It is recounted in the Bible that a great Temple was built by the Jews in Jerusalem under a king called Solomon and it stood until its destruction by the Babylonian empire – when it invaded in the sixth century BC. The Temple is said to have contained the Ark of the Covenant within which were the tablets of stone given by God to Moses. The Ark disappeared and some theories suggest that the Knights Templar were created to find it.
It’s a complex story so let’s get our facts straight so we understand what we are investigating:
- King Solomon builds the first Temple
- The Babylonians invade and destroy the first Temple
- The Jews rebuild the Temple under the Hasmonean dynasty and King Herod
- The Jews revolt twice against the Romans and the second Temple is destroyed
- The Temple Mount is more or less a rubbish dump under Byzantine rule
- Jerusalem’s Muslim rulers in the 7th century build the Al Aqsa mosque
- In 1099, crusaders invade and rebrand the Al Aqsa as the Temple of Solomon
So the Temple had a turbulent history. Left a smouldering ruin by the Babylonians with the Ark of the Covenant possibly taken away and buried. It was certainly never seen again, not even when the Temple was rebuilt. In the first century after Christ, the Romans torched the place in revenge for a massive revolt by the Jewish people against Caesar. They looted everything that could be taken – but no Ark.
I hope that makes everything crystal clear. After the destruction of the first temple by the Babylonians, the Ark of the Covenant goes missing and is never seen again…..or so we think!
READ MORE: Did the Priory of Sion really exist?
The Templars and the Temple of Solomon
Jerusalem becomes a Muslim governed city after the seventh century after Christ. For Muslims, the Temple mount is also sacred. They built a large mosque – the Al Aqsa – on the platform. For whatever reason, when Christian crusaders invade, they decide that the Al Aqsa corresponds to the Temple of Solomon. Underneath, they believe were the king’s stables.
By the time the Templars were founded around 1118, the Christian king of Jerusalem had been using the Al Aqsa as a palace. But from the outset, the Templars expressed a strong desire to be based in the Temple of Solomon (or Al Aqsa if you prefer). Remarkably, the king agreed to this and the Al Aqsa was rebranded the Temple of Solomon. The Templars extended the building – and you can still see their additions today – and reportedly dug underneath it……looking for treasure!
What were the Templars up to? Let’s consider some of the theories in circulation:
- Solomon’s treasure and that of other kings of Jerusalem lay buried underground
- The Ark of the Covenant, which contained the tablets given to Moses, had disappeared centuries ago. Maybe it was underneath the Temple of Solomon. If so, its awesome power could be used by the Templars
- The Turin Shroud. The Holy Grail. The Holy Lance. The Crown of Thorns. All are held up as candidates for treasure found under the Temple of Solomon
- The head of John the Baptist was buried there as opposed to the various churches in Europe that claimed to have it
- One theory even has the Templars discovering the head of Jesus
FIND OUT MORE: How were the Knights Templar linked to the Holy Grail?
There is a theory that when the crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099, they discovered ancient secrets that had to be guarded – kept secret maybe.
The Templars were specifically founded to keep these secrets under lock and key – away from the eyes of the faithful. What could be so terrifying to the church that it needed to set up an order of military monks?
Some allege it was the Holy Grail – which was neither a platter nor a cup but the relics of Mary Magdalene who had married Jesus and borne him a child after his crucifixion. Those of you who have read the Da Vinci Code will know that the child was a girl and established a divine blood line to the present day.
And if – just if – the Templars really had found great treasures under the Temple of Solomon and spirited them away – what happened to this treasure?
READ MORE: What happened to the Templar treasure?
Well, in 1307 when the king of France decided to shut down the Templars and seize their money to clear his debts, knights were seen scurrying out of the great Temple building in Paris with carts groaning under the weight of large sacks. They made their way to the port of La Rochelle and the treasure, Templar knights and the Templar fleet of ships were never seen again.