Pro and Con 1366

Posted 11-3-07

Urgent prayer requests: Mike Curtiss, for the Lord's help, for relief from terrible neurological pain, for peace of mind. Pray also for his family members Diane and Gregg, to whom she donated a kidney.


When the news broke of a 22 ft. section of Temple wall being found when the Wakf dug a trench to run new electric lines to Al Aksa Mosque, I read everything on it I could find, and examined the pictures with my magnifier. I wanted to see that wall, but my main drive was to determine EXACTLY where it is located. I want to share some interesting things I found. Having attended David Hockings church, the following caught my eye.

by Hana Levi Julian and Alex Traiman, Sept 3, 07

"A large trench being dug on the Temple Mount is destroying a never before uncovered SECTION OF THE OUTER WALL OF THE SECOND TEMPLE....

"According to Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, the Wakf is INTENTIONALLY digging in areas where “undoubtedly the Temple once stood.” “For the first time since the Temple’s destruction, A SECTION OF THE TEMPLE WALL ITSELF HAS BEEN EXPOSED,” Richman said. “And the Wakf under the guise of laying down electrical pipes has dug a trench, destroying THE MOST IMPORTANT HOLY ARTIFACT EVER FOUND TO DATE.”

Oh this is exciting! I can't wait to find out more about this section of Temple wall. Thanks to Google, here is another promising article.

Aug 30, 07

Remains of the Jewish second temple may have been found during work to lay pipes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, Israeli television reported Thursday....

Gaby Barkai, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, urged the Israeli government to stop the pipework after the discovery of what he said is "A MASSIVE SEVEN METRE-LONG WALL."

I looked at the picture below of a lower section of pavement they found near the Al Aqsa Mosque and thought it might be the top of this "MASSIVE SEVEN METRE-LONG WALL." At that time, I thought the picture probably showed the top of an uncovered cross section of this 22 ft. long wall segment.

Somewhat of a letdown, it turns out that it is not a whole wall section that has been found, but only its foundation. I was hoping to find out the length of a wall section, but the dimension now known is the width of the wall. The article I will quote from farther down, "Exclusive! An Eyewitness Report from the Temple Mount," has the most detailed account of ITS POSITION WITH RESPECT TO THE DOME OF THE ROCK.

That is what I am after, because I know that the rock under the Dome of the Rock was in Fort Antonia, not in the Temple area. The northern wall of the Temple court ran east and west somewhere south of the rock that is now under the Dome of the Rock. I wanted to know how far from the rock outcropping called the Sakhrah Herod's Temple wall was located.

Was it even with the small DOME OF THE CHAIN which marks the center of the Temple Mount? Do you suppose God marked that spot for us? How many feet, I can't estimate in meters, is the eastern margin of the Dome of the Rock platform?

Josephus, a Pharisee priest, said, "Herod took away the old foundations, and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits, and is in height twenty additional cubits, which [twenty,] upon THE SINKING OF THEIR FOUNDATIONS, fell down: and this part it was that we resolved to raise again in the days of Nero" (Ant. XV. XI. 3).

For the foundation of the Temple to be capable of sinking, it had to be in the southern part of the Temple Mount where there are vaulted spaces underneath the ground. If the Temple had been where the Dome of the Rock is now, or north of it, the foundation would have been on bedrock. Also, water coming into the mount by aqueduct at Wilson's Arch had to run downhill to the Temple and the large underground cisterns, which are in the southern section. Thus, the Temple had to be lower than the present ground level. That is only possible in the southern section.

Looking North from the El Kas Fountain, where Tuvia Sagiv places the Temple

"Exclusive! An Eyewitness Report from the Temple Mount"
Digging Up the Temple Mount—A Report from the Fourth Day
By Zachi Zweig, Aug 29, 07

"This morning, three ARCHEOLOGISTS (Asaf Avraham, Tikva Levine and I), went to the Temple Mount to carefully examine, to the extent possible, what may be learned from the trench that is being dug before it is filled in.

"Day 4. Along the trench, about 20 m./65 ft. SOUTH OF THE EASTERN STAIRWAY of the Dome of the Rock, we identified in the cross-section A COLLECTION OF ASHLAR AND HEWN STONES LAID OUT AGAINST EACH OTHER IN ONE ROW (fig 13 a, b. c.). [c is shown below]

"The average diameter of the stones was about 35-45 cm./14-18 in. It was not clear whether these had been cut during the digging of the trench or whether they were there by coincidence, since in the cross-sections of archeological digs, wall-foundations are seen more clearly with the stones nicely positioned one against the other. When we considered that this cut had not been done carefully by archeologists working by hand but rather crudely by tractor, we could understand the disorganization of the stones. IT APPEARS THAT THIS IS A FOUNDATION FOR AN ANCIENT WALL THAT PASSED HERE, WHICH IS 7 M./22 FT. WIDE.

