Temple of Jerusalem

The word "temple" is derived from the Latin templum, signifying an uncovered place affording a view of the surrounding region; in a narrower sense it signifies a place sacred to the Divinity, a sanctuary.......

The word "temple" is derived from the Lat-in templum, signify-ing an uncovered place affording a view of the surrounding region; in a narrower sense it signifies a place sacred to the Divinity, a sanctuary. In the Bible the sanctuary of Jerusa-lem bears the Hebrew name of Bet Yahweh (house of Yahweh). The sacred edifice consisted of two chief halls, one called hekal (house or temple), or qodes (the Holy), and the other debir (that which is the oracle), or godesh haggodashim (the Holy of Holies). The New Testament speaks of it as oikos, "the house", ouaos, Latin cella, "the most holy place of the temple" and hieron, "the whole of the sacred enclosure". The temple which Solomon erected to the Lord about 966 B.C. was destroyed by Nabuchodonozor in 586B.C. After the return from captivity Zorobabel raised it again from its ruins (537B.C.), but in such modest conditions that the ancients who had seen the former Temple wept. In the eighteenth year of his reign, which corresponds to 19B.C., King Herod destroyed the Temple of Zorobabel to replace it by another which would equal, if not surpass in splendour, that of Solomon.

Many writers admit three temples materially different. Now as the Prophet Aggeus (Vulgate,ii,10) says of that of Zorobabel: "Great shall be the glory of this last house more that of the first", because of the coming of the Messias (v,8-9), they claim that this prophecy was not fulfilled because Christ never entered the second Temple. Others assert that Zorobabel's work was not completely destroyed but gradually replaced by a larger and much richer temple (Josephus,"Ant.Jud.,"ed.Dindorf,XV,xi,2), and they consequently admit only two materially different temples. The whole difficulty disappears if we choose the Septuagint in preference to the Vulgate. The Prophet has already asked: "Who is left among you, that saw this house in its first glory? (ii,4). According to Septuagint he afterwards says:"The last glory of this house shall be greater than its first glory." To the Prophet, therefore, there was but one and the same house of Yahweh from Solomon to the time of Messias, built always in the same place and according to the same plan, that of the Tabernacle. We may therefore admit three different temples, and this article will describe: I. That of Solomon; II. That of Zorobabel; III. That of Herod.

Temple of Solomon

Temple of Solomon:Through a motive of pride David had commanded the numbering of his people, in punishment of which God decimated the Israelites by a pestilence. One day the king saw near the threshing-floor of Onan (Areuna) the Jebusite an angel about to strike the people of the city, whereupon David humbled himself before the Lord, Who forgave him and stayed the plaguer. The king hastened to purchase the property of the Jebusite for fifty sicles of silver and built an altar on the threshing-floor, upon which he offered holocausts and peace-offerings (2 Samuel 24).This hill, which is the Mount Moria (2 Chronicles 3:1) of Genesis (xxii, 2), was thenceforth destined to be the site of the Temple of Jehovah, for which David had already amassed great treasures, but the building of which was reserved to Solomon. As hitherto the Hebrews had not cultivated the arts, Solomon addressed himself to Hiram, King of Tyre in Phoenicia, to obtain builders and skilful workers in stone, brass, and the cedar and cypress wood of Lebanon. After seven and a half years of toil the king was able to dedicate solemnly the Temple of the true God. Near the sacred precincts he afterwards built large buildings, among which the Bible makes special mention of the palace of the king, that of the queen, Pharao's daughter, the house of the forest, the porch of the throne, and that of pillars.

Temple of Zorobabel:In 537 Sassabasar, appointed Governor of Jerusalem by Cyrus, King of Persia, and Zorobabel, a descendant of King Joachim, returned from captivity with a vast number of Jews and armed with authority to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. In the seventh month after their return the altar of holocausts of unhewn stones was set up on the foundations of the former one. In the second month of the second year they laid the first stone of the new Temple. But the work was impeded and even suspended through the hostility and plots of the Samaritans, and the Temple was not finished until 516 (Ezra3:6). The temple of Zorobabel was sixty cubits broad and the same in height (Ezra 6:3), these being the interior dimensions. Josephus tells us (Ant.Jud.,XV,xi,1) that this was really its height, for Herod reminded the people that the height of the second Temple was sixty cubits less than that of the first, making the Temple of Solomon one hundred and twenty cubits high, according to 2Chronicles.3:1. It is difficult to say whether the breadth of sixty cubits ascribed by the decree of Cyrus to the Temple was in round numbers, or whether the figures indicate the smaller cubit then in use, but it matters little, for if the breadth were really sixty royal cubits it would mean only that the side chambers had been enlarged five cubits on each side. The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in Zorobabel's Temple retained the dimensions they had in Solomon's, and they remained the same in the third Temple.

Temple of Herod

Temple of Herod:Herod undertook the restoration of the Temple in its original splendour and traditional arrangements. The buildings were demolished one after another according as the materials for the new structures were available. A host of priests became masons and carpenters and themselves took charge of tearing down and rebuilding the sanctuary, which task was accomplished in eighteen months. Nearly 10,000 workmen were employed on the other buildings. After eight years' labour (10 B.C.) the new edifice was opened for service. But this monument, which in its vast proportions and magnificence rivalled the most beautiful buildings of antiquity and far surpassed even that of Solomon, was completed only in A.D.62 or 64 (Cf.John.2:20), at that time 18,000 workmen being still employed (Ant.Jud.,XX,ix,7). For Herod doubled the artificial platform which held the Temple of Zorobabel, enlarging the sacred precincts to the south and especially to the north where the galleries reached as far as the rock of Baris and the Antonia (Ant.Jud.,XV,xi,3; Bell.Jud.,I,xxi,1; V,v,2). The Temple with its courts, galleries and porches occupied the whole of the present site of the haram esh sherif, which measures 1070 feet on the north, 1540 on the east, 920 on the south, and 1630 on the west. The Temple of Herod consisted of two courts, an inner and an outer one. The former included all the buildings of the Temple properly so called and was divided into: (1) The Court of the Priests, which contained the house of God and the alter of holocausts; (2) the Court of Israel; and (3) the Court of the Women. All the space between the inner court and the outer wall of the platform was called the Court of the Gentiles, because non-Jews were permitted to enter it. The following are the arrangements of the Temple according to Josephus (Ant.Jud.,XV,xi; Bell.Jud.,V,v), other sources being indicated in the course of the descriptions.

"The Western Wall (Kotel)" is located in the
Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of
the western side of the Temple Mount.

The Golden Gate, also called the Easter Gate in
Jerusalem has been sealed for hundreds of years.
Biblical prophecy states that it will remain sealed until the Messiah returns and it opens for Him (Zechariah.14:4-5)

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