversations in all of Scripture, during a chance meeting with a Samaritan woman, Jesus explained why Jerusalem and its Temple would become superfluous. He said in John 4:21-24:
“Believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. … the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth …
And so, with the coming of the Messiah and inauguration of His new covenant, true worshippers from every tribe, tongue and nation, would begin offering greater spiritual worship, replacing the old order of worship that had been limited to a certain people in a single building in a specific city.