The Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem

From the moment the Lord formed the nation of Israel after the Exodus, He desired to dwell with His people as their King. Hence, the Tabernacle was built; and the Lord’s Glory indwelled it (Ex. 36—40). For more than four hundred years, the Tabernacle served as the Lord’s “palace.”

After King David made Jerusalem his capital, he desired to build the Lord a house. Although he purchased the ground for the Temple from Araunah the Jebusite to offer sacrifices to stop a plague on Jerusalem (2 Sam. 24; 1 Chr. 21), David was not allowed to build the Temple because he had been a man of war. That task was left for his son Solomon.

Solomon’s Temple (959–586 B.C.)
Solomon began building Israel’s first Temple in 966 B.C., finishing it seven years later when the Lord’s Glory came to dwell within it (1 Ki. 6:1, 37–38; 8:10–11). He built it on the land David had purchased, the threshing floor of Araunah on Mount Moriah (2 Chr. 3:1). Moriah was where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22:2). After a ram was substituted for Isaac, Abraham named the place “the Lord will Provide,” meaning, “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided” (Gen. 22:14). It is not surprising, then, that this spot, which pictured the Lord accepting substitutionary atonement, became the place where the Day of Atonement ceremony was celebrated.

Despite the beauty of Solomon’s Temple and the Lord’s presence there, Judah’s idolatry caused the Lord’s Glory to forsake the Temple and give it over to the Babylonians, who destroyed it on August 14, 586 B.C. (Ezek. 9—11).

Herod’s Temple (516 B.C.—A.D. 70)
When Cyrus allowed the Judean captives to return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C., they immediately began to rebuild the Temple. But due to local opposition, construction stopped until the prophets Haggai and Zechariah exhorted the people to begin again and a decree was found, authorizing its construction (Ezra 5—6). Work resumed on September 21, 520 B.C. (Hag. 1:15), and the second Temple was completed four years later on March 12, 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:15).

However, God’s Glory did not indwell this Temple. Neither does Scripture reference the Ark because this Temple was built with a view to the Messiah coming to fill it with his Glory (Hag. 2:1–9).

When Herod the Great became King of Judea in 37 B.C, he desired to win the people’s affection (he was an Idumean [Edomite]) by adorning Judea with great buildings. His greatest project was to renovate the Temple in Jerusalem.

Herod began renovations in 20 B.C., completing the sanctuary in eighteen months. He constructed a huge platform around the Temple by building large retaining walls around the mountain and filling the space with dirt or archways. This was the Temple of Jesus’ day, and it was not officially completed until A.D 64.

As Israel had hoped, the Glory of the Lord came to the Temple—in the person of Jesus. But Jesus was rejected. And, as He prophesied (Lk. 21:20–24), the Temple was destroyed. The Romans sacked it on August 14, 70, the exact date Solomon’s Temple was burned more than five hundred years earlier (see “Tisha B’Av,” page 15).

Although the buildings on top of the Temple Mount were destroyed, the retaining walls Herod built still support the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem today.

The Third (Tribulation) Temple
According to Revelation 11, there will be a future Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This is the Temple that will be occupied by the Antichrist, as Jesus warned when He spoke of the Abomination of Desolation (Mt. 24:15). The drama of modern-day Israel plays into this prophecy. Orthodox Jewish groups, such as the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, are already preparing priests, garments, and instruments for this Third Temple. In view of today’s politics concerning the Temple Mount and the Muslim structures on it, particularly the Dome of the Rock, which sits on the site of Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples, it will be extremely interesting to see how God will arrange for this building’s construction and fulfill this prophecy.

The Millennial Temple

Since Ezekiel was the prophet who saw God’s Glory depart from Solomon’s Temple, it is fitting that he also envisioned the Glory returning to a new Temple (Ezek. 43:5). Ezekiel 40:1—47:12 describes this structure, the place from which Jesus will rule during the Millennium after He returns from heaven to set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem (Mt. 25:31). All the nations of the earth will then worship the Lord at this Temple during the Millennial Kingdom.

4 thoughts on “The Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem

  1. I want to know more about Israel. I was in the HOLY LANDS 2 times in the 90’s..I love it .. I want a more understand of God;s people.what makes them so special…thanks.

  2. I appreciate the concise historical record on the history of the temple of Israel; however, I respectfully disagree that YaHuWaH did not indwell the second temple.

    I would never turn to extrabiblical documents such as the Talmud to trump Scripture. However, these texts can be examined to better understand the opinions, debates, and events of the day.

    We have recorded historical references from the Jewish Talmud, Tractate Yoma 39a & 39b, that sheds light on this.

    Yoma 39a & 39b notes that once regularly occurring temple miracles had become sporadic for decades (No doubt due to the spiritual decline of the people and their leaders)

    1. The lot inscribed “YHWH” would always appear in the right hand of the high priest6 during the Yom Kippur service.

    2. The strip of scarlet-dyed wool which was tied to the head of the scapegoat always turned white during the Yom Kippur service.

    3. The western-most lamp of the Temple menorah remained lit until the priest would use its fire to kindle the next day’s lamps.

    4. The pyre on the altar did not require any additional wood to sustain a strong fire.

    5. There was a blessing upon the first fruits of the Omer, the two loaves offered on Shabuoth, and on the twelve loaves of the showbread so that each priest was satisfied with a portion no larger than the size of an olive.

    From

    Furthermore, the last four decades (40 yrs) before the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., these temple miracles ceased altogether.

    We understand this to coincide with the death of our Messiah Yahushua (Jesus) in 30 A.D. recorded in the Talmud had become sporadic and finally With the death of Messiah Yahushua (Jesus)

    I believe the reason for this happening is that the priests of Israel who represent the nation; were responsible for shedding innocent blood when sentencing Messiah to death via Rome. Yah would not accept any sacrifice offered by the leadership/priesthood until the alter was cleansed via the Red Heifer.

    In His death, Messiah Yahushua became the Red Heifer sacrificed outside the gates.
    Only Belief in Him (via the High Priest of Israel in those days could have cleansed the altar.

    Finally, Yahushua is the final sacrifice for sin but Matthew 5:18 reads
    “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Judaism apologist Tovia Singer correctly states,
    “in the last nine chapters of the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet describes in vivid detail the elaborate rituals and lofty ceremonies which will occur in the third and final messianic Temple. In chapters 43-44, Ezekiel clearly states that the animal sacrifices will be reinstated in their full glory. In fact, the messiah, who is called “the prince” seventeen times at the end of the Book of Ezekiel, will personally offer a sin offering in the future messianic temple (45:22).”
    From

    The whole of scripture must agree, or the interpretation is not valid. This principle is critical. Jesus did NOT “do away with sacrifices.” There will be a millennial temple with a sacrificial system in place. They will be both a memorial and a physical illustration to the nations and those born in the Millennium.

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