If you have ever wondered about paintings depicting John the Baptist and Yahshua standing ankle-deep in the river while John with cupped hands dribbles water on the Messiah’s head, you had good reason to question traditions about baptism. The institution of baptism has been misunderstood for centuries, yet, it is essential to one’s salvation. Join us as we look not only at how baptism should be done, but also on whom it is to be performed scripturally as well as the reason that Scripture commands that a believer be baptized.
A baptism was practiced by Israel in the Old Testament
a. A form of baptism was practiced by Israel in the Old Testament (2Kings 5:14); however, this baptism was not a baptism of the Holy Spirit (Yahshua’s baptism) or of repentance (John’s baptism), but a baptism of purification. There is evidence that the Jews practiced a form of baptism long after the birth of the Messiah. For more on historical baptism, see “Baptism,” Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (CBTEL
Proper baptism is allowed only once.
a. Ephesians 4:5 says there is only one Master, one faith, and one baptism. According to the author of Hebrews it is impossible to be renewed spiritually through repentance once one has been “enlightened” through repentance and baptism but later comes to reject the Truth (Heb. 6:4-6).
Circumcision is accomplished spiritually today through baptism.
a. In the Old Testament physical circumcision was the confirmation of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17:10-11). Upon Yahshua’s impalement came a change in the Old Testament covenant (Heb. 9:1-22). One change included circumcision. According to the Apostle Paul physical circumcision is no longer a requirement for salvation (Gal. 5:6; 1Cor. 7:19) as with the Abrahamic covenant. Circumcision today is spiritual, and is now accomplished through Yahshua’s baptism (Col. 2:11-12).
What is the scriptural age for baptism?
c. The proper age of baptism is 20 years or older. Before baptism repentance is necessary (Acts 2:38). Repentance requires an understanding of Yahweh’s Word. Without this discernment repentance is impossible. Therefore, baptism preceded by repentance requires that person be mature in thinking and understanding. The Bible indicates this age of accountability is 20. It was at 20 that people had to begin giving the atonement offering (Ex. 30:14), and men in Israel were numbered for war (Num. 1:3; 26:2). At 20 the Levite men enrolled in temple service, 1Chron. 23:24, and oversaw temple work, Ezra 3:8. And it was those who were 20 years and older who could not enter the Promised Land but who had to die in the wilderness for their sins (Num. 14:29; 32:11), thus showing that 20 is the age when Yahweh holds a person responsible for his or her actions.
At what age was Yahshua baptized?
d. According to Mark 1:9-11, Yahshua was baptized by John the Baptist at the beginning of His ministry, which Yahshua began at age 30 (Luke 3:23). Following Yahshua’s example, Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry maintains that a person should be at least 30 years of age to qualify for ordination to the office of elder.
Who in the New Testament was given the authority to baptize?
d. In the New Testament baptism into Yahshua’s Name was carried out only by ordained ministers (John 4:1-2; Acts 16:33). No scriptural examples show a layperson performing immersions. Also, from Acts 8:4-17 it is evident that while deacons have the authority to baptize, they lack the authority to lay on hands; only an elder has this authority (1Tim. 4:14)
In the New Testament the word “baptize” is derived from the Greek word “baptizo,” which means to .
a. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines baptizo as, “to make overwhelmed, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid.” The Complete Word Study New Testament defines baptize as “to immerse, submerge for a religious purpose…” The New International Dictionary of the Bible offers this insightful statement: “Immersion, however, depicts more clearly the symbolic aspect of baptism since its three steps—immersion (going into the water), submersion (going under the water), and emersion (coming out of the water)—more closely parallel the concept of entering into the death of [Messiah], experiencing the forgiveness of sins, and rising to walk in
the newness of [Messiah’s] resurrected life (Rom. 6:4).” In addition, according to many biblical scholars immersion was the original form of baptism practiced by the apostles and early Assembly. “...Immersion was the only practice of the apostles and the first Christians, and the church in general for many ages, and that it was only laid aside from the love of novelty and the coldness of climate” (Baptism,” CBTEL). The words springkle (Gr. Rhantizo and pour (Gr. Cheo) are never used in the context of baptism.
What is required before baptism?
b. Repentance from a person’s past sins is likely the most important aspect of true baptism. Before 3,000 were baptized in Acts 2, Peter called for repentance from the people (Acts 2:38). Before a person is baptized and receives the gift of Yahweh’s Spirit, that person first must repent of past sins and turn toward a righteous way of life. Repentance is more than words. True repentance is nothing short of self-denial and a complete rejection of all that Yahweh considers sinful and wicked
Baptism is to be done in what name(s)?
c. Every New Testament account of baptism was performed in Yahshua’s Name (Acts 2:38; 8:15-16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Matthew 28:19, which is the only verse giving a triune formula, is suspect. The Hebrew version of Matthew omits it, while the Jerusalem Bible questions its inspiration. One simple reason for this is that a trinity formula was never followed in Scripture! “To some perplexity, and even distress, is caused by the apparent neglect of the disciples to carry out the [Master’s] command in Matthew 28:19, 20, with regard to the formula for baptism...Turning to Acts and onwards, they find no single instance of, or reference to, baptism in which the Triune name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is employed. On the contrary, from the very first, only ten days after the inunction had been given, Peter is found (Acts 2:38) commanding all his hearers including those of the dispersion to be baptized in the name of [Yahshua the Messiah]” (Companion Bible, Appendix 185). Further, a number of early “church fathers” and historians were apparently without the knowledge of the trinity form in Matthew 28:19, including Eusebius of Caesarea and Justin Martyr (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics). (For more information on the Trinity request our free booklet, Identifying the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
John’s baptism was of what type?
c. John’s baptism was one of repentance (Mark 1:4), but not of Yahweh’s Spirit (Luke 3:15-17). Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry considers most other baptisms, baptisms of repentance. Those who are baptized into the triune formula or other form may have been baptized into repentance, but not with Yahweh’s Spirit (Acts 2:38). Those who have not been immersed properly—into Yahshua’s Name—need to do so (Acts 19:1-6).
