The Angelic Realm, Angels

The Angelic Ream pt.1

For millennia mankind has questioned the nature of angels, including their existence, appearance, knowledge, ability, and purpose. Surprisingly, the Bible provides a great deal of knowledge about the angelic realm. In this two-part series we will take an in-depth look at angels and answer age-old questions and much more.

 

Are Angels Created Beings?      

Let’s begin with the question, were angels created? While many believe that angels are eternal, Scripture shows that they had a beginning.

Nehemiah 9:6 states, “Thou, even thou, art Yahweh alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshipeth thee.”

We see that Yahweh created everything in the heaven of heavens, including all their hosts. The word “host” is from the Hebrew tsaba. One of the definitions offered in the Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon is a host of angels. From this we find that Yahweh created the angelic realm.

Based on the biblical evidence, this creation was done through Yahshua the Messiah. The Old and New testaments verify that Yahshua preexisted and through Him all things came to exist, including the angelic realm, Proverbs 30:4; John 1:1-3; and Colossians 1:15-16.

From Job 38, verses 4 and 7, we learn that angels were created before the earth. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding… When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy?” The references here to the morning stars and sons of Elohim refer to angelic beings.

As a side note, the phrase “sons of Elohim” can also refer to human beings. Evidence for this is found in Matthew 5:9; Luke 3:38; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26.

 

What Angels Look Like

Let’s now consider the appearance of angels. While there is not one right answer, it appears that most angels have a human-like form.  We’ll see exceptions to this in part 2 of this series when we review the cherubim and seraphim.

For now, let’s focus on one aspect, a human form. Hebrews 13:2 gives us this insight: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” If it’s possible to entertain angels without knowing it, they must appear as human beings.

One instance is in Genesis 18 with the three men visiting Abraham. In this case, one of those beings was called Yahweh, which was likely the pre-existent Messiah.

Genesis 19 offers another episode when the two angels came to Lot in the city of Sodom. Lot recognized them as being special, but the men of Sodom saw them as only men.

The New Testament gives us yet more insight with Yahshua the Messiah. After His resurrection, Mary believed that He was only the gardener, which shows that He looked like an average human being.

From these and other occurrences we learn that angels often take human form where one could not tell the difference between an angel and a flesh-and-blood human being.

 

Bodily Nature of Angels

In addition to the appearance of angels the Bible provides insight into their bodily nature. In Luke 24, we find several clues: “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Master is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Yahshua himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them,” verses 33-43.

Here is a description of Yahshua’s post-resurrection body. Keep in mind that Yahshua would have shared a body similar to angels after His resurrection.

As seen in the passage, Yahshua was able to appear before His disciples. When this happened the disciples believed that it was a spirit and not the person of Yahshua. The word spirit here is from the Greek pneuma. Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines this word as “a current of air, i.e. breath; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Messiah’s spirit, or the Holy Spirit.”

Because the disciples were afraid, some commentators believe they thought He was an evil spirit and not Yahshua Himself. Eventually, though, they realized that it was indeed the risen Savior standing before them.

Yahshua said something here that is quite fascinating. In trying to convince the disciples that He wasn’t a spirit, he told them, “…for a spirit hath not flesh and bones.” Yahshua verifies that angelic beings can have flesh and bone, but not blood.

The mention here of flesh and bone is somewhat of a mystery. While angels can appear with a physical body, it seems to be different from our mortal bodies, including the flesh and bone that Yahshua mentions. While they can appear solid, they can also transcend the physical world. In reference to the blood, the Bible verifies that the blood is the life-force for humans and animals alike. But as we see here, this is not true for spirit beings or angels.

 

Accelerating Molecules

Have you ever pondered how spirit beings can appear and disappear at will, but also assume a physical form that can also eat, as we find Yahshua doing here?

Here is a theory that the late Elder Donald Mansager believed on this issue. He reasoned that spirit beings, including angels, can either speed up or slow down their molecules allowing them either to transcend or to occupy the physical world. This can be shown when boiling water changes in form to steam.

While this is only conjecture, it seems plausible, especially if you understand the makeup of an atom.

It is a scientific fact that there is more empty space than solid space within an atom. In fact, according to the site www.education.jlab.org, “A hydrogen atom is about 99.9999999999996% empty space. Put another way, if a hydrogen atom were the size of the earth, the proton at its center would be about 200 meters (600 feet) across.”

The Apostle Paul provides some insight on what it means to be an angelic being in 1Corinthians 15:42-44. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

Paul draws a contrast between the bodies we have now and the bodies given at the resurrection. He begins by saying that we were sown in corruption, but will be raised in incorruption. The word “corruption” in Greek refers to decay or ruin, while the word “incorruption” refers to unending existence or immortality.

For a moment, consider this difference:  Human beings are preordained to die, but as spirit beings we live forever. The Bible describes the life we have now as a vapor and a flower that quickly fades away. But in the resurrection the saints will be like the angels in heaven and will live forever.

Paul continues and says that we were sown in dishonor, but will be raised in glory. The word “dishonor” in Greek refers to infamy, shame, or disgrace. The word “glory” comes from the Greek doxa and according to Thayer’s refers to “the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true [believers] shall enter after their Savior’s return from heaven.”

There’s just no comparison between our earthly bodies and the bodies that we’re going to receive at the resurrection if we prove faithful.

Paul also says that we were sown in weakness, but will be raised in power. The word “weakness” refers to feebleness of mind or body, while the word “power” refers to force or to something miraculous. Being spirit not only will death not exist, but neither will pain or disease.

Not only do we find a glimpse of what it will be like in the resurrection, but also see what it’s like for an angel in heaven.

 

Self-Inherent Immortality of Angels

As the above implies, the Bible shows that angels are immortal. Yahshua reveals this in Luke 20:34-36.  “And Yahshua answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of Elohim, being the children of the resurrection.”

In this passage Yahshua is describing the first resurrection at the return or Second Coming, of Yahshua the Messiah, likely to happen on the Feast of Trumpets.

The angels will gather the saints from the four corners of this earth. The righteous dead will rise first, followed by the righteous living. Both will be changed from flesh to spirit.

Those in the resurrection will live forever, as immortal, no different from the angels in heaven. They will be called children or sons of Elohim and also sons of the resurrection.

Because they are immortal angels live forever. But because they are immortal can they still be destroyed? From prophecies pertaining to Satan the devil, we believe the answer is yes.

Ezekiel 28:18 prophesies that Satan will be turned into ashes. In the Greek Paul in Romans 16:20 says that Yahshua will bruise Satan under His feet, referring to a lopping off or to complete destruction. And as we see in Revelation 20:10, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.

If Satan the devil, an anointed cherub according to Ezekiel 28:16, can be destroyed, reason would conclude that angels too can also be destroyed. What Yahweh creates He can also destroy.

 

Beings with Limited Knowledge

In addition to the appearance and existence of angels, many wonder whether angels have all knowledge. Matthew 24:36 verifies this is not the case: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Yahshua is referring to His Second Coming and the first resurrection. We learn that no one knows the exact day or hour of His Coming and this includes angels. So we see that angels are limited in what they know.

But what about Satan the devil, does he have all knowledge? While Satan is a very powerful being, we don’t see in Scripture where he has all knowledge.

In fact, the above passage shows that the only one who knows the day and hour of Yahshua’s coming is Yahweh. This also implies that Yahshua Himself is limited in knowledge, but second to the Father.

Only Yahweh, our Father in heaven, is all-knowing and all-powerful. This is one reason we perceive that the Father and Son are two separate beings as opposed to what we see from the Oneness or Trinity beliefs.

 

John Told Not to Worship Angels

The Bible says that we are to avoid worshiping angels. Paul in Colossians 2:18 states, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Also, we see this from Revelation 22:8-9: “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship Elohim.”

In Revelation 22 the angel tells John of Patmos not to bow down to him. The reason was that the angel himself was a fellow servant.

Even though angels are on a higher plane than human beings, in many ways we serve the same role. We are all servants and deferential to our Heavenly Father.

More specifically, just as there are angelic messengers doing Yahweh’s will, we also see earthly messengers doing the same. In fact, the Hebrew word for angel simply means a messenger and can refer to human beings as such.

Let’s change focus now and consider the different roles of angels.

 

How Yahweh Uses Angels

As seen in Scripture, they mainly are messengers. The word angel comes from the Hebrew malak, literally meaning, “messenger.”

We see this in Matthew 1:18-21. “Now the birth of Yahshua Messiah was on this wise: When as his mother Miriam was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of Yahweh appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Miriam thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name YAHSHUA: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

All should be familiar with this passage. We see here an angel coming to Joseph regarding the birth of Yahshua the Messiah.

As an aside, we see here that Joseph was planning to divorce Miriam because of his belief that Miriam had been unfaithful, even though they were only espoused or engaged.

The Bible shows that engagement begins marriage. This is important because only during the engagement is divorce an option. As seen in Matthew 19, when two people have come together and consummated that marriage, man is not to separate what Yahweh has joined together. Romans 7:2 tells us that when this happens, we are bound together for life.

Returning to Matthew 1 we again see that an angel came to Joseph in a dream, told him not to fear, and to take Miriam as his wife. The angel explained that what was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. As we know, the birth of Yahshua the Messiah was not by man, but by the power of Almighty Yahweh.

As a side note, we also see here that an angel communicated to Joseph in a dream. So not only can angels communicate to us when we are awake or conscious, but also when we’re unconscious or asleep.

We can see many more instances like this one throughout Scripture. The use of angels as Yahweh’s messengers is recognized throughout the Old and New testaments.

In addition to serving as messengers, we also see angels protecting mankind. In 2Kings 6:15-17 we find a miracle involving Elisha and an angelic host: “And when the servant of the man of Elohim was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Yahweh, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

The Syrian army had entrapped Elisha in the city. In response to this threat, Elisha says something very powerful to his servant. He tells him not to fear and reveals in vision the overwhelming army of Yahweh. Obviously the horses and chariots of fire were angelic beings and they were there to protect Elisha from the Syrian army.

This is one of the few times we are given insight into the spirit realm. This also reveals that much of what we see in the physical seems to be an image of the spiritual. In this case, it appears there are horse-like creatures within the angelic sphere. In many ways it appears that the angelic realm is more like our physical realm than what we may realize. Even we were created in Yahweh’s image.

 

Guardians of Human Beings

Finally, the Bible seems to show that all human beings have guardian angels. We see this in Matthew 18:10 and Acts 12:15.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 18:10.

Here Yahshua intimates that children have guardian angels as “their angels do always behold the face of my Father…”  This appears to support the idea of guardian angels generally.

There is also evidence that even adults have guardian angels assigned to them. “And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel,” Acts 12:15. It was assumed that it was not Peter at the door, but his angel.

Clearly, Peter may have had a guardian angel. If Peter had a guardian angel it is possible that all adults or possibly all believers also have guardian angels.

