Pro and Con 1290

Posted 6-1-06

Photos in the News: Saturn's "Greatest Portrait Yet" and "New View of Saturn's Blues"

February 25, 2005—Spotlighted by the sun, Saturn throws its thick shadow across its rings, which in turn throw threads of shade across the planet's blue northern hemisphere.

February 9, 2005—Striped by shadows of its rings, Saturn is a true-blue backdrop for the icy moon Mimas in this just-released image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. AS ON EARTH, A CLEAR SKY ON SATURN IS GENERALLY A BLUE SKY, because the unclouded atmosphere scatters sunlight at bluer wavelengths.

Enceladus, Saturn's ringmaker

"Water Showers Fly Off Enceladus"
This image was taken on May 03, 2006

Enceladus spouting water or ice crystals

Incoming e-mail, Re: "WAS THE DOME OF THE ROCK A CHURCH"

Article in the ISRAEL TODAY magazine (their web site:

Summary: The Dome of the Rock was initially a CHRISTIAN church. This conclusion is based on scholarly philological analysis of the calligraphics, usually supposed to be passages from the Koran, within the structure. They are actually, according to the article, texts from a Syro-Aramaic language and are theological disputes between Syrian and Hellenistic CHRISTIANS.

If the scholarship is true, and, of course, I have no way of evaluating this, it utterly demolishes Islam's claim to the Temple Mount. While we all know that Islam's claim is entirely bogus, this would prove to the secular world that Islam has no claim to the mount.

I think that neither the author nor the editors fully appreciate the prophetic bombshell this could prove to be. If this hits the mass media, I would expect utter Muslim chaos!

Please give me feedback on this. Thanks, Maranatha

My reply


Excerpts from the attachment:

...Arabic coins from the first century after Mohammed until the end of the Umayyad Dynasty...[661-750]are not related to Islamic history, but instead originate from a Semitic-Christian period, shown by their Christian symbols

This discovery is supported by inscriptions in the Dome of the Rock...

However, when the Arabic texts found in the Dome of the Rock are studied with philological precision, one sees they are not verses from the Koran...but rather texts from a Syro-Aramaic language, according to analyst Christoph Luxenberg.


Saint John of Damascus (670-753), in his work On Heresies, does not describe the Ismailites as Moslems, instead he calls them an Umayyad Christian sect. He claims that the Ummayyads were not Moslems, but, in fact, Christians.

The Dome of the Rock was...a memorial to "Jesus, Son of Mary, the servant of God." This is the Blessed One (muhammad--not a proper name), according to an inscription in the Dome.

Since the Dome of the Rock was once a church, this disproves Mohammed's visionary night journey which is not even mentioned in the Koran. THIS MAKES THE MOSLEM CLAIM ON JERUSALEM NULL AND VOID."
I agree that the site where the Dome of the Rock stands now was in 30 AD meaningful to only one group--Christians--not to Jews that didn't accept Jesus, and not to Muslims. Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, born in Mecca c. 570 AD, didn't receive his first "revelations" until 610 AD.

I now understand why the CHURCH OF THE HOLY WISDOM was built over the rock on the temple mount prior to the construction of the Dome of the Rock.

It looks like THAT ROCK MARKED THE EXACT SPOT IN FORT ANTONIA'S PRAETORIUM (JUDGMENT HALL) WHERE PILATE SAT ON THE "BEMA" (JUDGMENT SEAT) AND SENTENCED JESUS TO BE CRUCIFIED. No wonder the Muslims try to obscure that. They claim that Jesus was not crucified and resurrected.

I think Fort Antonia occupied the northern half of the temple mount and the Temple courts occupied the southern half. The Rock was just north of the fort's southern wall.. At all four corners of the fort, there was a tower. Since the fort guarded the temple, its tallest tower (on the south-east corner) overlooked the temple, and there were subterranean tunnels from the fort into the temple area, and gates allowing the Romans direct access into the two cloisters that met at the north-west corner of the temple's outer enclosure. This shows that the temple was on the temple mount, not over the Gihon Spring in the City of David.

