Places of Interest
Temple Mount Location
1. Archaeological discoveries now reveal the location of the original temple and Temple Mount Platform location of Solomon, Hezekiah, Zerubbabel, and Herod's temple wherein Christ ministered.
2. Today there's a growing number of people that are claiming the temple and temple mount were located in the City of David. This is simply not true. Therefore, we will attempt to show from Scripture, historical, archaeological, and practical reasons why their claims are not true.
3. The Temple Mount is located on the eastern side of Old City Jerusalem
4. It occupies 1/6 of the current city.
5. It is 35 acres (14 hectares) in size, the equivalent of 35 football fields.
1. The Temple Mount has played a “center stage” role for much of Israel’s history and has functioned as the center of God’s dwelling place and ministry on this earth.
2. It will play a key part during the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth as well.
3. God has chosen to focus His presence and attention there like a laser beam from heaven like no other place.
4. First temple: the temple Solomon built.
5. Second temple: the temple Zerubbabel oversaw after the deportation and return of the Jews.
6. King Herod’s temple: it would seem like this would be called the third temple, but because the second temple of Zerubbabel wasn’t destroyed by enemies, but that Herod built over it a new temple, and then removed the old one inside, it is still referred to as the second temple.
Following is a 10-part series done by Leen Ritmeyer, who is probably the leading archaeologist on the Temple Mount and its history:
1. Mount Moriah
2. The Temple Mount During the Jebusite Period
3. The Temple Mount During the Time of Solomon
4. The Temple Mount During the time of King Hezekiah
5. The Temple Mount During the Times of Ezra and Nehemiah
6. The Temple Mount During the Hellenistic and Hasmonean Periods
7. The Temple Mount During the Herodian Period
8. The Temple Mount During the Roman Period
9. The Temple Mount During the Byzantine Period
10. The Temple Mount in the Early Muslim Period
Places of Interest
1. Temple Mount
2. Archaeological, historical, and eyewitness accounts place the location of the first and second temples directly on top of the Dome of the Rock.
3. Original Altar Location
4. Muslim Platform
5. Solomon's Porticos
6. Northwestern Corner of Original Temple Platform
7. Bend in the Wall: Hasmonean Addition to Platform
8. Seam in the Wall: Herod Addition to Platform
9. Western Wall
10. Eastern Gate
11. Southern Stairs
12. Antonia Fortress
13. Holes in the Rock Face Where Beams were Attached for Portico
14. Royal Stoa – Location close to where Pentecost likely took place.
The Original Temple Mount Platform Location
1. It was not in the City of David but on Mount Moriah, where the Temple Mount Platform is today.
After Solomon built the temple, he brought the Ark of the Covenant out of the City of David to the temple on Mt. Moriah.
2 Chronicles 5:2: "Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the City of David, which is Zion."
2. The Northern Part of the Original Temple Mount Platform
According to the Mishnah (which is Jewish writings about different aspects of Jewish laws, customs, measurements, and so forth), it tells us that the original Temple Mount Platform measured 500 cubits square. Using the royal cubit, which was the universal measurement of these times, would be 861 feet, or 262.4 meters in length. Amazingly, the measurement from the corner of this Pre-Herodian stone step is exactly 861 feet or 264.4 meters to the Eastern Wall.
This northern edge of the original Temple Mount Platform also aligns with the current Dome of the Rock Platform.
Additional evidence of a pre-Herodian wall can also be found underground by cistern 29. Considering these factors, we now have strong evidence of where the northern wall of the 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform is.
Next, we come to the Eastern Wall. Just north of where the northern wall of the 500-cubit mount platform meets the Eastern Wall, we find an offset in the wall located 68 feet, or 20.73 meters to the north. This offset reveals that there was once a tower at this corner for protection purposes.
3. The Eastern Part of the Original Temple Mount Platform
Measuring from where the northern wall of the 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform meets the Eastern wall, we find a curious bend in the wall at exactly 861 feet or 264.4 meters.
This bend in the wall resulted from later construction that was added onto the 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform during the Hasmonean period in around 164 BC. Their construction used a slightly different angle than the original platform. Also, there is a change in the stone style. The stones after the bend have a boss shape that dates to the Hasmonean period. The stone positioning and configurations also indicate that a corner was once located at this bend in the wall.
This archaeological evidence reveals that this point was the corner of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform. Again, this section of the Eastern Wall measures exactly 861 feet, or 264.4 meters, which is 500 cubits.
