End Times Prophecy (Eschatology) Premillennial
Premillennial Temple Study Part 1
Temple Study Part 2
Premillennial Temple Study
Premillennial Temple Study Part 4
Premillennial Temple Study Part 5
Temple Study Part 6
Premillennial Temple Study
Premillennial Temple Study Part 8
Premillennial Temple Study Part 9
Temple Study Part 10
Premillennial Temple Study
Premillennial Temple Study Part 12
Premillennial Temple Study Part 13
Temple Study Part 14
Premillennial Temple Study
Fate and Location of the Foundation Stone
Shetiyyah is a Jewish name for the stone that was beneath the Ark of the Covenant
in the Holy of Holies within the Temple. It is also referred
to as the foundation stone.
Stone – The Foundation Stone (Hebrew: translit.
Even haShetiya) or Rock
translit.: Sela) is the name of the rock at the heart of the Dome of the
Rock in Jerusalem. – wikipedia.org
Foundation Stone – The Mishnah
in tractate Yoma
mentions a stone situated in the Holy of Holies
that was called Shetiya and had been revealed by the early prophets, (i.e.
of those who believe that the Temple was located on the Moriah Platform claim
that the rock under the Dome of the Rock is the Evn Shetiyyah.
you do know, that this is the claim, that
this is the foundation stone of the Temple. – Dr. Asher S.
Kaufman, The Northern Location of the Temples,
39 minutes and 55 seconds, http://www.templemount.org/lectures.html
Foundation Stone – Early Jewish writings assist
in confirming that the Dome of the Rock, completed in 691, is the site of
the Holy of Holies and therefore the location of the Foundation
Stone. Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer,
narrative of the more important events of the Pentateuch
believed to have been compiled in Italy shortly after 833 CE, writes: “Rabbi Yishmael said: In the future, the sons of Ishmael
(the Arabs) will do fifteen things in the Land of Israel
… They will fence in the breaches of the walls of the Temple and construct a building on the site of
the sanctuary”. Religious Jewish scholars have discussed the precise location
of the rock. The Radbaz is convinced
that “under the dome
on the Temple Mount, which the Arabs call El-Sakhrah,
without a doubt is the location of the Foundation Stone”.
The Travels of Rabbi Petachiah of Ratisbon,
The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela
and The Travels of the Student of the Ramban
all equally state that "on the Temple Mount stands a beautiful sanctuary
which an Arab king built long ago, over the place of the Temple sanctuary and courtyard”. Rabbi Obadiah ben Abraham who wrote a letter from Jerusalem
says that “I sought the place of the Foundation Stone where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, and many people told
me it is under a tall and beautiful dome
which the Arabs built in the Temple precinct".
David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra – The Radbaz was born in Spain
around 1479. – wikipedia.org
modern Jewish scholarship has identified at least four separate potential locations
for the Temple’s
Stone – Modern Jewish academics list four possible
locations of the Foundation Stone: 1. The stone is located beneath
the Ark of the Covenant under the Dome of the
Rock. 2. The stone is located
beneath the Altar
under the Dome of the Rock. 3. The stone is located beneath the Ark of the Covenant near El Kas fountain
to the south of the Dome of the Rock. 4. The stone is located beneath
the Ark of the Covenant inside the Spirits Dome situated to the north of the Dome
of the Rock. – wikipedia.org
Kaufman is one scholar who dissents from the traditional view that the foundation
stone is at the Dome of the Rock. He claims that the foundation stone is not at
the Dome of the Rock as others have supposed. Instead, Kaufman uses Muslim traditions
to identify the place of Evn Shetiyyah at the Dome of the Spirits.
I found it is called the Dome of the Spirits. Added further, this little dome
is based upon solid rock, upon bedrock. Notice something here. Something green
is to be found in the Holy of Holies. What is it? The next slide will show what
it is. It is a small dome which we saw before from the Mount
of Olives, the Dome of the Spirits also called, the Dome of the Tablets,
also called the prison of the genie. The name the Dome of the Tablets is particularly interesting because De
Vogue, who gives it this particular name, says it is dedicated to the memory of
the Tablets of the Law. What did he mean by this? Why is this name given? Because
we know that in the Holy of Holies of the first Temple
there was the Ark, resting on the foundation
stone of the Temple and within the Ark, the two tablets of
the testimony. So this name seems to be a reminder of what one would expect to
find in the Holy of Holies. – Dr. Asher Kaufman, 1995, The Coming Temple,
Presentation 2, Koinonia House, 1 hour, 28 minutes, and 58 seconds, http://store.khouse.org/...
second name…the Dome of the Tablets. And the third name, which was given to
me by a local resident not far from where I live, he called it “The prison of
the genie.” Spirits is perhaps a good name, genie is not such a good name. Let us take the second name, Dome of the Tablets.
