The Temples of Jerusalem

First Temple – King Solomon (son of David King of Judah & Israel)

The First Temple was built in 957 BC by King Solomon as the sole place of Israelite sacrifice.  The Temple replaced the Tabernacle constructed Moses, as well as local sanctuaries, and altars in the hills. This temple was sacked a few decades later by Shoshenq I, pharaoh of Egypt.  

Although efforts were made at partial reconstruction, it was only in 835 BC when Jehoash, King of Judah in the second year of his reign invested considerable sums in reconstruction, only to have it stripped again of again for Sennacherib, King of Assyria c. 700 BC. The First Temple was totally destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC (425 BC according to historical Jewish sources), when they sacked the city.

Second Temple – Zerubbabel (governor of Persia) to Herod

The rebuilding of the second temple was authorized by King Cyrus and began in 538 BC, after the fall of the Babylonian Empire the year before. It took many years to rebuild the temple and it took 3 Kings of Persia (Cyrus, Artaxerxes and Darius) but it was completed 23 years later.

Around 20 BC, the building was renovated and expanded by King Herod and became known as Herod’s Temple. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD during the Siege of Jerusalem. During the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Romans in 132–135 AD, Simon Bar Kokhba and Rabbi Akiva wanted to rebuild the Temple, but bar Kokhba’s revolt failed and the Jews were banned from Jerusalem (except for Tisha B’Av) by the Roman Empire.

 The Third Temple to come– or Ezekiels’s Temple

 Ezekiel Temple is a Holy Temple architecturally described and prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel a house of prayer for all people with a sacrificial service. It is noted by Ezekiel as an eternal edifice and permanent dwelling place of the God of Israel on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 

After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in the 7th century, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered the construction of an Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock, on the site of the Temple. The shrine has stood on the mount since 691 AD; the al-Aqsa Mosque, from roughly the same period, also stands in the Temple courtyard.

 Muslim View

Most Muslims view the movement for the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount as an affront to Islam due to the presence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in the stead of the former Holy Temple. Today the area is regarded by the majority of Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam. Furthermore, the mosque and the shrine have been on the mountain for a greater length of time than the Temples were.  Thus, Muslims are resolute in calling for recognition of their exclusive rights over the site and demand that it be wholly transferred to Muslim sovereignty; furthermore, some Muslims deny any association with the Mount to the former Jewish Temples which stood at the site.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was initiated in reaction to Denis Michael Rohan, an Australian Christian who set fire to a 12th-century pulpit of the Al-Aqsa mosque, in an attempt to initiate the second coming of Christ. The protection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in the primary mandate of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

 Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox View

Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the Eucharist, which they hold to be one in substance with the one self-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, is a far superior offering when compared with the merely preparatory temple sacrifices, as explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews. They also believe that Christ Himself is the New Temple, as spoken of in the Book of Revelation and that Revelation can best be understood as the Eucharist, heaven on earth. Their church buildings are meant to model Solomon’s Temple, with the Tabernacle, containing the Eucharist, being considered the new “Holy of Holies.” Therefore, they do not attach any significance to a possible future rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple.

The Orthodox also quote Daniel 9:27 (“… he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease …”) to show that the sacrifices would stop with the arrival of the Messiah, and mention that according to Jesus, St. Paul and the Holy Fathers, the temple will only be rebuilt in the times of the Antichrist.



One thought on “The Temples of Jerusalem”

  1. I believe in a sacred sanctuary for worship and prayer but I do not believe a sacred place for sacrificial rituals of atonement. Jesus was the final atonement at the cross for all mankind. He is the temple.
    19. Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John2).
    he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (John2)
    In my opinion, the third temple represents the old covenant of sacrifices and the burning of incense. Jesus is the New Covenant. The rebuilding of the third temple is a symbol of denying Jesus is not the Messiah and Savior; He did not atone for our sins, and ultimately Jesus sacrificing on the cross was futile.


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