In this Eastern Gate area, we also see ancient stones with the kind of boss shapes that go back to Solomon or Hezekiah’s period. It should be mentioned that the Eastern Wall location was never changed during the entire history of the Temple Mount. This is so because of the Kidron Valley and its steep decline on this side. So, again, these ancient stones reveal that the Eastern side of the 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform dates back to the time of Solomon or Hezekiah.
4. The Southern Part of the Original Temple Mount Platform
Next, we’ll look at the southern wall of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform. Measuring 853 feet, or 260 meters from the southwest corner of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform, which has a bend in the wall, we come to the entrance of Barclay’s Gate. This gate was built later by Herod and was butted up against the southern wall of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform. This slightly different measurement amounts to less than 1% and was probably the result that the two corners could not be seen due to the elevation of Mt. Moriah between them.
5. The Western Part of the Original Temple Mount Platform
The Western Wall section of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform can be located by the established corners of the northwest and southwest corners and measures exactly 861 feet or 264.4 meters. Additional evidence can be seen by an additional gate called “Warren’s Gate,” which can be found butted up against the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform.
So, in summary, we see overwhelming evidence of the original 500-cubit square Temple Mount Platform.
Evidence of the Enlargements of the Temple Mount Platform
We can also see the evidence of the Hasmonean and Herodian additions to the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform.
In around 141 BC, the Hasmoneans added a section to the southern part of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform. Again, this can be seen in the bend in the Eastern Wall and the different stone styles used.
Herod the Great Enlargement
In around 19 BC, Herod the Great embarked on a massive expansion of the Temple Mount Platform. Josephus, the Jewish historian living around the time of Christ, speaks of how he doubled the size of the Temple Mount after the Hasmonean expansion. He enlarged it to the south, west, and north. Today, we see this evidence all throughout the expansion sections.
One key place is the expansion of the southern part of the Eastern Wall. A notable seam in the wall reveals Herod’s expansion, which was added to the Hasmonean expansion. This seam clearly shows the change from Hasmonean to Herodian stone styles. The location and configurations between the Hasmonean and Herodian stones show that this was once a corner. Also, the Herodian stones along the Western Wall section speak of Herod’s expansion on this side.
Also, at the Temple Mount's northern wall are holes that show where a portico was once located. Again, the Eastern Wall of the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform was never changed, it was just repaired and expanded onto the southern end.
Evidence Inside the Dome of the Rock
The location of the original temples can also be established with certainty. Inside the Dome of the Rock is the highest point of Mt. Moriah. On this massive stone can be seen a cut-out square that once housed the Ark of the Covenant, and to the sides, the foundations of the Holy of Holies. It should be noted that the altar that David purchased from Arunah the Jebusite was just east of the top of the mountain in a flatter area. Here you can see where the altar would have been located in relation to the rock inside the Dome of the Rock.
How Was the Temple Mount Supplied with Water for Sacrifices and Purification Needs?
1. The requirement for living water was only needed for three purposes: (1) defilement by a corpse (Num. 19:17), (2) by a non-routine bodily discharge (Lev. 15:11), or (3) by leprosy (Lev. 14:5, 50). In these instances, part of the purification process requires the use of water that flows continuously. In all other defilement cases, purification is accomplished by washing in water without requiring running water.
2. There were massive cisterns on the Temple Mount (around 37), totaling more than 10.5 million gallons or over 40 million liters of water. Many of these cisterns date to the time of Solomon, Hezekiah, and Zerubbabel.
3. There are around 16 cisterns that are in the original 500-cubit Temple Mount Platform Solomon and Hezekiah built. All these water sources supplied more than enough water for the temple's use.
4. There were other large pools north of the Temple Mount as well. The need for living water was met by the close-by pools that had living water running through them (for example, the Pools of Bethesda and Siloam, Pool of Israel). These three pools alone provided over 54 million gallons or 205 million liters of water.
5. A recent discovery close to the southwestern side of the Temple Mount shows a massive cistern that was fed from water from the Tyropean Valley.
6. There were aqueducts from Bethlehem to the Temple Mount that existed in at least 250 BC that supplied living water to the temple. Many archaeologists believe that the aqueducts even date back to the time of Solomon.
7. There are 50 plus mikvehs on the southern steps and on the west side of the temple mount.
The Temple Mount in the Bible
1. The Temple Mount is also called Mount Moriah and was the place where Abraham was to sacrifice his son Isaac to God.
Genesis 22:1–2: After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." 2 He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."