It’s a name given to us by one scholar, De Vogue, in 1864 in his book, in French,
Le Temple de Jerusalem. And he refers to this dome. He doesn’t like it. He calls
it an ugly dome, not worth seeing any more. But he says, according to the tradition he
received that it is dedicated to the tablets of the Law. And if we think for a
moment of the first Temple,
there was on the foundation stone the ark of the two tablets of the testimony.
So, somehow things fit. – Dr. Asher S. Kaufman, The Northern Location of the Temples, 40 minutes and 24
various suggestions exist today for the location of the foundation stone. However,
a passage in the Talmud states that the foundation stone itself had also been
Foundation Stone – Commemoration in Jewish
law – The Jerusalem Talmud
states: "Women are accustomed not to prepare or attach warp
threads to a weaving loom
from Rosh Chodesh>
(till after Tisha B'Av), because during the month of Av the
Foundation Stone (and the Temple) was destroyed".
Citing this, the Mishnah Berurah
rules that not only are women not to prepare or attach warp threads to a weaving loom, but it is forbidden for
anyone to make, buy or wear new clothes or shoes from the beginning of the week
in which Tisha B'av falls until after the fast, and that people
should ideally not do so from the beginning of Av. In
further commemoration of the Foundation Stone, it is also forbidden to eat meat
or drink wine from the beginning of the week in which Tisha B'av falls until after
the fast. Some have the custom to refrain from these foodstuffs from Rosh Chodesh
others do so from the Seventeenth of Tammuz.
as the Talmud says, the foundation stone was destroyed and mourned by Jews of
earlier generations, then the stones beneath the Dome of the Rock, the Dome of
the Tablets, or any of the other suggested locations, cannot be the real foundation
seem that locating the foundation stone of the Temple is a bit like finding
a 500-cubit square on the Moriah Platform. In neither case is the historical and
archeological information specific enough to actually pinpoint a single, unique,
or particular site over any other supposed site. There was a foundation stone
in the Temple of Solomon, but we don’t know if it survived either of
the Temple’s destructions
or reconstructions. The result is that one can basically point to a stone at a
particular site that they suppose may be the location of the Temple and then conclude (with as good of a reason as any
other) that the stone is the foundation stone of the Temple. But such arguments constitute proof
of nothing, except perhaps circular reasoning.
historical accounts indicate that the Evn Shetiyyah was a level-surface that was
portable. Earlier we looked at the Arab-Christian historian Eutychius’ account
of Umar being shown the ruins of the Jewish Temple. In that account, Eutychius
reported that Umar discussed whether the rock that they found should be placed
at the center of the sanctuary which he was planning or whether the rock should
be placed at the end of the new sanctuary.
Omar said to him: ‘You owe me a rightful debt. Give
me a place in which I might build a sanctuary.’ The patriarch said to him:
‘I will give to the Commander of the Faithful
a place to build a sanctuary where the kings of Rum were unable to build. It is
the rock where God spoke to Jacob and which Jacob called the Gate of Heaven and
the Israelites the Holy of Holies. It is in the center of the world and was a
Temple for the
Israelites, who held it in great veneration and wherever they were they turned
their faces toward it during prayer. But on this condition, that you promise in
a written document that no other sanctuary wil be built inside of Jerusalem.
Therefore, Omar ibn al-Khattab wrote him the document on this matter and handed
it over to him. [Sophronius then remarked that this area was in ruins when] [t]hey
were Romans when they embrace the Christian religion, and Helena, the mother of
Constantine built the churches of Jerusalem. The place of the rock and the area around
it were deserted ruins and they poured dirt over the rock so that great was the
filth above it. The Byzantines, however, neglected it and did not hold it
in veneration, nor did they build a church over it because Christ our Lord said
in his Holy Gospel ‘Not a stone will be left upon a stone which will not be ruined
and devasted.’ For this reason, the Christian left it as a ruin and did not build
a church over it. So Sophronius took Omar ibn al-Khattab by the hand and stood
him over the filth. Omar, taking hold of
his cloak filled it with dirt and threw it into the Valley of Gehenna. When the Muslims saw Omar
ibn al-Khattab carrying dirt with his own hands, they all immediately began carrying
dirt in their cloaks and shields and what have you until the whole place was cleansed and the rock
was revealed. Then they all said: ‘Let us build a sanctuary and let us place the
stone at its heart.’ ‘No,’ Omar responded. ‘We will build a sanctuary and place
the stone at the end of the sanctuary.’ Therefore Omar built a sanctuary and put
the stone at the end of it. – Eutychius, translated by F.E. Peters, Jerusalem,
pp.189-190, citing frm D. Baldi, Enchiridion
Locoum Sanctorum, pp.447-8, quoted by Earnest L. Martin, The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, p. 123,
have already noted that the site of the Temple had become a garbage dump. And we have
noted that the site of the Temple
was not the same location where sacred Roman and Byzantine buildings had stood
on the Moriah Platform. And we have noted that Umar did build a mosque on the
Moriah Platform, but it was not the Dome of the Rock. Instead, Umar built the
– Umar, c. 586-590
CE – 7 November, 644, also
known as Umar the Great or Farooq the Great was the most powerful
of the four Rashidun
Caliphs and one of the most powerful and influential Muslim rulers. – wikipedia.org
Al-Aqsa Mosque – The al-Aqsa
Mosque was originally a small prayer house built by the Rashidun
The Dome of the Rock – The Dome of
the Rock was erected between 685 and 691 CE. The names of the two engineers
in charge of the project are given as: Yazid Ibn Salam from Jerusalem and Raja Ibn Haywah
from Baysan. Umayyad
Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan who initiated construction
of the Dome, - wikipedia.org
al-Malik – Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan
(646-705) was the 5th Umayyad Caliph. – wikipedia.org
are several important results of these historical facts. First, if Umar used the
foundation stone of the Temple for his new sanctuary, then the foundation
stone is a part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and not the Dome of the Rock. The Al-Aqsa
Mosque is at the very southern end of the Moriah Platform.