 

In part two we will consider specific types of angelic beings, including cherubim, seraphim, and ophanim. We will also explore how Judaism defines the angelic hierarchy, along with some amazing examples of spirit beings found in Scripture

On the topic on Angels, we received a Q&A on the topic of Angels in Noah’s Time. Check it out here>>

The Lost Temple Mount

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While some may interpret the contents and conclusions of this article as anti-Semitic, this could not be further from the truth. Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry supports the nation of Israel and believes that the entire nation of Israel, including the traditional Temple Mount area, forthrightly belongs to the Jewish people. This article is only interested in the truth and how the facts impact Yahweh’s prophetic Word.

Many assume 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 was located elsewhere? The truth could affect the location of a future third temple.

There is a theory gaining popularity that places the temple not on the traditional Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David. In this publication we explore several points of this theory, including the connection between the City of David and the biblical temple mount, the critical role of the Gihon Spring, the destruction to the temple and to the city of Jerusalem as prophesied by Yahshua and chronicled by antiquity, existence of Fortress Antonia, and much more.

This Theory’s Impact
However, 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 may have a 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 (Matthew 24:15), 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 its 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
In the picture Above 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 of 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 in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The traditional Temple Mount is where many believe the Jewish temple once stood. 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 publication.

(The lookout above is approximately where the temple would have stood. City of David, Jerusalem)

The City of David is the location for the ancient Jebusite city that David conquered and renamed 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 beneath 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 of 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 location within ancient Jerusalem and not on the Haram esh-Sharif, or Temple Mount.

Remember that the old City of David was only a 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. 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 that the temple was 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 likely 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 owing to its location between the Kidron and Tyropoeon valleys. We see that David built his city from the Millo inward. This ravine separated ancient Jerusalem from the Ophel.

Scripture shows 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 connected the City of David with the Ophel.
This is why Psalm 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.

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.
This citation says the biblical temple mount or “temple hill” was located alongside the tower or citadel. This is conclusive evidence that the temple was alongside the City of David. This also places the biblical Temple Mount approximately a third of a mile south of the traditional Temple Mount.

Temple Built Over a Threshing Floor
Another biblical clue to the location of the temple is the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, 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.”

The mention here of Mount Moriah is important. As Zion was synonymous with the City of David, Zion was also synonymous with the location of the temple, i.e., Mount Moriah. Therefore, the Bible connects the City of David, Zion, and Mount Moriah.

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. So, this would place the threshing floor within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. Remember that what is called the Temple Mount today is a third of a mile from the ancient Jebusite city.

(Example of a threshing floor at Jorge Island, Azores)

A threshing floor was an area where farmers would separate the grain from the straw and husks. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia 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 to allow 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 photo Below, the rocky floor of the Dome of the Rock is not flat or even. 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 when compared to the City of David and Ophel, many claim that with the wind conditions the threshing floor 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 mandatory as the wind blows everywhere.

Jagged and uneven rock floor inside the Dome of the Rock – how can this be a threshing floor?

Another issue with the threshing floor being located on the traditional Temple Mount is that threshing floors were prone to thievery. “Threshing-floors are in danger of being robbed (1Sam 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,” Ibid, Threshing-Floor.

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 and Necessity of Water
One of the most compelling reasons for the temple being located within the City of David is the location of the Gihon Spring. This spring sits along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The Gihon 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.”

Without the Gihon there would have been no Jebusite city for David to conquer. Jerusalem today would likely not exist without this spring. The Gihon Spring is just east of the Ophel, which joins the ancient city of David. Knowing that the Gihon is the only major water source in Jerusalem, does it make sense that Israel would have built their temple on the traditional Temple Mount a third of a mile away from their only water source?

This is especially perplexing considering the thousands of animals that Israel sacrificed on the Sabbath and annual Feast days for which thousands of gallons of water would have been needed then and daily.

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 for ancient reservoirs beneath 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 in 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. That water source was the Gihon Spring.
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 so far 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. This was not Herod’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.”

Tacitus

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,” The History of Tacitus, p. 199.

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 Herod’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 refer to is the Gihon, as 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. There are many subterranean tunnels and cisterns within the City of David. The sheer size and number of tunnels is astonishing. This provides additional credibility to the ancient City of David and not the traditional Temple Mount.

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. Not only do we have ancient eyewitness testimonies that the temple contained a spring-like reservoir gushing up from underneath the temple precincts, but a similar account is also provided by the prophet Joel as to the future temple.

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.

Not One Stone Left on Another
Possibly the greatest evidence for the temple’s real location are in the prophecies spoken by Yahshua the Messiah. “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Yahshua answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” Mark 13:1-2.

Mark 13, along with Matthew 24 and Luke 21, is known as the Olivet Prophecy. This passage begins with a disciple admiring the stones of the temple. In response, Yahshua said that these great buildings would be torn down with not one stone remaining.

Yahshua used the word “buildings.” Many who believe that the temple was located on the traditional Temple Mount will contend that Yahshua was referring only to the inner sanctuary and not to the entire temple complex. They do this to explain why the western wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, still stands.

This wall is the holiest site in Judaism. Tradition says that this wall was part of the outer western wall of Herod’s Temple. As a side note there’s debate as to whether this wall was even built by Herod. Eli Shukron, an archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, found a coin at the base of the Wailing Wall dating back to around 18 CE, 20 years after King Herod. Based on this, this wall was likely not built by King Herod, but by Agrippa II, Herod’s great-grandson.

When Yahshua gave this prophecy, Mark 13 records that He and the disciples were on the Mount of Olives looking back to the temple. From this location He would have viewed not only the inner sanctuary of the temple, but the entire temple precincts. With this in mind, along with the fact that He uses the word “buildings,” it seems unlikely that He was referring only to the inner sanctuary. It is far more probable that He was referring to the entire temple platform, which would have included the outer western wall. And remember, He stated that not one stone would remain upon another. Based on this prophecy and the known facts, how is it possible that the Wailing Wall remains today? There is no satisfactory explanation. Either Yahshua exaggerated or the Temple Mount is not the location of the ancient temple and this wall belongs to something else entirely.

Antiquity Supports Destruction
In addition to Yahshua’s prophecy, there is extensive evidence from antiquity to the destruction of the temple. Both Jewish and Christian sources confirm similar ruin. In fact, not only do they validate what Yahshua stated, but do so in a manner that verifies the destruction included not only the inner sanctuary, but also the entire platform, with the outer walls. One of the most well-known accounts is by Flavius Josephus.

Josephus lived between 37 and 100 CE and is one of the most renowned scholars and historians of the first century. He lived before and after the temple was destroyed. Therefore, this man

Flavius Josephus 37–100 CE

provides invaluable firsthand testimony of this destruction. Josephus in War of the Jews recounts, “I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our Holy Temple dug up, after so profane a manner” (Book VII, ch. 8).

The reference to “profane” here verifies that the Romans had no reverence for the temple. Even more importantly, Josephus states the foundation stones themselves were dug up and removed. Based on this extreme destruction, it’s hard to believe that Rome would have allowed the foundation stones of the current Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall to remain standing.

Evidence for the destruction of the entire temple platform is also found from Epiphanius of Salamis, a fourth century bishop in Cyprus. In his work, On Weights and Measures, he testifies to this destruction. “It was the second year of his reign when he [Hadrian] went up to Jerusalem, the famous and much-praised city which had been destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. He found it utterly destroyed and God’s Holy Temple a ruin, there being nothing where the city had stood but a few dwellings and one small church,” pp. 17-18.

Epiphanius records the eyewitness account of Emperor Hadrian. He states that Hadrian visited Jerusalem two years into his reign, approximately 119 CE. When he arrived, he was amazed at the devastation the city suffered under the Roman General Titus. He confirms that the temple was in ruins and that Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. Considering this, is it reasonable to believe that Titus would have allowed the foundations of the Temple Mount along with a large portion of the western wall to remain? This is highly unlikely. Another who provides insight into the temple’s destruction is Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius lived during the fourth century and was a historian, scholar, and bishop of Caesarea Maritima. He is one of the most well-known historians of the early church. In his work, Proof of the Gospel, he states the following: “Mount Sion was burned and left utterly desolate, and the Mount of the House of God became as a grove of the wood. If our own observation has any value, we have seen in our own time Sion once so famous ploughed with yokes of oxen by the Romans and utterly devastated, and Jerusalem as the oracle says, deserted like a lodge”
(Bk. VI, ch.13, sect. 273).

1910 aerial view of Jerusalem. The City of David is literally farm land.

Eusebius laments how such a place could have been so devastated that it was reduced to a plot of farmland where the oxen ploughed. Considering this description from Eusebius, is it realistic to believe that the foundation stones along with the western wall of the current Temple Mount were intact after the invasion of the Roman army? As we saw from Josephus and Epiphanius, such a conclusion is nearly impossible to draw. Later in this same work, Eusebius states, “The hill called Sion and Jerusalem, the buildings there, the Temple, the Holy of Holies, the Altar, and whatever else there was dedicated to the glory of God, [has] been utterly removed or shaken, in fulfillment of the Word” (Book VIII, ch.3, sect. 405). Eusebius states that the total destruction included the temple, the Holy of Holies, and all that was considered holy–hence the entire temple complex, including the outer walls. Eusebius astoundingly states, “Their ancient holy place, at any rate, and their Temple are to this day as much destroyed as Sodom” (Ibid, Book V, ch.23, sect. 250). Eusebius compares the destruction of the temple to the devastation of Sodom in the Old Testament. During our 2016 pilgrimage to Israel we visited what many believe is the ancient city of Gomorrah. As we know, Gomorrah suffered the same fate as Sodom.

As can be seen below in the image of Gomorrah, nothing remains of this ancient city, now reduced to rubble. Except for ash and a few remaining sulfur balls, Gomorrah today is a wasteland. Assuming that Eusebius was not exaggerating, is it possible that the Roman army left the foundation of the temple and Wailing Wall unscathed? Doubtful.

Jerusalem Itself Razed
In addition to the temple, Yahshua also prophesied a similar fate for the city of Jerusalem. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had
only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another,’” Luke 19:41-44, NIV.

Possible sight of Gomorrah, near Masada

Yahshua’s prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction was fulfilled. It’s amazing how history validates the Bible. Archaeology and scholarship have overwhelmingly confirmed the accuracy of the Bible.

Similar to what Yahshua said about the temple, He says here regarding Jerusalem. He verifies that not one stone would be left upon another. And as we know through antiquity, Jerusalem’s destruction was so great that the city was hardly identifiable.

According to Josephus in Wars of the Jews, “And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty  quite waste. Nor if anyone that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again” (Book VI. ch.1).

Rome’s destruction of the city made Jerusalem unrecognizable. This once grand city had been reduced to rubble. Josephus describes the city as “desolate.” He goes on to say that even those who were familiar with the city would not have known it after Rome’s destruction.

