The History Of The Temple

The Temple in Jerusalem has a great and wonderful history. It is the center of all Jewish worship. The Temple has a great history and it will be rebuilt.

The Temple Started As The Tabernacle

After Moses returned from Mt. Sinai the second time with the tablets of stone that contained the 10 commandments, he told the people that God has ordered them to build a place of worship. This was to be a Tabernacle, which was to be a visible emblem of God’s presence in the midst of Israel.

While Moses was on the mountain God said to him: “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Exodus 25:8-9 (NIV) This Tabernacle was a portable structure that could be taken down and moved with the people.

Solomon’s Temple

The plan for the first Temple was started by King David when he bought the threshing floor from Araunah (2 Samuel 24:18-25). This is the same place called Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22. This is where God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Of course, God provided a Ram instead for Abraham to sacrifice. This was the beginning of sacrifice on that spot.

God told David that he would make plans for the construction of the Temple, but he could not build it. He would have a son (Solomon) who would build it. David was a man of war but Solomon was a man of peace. (2 Sam. 7:5-16) The Temple was to built by a man of peace.

A description of this Temple that was built about 950 BC can be found in I Kings 7. It took 13 years for it to be built. This Temple stood until about 587 BC when it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the sacred vessels were carried off to Babylon.

The Second Temple

A second Temple was completed in 515 BC by Jews who had returned from Babylon after their 70 years of exile ended. They rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple. This was a much smaller Temple and not very much is known about it. However it seems to still be standing in 63 BC when Pompey entered the Holy of Holies and found it empty, that is, there was no Arc of the Covenant there.

It remained in a state of disrepair, and according to history, little used until Herod became the king of Judah. He was placed there by the Romans who were in control of the country.

Herod’s Temple

Herod wanted to make a name for himself and what better way than to rebuild the Temple of God and make it the most magnificent one ever built. Although he started this construction, and it is called Herod’s Temple, he never finished it. Work continued on it long after he died. It was under construction for over 46 years but was never really finished.

It was finally destroyed in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem. They completely destroyed the Temple by setting fire to it. Then they tore apart every stone so they could get at the melted gold.

This was predicted by Jesus in Luke 21:6 (NIV) when He said: “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

The Temple Mount Is Profaned

In about 136 AD, Hadrain erected a Temple of Jupiter on the Mount, but it did not last very long. There were several attempts by Jews to rebuild the Temple, but they all failed.

Islamic tradition alleges that Caliph Omar cleared the rubbish from the temple Mount and prayed there in 638 AD. Finally, a Dome of the Rock was built by Agd el-Malik in about 690 AD. History is vague during the next 500 years. However, in about 1290 Moslem’s took control of the Mount and the Dome of the Rock has been there ever since.

The 6 Day War

In 1967 the Israelites regained control over the Temple Mount and even flew their flag over it. However this did not last long. Defense Minister Dayan immediately ceded internal administrative control of the Temple Mount compound to the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust). He even announced that Jews would be allowed to visit the Temple Mount, but not hold religious services there.

The Israelites did retain control of the Western Wall, which is called the Wailing Wall. This is where devout Jews gather to pray every day.

The Third Temple

It does not seem possible that a Third Temple could be built on the Temple Mount. However, God said that it would be done, and so it will be. Read my next article on the Rebuilding of the Temple to see what is currently being done to rebuild it.


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