After 70 years of Babylonian captivity, King Cyrus allowed some Jews to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the Temple. It was so small in comparison to the first Temple that members of the older generation actually wept when the saw it. A few centuries later, a man named Herod came to power in Jerusalem. He was not well liked by either Rome or the Jews. His grandfather was an Idumaen, meaning he was neither Jewish nor a descendant of David and the Jews considered his rule illegitimate. To appease Rome, Herod built a temple to caesar. He also launched a massive remodeling project on the Temple in Jerusalem that took 40 years to complete. The Temple eventually stood between 7 and 13 stories tall and was adorned with a golden roof that could be seen for miles.
At the time of Jesus's ministry, the Temple was controlled by a group of people known as the Sadduccees. The Sadduccees did not believe in the existence of angels or the resurrection of the dead. They were closely aligned with Rome. They demanded that temple sacrifices be purchased with Temple money at an exchange rate that was ten to twenty times the value of normal coins. In other words, if I needed a fifty dollar goat, I would have to spend $500 of regular money in order to buy the sacrifice. But something interesting happened at the Temple when Jesus was crucified.
Matthew 27:51: At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom
The Talmud also tells of two other phenomenon that took place around this time. The Temple doors would sometimes open by themselves and continued to do so the last 40 years of the Temple's existence. On Yom Kippur the priests would tie a scarlet cord to the Temple doors that would apparently turn white if G-d had accepted their sacrifices. It stopped turning white about the time of Jesus's death and never turned white again. G-d was doing something new by providing the ultimate sacrifice!
Hebrews 10:1-4: For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.