Knowing that the temple was the central focus of Jerusalem, how is it possible to reconcile this description with the remaining foundation of the traditional Temple Mount and the western wall? Considering that these objects would have been well known and easily identifiable, how is it possible that even those who were familiar with the city before would not have recognized it afterward?
Josephus also describes this destruction in Book VVI, chapter 7, “As he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city with the greatness of its present ruins (as well as its ancient splendor). He could not but pity the destruction of the city … Yet there was no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among the ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they [the Romans] carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground against the uncertainties of war,” Ibid.

Not only was the entire city of Jerusalem destroyed, but much of it was dug up. After Jerusalem fell to the Romans, the army began looking for valuables, including gold and silver. To hide many of these valuables, many Jews buried them. So not only was the city completely demolished, but they also excavated the very foundation stones, including within the temple precincts, looking for plunder. This confirms Yahshua’s prophecy that not one stone would remain, including the foundation stones. Based on this, it’s hard to fathom how anything substantial would have remained within the city or temple platform, especially considering the ornateness of the temple. It’s likely that the temple was ground zero for many of these Romans who desecrated the holy place for personal gain.

In addition to the Jewish historian Josephus, we also find evidence for Jerusalem’s destruction from the early church. Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop and Nicene Father, also gives an account of Jerusalem’s desolation, “Up to the time of the manifestation of Christ the royal palaces in Jerusalem were in all their splendor: there was their far-famed Temple, … [but now] no traces even of their Temple can be recognized, and their splendid city has been left in ruins, so that there remains to the Jews nothing of the ancient institutions; while by the command of those who rule over them the very ground of Jerusalem which they so venerated is forbidden to them,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, p. 940.

Gregory of Nyssa states that no traces of the temple were left. We know that the Temple Mount foundation along with the Wailing Wall existed during the fourth century. How is it possible that such prominent landmarks were missed? How is it possible that no traces of the temple remained if large portions of the foundation and walls of the temple remained? The logical answer is, what is called the Temple Mount today is not the location of the temple.

South end of the Western Wall.

The Remaining Monument a Roman Wall
We find a clue as to what the Temple Mount was from Josephus in Wars of the Jews. He states, “And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing left but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it” (Book 7, ch. 8).

Josephus, quoting Eleazar Ben Ya’ir, commander and leader of the Sicarii, painted a dreadful picture of the ancient city of Jerusalem. He described how the once crown jewel of the Jewish nation had been demolished down to its very foundation and how only one monument remained, i.e., the camp.

What camp was Josephus referring to? From a historical standpoint, the only possible answer is Fortress Antonia. This was the Roman camp or fort that existed during the time of the Messiah and after the destruction of Jerusalem. So according to Josephus, the only substantial structure that remained after Rome’s demolition of Jerusalem was this Roman fort. Everything else within the city was demolished.

Where was Fortress Antonia located? The only plausible answer is the traditional Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are located. Again, Josephus confirms that the only remaining structure was the Roman fort and there is only one major structure that still exists today within the city of Jerusalem from that time period – the traditional Temple Mount platform. This means that the current Temple Mount along with the Wailing Wall was not part of the temple, but of Fortress Antonia.

Before we go any further with Fortress Antonia, let’s first review the Roman Tenth Legion.

Rome’s Tenth Legion Stationed There
From newhistorian.com we learn about the location and history of this military power: “Bricks from the bathhouse were stamped with the name of the Tenth Roman Legion, which was part of the takeover of Jewish Yerushalayim. Its soldiers were garrisoned there until 300 CE. The Tenth Roman Legion (Legio X Fretensis) was created by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE, specifically to fight in the civil war which marked the beginning of the end of the Republic of Rome. The tenth legion existed until at least the 410’s,” Reminders of the Tenth Roman Legion Unearthed in Jerusalem.

A key fact is that the Roman Tenth Legion was an actual legion, coming from the Latin legio. We’ll see later why this is important. We also find here that the Tenth Legion was stationed in Jerusalem until about 300 CE and existed until the 410s. Long after Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans, the Tenth Legion remained there for nearly 200 years.

Imperial Roman legionaries in formation

A Legion Is Like a City
French author, Yann Le Bohec, describes the number and complexity of a typical Roman camp: “With almost 5000 men, a legionary camp was the equivalent of a town. Consequently everything that was essential for the daily life of such a community — hospital, stores, workshops, baths, as well as public lavatories — was to be found,” The Imperial Roman Army, p. 160.

Besides the 5,000 men was the support staff. According to some, a support staff would have added several thousand more. A legionary camp was equivalent to an average town, including stores, workshops, baths, and many other necessities.

The Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature states, “The legion appears to have originally contained about 3000 men, and to have risen gradually to twice that number, or even more. In and about the time of Christ it seems to have consisted of 6000 men, and this was exclusive of horsemen, who usually formed an additional body amounting. to one tenth of the infantry,” Vol. V, “Legion,” p. 329.

In all, a typical Roman legion could have had as many as 10,000 people.

Now why is this number important? It verifies that the current model of Fortress Antonia as shown by scholarship could not be right. As seen in the model of Fortress Antonia as displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, it would be impossible to accommodate more than a few hundred troops (see image page 25).

So how does scholarship explain this discrepancy? Many claim that the Roman Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort, containing about 600  men. There are two issues with this: (1) By definition, the Tenth Legion was not a cohort, but a legion, coming from the Latin Legio X Fretensis, meaning, “Tenth legion of the Strait” and 2) a typical legionary camp or fortress was the size of a city. Therefore, based on this evidence, the traditional model at the Israel Museum is likely incorrect.

 

Recreation of the legionary fortress of Deva. Notice how small the amphitheater looks in comparison

Fortress Antonia
Besides the inaccuracies we have already seen, Josephus, an eyewitness to this Roman fortress, provides several important facts that modern scholarship seems to overlook.

First, Josephus states in Antiquities of the Jews, “Now on the north side [of the temple] was built a citadel, whose walls were square, and strong, and of extraordinary firmness. This citadel was built by the Kings of the Asamonean race, who were also High Priests, before Herod; and they called it the tower…But for the tower itself, when Herod the King of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius; who was his friend, and the Roman ruler; and then gave it the name of the tower of Antonia” (Book XV, ch.11).

Thirty-six acre Harem El Sharif, originally Fortress Antonia

Josephus further provides somewhat of a lengthy but crucial description of Fortress Antonia in War of the Jews: “Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the Temple; of that on the west, and that on the north. It was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice. It was the work of King Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. 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.

By its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the southeast corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole Temple might be viewed, but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the Temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the Temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the Temple, and in that tower were the guards of those three. There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod’s palace, but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower Antonia, as we have already told you, and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the Temple on the north.” (Book 5, ch.8).

We learn a great deal from these two accounts from Josephus. Below is a summary highlighting the major or crucial points:

• Fortress Antonia was originally a fortress built by the Hasmoneans, i.e., Maccabees.
• Herod further fortified the fortress to protect the temple and gave it the name “Fortress Antonia” in honor of Mark Anthony.
• The temple and Fortress Antonia were connected by two cloisters, i.e., covered bridges, (Wars VI, 2, 144 confirms this distance at 600 feet).
• A typical Roman fortress contained all kinds of conveniences (e.g. courts,
places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps), similar to an actual city.
• Fortress Antonia had four distinct towers at its four corners measuring 50
cubits (75 feet), except for the southeast corner, which measured 70 cubits (105
feet) high, from which the temple could be viewed.
• Fortress Antonia housed the Tenth Roman Legion, of approximately 6,000
men.
• As the temple was to guard Jerusalem, Fortress Antonia was to guard the
temple.
• Fortress Antonia was located on the highest of the three hills.
• Looking from the north, Fortress Antonia blocked the view of the temple.
Several points here are inconsistent with the model at the Israel Museum in
Jerusalem. (See below.)

Missing Connectors and Hills
Josephus mentions two covered bridges that connected the temple and Fortress Antonia. No such bridges exist in the Avi-Yona model at the Israel Museum. Also, the description of the fort resembling a city and housing a 6,000-man army does not fit the current model, as it is far too small. We also find inconsistencies with the towers. The towers depicted on the model have four equal-length towers, while Josephus clearly states that the tower overlooking the temple was 25 additional cubits. He also stated that the fort obscured or blocked the view of the temple from the north. This is certainly not depicted by the model. Another major problem between the model and Josephus’ account is the fact that the fortress was on the third highest hill.
Neither of these last two points is depicted by the model at the Israel Museum. However, if the temple was within the City of David on the Ophel, and Fortress Antonia was on the Temple Mount or the Haram esh-Sharif, everything falls into place. When you survey the City of David, the Ophel, and the Temple Mount area, the Temple Mount area is on the third highest hill and also obscures the Ophel and the City of David from the north.

Roman siege camp F can still be seen today from Masada, Israel

Roman Fortresses Built Alike
Another indication for the traditional Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia is the fact that it shares similar dimensions with other legionary camps. The Temple Mount platform is 36 acres in size with the eastern wall measuring 1,541 feet, the southern wall measuring 918 feet, the western wall measuring 1,601 feet, and the northern wall measuring 1,033 feet. While the Temple Mount resembles a rectangle, it is in fact a trapezoid.

This shape is similar to other Roman forts. For example, there is a Roman fortress in Caerleon, Wales, dating to 75 CE. It measures a total of 50 acres. It is believed that this particular fort housed the Second Roman Legion, of approximately 5,500 men.

Another is in Neuss, Germany, dating to 80 CE. The size is 59 acres and possibly housed the Nineteenth Roman Legion. There are remains of a Roman fort from Haltern, Germany, with a total size of 85 acres. It’s thought this fort housed two Roman legions.

The size and shape of these Roman fortresses strongly resemble the area known as the Temple Mount. Could this only be coincidence? It is highly doubtful. It is far more likely that these similarities offer additional evidence for the Temple Mount platform being the location of Fortress Antonia. One fact is certain: the model at the Israel Museum does not fit the description from Josephus or what archaeology confirms regarding a Roman fort or legionary camp.

The Paul Dilemma
A final piece of evidence for the Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia comes from the 23rd chapter of Acts. “The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks…Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, ‘Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight,’” vv. 10, 23, NIV.

Due to a dispute caused partially by Paul, the Romans were forced to fetch Paul from the temple to the barracks, i.e., Fortress Antonia. Notice that the men who retrieved Paul came DOWN from the barracks to the temple. This shows that the Roman fortress was at a higher elevation than the temple and verifies Josephus’ account that Fortress Antonia was on the third highest of the three hills.

We also see here that Rome provided two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to escort Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea, a total of 470 men. Again, some theorize that the Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort. In other words, they claim that instead of 6,000 men, Fortress Antonia housed only 600 men.

