Thursday, September 9

What is the "Holy Temple?"

Have you ever heard of King Solomon, hailed as the "wisest man" to ever live? How about King Herod, and what he did to and for the Temple? Or perhaps the Babylonian invasion in 586 BC? Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. If you are a regular reader, you may have read a recent entry about the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was, in essence, God's throne on Earth. In that entry, Solomon's Temple was briefly mentioned. If you have ever seen movies about the birth of Christ, you may have seen what they refer to as Herod's Temple. Why so many Temples? Well, that is exactly what I plan to discuss. (Picture credit to Israel Museum)

After Moses had passed, Joshua led the Israelites to Canaan. They had taken the Ark of the Covenant with them. Several centuries passed, and the second king of Israel, King David, came to power after the death of King Saul. God had given the building plans for a temple to King David - but told him that he would not be the one to build it, even though he had purchased a threshing-floor for the site. Before King David died, he passed along the blueprints to his son and successor, King Solomon. Solomon went to work on the Temple - he brought in many people to help build it and get everything aligned with what God had given them, design-wise. So the Israelites worked for seven years, (1st Kings 6:38) and completed work on Solomon's Temple. The Ark of the Covenant, the lamp stands, and the other objects used by the Israelites were put into the Temple, which was a larger "replacement" of sorts for the Tabernacle. It was completed around 832 BC.
(Click to Enlarge)

The precise located of the original Solomon's Temple is as of yet still unknown - it is believed to have been on the Temple Mount, where the Golden Dome, a Muslim structure, currently is. However, we are told that the Temple was built on Mount Moriah, which is traditionally believed to be the same location where, centuries before, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac - but God spared him, providing for both Isaac and Abraham. Solomon's Temple was destroyed in 586 BC, when the Babylonians lay siege to Jerusalem, destroying most of the city along with it. After the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem, many people began rebuilding the Temple - which became the Second Temple. Ezra and Nehemiah were both prominent figures, as they helped build the walls of Jerusalem and direct people in the ways of the Lord.

To avoid confusion, I will mention here that there were two Herods. Herod the Great ruled from 37-4 BC, and is the Herod who attempted to kill the baby Jesus. Herod Antipas ruled part of Palestine from 4-39 BC, which was during Jesus ministry. That said, Herod the Great was the one to enhance the Second Temple, essentially creating a "Third Temple," or, "Herod's Temple," though it was not a rebuilding, but enhancement. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and it was at this time when the Jews were banned from Jerusalem. The State of Israel returned on May 14, 1948. To this day, the Temple has not yet been rebuilt. So why do we hear all this talk of a Fourth Temple? For two reasons: 1) Because several attempts have been made to destroy the Muslim Structures at Temple Mount, to be replaced by the Temple, (1982, 1984, 1990, 1996) and 2) Because it is mentioned several times in relation to the eschaton. Ezekiel 40-47 gives plans for a Temple that are, as of yet, unused. Why? It is because this Temple has not yet been built. This is one of the reasons the Holy Land continues to be fought over, and many fundamentalists hold that the building of a third temple would usher in the end of days.

Nevertheless, we can bear in mind that God dwells everywhere, as Christ echoed in his discourse with the Samaritan woman (John 4). Our bodies are the "temples" of God, and the world around us is infused with God's sacramental grace. As such, we need to continue to care for and live in harmony with God's "cosmic temple."

Troy Hillman


  1. so your believing that Jesus is just a lord and not god .. aren't you??

  2. Jesus is both Lord and God. For more information, see entry:

  3. They found the Ark of the Covenant; Christ tomb, Crucifixion site and the Ark of the Covenant found buried under a trash pile at the foot of Skull Mountain.