2. King David purchased the original Temple Mount when it was a threshing floor in order to build an altar to the Lord.
1 Chronicles 21:18: Now the angel of the LORD had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan [also called Araunah] the Jebusite.
3. King Solomon then built the Temple in this exact location.
2 Chronicles 3:1: Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
4. During the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the glory of the Lord filled it in such a way that the priests had to suspend their activities until God’s glory subsided.
1 Kings 8:10–11: And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
5. The prophets spoke to the nation of Israel from the Temple Mount.
6. The first temple was destroyed in 586 BC by Babylon because of Israel’s continued disobedience to God.
2 Kings 24:10: At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
7. The temple was rebuilt again from 538-515 BC under Zerubbabel.
Ezra 6:3: In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits.
8. Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in 444 BC.
Nehemiah 2:17: Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.
9. The Temple Mount was enlarged enormously by King Herod in 19 BC to the size it is today.
God, in His sovereignty, made the Temple Mount large enough to handle the crowds Jesus would teach, the 3,000 saved at Pentecost, the 5,000 saved in Acts 4, and a place the Early Church could meet and grow in.
10. Herod also made the temple more beautiful than any before it, and it was three times bigger than the current Dome of the Rock.
11. Zachariah received the vision of having a son, John the Baptist, while serving at the temple.
Luke 1:13: But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.”
12. Jesus was dedicated to the Lord at the temple.
Luke 2:22: And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
13. At the age of 12, Jesus appeared and dialogued with the religious leaders at the temple.
Luke 2:46–47: After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
14. The temple was where Christ was tempted by the Devil to throw himself down headlong.
Luke 4:9–12: And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' 11 and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 12 And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
15. Christ taught at the temple on a frequent basis.
Luke 19:47: And he was teaching daily in the temple.
16. Christ drove out the moneychangers on the Temple Mount.
Mark 11:15–17: And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers."
17. Christ was tried before Pilate close-by at Herod's Palace.
18. Next to the Temple Mount, at the Southern Stairs, is the likely place where Pentecost took place, 3,000 were saved, and the Early Church was born.
Acts 2:41: Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
19. A lame man was healed on the Temple Mount by Peter and John, causing 5,000 men to be saved.
Acts 3:1–8: Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
Acts 4:4: But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
20. The Temple Mount became the meeting place of the Early Church.
Acts 2:46–47: And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
21. Close-by to the Temple Mount, Stephen was martyred (Acts 7).
22. Because of Israel’s rejection of Christ their Messiah, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.
Luke 19:41–44: And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.
23. The Anti-Christ will commit the abomination of desolation on the Temple Mount during the middle of the Tribulation Period.
2 Thessalonians 2:3–4: Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
24. Christ will reign from the Temple Mount (along with believers) for 1,000 years after the Tribulation Period.
Revelation 20:6: Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Faith Lesson from the Temple Mount
1. In the Old Testament, the temple was a focal place where God dwelt, in the New Testament, believers are now the temple in which God dwells.
1 Corinthians 3:16–17: Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
2. What kind of temple are we?
Travel Guide Book
Bible Companion Book
Israel Overview Tour of All Biblical Sites
Chapel of the Ascension: Ascension & Return of Christ
Death, Burial, Resurrection of Christ
Dominus Flevit Church: Triumphal Entry
Garden of Gethsemane: Church of All Nations
House of Caiaphas: Peter's Denial of Christ
Kidron Valley: Judgment of God
Pater Noster Church: Lord's Prayer, Olivet Discourse
Pilate's Palace: Trial of Jesus
Prophecy, Proof the Bible Is True: Mount of Olives
The Old Testament Feasts & Jesus
History Of Jerusalem's Walls and Gates
Sea of Galilee Sites
Capernaum: Jesus' Ministry Base
Jesus Walks on Water, Calms the Sea
Mount Arbel: The Great Commission
Sower's Cove: Parables of the Kingdom
Other Sites Around the Sea of Galilee
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Caesarea Maritima: Holy Spirit Given to the Gentiles
Mount Tabor: Transfiguration of Christ
Nazareth: Church of Annunciation
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Gezer: On Crossroads of the World
Jordan River: Crossing into the Promised Land
Jordan River Baptismal Site of Jesus (Qsar al-Yahud)
Judean Wilderness: Testing of Jesus
Philistine Cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Ekron, Gath
St. George's Monastery (Wadi Qelt)
Valley of Elah: David & Goliath
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Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai
The Philistines & Their City Strongholds
Other Sites In Southern Israel
Other Biblical Sites
Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai