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The Temple Mount has long been believed to be the location of the temple, but details from Scripture and history show it is not. The Lord predicted, “not one stone would be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 19:43-44, 21:5-6. In AD 70, when the temple was set on fire, the gold melted and soldiers eager to get to the gold literally left no stone unturned, leaving the area in complete ruins and unrecognized for centuries. After the destruction, historians said the place was a Roman farm plowed by oxen. (It is coincidental that this was the threshing floor David bought, II Samuel 24:15-25, I Chronicles 21:18-22:1, II Chronicles 3:1.) “Not one stone” rules out the “Temple Mount,” which still has remnants of building blocks. Benjamin Mazar, Ernest L. Martin, Marilyn Sams and others believe the Wailing or Western Wall is the remains of the 36-acre Roman camp Fort Antonia, and that the 1.6-acre temple complex was south of there in the “The City of David.” However, the actual site may be at Jerusalem’s extreme southeast section. Many ancient sources mention a natural spring within the temple called the “Priest’s Fountain.” Although assumed to be the Gihon Spring, it may be further south at the Siloam Springs near the pool of Siloam which was fed by the Gihon Spring through Hezekiah’s tunnel. Known to Arabs as Birket Silwan and to Jews as “Siloah,” Nehemiah 3:15, Isaiah 8:6, the Pool of Siloam has been identified. According to John 8:59-9:7, the temple was not far from this pool. A few centuries after the temple was destroyed, seventy Jewish families asked permission of Omar the caliph to live in the southern section of the city to be near the Temple site, its gates and the water of Shiloah, as if all were near each other. At the lower part of the city near the fountain gate are stairs descending from the City of David, Nehemiah 2:14, 3:15, 12:37, which might have been the king’s private entrance into the temple area. Ezekiel 43:8 mentions the closeness of the palace to the temple. Also, when Joash was crowned king in the temple, II Kings 11, the usurping queen Athaliah had to have been near to hear the noise. Josephus said a deep valley circled the temple along its entire southern quarter, and the southeast wall rose some 600 feet from the Kidron Valley floor. (The southeast corner of the Temple Mount was only 158 feet high.) The platform for the temple was leveled by filling in with rocks and dirt. From a great distance to the south, the temple looked like a tower, which it was called. The Temple Mount was the Roman Fort Antonia or the Praetorium, Matthew 27:27, where Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, the governor, and was judged. On the other hand, the true temple mount was south of it in the City of David, perhaps at the extreme southeast hill.
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