Umar deliberated whether the rock he found at the site of the Jewish Temple should
be placed at the center of his new sanctuary or at the end of the sanctuary. According
to Eutychius, Umar did not simply plan and construct the sanctuary around the
stone in such a way that the stone would be at the end. Rather, Umar built the
sanctuary first and then placed the stone at the end of it. Such comments reveal
that the rock from the Temple site was portable.
Umar wasn’t building a sanctuary at the former site of the Temple. He was using stones from the Temple to build a Muslim
sanctuary in another location, in this case on the southern end of the Moriah
we should also note that the rock beneath the Dome of the Rock is at the center
of that structure. However, Umar decided to place the rock that he found at the
end of his new sanctuary. This is another reason that the rock at the Dome of
the Rock can neither be the rock that Umar found nor can it be the foundation
stone. The Dome of the Rock is not the location of the foundation stone of the
we should also note that the Mishnah reports that this foundation stone was in
the Temple since
the times of the early prophets. This seems to indicate that the foundation stone
was placed there and was not there previously. And it also fits with the account
of Umar above which seems to indicate that the rock that he found was movable.
Likewise, the Mishnah also states that the foundation stone was three fingers
above the ground.
the Ark had been taken away,
there was a stone from the days of the earlier prophets, called the Shethiya, three fingers above the ground,
on which he would place. He would take the blood from him who was stirring it,
and enter into the place.” –Mishnah Tractate Yoma, quoted by Earnest L. Martin,
The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, p.
86, Footnote 116
contrast, the rock beneath the Dome of the Rock is an outcropping of the bedrock
of the Moriah ridge. And it is much higher than three fingers above the surrounding
area. Clearly, the rock beneath the Dome of the Rock was always there. It was
not movable and it is much too high to be the foundation stone.
Foundation Stone – The Rock constitutes the peak
of this now hidden hill,
which is also the highest in early biblical Jerusalem,
looming over the City of David, and hence the Rock is one of the highest
points of the Old City…. the rock is part of the surrounding bedrock…
let us take account of several other Jewish traditions about the Evn Shetiyyah.
Supposedly, it was the very rock where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac. It was
also the stone that Jacob used as a pillow. It was the foundation stone that God
used to create the entire world. While such notions may confirm that the rock
was understood to be movable, they are hardly substantiated by scripture or history.
And yet it is this same type of thinking which argues that the rock under the
Dome of the Rock is the foundation stone from the Temple
of Solomon. This is despite
the fact that the Solomon’s Temple
was destroyed over 2500 years ago. It has been reconstructed and then destroyed
on at least two other occasions.
Mount – Traditions relating to
the site, Jewish, According to
an Aggada in the Talmud, the world was created
from the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount According to the Bible, the place where Abraham fulfilled God's test
to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac was Mount Moriah, which the Talmud
says was another name for the Temple Mount. The Bible recounts that Jacob dreamt
about angels ascending and descending a ladder while sleeping on a stone. The
Talmud says that this took place on the Temple Mount,
and Jewish tradition has it that the rock in the Dome of the Rock was the one
on which he slept. Rashi
also identifies the site as the place where Jacob and Rebbeca prayed, asking God
to grant them children. According
to the Bible, King David purchased a threshing floor owned by Aravnah the  overlooking Jerusalem
upon the cessation of a plague, to erect an altar. He wanted to construct
a permanent temple there, but as his hands were "bloodied", he was forbidden
to do so himself, so this task was left to his son Solomon, who completed the task
c. 950 BCE.
there is an even more plausible identification of the rock under the Dome of the
Rock. Both Josephus and the New Testament indicate that a significant rock structure
was the main feature of the Roman Praetorian, the Fortress of Antonia.
Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was
situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple; of that on
the west, and that on the north; it was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in
height, and was on a great precipice; it was the work of king Herod, wherein
he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered
over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter
5, Paragraph 8
states that in Herodian times the rock of Antonia was covered with smooth stones.
The New Testament refers to the place where Jesus was tried by Pilate as a raised
place that was paved with stones.
John 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down
in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement (3038), but in the
Hebrew, Gabbatha (1042).
from 3037 and a derivative of 4766; ;
1) spread (paved with stones)
a mosaic or tessellated pavement
of a place near the praetorium or palace
an apartment whose pavement consists of tessellated work
of places in the outer courts of temple
a primary word; TDNT-4:268,534; n m
AV-stone 49, one stone
4, another 4, stumbling stone + 4348 2, mill stone + 3457 1; 60
of small stones
1b) of building stones
metaph. of Christ
Aramaic origin, cf 01355 atbg; ; n pr loc
AV-Gabbatha 1; 1
Gabbatha =" elevated or a platform"
1) a raised place, elevation
Dan Bahat indicates that the Antonia was the site where Christ was tried by Pilate.
Antonia, which is so famous because it is being believed to be the site where
Pontius Pilate tried Christ. – Dan Bahat, The Traditional Location of the
we saw earlier, Christian pilgrims identified a rock located on a high
point of the Moriah ridge with the rock where Christ was
tried before Pontius Pilate. Whether it is referred to as the rock of Antonia
and or as the rock of the Roman Praetorian, this rock was north of the former
site of Temple. Writing in the sixth century AD, Antoninus
of Piacenza, the Piacenza Pilgrim, reported that Byzantine church called the Church
of the Holy Wisdom was built over a stone that marked the former site of Fortress
Antonia. Antoninus of Piacenza specifically states that this was where Jesus was
tried by Pilate and where Jesus’ feet made impressions on the rock.
We also prayed at the Praetorium, where the Lord’s case was heard: what
is there now is the basilica of Saint Sophia, which is in front of the Temple of Solomon
below the street which runs down to the spring of Siloam outside of Solomon’s
porch. In this basilica is the seat where
Pilate sat to hear the Lord’s case, and there is also the oblong stone which used
to be in the center of the Praetorium. The accused person whose case was being
heard was made to mount this stone so that everyone could hear and see him. The
Lord mounted it when he was heard by Pilate, and his footprints are still on it.
– Life of Constantine in Wilkinson’s
Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades,
p.204, quoted by Earnest L. Martin, The
Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, p. 97
church mentioned by Antoninus of Piacenza was located on the Moriah Platform at
the site of the Dome of the Rock today.
Temple Mount – About 325
it is believed that Constantine's mother, St. Helena, built a small church on the Mount
in the 4th century, calling it the Church
of St. Cyrus and St. John, later on
enlarged and called the Church of the Holy Wisdom. The church was later destroyed
and on its ruins the Dome of the Rock was built.
fact, the dome of the Dome of the Rock is modeled off of the domed church structures
of the Byzantines. Some of these Byzantine structures had even formerly occupied
the same site.
of the Rock - The Dome - Exterior - The
Dome is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, a structure intended for the
housing and veneration of saintly relics, and
is an excellent example of middle Byzantine art. - wikipedia.org
Taymiyyah, a Muslim writer of the thirteenth century, criticizes Muslim traditions
similar to the Christian traditions mentioned by Antoninus of Piacenza. Antoninus
mentioned the Christian belief that Jesus’ footprints were imprinted onto the
rock of the Roman Fortress. Later, Muslim traditions claimed that there were impressions
in the rock of the Dome of the Rock that had been made by Mohammad or perhaps
even by God himself.
some of the ignorant ones have mentioned is that there is a footprint of the Prophet
– God bless him and grant him salvation – or a trace of his turban or the like
on it. All of this, however, is a lie. The greatest lie is from those who think
that it is the place of the footprint of the Lord and likewise that it is the place mentioned as the cradle of Jesus –
Peace be upon him. It is nothing more than the baptismal font of the Christians.”
