I will continue analyzing a book written by Robert Cornuke titled, Temple: Amazing New Discoveries That Change Everything About The Location Of Solomon’s Temple. This book’s startling thesis asserts that the Jewish Temples (Solomon’s and Herod’s) were located south of the Temple Mount in the ancient City of David and that the entire Temple Mount was the Antonia Fortress where Roman troops were garrisoned.
The Temple’s Location
Over the years, and continuing until today, there has been a running debate among scholars as to where the Temple was located on the Temple Mount. The majority opinion among both archaeologists and Jewish experts is that the Temple was located where the Dome of the Rock stands.4
A few have postulated that the Temple was located at the south end of the Temple Mount near where the Al- Aqsa Mosque stands today.5
The strongest alternative is the one that was proposed in 1983 by an Israeli physicist, Dr. Asher Kaufman. He believes the Temple was located about 200 feet to the north of the Dome of the Rock, and he has presented some very solid arguments for his view.6
But the bottom line is that no one knows for certain where the Temple was located on the Temple Mount, and its exact location will not be determined until archaeologists are allowed to conduct explorations on top and under the Mount.
A Revisionist Proposal
In the year 2000, a man by the name of Dr. Ernest Martin made the startling proposal that the Temple was not located on the Temple Mount at all. In his book, The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, he presented the theory that the Temple Mount was in fact the location of the Antonia Fortress where Roman troops were garrisoned, and that the Jewish temples were located to the south of the Temple Mount in the City of David.7
Robert Cornuke has simply popularized Martin’s thesis, and he acknowledges this in the introduction of his book.8 Let’s take a look at his arguments in behalf of his thesis.
The City of David is Zion
Cornuke’s first argument, and his basic one, is that the Jewish Temples were located in Zion, and that Zion was a name for the City of David. As proof of this, he quotes 2 Samuel 5:7 which says, “…David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David.”
It is true that at the time David conquered the Jebusite city of Jebus, the Jews who subsequently occupied the city changed its name and started referring to it as The City of David or Zion, and ultimately they gave it the name of Jerusalem. But the term, Zion, is not used in the Bible to refer exclusively to the original City of David. Over a period of time, it became an alternative name for the whole city of Jerusalem as it grew north to Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) and then started spreading west across the Tyropoean Valley.
Evidence of this can be found in Isaiah 2:3 where it says, “And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” The last phrase of this quotation is a classic example of Hebrew parallelism whereby the second part of the phrase says the same thing as the first part, but in different words — equating Zion with Jerusalem. This sentence was written in the 8th Century BC, long after Jerusalem had grown beyond the original city of David.
In the third segment, I’ll analyze two more of Robert Cornuke’s arguments that the Jewish temples resided in the City of David.
4) The Temple Mount Faithful, “The Location of the Temple and the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount: The Present Dome of the Rock is the Location of the Temple and the Rock Which is Under the Dome of the Rock is the Location of the Holy of Holies,” http://templemountfaithful.org/articles/temple-location.php.
5) Lambert Dolphin and Michael Kollen, “On The Location of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem,” www.temple mount.org/theories.html.
6) Joshua Schwartz, “The Temple Mount: Where is the Holy of Holies?” (A review of Asher Kaufman’s book by the same name), www.biblical archaeology.org/reviews/the-temple-mount.
7) Ernest Martin, The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot (Portland, OR: Associates for Scriptural, Knowledge, 1994).
8) Cornuke, page 14.