In the first Beis Hamikdash, the tables in the Beis Hamitbachayim were made of silver;1 in the second Beis Hamikdash they were made of marble.2 (However, even in the first Beis Hamikdash there were marble tables in other places,3 such as the table next to the ramp where they put the meat of the Korbanos until they were offered.4)
1 Divrei Hayamim I 28:16. The Passuk just mentions silver tables, without explaining what they were used for, the Mefarshim (Mefaresh, Radak, and Medrash Divrey Hayamim from R' Shmuel Masnos) explain based off of Yechezkel (40:39-41) where he mentions stone tables that the were used while skinning and cutting up the Korbanos, and say that these are the tables that we are referring to here as well (these tables of yechezkel correspond to the eight tables in the Beis Hamibachayim, see Rashi Yoma 16b).
The question arises why do the Mefarshim explain like this, and we have to say that the First Beis Hamikdash is different than both the second and the third, as in both of them these tables were made of stone, why don't they explain the Passuk as referring to the silver tables known to be in the second Beis Hamikdash, like the table next to the ramp where the Keilim were stored (Shekalim 6:4), or the table in the Ulam where the Lechem Hapanim was placed on before bringing it in to the Heichal, which according to some opinions was made of silver (see Tosafos to Menachos 99b)? This is especially problematic as this is not just a detail you can say they just changed, and the material of the tables were not part of the instructions handed down; we cannot say this, as the Passuk in Divrei Hayamim that mentions the silver tables is describing the details of the Beis Hamikdash that David told Shlomo, when he gave him the scroll of the Megillas Hamikdash!
One answer we can give is that the mefarshim would rather say that the Passuk in Divrei Hayamim is relying on a different Passuk in Tanach, rather than on something that is not mentioned in Tanach at all. Another (more probable) answer is that they want to explain the Passuk according to the opinion that the table in the Ulam was marble, and there was therefore only one silver table in the second Beis Hamikdash, while the Passuk mentions silver tables, more than one.
From the above it comes out that this is one of the changes that they changed in the second Beis Hamikdash to be like the third. There is also a reason for this change, as marble does not heat up, while metal does, and makes the meat spoil faster (See Yerushalmi Shekalim 6:3 and Bavli Tamid 31b).
2 Middos 3:5
3 See Mefaresh to Divrei Hayamim I 29:2
4 Shekalim 6:4
The Gemara in Yoma (21b, 39b) says the following:
אָמַר רַב זוּטְרָא בַּר טוֹבִיָּה: לָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעַר, דִּכְתִיב: ״בֵּית יַעַר הַלְּבָנוֹן״, לוֹמַר לָךְ: מָה יַעַר מְלַבְלֵב — אַף בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ מְלַבְלֵב. דְּאָמַר רַב הוֹשַׁעְיָא: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבָּנָה שְׁלֹמֹה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, נָטַע בּוֹ כׇּל מִינֵי מְגָדִים שֶׁל זָהָב, וְהָיוּ מוֹצִיאִין פֵּירוֹת בִּזְמַנֵּיהֶן. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהָרוּחַ מְנַשֶּׁבֶת בָּהֶן הָיוּ נוֹשְׁרִין פֵּירוֹתֵיהֶן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״יִרְעַשׁ כַּלְּבָנוֹן פִּרְיוֹ״, וּמֵהֶן הָיְתָה פַּרְנָסָה לַכְּהוּנָּה.
וְכֵיוָן שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ גּוֹיִם לַהֵיכָל יָבְשׁוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וּפֶרַח לְבָנוֹן אוּמְלָל״. וְעָתִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַחְזִירָהּ לָנוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״פָּרוֹחַ תִּפְרַח וְתָגֵל אַף גִּילַת וְרַנֵּן כְּבוֹד הַלְּבָנוֹן נִתַּן לָהּ״.
Rav Zutra bar Toviya said: Why is the Temple called: Forest, as it is written: “The house of the forest of Lebanon” (Melachim I 10:17)? To tell you: Just as a forest blooms, so too the Temple blooms. As Rav Hoshaya said: When Solomon built the Temple, he planted in it all kinds of sweet fruit trees made of gold, and miraculously these brought forth fruit in their season. And when the wind blew upon them, their fruit would fall off, as it is stated: “May his fruits rustle like Lebanon” (Tehillim 72:16). And through selling these golden fruits to the public, there was a source of income for the priesthood.
But once the gentile nations entered the Sanctuary the golden trees withered, as it states “The flower of Lebanon withers” (Nachum 1:4). And in the future hour of redemption, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will restore them to us as it is stated: “It will blossom and will rejoice, even with joy and song, the glory of Lebanon will be given to it” (Yeshayahu 35:2).
In the present day east wall of the Har Habayis, around 200 feet to the north of the dome of the rock, is a sealed up double gate, called Sha'ar Harachamim-The Gate of Mercy. Through this gate, Moshiach is going to enter Yerushalayim. The Arabs put a cemetery right in front of it, and people say they did that so Eliyahu Hanavi, who is a Kohen, can't enter, because then he will become Tamei. (The Arabs didn't know that a kohen is allowed to walk over a non-Jewish grave, as long as he doesn't touch it. [Rambam, Hilchos Tumas Meis, a1:13)
But who made this gate? when? and why?
I have added the sefer Mishkenei Elyon from the Ramchal on the third Beis Hamikdash, as well as another fife pictures of the third Beis Hamikdash.
My name is Mendel Lewis.
Hashem said to Yechezkel, "Its reading in the Torah is as great as its building. Go and say it to them, and they will occupy themselves to read the form of it in the Torah. And in reward for its reading, that they occupy themselves to read about it, I count it for them as if they were occupied with the building of it. (Tanchuma tzav 14)