by Tony Badillo

It is said certain Israeli groups are planning rebuilding the Temple. If so, which one should it be, the First built by King  Solomon, or the Second built by King Herod? The two temples were several hundred years apart. Is choosing one model over the other solely a matter of personal taste or is there something more substantial involved?

If you entered this website here, you may wish to first view Temple Secrets and also The Sexual Symbolism of the Temple because the explanation that follows assumes you have have read these articles.

King Solomon’s Temple is the better choice and here is why: Solomon’s was built in the hidden form of a tripartite man who is Jacob, the Levite High Priest, and King Messiah, as explained and illustrated in the above links. But in Herod’s Temple (T- shaped roof at right) it is impossible to find these three biblical figures because the features identifying them were erased or radically altered. And who will argue that these three are of little or no import to Israel and Judaism? In fact, they may also be of interest to Christianity and perhaps even Islam. Here is why Solomon’s Temple ought be preferred over Herod’s.

Herod Raises the Foundation Six Cubits

In the Second Temple the foundation was raised six cubits making the floor of the Hekal, the Holy Place, level with the floor of the Holy of Holies. In other words, in Solomon’s Temple the floor of the Holy of Holies was at least six cubits higher than the floor of the Holy Place. Therefore, on Yom Kippur the High Priest had to ascend a ramp or short stairway to enter the Holy of Holies. But not so in Herod’s Temple because both floors were made the same height. The problem? By raising the floor of the Holy Place and making it level with the Holy of Holies, Herod erased forever the figure of Jacob sleeping at Bethel and using a stone for a headrest; for as the graphic at right shows, the ramp or stairway relates to Jacob’s neck, and the elevated Holy of Holies to his raised head. Hence, the rock upon which Isaac was bound earlier by Abraham (Genesis 22:9)  – the Eben Shetiyah ,  the Foundation Stone – corresponds to Jacob’s ‘pillow stone’ at Bethel. But in Herod’s Temple, because of the new and higher  foundation, only three finger breadths of Isaac’s rock could be seen, a paltry few inches.   For mention of Herod’s six cubit foundation consult the Jewish Encyclopedia: See under the heading hekal.
For more links on this topic enter into Google’s search box: 6 cubit foundation.

The Human Body Form Altered

And there is another large problem: Not only was Herod’s Porch (ulam) 100 cubits high, it was also 100 cubits wide, making the Temple appear like an inverted letter T when viewed from the top (see first graphic at the beginning of this article).

Since he made the Porch extraordinarily wide, Temple Man’s hips  appear ridiculously broad (silhouette figure at right). Solomon’s Temple Man appears like an ordinary human figure,  but not so Herod’s.  Also, Herod’s man has no neck because the new higher foundation eliminated the stairway or ramp leading up to the Holy of Holies.

Although Herod’s Temple, like Solomon’s, had two pillars at the Porch’s entrance, Herod added two rectangular pilasters to his temple, making his man appear as having  four legs.

Again, notice on the silhouette that the five lavers of  Solomon’s Temple relate to the five fingers of  each hand. But in Herod’s Temple the ten lavers were replaced by a single Rinsing Chamber, so that with one stroke Herod cut off the hands of Jacob, the Levite High Priest, and King Messiah. Should not we be leery of schemes promoting the rebuilding of a temple based on the Herodian design?

Also missing is Solomon’s superb Sea of Bronze with its magnificent twelve bulls, replaced with a puny Wash Basin. And of course, Herod’s Temple did not have the enigmatic Ark of the Covenant (it vanished centuries before), nor the stately and imposing ten-cubit tall gold cherubim inside the Holy of Holies.  

The Mosaic Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple were designed by heaven; the Second Temple was designed by profane men to give form and substance to King Herod’s ill-conceived, misguided building notions.

Two questions: Which of these two temples presents a clearer view of the human form? Which one symbolizes key Jewish figures in biblical history?