Many people have put out videos that say the Temple was not on the Temple Mount. What we want you to do is go to a map of the City of David and the Temple Mount on the Internet. We want you to look at the map you want to use as we continue, and as we name a location, you can find where we are talking about. You will soon see that the Temple could not have been in the City of David. The City of David is the oldest part of Jerusalem and there are fortifications in these areas that are being discovered, and they go back to before Israel arrived.
So, for some reference points, look at the southern end of the city and you will see the Siloam Pool. Going up the eastern side of the city you will see the Kidron Valley and the Gihon Spring. Then David’s Palace is just north and then we come to the Ophel. North of that we have the Temple Mount. On other maps you can see more detail, the southern steps of the Temple and other sites.
Some of Israel’s best archaeologists are working in the area of the old City of David, like Eilat Mazar and Ronny Reich. Dr. Mazar published an article on where David’s Palace would be located without digging. How did she figure that out? She read the Scriptures and surmised that it would be at the northern end of the City of David. She found a large structure dating back to the time of David with many artifacts inside. Most scholars agree that it was David’s Palace. Some try to discount it, but most of the big archaeologists agree with Mazar. There is a stepped stone structure that was built going down into the Kidron Valley because they needed to increase the size of the foundation of this huge building. That is important and you can go to the Internet and look at the pictures there on this discovery.
Solomon would build his palace on the Temple Mount and David’s Palace became an administration center. They found a toilet there and were able to examine some of the stone and found that people using this toilet had tape worms because they were eating raw meat during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. All the wood had been used up to make defenses and the cooking of food, and eventually they ran out of wood. They also found a seal that was baked due to the burning of Jerusalem and it was baked also. They found a whole area full of seals and some of them had the names of some of the people we see in the Scriptures.
The Gihon Spring has some massive excavations going on, too. It is south of David’s Palace. There is a parking lot called the Givati parking lot and they are finding ruins from the Hasmonean (Maccabees) to the Roman period. That’s because David’s Palace was at the northern end of the City of David and the Givati parking lot is west of the palace. They have also found the street that went from the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount. They found the sewer that was below the street and found many artifacts in there. So, we have gone over the Temple Mount, the Ophel, the City of David, David’s Palace, the Gihon Spring, the Siloam Pool (Shiloach) and the Givati parking lot.
Now let’s talk about the Siloam (Shiloach) Pool for a moment. When people came up to the festivals they would congregate there, clean up and prepare their gifts to God before they went up to the Temple. A delegation was sent to the Temple notifying the priests that such and such group from such and such were there. Was the Siloam Pool a mikvah (immersion bath)? Some debate this even now. The rules for a Temple era mikvah by the first century were very strict and so you can make a good argument that it wasn’t a mikvah. It was just an open area with a pool. There are other mikvaot all over the place.
In the City of David they have not found very many mikvaot. There are some but not many. On the other hand, just south of the Temple Mount they have discovered mikvaot, and some on the southwest side. For more information on this subject we refer you to our teaching called, “Tevilah (immersion) and Rachatz (washing)” on this website.
At any rate, having the steps leading up to the Temple Mount as it is today and having mikvaot there is important evidence because you had to immerse before going up to the Temple. There were other mikvaot south of the inner courtyard and in the outer courtyard of the Temple.
There was another mikvah which was discovered under the Lishkat Ha Metzorim (Chamber of the Lepers). This chamber was in the northwest part of the Court of the Women. A cistern was found under what would have been the Leper’s Chamber by Conraad Shick in 1870. The locations of these mikvaot are not only verified by the leading mikvaot archaeologists, like Ronny Reich, but they are also backed up by the Jewish writings like the Mishnah, Josephus and others that tell us a mikvah should be located there.
Dr. Ernest Martin wrote a book called, “The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot” and Bob Cornuke wrote one called, “Temple:Amazing New Discoveries That Changed Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple.” These books say that the Temple was just north of David’s Palace, in the Ophel. 2 Chr 3.1 says that Solomon began building the Temple on Mount Moriah, the same mountain that Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac in Gen 22. It is also the same mountain that Jacob had his dream about the ladder in Gen 28. Yeshua will also be crucified on that mountain. David numbered the people in 1 Chr 21.1-30 and sins, so a plague breaks out and David buys the threshing floor of Ornan, and builds an altar. So, 2 Chr 3.1 says that Solomon began to build the Temple there. The Altar of the Temple will be in the same spot as David’s altar (1 Chr 21.18), and the altar that David built is on the same location that Abraham built his altar with Isaac. We have a continuing of locations.
