For centuries, millions have acknowledged and revered the Temple Mount – site of The Dome of The Rock – as the original location of the Holy Temple of God built by King Solomon and the Second Temple of God which was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Many pilgrimages have been made by Christians, Jews and Muslims to view and walk this sacred area. The “Wailing Wall” – purported to be the last remaining vestige of the Second Temple of Israel, is a site where many make daily prayers, longing for the ancient temple to return to its glory. But from a literal reading of the Holy Bible it becomes clear that the Dome of the Rock is NOT the location of the temple of God. The true location can be found in the text of Scripture and this article will reveal this truth and how it was mysteriously lost in antiquity.
The Destruction of the Second Temple of Israel – A Failed Prophecy?
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:1-2.
In the passage above and in two other Gospel books, The Lord Jesus Christ very clearly stated that the entire temple complex would be destroyed and: “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” It is critical to understand that the temple was the very spiritual livelihood of the nation of Israel. It represented the unique connection between the twelve tribes and The Creator of the Universe. So, the prediction of Christ stunned His disciples who immediately questioned when this would take place. This was a very specific prophecy of complete eradication of the temple as a punishment for the nation’s rejection of Christ as the prophesied Messiah.
When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt as detailed in Luke 19, He knew that many of the same people cheering him as the “King that cometh in the name of the Lord” would days later scream “crucify him!” as they rejected The Son of God who was sent to save them. In his sorrow for the fate of Israel He against prophesied:
“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” – Luke 19:41-44.
In this passage, The Lord goes into greater detail stating that an invading army would surround Jerusalem, trapping the Israelites, laying siege to the entire city and reducing it to rubble.
The Wailing Wall, today revered as a remaining wall of the temple, stands as a refutation of the very words of Christ. Many websites, rabbis and even pastors proclaim it is a remnant of the Second temple:
The wall sits upon massive foundation stones that are also purportedly a part of the Second Temple. So how could this be the case? How could the temple remain in any form when Christ Jesus specifically said that “not one” stone would remain? It is because the modern “Temple Mount” – the Dome of the Rock – is not the true location of the Holy Temple of God.
The True Temple Location Revealed
Although the original temple was built by King Solomon, it was his father, King David who had the initial desire to construct a temple to honor The Lord:
“And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.” – 2 Samuel 7:1-2.
Note that David’s desire was singular – to glorify God. So great was his love and gratitude towards The Lord. God granted David’s desire in part – approving of the temple’s construction but not permitting David to build it as he the great warrior king had shed blood. Instead, Solomon, David’s son and heir to the throne, would construct the temple. David rejoiced over this and proceeded with the preparations for its construction, which included selecting its location.
The City of David, also known as Zion, is the true location of the Holy Temple. David acquired this land after being officially confirmed as King of Israel:
“Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel…
“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.” – 2 Samuel 5:1-3; 6-10.
After sinning against God, David ended up paying money for the land that would be the site of the temple:
“And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.
“Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of theLord. And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all.
“And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. At that time when David saw that the Lord had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there.” – 1 Chronicles 21:15-28.
God ordered David to set up the altar. David then purchases the threshing floor of Ornan – making him rightful owner. In the very next chapter David knew that this would be the location for the Holy Temple:
“Then David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.
“Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for theLord God of Israel. And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God: But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.” – 1 Chronicles 22:1-10.
Solomon Confirmed The Real Temple Location
After Adonijah attempted to usurp Solomon for the throne, David instructed the high priest to take Solomon to the tabernacle with the priesthood and anoint him king there:
“Even as I sware unto thee by the Lord God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day. Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever. And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.
So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.” – 1 Kings 1:30-35; 38-39.
Even before the temple construction, the tabernacle – where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where God manifested His Presence before the High Priest was at the Gihon Springs in the city of David. By anointing Solomon at the site where God manifested His divine presence before the High Priest, Solomon had the official Divine endorsement to be king. All this serves as further Biblical confirmation that the location of the temple was going to be the same area David used to for the tabernacle for his 40-year reign.
“Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.” – 2 Chronicles 3:1.
When Solomon commenced the temple construction he followed his father’s instructions using the threshing floor in the City of David as the location. All through Scripture, Mount Zion or Zion – which Biblically is clearly the City of David, is revered as the place where God manifests His Divine Presence:
“Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.” – Psalm 9:11.