The act of baptism is a symbolic depiction of __________.
b. The act of baptism is a symbolic depiction of Yahshua’s death (Rom. 6:3-4). When a person is baptized or immersed into Yahshua’s Name he takes part in Yahshua’s death, burial, and ultimately His resurrection (Gal. 3:27).
Baptism is a requirement for _________.
a. Yahshua said that baptism was a requirement for the Kingdom. “...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim” (John 3:5, KJV). Being born of water occurs at baptism. At baptism we are washed clean of our past sins and receive the earnest or “down payment” of Yahweh’s Spirit with the laying on of hands. The immersed person has an obligation to nurture and cultivate the Spirit, thus allowing it to grow within. The second process, being fully born of the Spirit, occurs when a person is changed to a spirit being at Yahshua’s return (1Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Many assume today that the Temple Mount within the old city of Jerusalem is where the Jewish or Old Testament temple originally stood. However, what if this was not the case? What if the temple were located elsewhere?
There is a theory that is gaining popularity that places the temple not on the traditional Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David. In our last trip to Israel, Elder Don Esposito with the Congregation of YHWH, Jerusalem, was gracious enough to help coordinate and serve as our tour guide. While there in Israel, he introduced the group to this theory.
While I was hesitant to believe this theory, it was difficult to refute. After returning home in November of 2016, I sought every reference I could find supporting this theory, including: The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot by Ernest Martin and Temple by Robert Cornuke. I also considered the counter-evidence. In all, I spent several hundred hours reviewing this theory.
Important, but Not Salvational
Before launching into the evidence supporting the temple as being located within the city of David, let us consider the importance of this theory. While this is not a salvational belief, it is a belief that may have far-reaching impact on prophecy.
The traditional Temple Mount contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Both of these buildings are sacred to Islam. For this reason it’s impossible today for the Jews to build a third temple on the Temple Mount. As a side note, Muslims call the Temple Mount the Haram esh-Sharif, meaning “the Noble Sanctuary.”
While it may not be possible for the Jews to rebuild a temple on today’s Temple Mount, nothing would hinder them from rebuilding within the city of David. However, for this to occur the Jews would also have to acknowledge that the current Temple Mount is not the location of the temple. Considering that the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall, which is believed to be the outer western wall to the ancient temple, is the holiest site in Judaism, such acceptance would not be easy.
For the Jews to accept that the temple was not on the Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David, evidence would have to be found so conclusive that even the most ardent Jew could not reject this realization. While this may never happen, considering the current excavations occurring within the city of David, the thought of such evidence being found is within the realm of possibility.
Reviewing the Geography
As seen in the graphic, we can see several important geographical features, including the Mount of Olives, the traditional Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Central Valley, the Gihon Spring, and the current site for the city of David. Below is additional information on each these locations:
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. At one point, it had olive trees covering its slopes. Today there is a Jewish cemetery with approximately 150,000 graves. This mountain ridge was a significant location during Yahshua’s ministry. It was the place where He delivered His Olivet Prophecy and where He retreated hours before His death, i.e., the Garden of Gethsemane.
The traditional Temple Mount is where many believe the Jewish temple once stood. Again, Muslims call this place the Haram esh-Sharif, translated as, “the Noble Sanctuary.” Both the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock reside on the traditional Temple Mount.
The Kidron Valley separates Jerusalem, including the city of David and the traditional Temple Mount, from the Mount of Olives. This valley continues east through the Judean Desert and toward the Dead Sea.
The Central Valley, also called the Tyropoeon Valley and the Valley of the Cheesemakers, is a rugged ravine on the west side of the City of David or the ancient city of Jerusalem and marks its western boundary, as the Kidron Valley does on the east.
The Gihon Spring is along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship. We will explore the Gihon further in this article.
The City of David is the location for the ancient Jebusite City that David conquered and renamed to the City of David or Jerusalem. It is approximately 12 acres in size. It begins at the Millo (i.e., a ravine that separated the City of David from the Ophel, which Solomon filled in during his reign) and extends southward.
Today the City of David is an Israeli national park and a major archaeological site. Archaeologists have discovered many subterranean tunnels, reservoirs, and possibly an ancient room that was used for animal sacrifices. Also discovered underneath the City of David is Hezekiah’s tunnel and the Gihon Spring. On the southwest side of the city is the Pool of Siloam.
City of the David = Zion
We begin our investigating for the real temple mount by turning to the Bible. As with so many other truths, Yahweh’s Word holds the key in unlocking the truth as to where the original temple stood. Following is a compilation of Scripture confirming that the city of David and Mount Zion (i.e., the location of the temple) are synonymous:
“Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David,” 2Samuel 5:7.
This passage clearly states that Zion and the city of David are the same. This point is critically important, as Scripture also shows that Mount Zion was the location of the temple.