Dr. Martin has the Temple Mount as the Roman fortress Antonia and the Temple is south of the Ophel, and just north of David’s Palace. His book has a picture of this layout but you can look it up on the Internet now. The size of his Temple is much smaller than it actually was. He says that the Fortress Antonia that most have pictured in the northwest corner of the Temple complex could not hold 600 Roman soldiers and all that went with them, so they had to have the whole Temple Mount. However, the size of his Temple is smaller than his reconfigured Fortress Antonia, but the Temple would hold hundreds of thousands on a festival everyday. His logic does not add up numerically.
His layout of the whole Temple-Antonia area does not match the descriptions. He has porticos running north and south but nobody ever saw those. He has the Gihon Spring right below his Temple complex, but in reality, it would have been further south of the Temple. Martin and Cornuke say the Temple got its water from the Gihon Spring, but according to historical texts it came from the Etam Spring near Bethlehem, reaching the Temple by means of a lower aquaduct (Jerusalem Talmud, Yoma 3.41; “Etam Spring-Temple Mount Water,” TempleMountLocation.com). The Gihon Spring was not a factor in the Temple.
The Sanhedrin met in three places. The “Sanhedrin Gedolah” or Great Sanhedrin had 71 judges and it met in Beit Avtinas, and they had to meet there to render a death sentence according to the Torah. They eventually moved to the eastern end of the Royal Stoa in protest about Pontius Pilate in 30 A.D. This was right before Yeshua was brought before them and why they could not pronounce a death sentence on him.
A second court called the “Sanhedrin Katanah” or Smaller Sanhedrin of 23 judges met in a building to the right side of the gate leading into the Court of the Women called the Eastern Gate. A third court called the “Beit Zekanim” or House of Elders, made up of 3 judges that met at the southern steps leading up to the Temple Mount, and this building has been found because they found a portion of a plaque that had two connecting fragments, and it had the word “Zekanim” (elders) written on it, referring to the elders of the Sanhedrin. They found that nowhere near where Ernest Martin and Bob Cornuke have their temples. These southern steps lead up to the Temple Mount today and people can walk on them.
These areas we have been talking about have been thoroughly documented. Dr. Mazar has documented, drawn and measured every stone in the northern wall. What we want to illustrate here is that everything has been documented and done by trained archaeologists at the top of their professions.
The Soreg was a small wall around the Temple courts about two cubits high with signs on them warning the non-Jews to stay out of the courts or they would be responsible for their own death. Josephus records the wording and they have found two of those signs. One is completely intact and in Istanbul, and it was found at the northeast end of the Temple Mount, a long way from the City of David. The second one is a partial sign in the Israel Museum and it was found on the northwest side of the Temple Mount, also a long way from the City of David.
In 2 Sam 24.10-14 we learn that David has sinned by numbering the people. He is given three things to choose from as punishment. He can choose seven years of famine, fleeing for three months before his enemies while they pursue him, or three days of pestilence. David chooses the third option because the other two would have put the whole nation at risk by other nations. He does not want to fall into the hands of men, so he wants to be in the hands of God because he is a merciful God and he would be just as exposed to the pestilence as everyone else.
2 Sam 24.15-17 talks about the plague and an angel is stopped from destroying the people at the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite (the name for anyone dwelling in Jerusalem). David sees the angel who was striking down the people and he tells the Lord that he was the one who sinned, not “these sheep, what have they done?”
So, 2 Sam 24.18 says that the prophet Gad came to David and said, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” This is where the Temple altar will be. Gibeon is where the Mishkan was at the time was too far to go to an altar and the angel was standing in between Gibeon and David. David is in his palace (v 18) and we are going to have Araunah’s floor, the Ophel, David’s Palace, the Gihon Spring and the Siloam Pool in that order as you moved south.
Notice David is told to “Go up” to the threshing floor of Araunah, which would be north. He is not going to go “down” to the south to the Gihon Spring to the threshing floor of Araunah. He is told to build an altar there, to the north of his palace (“go up”). In 2 Chr 5.1-7 it says that the Ark was brought “up” from the City of David by the priests (v 5) to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the Temple (v 7).
We are making all these points to show that the Temple was on the temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is because many people are looking at certain videos and buying books that say the Temple was in the City of David. The Jews did not “forget” where the Temple was like Martin asserts. Believing this theory makes it sound like the Jews don’t know what they are talking about. We can assure you they did not forget where the Temple was, and the best archaeologists in the world have verified it over and over again. There is a “mountain” of evidence out there, and we have only presented a minuscule amount to prove it.