“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” – Psalm 50:2.
“Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.” – Psalm 74:2-3.
Zion is mentioned over 300 times in Scripture! This staggering amount reflects its tremendous spiritual importance. Why? Because it is where God chose to dwell during the 40 year reign of David (in the tabernacle) and in the subsequent temples of Solomon and the Second Temple.
Many believers today consider Zion and Jerusalem interchangeable terms when in fact they are not. Zion is the City of David, located within Jerusalem:
“Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.” – Psalm 51:18.
“To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;” – Psalm 102:21.
“Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.” – Psalm 147:12.
“Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” – Isaiah 24:23.
These verses demonstrate God’s distinction between Zion and the greater city of Jerusalem. Zion was the location The Lord personally instructed David to erect an altar and construct the temple.
The Gihon Spring – A Key Clue to The Temple’s True Location
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the temple was the presence of a natural spring within its walls. In the city of Jerusalem there is only one such spring – the Gihon spring located in the City of David. The Spring (the only water source in Jerusalem) is located at the base of a mound called Ophel which sat due north of the northern wall of Mount Zion. The Ophel mound was in such proximity to the City of David that David filled the gap between them with stones calling it Millo. This is recorded in Scripture:
“So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.” – 2 Samuel 5:9.
Millo in Hebrew literally means to “fill in.” Solomon used this connection from the Ophel mound to erect the temple over the Gihon Spring. This would place the temple 1000 feet south of the Dome of the Rock or Haram Al-Sharif (which has no natural spring).
There were very clear reasons for why the spring was desirable. Having an abundant natural source of fresh water within the temple was essential for ritual purification of the Levitical priesthood. Note that many Mosaic atonement ceremonies required “running water”:
“And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over runningwater:” – Leviticus 14:5.
“And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:” – Leviticus 14:51.
“And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in runningwater, and shall be clean.” – Leviticus 15:13.
Scripture testifies to the presence of springs in the House of God:
“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.” – Psalm 87:5-7.
Scripture recounts King Hezekiah’s tunnel noting he: “…stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David.” (2 Chronicles 32:30). When the wicked King Manasseh repented for his numerous sins against God and the nation, he sought to honor The Lord by removing the false idols he erected and fortifying the temple:
“Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering of the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.” – 2 Chronicles 33:14-17.
This passage provides an amazing confirmation that the City of David, Gihon Spring and Ophel were the site of the Temple. Looking at a modern map of the supposed temple location shows the fish gate nowhere near Ophel or the Gihon Spring:
By this map, the fish gate is not near the city of David or the Gihon (which sits directly below and east of the City of David). And if Manasseh did build a gate from the Gihon to the Fish Gate as depicted in this map, there would be no need to “compass Ophel” because it would be properly protected. The modern conception of the temple’s location renders the Scripture above inaccurate (which of course cannot be the case), because it wrongly places the Temple farther north rather than on Ophel, on the north side of the City of David. Clearly the The Dome of Rock location is incorrect and has no Biblical confirmation whatsoever.
Ophel is connected with the temple several times in Scripture. Faithful King Jotham “built the high gate of the house of the Lord, and on the wall of Ophel he built much.” demonstrating the temple’s location on the Ophel mound. Additionally, the book of Nehemiah records 2 times that the “Nethinims” – descendants of the Gibeonites who in the days of Joshua, pledged to serve the altar in the house of God, “dwelt in Ophel” as the altar was now in the temple there.
Psalm 48 confirms the temple’s location on Ophel which was on the north side of Zion, the City of David:
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge.” – Psalm 48:1-3.
Secular Confirmation of the Gihon Spring In Herod’s Temple
Ancient secular historians also noted that there was a spring within the temple. Aristeas, a traveler to Jerusalem in the 3rd century BC, when the second temple (originally built under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah before being expanded by Herod) wrote:
“The Temple faces the east and its back is toward the west. The whole of the floor is paved with stones and slopes down to the appointed places, that vater may be conveyed to wash away the 89 blood from the sacrifices, for many thousand beasts are sacrificed there on the feast days. And there is an inexhaustible supply of water, because an abundant natural spring gushes up from within the temple area.” – The Letter of Aristeas, 88-89, (source).
