Highlights in the History of
Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

Jewish /
Common Era
Key People City of Jerusalem Temple Mount
c. 1760/
c. 2000 BCE
Abraham Abraham visits Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of El Elyon ("God Most High") (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 6:20-7:22)   
c. 1760/
c. 2000 BCE
Abraham journeys three days from Beershiva or Garet to Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice in obedience to God's command. God provides a substitute. (Genesis 22, Hebrews 11:8-19) Mt. Moriah is the site of the Temple Mount.
c. 2360/
c. 1400 BCE
Joshua After setting up the Ark at Shiloh near Shechem (Nablus), Joshua launches foray into Jerusalem. (Joshua 10:23, 15:63)   
c. 2760/
c. 1000 BCE
David David conquers Jebosite stronghold of Zion, builds city f David south of Temple Mount, reigns 33 years in Jerusalem after 7-year reign at Hebron. (2 Samuel 5:1-15) David returns Ark to Jerusalem and places it in Tabernacle of Moses erected there. (2 Samuel 6:1-18, 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:43). David plans First Temple, but not permitted to build it. (2 Samuel 7:1-17)

David purchases Threshing Floor of Araunah, site of First Temple and erects altar of sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. (2 Samuel 24:1-25 1 Chronicles 21:1-22:5)
c. 2810/
c. 950 BCE
Solomon Solomon builds Royal Palace and enlarges city, 13-year period. (I Kings 7:1-12) Solomon, with help of Hiram of Tyre and 183,600 workers, builds the First Temple and Royal Palace using local limestone, cedar from Lebanon and great amounts of gold and silver. (Temple built in seven years.) (1 Kings 5-9, 2 Chronicles 2)
c. 2850/
c. 910 BCE
Kingdom divided, 10 northern tribes, 2 southern tribes. Pharaoh Shishak of Egypt plunders temple carrying off much gold and silver. (1 Kings 14:25-28, 2 Chronicles 12:1-11)
c. 2925/
c. 835 BCE
Joash, King of Judah Joash repairs temple, establishes maintenance fund, and brings period of revival and reforms to southern kingdom. (2 Kings 12:5ff).
c. 3040/
c. 720 BCE
Ahaz, King of Judah Dismantles Solomon's bronze vessels and places private Syrian altar in the temple. (2 Kings 16:1-20, 2 Chronicles 28ff)
c. 3044/
c. 716 BCE
Hezekiah, King in Jerusalem, with help of God and the prophet Isaiah resists Assyrian attempt to capture Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 32). Wells and springs stopped up. Restore. Temple and brings period of national reform and revival (2 Chronicles 29-31). Later strips gold to pay tribute to Sennacherib. (2 Kings 18-16)
c. 3120/
c. 640 BCE
   Josiah repairs the Temple and brings about national religious reforms. (2 Chronicles 34-35).
c. 3174/
Sunday, 9th of Av, 587 BCE
Nebuchadnezzar lays siege to Jerusalem, burning the city, murdering inhabitants, and carrying a remnant into captivity. (2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36, Josephus) Temple destroyed and sacred vessels carried off to Babylon. These vessels desecrated in Babylon by Belshazzar. (Daniel 5)
c. 3187/
c. 573 BCE
Jeremiah prophesies a 70-year captivity in Babylon. (Jeremiah 29:1-14) Ezekiel receives a vision from God describing in detail the great Temple to be built during the reign of the Messiah in an age which is yet to come. (Ezekiel 40-48)
c. 3219/
c. 541 BCE
First Jews return from Babylon in small numbers to rebuild the city and its walls. 70 years of exile terminated. (Daniel 9, Haggai 2:18-19) Second Temple built despite fierce opposition and delays, beginning with erection of an altar of sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. Temple completed after 15-year delay in 515 BCE.
c. 3428/
c. 332 BCE
Alexander the Great (Daniel 8:21-23, 11:2-4) Priests from Jerusalem meet invading army of Alexander and dissuade him from destroying Jerusalem by showing him Scriptures that predict his rise to power. After the death of Alexander a series of wars between Syria and Egypt subject the Holy Land to multiple distresses. (Daniel 9:24-27, 11:1-35; Zechariah 9:1-10; Josephus)   