Knowing that Rome provided Paul with 470 men, is it reasonable to assume that the Roman Tenth Legion consisted of only a cohort? If true, this means that they gave 78 percent of their military force to escort one man and leaving only 22 percent to guard the entire city of Jerusalem. This is highly improbable! However, assuming that the Tenth Roman Legion was an actual legion of 6,000 men, 470 men is possible, especially because Paul was a Roman citizen.

Prophetic Impact
While this theory of the temple’s actual location is not salvational, it is a belief that may hold a crucial key to future prophecy. The Bible is clear that a third temple will be rebuilt before Yahshua’s coming.

Yahshua in Matthew 24:15 states, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:).” The phrase “holy place” is an allusion to the Holy of Holies within the temple.

Paul also describes a temple in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshipped; so

that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim.” Paul clearly states here that the son of perdition or anti-messiah will sit in a temple exalting himself as elohim or as a god to be worshiped.

As a final reference, John of Patmos in Revelation 11:1-2 records, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” John not only confirms here a temple, but also describes the outer court.

Based on this and the two previous accounts, there is little doubt that a third temple will be rebuilt prior to the return of Yahshua the Messiah. Assuming that the temple was originally located within the City of David, as indicated by the evidence, and Jewish scholarship accepted this conclusion, this could radically impact future prophecy.

It is for this reason that this theory is important. While many are looking to the traditional Temple Mount as the location for the third temple, the actual location may be elsewhere. If this is the case, as seems to be supported by Scripture and antiquity, and is ever accepted by the Jews, this could provide an alternate location for the temple and shock millions in the process.

 

Tel Dan

Tel Dan – Compromise in Worship

In our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land we visited Tel Dan, an ancient city in the northeast corner of Israel. It was originally called Leshem and Laish. After the Philistines forced the tribe of Dan from central Israel, they relocated to this area and renamed it Tel Dan. Along with the city of Bethel it was here where Jeroboam placed and worshiped the golden calf.

Tel Dan

Where the alter would have stood at Tel Dan.

Jeroboam’s Sin

This account is found in the 12th chapter of 1Kings: “Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their sovereign, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah,” verses 25-27.

Jeroboam compromised out of fear– he was afraid of losing the people, his position, and in the end his life. He realized that if the people went back to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh that they would also return to Rehoboam. For Jeroboam this wasn’t something he could bear. So how did he prevent it from happening?

Beginning with verse 28: “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy mighty ones, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi,” vv. 28-31.

Jeroboam did the unthinkable; he made two idols for Israel to worship. To prevent the people from going back to Rehoboam, Jeroboam compromised Yahweh’s worship.

Amazingly, we still find this being done today. For 2,000 years the Church has compromised worship for self-preservation, numbers, and other self-seeking interests. As shown through history, it’s very hard for mankind to remove self from the equation and to simply follow Yahweh as He commands.

Even believers are susceptible to such compromise. This is why we must always be on guard against false doctrine and the traditions of man. When we do it Yahweh’s way, sacrifices will be made. While some are willing and able to do this, the reality is that most are not.

Beyond the idols Jeroboam also made priests of the lowest of the people. As for the qualifications of ministers, the Bible says that they must meet a high standard. In 1Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, the Apostle Paul says that a bishop or elder must be blameless. James in his epistle also states that ministers will receive the heavier condemnation or judgment.

Tel Dan

Where the King’s throne sat at the city entrance. (2 Kings 23:8)

Consequently, one of the worst things we can do is to compromise leadership, as did Jeroboam. This compromise will negatively impact the body of Messiah. As goes the leadership, so goes the assembly. For this reason we must ensure that our worship and those who minister before us meet the standards of our Father’s Word.

Continuing on, we find that Jeroboam made one more fatal mistake. “And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense,” verses 32-33.

In addition to setting up idols and making priests of those unqualified, he also changed Yahweh’s worship. Instead of observing the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month, he moved it to the eighth month. The people worshiped on a day that Yahweh never appointed. In other words, instead of doing it Yahweh’s way, they did it man’s way.

 

Modern Jeroboams

The sad reality is, we find many cases of apostasy in today’s worship, including: Sunday worship, man’s holidays (e.g. Easter, Halloween, Christmas), Trinity, Rapture, and the list goes on. The Bible shows that Yahshua and His Apostles observed the true seventh-day Sab-bath along with the annual Feast days, as appointed and as established by Yahweh. Like Jeroboam, the Church com-promised the truth from the beginning, and for 2,000 years since.

This is why we at YRM strive to strip away the traditions of man and to simply worship Yahweh according to His Word. We all have a choice; we can follow the example of Jeroboam and compromise our Father’s worship or we can worship Him as He commands.

 

Solomon’s Negligence

What many don’t realize is that Jeroboam’s compromise began with Solomon’s negligence, as seen in 1Kings 11:4-9: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other mighty ones: and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his Elohim, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the elohim of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and went not fully after Yahweh, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their mighty ones. And Yahweh was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from Yahweh Elohim of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.”

When Solomon took the throne he was humbled and sincerely desired to follow Yahweh. He prayed to Yahweh for wisdom. Because his motives were noble and pure, Yahweh blessed him with incredible wisdom along with great wealth and abundance.

The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man and that his wisdom exceeded even those in the east and Egypt. Besides the Messiah, Solomon was likely the wisest man in the Bible.

Even though he possessed incredible wisdom in the end he still forsook Yahweh. When he was old his wives turned his heart away from Yahweh and to other mighty ones.

The Bible says that he allowed and promoted the worship of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Molech, and other pagan gods.

Through Solomon we find that wisdom alone is not sufficient; we must also have a heart of obedience. As believers we should realize that we’re also susceptible to this type of influence and deception.

What was the result of Solomon’s apostasy? “And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other mighty ones: but he kept not that which Yahweh commanded. Wherefore Yahweh said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1Kings 11:10-13).

Because of Solomon’s sin Yahweh would tear apart the kingdom of Israel during the reign of his son, Rehoboam. Because of Yahweh’s love for David he could have one tribe, i.e., Judah. Rehoboam actually received two tribes, i.e., Judah and Benjamin, along with a portion of the Levites.

We pay a penalty when we deviate from our Father’s Word. In the case of Solomon, his sin impacted not only him but also an entire nation. Sin can do the same to families and to an assembly or body of believers. When we choose not to follow Yahweh’s righteous standards we will suffer the consequences.

This is why it’s important that min-isters follow the standards established by Yahweh. Nothing will cause more problems than when the requirements of leadership are lowered.

This is also true for parents. If a father or mother doesn’t have right virtue and character, this deficiency will negatively impact families and likely future gener-ations.

 

The Sons of Aaron Rebel

The Bible provides us another case of compromise in the tenth chapter of Leviticus: “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Yahweh, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from Yahweh, and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh. When Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that Yahweh spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace,” verses 1-3.

Instead of worshiping the way Yahweh commanded, Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to change worship. For that Yahweh consumed them with fire. Consider this: these were the sons of the High Priest. If anybody would have been faithful to Yahweh’s Word, logic would say that it would have been these two men. But that wasn’t the case.

Moses told Aaron after Yahweh killed his sons that Yahweh would be sanctified by them that came near. In other words, those who minister before our Heavenly Father must be especially careful to follow Him.

In truth, this principle applies to all positions of leadership. Consider again the impact of Solomon and Jeroboam – because of their negligence the entire nation suffered. This is one reason why the Torah commanded that the king write a copy of the Law. Not even the king of Israel was above Yahweh’s divine commandments. So whether it’s a civil or religious position, both must hold to the Word of Almighty Yahweh and be a person of virtue and character.

The simple truth is this: when more is given, more is expected! This is why James states that a minister will receive the greater condemnation.

 

Making a Separation

The Apostle Paul in 2Corinthians 6:14-16 shows that as believers we must make a distinction in worship: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim….”

Here Paul conveys the great contrast between believers in the Messiah and the world. He states emphatically that we are to make a distinction in worship. When we follow Yahweh closely, the separation will come automatically.

One of the most frequently asked questions of the Ministry is: Can we worship in the common titles in lieu of the actual names of the Father and Son? While it’s our desire to promote fellowship within the body, we cannot support worship outside the Truth that is diluted with compromise. The fact is, both the titles “Lord” and “God” have questionable etymological roots. More importantly, the Bible mandates that the Names of Yahweh and Yahshua are key to proper worship.

Those baptized into Yahshua’s Name represent Yahweh’s temple. The Old Testament allows no room for compromise regarding worship in the temple (or tabernacle). Since believers now represent His temple, this same policy applies to us today. As Yahshua’s disciples, we must make a distinction between the holy and the common.

The Church has gone astray in a myriad of ways, solidifying error into tradition. Tradition often proves hardest for believers to deal with. It’s difficult to go against the majority, but if we desire to follow our Heavenly Father without compromise, there is no other choice.  Either we do it His way or we do it man’s way; it’s not possible to please both. If we try, we will not succeed with either.

 

One Man Against 400

Elijah or EliYah (meaning, “My El is Yah”) was a prophet who knew the cost of worshiping Yahweh. In 1Kings 18:20 we find him all alone against 400 prophets of Baal: “So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if Yahweh be Elohim, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word,” verses 20-21.

Before we consider what Elijah says here, it’s important that we understand the events which led up to this point. Prior to this passage, Elijah prayed to Yahweh that it would not rain upon the land. This was in response to the sin of King Ahab and Jezebel. Yahweh answered his prayer and three years of drought followed. Through the prophet Obadiah Elijah then calls a meeting with King Ahab.  He asked that the king, along with the prophets of Baal, meet him at Mount Carmel. Elijah’s plan was to show the power and supremacy of Almighty Yahweh.

In verse 21 the stage was set. All of Israel was gathered at Mount Carmel including King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. The test for supremacy was simple: take a bull as a burnt offering, place it upon wood, and see which mighty one world consume the burnt offering.

First up was the 400 prophets of Baal; they danced, chanted, and cut their own flesh in their futile attempt to call down the power of their mighty one. Needless to say, nothing happened except that they made a mockery of themselves and the one they worshiped.

Next up was the prophet Elijah. Before praying, he asked that four barrels of water be poured on the sacrifice and wood. This man wanted to show beyond a shadow of doubt who reigned supreme. After this was done he prayed to Yahweh and at that very that moment the fire of the Almighty came down from heaven and consumed both the water and burnt offering.  Seeing this the people of Israel fell upon their faces and said, “Yahweh, he is the Elohim.” Then they killed the 400 prophets of Baal.

Let’s now return to verse 21. In this passage Elijah asks the people how long they will flip-flop between two opinions? How long will you continue to compromise worship?

As the people of Israel had to choose, we too must choose whether we’re going to worship Yahweh as He commands or to compromise His Word. We know from this story that the people of Israel chose Yahweh, but only after Elijah gave a demonstration that they would not soon forget.

