"For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned."
Below are additional thoughts and comments on the coming Temple. Some of the material is repeated from our April 4th post and there is additional material as well. The Star of Bethlehem is on page 2 and news articles are on page 3.
For many years we have looked forward with anticipation to the rebuilding of the Temple on Mt. Moriah, most likely over the rock where the Dome of the Rock now stands.
We have never wavered in this belief and faith, that the Temple would be rebuilt, and where we believed it would be, until recently.
We continue to have complete faith that the Temple will be rebuilt, but after reading some research material and then doing our own research we have become convinced that the Dome of the Rock, indeed the entire Haram-Al-Sharif was not the location of either Solomon's or Herod's temple.
The exact location of the first Temple
2Samuel 24:18-25 "And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Arau'nah the Jeb'usite. And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. And Arau'nah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Arau'nah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
And Arau'nah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Arau'nah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Arau'nah, as a king, give unto the king. And Arau'nah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Arau'nah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.
So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel."
2Chronicles3:1 "Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Mori'ah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jeb'usite."
Below are some photos showing the interior of the Mosque of Omar, the Rock, and a threshing floor.
Dome of the Rock - Interior View.
The Rock from a top view.
The Rock from a side view.
A threshing floor.
As you can see from the photos, comparing the top of the Rock and a threshing floor, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible for the Rock to serve as a threshing floor.
The following verses were instrumental in coming to this conclusion. Several of the verses come from the Book of Nehemiah.
The books of Nehemiah and Ezra take place (586 B. C. ?) at the time Cyrus, king of Persia gave certain Jews, including Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem and begin the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
"Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord G-d of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Who is there among you of all his people? his G-d be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the G-d,) which is in Jerusalem." Ezra 1:2-3
Here are some interesting verses out of the book of Nehemiah that show the commencement of the rebuilding.
2:15 "Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
3:7 And next unto them repaired Melati'ah the Gib'e-onite, and Jadon the Meron'othite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the throne of the governor on this side the river.
3:15 But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Col - ho'zeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Silo'ah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David.
3:16 After him repaired Nehemi'ah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Beth - zur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty.
3:26 Moreover the Neth'inim dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.
3:27 After them the Teko'ites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.
12:37 And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward."
2 Chronicles 32:30 "This same Hezeki'ah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezeki'ah prospered in all his works."
The thing that stands out in these verses was how often words like brook, river, fountain, pool, water, and watercourse were used. The Gihon is even named in 2 Chronicles 32:30.
From these verses it would seem the Temple was built over running water rather than the numerous cisterns that exist within the Haram Al-Sharif. The only running water within several miles of Jerusalem is the Gihon Spring.
Also, that the Ophel is mentioned twice was quite significant as it is still shown on modern maps of Jerusalem and its outlying areas.
The mention that the Nethinim, who were the Temple assistants, dwelt in Ophal according to Nehemiah 3:26 is also quite telling. If they were Temple assistants and resided on the Ophal
they would be very well placed to assist in the Temple if the location was on or over the Gihon Spring. If over the Dome of the Rock it would have been a considerable distance, approximately one thousand feet, for them to perform their duties.
The question arises, what happened to Mt. Zion and the City of David. If the City of David was located in very close proximity to the Temple, what happened to the hill on which it rested. According to "The Works of Josephus" the answer could be in his writings.
"But Simon, [the Hasmonean - 140-135 BCE] who was made high priest by the multitude, on the very first year of his high priesthood set his people free from their slavery under the Macedonians, and permitted them to pay tribute to them no longer; which liberty and freedom from tribute they obtained after a hundred and seventy years of the kingdom of the Assyrians, which was after Seleucus, who was called Nicator, got the dominion over Syria. Now the affection of the multitude towards Simon was so great, that in their contracts one with another, and in their public records, they wrote, "In the first year of Simon the benefactor and ethnarch of the Jews;" for under him they were very happy, and overcame the enemies that were round about them; for Simon overthrew the city Gazara, and Joppa, and Jamneia. He also took the citadel of Jerusalem by siege, and cast it down to the ground, that it might not be any more a place of refuge to their enemies when they took it, to do them a mischief, as it had been till now. And when he had done this, he thought it their best way, and most for their advantage, to level the very mountain itself upon which the citadel happened to stand, that so the temple might be higher than it. And indeed, when he had called the multitude to an assembly, he persuaded them to have it so demolished, and this by putting them in mind what miseries they had suffered by its garrison and the Jewish deserters, and what miseries they might hereafter suffer in case any foreigner should obtain the kingdom, and put a garrison into that citadel. This speech induced the multitude to a compliance, because he exhorted them to do nothing but what was for their own good: so they all set themselves to the work, and levelled the mountain, and in that work spent both day and night without any intermission, which cost them three whole years before it was removed, and brought to an entire level with the plain of the rest of the city. After which the temple was the highest of all the buildings, now the citadel, as well as the mountain whereon it stood, were demolished. And these actions were thus performed under Simon." The Works Of Josephus Antiquities Xlll, 6,7.
If Josephus is correct Mt. Zion on which the City of David did sit, the citadel, was razed to the ground by Simon the Hasmonean.
"Woe to A'ri-el, to A'ri-el, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices.
Yet I will distress A'ri-el, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as A'ri-el.
And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.
And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust." Isaiah 29:1-4
The book of 1 Maccabees, chapter 14 verses 41-47, shows us the extent of authority and power that was given to Simon.
41: "Also that the Jews and priests were well pleased that Simon should be their governor and high priest for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet; - 42: Moreover that he should be their captain, and should take charge of the sanctuary, to set them over their works, and over the country, and over the armour, and over the fortresses, that, I say, he should take charge of the sanctuary; - 43: Beside this, that he should be obeyed of every man, and that all the writings in the country should be made in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple, and wear gold: - 44: Also that it should be lawful for none of the people or priests to break any of these things, or to gainsay his words, or to gather an assembly in the country without him, or to be clothed in purple, or wear a buckle of gold; - 45: And whosoever should do otherwise, or break any of these things, he should be punished. - 46: Thus it liked all the people to deal with Simon, and to do as hath been said. - 47: Then Simon accepted hereof, and was well pleased to be high priest, and captain and governor of the Jews and priests, and to defend them all."
One final hurdle. The waters of the Gihon are no longer as pure and useable as they once were. This has largely been attributed to a major earthquake that occurred in 1067 CE, that somehow changed the topography and strata of the area.
"The city suffered badly during the eleventh century from a series of earthquakes in 1016, in 1033, and again in 1067. In the last, it is reported, 25,000 people were killed and only two houses remained." Joshua Prawer - The History of the Jews in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem p. 15.
The Gihon Spring.
Could not a modern water filtration system be implemented to rectify this problem?
We will leave these thoughts and ideas with you.
Until next week...keep on believing.
"And he (the Lord) will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it."
(Isaiah 25 7-8)