c. 3585-3597/
c. 175-163 BCE
Antiochus Ephiphanes IV The "little horn" of Daniel 8:9, a cruel Syrian (Selicid) king plunders Jerusalem, murdering many Jews. (Daniel 11:21-35) Antiochus desecrates the temple, offers a sow upon the altar and carries off temple treasuries. Worship and sacrifices haIted, 15 December 167 BCE.
c. 3570/
170 BCE
Maccabees Godly Jews under Mattathias begin revolt culminating in repossession of Jerusalem. (1 Maccabees) Temple purified and worship and sacrifices restored in 165 BCE.
c. 3615/
c. 141 BCE
   The Roman Akva Fortress is conquered by the Maccabees, thus freeing the Temple from alien supervision.   
c. 3697/
c. 63 BCE
Pompey Roman conquest of the Holy Land. (Daniel 2:40-43) Pompey brazenly enters Holy of Holies, disappointed to find it empty.
c. 3720/
c. 40 BCE
Herod the Great (d. 4 BCE) Cruel, despotic Roman ruler, an. Idumean, (who murdered the infants in Bethlehem). Building projects at Jericho, Hebron, and Caesarea to placate the Jews. Temple Mount vastly enlarged and leveled. Second Temple rebuilt and enlarged, 10,000 workers, 100 priests, 1000 wagons. Temple and courts rebuilt until 63 BCE. City and walls under construction 46 years.
c. 3837/
c. 3 BCE
c. 3822/
62 CE
Early Christian Era Highlights Located Below in Separate Section
c. 3831/
9th of Av,70 CE
   Roman General Titus besieges Jerusalem destroying city and murdering inhabitants, terrible suffering and destruction. (Josephus) Temple set afire, soldiers tear every stone apart to get melted gold. Menorah and vessels carried to Rome. Treasury robbed.
c. 136 CE
Hadrian Undertakes rebuilding of Jerusalem as "Aelia Capitolina" provoking unsuccessful Bar Kochba revolt in 135 by devout Jews. Hadrian erects Temple of Jupiter on Temple Mount and statue of himself facing east in front. Jewish attempt to build Third Temple fails.
c. 4093/
c. 333 CE
      "Traveller of Bordeaux" visits Jerusalem and relates Jews praying on Temple Mount.
c. 4090-4400/
c. 330-640 CE
Constantine Byzantine Period. Christianity made official religion of Roman Empire. Church of the Holy Sepulchre built. Persian conquest in 614 CE. 37,000 Christians exiled to Persia, Jews later banished from Jerusalem also. Byzantine Emperor Herodius recaptures Jerusalem, 629 CE. Temple Mount neglected, becomes refuse heap. Herodius proposes building near temple.
c. 4122/
c. 362 CE
Julian    Authorizes Jews to rebuild Temple. Work stopped by fire or earthquake.
c. 4160/
c. 400 CE
      Heronymus describes Jews mourning onTemple Mount.
c. 4398/
c. 638 CE
   Moslem conquest.   
c. 4445-4465/
c. 685-705 CE
Abd el-Malik Extension of the city and rebuilding of walls and roads. Islamic tradition alleges that Caliph Omar clears rubbish from temple Mount and prays there in 638 CE. Old wooden El Aksa Mosque constructed, 700 CE, and Dome of the Rock by Abd el-Malik, 684-690 CE.
c. 420-4510/
c. 660-750 CE
Power struggles, revolts and persecutions of Jews and Christians causes Jerusalem to deteriorate.   
c. 4496/
c. 746 CE
      Earthquake destroys El Aksa Mosque.
c. 4628/
c. 868 CE
Ahmed ibn Tulun Palestine annexed to Egypt. 831 CE Caliph al-Mamun orders restoration work on the Dome of the Rock.
c. 4700/
c. 940 CE
   Fatimid Caliphs role from Egypt, 969 CE, El-Hakem orders destruction of churches and synagogues, 1010 CE. Karaite scribe Salomon ben Yerucham writes of synagogues within Temple Mount courtyard.
c. 4776/
c. 1016 CE
      Earthquake causes structural damage on Temple Mount.
c. 4790/c. 1030 CE       Rabbi Shlomo ben Yehuda describes Jewish custom of encircling Temple Mount.
c. 4859-4947/
c. 1099-1187 CE
Crusaders Violent conquest of Holy Land in the name of Christianity. Many Jews and Moslems murdered. Jews sold into slavery and banished from Jerusalem. Dome of the Rock reconsecrated as "Temple Domini" and El Aksa as "Temple Salomonis."
c. 4793/
1033 CE
      Earthquake damages El Aksa Mosque.
c. 4860/
1100 CE
      Rabbi Avraham bar Chaya writes of synagogues on Temple Mount.
c. 4926/
1165 CE