Understand that this question is just as relevant to us as it was then. Whom do we serve today?  Are we faithfully following our Father in heaven or are we allowing ourselves to compromise His truth?

 

The Cost of Total Commitment 

Another man fully devoted to his Father in heaven was Joshua, the son of Nun. In Joshua 24:15 we find just how resolute Joshua was. It reads, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve Yahweh, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the mighty ones which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the mighty ones of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.”

We find here Joshua’s resolute devotion to His Father in heaven. Regardless of what the people of Israel chose, we see that this man was going to stay the course. Joshua is one of the best examples of personal commitment in all of Scripture. No matter who or what, nothing was going to distract this faithful servant from his focus and service to his Father Yahweh.

What about us, is our Father in heaven the first focus in our lives? Are we going to follow Him no matter what? At the beginning of this passage, Joshua said to the people, choose you this day whom you will serve.

Even though the truth is not a democracy, we see that we still have a choice. We can choose to serve Him or to reject Him. We can worship as He commands or we can compromise and follow man, as Israel did with Jeroboam.

Are we going to demonstrate the character of Joshua by fully committing to Yahweh or are we going to compromise?  Our Heavenly Father is calling out a select people; He wants the cream of the crop. If we’re found worthy, it’s going to be because we followed Him without compromise and deviation. This is the only path that will ensure His blessings and the prize of everlasting life in His Kingdom.

For more info on our Trip to Israel please check out this video: https://youtu.be/FPxIXBdQmJ0

Rightly Dividing

Rightly Dividing vs. Wrongly Subtracting

How dedicated are you in your walk? In a world of compromises, many are willing to compromise the Word and their future by selling out to this shallow, transitory world.

Yahweh is a Mighty One of detail and He expects nothing short of total compliance. To demonstrate, consider the specifics He instructed for the design of the High Priest’s robe, down to its smallest embellishment. Consider the intricate design in the structure and furnishing of the tabernacle and temple. Note how He commanded the Ark of the Covenant to be transported, and even killed a man who unwittingly touched it.

Both the priest, temple, and ark were central to His worship and reveal the strictness Yahweh expects in His devotion.
When Yahshua said in Matthew 5:18 that not one yod or tittle would pass from Yahweh’s commands, He was conveying to us that compliance to even the smallest part of Yahweh’s mandate is a must.

Is Halfway Okay?
Let’s face facts. Humans are naturally lazy. We cut corners and do just enough to get by. We like to water down clear commands to make them more palatable, change worship to our liking – which is to be more like the world – and to bring in simpler substitutes to get around demanding requirements. That has been the well-walked path of churchianity all through the centuries.

Human nature consistently proves that once you crack open the door, the floodgates of compromise are not far behind. If you allow the camel to work its nose under the tent flap you will soon have a thousand pounds of dromedary in your lap.

The question is, how much devotion does Yahweh expect of His worshipers? If going halfway is okay with Him, then we can go halfway. If not, then our duty is to learn exactly what He wants. He is the One in charge. He decides our eternal future.

Why would we NOT want to be zealous in the way we honor Him? Yahweh is clear that he hates halfhearted, indifferent effort.
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,” Revelation 3:16. He’ll reject anyone having a permissive attitude who accepts half-truths and compromise in their worship.

Not one of Yahweh’s inspired writers presented any part of Yahweh’s worship as optional. Yahweh never allows multiple choices when it comes to our worship and obedience. There is only one way to follow Him – and everything must go that way. Paul wrote, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Master, one faith, one baptism,” Ephesians 4:4-5.

In His wisdom, knowing clearly the nature of people, Yahshua pronounced that the way is narrow. That means it is exacting and restrictive. Because of it, few would find and maintain the Truth.

Attention to detail in faith and obedience reveals the heart and strength of personal resolve. In Matthew 5:19 Yahshua said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Does that mean practicing and teaching commandment breaking will still allow a place in the Kingdom, but only as a doorkeeper?

The Twenty Century New Testament in combination with Moffatt’s translation reads in verse 19 that such a person will be “least esteemed in the realm of heaven.” In other words, the commandment breaking, no-law advocate will have zero respect or honor among the heavenly hosts, which includes Yahweh and Yahshua.

Our salvation hinges on true understanding of the Bible and what is expected of us. Whether we walk in Truth depends on a correct grasp of that Truth as well as our resolve to follow it.

In 2Thessalonians 5:21 Paul wrote, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.” Paul also told Timothy, “Study to show yourself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth,” 2Timothy 2:15.
That doesn’t mean running to the minister with every Bible question. It means studying it out yourself to learn the Truth.

One Path, Not Many
We cannot afford to be flippant or careless with the Scriptures. The Word, Paul said, is given for proper doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteous living, 2Timothy 3:16. It speaks to the ultimate goal of salvation. Why should Yahweh give us specific instruction about life and worship if we’re just going to toss it all out and follow our own plan?

Many Bible students approach the Word in a piecemeal way, yanking verses or parts of verses from their context and completely changing the meaning. Others ignore passages that don’t agree with their beliefs.

Paul told Timothy: “Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine [proper teachings]; continue in them: for in doing this you shall save both yourself, and them that hear you,” 1Timothy 4:16.

For a variety of reasons some passages create difficulty in understanding. Doctrinal problems result when care is not taken to rightly divide the Word. Along with impure motives, rebellion led churchianity to purge from their teachings the law and obedience, including observance of the Sabbath and Feast days.

Our culture suffers profoundly from ignorance of the Scriptures. Clerics steeped in man-made tradition only compound the problem. In Job 38:2 Yahweh asks rhetorically of Job as well as us in our day, “Who [is] this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

Simply put, Yahweh asks who are these teachers who teach when they don’t know the truth themselves, and only make matters worse?

Not even a small percentage of churchgoers is aware of 2Timothy 2:15 and its command for individual study. The mandate is for each to “rightly divide the word of truth.” This phrase derives from the Greek orthotomeo. The Expository Dictionary says it does not mean dividing Scripture from Scripture, but teaching Scripture accurately.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says the reference “is not to dividing up Scripture into dispensations, and applying to ourselves only what is allegedly valid for this dispensation…The emphasis is not upon ‘right division’ (which in the practice of some is ‘wrong subtraction,’ but on correct interpretation)” p. 1432.

Another verse addressing proper discernment of teachings is Philippians 1:10, where, after Paul encourages us to abound in knowledge and in all judgment, he says, “That you may approve the things that are excellent…” “Are excellent” should have been rendered, set apart that which is better from what is not (Restoration Study Bible note).

Every teaching must harmonize with the Word. When it doesn’t the result is the error the church has promoted for the past 2,000 years.

If the Roman Church had eradicated unorthodox beliefs and practices instead of blending error with truth, churchianity would be completely different today. There would not be this stark contrast between what the apostles and Yahshua taught and practiced with today’s tangled mishmash of doctrines.

How then can we read Yahweh’s Word and know that we are properly understanding it? How can we make right interpretations? How should we go about rightly dividing the Word and testing doctrines that differ?

Bible study is serious business. Study of the Word should be systematic. It takes discipline and dedication to do it properly.
To get off on the right foot, start with good study Bibles like the Companion and Restoration Study Bible. Your understanding will increase exponentially when you dig down to the foundational languages of the text, which these Bibles do.

When you compare other parallel or contrasting verses, as typically provided in a good study Bible like the RSB, you get a more complete understanding.

Some Bible Study Basics
Both the Old and New testaments were written in Hebrew. That’s clear for several reasons, not the least of which is that most every writer writes in his native language, which for the writers of both testaments was Hebrew.

These were not Greeks or Greek-speaking Jews living in Galilee in the first century. They were native, blue-collar Jews who spoke Hebrew, the language of the nation. Even Paul who was a native Benjaminite-Jew wrote to Hebrew-speaking Jews in various assemblies of the dispersion.

Yet only Greek manuscripts of the New Testament survive today, of which there are some 5,400, not to mention thousands of Latin versions and other languages like Syriac, Coptic and Armenian.

Most of the existing manuscripts derive from the Middle Ages, from the 7th century onward. Of all the thousands of Greek manuscripts, no two are exactly alike. Some scholars put the differences at 200,000, others at 300,000, meaning there are more differences in manuscripts than there are words in the entire New Testament.

Realize also that the manuscripts were all hand written (which is what “manu-script” means). Sometimes scribes left out words, lines or even entire pages, especially when two lines ended with the same words. It didn’t help that they didn’t use paragraph divisions, lower case letters, or punctuation.

Complicating the process was the lack of spacing between words. Words were all run together in the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts.

Sometimes translators with insufficient understanding would introduce mistakes when they thought they were fixing a factual or doctrinal error.

Some of their changes are not critical but others are. For instance, the oldest and best manuscripts of John don’t have the story of the woman taken in adultery, where Yahshua says, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” Think about that – if only sinless people could inflict such punishment, then the Old Testament law of stoning would not exist.
This account does not appear in any manuscript until the 12th century.

The passage of 1John 5:7-8 is the only one in the entire Bible appearing to teach a trinity of father son and Holy Spirit. The passage, however, is missing in all except one of the 5,400 Greek manuscripts in existence, and then it doesn’t occur until after the invention of the printing press in the 15th century.

Ironically, sometimes the more difficult a passage reads the more faithful is to the original translation when scribes didn’t try so hard to manipulate the text.

Error from Ignorance
All of this is to say that trying to understand Yahweh’s Word through a cloudy filter thousands of years old, and through several languages besides, can at times be like trying to create a gourmet meal in the kitchen of a storm-tossed ship. Simplistic explanations are not always sufficient.

This is just one more case for the importance of the Old Testament as the anchor for New Testament teachings. Sometimes it is the only authority we have to ascertain the truth of a New Testament passage.

Yahshua taught the Old Testament, often referred to it, and urged His followers to read it and follow its teachings. In a question about the fate of wives in the resurrection, the Sadducees in Matthew 22 tried to trip Yahshua up. He told them, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures.”

He went to the foundation of Truth, the Old Testament, known as the Scriptures.

Modern clerics would rather Yahshua have said, “But soon when I die and am resurrected I will have put to rest that obsolete Old Testament and given you freedom to live as you wish. Rest assured that no matter how you conduct your life you will still be saved. So hang on a few decades longer until a fellow named Paul writes a new Bible that will free you from the need to obey the statutes Yahweh gave for salvation.”

If the Old Testament is defunct, then why did Yahshua quote the Old Testament to prove who He was? Why did Yahshua refer to the Old Testament as proof of His Messiahship? Why did Yahshua instruct in his sermons to live by every word that comes from Yahweh? Why did Yahshua take so much time and effort expounding the teachings of the Old Testament?

The Old Testament Scriptures are the foundation of Yahweh’s Word. They testify to His existence, His purpose, and the plan for Yahshua’s coming to this earth. They cannot be subtracted from the Bible without destroying the message, meaning, and design of the entire Word.