“And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David,” 1Chronicles 11:5.
As noted in the previous passage, 1Chronicles 11 confirms that Zion is also the city of David. The word “castle” here comes from the Hebrew matsuwd and refers to a place of defense. Because Jebus was located between the Kidron and Central valleys, it was a well defensible area.
“In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion,” Psalm 76:2.
The word “Salem” derives from the Hebrew shalem. Strong’s states that this word is “an early name of Jerusalem.” This passage is critically important, as it shows a connection between the ancient city of David, the temple, and Zion and offers indisputable evidence for the temple being located within ancient Jerusalem and not on the Haram esh-Sharif.
Remember that the old City of David only included the 12-acre plot of land between the Kidron and Central valleys. It did not include the 36-acre Temple Mount located a third of a mile north. As we will explain in part two of this article, the current Temple Mount platform was developed much later.
Using only the Bible as a roadmap and knowing the location for the ancient city of David, a strong case can be made for the temple being located within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The Akra, Millo, and Ophel
When it comes to the location of the temple, there are three terms to understand – the Akra, Millo, and Ophel. The Akra was another name of the City of David. The Millo was a ravine that King Solomon filled in. And the Ophel is where the temple was originally located.
In 2Samuel 5:9 we find a description of the boundaries of ancient Jerusalem during the reign of King David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.”
The word “fort” refers to the impregnability of the City of David. This was due to its location between the Kidron and Tyropoeon valleys. We see that David built his city from the Millo inward. Tis ravine separated ancient Jerusalem from the Ophel.
Scripture records that Solomon later filled in this ravine: “And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father,” 1Kings 11:27.
The word “repaired” here comes from the Hebrew cagar and is a primitive root meaning, “to shut up,” Strong’s. By filling in the Millo, Solomon shut up the ravine known as Millo. In doing so, he also connected the City of David with the Ophel.
This is why Psalms 122:3 describes Jerusalem as a city “compact together.” The word “compact” comes from the Hebrew chabar and according to Strong’s means to “join.” When Solomon filled in the Millo, he enlarged the City of David by joining it with the Ophel.
Now what connection do the Millo and Ophel have to the temple? According to 1Maccabees 13:52 the Ophel is the location of the temple. The KJV with Apocrypha reads, “…Moreover the hill of the temple that was by the tower he made stronger than it was, and there he dwelt himself with his company.” As a secondary reference, the Catholic Study Bible states, “…He also strengthened the fortifications of the temple mount alongside the citadel, and he and his people dwelt there.”
Even though Maccabees is not considered inspired or part of the canon of Scripture, it still offers invaluable historical insight during the time of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans.
As seen in the above citation, the biblical temple mount or “temple hill” was located alongside the tower or citadel. As 2Samuel 5:9 shows, the “fort” or “citadel” refers to the City of David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David….”
This provides conclusive evidence for the temple being located on the Ophel and alongside the City of David. This also places the biblical temple mount approximately a third of a mile south from the traditional Temple Mount.
Ornan’s Threshing Floor
Rock under the Dome of The Rock
Another biblical clue to the location of the temple is the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. This threshing floor is found in 2Chronicles 3:1, “Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where Yahweh appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
Scripture records that Solomon built the Temple on Mount Moriah and over the threshing floor that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite. The mention here of Mount Moriah and Zion is important. It shows that these locations are synonymous, as is also the City of David and Zion.
The threshing floor where Solomon built the temple belonged to a Jebusite. This fact suggests that it was likely within the borders of the Jebusite city. If true, this would place the threshing floor within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. Remember that what they call the Temple Mount today is a third of a mile from the ancient Jebusite city.
What is a threshing floor? This was an area where farmers would separate the grain from the straw and husks. This required a surface that was flat, smooth and hard. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE) states,
“The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds. If there is a danger of marauders they are clustered together close to the village. The floor is a level, circular area 25 to 40 ft. in diameter, prepared by first picking out the stones, and then wetting the ground, tamping or rolling it, and finally sweeping it. A border of stones usually surrounds the floor to keep in the grain. The sheaves of grain which have been brought on the backs of men, donkeys, camels, or oxen, are heaped on this area, and the process of tramping out begins. In some localities several animals, commonly oxen or donkeys, are tied abreast and driven round and round the floor. In other places two oxen are yoked together to a drag, the bottom of which is studded with pieces of basaltic stone. This drag, on which the driver, and perhaps his family, sits or stands, is driven in a circular path over the grain.”
The surface of a threshing floor had to be flat, smooth, and hard. This allowed the oxen to tread the grain. It must also be in a location where there would be sufficient wind to separate the grain. This is key as it pertains to the temple.
Most believe that Ornan’s threshing floor was under the Dome of Rock on the traditional Temple Mount. The problem is, as seen in the image below, the surface underneath the Dome of the Rock is not flat. This fact alone makes it highly unlikely this area served as a threshing floor.
Since the Temple Mount location is the highest of the three hills, i.e., when compared to the City of David and Ophel, many claim that the wind conditions would be better suited on the Temple Mount. While it’s true that the elevation of the traditional Temple Mount is higher than the City of David and Ophel, such elevation is not required.
Another issue with the threshing floor being located on the traditional Temple Mount is that threshing floors were prone to robbery. ISBE states, “Threshing-floors are in danger of being robbed (1 Sam 23:1). For this reason, someone always sleeps on the floor until the grain is removed (Ruth 3:7). In Syria, at the threshing season, it is customary for the family to move out to the vicinity of the threshing-floor. A booth is constructed for shade; the mother prepares the meals and takes her turn with the father and children at riding on the sledge,” “Threshing-Floor.”
