Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Temples of Jerusalem

The Temple in Jerusalem or the Holy Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Bet HaMikdash) was built in ancient Jerusalem in c. 10th century BCE and was subsequently rebuilt twice, after the Babylonian exile and during Herod the Great's renovation. It was the center of Israelite Jewish worship, primarily for the offering of sacrifices known as the korbanot. It was located on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, was the center of ancient Judaism, and has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism anticipate the Third Temple being built in the future.

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Temple was built by Solomon. It replaced the Tabernacle of Moses

  • The First Temple (also known as Solomon's Temple)
  • The Second Temple, ( Herod's Temple: massive expansion of the Second Temple)
  • The Third Temple
(Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, religious Jews have prayed that God will allow for the rebuilding of a Third Temple.)

The Temple Mount was the site of the first and second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and according to Judaism is to be the site of the third and final Temple in the time of the Messiah. It is also the site of two major Muslim religious shrines, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, taken over through Islamic conquest in the 7th century. Jews and Christians are not allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque, even though it is built upon the ground where God authorized the building of the First Temple.

It is the holiest site in Judaism, the third holiest site in Islam, and has special significance to Christianity. It is thus one of the most contested religious sites in the world.


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