(feel free to copy these photos)
How can you know where
the Temple was once located?
You listen to, and weigh, the known facts. Not just the facts people
talk about that are selling a book or have an agenda of any sort, but
all the facts. You start at the beginning with King David and the
topography of the eastern ridge. What you don't want to do is
the huge flat Temple Mount of today and try to fit it into this spot or
Herod's Temple. View from the cross on the Mt of Olives to the
Holy of Holies.
From the Mt of Olives the soldier standing near Jesus could see the
veil covering the Holy of Holies and see it when it was torn in two
when the lintel cracked.
Josephus wrote that the Temple was a furlong by a furlong, approx 600'
x 600' square. The southern court, which Josephus called the lower
court because it was on a lower part of the hill than the Temple house,
was on Ophel hill outside the now existing south wall of the Temple
Mount. The Temple House was on the other side of the wall with the
threshing floor below the Al Aqsa Mosque
Looking north from the Red Heifer Bridge. This area would be full
of ten's of thousands of animals on any given feast day. The Hasmonean
increased the size of this area to the south because of the increase in
population and the need for more animals to be brought in for
sacrifice-Nehemiah wall on the right with sheep gate on the north wall.
Fort Antonia looms in the background.
Looking south from the Red Heifer Bridge - The Ophel would have
had many government buildings and shops for moneychangers, and the
selling of doves and pigeons, etc. for sacrifice.
View of Herod's Temple from the City of David
Overlooking the Temple from the highest tower in Fort Antonia. (looking
south) The tower was 70 cubits (102') according to Josephus. One could
see inside the Temple compound from here.
North of Fort Antonia was a 200' long 50' deep moat. The moat was cut
into the bedrock of the natural land bridge between the two
hills. To the west (right) of it was the Tyropoeon Valley and to
the east of it was a deep ravine that emptied into the Kidron valley.
The only way to take the Fort was to fill in the moat. This moat
in this location was excavated by Charles Warren in the late
1890's. He also found sections of flagstone, which the Jews had
covered the hill with, and found the ravine with a building built at
the bottom of it.
War of the Jews Book 5 Chapter 4
.................... It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to
the old city with this wall, which had been all naked before; for as
the city grew more populous, it gradually crept beyond its old limits,
and those parts of it that stood northward of the temple, and joined
that hill to the city, made it considerably larger, and occasioned that
is in number the fourth, and is called "Bezetha," to be inhabited also. It lies over against (across from) the tower
but is divided from it by a
deep ditch (moat), which was dug on purpose, and
that in order to hinder the
foundations of the tower of Antonia from joining to this hill,
thereby affording an opportunity
for getting to it with ease, and hindering the security that arose from
its superior elevation; for which reason also that depth of the ditch (moat) made the elevation of the
towers more remarkable. This new-built part of the city was called
"Bezetha," in our language, which, if interpreted in
the Grecian language, may be called "the New City."
Josephus says that the design of
Titus was "to
take the Temple at the tower of Antonia;" and that for this purpose he raised
great banks; one of which was at the tower of Antonia, and the
other at about 20 cubits from it; and that for the purpose of
obtaining materials or filling up the immense fosse and ravine to the
north of the Temple, he
had to bring them from a great distance; and that the country all round
for a distance of 19 or 12 miles was made perfectly bare in consequence.
(The Dome of the Rock theory places the location of Fort Antonia on
Bezetha hill going against everything Josephus said about it.)
View from west to east. All trace of a western wall ends here at what
is called The Market Place in the western wall tunnel. The Market place
continues west with a line of 9 columns. The western wall ends as
the quarry begins. The quarry is bedrock, where they cut the
large stones from for building this part of the wall. Charles
Warren explored the area in the 1890's and found no trace of a
northwest corner beyond this place and no trace of a northern wall in
the traditional place, further north from here. This places Fort
Antonia on the Dome of the Rock platform. Not the Temple.