Tacitus, one of the most celebrated historians of ancient Rome, whose writings are still extant, also described the springs within the temple:
“The temple resembled a citadel, and had its own walls, which were more laboriously constructed than the others the colonnades with which it was surrounded formed an admirable outwork. It contained an inexhaustible spring; there subterranean excavations in the hill and tanks and cisterns holding rain water.” – The History of Tacitus, Book V, 12. (source).
How Did the True Location Become Lost?
Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as prophesied by The Lord Jesus Christ, there was nothing left of the city of Jerusalem built by the Israelites:
“Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple,…it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.” – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, 1. (source).
As explained by Roman historian Josephus (a Jewish eyewitness of the destruction hired by the Romans to chronicle the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD) many Jews hid gold and silver within the walls of various structures. Thus, after razing the city with fire, the Roman armies literally ripped every building apart stone by stone to recover the massive treasures of gold and silver that melted into the cracks and crevices of various bricks. The Holy City was literally a pile stripped and discarded stones fulfilling the very specific prophecy Christ made decades earlier, and a prophecy from the book of Micah:
“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin…Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.” – Micah 3:8, 12.
The one building left standing in the city was a lasting tribute to the conquering army – the Roman Fort Antonia. Fort Antonia (built by Herod) was a massive fortification that housed the Tenth Legion of the Roman Army. Titus, after conquering Jerusalem made the fortress the permanent base for the Legion to prevent any future revolutions by the Jews. Roman fortresses were made to house 6,000-10,000 soldiers and supporting servants.
Ancient writings by the Masada Jews, who famously committed suicide before falling into the hands of Roman forces in 73 AD (and were eyewitnesses to the destruction of the Second Temple), confirm the presence of the Roman fortress:
“What is become of our city, which was believed to he inhabited by God? – It is now demolished to the very foundations; and the only monument of it that is left is – the camp of those who destroyed it, which is still pitched upon its remains.” – Eleazar, Leader of the Masada Jews, (source).
The Roman Fortress or castus, was a massive complex. In ancient Rome, the layout and design of fortress was standardized, with a square or rectangular shape of massive exterior walls. Within the fortress, in addition to housing troops, military leaders and dignitaries – were granaries, marketplaces, animal stables and roman baths. Here is an image of the typical design of a large Roman fort:
Here is an image of the ruins of the Houseteads Roman Fort built in 124 AD, which still exists today in England:
Like the standard larger size Roman fort, it contains a rectangular shape. Some of the ancient structures within still stand like the granary pictured below:
And here are aerial photos of the Dome of the Rock:
The rectangular shape of the ancient outer walls is the same as that of an ancient Roman Fortress as they were built in the time of siege of Jerusalem. And as eyewitness accounts confirm, Fort Antonia was the only structure left in 70 AD after the Romans destroyed the city.
Fort Antonia was built on an outcropping of rock – precisely as the Dome of the Rock is built today. In ancient times, it housed the Roman Praetorium and was the place where Pontius Pilate sentenced The Lord to die by crucifixion:
“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, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha…” – John 19:13-15.
Note that “Pavement” (λιθόστρωτος in Greek, Gabbatha in Hebrew) is capitalized – evincing that it was a well-known location in first century Judea. Thousands of the foundation stones of Haram esh Sharif built up by Herod still exist in their proper place today (including the stones of the Wailing Wall). During the Bar Khokba revolt, the Jews made no attempt to attack this fort (or the city of Jerusalem at all for that matter) because it was impenetrable. The Tenth Legion used the fortress for over 200 years before finally abandoning it in 289AD.
Secular Testimony That the Fortress and the Temple Were Distinct Locations
One of the most famous ancient accounts of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem were the writings of the Bordeaux Pilgrim in 333AD. He identified the Praetorium as situated east of the Church of The Holy Wisdom (which was under construction by emperor Constantine at that time) and north of the ruins of the temple. Constantine’s mother, was who famous for directing the construction of many churches at holy sites in Jerusalem, erected the Church of the Holy Wisdom within the walls of Haram esh Sharif to commemorate Christ’s trial before Pontius Pilate.