      Maimonides visits Jerusalem and prays on Temple Mount.
c. 4947/
1187 CE
Saladin Jerusalem recaptured for Islam. Crusaders defeated. Dome of the Rock and El Aksa restored to Islam. Icons removed. 1190, walls overlaid with marble inscriptions added in Arabic.
c. 4989/
c. 1229 CE
Frederick II Al-Malik Al-Kamil of Egypt cedes Jerusalem to Frederick II.   
c. 5004-5277/
c. 1244-1517 CE
   Rule by Tartars, Mongols, Ayybids and Mamelukes. Moslem control of the holy places 1270-1290 CE. Moslem restoration work on Dome. Brass doors added in 1467. Persian tiles added by Suleiman. Lead sheathing to Dome, 1735 CE. Mosaic removed 1835, 1874 CE.
c. 5277/
c. 1517 CE
Ottoman Period Turkish rule   
5206/c. 1546 CE       Earthquake causes serious damage in Jerusalem.
c. 5592-5600/
c. 1832-1840 CE
   Turkish conquest by Sellim I. Suleiman the Magnificent builds walls and improves the city and aqueducts. Jews tolerated, but heavily taxed and property confiscated. Egyptian governorship under Mohamed Ali and Ibrahim Pasha. (1831 CE)   
1855 CE
      First acknowledged non-Moslem visitor permitted to enter Temple Mount since 1187 CE.
1866 CE
      Jews become majority in Jerusalem.
December 1917 CE
   British capture of Jerusalem from the Turks. Temple Mount first opened to Europeans.
1921-1947 CE
   Rule under British Mandate. UN participation in November 1947. Deterioration of British rule. Waves of immigration by Jews under very adverse conditions.   
1927 CE
      Earthquake weakens El Aksa Mosque foundations.
June 1948 CE
   Rebirth of the State of Israel. December 1949 Jerusalem made capital city. Kenesset built.   
1951 CE
      July 20, King Abdullah assassinated at entrance to El Aksa Mosque.
1955-1965 CE
   Jerusalem divided. Jordanian rule over old city. Dome foundations strengthened by Jordanians, 1955-1965 CE. Electric lights added.
June 1967 CE
   Jerusalem reunited in 6-day war. Israeli flag flies temporarily over Temple Mount. Control and stewardship of Temple Mount returned to Moslems. Fire in 1968 destroys pulpit and Mihrab in El Aksa.
Spring 1982 CE
      Union of Third Temple Groups, "To the Mountain of the Lord," "The Faithful of the Temple Mount," and the "Jerusalem Temple Foundation." Planning for the Third Temple.
Early Christian Era Highlights
c. 3757/
c. 3 BCE
Herod the Great crowned king, 40 BCE. Jesus presented at the temple and dedicated to God by his parents, doves offered in sacrifice. (Luke 2:21-24)
c. 3768/
c. 8 CE
John the Baptist
   Jesus at age 12 talks to priests and teachers in the Second Temple while his parents are in Jerusalem for Passover. Family home at Nazareth (Luke 2:41-50)
c. 3790-3793/
c. 30-33 CE
Jesus Pilate, 26-36 CE
Herod Antippas, exiled 39 CE
Herod Agrippa, died 44 CE
Jesus tempted by the devil on the pinnacle of the temple, (Luke 4:1-12). Jesus casts out money changers from the temple early in his ministry (John 2:13-16), and again three years later. During his final week of life before the resurrection, he taught in the temple courts and confronted the crowds and Pharisees there. Jesus predicts destruction of the Second Temple. (Matthew 21ff, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12)
c. 3793-3795/
c. 33-35 CE
Jesus leaves his disciples 40 days after the resurrection, ascending from the Mount of Olives. (Acts 1:1-6, John 20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8) Followers of Jesus gathered in Temple Courts 10 days later on Pentecost Sunday, experience coming of the Spirit of God to give birth to the Church of Jesus Christ. Peter preaches to the crowds and many are healed. (Acts 1ff)
c. 3793-3795/
c. 33-35 CE
Stephen    Martyrdom of Stephen on the Temple Mount, Saul of Tarsus consenting. (Acts 6-7).
c. 3822/
c. 62 CE
James the Just
John (d. 100 CE)
Christians driven from Jerusalem by persecution. James, brother of Jesus and leader of the Church in Jerusalem, martyred by being thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple Mount.
Based upon document prepared by:
Lambert Dolphin, for the Jerusalem Temple Foundation.
February 1983