– Ibn Taymiyya, quoted by Earnest L. Martin, The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, p. 91, Footnote 127
Taymiyyah – Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (January
22, 1263 – 1328), full name: Taqī ad-Dīn Abu 'l-‘Abbās Ahmad
ibn ‘Abd al-Halīm ibn ‘Abd as-Salām Ibn Taymiya al-Harrānī,
was a famous Muslim scholar born in Harran,
located in what is now Turkey, close to the Syrian border. He lived during the
troubled times of the Mongol invasions. As a member of the school founded by Ibn
Hanbal, he sought the return of Islam to
its sources, the Qur'an and the Sunnah. – wikipedia.org
Taymiyyah – Shrines – Since he was a strong proponent of Tawhid, ibn Taymiyyah opposed giving any undue religious
honors to shrines (even that of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa),
to approach or rival in any way the Islamic sanctity of the two most holy mosques within Islam, Mecca (Masjid al Haram)
and Medina (Masjid al-Nabawi).
historical references inform us that Antonia, the Roman fortress of Jerusalem,
featured a prominent the rock which occupied an elevated position. The rock beneath
Dome of the Rock fits this description quite well. Likewise, early Christian traditions
identify the rock beneath the Dome of the Rock with the place of the Roman fortress
where Jesus was tried by Pilate. Similarly, later Muslim traditions claimed that
Mohammad’s footprints were on the rock of the Dome of the Rock.
of historical corroboration regarding the foundation stone of the Temple (and
its fate) inherently results in an inability to identify any particular stone
as definitively being that unique stone. The Talmud even indicates that the foundation
stone was, in fact, destroyed. There is therefore no compelling reason to identify
the Dome of the Rock as the site of the Temple
simply because there is a large stone outcropping beneath the shrine.
the other hand, these historical indications provide additional evidence that
the Moriah Platform was the Roman fortress Antonia. The rock beneath of the Dome
of the Rock was once the site of Byzantine church that marked the site where Jesus
was tried by Pilate near the rock of Antonia Fortress. These facts again indicate
that the Jewish Temple would have been located south of the Moriah Platform on
the southern portion of the Moriah ridge near Davidic Jerusalem.
on the Location of the Temple
have completed a comprehensive survey of the relevant biblical, historical, and
archeological data on the location of the Temples
On each issue we have provided a careful, firsthand investigation of the biblical
and historical documents themselves. Alongside of this we have constantly referenced
the expert opinions of reknowned and accredited scholars in the field. Below we
will summarize many of the points that we have discovered as we examined the information
presented by these sources. Before we proceed with a summary of the historical
evidences, an additional point is worth making.
2007, we visited Jerusalem
during the fall feast days. During our stay we took a tour of Hezekiah’s tunnel,
the ancient water system that cuts through the ridge underneath the Jerusalem
of David’s time. On the hike through the streets from the Pool of Siloam back
to our starting point at the archeological site, participants had the opportunity
to talk to the guide and ask questions. We took the opportunity to ask the guide
for his expert opinion as an archeologist on the various theories concerning the
site of the Temple.
His response was that the location of the Temple
was more of a political or religious matter. His response wasn’t a denial of the
existence of the former Temple.
Nor was it a denial of the value of historical and archeological evidence. Rather
it seemed to me to be an observation that religious tradition and political issues
had become the dominant criteria for locating the Temple.
reason we mention this experience is because it illustrates an important issue
with regard to identifying the Temple’s original site. As our guide’s comments
seemed to suggest, the location of the Temple should not be a matter of religious tradition
or political agenda. Rather, where the Temple was located is an archeological and historical
matter that can only be determined by the evidence provided in historical descriptions
and any available archeological remains. To operate under any other methodology
is to risk identifying the wrong site. Considering the subject of our study and
the precedent of mistakenly identifying the wrong site for Davidic Jerualem, we
must be strongly resistant to the temptation to filter the evidence in order to
support only pre-selected conclusions that fit with historically recent religious
traditions or popular political agendas.
to reduce the location of the Temple a religious or political matter minimizes
the importance of this issue. But beyond this, to remove the location of the Temple
from being a purely biblical, historical, and archeological issue forfeits any
objection we would have to others who, for their own religious or political reasons,
may wish to conclude that there never was Jewish Temple in Jerusalem or that the
city itself has no Jewish heritage. If we insist that there was a Temple
in Jerusalem, we can only do so because biblical,
historical, and archeological data demand this conclusion. And if we appeal to
these sources to say that there was a Temple in
Jerusalem then we must allow the same sources to
inform us of where that Temple
was. We cannot, having committed to a scientific and sound methodology, withdraw
our commitment when it doesn’t suit our personal interests. Instead, we cannot
let our religious traditions or political ideologies interfere. We must accept
what the weight of the evidence requires us to conclude without regard for subjective
and over again throughout the course of our study we have gathered a large set
of evidence that overwhelming points toward a location of the Temple
on the southern portion of the Moriah ridge near the Gihon Spring and the area
of Davidic Jerusalem. This area is south of the Moriah Platform that we see today.
Support for placing the Temple further north was largely maintained by presumption,
a less than thorough accounting of the actual information provided in all the
sources, an appeal to one of several 500 cubit square areas on the Moriah Platform
using severly limited archeological evidence, and a commitment to traditions that
have emerged only over the last 500-1000 years which contradict the earliest reports.
finished our study, here is a list of the historical, biblical, and archeological
evidences we have examined regarding the rebuilding of the Temple
and its former location. Each entry includes a summary of the main point as well
as what the relevant data indicates regarding the Temple site.