Thus this illustration below correctly positions Fort Antonia and the Second Temple in the days of The Lord on earth:
This accurate map supports the testimony of Josephus and others that the Fortress was 600 feet away and much larger than the temple. It also provides a common meeting space for the Jews and Roman authorities (next to the two colonnades) as Jewish people in that time would not have entered the Fortress as it was spiritually “unclean.” In the meeting area between the temple and Fortress is where Pontius Pilate could have brought Jesus before the Jews after questioning Him:
“Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.” – John 18:28.
In this passage, the Pharisees easily bring Jesus to Pilate who brings him back to the Jews. All this could be done because the temple was only 600 feet from the Roman fort and there was a small “neutral” space before the Judgment Hall were Jesus could be handed over without ritual defilement.
In the 6th century the Piacenza Pilgrim visited Jerusalem and confirmed that the Church of the Holy Wisdom was indeed built within the walls of the Praetorium:
“We prayed in the praetorium where the Lord was questioned. There stands the basilica of St. Sophia in front of the ruins of Solomon’s Temple; under this place the water makes its way to the spring of Siloe, near Solomon’s porch. In the basilica is the seat on which Pilate sat when he interrogated the Lord, and also a square stone which used to be in the middle of the praetorium. On it the Lord stood whilst being questioned by Pilate in order that He might be heard and seen by all the people. This stone has preserved the print of His feet.” – (source).
The pilgrim distinguishes the praetorium which was “in front” or north of the ruins of The Temple. He also references the church being built over a special “stone”. In ancient lore, this rock was revered because it was believed that the footprints of Jesus could be seen on it. When the Persians invaded Jerusalem in 614AD the Church of the Holy Wisdom was destroyed. Sophronius, the Archbishop of Jerusalem at that time, knew this and when Omar the Second Caliph wanted to erect a holy site on a non-Christian location, he ignored the rock out of respect for the former Church of the Holy Wisdom.
Over the time, the legend of “the rock” grew. Soon it was said that Abraham’s footprints could be found. In 692AD a later Caliph built the Dome of The Rock on top of this same rock outcropping where the Praetorium once stood.
Centuries later, the legend of The Rock among Muslims included footprints of the angel Gabriel and many other Biblical figures. It had mythic status in Muslim traditions (hence the Dome of the Rock name). When the conqueror Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187, he was praised for rescuing the Rock from infidel forces.
The Acceptance of the New Location of the Temple
When Omar built the Al Aqsa mosque around the Dome of the Rock, he used two stones from the true temple location that were left over from two attempts by the Jews to rebuild the temple in the 4th century AD. One of the stones was made the qibla stone in the mosque which points towards Mecca. Muslims believe in baraka, a process by which the power or nature of a holy site can be transferred to another when the same stones are used. Thus, in Muslim thought, the al Aqsa mosque became the site of Solomon’s temple. Sadly, Christian crusaders who seized Jerusalem in the 12th century AD also adopted this superstition and recognized the Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock as the actual location of the Holy Temple, calling it Templum Domini or Temple of The Lord.
Incorrect Testimonies Bolster the Error
A pilgrimage account of Benjamin of Tuleda in the 12th century gained widespread fame among dispersed Jews worldwide. And in it he erroneously adopted the mistaken location of the temple. Taking the word of Muslims and Christian living there at the time, Tuleda was also intrigued by a new local legend that the tomb of David was located near the Dome of the Rock. Thus, he promoted this area a must-see holy site of the Jews.
At the same time, revered rabbi Maimonides wrote emphatically that since the destruction of the temple (at the true location of the Gihon spring) no gentile building was erected in its place and that the area where the temple stood, even in the 12th century was “in ruins.” According to Maimonides the ruins of the 70 AD destruction were still there, thus the Dome of the Rock (which at that time had been standing for 600 years) could not have been the temple location. Rabbi David Kimchi, another venerated rabbinical leader confirmed the same:
“And [the Temple] is still in ruins, [in] that the Temple site was never built on by the nations.” (source).
