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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 look at the huge flat Temple Mount of today and try to fit it into this spot or that.

So go back to what David saw. A long slowly rising mountain. At the top was the peak of the mountain. According to Josephus it was 50 cubits high at the peak.  War of the Jews Book 5, 5.   Part way down was the Ophel which had a huge outcrop of stone. This is evident by the huge 200 foot wide, 22 feet high, steps that were cut into that protruding bedrock.  Further south was the City of David where King David built his palace at the north end of the city.  From the City of David he looked northward to where the threshing floor was located, where he saw an angel. A threshing floor was never in a city, but outside a city.  It was never on the peak of a mount because of the higher winds. 

David gathered what would be needed to build the Temple, but his son, Solomon, was chosen by God to build it on the threshing floor where David had built an altar to God. 

On either side of the eastern ridge were deep valleys. The Kidron on the east and the Tyropoen on the west. The Tyropoen valley was completely filled in to be level with the lower part of the western hill. So using your imagination cut off the west side and the east side of the Temple Mount, around 150 feet from west side and 300 feet from the east side (in other words all of what is called "Solomon's Stables" from the east side).  What you have left is the strip of land south to north where the Temple would have been located. The filling in of the Tyropoen valley began in the time of the Hasmoneans (Maccabees) 167-37 BCE.  The Grecians held Jerusalem, under Antiochus IV.  A huge fort called the Akra/tower had been built by the Grecians, cutting off the Temple from the City of David. The Grecian soldiers could see into the Temple compound from the top of the tower. Not Herod's Temple, but the Temple that was still within the walls of the1st and 2nd Temple. When the Jews defeated Antiochus they then partially cut down the Akra and filled up that  section of the Tyropoen valley near the City of David with the debris.   The Herodians filled in the rest of the valley northward when they built the western wall of the Temple Mount.

What can the location of the Akra tell us? It was once located south of the south wall of the Solomon Temple compound. It was built in between the City of David and the Temple cutting the city off from the Temple. The ruins of the fort/tower has been uncovered in the Givati parking lot built on a shelf of the Tyropoen valley just north of the old City of David.  The Temple, pre Herod, had to be close enough to look into it from the top of the Tower.  That is not possible if the Temple was on the peak of the mount on the Dome of the Rock platform. The Temple had to be lower down from the peak of the Mount, down on the hill Ophel.

So the facts so far are;  the eastern ridge had three levels, the City of David, the Ophel hill and the peak of the Mount, which is now covered by the Dome of the Rock.  The eastern ridge, pre-Herod, was at least 450 feet thinner, west to east, than the Temple Mount is today, cutting off 150 feet from the west side and 300 from the east side. The excavation of the Akra demands a lower location for the Temple.

Solomon built the Temple north of his father's palace. The question is how far to the north?  Far enough so that he could build his own palace and royal area south of the Temple.  In fact his palace butted up against the south wall of the Temple compound.  Between David's palace, discovered by Eilat Mazar above the Gihon spring, and the south wall of the Temple Mount is around 600 or so feet.  Plenty of room for Solomon to build his own palace and royal area.  He then walled this area in, increasing the size of the city to also include the Temple.  The Solomon wall was also revealed to us by Eilat Mazar on the east side of the Ophel. She has written a book as to her reasoning that this was Solomon's Royal area, according to the ruins, artifacts found there, and scripture.   This becomes very interesting because Solomon's palace butted up against his Temple compound, not Herod's. The south wall of the Temple Mount  is believed to be built as Herod's extended southern court.  So who is wrong, Eilat Mazar or those that claim the Temple of Solomon was on the Dome of the Rock platform? She has ruins and artifacts. The others have supposition and guesses, because no archaeologists are allowed to dig on the Temple Mount.

The Temple -Akra - Solomon's Palace

Scripture tells us that when the Temple was complete Solomon gathered the elders and they carried the ark of the Covenant "up out" of the City of David and placed it in the Temple.

Josephus writes that Fort Antonia was on the highest hill and overlooked the Temple and the Temple overlooked the City.  This tells us that there were three levels to the eastern ridge.  The peak, the Ophel hill, and the City of David.   He also wrote that  Herod's Temple was a furlong by a furlong, approximately 600 x 600 feet foursquare, not a rectangle.  Not 1,500 x 900 or so feet, which is the size of the Temple Mount today.  He also wrote, speaking of the flagstone flooring Herod had covered the open spaces with,  that "the Temple was 6 furlong around, including Fort Antonia" War of the Jews, Book 5, 5.  Josephus called the entire complex of both Fort Antonia and the Temple as "The Temple"  He later clarifies this when speaking of a prophecy which said; When the Temple became foursquare once again then its destruction would take place.  He believed it became foursquare when the bridges that connected the Temple to the fort were burnt down separating them once again.  War of the Jews Book 6, 2, 9

That is just a few simple points, out of a very long list, showing that the Temple was not on the Dome of the Rock platform nor in the City of David, but was located beneath the Al Aqsa Mosque at the south end of the Temple Mount.


Update; 9/17/2018

The picture below was taken in the 3D program where I have built Herod's Temple and Fort Antonia. It is built to specs with 1 meter size blocks. Measurements for the Temple and the Fort that I used are according to Warren's map using the legend at the bottom, which is in meters.  1 meter = 1 block.  (In the picture Fort Antonia is on the Dome of the Rock platform according to my theory.  So you will have to imagine the Temple on the platform as is proposed by Leen Ritmeyer.)

The picture below is looking west from the Mount of Olives.  With the Dome of the Rock theory the Temple and upper court are on the Dome of the Rock platform. Fifteen steps down from that level is the level of the women's court, for both Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple. But there is a big problem that Leen Ritmeyer doesn't mention.  It has to do with the three buildings that are just below the ground level of  the Temple Mount today, identified and measured by Charles Warren in the 1800's.  The southern most building actually has it roof just above the ground level. This building is 44 feet deep.  Making ground level in Solomon's time around 40 feet lower, on the eastern side of the platform, than the surface of the Temple Mount of today.

Ritmeyer also identified the lower portion of the east wall, of today, as being built by Hezekiah, along with the original gate, which is located under the Muslim built east gate that we see today.  In Nehemiah we are told that this original gate was at the north end of the Hezekiah city wall, which Nehemiah rebuilt and the gate was called the Miphkad gate.


Fort Antonia east side

Ritmeyer claims that Solomon's women's court was built at ground level of the Temple Mount as it is today.  This is not possible because Solomon's Temple was built
(950 BC)  before Hezikiah (700 BC) built the east city wall, gate, and the 3 buildings seen on Warren's map.   How could these 3 buildings be built under the women's court after the women's court had already been built 250 years earlier?! This, once again, proves that the Dome of the Rock theory was not the location of Solomon's Temple.

Looks good on paper but not in 3D

Below is the map of Ritmeyer's Temple over Warren's topographical map.  Notice the 3 buildings are directly below where he claims the women's court once was.



Three buildings in blue green and pink.




I drew this imaginary diagram. The Women's court would have had to be built on a steep slant of the mountain! I don't think this is very practical. :)

God bless
Norma