Temple (Old Covenant)
In the Bible, the word Temple signifies a sanctuary, a place sacred to the Divinity, a house (dwelling place) of God. In all of the Canon of Scripture, there has always been only one place at any given time where God dwelt in a special way within creation. Arguably, the first place was the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The second place would be
Mt. Horeb (the ) (Ex. 3:1). The third place was the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:10). The fourth place was the stone mountain of God Temple (built to house the ). The ‘stone’ Temple of Jesus’ glorified body would be the fifth and final one, destined to exist for all eternity. Ark
To the Israelites, the
Temple in was called Bet Yehovah (house of Jehovah). While the building of the First Temple was in the heart of King David, who had already begun accumulating all of the materials and furnishings necessary to accomplish his heart’s desire. However, its accomplishment was reserved by God for David’s son, Solomon (1 Chron. 28:1-6). Jerusalem
The chronology of the Temple is this:
The temple which Solomon erected to the Lord about 966 B.C. was destroyed by Nabuchodonozor in 586 B.C. After the return from captivity, Zorobabel raised it again from its ruins (537 B.C.), but in such modest conditions that the ancients who had seen the former
wept. In the eighteenth year of his reign, which corresponds to 19 B.C., King Herod destroyed the Temple to replace it by another which would equal, if not surpass in splendour, that of Solomon. Templeof Zorobabel
Just as there were never two places where God simultaneously dwelled, there were never two
existing at one time. The location of the Temple and each rebuilt Temple was located around the exact same location, i.e., the sacred rock, which was the foundation for the altar of holocausts in the Temples . The location of the sacred rock is significant because it is at that location where David, who had become prideful, saw an angel sent by God making ready to strike the people of the city. The angel was stayed when David humbled himself before God. In gratitude, David built an altar upon this rock. It is also the same location where ancient tradition holds that Abraham made ready to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Temple of Jerusalem
The sacred rock was not only spared in each rebuilding of the Temple; it was the very center of each design. Perhaps, and this is only conjectured on my part, the sacred rock provides us with a deeper understanding of Jesus’ words to Peter when he said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). The important point is this: it was ordained by God that there be one — and only one — special dwelling place for God, continuously existing from the time of David onward. This fact will be necessary for understanding St Paul's teaching that we are all temples of the Holy Spirit.
The Temple was the center of the Jewish world, as can be seen by the three great national festivals in Judaism (the Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of the Tabernacles), all celebrated at the Temple in Jerusalem. So important were these festivals, all males were expected to travel there for their celebration. According to Ezekiel’s prophetic dream, this solitary Temple (dwelling place for God) was meant to exist for all eternity (Ez. 43:7). In Haggai, we read, “I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:7-9). In other words, the glory of the New Covenant of Salt Temple will far exceed that of the OC Temple and this glory will exist forever.
 Barnabas Meistermann, “Temple of
Jerusalem,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912), from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14499a.htm (accessed June 3, 2011).
 Beda Kleinschmidt and Walter Drum, “Temple,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912), from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14495a.htm (accessed June 6, 2011).