Historical Temple of Solomon (by Prince Matthew) – The archaeological site excavated by the founding Knights Templar was in the underground layers of Temple Mount, also called “Mount Moriah”. This is the site of the “First Temple” built by King Solomon (ca. 960 BC), which covered the full territory of Temple Mount, thus running underneath and around all later structures.
Illustration of Herod’s Temple as Replica of Solomon’s Temple, based on archaeology
This is the same site as the “Second Temple” (516 BC), reconstructed by King Herod as a replica of Solomon’s Temple (ca. 18 BC), thus often called “Herod’s Temple”, which was destroyed by the Romans (70 AD). The top of the Mount in Old Jerusalem features the landmarks Dome of the Rock (692 AD) and Al-Aqsa Mosque (705 AD), adjacent to each other.
The fact that the site of Temple Mount contained the Biblical ancient Temple of Solomon, was confirmed by the 1st century historian Flavius Josephus, who documented that Herod’s Temple was built on top of the same site of the original King Solomon’s Temple .
This was further confirmed by the 5th century Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea, as documented by the 19th century British Barrister and historian Charles Addison, establishing that “Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah [Temple Mount]” .
This was additionally confirmed by the 13th century Pope Urban IV, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, also as documented by the 19th century Barrister Addison, establishing that during the 12th century, “the Temple on Mount Moriah” was described “by the monks and priests of Jerusalem… as the Temple of Solomon, whence the [knights] came thenceforth to be known by the name of ‘the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon’.” 
Temple was Pharaonic Egyptian – Both the historical record and Biblical scholarship evidence that the Temple of Solomon, excavated by the founding Knights Templar, was in fact a Pharaonic Egyptian Temple.
‘The Judgment of Solomon’ (18th century) by Castelli on ceramic in Musée de Lille (Detail)
The Kingdom of Solomon (ca. 970-931 BC) covered a wide territory, which included Egypt. The Old Testament records that “Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river [Euphrates]… and unto the border of Egypt” (I Kings 4:21) . In the earlier Greek for this passage, the word for “unto” is ‘heos’, meaning “down” as in “continuing through”, and the word for “border” is ‘horion’ meaning a wider and inclusive “region”  .
Accordingly, Solomon was a ruling King “down through” and thus including the “region” of Egypt. Archaeology of the 19th century confirms that Solomon ruled “a kingdom that stretched from Egypt to Iraq”, including both countries .
Therefore, the Temple of Solomon, built by King Solomon, was most likely to have been a Pharaonic Egyptian Temple, as the Egyptian Priesthood was the most highly developed and dominant for over 4,000 years before Solomon.
This is confirmed in the Old Testament, which records that “Shishak King of Egypt” (the Pharaoh Sheshonq I, who ruled 945-924 BC) “took away all… which Solomon had made” from the Temple of Solomon (I Kings 14:25-26), specifically because the new Priests under a new King “had transgressed against the Lord” (II Chronicles 12:2-4, 9). 
This evidences that the Temple of Solomon itself (thus including all of its Solomonic artifacts) was in fact Pharaonic Egyptian, such that the later emergence of Babylonian sacrilege in that Temple required a military campaign, to return the Holy artifacts back to Egypt where they originated from.
The Bible also reflects the historical knowledge that Herod’s Temple was a very close replica reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple, and further confirms its ancient origins from Pharaonic Egypt.
God showed Ezekiel the Holy of Holies within the Temple of Solomon, blaming Herod for corrupting the positive Ancient Priesthood with negative Babylonian practices of idolatry and blasphemy: God specifically condemned what the new Priests “do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery… they say, The Lord seeth us not, the Lord hath forsaken the earth.”
However, what Ezekiel actually saw of the Temple itself was not the subject of that condemnation, but merely a description of how it was a replica of Solomon’s Temple: “I went in and saw… beasts [animal figures], and all the idols [statues] of the house… portrayed upon the wall[s] round about” (Ezekiel 8:10-12) 
University Bible scholarship established that when Ezekiel looked into the Temple, he saw “paintings… and other mythological scenes, motifs which seemed to point to syncretistic [combined] practices of Egyptian provenance [origins].” 