With this in mind, does it make sense that Ornan and his family would place their threshing floor a third of a mile from the “fort”? Keep in mind that during this time the traditional Temple Mount contained no walls or defense. It was completely open to attack. It is far more likely that Ornan’s threshing floor was within the confines of the old Jebusite city and not on an unguarded hill a third of a mile away.
The Gihon Spring
One of the most compelling reasons for the temple’s being located within the City of David is the location of the Gihon Spring. This spring sets along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary speaks to the ancient and modern history of this famous spring, “The intermittent spring that constituted Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply, situated in the Kidron Valley just below the eastern hill (Ophel). This abundant source of water was entirely covered over and concealed from outside the walls and was conducted by a specially built conduit to a pool within the walls where a besieged city could get all the water it needed. ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ the people queried in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chron 32:2-4). Hezekiah’s Tunnel, 1,777 feet long, hewn out of the solid rock and comparable to the tunnels at Megiddo and Gezer, conducted the water to a reservoir within the city. From the top of Ophel the ancient Jebusites (c. 2000 B.C.) had cut a passage through the rock where waterpots could be let down a 40-foot shaft to receive the water in the pool 50 feet back from the Gihon. Early excavations at Jerusalem by the Palestine Exploration Fund under the direction of Sir Charles Warren (1867) resulted in finding the 40-foot rock-cut shaft. It is now known as Warren’s Shaft. Conrad Shick in 1891 discovered an ancient surface canal that conveyed water from the Gihon Spring to the old pool of Siloam, located just within the SE extremity of the ancient city. Isaiah seems to have alluded to the softly flowing waters of this gentle brook when he spoke poetically of ‘the gently flowing waters of Shiloah’ (Isa 8:6),” “Gihon.”
As stated, the Gihon is Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply. Without the Gihon there would have been no Jebusite city for David to conquer. Jerusalem today would likely not exist without this spring.
The location of the Gihon Spring is just east from the Ophel, which joins the ancient city of David. Again, this is one-third mile from the traditional Temple Mount. Knowing that the Gihon is the only major water source in Jerusalem, does it make sense that Israel would have built their temple a third of a mile away from their only water source on the traditional Temple Mount?
This is especially perplexing considering the thousands of animals that Israel offered on the Sabbath and annual Feast days for which thousands of gallons of water are needed.
History says that Rome built aqueducts from Bethlehem to the Temple Mount. While this theoretically could have provided a water source for Herod’s temple, it could not have for Solomon’s. So while there is evidence of ancient reservoirs underneath the traditional Temple Mount dating to the time of Rome, there is no evidence of a water source prior to Rome’s rule. This presents a real problem for the traditional Temple Mount site.
Ancient Witnesses to Temple Location
History speaks of 70 Jewish families who relocated from Tiberius to Jerusalem in the 7th century CE. Tiberius is located in northern Israel along the Sea of Galilee. Reuvin Hammer, in his book Jerusalem Anthology, describes this relocation: “Omar decreed that seventy households should come. They agreed to that. After that he asked: ‘Where do you wish to live within the city?’ They replied, ‘In the southern section of the city, which is the market of the Jews.’ Their request was to enable them to be near the site of the Temple and its gates, as well as to the water of Shiloah, which could be used for immersion.
This was granted them by Omar, the Emir of the Believers.”
Omar was the companion of Mohammed and the second caliph or Islamic leader within Islam.
Several important points need to be made here. These Jewish families insisted on the southern section of the city, near the Pool of Siloam. There is only one section of Jerusalem that is in the southern portion and contains the Pool of Siloam and that is the ancient city of David.
According to these Jewish families, this was also the area where the temple once stood. This is hard evidence for the temple location within the city of David and not on the traditional Temple Mount.
This author also states that the water from the Pool of Siloam could be used for immersions, which would have included ceremonial washings. What was the water source for the Pool of Siloam? This was the Gihon Spring.
In our expedition to Israel several in the group walked through the Gihon Spring channel underneath the City of David to the Pool of Siloam.
The fact that water from the Gihon could be used for ceremonial purposes verifies that not all water was equal. It also adds credence to the importance of the Gihon for temple worship. Again this begs the question why the Jews would have built their temple a third of a mile from their only water source. Such an idea seems completely preposterous.
A Gushing Spring
The smoking gun for the temple as it relates to the Gihon Spring is eyewitness testimony of a spring-like reservoir within the temple precincts. Two men provide evidence for this.
The first eyewitness to confirm this fact is a man named Aristeas, a Jew who lived during the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. Eusebius, the 4th century church historian, records his account.
“There is an inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within; there being moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, of five furlongs, according to their showing, all around the foundation of the Temple, and countless pipes from them, so that the streams on every side met together. And all these have been fastened with lead at the bottom of the side-walls, and over these has been spread a great quantity of plaster, all having been carefully wrought,” Eusebius’ recording of Aristeas, chapter 38.
Aristeas was an eyewitness to the temple location from the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. It’s important to realize that this was not Herold’s temple, but the temple of Ezra and Nehemiah. Aristeas said that there was an “inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within.”
The only spring within Jerusalem is the Gihon. If what this eyewitness said is true, the only possible location for the Temple would be within the City of David and above the Gihon Spring.