The whole square outer temple enclosure had walls and cloisters (carved cedar-roofed walkways supported by marble columns) on all four sides.

There was a square inner temple enclosure too. The temple proper faced east and was centered north and south within this inner square.

Listen as Josephus tells us about Fort Antonia butting up to the corner of the temple enclosure. In Wars. V.V. 8, he said, "Now, as to THE TOWER OF ANTONIA, IT WAS SITUATED AT THE CORNER OF TWO CLOISTERS OF THE COURT OF THE TEMPLE; of that on the WEST and that on the NORTH IT (FORT ANTONIA) WAS ERECTED UPON A ROCK of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice; it was the work of king Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity....The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace, it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps;insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities, but by its magnificence, it seemed a palace, and as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the SOUTH-EAST CORNER was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole temple might be viewed; but on THE CORNER WHERE IT JOINED TO THE TWO CLOISTERS OF THE TEMPLE (i.e., the corner nearest the rock), it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people...for the temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple".

Later, the Christian Church of of the Holy Wisdom was built over the rock. It probably had a dome. In church architecture, domes represent heaven. They became the hallmark of Byzantine design.
Orthodox Art and Architecture, by John Yiannias

The dome was put to its most spectacular use in Constantinople, in the emperor Justinian's great CHURCH OF THE DIVINE WISDOM, HAGIA SOPHIA, raised in a phenomenally short time, less than six years (532-537); for many centuries it was the largest church in Christendom. The architects, Anthemius and Isidorus, created a gigantic, sublime space bounded on the lower levels by colonnades and walls of veined marble and overhead by membranous vaults that seem to expand like parachutes opening against the wind. The climactic dome has forty closely spaced windows around its base and on sunny days appears to float on a ring of light.

Hagia Sophia is sometimes called a "domed basilica," but the phrase minimizes the vast differences between the dynamism of its design and the comparatively static spaces of a typical basilica. No church would be constructed to rival Hagia Sophia; but the dome was established as a hallmark of Byzantine architecture (although basilicas continued to be built), and it infused church design with a more mystical geometry. In a domed church one is always conscious of the hovering hemisphere, which determines a vertical axis around which the subordinate spaces are grouped and invites symbolic identification with the "DOME" OF HEAVEN.
Byzantine Rule (313-636)
Source: Israel Foreign Ministry

By the end of the 4th century, following Emperor Constantine's adoption of Christianity (313) and the founding of the Byzantine Empire, THE LAND OF ISRAEL HAD BECOME A PREDOMINANTLY CHRISTIAN COUNTRY. CHURCHES WERE BUILT ON CHRISTIAN HOLY SITES IN JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM AND GALILEE.
Jerusalem, Israel

My summary of the pertinent information:
The Byzantine Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) made Christianity the state religion. In 326, he sent his mother, Helena, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Because of her trip and Constantine's support, several Christian shrines were built in the area, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which marked the site of the Resurrection, was finished in 335 AD. Christians glorified Jerusalem until the Persian invasion in 614. They killed the inhabitants and tore down many churches. Caliph, Abd al-Malik, built the Dome of the Rock between 687 and 691. It was designed by Byzantine architects.
The Real Site of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem, by T.V. Oommen

That church built over the rock on the temple mount probably had a dome. Since the Dome of the Rock was originally Christian, its golden dome might represent the golden sphere, Saturn, i.e., the third heaven that Paul was caught up (harpazo) to in II Cor. 12:2-7 (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). Made of wood, the original dome was covered with lead and then frosted with gold. Lead and gold are both symbols of Saturn, lead because it is the slowest moving of all the planets, gold because it is golden in color, and the heavenly New Jerusalem is "PURE GOLD" in Rev. 21:18.

