Another Piece of the Puzzle

The Jewish istorian Flavius Josephus lived during the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. His extensive accounts of the war and of Jerusalem are some of the best information that we have regarding the Temple and the city.

Josephus reported that the Temple was in the City of David, south of the traditional Temple Mount, and that there was a fort built north of the Temple on a seventy-five foot high rock precipice. This, of course, corresponds to the traditional Temple Mount that stands north of the City of David.

On October 16, 2017, archaeologists from the Israeli Antiquities Authority discovered a Roman amphitheater adjacent to the western wall of the traditional Temple Mount. The archaeologists were excited to find this confirmation of Roman presence in Jerusalem.

In fact, there was a very great Roman presence. Josephus reports that there was a Roman legion (about 6,000 men) in the Roman fort. This military presence was necessary because of the unruly and rebellious Jews. An example is found in Acts 21:30-32. The Roman commander took at least two centurions (commanders of one-hundred men) and soldiers to quell the Jewish uprising. Two centurions indicates a company of at least two-hundred men. In the following chapter, the Jews repeated their riotous performance, screaming, tearing their clothes and throwing dust into the air.

My point about the recent discovery is; Why would the Jews allow a pagan Roman theater to be built adjacent to their Holy Temple? If they rioted over the mistaken perception that Paul had brought Gentiles into the Temple, how much more would they riot over a pagan building immediately adjacent to the Temple wall?

The answer is, in my opinion, the traditional Temple Mount where the discovery was made was actually a Roman fort as described by Josephus. The Temple of God was in the City of David.

Some would argue that the Roman theater was built after the destruction of 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was rebuilt as a Roman city. Then, the question becomes: Why would the Romans, after destroying all indications of Jewish presence, make the exception of leaving any trace the most important of all Jewish structures, the Temple of God?

There are two immovable geologic features of Jerusalem: the seventy-five foot high precipice, and the Gihon Spring. The spring, beneath the City of David (Second Chronicles 32:30), is reported historically to have been beneath the Temple. The rock precipice, upon which the Roman fort was built, is north of the Gihon Spring and is almost a quarter of a mile from the Spring. Therefore, the traditional Temple Mount cannot have been the location of the Temple of God, in my opinion.

When the time is right, the Lord will allow the current Israelis to see that they have been following tradition, and the Temple was located within the City of David, as stated in Holy Scripture. I look forward to the day! Until then, praise the name of the Lord!

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