Remarkably, Aristeas is not the only eyewitness of a spring-like reservoir within the temple area. Tacitus, a Roman historian dating to the 2nd century CE, describes a similar account. He states, “The temple resembled a citadel, and had its own walls, which were more laboriously constructed than the others. Even the colonnades with which it was surrounded formed an admirable outwork. It contained an inexhaustible spring; there were subterranean excavations in the hill, and tanks and cisterns for holding rainwater. The founders of the state had foreseen that frequent wars would result from the singularity of its customs, and so had made very provision against the most protracted siege.”
Before describing what Tacitus saw, it should be noted that this man lived nearly 400 years after Aristeas and was not a Jew, but a Roman. He would have also been referring to Herold’s temple and not to the temple during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, even with these differences, both men refer to an inexhaustible spring within the temple. Again, the only spring they could be referring to is the Gihon. This is the only spring and major water source within the ancient city of Jerusalem. Tacitus also describes subterranean excavations or tunnels in the hill along with cisterns for holding rainwater. This provides additional credibility to the ancient City of David and not the traditional Temple Mount. From firsthand experience I can attest that there are many subterranean tunnels and cisterns within the City of David. The sheer size and number of tunnels are astonishing.
Along with these eyewitness accounts, Joel 3:18 provides a prophetic description of the future temple and shows similar evidence of a spring. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of Yahweh, and shall water the valley of Shittim.”
This is a future prophecy of the temple within the millennial Kingdom. Joel confirms here that a fountain will spring forth from underneath the temple, i.e., house of Yahweh. So not only do we see ancient eyewitness testimonies that the temple contained a springlike reservoir gushing up from underneath the temple precincts, but a similar account is provided from the prophet Joel as it pertains to the future temple.
Again, these facts present a real problem for those who claim that the temple was on the traditional Temple Mount. The only way to reconcile the accounts from Aristeas, Tacitus, and the Book of Joel is to relocate the temple from the traditional Temple Mount to the Ophel, near the Gihon Spring.
In part two (Coming soon!), we will continue exploring the evidence that the temple was located within the ancient City of David. We will review biblical prophecies and historical documents on the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, along with an in-depth look at Fortress Antonia and the Tenth Legion.
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There is no greater commitment and obligation for a believer than for proper baptism. While many assume that baptism into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or into the name of Jesus is scripturally acceptable, the Bible shows otherwise.
Besides there being some suspension with the Trinitarian formula found in Matthew 28:19, nowhere is the formula of the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” used within the Bible. In several places in Acts, we find the apostles baptizing only into the singular Name of the Messiah. And as we know from scholarship, the name of the Messiah was not Jesus. One reason for this is there is no “j” letter or sound within the Hebrew or Greek languages. The “j” was the last letter to be added to the English alphabet, near the time of Christopher Columbus. It is even missing from the original KJV.
The Name of the Messiah is “Yahshua.” As we explain in the Restoration Study Bible: “The Savior’s name in the Hebrew is ‘Yahshua,’ composed of five Hebrew letters, [yod-hey-waw-shin-ayin], incorporating the designation ‘Yah’ of the Father, ‘Yah'(weh), and ‘shua,’ from a Hebrew word meaning ‘salvation.’ Hence its meaning: ‘Salvation of Yah.’ The name ‘Jesus’ lacks any etymological connotation, being a combination of several disparate elements. ‘Jesus’ is Latinized Greek, employing the letter J, the newest letter in the English alphabet. The ‘J’ was nonexistent in any language until the 14th century. The ‘e’ possibly resulted from dissimilation. The Greek has no ‘sh’ sound and employs the simple ‘s’ in rendering the Hebrew ‘sh’ of Yahshua. The ‘us’ ending is the nominative masculine singular ending in the Greek. No scriptural authority allows changing the saving Name Yahshua into a designation that lacks even a semblance of the original pronunciation and meaning.”
The Name of the Messiah is also confirmed from the fact that He came in His Father’s Name, Yahweh (John 5:43). The Name Yahshua means, “Yahweh is Salvation.” Therefore, this is the Name the apostles would have used in the New Testament.
How do we know that only one name is acceptable? Many will make the claim that using the Messiah’s actual name is not important. Apostle Peter in Acts 4:12 stated, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Peter confirms that salvation is found in only one name, Yahshua. This is why we maintain that proper baptism is only into the Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
What about the hundreds of thousands who are baptized into a different formula or name? Should they be re-baptized? Since Paul in Ephesians 4:5 states that there is only one baptism and Peter confirms that there’s only one name wherein we find salvation, we believe that re-baptism is required for those who were baptized into a different form.
An example of such a scenario is found in the New Testament. “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Messiah Yahshua. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Sovereign Yahshua. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied,” Acts 19:1-6.
In this example, Paul finds a group of believers who were baptized into John’s baptism, which was a baptism of repentance. Once Paul explained to this group the benefits of Yahshua’s baptism, they were immediately re-baptized into the Name of Yahshua the Messiah. This example is analogous to those baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or into the name of Jesus. While it was a baptism of repentance and meaningful in the eyes of Yahweh, it’s not the baptism that binds us to Yahshua.
There are several benefits to baptism into Yahshua’s Name:
Only Baptism into Yahshua’s Name leads to the remission of sins, Acts 2:38.
Only Baptism into Yahshua’s Name leads to the receiving of the Holy Spirits, Acts 2:38 and 8:17.
