A Brief History
On August 4, 70 A.D., the Romans punished the rebellious Jews by destroying the Second Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In 66 A.D., the Jews had rebelled against Roman rule, and four years later, the Romans retook Jerusalem.
The original temple was built around 1000 B.C. and was known as Solomon’s Temple. After it was destroyed around 586 B.C., construction of the Second Temple began about 538 B.C. and was completed by 516 B.C.
The Second Temple underwent reconstruction under Herod the Great in the 1st century (around 18 B.C.) and was often referred to as Herod’s Temple. Since the destruction of the nearly 600-year-old Second Temple, the Third Temple prophesied by Ezekiel has not yet been built. Instead the site on Temple Mount is occupied by the Islamic Mosque known as the “Dome of the Rock” which was built in 691 A.D.
The site of the Jewish temples and the Dome of the Rock is based on the rock (Foundation Stone) that Abraham is said to have prepared for the sacrifice of his son, and the same rock is the one that Muhammad is supposed to have ascended into heaven from. The Foundation Stone is located immediately next to a hole in the ground with stone steps leading to a cavern known as the “Well of Souls.” Some clerics believe the Ark of the Covenant was kept at the Temple Mount and may be buried there. Sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims, the construction of a Third Temple on the same site is considered to be a prerequisite for the onset of Armageddon.
Considering the likelihood of massive Holy War by Islam against any people that tear down the Dome of the Rock, such an action could well preface a terrible war. With all 3 of the major Western religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) claiming common roots, it seems rather unfortunate that a place so holy to all 3 might one day be ground zero for a possible apocalyptic war. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject.
Question for students (and subscribers): Should a Third Temple be built? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please read…
Goldhill, Simon. The Temple of Jerusalem (Wonders of the World). Harvard University Press, 2005.
The featured image in this article, The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus (1850) by David Roberts (1796–1864), is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.
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