Discovering the Real Temple Mount, Pt. 2

While some may interpret the contents and conclusions of this article as anti-Semitic, this could not be further from the truth. Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry supports the nation of Israel and believes that the entire nation of Israel, including the traditional Temple Mount area, forthrightly belongs to the Jewish people. This article is only interested in the truth and how the facts impact Yahweh’s prophetic Word.

In this second installment on Discovering the Real Temple Mount we will focus on several critical aspects providing important clues as to where the temple originally stood, including biblical prophecies and historical accounts of the destruction of Herod’s temple and Jerusalem. We will also examine evidence for Fortress Antonia and the Roman Tenth Legion. However, before we begin our expedition of truth, here is a summary from part one:

  •  The ancient City of David, today a national archaeology site, is located south of the traditional Temple Mount and is synonymous with Zion, 2Samuel 5:7; 1Chronicles 11:5; Psalm 76:2.
  • Solomon expanded the ancient City of David by filling in the Millo and connecting the City of David with the Ophel, the biblical location for the temple, 1Kings 11:27. The Ophel, Mount Zion, and Mount Moriah are all synonymous, 2Chronicles 3:1.
  • Solomon’s Temple was built over the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, 1Chronicles 21:15-30. A threshing floor requires a flat and hard surface. The rock underneath the Dome of the Rock does not meet these requirements and therefore likely not the location of Ornan’s threshing floor.
  •  During the 7th Century CE, 70 Jewish families from Tiberius relocated to Jerusalem and requested to be near the Pool of Siloam and the Temple.
  • The Gihon Spring is the only natural spring and major water source in Jerusalem. It’s located within the City of David, a third of a mile from the traditional Temple Mount.
  •  According to Aristeas (Alexandrian Jew, 2nd / 3rd century BCE) and Tacitus (Roman historian, 2nd Century CE) there was a spring-like reservoir gushing from the Temple precincts.

For additional information on the above summary, see part one of this article.

Not One Stone
Let’s begin our journey by considering one of the most important prophecies Yahshua the Messiah gave in the New Testament. “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Yahshua answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” Mark 13:1-2.

Mark 13, along with Matthew 24 and Luke 21, is known as the Olivet Prophecy. This passage begins with the disciples complimenting the stones of the temple. In response to this admiration, Yahshua responded by saying that these great buildings would be torn down with not one stone remaining.

It’s important to realize that Yahshua used the word “buildings.” Many who believe that the temple was located on the traditional Temple Mount will contend that Yahshua was referring only to the inner sanctuary and not to the entire temple complex. They do this to explain the remaining western wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.

This wall is the holiest site in Judaism. It’s believed that this wall was part of the outer western wall of Herod’s Temple. As a side note, there’s debate as to whether this wall was even built by Herod. Eli Shukron, an archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, found a coin at the base of the Wailing Wall dating back to around 18 CE, 20 years after King Herold. Based on this, this wall was likely not built by King Herold, but by Agrippa II, Herold’s great-grandson.

Returning to the topic at hand, when Yahshua gave this prophecy, Mark 13 records that He and the disciples were on the Mount of Olives looking back to the temple. From this location, He would have viewed not only the inner sanctuary of the temple, but the entire temple precincts. With this in mind, along with the fact that He uses the word “buildings,” it seems unlikely that he was only referring to the inner sanctuary. It is far more probable that He was referring to the entire temple platform.

If He was referring to entire precincts, this would have most certainly included the outer western wall. And remember, He stated that not one stone would remain upon another. Based on this prophecy and the known facts, how is it possible that the Wailing Wall remains today? There is no good explanation. Either Yahshua exaggerated or the Temple Mount is not the location of the ancient temple and this wall belongs to something else entirely.

Antiquity Supports Destruction

Ancient site of Gomorrah

In addition to Yahshua’s prophecy, there is also evidence from antiquity to the destruction of the temple. Both Jewish and Christian sources confirm similar ruin to the temple. In fact, not only do they validate what Yahshua stated, but do so in a manner that verifies it was not only the inner sanctuary, but the entire platform, including the outer walls.

One of the most well-known accounts is from Flavius Josephus. Josephus lived between 37 and 100 CE and is one of the most renowned scholars and historians of the first century. He lived before and after the temple was destroyed. Therefore, this man provides invaluable firsthand testimony of this destruction.

Josephus in War of the Jews recounts, “I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our Holy Temple dug up, after so profane a manner” (Bk. VII, ch.8).

The reference to “profane” here verifies that the Romans had no reverence for the temple. Even more importantly, Josephus states the foundation stones themselves were dug up and removed. Based on this, it’s hard to believe that Rome would have allowed the foundation stones of the current Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall to remain.

Evidence for the destruction of the entire temple platform is also found from Epiphanius of Salamis, a fourth century bishop in Cyprus. In his work, On Weights and Measures, he testifies to this destruction. “It was the second year of his reign when he [Hadrian] went up to Jerusalem, the famous and much-praised city which had been destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. He found it utterly destroyed and God’s Holy Temple a ruin, there being nothing where the city had stood but a few dwellings and one small church,” pp. 17-18.

Epiphanius records the eyewitness account of Emperor Hadrian. He states that Hadrian visited Jerusalem two years into his reign, approximately 119 CE. When he arrived, he was amazed at the devastation the city suffered under the Roman General Titus.

He confirms that the temple was in ruin and that Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. Except for a few buildings and a small church, nothing remained. Considering this, is it reasonable to believe that Titus would have allowed the foundations of the temple mount along with a large portion of the western wall to remain? This is highly unlikely.

Another man who provides insight into the temple’s destruction is Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius lived during the fourth century and was a historian, scholar, and bishop of Caesarea Maritima. He is one of the most well-known historians of the early church.

In his work, Proof of the Gospel, he states the following: “Mount Sion was burned and left utterly desolate, and the Mount of the House of God became as a grove of the wood. If our own observation has any value, we have seen in our own time Sion once so famous ploughed with yokes of oxen by the Romans and utterly devastated, and Jerusalem as the oracle says, deserted like a lodge” (Bk. VI, ch.13, sect. 273).

Eusebius states that Yahweh’s House, referring to the temple, had become as a grove of woods, i.e., empty or without presence. He goes on to lament how such a place could have been so devastated that it was reduced to a plot of farmland where the oxen ploughed.

Considering this description from Eusebius, is it realistic to believe that the foundation stones along with the western wall of the current Temple Mount was intact after the invasion of the Roman army? As we saw from Josephus and Epiphanius, such a conclusion is nearly impossible to draw.

Later in this same work, Proof of the Gospel, Eusebius states, “The hill called Sion and Jerusalem, the buildings there, the Temple, the Holy of Holies, the Altar, and whatever else there was dedicated to the glory of God, [has] been utterly removed or shaken, in fulfillment of the Word” (Bk. VIII, ch.3, sect. 405).

Eusebius states here that the temple was “utterly removed or shaken.” And as we see here, he was referring to the Temple, the Holy of holies, and all that was considered holy. It’s probably safe to assume that Eusebius was referring to more than the inner sanctuary. He was referring to the entire temple complex, including the outer walls.

There’s one more account from Eusebius that we will consider. In Proof of the Gospel he astoundingly states that, “Their ancient holy place, at any rate, and their Temple are to this day as much destroyed as Sodom” (Bk. V, ch.23, sect. 250).

Eusebius compares the destruction of the temple to the devastation that Sodom suffered in the Old Testament. During our last trip to Israel we had the chance to visit what many believe is the ancient city of Gomorrah. As we know, Gomorrah suffered the same fate as Sodom. As you can see in the above image of Gomorrah, nothing remains of this ancient city. What was once a bustling city has been reduced to rubble. Except for ash and a few remaining sulfur balls, Gomorrah today is a wasteland.

Assuming that Eusebius was not exaggerating, is it possible that the Roman army left the foundation of the temple and Wailing Wall unscathed? Doubtful.

Jerusalem Itself Razed
In addition to the temple, Yahshua also prophesied a similar fate for the city of Jerusalem. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another,’ Luke 19:41-44, NIV.

Historically, Yahshua’s prophecy here of Jerusalem’s destruction was fulfilled by Titus and the Roman army. It’s amazing how history validates the Bible. Archaeology and scholarship have overwhelmingly confirmed the accuracy of the Bible.

Similar to what Yahshua said about the temple, He says here regarding Jerusalem. He verifies that not one stone would be left upon another. And as we know through antiquity, Jerusalem’s destruction was so great that the city was hardly identifiable.

For instance, according to Josephus in Wars of the Jews, “And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor if anyone that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again” (Bk. VI. ch.1).

According to Josephus, after Rome’s destruction of the city of Jerusalem it was unrecognizable. This once grand city had been reduced to rubble. He describes the city as “desolate.” Astonishingly, he goes on to say that even those who were familiar with the city would not have known it after Rome’s destruction.

Knowing that the temple was the central focus of Jerusalem, how is it possible to reconcile this description with the remaining foundation of the traditional Temple Mount and the western wall? Considering that these objects would have been well known and easily identifiable, how is it possible that even those who were familiar with the city before would not have recognized it afterward? Assuming Josephus is not exaggerating, such a conclusion is improbable.

Josephus also describes this destruction in book VVI, chapter 7, “As he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city with the greatness of its present ruins (as well as its ancient splendor). He could not but pity the destruction of the city … Yet there was no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among the ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they [the Romans] carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground against the uncertainties of war.”
Not only was the city of Jerusalem completely destroyed, but much of the city was dug up. After Jerusalem fell to the Romans, the army began looking for valuables, including gold and silver. To hide many of these valuables, many Jews buried them. So not only was the city completely demolished, but they excavated the very foundation stones, including within the temple precincts, looking for plunder.

This confirms Yahshua’s prophecy that not one stone would remain, including the foundation stones. Based on this, it’s hard to fathom how anything substantial would have remained within the city or temple platform, especially considering the ornateness of the temple. It’s likely that the temple was ground zero for many of these Romans who desecrated the holy place for personal gain.

In addition to the Jewish historian Josephus, we also find evidence for Jerusalem’s destruction from the early church. Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop and Nicene Father, also gives an account of Jerusalem’s desolation, “Up to the time of the manifestation of Christ the royal palaces in Jerusalem were in all their splendor: there was their far-famed Temple, … [but now] no traces even of their Temple can be recognized, and their splendid city has been left in ruins, so that there remains to the Jews nothing of the ancient institutions; while by the command of those who rule over them the very ground of Jerusalem which they so venerated is forbidden to them,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, p. 940.

As Josephus before him, Gregory of Nyssa confirms that the temple was unrecognizable and the city was in ruins. He stated that there were no traces of the temple. We know that the Temple Mount foundation along with the Wailing Wall existed during the fourth century. How is it possible that such prominent landmarks were missed? How is it possible that no traces of the temple remained if large portions of the foundation and walls of the temple remained? The logical answer is, what we call the Temple Mount today is not the location of the temple.

