According to biblical scriptures, just over three thousand years ago a young king known as ‘David’ conquered Jerusalem. This is the very same ‘داوود’ David, a Prophet, who has been mentioned in the Holy Quran. After conquering the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, King David enjoyed his rule in an era of peace and prosperity that lasted thirty-two years. During this time, King David dwelled in a magnificent castle of cedar and stone, but this concerned him. He was not satisfied with the fact that a visible king had the pleasure of dwelling in a magnificent house while the invisible king (referring to God), according to Jewish scriptures, dwelt in an ageing temporary tent, the Tabernacle of Moses. For this purpose, King David decided to build a temple the like of which the world had not seen before, solely for the purpose of the worship of the One True God.
Although King David drew up the plans for the temple and managed to collect the necessary materials, it was God’s will that David’s son, Solomon, who would succeed his father after his death, would be the one under whose auspices the temple was to be constructed. So it happened, before the construction began, King David passed away and his successor, King Solomon, initiated the construction of the temple. According to the Bible, regarding this matter King Solomon stated:
‘You know that my father David could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the wars which were fought against him on every side until the Lord put his foes under the soles of his feet.’The Bible (1 Kings, 5:3)
The Construction of the First Temple
The reign of King Solomon lasted from 970 – 931 BCE. The construction of the Temple is believed to have began in the fourth year of his reign and took seven years to complete. Regarding the construction force needed for this monumental task, the Bible states:
‘Then King Solomon raised up a labour force out of all Israel – and the labour force was thirty thousand men… Solomon selected seventy thousand men to bear burdens, eighty thousand to quarry stone in the mountains, and three thousand six hundred to oversee them.’The Bible (1 Kings 5:13 | 2 Chronicles 2:2)
The Involvement of the Freemasons
This temple, as has already been stated earlier, came to its completion seven years after the construction work began. From the quote above, it is clear that this temple needed a large labour force, however it does not clearly state who was behind such a colossal engineering feat.
Hazrat Musleh Ma’ud raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them", the second Khalifa of the Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" and the Promised Son mentions the engineers of the temple in his commentary of the Holy Quran. He states:
‘Therefore this society (the Freemason’s) also accepts that when Hazrat Solomon asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" built his ‘First Temple’, it was from that time that this society (Freemasonry) was formed.’Tafsir Kabeer, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them", (Vol. 2, P.g 7)
Although Hazrat Musleh Ma’ud was referring to the Freemasonry society as a whole and giving an introduction and insight to their context, two important points can be deduced from this extract regarding the temple.
The first being that the masterminds and engineers responsible for this engineering feat were in fact the Freemasons. As to who these people were and modern day theories regarding their existence and influence in world affairs, that is an entire knew chapter which is too lengthy to be mentioned in this article and which would stray from our topic at hand; the temple.
The second point which can be derived from this is that the temple which was built was in fact ‘The First Temple’. This corresponds to the popular belief of the Jews and Christians that more than one temple stood at the site which is known as ‘The Dome of the Rock’ in Jerusalem.
This Temple, which was built during the lifetime of Hazrat Solomon asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" , was in fact the first of two temples.
Destruction of the First Temple
The Bible states that many kings passed while this first temple stood, some good natured and some bad. However, these bad kings were all partly to blame for the gradual decline of the splendour this temple, until finally, as the Bible mentions and to which the Holy Quran testifies, the temple was destroyed by the onslaught of the Babylonians.
‘And the whole land [of Israel] shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.’Jeremiah (25:12, 13)
The siege of Jerusalem lay waste to most of the city and resulted in the destruction of the first temple by King Nebuchadnazer in 586 BCE. This Babylonian invasion resulted in the Diaspora of 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel, which are commonly known as ‘The Lost tribes of Israel.’
The Construction of the Second Temple
This empire ruled over Jerusalem for 70 years. It is a common belief that upon the ascension of the just King Cyrus, permission was granted for the building of the Second Temple of Solomon. Cyrus was a Persian King who conquered Babylon, in result of which large territories came under his rule. Jerusalem was included in these territories.
It was under the leadership and prophethood of Prophet Daniel asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him", that the period of Exile (70 years) came to an end and the Jews were allowed (by Cyrus) to return to Jerusalem in 538 BCE.Daniel (9:3-19)
The construction of the Second Temple began two years after this. According to the Bible, due to some unrest and opposition, the construction of the temple had been delayed for 16 years until 520 BCE, during the reign of King Darius.
The Temple saw its completion in 515 BCE, and although it was slightly smaller and more modest than the first, the Bible claims that God was pleased with this temple.
During the destruction of the first temple, the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ was either destroyed or taken. This Ark could not be returned, in result of which a seven-branched Menorah stood in its place in the new temple.
King Herod’s Extension of the Temple
This temple would see many famous kings rule over its city, including Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes. However, there is one king who contributed in the expansion of the Temple, King Herod.
He prepared all the building materials in advance before beginning the work in 19 or 20 BCE Between 10,000- 18,000 workmen were involved in this construction. Herod’s work more than doubled the size of the Second Temple, thus adding to its grandeur.
The Destruction of the Second Temple
However, this Second Temple was also doomed for destruction, and in 64 CE, the Roman Emperor Titus besieged the city. Thus 655 years after the First Temple, the Second Temple was destroyed to such an extent that according to the Messiah Jesus asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" , no stone would be left upon another.John (2:20)
The Western Wall
It is a common belief amongst the Jews, that nothing was left of the temple apart from a wall, known as ‘The Western Wall’ or ‘The Wailing Wall’. According to Jewish historians, this wall is part of the extension of Herod to the temple.Mathew (24:1-2) Due to its connection to the temple, today it is where Jews across the globe turn to for prayers, and upon which they perform their rituals. However, the authenticity regarding the connection to this wall has to the temple is disputed upon, with some researchers claiming that this was part of a fountain near the temple, not the temple itself.
The Third Temple
Many Jews believe in the construction of a Third Temple, which was prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him". This temple, according to Jewish scripture, is to be constructed during the time of the Jewish Messiah. Of course, the advent of Jesus asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" was in fact the advent of the Jewish Messiah, meaning that this prophecy had either been added to the text later on or it has more ways of being interpreted.
Although the actual temple no longer exists, the Jews have ingrained its existence in their history by constructing every single synagogue in accordance to Solomon’s Temple. Of course, the actual temple has not been replicated, however, either the outside of the synagogue or the inside, has been constructed according to the old Temple.