" this point one of the policemen tried to stop the tractors work. It is not certain if he did this on his own initiative or on the initiative of the archeological supervisor. However, he had to fight for this. According to the testimony of the architect Gidon Charlap, when he refused to stop, the policeman climbed up into the tractor but was forcibly pushed out by one of the workers who sat next to the operator. Following that, the policeman jumped into the trench to stop the tractor bodily.... According to the police, the policeman did not try to stop the work because there were antiquities about to be destroyed but because the tractor was not allowing adequate archeological supervision there....

"Along the trench, the more we proceeded to the south, we were able to see more and more items that were familiar to us from the sifting of the earth dumped in the Kidron Valley."

Could this wall be the one that separated the Temple enclosure from Fort Antonia? Yes! How far down the eastern edge of the Dome of the Rock platform is 65 feet? I don't know. How long is the platform? Keep looking for that measurement.

In The Wall Street Journal of July 18, 2007, Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, described the depth of the Wakf's recent trench when it began at the northern mid-point of the Dome of the Rock platform. They hit bedrock. He said, "Within the last few days, a trench TWO-FEET DEEP—starting from the northern end of the platform where Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock sits—has begun working its way toward the southern end of the Temple Mount" (Israeli and Palestinian authorities are failing to protect the Temple Mount" (

Later on, the trench was deeper when the bedrock began to drop away sharply as they worked their way south.

Leen Ritmeyer is one who thinks the Holy of Holies was over the rock outcropping under the Dome of the Rock. However, in "The Temple and the Ark of the Covenant," he had to admit that "The problem with locating the Holy of Holies over the Sakhra is that THE SAKHRA IS LARGER THAN THE HOLY OF HOLIES." He also said, "A solution to this problem would be if at least one of the walls of the Holy of Holies were built over it" (

That the Lord would plan to build the Holy of Holies that way without mentioning it is unthinkable. To me, there is no possible way that the Temple could have been built over the rock outcropping. If it had been, the Temple foundation would have been on bedrock and couldn't sink.

The Waqf's digging is not new. Hershel Shanks said, "As early as 1970, the Waqf excavated a pit without supervision that exposed a 16-FOOT-LONG, SIX-FOOT-THICK WALL that scholars believe may well be the eastern wall of the Herodian Temple complex."

That interests me. Herod built the inner walls around the perimeter of the Temple enclosure in segments. Why was it not continuous?

Josephus explained that the royal cloisters on the southern wall "had pillars that stood in four rows one over against the other all along, for THE FOURTH ROW WAS INTERWOVEN INTO THE WALL, which [also was built of stone;] and the thickness of each pillar was such, that three men might, with their arms extended, fathom it round, and join their hands again" (Ant. XV. XI. 3).

There were cloisters on all four walls. for Josephus also said, "He also encompassed the entire temple with very large cloisters." Therefore, the construction was similar on all four sides. The sections of wall were put between the outer row of pillars to strengthen the roofed cloister so it would not blow down on a windy day. Herod built the perimeter walls of the Temple Mount higher than the paved area inside. Then he built the segmented Temple court walls inside of the perimeter walls. He placed the marble pillars against the outer wall with these wall segments as spacers between the pillars. Thus, each of the outer row of pillars was supported by stone walls on three sides to steady the cloister. The roofs steadied the rest of the pillars.

We know the Temple Mount is not square, but when writing about the Temple itself, Josephus mentioned "THE SQUARE EDIFICE" and then said, "IN THE MIDST OF WHICH WAS THE TEMPLE ITSELF" (Ant. XV. XI. 3).

According to him, the rock outcropping now under the Dome of the Rock was in Fort Antonia, not in the Temple court. The Fort, or Castle, with its central tower plus four more towers in the corners, occupied the northern half of the Temple Mount. The Temple court occupied the southern half. Josephus 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 WAS ERECTED UPON A ROCK OF FIFTY CUBITS IN HEIGHT, and was on a great precipice" (Wars V. V. 8). (emphasis mine).