Only those baptized into Yahshua’s Name become part of Messiah, Galatians 3:27.
Only those baptized into Yahshua’s Name will share in the likeness of His resurrection, Romans 6:5.
For those desiring or contemplating proper baptism, we offer baptism into Yahshua’s Name and the laying on of hands by the presbytery. If you are interested, please contact the Ministry at 844-899-6438 and schedule a time with one of the elders. We can normally provide baptism as part of our Sabbath services, Saturdays between 1:30-4:30 pm, and during the annual Feasts at our home facilities in Holts Summit, Missouri. For a map and additional information regarding our Sabbath worship, visit our Plan a Visit page.
To help prepare, below are our pre-baptismal guidelines. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Ministry. In addition to our toll-free number, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I understand that baptism into Yahshua’s name is necessary for salvation.
I understand that proper baptism is into the singular Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
I understand that baptism first requires repentance from my sins.
I understand that the gift of the Holy Spirit is provided at baptism.
I understand that baptism requires a lifelong commitment.
I understand that upon baptism I must follow all the commandments of Yahweh’s Word.
What is the status of believers who have died not knowing our Father and Savior’s proper names? Are they not saved?
Yahweh does not condemn those who are ignorant of His truth. This includes Yahweh and Yahshua’s name. There are two passages that verify this conclusion:
“Yahshua said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth,” John 9:41.
“And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”
Yahshua in John 9:41 confirms that when we are blind to the truth, sin or perhaps more correctly, the condemnation of sin, does not exist. Yahweh does not condemn a person when they are blind or ignorant to His Word. However, as Acts 17:30 verifies, once we know the truth, we must repent.
For those who never had the opportunity to accept the names of Yahweh and Yahshua, assuming they lived a righteous life based on what they understood, they will be given an opportunity in the Second Resurrection, which will occur after the millennial Kingdom. At this time, all those, except for the elect who were resurrected to eternal life at Yahshua’s Second Coming, will be judged based on their works, Revelation 20:12. For those who never had the chance to hear the truth, but who lived a moral and pleasing life, they will be given a chance to accept and receive eternal life at at this time.
Kindly help me understand what it means to be called by the Name of Yahweh as seen in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that says “if my people who are called by my name…”
Yahweh is more than a name. In addition to identifying the name of the Creator, it also identifies His people. This is similar to other religions. If you hear a person call upon Allah, you know he or she is a Muslim. If you hear someone call upon Vishnu, you know they are Hindu. If you hear them call upon Yahweh, you know they are a believer in the Mighty One of the Bible. The obvious difference between these examples is that Yahweh identifies as the one true Elohim, while Allah, Vishnu, and all other gods are imaginary.
While some say this does not include the actual calling or using of Yahweh’s name, the Bible disagrees. Scripture contains many examples showing that we are to call on His name. We are told to bless His name (Ps. 145:21), to call on His name (Ps. 80:18), to confess His name (2Chron. 6:24-25), to declare His name (Exodus 9:16), to exalt His name (Ps. 34:3), to glorify His name (Ps. 86:9, 12), to honor His name (Ps. 66:2), to magnify His name (2Sam. 7:26), to remember His name (Ex. 3:15), to sing to His name (Ps. 68:4), and to trust in His name (Isa. 50:10). With so many references to His name, there should be no question as to its importance to proper worship and identification of His people.
How do you actually measure when the barley is starting to be ready signifying the beginning of the year? Do you need to harvest your own barley? Does this have to be done in Jerusalem? Also, I have been looking at the idea of full moon as ‘New Moon’ and not the first sliver as new moon. Someone who believes new moon means full moon, would point to the difficulty with sighting the first sliver. How do you deal with issues of not being able to see the very first sliver of a crescent? Also, what are your thoughts on the lunar calendar?
As a ministry we’ve been observing the biblical calendar for 19 years. Here is a concise explanation as to why we use the barley to begin the biblical year and new moon crescent to begin the month.
Evidence for the barley can be found in the meaning of the word Abib, the name of the first biblical month, and in biblical scholarship.
We find a reference to the first biblical month in Deuteronomy 16:1. It states, “Observe the month of Abib….” The word “Abib” literally refers to young ears of grain.
“…from an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence, the name of the month Abib or Nisan,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
“Month of ear-forming, of greening of crop, of growing green Abib, the month of the Exodus and the Passover (March or April),” Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon.
“…barley that is already ripe, but still soft, the grains of which are eaten either rubbed or roasted,” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
“The name of the month, so called because corn [grain] was then forming in the ear, a few weeks before harvest; falling somewhere about March or April; afterwards called Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew year,” Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies.
Since Abib refers to young grain, i.e., barley, this is what we use to mark the first biblical month. Strictly speaking, Abib describes the stage of barley that is within the dough stage or later. The minimum allowance for Abib was a sheaf used in bundling or about two dry quarts. Also, since the Bible confirms that the barley precedes the new moon crescent (Exodus 9:31 and 12:2), you must have barley that meets the minimum stage of Abib by the new moon crescent. We reject the idea of projecting the barley in anticipation of the wave sheaf offering.
Since Israel observed the barley from the Holy Land and there is a need for one unified year throughout the globe, we observe the barley from Israel. While we do not personally look for the barley, we rely on several independent witnesses who travel and document the barley from Israel.