Old and New Testament passages clearly necessitate that there will be a Temple
in existence prior to Christ’s return.
The Temple will
be rebuilt by Jewish and Gentile Christians NOT by the antichrist or persons who
are not followers of Christ. The bible does not indicate that there will be a
seven-year treaty between the antichrist and Israel.
The New Covenant is not antithetical to the Temple or Temple
there are at least four major, different theories on the former location of the
Temple. Over the
centuries the number of locations ranges from 11 to 14. A number of these sites
were not on the Moriah Platform.
The Temple was located on the Moriah Ridge, the
central ridge of Jerusalem between the Tyropoeon and Kidron Valleys.
The rock beneath the Dome of the Rock is not large enough and is too uneven to
fit with the biblical descriptions of the threshing floor that the Temple
was built upon.
occupied a hill on the southern portion of the Moriah ridge south of the Moriah
Plaform that we see today.
We have no biblical, historical, or archeological evidence that Solomon’s Jerusalem
was significantly different than Davidic Jerusalem in is size or location. But
the Moriah Platform location is outside the area of Davidic Jerusalem by approximately
half the length of the city.
The Temple was on a smaller hill over against the
hill of Zion (Akra) and the Temple itself was adjoining to this fortress
located at the peak of the hill of Zion (Akra). The Fortress of Zion was nearby
the Gihon Spring. The Temple
had a spring within its courts.
The Gihon water system which was within the Temple courts was located
in the area of Davidic Jerusalem, south of the Moriah Platform. This includes
the mikvah bath of Rabbi Ishmael the high priest of the second Temple period.
Biblical texts indicate that God’s dwelling place remained on the hill of Zion
even after the Temple was built.
The hill of the Temple
(God’s footstool) occupied a “daughter” hill located up against the peak of the
greater hill of Zion (Akra). The peak of the Temple was lower in elevation than the hill
of Zion and the fortress at its summit. Likewise, the Temple
was adjoining the fortress located at the summit of Zion hill.
The Temple was
located near the Ophel mount which is south of the Moriah Platform. Likewise,
according to Nehemiah the Temple was located in
close proximity to other civic, sacred, and royal structures of Jerusalem many of which were
from the time of David. One of the Temple
gates named in Tractate Middot is the Water Gate. This gate was named because
through it water was brought directly from the Gihon Spring for use during the
Feast of Tabernacles. This may indicate that this gate was adjacent to the Gihon
Spring. This fact is corroborated by Nehemiah 12 which states that the Water Gate
was next to the stairs that went up to the Fortress of Zion. I Kings 1 showed
that the Fortress of Zion was nearby the Gihon Spring. Clearly, the Temple was nearby both sites
which are south of the Moriah Platform.
The hill of the Temple was lower than the peak
of Zion hill, which itself was called the Lower City.
The hill of the Temple
was also lower than the rock of the northern fortress of Antonia (earlier called
Baris). It is difficult, if not impossible, to accommodate these historic and
topographic facts while locating the Temple on northern portion of the Moriah ridge
within the Moriah Platform. Instead, these topographical facts require that the
site of the Temple
was further south on the Moriah ridge, south of the Moriah Platform itself.
The Hasmonean fortress called the Baris and the Herodian fortress called Antonia
both occupied the same site. The site of the Baris has been located beneath the
Moriah Platform. Because of this we can identify the Moriah Platform, which was
built by Herod, as Antonia Fortress. Since Antonia was north of the Temple,
the Temple must be located south of the Moriah Platform.
The traditional site of Antonia Fortress at the Umayyah School is too small to
fit the historical descriptions that it was large enough to block the view of
the Temple from the north, that it housed an entire Roman legion of perhaps as
much as 15,000 people, that it was like several cities, and that it had large
spaces for camps in its interior. On the other hand, the Moriah Platform fits
descriptions of Antonia quite well. The Temple, which was south of Antonia, would be
south of the Moriah Platform.
The Temple was
separated from Antonia by two covered passageways that were each approximately
600 feet long. Because it is reasonable to conclude that the Moriah Platform is
Antonia Fortress, the Temple
site must be approximately 600 feet to its south, which would put it within the
area of Davidic Jerusalem near the Gihon Spring.
The rock beneath the Umariyah School
is not high enough to be the rock of Antonia. The rock of Antonia was 75 feet
(23 meters) higher than the surrounding area. Instead, the rock beneath the Umariyah School is only about 36 feet (9 meters)
in height. However, the Dome of the Rock is approximately 75 feet (23 meters)
higher than the area of the Ophel mount south of the Moriah Platform, which was
near the site of the Temple.