Real Temple Mount

Avi-Yonah’s model showing Fortress Antonia just to the right of the Temple’s courtyard. This Proportionally inaccurate model could never hold upwards of 10,000 people of the Tenth Roman Legion.

The Remaining Monument
We find a clue as to what the Temple Mount was from Josephus in Wars of the Jews. He states, “And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing left but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it” (Bk. 7, ch.8).

Josephus here paints a dreadful picture of the ancient city of Jerusalem. He describes how the once crown jewel of the Jewish nation had been reduced to its very foundation and how only one monument remained, i.e., the camp.

What camp is Josephus referring to? From a historical standpoint, the only possible answer is Fortress Antonia. This was the Roman camp or fort that existed during the time of the Messiah and after the destruction of Jerusalem. So according to Josephus, the only substantial structure that remained after Rome’s demolition of Jerusalem was this Roman fort. Everything else within the city was demolished.

Based on this, where do you suppose Fortress Antonia was located? The only plausible answer is the traditional Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are located. Again, Josephus confirms that the only remaining structure was the Roman fort and there is only one major structure that still exists today within the city of Jerusalem from that time period and that is the Temple Mount platform. This means that the current Temple Mount along with the Wailing Wall was not part of the temple, but of Fortress Antonia.

Now before we go any further with Fortress Antonia, let’s first review the Roman Tenth Legion.

Rome’s Tenth Legion Stationed There
From newhistorian.com we learn about the location and history of this important military power: “Bricks from the bathhouse were stamped with the name of the Tenth Roman Legion, which was part of the takeover of Jewish Yerushalayim. Its soldiers were garrisoned there until 300 CE. The Tenth Roman Legion (Legio X Fretensis) was created by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE, specifically to fight in the civil war which marked the beginning of the end of the Republic of Rome. The tenth legion existed until at least the 410’s,” “Reminders of the Tenth Roman Legion Unearthed in Jerusalem.”

One of the most important facts we see here is that the Roman Tenth Legion was an actual legion, coming from the Latin Legio. We’ll see later why this is important. We also find here that the 10th Legion was established by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE in response to the civil war within Rome. This source also verifiers that the Tenth Legion was stationed in Jerusalem until about 300 CE and existed until the 410s. So long after Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans, the Tenth Legion remained there for nearly 200 years.

A Legion Is Like a CityReal Temple Mount
Now what do we know historically about the actual size of a legion and a legionary camp? French author, Yann Le Bohec, verifies the number and complexity of a typical Roman camp: “With almost 5000 men, a legionary camp was the equivalent of a town. Consequently everything that was essential for the daily life of such a community — hospital, stores, workshops, baths, as well as public lavatories — was to be found,” The Imperial Roman Army, p. 160.

Le Bohec verifies that a Roman legion consisted of about 5,000 men. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the support staff. According to some, support staff would have added several thousand more. We also see here that a legionary camp would have been equivalent to an average town, including various stores, workshops, baths, and many other conveniences.

As a secondary witness to the number of a legion, the Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature states, “The legion appears to have originally contained about 3000 men, and to have risen gradually to twice that number, or even more. In and about the time of Christ it seems to have consisted of 6000 men, and this was exclusive of horsemen, who usually formed an additional body amounting to one tenth of the infantry,” Vol. V, “Legion,” p. 329.

Based on this and the previous reference, a Roman legion consisted of about 5,000-6,000 horsemen. Again, support staff would have likely added many more. In all, a typical Roman legion could have had as high as 10,000 people.

Now why is this number important? It verifies that the current model of Fortress Antonia as shown by scholarship could not be right. As seen in the model of Fortress Antonia as displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (see image on pg. ?), it would be impossible to fit more than a few hundred troops.

So how does scholarship explain this discrepancy? Many claim that the Roman Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort, containing about 600 men. There are two issues with this: (1) the Tenth Legion was not a cohort, but a legion, coming from the Latin Legio X Fretensis, meaning, “Tenth legion of the Strait.” And number two, a typical legionary camp or fortress was the size of a city. Therefore, based on this evidence, the traditional model at the Israel Museum is likely incorrect.

Fortress Antonia
Besides the inaccuracies we have already seen, Josephus, an eyewitness to this Roman fortress, provides several important facts that modern scholarships seems to overlook.

First, here’s what Josephus states in Antiquities of the Jews, “Now on the north side [of the temple] was built a citadel, whose walls were square, and strong, and of extraordinary firmness. This citadel was built by the Kings of the Asamonean race, who were also High Priests, before Herod; and they called it the tower…But for the tower itself, when Herod the King of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius; who was his friend, and the Roman ruler; and then gave it the name of the tower of Antonia” (Bk. XV, ch.11).

Josephus further provides somewhat of a lengthy but crucial description of Fortress Antonia in War of the Jews: “Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the Temple; of that on the west, and that on the north. It was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice. It was the work of King Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. 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. By its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the southeast corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole Temple might be viewed, but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the Temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the Temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the Temple, and in that tower were the guards of those three. There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod’s palace, but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower Antonia, as we have already told you, and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the Temple on the north.” (Bk. 5, ch.8).

We learn a great deal of information from these two accounts from Josephus. As a help to provide the information succinctly, below is a summary highlighting the major or crucial points:

  • Fortress Antonia was originally a fortress built by the Hasmoneans, i.e., Maccabees.
  •  Herold further fortified the fortress to protect the temple and gave it the name “Fortress Antonia” in honor of Mark Anthony.
  • The temple and Fort Antonia were connected by two cloisters, i.e., covered bridges, (Wars VI, 2, 144 confirms this distance at 600 feet).
  • A typical Roman fortress contained all kinds of conveniences (e.g. courts, places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps), similar to an actual city.
  •  Fortress Antonia had four distinct towers at its four corners measuring 50 cubits (75 feet), except for the southeast corner, which measured 70 cubits (105 feet) high, from which the temple could be viewed.
  • Fortress Antonia housed the Tenth Roman Legion, approximately 6,000 horsemen.
  •  As the temple was to guard Jerusalem, Fortress Antonia was to guard the temple.
  • Fortress Antonia was located on the highest of the three hills.
  • From the north, Fortress Antonia obscured or blocked the view of the temple.

There are several points here that are inconsistent with the model at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Missing Connectors and Hills
Josephus mentions two covered bridges that connected the temple and Fortress Antonia. No such bridges exist in the model at the Israel Museum. Also, the description of the fort resembling a city and housing a 6,000-man army does not fit the current model, as it is far too small. We also find inconsistencies with the towers. The towers depicted on the model have four equal length towers, while Josephus clearly states that the tower overlooking the temple was 25 additional cubits. He also stated that the fort obscured or blocked the view of the temple coming from the north. This is certainly not depicted by the model. Another major problem between the model and Josephus’ account is the fact that the fortress was on the third highest hill.

These last two points are critically important to understand, as again neither one is depicted by the model at the Israel Museum. However, if the temple was within the City of David on the Ophel and Fortress Antonia on the Temple Mount or the Haram esh-Sharif, everything falls into place. When you survey the City of David, the Ophel, and the Temple Mount area, the Temple Mount area is on the third highest hill and also obscures the Ophel and the City of David coming from the north.

Roman Fortress at Neuss, Germany

Roman Fortresses Built Alike
Another indication for the traditional Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia is the fact that it shares similar dimensions with other legionary camps. The Temple Mount platform is 36 acres in size with the eastern wall measuring 1,541 feet, the southern wall measuring 918 feet, the western wall measuring 1,601 feet, and the northern wall measuring 1,033 feet. While the Temple Mount resembles a rectangle, it is in fact a trapezoid.

This shape is again similar to other Roman forts. For example, there is a Roman fortress in Caerleon, Wales, dating to 75 CE. It measures a total of 50 acres. It is believed that this particular fort housed the Second Roman Legion, approximately 5,500 men.

There is another example in Neuss, Germany, dating to 80 CE. The size is 59 acres and possibly housed the Nineteenth Roman Legion. There are remains of a Roman fort from Haltern, Germany, with a total size of 85 acres. It’s thought this fort housed two Roman legions.

As can be seen here, the size and shape of these Roman fortresses strongly resemble the area known as the Temple Mount. Could this only be coincidence? It is highly doubtful. It is far more likely that these similarities offer additional evidence for the Temple Mount platform being the location of Fortress Antonia. One fact is for certain: the model at the Israel Museum does not fit the description from Josephus or what archaeology confirms regarding a Roman fort or legionary camp.

The Paul Dilemma
A final piece of evidence for the Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia comes from the 23rd chapter of Acts. “The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks…Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, ‘Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight,’” vv. 10, 23, NIV.

Due to a dispute caused partially by Paul, the Romans were forced to fetch Paul from the temple to the barracks, i.e., Fortress Antonia. Notice that the men who retrieved Paul came DOWN from the barracks to the temple. This shows that the Roman fortress was of a higher elevation than the temple and verifies Josephus’ account that Fortress Antonia was on the highest of the three hills.

We also see here that Rome provided two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to escort Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea, a total of 470 men. Again, some theorize that the Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort. In other words, they claim that instead of 6,000 men, Fortress Antonia housed only 600 men.

Knowing that Rome provided Paul with 470 men, is it reasonable to assume that the Roman Tenth Legion consisted of only a cohort? If true, this means that they gave 78% of their military force to escort one man and leaving only 22% to guard the entire city of Jerusalem. This is highly improbable! However, assuming that the Tenth Roman Legion was an actual legion consisted of 6,000 men, 470 men is possible, especially knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen.

Prophetic Impact
While this theory is not salvational, it is a belief that may hold a crucial key to future prophecy. The Bible is clear that a third temple will be rebuilt before Yahshua’s coming.
Yahshua in Matthew 24:15 states, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:).” The phrase “holy place” is an allusion to the Holy of Holies within the temple.

Paul also describes a temple in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshipped; so that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim.” Paul clearly states here that the son of perdition or Anti-messiah will sit in a temple exalting himself as elohim or as a god to be worshiped.

As a final reference, John of Patmos in Revelation 11:1-2 records, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” John not only confirms here a temple, but also describes the outer court.

Based on this and the two previous accounts, there is little doubt that a third temple will be rebuilt prior to the return of Yahshua the Messiah. Assuming that the temple was originally located within the City of David, as indicated by the evidence, and Jewish scholarship accepted this conclusion, this could radically change and impact future prophecy.

We hope you enjoyed the teaching: Discovering the Real Temple Mount, Pt. 2

Also, check out part 1 of the series Discovering the Real Temple Mount , Pt. 1

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for many other interesting videos!