Since a fault splits the Mt. of Olives, frequent earthquakes rattle the temple area. The Al Aqsa Mosque had to be rebuilt because of earthquake damage. Because of earthquake danger, the weight of the lead on the Dome of the Rock raised fears for the dome's safety. It was removed, and lightweight anodized aluminum was put on. Eventually that deteriorated. About 1993, Saudi Arabia donated millions of dollars worth of gold leaf. Now, the dome is again covered with real gold, an eye-catcher as the Sun touches off its golden glory.

Dome of the Rock newly covered in real gold leaf

The Dome of the Rock was built on the site of the previous church, the Church of the Holy Wisdom.

Who was actually on the rock, Pilate, Jesus or both, I don't know for sure, but Pilate's sentencing Jesus at the rock would be reason enough for our spiritual enemy to try his best to obscure the Christian connection.

In the first picture below, notice the rectangular areas that have been chiseled out of the rock. Maybe the front of the judgment bench was upon the rock. There would still have been room for Jesus to stand on the rock before the bench. The rock seems to be much lower than before. That is because Herod brought in fill dirt to pack around it.

The marble pillars that surround the rock can be seen in the picture below. Not all are the same size, but all are one-piece beautiful natural marble. They may have been taken from the previous church at the Dome of the Rock site, as well as from several other Christian churches that had been destroyed prior to that time..

inside the Dome of the Rock

Whether the Dome of the Rock was originally Christian or not, the Muslim mindset is revealed by an inscription inside. It says, "There is no god but God. He is One. Praise be to God, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son".

The truth has been twisted just enough to make it of none effect. The Muslims believe that Jesus was just a man, and not the Son of God. They don't believe that he was crucified and resurrected after three days.

The truth about the Dome of the Rock and the actual location of the Lord's Temple needs to become common knowledge so construction of the Tribulation temple can begin.

Water is not an issue, as some have thought, because an aqueduct brought water into the temple area on the west side via the causeway at Wilson's Arch. That water came from the Hebron mountains south of Jerusalem. In Bethlehem, it collected in Solomon's Pools and was then channeled at a gentle grade from there to Jerusalem and the temple mount. An upper tunnel took water to David's Tower, the Citadel. A lower tunnel channeled water to the temple mount.

Looking north past the Dome of the Rock and Fort Antonia, Herod's palace with its three big towers could be seen where the Crusader Castle is now. Herod could see into the temple area, so the temple would have been on a lower platform than what is there today. That and the height of the aqueduct shows us what the height of the temple would have been.

Today, much is being done to obscure the place where the temple stood. The Muslims are doing all they can to try to prevent temple artifacts from being found. They dig in and around Solomon's Stables. They weaken walls that have to be dug into to repair them. They want to build a Mecca-type mosque in the whole southern half of the temple mount, from the Dome of the Rock to the south wall. Their guiding spirit knows where the temple, with its outer court, was located--in the whole southern half of the temple mount.

The repairs to the southern and eastern walls have been completed by Jordan. They are so white and smooth that they look like a blemish on the ancient walls. Click on this link to see what I mean.

I was shocked to find out that the magnificent intertwined columns in the picture below are beside the Bab al-Hadid gate on the north part of the western wall. Why there? Other gates do not seem to have such special features to set them apart. That gate seems to have been an entry into Fort Antonia. I wonder if it was to impress visiting dignitaries..

