Shelby G. Floyd
After King David captured Jerusalem, he chose Mount Moriah as the site to build the permanent place of worship called the temple.
Solomon, the son of David would build this temple. David could not build it because he was a man of bloodshed! Solomon finished building the temple in 957 B. C. This building had three rooms. The Most Holy Place was where the Ark of the Covenant rested.
Babylon Destroyed Solomon’s Temple in 586 B. C.
The Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the city of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple in 587 to 586 B. C. (See 2 Kings 25:8-12). After Jerusalem fell, a man who escaped came to Ezekiel in Babylon and said, “The city has fallen” (Ezekiel 33:21). The Temple treasures and several detachments of Jews were taken to Babylon, including the prophets Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jeremiah.
Israel in Babylonian Captivity 70 Years!
After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, God promised to restore Israel back to Jerusalem. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah: “This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever” (Jeremiah 25:11-12 NIV).
Israel To Rebuild the Temple and Restore Worship
Israel would rebuild the city, the temple, and worship God again in the city of David! Ezekiel, Ezra, and Jeremiah all prophesied that Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt. And they said the exiled Jews would be restored to their beloved city and worship God in the rebuilt temple. Ezekiel gave detailed instruction on how to build the temple, the altar on which they would offer animal sacrifice to God, and the order of worship (Ezekiel 40-44). Was this prophecy fulfilled? If so, when did this take place?
The Persian King, Cyrus II Conquered Babylonia in 538 B. C.
According to history, King Cyrus II, of the Persian Empire, conquered Babylonia in 538 B. C. King Cyrus gave the proclamation emancipation for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and temple: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:
“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to rebuild for Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2-3 NASB).
They made the altar as specified by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40-44), set up the altar, and offered up sacrifices: “Now when the seventh month came, and the sons of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one person to Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers, rose up and built the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses, the man of God. 3 So they set up the altar on its foundation, because they were terrified of the peoples of the lands; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening” (Ezra 3:1-3 NASB).
The Second Temple Completed in 515 B. C.
Then they laid the foundation on which to build the second temple: Therefore “the Second Temple” was rebuilt and completed in 515 B. C.,
“Now when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord according to the directions of King David of Israel. 11 And they sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘For He is good, for His favor is upon Israel forever.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout of joy when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, because the people were shouting with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away” (Ezra 3:10-13 NASB).
Thus, this second temple was rebuilt, and worship was restored about 70 years after the first temple was destroyed. This second temple continued with some interruptions until the days of Herod the King in the time of Jesus Christ. This temple was inferior to Solomon’s temple. It is sometimes called “Zerubbabel’s Temple!”
King Herod Embellished the Second Temple
King Herod took on the task of embellishing the Second temple. According to scripture he had worked on it 46 years: “The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and yet You will raise it up in three days?” (John 2:20).
Herod’s Temple Destroyed by Titus and the Roman Army in A. D. 70
In A. D. 70 the Roman army under Titus surrounded Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. This fulfilled the words of Jesus who said, “not one stone would be left on top of another” (Read Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21). Today there is no Temple in Jerusalem. The Muslims took over the area in 692 A. D., and in later years they built the Dome of the Rock on Mt. Moriah. Since that time, the Jewish people have not had a temple for about 2,000 years but have worshipped in a church like building called a synagogue. Today they have no temple and no blood sacrifice!
God’s Temple Today is the Church!
So now God’s Temple is the church of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Matthew 16:13-18). The church is God’s called out people from the world into the fellowship of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22)! Also, the body of a Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).
Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd, Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142