Section E New Testament

Chapter 34 - Herod’s Temple Mount

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This is a diagram of the retaining walls that created today’s Temple Mount. The Ark of the Covenant was located on the exposed bedrock, which is still visible under the Dome of the Rock. The original platform for the Temple Mount that served Solomon’s Temple was 500 cubits by 500 cubits (861 feet x 861 feet). This is designated by the inside square walls labeled “Solomon’s Original Platform Wall”. This square was filled in, and the Temple of the Old Testament stood there. The Hasmoneans extended the Temple Mount to the south by adding about 134 feet. At the point that the Hasmoneans began to build on the eastern Temple Mount wall there is a slight bend in the wall. This bend is slight but can be seen drifting slightly towards the east. That bend begins at the 500 cubit (861 foot) mark. The Herodian addition to the Temple Mount platform, or the distance from the southeast corner to the Straight Joint, is 105.5 feet. The Straight Joint is a very visible straight line created by courses of stones butted up against the Hasmonean stones on the east Temple Mount wall by Herod the Great when he began to expand the Temple Mount in 19 BC.

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A model of Herod's Temple.

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Details of a model showing the northeast corner of the Temple Mount in Jesus’ day.

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Details of the south wall of the Herodian Temple Mount. Notice the stairway, the Double Gate, and the Triple Gate. All of them are visible yet today. Also, the base of the stairway leading to Robinson’s arch has been identified by archaeologists.

Several details of Herod's Temple are included in this diagram:

  1. staircase and gate near the straight joint (bottom right);
    2 the Double and Triple Gates with their tunneled entrance and stairs leading up to the Temple Mount (the Triple Gate may be the Beautiful Gate of Acts 3; the tunnels and stairway still exist, but are inaccessible to non-Muslims);
    3 Robinson’s Arch, stairway and gate (still visible today);
    4 Barclays Gate (top lintel visible today);
    5 Wilson’s Arch;
    6 Warren’s Gate (visible today in the Western Wall Tunnels) which is the closest the Jews can get to the Most Holy Place. Warren’s Gate still has a stairway and tunnel that still lead up to the Temple Mount, but it has been blocked.

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This photo is looking at the southern wall on the right and the Western Wall on the left. The original Western Wall of Herod seen at the Western Wall Plaza today is the portion of the wall from where the white line makes contact with the “Western Wall” and down. These are the stones that are still visible and remain from Herod’s wall.