A Brief History of the Jewish Temple

by Randall Price

The history of the Jewish Temple begins and ends in prophecy. The Sanctuary (a term inclusive of God's dwelling in all its forms) was proleptically revealed to Abraham in its sacrificial service and permanent location on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:2, 14). Enlarging the Abrahamic revelation in similar terms, Moses receives prophetic instructions at the time of the Exodus for Israel's relationship to the Sanctuary (Ex. 15:17). Later on Mount Sinai, he receives the heavenly blueprint for the Sanctuary and its vessels (Ex. 25:8-9, 40). This verse is important in that it shows that the divine ideal for the Sanctuary is God's manifest Presence on earth among His people (vs. 8; cf. its Millennial expression - Zech. 2:10-12), and that the same celestial pattern (vss. 9, 40) was used for both the Tabernacle and the Temple (cf. 1 Chron. 28:11-19; cf. Rev. 15:5). The Tabernacle is distinguished from the Temple in that it was a portable and temporary dwelling place for God's Presence (Ex. 40:36-38; cf. 2 Sam. 7:6) whereas the Temple was to be a permanent and eternal habitation (2 Chron. 7:16; Ezek. 37:26-28). In token of their mutually prophetic purpose, when the First Temple was built, the Tabernacle/Tent of Meeting was apparently included within it (1 Kgs. 8:4; 2 Chron. 5:5).

It is King David who, meditating on the divine ideal (cf. Psa. 132) is moved to begin the process of building the First Temple (2 Sam. 7:2; 1 Chron. 17:1). However, since the Temple was designed to regulate the universal peace brought by God's Presence on earth during the Millennium (David only understands the restricted concept, cf. 2 Sam. 7:1), it could only be completed by one who was a fitting representative of God's peaceful program (1 Kgs. 3:3-14; 5:3). Yet David was in prophetic succession to those to whom God had previously revealed the Temple's program. This is seen in God's reminding David of the Abrahamic promise (2 Sam. 7:10), and repeating to him the Mosaic revelation (1 Chron. 28:11, 19). On this basis (as a founder, not a builder), David was qualified to make financial and material preparations for the Temple (1 Chron. 29). Solomon ("His peace") however, was to construct the Temple based on the terms of his father's covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-13;1 Kgs. 5:5; 6:12-13). In his prayer of dedication (1 Kgs. 8) is revealed both the Temple's divine ideal as the place of God's Presence (vss. 27-34) and its universal (Millennial) function (vss. 41-43, 56-60).

The Davidic Covenant which provided for a permanent Temple in Jerusalem was nonetheless conditioned upon the Nation's obedience. This meant that throughout Israel's future history the Temple could be removed and returned as often as Israel was fickle or faithful to the covenant. As history unfolded, the First Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. as a direct result of covenantal violations. The downward slide began already in the time of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:1-13) and culminated with king Manasseh (2 Kgs. 21:7-14), and were especially prolonged with respect to violations of the Sabbath (2 Chron. 36:21).

Restoration began with the return and rebuilding of the Second Temple under Zerubbabel in 515 B.C. (Ezra 1-6), but because of continued covenant violations (cf. Ezra 9; Neh. 13; Mal. 1-4) the Millennial restoration envisioned by the Prophets (cf. Ezek. 40-48) was postponed (cf. Hag. 2:1-9). Half a millennia later, perhaps a decade before Jesus was born in Judea, the Second Temple was in such severe need of repairs that the reigning king Herod the Great refurbished it completely, even expanding its size. Although newly restored, it was still subject to the old terms of the covenantal contract, and with the Nation's rejection of Jesus as Messiah the Temple was again doomed to desolation. All of Jesus pronouncements of the Temple's destruction (Matt. 24:2/Mk. 13:2; Lk. 21:6, 20-24) must be viewed in this light, and not as a rejection or replacement of the Temple as a legitimate institution. In fact joined immediately to Jesus' own pronouncement of the Temple's desolation (Matt. 21:38) is His promise (in the word "until") of Israel (and the Temple's) restoration (Matt. 23:39). This and Jesus' positive statements concerning the Temple elsewhere (Matt. 12: 4; 17:24-27; 23:16-21; Jn. 2:16-17) and especially in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) hold out the prophetic promise that the history of the Temple would be continued in the future.


Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; Jewish Wars; Mina C. Klein & H. Arthur Klein, Temple Beyond Time: The Story of the Site of Solomon's Temple (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1970 [general Jewish perspective], Joan Comay, The Temple of Jerusalem (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975) [general Jewish perspective], Benjamin Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1975) [Conservative Jewish perspective], Rabbi Shaul Schaffer & Asher Joseph. Engl. ed. Rabbi Asher Feuchtwanger, Israel's Temple Mount: The Jews' Magnificent Sanctuary (Jerusalem: Achva Press, 1975) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Meir Ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple: The Discovery of Ancient Jerusalem. Trans. Ina Friedman (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982) [secular Jewish perspective], Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1985) [Jewish, higher critical, perspective], Rabbi Leibel Reznick, The Holy Temple Revisited (New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1993) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services [updated edition] (Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994) [Evangelical, Jewish-Christian perspective].

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