Back to Josephus and the location of the temple. I have found five places where people think the temple might have been located:

1. On the temple mount at the Dome of the Rock (Leen Ritmeyer, Dan Bahat)
2. On the temple mount to the North with the Holy of Holies at the Dome of the Tablets (or Spirits) (Asher Kaufman)
3. On the temple mount south of the Dome of the Rock where trees are now (Tuvia Sagiv)
4. Not on the temple mount, but over the Gihon Spring in the City of David (Ernest L. Martin)
5. On the temple mount's southern half (Josephus)

I have to go with Josephus, a Pharisee priest. Born in 37 AD of a priestly family, he could even boast of royal blood through his Hasmonean mother. He would have gone to the temple many times before it was burned in 70 AD. Like Jesus, Josephus would have been taken to the temple when 12 years old. In 56 AD, when he was 19, Josephus joined the Pharisees. I don't think it's possible that Josephus would not have gone to the temple at that time and during Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Being an eyewitness, I think Josephus knew firsthand where the temple was located on the temple mount.

Below is a diagram by Tuvia Sagiv:

I think Fort Antonia occupied the northern half of the temple mount, and that the south wall of the fort ran just south of the outcropping of rock now covered with the Dome of the Rock.

Imagine that the two square temple enclosures are slipped down to rest on the southern wall. The temple faced east and was centered north-south inside of the inner square. The inner square was a raised platform with a low wall around it except where it was accessed by some steps.

Here's the proof. In Antiquities of the Jews (XV. XI. 3), Josephus said, "Herod took away the old foundations and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits, and in height twenty additional cubits...He also ENCOMPASSED THE ENTIRE TEMPLE WITH VERY LARGE CLOISTERS (walkways with carved-cedar-roofs supported by marble columns were built just inside the perimeter wall of the larger square on the temple mount)...There was a large wall to BOTH the cloisters (i.e., the one called Solomon's Porch on the east and the one called the Royal Cloisters on the south); WHICH WALL WAS ITSELF THE MOST PRODIGIOUS WORK THAT WAS EVER HEARD OF BY MAN (this can apply to the entire south wall and part of the east wall of the temple mount). The hill (i.e., to the east) was a rocky ascent, that declined by degrees TOWARDS THE EAST parts of the city (i.e., toward the Kidron Valley), till it came to an elevated level (i.e., the Mt. of Olives)....He also built a wall below, beginning at the bottom, which was encompassed by a deep valley (the bedrock of Mt. Moriah sloped down more sharply toward the south-east corner of the temple mount wall); and AT THE SOUTH SIDE he laid rocks together, and bound them one to another with lead, and included some of the inner parts, till it proceeded to a great height, and till both the largeness of THE SQUARE EDIFICE (i.e., of just the temple enclosure) and its altitude were immense, and till the vastness of the stones in the front were plainly visible on the outside, yet so that the inward parts were fastened with iron, and preserved the joints immovable for all future times....WITHIN THIS WALL, and on the very top of all, there ran ANOTHER WALL of stone (i.e., the larger square enclosure) also, having, ON THE EAST QUARTER, A DOUBLE CLOISTER (i.e., Solomon's Porch), of the same length with the wall (i.e., of the outer square enclosure); IN THE MIDST OF WHICH WAS THE TEMPLE ITSELF."

As I understand it, the outer four enclosing walls formed a square around the majority of the southern half of the temple mount. The temple proper faced east and was centered in the north-south direction within the inner square. The eastern wall of the outer enclosure had a double cloister running its entire length. That cloister had two walk ways and three rows of columns supporting its roof. This eastern cloister in front of the temple was called "Solomon's Porch" (or portico) (See John 10:23; Acts 3:11, 5:12. The southern cloister had three walkways and four rows of marble columns. It was called the "Royal Portico." The cloisters on the north and west walls must have been one walkway with two rows of marble columns.

In XI. 4,5, Josephus said, "Now on the NORTH SIDE (i.e., on the entire northern half of the temple mount) was built a citadel, WHOSE WALLS WERE SQUARE and strong, and of extraordinary firmness. This citadel (i.e., a fortress on a commanding height for the defense of the temple) was built by the kings of the Asamonean race, who were also high priests before Herod, and they called it the Tower...for the tower itself, when Herod the king of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius, who was his friend, and the Roman ruler, and then gave it the name of the Tower of Antonia.

..."the fourth front of the temple, which was SOUTHWARD, had indeed itself gates in its middle (the Hulda Gates, in the south outside wall, at the main entrance to the temple), as also it had the royal cloisters, with three walks, which REACHED IN LENGTH FROM THE EAST VALLEY (i.e., the Kidron) UNTO THAT ON THE WEST (the Tyropoeon Valley)"...

The Royal Portico (cloister) formed three walkways for people entering at Robinson's Arch at the south-west corner of the temple mount to walk toward the smaller square enclosure around the temple. They would be joined by the people coming up the stairs inside the southern temple-mount wall from the Hulda Gates, which were approached on the outside by wide steps.

Continuing, Josephus said, "This cloister had pillars that stood in four rows one over against the other all along, for the fourth row was interwoven into the wall...and the number of all the pillars [in that court] was an hundred and sixty-two....These four rows of pillars included three intervals for walking in the middle of this cloister; two of which walks were made parallel to each other...the breadth of each of them was thirty feet, THE LENGTH WAS A FURLONG, and the height fifty feet...THUS WAS THE FIRST ENCLOSURE, IN THE MIDST OF WHICH, AND NOT FAR FROM IT, WAS THE SECOND, to be gone up to by a few steps: this was encompassed by a stone wall for a partition, with an inscription, which forbade any foreigner to go in under pain of death. Now this INNER INCLOSURE had on its SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN QUARTERS three gates [equally] distant from one another: but on THE EAST QUARTER, TOWARDS THE SUN-RISING, there was one large gate through which such as were pure came in, together with their wives; but the temple further inward in that gate was not allowed to the women; but still more inward was there a THIRD [COURT of the temple], whereinto it was not lawful for any but the priests alone to enter. THE TEMPLE ITSELF WAS WITHIN THIS; and before that temple was the altar, upon which we offer our sacrifices and burnt-offerings to God."

In XI. 6, Josephus said, "But the temple itself was built by the priests in a year and six months". That's nice to know today. Herod built the cloisters and outer enclosures "in eight years."

The Temple was on Mt. Moriah, where God supplied a Ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac. On Mt. Moriah was Ornan's threshing floor that king David bought. That was where Solomon built the first temple.

1Ch 21:15-27 says, "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 THRESHING FLOOR 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 the LORD. 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."

There was a hint of things to come in 70 AD when David saw "THE ANGEL OF THE LORD STAND BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE HEAVEN, HAVING A DRAWN SWORD IN HIS HAND STRETCHED OUT OVER JERUSALEM." Josephus said that there was a comet that looked like a sword standing over Jerusalem for a whole year before the city was burned in 70 AD.

2Ch 3:1 says, "SOLOMON (son of David) BEGAN TO BUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD AT JERUSALEM IN MOUNT MORIAH (meaning provided by Yahweh), WHERE THE LORD APPEARED UNTO DAVID (meaning beloved) his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite." Ornan had probably chosen that high hill for threshing so the wind would blow away the chaff. I have the feeling that the real threshing is yet to come.
The THIRD TEMPLE Entrance In Alignment With The East Gate

The Gate found underneath the present day Golden Gate is the ancient Shushan Gate noted in the Mishnah. [Mishnah, Middot 1, 3] This Gate was also called the East Gate. [Nechemyah (Nehemiah) 3:29; Yechetzqyah (Ezekiel) 43:1, 2, 4] Connecting this East Gate, or Shushan Gate (on Mt. Moriah) to the Mt. of Olives was a causeway supported by arches that ran across the Kidron Valley. It was known as the Causeway of the Heifer, because the High Priest used this path to reach the Mount of Olives where the ritual burning of the Red Heifer took place to purify the pilgrims with its ashes [Parah 111, 6; Shekalim 4, 2].
Jesus must have walked across the Causeway of the Heifer many times. He spent nights on the Mt. of Olives and taught in the temple during the day during Passion Week.

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