The House of God – Part Four
Is the traditional Temple Mount actually a Roman fort? Roman forts were all large rectangular structures. They contained barracks for soldiers and administrative buildings. They all were several acres (30-36) in size. This, of course, describes the 36 acre traditional Temple Mount.
Josephus describes the interior of the Tower of Antonia:
“The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace, it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps; insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities, but by its magnificence it seemed a palace.” (Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chapter 5, Paragraph 8) This sounds like the traditional Temple Mount.
Josephus describes the Roman fort in Jerusalem as being north of the Temple, and housing a legion of men. (ibid.) A Roman legion had about 6,000 soldiers, plus administrators and support personnel. This could total as many as 10,000 men. 6,000 to 10,000 men would need a fort the size of the traditional Temple Mount.
Dr. Eli Shukron found a coin beneath the lowest course of foundation stones in the Western Wall of the traditional Temple Mount. The coin was dated 17-19 A.D. The Herodian-era Temple walls were completed long before this date. The Western Wall is clearly part of the fortification of the Tower of Antonia.
When the Jews were trying to kill Paul: “And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them.” (Acts 21:31-32) Notice that the Roman soldiers ran down to the Temple area.
There are two immovable geographic features at Jerusalem; the Gihon Spring and the rock precipice. These give a strong indication as to the location of the Temple. It just could be that the Temple of God was in the City of David as indicated by Scripture.
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