19. Josephus states
that the eastern corner of the Temple was founded very deep within the very floor of the
However, the eastern wall of the Moriah Platform is founded over half way up the
eastern slope of the Moriah ridge.
All of the structures of Herodian Jerusalem (including the Temple)
were completely destroyed leaving no trace. Their walls were overthrown and dug
up to the foundations. According to Josephus and the Jewish general Eleazar, only
the Roman camp remained. The only structure of Herodian Jerusalem still standing
today is the Moriah Platform. Clearly then, this structure cannot be the Temple.
Instead, it must be the Roman camp, the Fortress of Antonia. The Temple was to its south.
According to Jewish, historical sources, the Temple mount was a square
between 600 and 860 square feet. The area of the Temple mount was between 10-14 acres. The Moriah
Platform is a trapezoid with sides ranging between 920 feet (280 meters) and 1600
feet (488 meters). The Moriah Platform is over 35 acres. Clearly, these structures
are not the same. The Mishnaic description of the Temple mount’s dimensions provided in Tractate Middot refers
to the holy precinct in which the Temple
was located. It does not refer to the size of the Temple structure itself. By contrast, Josephus
does provide the exact dimensions of the Herodian Temple’s
outer perimeter. The two sources do not conflict with one another.
Attempts by scholars to find the 500-cubit square Temple mount provided in
the Mishnah on the Moriah Platform using archeological features of the platform
have yielded at least four completely irreconcilable results. As such, this method
is neither adequate for identifying the real site of the Temple nor is it capable
of generating compelling evidence that the Temple was actually located on the
Moriah Platform. In other words, finding a 500-cubit square area on the Moriah
Platform using archeological features of the platform and varying options for
the length of the cubit proves nothing regarding the Temple’s location.
Conventional explanations which identify the greater Moriah Platform as the Herodian
expansion of the Temple Mount
and not the actual area of the Jewish Temple contradict Josephus’ eyewitness record
that Herod’s enlargement of the Temple
was only a square-stade (600 feet, 182 meters) in size. The Moriah Platform is
three times the size of Herod’s enlargement of the Temple and trapezoidal instead of square. As
such, the Moriah Platform is not the site of the Temple.
Additional elevation issues require that the Temple was located further
south on the Moriah ridge than the Dome of the Rock. The view of Agrippa into
the court of the priests, the level of the aqueduct, and the level of the Huldah
Gates all require a lower elevation for the Temple than is possible on the northern portion
of the Moriah ridge.
Post-destruction accounts indicate that the site of the Temple could not have been
on the Moriah Platform. The former Temple
site was a farm plowed by oxen, a wilderness, a garbage dump. It had never been
built on. It was still in ruins in the eleventh century. The Moriah Platform had
been the home of some of the sacred buildings of the Romans, Byzantine Christians,
Seventh century documents consistently confirms that the site of the Temple
was south of the Moriah Platform. Jewish families requested to live near their
Temple near the waters of
Siloam, south of Muslim houses and the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the southern end of the
Moriah Platform. Likewise, Umar did not build the Dome of the Rock. Nor did he
build his new sanctuary at the site of the Temple.
Both before and after Umar, the site of the Temple remained without ever being built upon.
This fact was confirmed by medieval Jewish commentators David Kimchi, Maimonides,
and dei Rossi.
In the Middle Ages, sacred sites were identified using divine revelation and miraculous
claims because the sites themselves were no longer visible or known. In this period
Davidic Jerusalem was wrongly placed on the western ridge, many theories for the
Temple location were posited both on and off the Moriah Platform, and some Jewish
traditions held that modern Jerusalem was several miles north of biblical Jerusalem.
Such realities clearly show that the site of the Temple
was not consistently known since the first century. And yet, major views of today
heavily rely on simply assuming that that the Temple was located on the Moriah Platform
Claims that the Temple
was located on the Moriah Platform are not based on archeological excavation.
Excavation of any kind is strictly prohibited on the Moriah Platform.
There is no evidence that Jews venerated the western wall of the Moriah Platform
prior to the sixteenth century. Jewish sources from before this time refer instead
to the western wall of the partially completed the fourth century
Temple building itself. There
is no evidence that the western wall of the Moriah Platform has anything to do
with the Jewish Temple. This is only a very late dating tradition. On the contrary,
biblical instructions for the tabernacle and the Temple teach that God did not intend for His
people to gather to worship Him by facing east.
In the fourth century AD there were two attempts to rebuild the Temple.
Neither was completed. However, according to medieval Jewish sources, they did
leave behind a partially constructed western wall of the Temple building itself. During the fourth century
Byzantine churches existed on the Moriah Platform at the site of the Dome of the
Rock. Clearly then, the fourth century Temple
was not located at the Dome of the Rock on the Moriah Platform.
