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Temple in Jerusalem

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Category: Bible

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The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These successive temples stood at this location and functioned as a site of ancient Israelite and later Jewish worship.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon. According to the Book of Deuteronomy, as the sole place of Israelite sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:2-27), the Temple replaced the Tabernacle constructed in the Sinai Desert under the auspices of Moses, as well as local sanctuaries, and altars in the hills.

According to the Book of Ezra, construction of the Second Temple was called for by Cyrus the Great and began in 538 BCE,[6] after the fall of the Babylonian Empire the year before.

Around 20 BCE, the building was renovated and expanded by Herod the Great, and became known as Herod’s Temple. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE during the Siege of Jerusalem. Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24:2) and allegorically compares his body to a Temple that will be torn down and raised up again in three days. This idea, of the Temple as the body of Christ, became a rich and multi-layered theme in medieval Christian thought (where Temple/body can be the heavenly body of Christ, the ecclesial body of the Church, and the Eucharistic body on the altar).

The Temple Mount, along with the entire Old City of Jerusalem, was captured from Jordan by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War, allowing Jews once again to visit the holy site.

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