The 1st century historian Flavius Josephus (ca. 37-100 AD), who served as the Governor of Galilee, personally witnessed Herod’s Temple (before its destruction in 70 AD), and documented it as a replica very closely following the Biblical descriptions of the Temple of Solomon, specifically featuring representations of the heavenly sphere of the constellations related to the ancient Egyptian Priesthood.
Flavius Josephus, by his own site research of Herod’s replica Temple, established that the Temple of Solomon contained decorations of “mystical interpretation… all that was mystical in the heavens… signs, representing living creatures” , and “figures of living creatures within it” . This is a clear reference to the Egyptian veneration of Angels and Saints, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and other Egyptian inscriptions, all featuring animal figures.
Egyptian Origins of Christianity – Templar heritage from the Ancient Egyptian Priesthood is not in any way “pagan”, but is in fact the underlying origins and foundations of all canonical Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox ceremonial practices as taught by Jesus and the Apostles.
Both Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome, in letters to each other in 418 AD, fully recognized the Ancient Egyptian Priesthood as the original “true religion, which… began to be called Christian” , and which “established anew the Ancient Faith” within Catholicism .
The Egyptian religion was always monotheistic, worshipping One God as the creator, called the “Aten”, depicted as an energy field orb radiating rays of energy with hands at the ends, from the hieroglyph “Ka” meaning “Spirit”, establishing the Christian concept of the “Holy Spirit” from God  .
Illustration of Ancient Saints as Christian Saints evidenced by Ark of the Covenant
The idea of so-called “Deities”, “Gods” and “Goddesses” of Egypt was only a mistranslation of the hieroglyph “Neter”, which actually means “Holy”, “Angelic” or “Saintly”, and the plural “Neterwoo” meaning Angels and Saints as “Holies from God” . Oxford University established that Holy people were “deified” by being ceremonially “assimilated” with an Angel, meaning canonized as Saints, in the same way as for Catholic Saints .
Thus, the statues and stone reliefs of the Egyptian Temples and the Temple of Solomon were no different than the Catholic and Orthodox practice of venerating statues and icons of Angels and Saints throughout the Churches and Cathedrals of Europe. The Vatican in 787 AD confirmed “the veneration of holy images” as statues and icons , and actually declared that “All writings against the venerable images are… heretical” .
Nine Years Excavating the Temple – Many historians concluded that the first Knights Templar essentially stayed underground deep within the Temple of Solomon, mostly not resurfacing except to send for supplies, for several years:
“The Templars’ apparent lack of activity in their formative years, seems to have been due to some form of covert project beneath the Temple of Solomon or nearby, an operation that could not be revealed to any but a few high-ranking Nobles.”  
University historians confirmed that the founding Knights Templar conducted archaeological excavation of the Temple of Solomon for a full nine years .
These facts evidence that what the Templars found underground within the Temple of Solomon was so fascinating, inspiring, and voluminous in quantity of texts and artifacts, that it drove them to “obsession” (or at least devout dedication), relentlessly processing the discoveries on-site, despite difficult underground living conditions, for nine whole years.
Support by Egyptian Sufi Mystics – During the 12th century, archaeology did not yet have the benefit of the late 18th century French expeditions and Rosetta Stone to decode hieroglyphs, nor the late 19th century British explorers and early 20th century Egyptian Sign List of Sir Alan Gardiner.
Sufi Mystic in classical painting ‘Sadi in a Rose Garden’ (Detail)
Therefore, the Knights Templar received support from the Egyptian Sufi Mystics, the Al-Banna branch of the Sufi Order based in Luxor. When these Sufis learned of the first Templars excavating the Temple of Solomon, they immediately traveled from Egypt to Jerusalem to assist the Christian Knights.
The Sufi Mystics knew that the Temple of Solomon was Pharaonic Egyptian, based upon esoteric sacred knowledge from the most ancient Magi Priesthood of Melchizedek. They knew that the Templars would need ancient Egyptian initiatory knowledge to understand their archaeological findings. They also knew the fundamental importance of the Magi Ancient Priesthood to Christianity, telling the Templars: “You may have the Cross, but we have the meaning of the Cross.”
Therefore, by this generous voluntary support, motivated by a shared dedication to the most ancient traditions of Holy Mysticism, the Egyptian Sufi Order extensively trained the founding Knights Templar throughout their formative nine years of excavating the Temple of Solomon.