Scholarship also confirms the use of barley to commence the first biblical month of the biblical year:
“…Abib is not properly a name of a month, but part of a descriptive phrase, ‘the month of young ears of grain.’ This may indicate the Israelitish way of determining the new year (Ex 12:2), the year beginning with the new moon nearest or next preceding this stage of the growth of the barley,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia
“The months began with the new moon, but the first month was fixed (after the Exodus and by the necessities of the Passover) by the ripening of the earliest grain, namely, barley,” New Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
Regarding the new moon crescent and full moon, we believe that Scripture and scholarship confirms the new moon.
The word month, as seen in Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1, comes from the Hebrew chodesh and is defined, “…from OT:2318; the new moon; by implication, a month: -month (-ly), new moon.” OT:2318, chadash, is “a primitive root; to be new; causatively, to rebuild.” Strong’s used for both definitions.
In addition to Scripture, evidence for the new moon crescent is also found in antiquity. Philo of Alexandria, c. 20 BCE – c. 50 CE, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during the time of the Messiah, states, “…at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders,” The Works of Philo, p. 283.
Clearly, Philo is describing the first appearance of the new moon crescent and not the full moon.
Scholarship also confirms the new moon crescent:
“The Hebrew or Jewish calendar had three stages of development: the preexilic, or Biblical; the postexilic, or Talmudic; and the post-Talmudic. The first rested on observation merely, the second on observation coupled with calculation, and the third on calculation only. In the first period the priests determined the beginning of each month by the appearance of the new moon,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.
“As the festivals, according to the Mosaic law, were always to be celebrated on the same day of the month, it was necessary to fix the commencement of the month. This was determined by the appearance of the new moon; for the new moon was reckoned not by astronomical calculation, but by actual personal observation. On the thirtieth day of the month watchmen were placed on commanding heights around Jerusalem to watch the sky. As soon as each of them detected the moon he hastened to a house in the city kept for this purpose and was there examined by the president of the Sanhedrin.
“When the evidence of the appearance was deemed satisfactory, the president stood up and formally announced it, uttering the words, ‘It is consecrated.’ The information was immediately sent throughout the land from the Mount of Olives by beacon fires on the tops of the hills. The religious observance of the day of the new moon may plainly be regarded as the consecration of a natural division of time,” New Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
“Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculation, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon… By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued,” Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 12, p. 1039.
Based on the meaning of the Hebrew chodesh, evidence from early antiquity, and the preponderance of proof from scholarship, Israel clearly used the new moon crescent and not the full moon. As a side note, this would also include the conjunction or dark moon, as this was adopted with Hillel’s changes to the Jewish calendar in the 4th century CE.
Regarding the issue of not seeing the crescent new moon, this has never been a problem for us in the United States. This is mainly due to the size of the nation and ample opportunity to see the crescent. However, if there was an issue, we would likely adopt the method used by the Jews during the time of Messiah. Since the lunar cycle is approximately 29.5 days, they would automatically mark the 30th day in the event that the new moon crescent was not seen by the 30th evening.
As for the lunar Sabbath, this is not scriptural and contradicts the Bible in several points. For instance, the moon was not in place until the fourth day. Also, how does this work with a lunar cycle with a duration of 29.5 days? Every month you have remaining days that you must either observe as additional Sabbaths or ignore. In either instance, how does this fit with the command of working six days and resting the seventh? Also, we’re told to count seven complete Sabbaths from the wavesheaf to Pentecost. This is impossible with the lunar Sabbath doctrine. For additional information, please see our booklet: The Lunar Sabbath Illusion.
What does the Bible say about free will and predestination? Does it support one or the other?
We believe that the Bible confirms free will. Deuteronomy 30 makes this abundantly clear: “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love Yahweh thy Elohim, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and Yahweh thy Elohim shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other mighty ones, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live,” verses 15-18.
Therefore, we reject this notion of predestination. While the Bible seems to indicate that Yahweh may predestine or call certain people to the truth, our selection is based on what we do with that calling. We also tend to believe that Yahweh knows the beginning to the end. However, He will not act or change the course of our lives based on His foreknowledge of what will occur. This would invalidate free will.
The sun and the moon are used for signs, seasons, days, and years.
A. According to Genesis 1:14 these heavenly luminaries are used for signs, seasons, days, and years, and so both sun and moon play a part in Yahweh’s biblical calendar. It’s important to note that the word “seasons” found in Genesis 1:14 is from the Hebrew word moed, which literally means “appointed time,” referring to the annual Holy Days for Yahweh’s people (Lev. 23). Psalm 104:19 tells us, “He appointed the moon for seasons” (moedim—festivals)
The scriptural calendar is a solar calendar.
B. Unlike the sun-based Gregorian calendar in use today, the scriptural calendar is lunar-based. The biblical calendar is set by observation of the visible new moon (Ex. 12:2; Deut. 16:1). Our word “month” derives from “moon” and yet our modern calendar completely ignores the moon in setting the month. The lunar year of 12 months (354 days) is approximately 11 days shorter than the solar year (365 1/4 days). Unlike today, the lunar calendar was the standard for ancient people (Oxford English Dictionary, “month”
What is the Hebrew word for month?
A. Chodesh, the Hebrew word for month, literally means “new moon.” It derives from chadash, “to be new.” Grammatically it’s the causative of “rebuild.” The biblical new moon is a new, thin crescent in the initial stages of being rebuilt. Following the conjunction, as the moon moves away from a direct line between earth and sun, it first appears as a thin crescent. To be visible a crescent must be at least 18 hours past the point of conjunction.
