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Jerusalem Temple

a house of prayer for all nations

Built in seven years during the reign of Solomon, the Jerusalem Temple was rebuilt by command of Cyrus, who returned the gold and silver vessels, which had been taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

temple plan

Although various sources differ on some of the details, there have been many attempts to make models and drawings. Descriptions of this Temple and the surounding structures influenced the design during the sixteenth century of El Escorial, which was intended as a monument to Spain as a center of the Christian world. Isaac Newton and many others were fascinated by the geometry of King Solomon's Temple.

perfect cube

The Ark of the Convenant was in a room, that was a perfect cube of 20 cubits or about 9 meters. This room was entered from a larger room 20 cubits wide, 40 cubits long and 30 cubits high. A porch extended a further 10 cubits making the total length of these three spaces 70 cubits. Sources differ on the exact size and position of two pillars either side of the entrance, which may recall the pillar that appeared by night as fire and by day as cloud to guide Moses and the people through the desert. Later writers thought of these pillars as representations of divine wisdom or logos, the creative word of God.

The prayer spoken when the first fruits were delivered to the sanctuary is especially ancient:

"A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me."

detail Titus Arch

The Jerusalem Temple was detroyed in 70 AD by a Roman army under the command of Titus.

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