In a special ceremony in the City of David, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman dedicates a plaque commemorating the bond between Israel and the United States.
Friedman said that he hoped that the plaque would prompt all those who read it to think of theJudeo-Christian valuesupon which America was founded and “how those values were inspired by ancient Jerusalem and its inhabitants.”
The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, along with the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, held a special ceremony at the City of David on Monday in recognition of the “seminal role” the archeological site plays “in connecting its visitors to the origins of the values that helped shape America.”
On June 30, 2019, Paul Packer, Chairman of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad participated with other American dignitaries in the City of David’s inauguration of the “Pilgrimage Road,” the path taken by millions of pilgrims ascending from the Pool of Siloam up to the Temple more than 2,000 years ago.
In his remarks, Packer commended the City of David for its contribution to America’s heritage, adding that with the ceremony, “we are fulfilling another, larger purpose: to unify Americans around our foundational principles and values. The City of David serves as a living testament to those enduring values, and it is our duty to ensure it remains for generations to come.”
Another Biblical clue to the location of the temple is the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. This threshing floor is found in 2 Chronicles 3:1,
“Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where Yahweh appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
Scripture records that Solomon built the Temple on Mount Moriah and over the threshing floor that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite. The mention here of Mount Moriah and Zion is important. It shows that these locations are synonymous, as is also the City of David and Zion.
The threshing floor where Solomon built the temple belonged to a Jebusite. This fact suggests that it was likely within the borders of the Jebusite city. If true, this would place the threshing floor within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. Remember that what they call the Temple Mount today is a third of a mile from the ancient Jebusite city.
What is a threshing floor? This was an area where farmers would separate the grain from the straw and husks. This required a surface that was flat, smooth and hard. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE) states,
“The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds.
The surface of a threshing floor had to be flat, smooth, and hard. This allowed the oxen to tread the grain. It must also be in a location where there would be sufficient wind to separate the grain. This is key as it pertains to the temple.
Most believe that Ornan’s threshing floor was under the Dome of Rock on the traditional Temple Mount. The problem is, as seen in the image below, the surface underneath the Dome of the Rock is not flat. This fact alone makes it highly unlikely this area served as a threshing floor.
Another issue with the threshing floor being located on the traditional Temple Mount is that threshing floors were prone to robbery. ISBE states, “Threshing-floors are in danger of being robbed (1 Samuel 23:1). For this reason, someone always sleeps on the floor until the grain is removed (Ruth3:7). In Syria, at the threshing season, it is customary for the family to move out to the vicinity of the threshing-floor. A booth is constructed for shade; the mother prepares the meals and takes her turn with the father and children at riding on the sledge.”
With this in mind, does it make sense that Ornan and his family would place their threshing floor a third of a mile from the “fort”? Keep in mind that during this time the traditional Temple Mount contained no walls or defense. It was completely open to attack. It is far more likely that Ornan’s threshing floor was within the confines of the old Jebusite city and not on an unguarded hill a third of a mile away.
The Gihon Spring
One of the most compelling reasons for the temple’s being located within the City of David is the location of the Gihon Spring. This spring sets along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary speaks to the ancient and modern history of this famous spring, “The intermittent spring that constituted Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply, situated in the Kidron Valley just below the eastern hill (Ophel). This abundant source of water was entirely covered over and concealed from outside the walls and was conducted by a specially built conduit to a pool within the walls where a besieged city could get all the water it needed. ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ the people queried in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:2-4). Hezekiah’s Tunnel, 1,777 feet long, hewn out of the solid rock and comparable to the tunnels at Megiddo and Gezer, conducted the water to a reservoir within the city. From the top of Ophel the ancient Jebusites (c. 2000 B.C.) had cut a passage through the rock where water pots could be let down a 40-foot shaft to receive the water in the pool 50 feet back from the Gihon. Early excavations at Jerusalem by the Palestine Exploration Fund under the direction of Sir Charles Warren (1867) resulted in finding the 40-foot rock-cut shaft. It is now known as Warren’s Shaft. Conrad Shick in 1891 discovered an ancient surface canal that conveyed water from the Gihon Spring to the old pool of Siloam, located just within the SE extremity of the ancient city. Isaiah seems to have alluded to the softly flowing waters of this gentle brook when he spoke poetically of ‘the gently flowing waters of Shiloah’ (Isaiah 8:6),” “Gihon.”
As stated, the Gihon is Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply. Without the Gihon there would have been no Jebusite city for David to conquer. Jerusalem today would likely not exist without this spring.
