The Second Temple

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Temple in Jerusalem model
Model of the Second Temple

Before the second temple existed the first one began as an idea of King David, which he then conveyed to Nathan the prophet. After hearing David's plans, Nathan stated that God approved of what the king intended to do (2Samuel 7:1 - 3). Nathan, however, spoke a bit too soon. That night God told the prophet that King David would NOT be the one to build him a house but that Solomon, who would rule in peace, would be the man to do the job (verses 4 - 17).

God did allow David to gather building materials for his temple in Jerusalem. As an old man, David told Solomon the reason why he could not build God's house of prayer himself. It was simply because he was a man of war, a bloody man, a man who had killed lots of people in battle (1Chronicles 22:8 - 10).

Work on the temple was begun around 966 - 965 B.C. and was completed around 959 - 958 B.C. The building was built on Mount Moriah, which is east of the city, on the spot where Isaac was offered by Abraham (Genesis 22:1 - 14). Unfortunately, the building was burned, pillaged and destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 B.C. He carried all its treasures back to Babylon.

Map of King David's Military Victories

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Map of Roman Empire in the First Century

Map showing the seven hills of Jerusalem

What is known as the second temple, which is a rebuilding of the first one in its original location, was authorized by King Cyrus of Persia. It was not completed until 516 B.C.

When Herod the Great was made 'king of the Jews' (king of Judea) by the Roman Senate, "God's house" had stood for roughly 500 years. It had experienced a tremendous amount of natural decay, along with the destruction that came as various armies sought to conquer the city and the temple. Herod began the work of rebuilding God's house around 20 B.C., which was undertaken at a considerable cost of men and supplies, and on a grand scale. Work on the building was still going on at the time of Jesus (John 2:16, John 2:19 - 21).

One of Jesus' most well-known prophecies foretold of the destruction of God's appointed place of worship.

1. And after going out, Jesus departed from the temple; and His disciples came to Him to point out the buildings of the temple. 2. But Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, there shall not be left here even a stone upon a stone that shall not be thrown down."

3. And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, His disciples came to Him alone, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the completion of the age?" (Matthew 24:1 - 3, HBFV)

The restoration of God's house was finally completed in 65 A.D.

Sadly, only a few years after renovations to the second temple were completed, it was utterly destroyed. Roman legions stormed Jerusalem, and notwithstanding the efforts of General (later Emperor) Titus to preserve it, his soldiers set fire to it in several locations. Its total destruction began on the 9th of Ab, the same day its first destruction occurred. Its demise was completed on Ab 10, which corresponds to Sunday, August 5th in 70 A.D.

Additional Study Materials
Picture of the Dome of the Rock
How did God design the inside of his house?
How RICH was King Solomon?
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