These were the stairs in the Temple's northwest corner that went up to Fort Antonia. Paul stood on them to speak to the people after he was taken prisoner. Acts 21:35-40 says, "And when he came upon the STAIRS, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him. And AS PAUL WAS TO BE LED INTO THE CASTLE, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek? Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers? But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people. And when he had given him licence, PAUL STOOD ON THE STAIRS, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue".

"LAST DAYS OF JERUSALEM," by Alfred J. Church

The Tower of Antony stood at the corner of the Temple which looked to the north-west, being BUILT UPON A ROCK that was fifty cubits in height, and steep on all sides. It was the work of King Herod the Great, nor did he ever build anything more wonderful and magnificent. The face of the rock was cased with smooth stones; which thing was done both for the sake of ornament and also that no man might be able to ascend or descend thereby. Round the edge of the rock was a wall of three cubits, and within the wall the tower itself, having a height of forty cubits. Very wonderful was the tower both for greatness and for beauty, being divided into chambers of all kinds and fit for all uses; for it had halls, and cloisters, and baths, and courts that were convenient for the disposing of soldiers, so that it was as a city, for the number and variety of the things which it contained, and as a PALACE for its magnificence. On each corner also it had a [72] tower, of which three were of the height of fifty cubits, and the fourth, being that which was near to the Temple, and looking to the south and the east, seventy-and-five cubits, so that a man could see from it the whole Temple. From this were STEPS TO THE CLOISTERS that looked to the north and to the west, by which steps the soldiers that were on guard could go down when there might be occasion, for there were always soldiers in the tower; and these were especially diligent to watch the people on the feast days. For as the Temple was the fort of the City, so was the Tower of Antony the fort of the Temple.

As for THE TEMPLE, IT WAS FOUR-SQUARE, OF A FURLONG EACH WAY. On two of its sides the rock served for a wall, and on two a wall was built; nor was the height in any place less than three hundred cubits; and certain of the stones that were used in the building were forty cubits in length. Round about the Temple were double CLOISTERS, BUILT UPON PILLARS OF WHITE MARBLE, very bright to look upon, and of the height of twenty-and-five cubits. And the roof of the cloisters was of cedar, and the whole circuit of these cloisters, together with the Tower of Antony, was six furlongs. Within were open courts paved with all manner of stones of divers colours. The outermost of these courts was the COURT OF THE GENTILES, HAVING ABOUT IT A WALL OF STONE, VERY CUNNINGLY MADE, AND IN THIS WALL PILLARS whereon was written in letters of Greek and Latin, "LET NO STRANGER ENTER THE HOLY PLACE."

The bases of the pillars are square so they fit securely between the wall sections.

More good news. This concerns Solomon's Temple.

"Solomon's Temple Artifacts Found by Muslim Workers"
Mati Milstein, for National Geographic News
October 23, 2007

Photograph courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

"Jerusalem's district archaeologist Yuval Baruch is supervising the Muslim maintenance project.

"Baruch and Sy Gitin, director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Ronny Reich of Haifa University, and Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, concluded that the finds might help reconstruct the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple Period....

"The bowl sherds were decorated with wheel burnishing lines characteristic of the First Temple Period."


Oct. 22 -- "Archaeologists in Israel are confirming the discovery of TRACES OF THE FIRST TEMPLE BUILT BY KING SOLOMON more than 800 years before the birth of Christ....

"Personnel of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the dig uncovered an archaeological level in the SOUTHEASTERN CORNER of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock that dated to the First Temple Period.

"Jerusalem District Archaeologist Yuval Baruch says they uncovered fragments of ceramic table wares, animal bones and many other objects characteristic of the FIRST TEMPLE PERIOD."

The Second Temple was built in the same spot as the First Temple.


"In 1210 C.E. there is a brief account by Rabbi Samuel Ben Samson that in Jerusalem was a place where "ONLY THE FOUNDATIONS [OF THE TEMPLE] REMAIN NOW IN EXISTENCE." IT WAS NEAR THE "FOUNT [SPRING] OF ETHAM, THE BATHING PLACE OF THE PRIESTS." Rabbi Samson said that OPPOSITE THE FOUNT WAS A GATE IN THE WESTERN WALL. "AT THE BASE OF THIS WALL THERE IS TO BE OBSERVED A KIND OF ARCH PLACED AT THE BASE OF THE TEMPLE. It is by a subterranean passage that the priests reach the FOUNT OF ETHAM, the spot where the baths [of the priests] were... (Jewish Travellers in the Middle Ages, p.104).