The location of the Gihon Spring is just east from the Ophel, which joins the ancient city of David. Again, this is one-third mile from the traditional Temple Mount. Knowing that the Gihon is the only major water source in Jerusalem, does it make sense that Israel would have built their temple a third of a mile away from their only water source on the traditional Temple Mount?
Ancient Witnesses to Temple Location
History speaks of 70 Jewish families who relocated from Tiberius to Jerusalem in the 7th century CE. Tiberius is located in northern Israel along the Sea of Galilee. Reuvin Hammer, in his book Jerusalem Anthology, describes this relocation: “Omar decreed that seventy households should come. 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 water of Shiloah, which could be used for immersion.
This was granted them by Omar, the Emir of the Believers.” Omar was the companion of Mohammed and the second caliph or Islamic leader within Islam.
Several important points need to be made here. These Jewish families insisted on the southern section of the city, near the Pool of Siloam. There is only one section of Jerusalem that is in the southern portion and contains the Pool of Siloam and that is the ancient city of David.
According to these Jewish families, this was also the area where the temple once stood. This is hard evidence for the temple location within the city of David and not on the traditional Temple Mount.
This author also states that the water from the Pool of Siloam could be used for immersions, which would have included ceremonial washings. What was the water source for the Pool of Siloam? This was the Gihon Spring.
In our expedition to Israel several in the group walked through the Gihon Spring channel underneath the City of David to the Pool of Siloam.
The fact that water from the Gihon could be used for ceremonial purposes verifies that not all water was equal. It also adds credence to the importance of the Gihon for temple worship. Again this begs the question why the Jews would have built their temple a third of a mile from their only water source. Such an idea seems completely preposterous.
A Gushing Spring
The smoking gun for the temple as it relates to the Gihon Spring is eyewitness testimony of a spring-like reservoir within the temple precincts. Two men provide evidence for this.
The first eyewitness to confirm this fact is a man named Aristeas, a Jew who lived during the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. Eusebius, the 4th century church historian, records his account.
“There is an inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within; there being moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, of five furlongs, according to their showing, all around the foundation of the Temple, and countless pipes from them, so that the streams on every side met together. And all these have been fastened with lead at the bottom of the side-walls, and over these has been spread a great quantity of plaster, all having been carefully wrought,” Eusebius’ recording of Aristeas, chapter 38.
Aristeas was an eyewitness to the temple location from the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. It’s important to realize that this was not Herold’s temple, but the temple of Ezra and Nehemiah. Aristeas said that there was an “inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within.”
The only spring within Jerusalem is the Gihon. If what this eyewitness said is true, the only possible location for the Temple would be within the City of David and above the Gihon Spring.
Again, these facts present a real problem for those who claim that the temple was on the traditional Temple Mount. The only way to reconcile these accounts is to relocate the temple from the traditional Temple Mount to the Ophel, near the Gihon Spring.
As seen in the graphic, we can see several important geographical features, including the Mount of Olives, the traditional Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Central Valley, the Gihon Spring, and the current site for the city of David. Below is additional information on each of these locations:
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. At one point, it had olive trees covering its slopes. Today there is a Jewish cemetery with approximately 150,000 graves. This mountain ridge was a significant location during Yahshua’s ministry. It was the place where He delivered His Olivet Prophecy and where He retreated hours before His death, i.e., the Garden of Gethsemane.
The traditional Temple Mount is where many believe the Jewish temple once stood. Again, Muslims call this place the Haram esh-Sharif, translated as, “the Noble Sanctuary.” Both the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock reside on the traditional Temple Mount.
The Kidron Valley separates Jerusalem, including the city of David and the traditional Temple Mount, from the Mount of Olives. This valley continues east through the Judean Desert and toward the Dead Sea.
The Central Valley, also called the Tyropoeon Valley and the Valley of the Cheesemakers, is a rugged ravine on the west side of the City of David or the ancient city of Jerusalem and marks its western boundary, as the Kidron Valley does on the east.
The Gihon Spring is along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship. We will explore the Gihon further in this article.
The City of David is the location for the ancient Jebusite City that David conquered and renamed to the City of David or Jerusalem. It is approximately 12 acres in size. It begins at the Millo (i.e., a ravine that separated the City of David from the Ophel, which Solomon filled in during his reign) and extends southward.