If, as Warren
has reported, the ditch that Josephus recorded was north of Antonia Fortress is
just north of the Dome of the Rock, then Antonia must have occupied the southern
area of the Moriah Platform. This would mean that the Temple was located south
of the Moriah Platform.
There are compelling reasons to conclude that Hadrian built a temple to Jupiter
on the Moriah Platform. However, historical documents (including several renowned,
medieval, Jewish commentators) report that Gentiles had never built any pagan
structure on the site of the Temple. From this we know
that Hadrian’s temple to Jupiter could not have been the former site of the Jewish
Temple. If the Moriah Platform was the location of Hadrian’s temple to Jupiter,
then it is not the site of the Temple.
Similarly, Hadrian’s new city, Aelia Capitolina,
and his new temple to Jupiter, were meant to replace Jerusalem
and the Temple.
However, historical data indicates that Hadrian’s constructions did not occupy
the exact sites of Jerusalem of the Temple, but were slightly
to the north.
Tuvia Sagiv claims that infrared scans have discovered the location of Strato’s
Tower beneath the Dome of the Rock. Strato’s Tower was a location within Antonia
Fortress. Therefore, if Sagiv’s report is correct, this is additional evidence
that the Moriah Platform was Antonia Fortress. The Temple then, would have been
located somewhere south of this platform.
Ancient documents indicate that there was a cave or “pierced stone” at the former
site of the Temple.
Likewise, Hadrian is said to have placed at least one statue there. However, the
historical documents indicate that the cave was located south of the Byzantine
churches at the future site of the Dome of the Rock. In addition, Hadrian set
up many statues around his new city
which he dedicated to the Roman gods. Excavations beneath the area of Davidic
Jerusalem have discovered many caves and tunnels. As such, information regarding
a cave at the former Temple site fails to provide support for the
Moriah Platform Views. Instead, taken together in their historical context, these
facts indicate that the Temple
was south of the Moriah Platform.
Modern Jewish opinion has identified four different sites for the foundation stone
of the Temple.
However, the Talmud includes a statement that the foundation stone was destroyed.
Likewise, historical data clearly shows that the rock beneath the Dome of the
Rock is the rock of Antonia Fortress where Jesus was tried by Pilate. The Jewish
Temple was located south of this Roman fortress. Therefore, the Temple
must be south of the Moriah Platform.
35 findings are what the historical sources indicated. These are the same historical
sources that biblical archeologists and professional scholars say provide the
evidence for locating the Temple. These are the documents
which such experts say are accurate and reliable in their descriptions.
Flavius…He has a problem with numbers of people to assume how many people
were in an area or how many people were killed.
But when he describes an area he is perfect.
In Massada, exactly as he wrote down, exactly we find the place. In Gamla, in
the Golan, the same thing, as he describes so we find it. – Tuvia Sugiv, 1995,
The Coming Temple, Presentation 2, Koinonia House, 46 minutes and 47 seconds,
one of you knows that in order to learn the Temple Mount, it’s location, it’s courts, and everything
you have got two basic sources, which can help you with that. The basic sources
are first of all, Josephus Flavius, which is extremely important. And to Josephus
Flavius, I will add, not as an independent source, I will add the Gospels and
Acts because there are so many small details, which are so important to the Temple
Mount like, and you will see how essential it is, Solomon’s portico, the court
of the Gentiles, the pinnacle, and so many other things, which are mentioned only
in the Gospels or in Acts, of the Beautiful Gate, for example, which is also important.
All those show up only in the Gospels, but when you take the Gospels you’ll see
that all the descriptions of the Gospels go very well along with Josephus Flavius.
It is identical. I will say, in this respect, the Gospels, of course, add more
detail. Now, on the other hand, the other one, which we
have is, of course, the Mishnah. – Dan Bahat, The Traditional Location of
the Temples, 8 minutes and 48
Professor Mazar who expressed to me personally
that his own archaeological investigations proved that Josephus more often than
not was correct in his eyewitness accounts. 149, Footnote 149: Before his death three
years ago Professor Mazar was the Dean of Israeli archaeologists and past Rector
and President of Hebrew University, as well as a professional historian. I worked
personally with Professor Mazar at his major excavation at the western and southern
wall of the Hara mesh-Sharif in Jerusalem from 1969 to 1974. Under Professor
Mazar I directed the activities of 450 college students over that period of five
years at that “dig.” – Ernest L. Martin, The Temples
Forgot, p. 112
that we have examined what the sources say about the location of the Temple,
we are in a position to take the advice of the scholars and accept the conclusions
indicated by these historical witnesses. The conclusion that they demand is that
the Temple was
located on the southern portion of the Moriah ridge near the Gihon Spring and
Davidic Jerusalem south of the Moriah Platform that we see today.