However due to the excitement over a potential discovery of the tomb of David, Jewish authorities went with Benjamin of Tuleda’s account of the temple’s location over that of the correct and Biblically-supported City of David. Thus, from the time of the Crusades, the accurate location of the temple was lost in the common thought of Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Prior to this time, all Jews knew the true location of the temple was in the City of David at the Gihon spring. An extant 7th century ancient letter confirms this:
“Omar agreed that seventy households should come [to Jerusalem from Tiberias]. They agreed to that. After that, he asked: ‘Where do you wish to live within the city?’ They replied: ‘In the southern section of the city, which is the market of the Jews.’ Their request was to enable them to be near the site of the Temple and its gates, as well as to the waters of Shiloah, which could be used for immersion. This was granted them [the 70 Jewish families] by the Emir of the Believers. So seventy households including women and children moved from Tiberias, and established settlements in buildings [then in ruins] whose foundations had stood for many generations.” (source).
Omar permitted the seventy Jewish families to repatriate into Jerusalem. And their immediate request was to be near the site of the temple and “the waters of Shiloah.” This is powerful evidence. The “market of the Jews” was clearly outside of Haram esh Sharif and thus further south of the Dome of the Rock. The waters of Shiloah were the brooks produced by the Gihon spring. When the Northern tribes of Israel were in extreme rebellion against God – worshiping idols, and engaging in all manner of occult practices – God rebuked them repeatedly specifically confirming the true temple location:
“Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:” – Isaiah 8:7-8.
Israel abandoned faith in the true and living God – opting to worship the false gods of the heathen nations. This provoked The Lord to proclaim: “Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah…” meaning proper worship in His temple – He was going to punish them with the “rivers” or armies of King Senacherrib. The water of Shiloah were the spring waters of Gihon – thus confirming the knowledge of the 70 Jewish families who Omar permitted to re-enter Jerusalem. They wanted to live on the site of the Holy temple and that took them directly to the Gihon spring in the City of David.
What About the Wailing Wall?
The Wailing Wall, which is allegedly the remains of the Second Temple, is a fictional invention of a man named Isaac Luria in the 17th century (he created his own form of Kabbalah and proclaimed that a Divine presence manifested over the Western Wall). It was never a part of ancient Jewish history, the Bible or the Crusades. It is merely a wall from the complex of Fort Antonia. And yes, sadly, the many millions who visit, pray and revere this site are in complete error. Oddly, many Christian Holy Land tours visit the Wailing Wall and teach that it was a part of the temple. This even though if that were the case, Jesus’ prophecy about complete and utter destruction of the temple would be false.
Mount Zion, The Temple Mount and the End Times
Many pastors, theologians and Bible teachers discuss the Dome of the Rock as a key to Bible prophecy as they anticipate it as the location of the third temple of Israel (which will presumably be used by the Antichrist to proclaim himself God). Many articles and videos can be found on the web which discuss the Dome of the Rock – all premised on the erroneous belief that it was the original site of the temple of God. In Israel, many devoted Jews (who still reject Christ and walk in spiritual blindness to this day) eagerly await the time to construct a new temple on the incorrect location of the Temple Mount. There are many teachings that a war must be fought that will remove the Dome of the Rock and allow construction of a new temple. Could this Biblically incorrect location all be a part of a greater coming deception? Will this false location be the site of the Antichrist’s third temple? Or will the Jewish religious leadership identify the true temple location? Time will tell.
The Bible is very clear that in the end times, Jesus Christ will return to Mount Zion – the true Divinely-selected location of the temple:
“When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” – Psalm 102:16.
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” – Isaiah 59:20.
“The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” – Joel 3:16.
Trust the Bible – Not Traditions of Men
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – Colossians 2:8.
Lord willing, it is clear that the Dome of the Rock is an absolutely false location of the Holy Temple Mount with no Biblical basis whatsoever. But what is most important is that as believers in Christ – we search the Scriptures to confirm what we hear, read or watch. Just as The Lord Jesus Christ predicted the destruction of the temple, He also predicted that as the end times approached deception would be widespread:
Pray for those who teach the incorrect location of the temple to repent and study their Bibles – which very clearly identifies the true location. And pray for those who are Jewish or non-believers to abandon tradition and man-made “legend” and trust in the true God of the Bible and His divinely-inspired Word. By God’s grace more people will stop looking to the site of Christ’s trial as the temple, but believe the Gospel, receive the Holy Spirit and let their own bodies be the temple of the Great and Mighty God until His triumphant return to Mount Zion.
“They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” – Psalm 125:1.