Today the City of David is an Israeli national park and a major archaeological site. Archaeologists have discovered many subterranean tunnels, reservoirs, and possibly an ancient room that was used for animal sacrifices. Also discovered underneath the City of David is Hezekiah’s tunnel and the Gihon Spring. On the southwest side of the city is the Pool of Siloam.
City of the David = Zion
We begin our investigation for the real temple mount by turning to the Bible. As with so many other truths, Yahweh’s Word holds the key in unlocking the truth as to where the original temple stood. Following is a compilation of Scripture confirming that the city of David and Mount Zion (i.e., the location of the temple) are synonymous: “Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David,” 2 Samuel 5:7.
This passage clearly states that Zion and the city of David are the same. This point is critically important, as Scripture also shows that Mount Zion was the location of the temple.
“And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David,” 1Chronicles 11:5.
As noted in the previous passage, 1 Chronicles 11 confirms that Zion is also the city of David. The word “castle” here comes from the Hebrew matsuwd and refers to a place of defence. Because Jebus was located between the Kidron and Central valleys, it was a well defensible area.
“In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion,” Psalm 76:2.
The word “Salem” derives from the Hebrew shalem. Strong’s states that this word is “an early name of Jerusalem.” This passage is critically important, as it shows a connection between the ancient city of David, the temple, and Zion and offers indisputable evidence for the temple being located within ancient Jerusalem and not on the Haram esh-Sharif.
Remember that the old City of David only included the 12-acre plot of land between the Kidron and Central valleys. It did not include the 36-acre Temple Mount located a third of a mile north. The current Temple Mount platform was developed much later.
Using only the Bible as a roadmap and knowing the location for the ancient city of David, a strong case can be made for the temple being located within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The Akra, Millo, and Ophel
When it comes to the location of the temple, there are three terms to understand – the Akra, Millo, and Ophel. The Akra was another name of the City of David. The Millo was a ravine that King Solomon filled in. And the Ophel is where the temple was originally located.
In 2 Samuel 5:9 we find a description of the boundaries of ancient Jerusalem during the reign of King David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.”
The word “fort” refers to the impregnability of the City of David. This was due to its location between the Kidron and Tyropoeon valleys. We see that David built his city from the Millo inward. Tis ravine separated ancient Jerusalem from the Ophel.
Scripture records that Solomon later filled in this ravine: “And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father,” 1Kings 11:27.
The word “repaired” here comes from the Hebrew cagar and is a primitive root meaning, “to shut up,” Strong’s. By filling in the Millo, Solomon shut up the ravine known as Millo. In doing so, he also connected the City of David with the Ophel.
This is why Psalms 122:3 describes Jerusalem as a city “compact together.” The word “compact” comes from the Hebrew chabar and according to Strong’s means to “join.” When Solomon filled in the Millo, he enlarged the City of David by joining it with the Ophel.
Now what connection do the Millo and Ophel have to the temple? According to 1 Maccabees 13:52 the Ophel is the location of the temple. The KJV with Apocrypha reads, “…Moreover the hill of the temple that was by the tower he made stronger than it was, and there he dwelt himself with his company.” As a secondary reference, the Catholic Study Bible states, “…He also strengthened the fortifications of the temple mount alongside the citadel, and he and his people dwelt there.”
Even though Maccabees is not considered inspired or part of the canon of Scripture, it still offers invaluable historical insight during the time of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans.
As seen in the above citation, the biblical temple mount or “temple hill” was located alongside the tower or citadel. As 2 Samuel 5:9 shows, the “fort” or “citadel” refers to the City of David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David….”
This provides conclusive evidence for the temple being located on the Ophel and alongside the City of David. This also places the biblical temple mount approximately a third of a mile south from the traditional Temple Mount.
I will do another post on the Old City of David as it is an important end times sign.
When people visit Jerusalem’s Old City, they may believe it’s the same place King David set up as his capital more than 3,000 years ago. But that’s not the case. Archaeologists are uncovering the original city and telling others its amazing story.
As seen in the graphic, we can see several important geographical features, including the Mount of Olives, the traditional Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Central Valley, the Gihon Spring, and the current site for the city of David.
Anarina Heymann serves as the outreach coordinator for the City of David.
“Welcome to the City of David,” Heymann told CBN News. “It’s the home to the ancient biblical Jerusalem and up until 150 years ago, everybody thought that the ancient biblical Jerusalem lies within the confines of the Old City right behind you in the wall—within the walls there. So the question is, what happened 150 years ago, and where is the ancient biblical Jerusalem?”