According to Yahweh’s Word, what qualifies as the new moon?
C. The scriptural new moon is the first crescent of the moon that can be observed with the unaided eye. Using the first visible crescent of the moon to start the month was the biblical practice from Abraham to Yahshua. The Jews later dropped this method when Hillel II introduced a calculated calendar, and the Jews began using the conjunction or astronomical new moon to begin the month. (“Calendar,” Encyclopedia Judaica). This practice poses two problems: a concealed moon fails to fit the biblical criteria for the start of a month, as the rebuilding of the moon has not even begun while the moon is completely dark. Second, we are commanded to “observe the new moon,” Deuteronomy 16:1, where “observe” (shamar) includes the meaning of “look narrowly at, mark, watch.” How can one watch for or mark something that cannot be seen? Furthermore, the conjunction moon in the Middle East can go unseen from 1.5 to 3.5 days. A conjunction-based calendar presents the problem of which of these concealed-moon days begins the month
The scriptural day begins at what time?
B. The scriptural day starts and ends at sunset, as we see from creation (Gen. 1:5). The word evening as found in Genesis 1:5 is from the Hebrew word ereb, which is sunset. Therefore, the scriptural day begins at sunset and extends through the daylight hours to end at sunset. For further proof that sunset begins the day, see Lev. 23:32; Deut. 16:6; Ex. 12:18.
The first month of the biblical calendar includes the verification of what?
A. The first month of the biblical year is Abib. Abib, meaning “young ears of grain,” describes Mideast barley found in a certain stage of development during this month. Barley in the Middle East is a winter crop, which begins to turn green about spring. Technically the vernal equinox starts spring, which may not always correspond to Abib. While the vernal equinox can be used as an indicator it cannot be used scripturally to mark Abib and there is no mention of the vernal equinox in the Word. Once the grain is in the Abib stage the new moon of that month in which it occurs marks the beginning of the first month. For barley to be considered Abib, it must have young, green ears of grain, it must be brittle enough to be destroyed by a hailstorm and be ready for harvest in 2-3 weeks (Ex. 9:31; Lev. 23:14; Deut. 6:9).
Which scriptural months are mentioned in the Bible prior the Babylonian Exile?
C. Only four months of the scriptural calendar were given names prior to the Babylonian exile, each hinging on agriculture: Abib (Ex. 13:4; 23:15: 34:18; Deut. 16:1). Ziv, spring flowers (1Kings 6:1, 37). Ethanim, perennial (1Kings 8:2). Bul, rain (1Kings 6:38).
The scriptural calendar averages how many days per month
B. Being lunar, the scriptural calendar averages 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes per month (Judaica).
The scriptural calendar uses the vernal equinox to establish the first month.
B. Some claim that the term for equinox is the Hebrew tequphah, No. 8622 in Strong’s. Strong’s defines tequphah as: “From 5362; a revolution, i.e. (of the sun) course (of time) lapse:-circuit, come about, end.” It appears in Ex. 34:22; 1 Sam. 1:20; 1Kings 20:22, 26; 2Chron. 24:23; 36:10; and Ps. 19:6. Nowhere in these passages does tequphah point to the vernal equinox. In Exodus 23:16 it refers to the end of the year at the Feast of Tabernacles, not to the spring at Passover time.
The scriptural calendar consists of how many months?
D. The Bible never attributes a certain number of days or months to the scriptural year. However, knowing that the scriptural calendar is based on lunar observation that begins with the verification of the barley, one can determine that the biblical year consists of 12 or 13 lunar months.
How does the Jewish calendar differ from the biblical calendar?
D. The biblical calendar does not use postponements (dehioth) or the conjunction as does the Jewish calendar. Both of these practices are foreign to the Bible. According to the man-made postponements of the Jewish calendar, Atonement and Trumpets cannot fall on Friday or Sunday because that would place two Sabbaths in succession. In addition, Passover can fall only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Sabbath. Other rules of the Jewish calendar cannot be substantiated in the Bible, including beginning the year with the Feast of Trumpets in the fall (Rosh Hoshanah means “head” or “first of the year” when scripturally it is the seventh month). Scripture says that Abib, in the spring and month of Passover, is the beginning of the year, not Trumpets in the fall, Exodus 12:2, 6. The Jewish calendar also goes by calculated lunar conjunctions, not by the visible new moons as is commanded in Scripture. If we are off in the observance of a Feast by even one day we are not obedient to Yahweh. The punishment is to be “cut off” from Yahweh’s people, Leviticus 23:29.
What calendar did Yahshua the Messiah use during His ministry?
B. From all evidence, Yahshua used only the scriptural calendar during His ministry. During His life there were at least two, and perhaps more, conflicting Jewish calendar systems at work. One Jewish sect in particular, the Essenes, calculated the calendar from solar observation. The Sadducees and Pharisees used a lunar calendar; however, both varied from each other. Yahshua followed the calendar observed by the Sadducees. This can be verified in Yahshua’s observance of the new moon crescent and the 14th Passover. During Yahshua’s ministry the Sanhedrin, which was governed by the Pharisees, verified the beginning of each month by the new moon crescent, not by the conjunction. Many of the rules of the Jewish calendar were established by Hillel II sometime around the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I (379—395 CE). Not until the 9th century did the Jews completely abandon setting the calendar by the visible new moons in favor of the calculated conjunction of the modern Jewish calendar.