The tallest tower of Fort Antonia was at the northeast corner of the Temple compound. It may have intruded into the corner of the Temple area somewhat. Some clothing of the priests was kept there. Josephus wrote that "the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple four-square, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles, 'That then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become four-square'" (Wars VI. V. 4). I don't know where that was written, but Josephus was a Pharisee Priest with access to many important Jewish records.

In 70 AD, Jerusalem was demolished to the foundations, but the foundation of the Temple will probably not be found intact. Josephus said, "I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR HOLY TEMPLE DUG UP after so profane a manner." (Wars. VII. VIII. 7).


The Site of The Golden Dome of the Rock:
Former Altar of Ashtoreth the Phoenician Goddess...

If indeed the rock under the Golden Dome is a remnant of Strato's Tower, then according to the route followed by Antigonus from the Temple to the Northern fortifications it may be assumed that THE TEMPLE WAS LOCATED SOUTH OF THE GOLDEN DOME. This conclusion is yet a further indication of the Jewish Temple having been LOCATED BETWEEN THE GOLDEN DOME AND THE EL-AQSA MOSQUE, and not as claimed by most sholars, on the precise location of the Golden Dome....

The pagan, Canaanite, area of worship from the First Temple period, was, we conclude, situated in a region that includes: The Golden Dome, The Dome of the Spirit and The El-Umriyya rock.

The Antonia fortress and its towers, during the Second Temple period, were situated at the Golden Dome and the immediate surrounding area. In this model the protecting moat (now filled in) which protected the Northern wall of Fortress Antonia is in the logical location.



The level of the Hulda and Barclay Gates, the level of Antonia's Fortress, the level of the Aqueduct, and Agrippa's view each proves independently that the level of the Temple Mount should be be lowered.

Where can we locate the temple in lower place in the current court? In the center of the present Temple Mount courts the area is rocky, i.e., bedrock lies near the surface. In fact we can see the bedrock outcropping well above the floor level in Dome of the Rock (see Fig. 21). Even to the North of the Dome, bedrock lies just under the paving stones all the way to the Dome of the Tablets (or "Spirits") and again in the areas which are close to the El Omariah School (36) (see Fig. 22). Nowadays, the area just North of the Platform is covered with garden earth where there is a known ancient moat. However, the only place in which we can locate the temple in a sufficently lower place is the southern area BETWEEN THE EL AKSA MOSQUE AND THE DOME OF THE ROCK in the area of the El Kas [fountain] ("The Trophy") (see Fig. 23). South of the Dome of the Rock platform the visitor descends a number of stairs. Beneath his feet THE BEDROCK DROPS SHARPLY as one proceeds towards El Aksa mosque. As is well known, the Mosque itself is supported on tall pillars, many meters high - as is the whole Southern end of the Temple Mount platform. Outside the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, the bedrock of Mount Moriah drops even more rapidly down to the City of David....

According to Josephus Flavius, there was a moat whose location was North of Antonia's Fortress. (39) If we will assume that this moat is the same moat that was mentioned in the literary sources, then Antonia's Fortress, which was built on a rock, was South of the moat. (40)

The only outcropping rock which can be found South of this moat is the bedrock of the Dome of the Rock so we can assume that Antonia's Fortress was built on this rock (see Fig. 26). According to the sources, the Temple Mount was south of the rock, which means that the Temple Mount was located south of the...Dome of the Rock.

The Southern system, which places the Temple Mount south of the Dome of the Rock, substantiates the above mentioned claim that Antonia's Fortress was located in the rock of the Dome of the Rock....

In June 1990, RADAR EXAMINATIONS were conducted through the outer walls of the Moriah Court. The instruments sent waves at a frequency of 90-900 Mhz. which recognized the differentiation of dielectric differences. There is dielectric constant in cavities and voids is 1.0, but in bedrock or soil is as high as 9-11. By taking advantage of these dielectric discontinuities we can graphically identify cavities and structures inside the Moriah Court. Radar examinations were made through the Western, Southern, and part of the Eastern walls. (48) (see Fig. 32).

The examinations prove that beneath the levels of the Hulda Gates there are large empty voids. These may be the great arches supporting the present Temple Mount platform at its Southern end, which are described in the Mishna. (49) ABOVE THE HULDA GATE [in the south wall] THE AREA IS FILLED WITH ARTIFACTS (RUBBLE) AND PERHAPS THIS BROKEN ROCK IS PART OF THE TEMPLE AND ITS COURT (see Fig. 33). These examinations prove the history that THE ORIGINAL LEVEL OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT WAS THE LEVEL OF THE HULDA AND BARCLAY GATES. "LEVELS ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT AND COURTS"

Level of rock in the northern area - +735.7
Level of Hulda Gate - +725.9
Level of Barclay Gate - 720.1

"Visiting the Temple Mount"
By Lambert Dolphin

ABOUT FIFTY PERCENT OF THE WESTERN WALL (I.E., THE WAILING WALL) IS BELOW GROUND AT THE PRESENT PLAZA LEVEL. The Tyropoean (or Cheesemaker's) Valley in the vicinity of Robinson's arch has been filled to great depth over the years, (this arch is not far from the Southwest corner of the outer Temple Mount wall). TO THE LEFT AS ONE FACES THE (Wailing) WALL ONLY THE TOPS OF...GIGANTIC ARCHES ARE EXPOSED ABOVE GROUND. "THE MUGHRABI GATE ACCESS - THE REAL STORY"
By Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem Region Archaeologist, Israel Antiquities Authority

In the 1920s, the Mufti of Jerusalem ordered the opening of the Mughrabi Gate in the southern plaza...

In 2004, when the Mughrabi Ramp collapsed, a small room was discovered which contained an alcove covered with a dome, a kind of Muslim prayer niche, facing south. Some suggest that these are the remains of a prayer room that was part of a madrasa (a school for Muslim religious studies) which operated near the Mughrabi gate.

After the Six-Day War, the area of the Western Wall plaza was expanded to the south. During this expansion, THE NORTHERN DOORPOST AND THE GREAT STONE LINTEL OF THE MOST ANCIENT OF THE AREA'S GATES WERE UNCOVERED. THIS GATE IS KNOWN BY ITS SCIENTIFIC NAME, THE BARCLAY GATE, AND CAN BE SEEN IN THE WOMEN'S' SECTION OF THE WESTERN WALL. This gate was discovered in 1848 by the missionary James Thomas Barclay who was serving at the time as the American Consul in Jerusalem. BARCLAY DISCOVERED THE GATE FROM ITS INNER SIDE, WITHIN THE TEMPLE MOUNT. THE DISCOVERY OF THE GATE LED SEVERAL RESEARCHERS TO IDENTIFY IT AS ONE OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT GATES WHICH DATE BACK TO THE SECOND TEMPLE and are mentioned in Jewish and Christian sources of the period, including the Coponius’ Gate. The gate was blocked with stones at the end of the 10th century C.E. and the gate room on the internal side was devoted to El Buraq. Today the room is closed and entrance to it is prohibited without the approval of the Wakf.

Over the years, THE EXTERNAL FACADE OF THE BARCLAY GATE WAS COVERED AND THE GROUND OUTSIDE THAT TEMPLE MOUNT WAS RAISED MANY METERS ABOVE THE LINTEL OF THE GATE. At some stage, probably in the 12th century C.E. (and maybe even later), A NEW GATE CALLED BAB AL-MAGRIBA WAS INSTALLED IN THE WESTERN WALL ABOVE THE LEVEL OF THE BARCLAY GATE. THIS IS THE MUGHRABI GATE, named after the residents of the adjacent neighborhood, who had come to Jerusalem from Morocco in the days of Saladin. This gate is...the only entrance to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims.


The Barclay's Gate lies under the Moroccan's Gate and is one of the Temple Mount's original gates. It is named after the missionary James Thomas Barclay who was the American Consul in Jerusalem in the mid-19th century. He discovered it from its inner side, within the Temple Mount, in 1848. The discovery of the gate led several researchers to identify it as one of the Temple Mount gates, possibly the Coponius’ Gate, which dates back to the Second Temple and are mentioned in Jewish and Christian sources of the period. The gate was blocked with stones at the end of the 10th century and the gate room on the internal side was devoted to Buraq. Today the room is closed and entrance to it is prohibited without the approval of the Waqf.[1]

After the Six-Day War, the Israel Religious Affairs Ministry and the dig conducted below the southern wall of the Temple Mount by Prof. Binyamin Mazar, planned to uncover this gate but they were prevented from doing so by both Jewish and Muslim religious leaders.[2] "ENTRANCE TO TEMPLE MOUNT SAID IN DANGER OF COLLAPSE"
Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent


BARCLAY'S GATE IS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL TEMPLE MOUNT PORTALS, DATING FROM THE PERIOD OF THE SECOND TEMPLE. In the 1970s the Religious Affairs Ministry and archaeologists wished to expose it, but rabbis and the Waqf objected. The gate, named after the 19th-century American consul who first identified it, will therefore remain covered.

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