She then helped answer that question by explaining how the City of David lay hidden for nearly 2,000 years until a British archaeologist began a discovery that continues to this day.
“Chris, we’re standing at a magical place right now,” Heymann continued. “This is the place when Charles Warren came through the fascia that he found. He saw something. And when Charles Warren saw this, he knew that he rediscovered the ancient biblical Jerusalem.”
Asked if this Warren’s work was the beginning of the unveiling of the City of David in modern times, she responded, “Exactly, because we’re speaking of a 2,000- year period where nobody knew where the ancient city was. Most people thought when they—when they came—that what they saw in the Old City, that was ancient biblical Jerusalem. It’s only when he found this that they discovered … the ancient Jerusalem lies outside of what we call today the Old City.”
The discovery of the tunnel system known as Warren’s Shaft visually tells how King David captured the city and brings the Bible to life.
“When we saw this, we suddenly saw exactly how the picture came together,” Heymann continued. “And many times when we do excavations, we also don’t know what we’re looking at and then we have to go to the Bible and that starts explaining it. So it’s the Bible and then the excavations and the excavations and the Bible coming together, giving us the full picture of ancient Jerusalem.”
Anointing Israel’s Kings
Further down, archaeologists found where men became kings.
“Most of the kings of Israel were anointed where we’re standing right now. We are standing at the place of anointing. And Isaiah says you will draw forth water with joy from the springs of salvation,” she said.
In fact, the City of David echoes with the people of the Bible.
“Abraham, when he met Melchizedek, but then we get to David, to Solomon, we get to Isaiah when he was giving his prophecies on these very walls here,” she said. “Jeremiah, afterwards, when he had to speak about the destruction that was looming over Jerusalem … all those things happening exactly where we’re standing right now.”
More than 10 years ago, archaeologists uncovered another biblical site, the Pool of Siloam, which was fed by the nearby Gihon Spring. It’s the place where Jesus healed the blind man and also where the Jewish people would gather for the Feasts of the Lord.
“Three times a year, all the men had to come to the mikvah [ritual bath] in the pool and from there get ready to go to Temple Mount and this is the walk, the final ascent, that all the pilgrims can do again when they come to Jerusalem,” she explained.
Heymann sees this final ascent as a merger between archaeology and prophecy.
Opening a Door to the Future
“Something amazing is happening because you see that we are now excavating this road and again prophecy is being fulfilled because it says in Isaiah ‘build up, build up the road,’ the highway. And it says remove the stones for my people’s return,” she said.
One ongoing excavation is the tunnel leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. Heymann says it reveals the past and opens a door to the future.
One of the City of David’s most ambitious projects is an excavation called the Givati, where the entire history of Jerusalem is being revealed as if the rocks are crying out.
“You can see exactly how she [Jerusalem)] slowly disappeared from civilisation because one city was built upon the other, and you could see how probably the city could have lost hope, thinking ‘Who’s ever going to discover me again? Until God says, but in a time of favour, nothing can stop it and that’s what we see in Givati. Jerusalem is slowly being revealed,” she said.
She sees prophecy unfolding.
“We’re starting to see in the last decade, the blueprint. She’s starting to share what she looked like to us again. So you can see how prophecy is speeding up as we go. It’s said [Hebrew] ‘shake off your dust, arise, take your rightful place, Jerusalem.’ If you see the excavations here on a daily basis, you can see the buckets flying. You can see the dust literally flying about, how she’s shaking off her dust.”
Heymann considers her role in the City of David a privilege.
“I call myself the luckiest person in the world—the luckiest girl in the world—because I have the opportunity to take what we see here and tell the people about the City of David, about the ancient Jerusalem, and every person that is passionate about Jerusalem and serious about biblical prophecy needs to know this,” she said.
Reprinted with permission from CBN.com. Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved
Filmed in the Old City of Jerusalem, this ground-breaking documentary investigates the research of renowned Biblical archaeologists, Bob Cornuke, David Seilaff and Earnest L. Martin who claim that Solomon and Herod’s Temples never stood on the Haram al Sharif, also known as the Temple Mount. If they are right, then there is nothing to stop the Jewish people building their long awaited Third Jewish Temple on the actual site where the Temples once stood.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, commented: “With the work of the Temple Institute over the last three decades, preparation for the Temple is no longer a dream, it’s a reality, in which everyone can play a part”.
We know therefore, that the Jewish faithful are ready to rebuild the temple. God’s Word tells us that it will be rebuilt, but what event will trigger the change of mind about the Old City site, that will cause the third temple to be built?