Lost Temple Mount FOUND? Pt. 1

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 GeographyTemple Mount

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

Temple mount

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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Eliyah

It’s Time To Fix The Breach

It’s Time to Fix the Breach

With an assault on the Old Testament and its central teaching of obedience, Churchianity early on fabricated a clash of doctrines over the centuries in what should have been a seamless succession of teachings brought over from the New Testament. Beyond that, what was taught in the New Testament should reflect what is taught today.

A number of prophecies tell us that before Yahshua returns there will be another return – a movement of returning to teaching true biblical principles founded on obeying Yahweh’s statutes and laws.

This prophetic key has been universally overlooked, but not because it is hidden. In fact, it goes to the very core of how the plan of salvation is designed.

Before we investigate, turn to a runner-up prophecy in Isaiah 58:12:  “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

This is a prophetic announcement for the last days. It is about getting back to what was originally given to Yahweh’s people, meaning His foundational pledge.  It is about fixing what has been neglected for 2,000 years.

The prophet calls it a breach. A breach is a break or rupture. Something fundamentally important has undergone a serious and destructive separation. To fix this critical problem there must be a return to original ways and teachings of the Word.

The Scriptures don’t leave us clueless when it comes to the design of the Bible. We have been given a bridge between Old and New testaments that shows a dynamic bond between the two.

Sadly, this essential link is universally ignored today, even though it is key to understanding the truth of the New Testament and the plan of salvation. We find this dynamic link in the final verses of the last book of the Old Testament, just where we would expect it. As we move to the New Testament, we will find it again.

 

Malachi’s Prophetic Link

The prophecy is in Malachi 4:5-6 , “Behold, I will send you Elijah [Eliyah] the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Although it ends the Old Testament, the passage leaps forward to the end of the age, providing a key link to our day.

First, notice that it warns about smiting the earth with a curse unless hearts are turned. Why historically did Yahweh send curses on people? The most well-known collection of blessings and curses is in Deut. 28. In this chapter, the first 14 verses promise His blessings for obedience. The last 54 verses are a warning of the curses we earn for disobedience. It is quite clear that disobedience is the leading problem in the scriptural hall of shame.

Throughout His Word Yahweh disciplines His people for failing to worship Him by following His statutes and judgments. Today, as the culture increasingly leaves the Bible for secular ways and humanistic thinking, we progressively see Yahweh’s judgment in response.

Whenever Israel of old followed the same pathway of rebellion that our culture is on, their problems increased proportionately. The final straw was when their enemies rose up and conquered them. We are facing the same judgment and it will hit this world like a ton of bricks.

The list of potential threats is great and runs the gamut from Eboli infection to electromagnetic pulse radiation that could grind all electronics to a standstill and literally put us back into the dark ages for years. Miniature atomic bombs, terrorist attacks on our big cities, all kinds of natural earth calamities and disasters originating from outer space …these are just some of the threats we face.

Once Yahweh takes His protective hand away, watch out. In the September 11 tragedy, we had just a taste of what looms ahead.

The classic passage that defines judgment for disobedience is Deuteronomy 28:15, 20: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Yahweh shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.”

 

The Heart of Malachi 4:6

The prophet Malachi tells us that there will be a turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice-versa.

This does not mean simply a renewed, loving relationship between fathers and children. Nor does it mean only a reaffirming of paternal respect.

It means giving later generations the same faith and conviction the fathers of old had in following Yahweh. It is about walking the same path of obedience walked by Israelite forefathers.

The Adversary is ramping up his opposition to Yahweh. Bible believers are being murdered in the Mideast, Africa, and elsewhere because they refuse to convert to another belief. The culture is turning to the dark side as it redefines morality. We are inundated with moral evils everywhere, and this is just the beginning.

The essence of the Hebrew in Malachi 4:6 is, “To restore the hearts by turning the disobedient to the insight and obedience of the righteous in order to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

Verse 4 is the key lead-in, where the prophet says, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” This clearly connects the phrase, “turn the heart” in verse 6 to mean go back to obeying Yahweh’s statutes and judgments.

 

The Same Prophecy Found in Luke

We pick up this Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament book of Luke. It reflects the purpose for which John the Baptist came, readying the way for Yahshua the Messiah: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh,” Luke 1:17.

This passage is even clearer in defining the expression, “turn the hearts” to mean going from disobedience to the “wisdom” (moral prudence) of the “just” (holy, righteous ones).

The prophet Eliyah’s principal mission was to save as many as he could from being cursed. He did this by revealing the true Creator and Father Yahweh over the false idol Baal, and by teaching obedience to covenant law.

John the Baptist mirrored the message in the refrain “repent.” Repent means to stop sinning. Stop rebelling. Stop disobeying. Turn your life around. Obey the commandments, statutes and judgments given by Almighty Yahweh.

Malachi 3:1 prophesies the sending of this messenger to prepare the way of the Son. He is a messenger on a mission to uphold the covenant Yahweh made with His faithful.  “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Sovereign, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Yahweh of hosts.”

Who exactly is this messenger coming in the spirit and power of Eliyah? Is the OT prophet Eliyah himself going to be resurrected in our time? Jewish Seders include an empty chair at the table in anticipation that Eliyah will return to herald the Messiah in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy.

When questioned, John the Baptist denied being Eliyah. When Yahshua said Eliyah was come now, He meant only in a sense, through John the Baptist.

If the Jews had accepted Yahshua as the Messiah, John the Baptist would have been this Eliyah preparing His way in every sense of the word., as we read in Malachi. That is what Yahshua was waiting to see.

 

Other Striking Similarities

Comparing just their physical appearances, Eliyah and John the Baptist bear striking resemblances.

About Eliyah, 2Kings 1:8 reads, “And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Eliyah the Tishbite.”

Concerning  John the Baptist, Matthew 3:4 reads, “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins.”

Both men preferred to work alone, out in the hinterland. Eliyah dwells in the cliffs of the brook Cherith, sleeps under juniper trees, lodges in caves, and haunts the slopes of Carmel. If he does enter a city it is only to deliver a message from Yahweh and then vanish. He’s a mysterious prophet with his startling appearance, abrupt speeches and stealthy appearances. He’s also the loftiest prophet in the Old Testament.

Similarly, John the Baptist is described as one crying in the wilderness. He was startling in his own right, coming around the corner munching on a grasshopper and licking wild honey. Yahshua said there is no one greater.

Eliyah’s life-long task is to protest against a corrupt civilization. He is called by Yahweh to save the nation from lapsing into heathenism and false worship. He takes his stand on traditional principles and bears witness of fundamental truths that should never have been neglected. Baal worship would likely have overrun the nation if not stopped. His mission was to stop it.

John the Baptist also came preaching repentance and returning to Yahweh’s statutes and laws. He was just wasting his breath if the Messiah intended to abolish those statutes and laws with His death.

Both Eliyah and John withstood kings and had high-profile enemies (Eliyah had Ahab to contend with, while John had Herod as his rival).

Luke 1:17 mirrors Malachi 4:6 with the same mission for John the Baptist that Eliyah had. “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to Yahweh their Elohim. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

Luke 1:17 in other translations reads – “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

The New English Bible reads, “to convert the rebellious to the ways of the righteous.”

In Matthew 17:11 Yahshua said Eliyah would pave the way for His own return and “restore all things.” This was in explaining the vision of the transfiguration showing Moses and Eliyah.

 

Moses and Eliyah

Can you see the connection? Moses is the transmitter of Yahweh’s laws and mediator of the first covenant, and Eliyah is the prophet who was sent to restore the law and obedience to Israel. But the association goes further: Yahshua as the third person in the vision showed us how to keep that law as intended.  The vision is now complete!

Back to Matthew 17. Remember that Yahshua said in v. 12 that Eliyah had come already. Had the people accepted Yahshua, then John would have been the prophesied Eliyah preparing His way. Not understanding this, Yahshua’s words are an enigma to many. It can only mean that we today are still awaiting the complete fulfillment of this prophecy.

A sister prophecy is found in Acts 3:20-21: “And he shall send Yahshua the Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Elohim hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

True worship will have a presence in this world before the Savior returns to establish His Kingdom on earth. A restoration is necessary because the Bible has been abandoned in our day. What is commonly preached and taught today is not a succession of Apostolic teachings.

A Baptist thinks that what he is hearing each week is exactly the same thing the apostles taught and preached.

The Presbyterian thinks that what he is hearing from the pulpit is the same thing the apostles taught and preached.

Today’s Catholic thinks that what he is hearing each week is exactly the same thing Peter and the apostles taught and preached.

Who is right? All of them? There were 21 Ecumenical Councils called by the early Roman church spanning 16 centuries. These councils were convened for the very purpose of stopping the doctrinal turmoil that embroiled the church in controversy while establishing the doctrine that all the church would follow. The first was called by Roman Emperor Constantine in the year 325, known as the Council of Nicea because it was held at Nicea in Bithynia.

The Nicean Council was the first attempt to have a uniform Christian doctrine. “You mean Catholic doctrine,” some might say. Same thing. Christian doctrine is Catholic doctrine, which was formally adopted at these church councils.

From these 21 councils the Roman church adopted the following teachings embraced today:

  • Yahshua was deity on earth.
  • Establishment and dating of Easter
  • Defining the Holy Ghost as a divine person
  • Mary as the mother of G-d
  • The Trinity
  • The nature and purpose for icons in worship
  • Bread and wine as the literal body and blood in the eucharist
  • Immortal soul; purgatory; prayers for the dead.

 

Caustic Gnostic Beliefs

A lot of these teachings grew out of Gnosticism through Greek philosophy.

Gnoticism is an umbrella term for a collection of teachings from Greek philosophy through Platonism, mysticism, and Oriental superstition. These pagan beliefs began to mingle with Christian teachings. The results are the many nonbiblical teachings extant today in churchianity, like the immortal soul and heaven and hell doctrines.

The heretics that the apostles had to contend with, like Marcion and Simon Magus, were powerfully influenced by Gnosticism. So we see early on that the apostles were already contending with this heresy. Paul was on the front line defense, as Gnostic teachings began to infiltrate assemblies he established in Macedonia.

On Mars Hill he observed that the Greeks liked to sit around and discuss some new thing. That is what they were best at. They loved their philosophy, and much of it was Gnostic in origin and flavor. As pagan teachings entered in, the Hebraic basis of the faith was pushed out.

 

Gnostic Basis for Heresies

Today we ask, as for keeping the Ten Commandments, where did the Sabbath go? Where are the Feasts that were observed in Old and New testaments? What happened to the clean food laws? What about dead meaning dead rather than living on in total awareness? What about ever-burning hell, from the words sheol and hades, when both terms mean the grave?

Many New Testament teachings were abandoned and replaced by Gnostic-centered church teachings having no basis in Scripture. Counterfeit practices bestowed by heathens also became common fare.

 

Discounting Everything Physical

Gnostics saw the material world as the work of a lesser, evil deity. Everything physical was evil and we must get beyond it to experience the divine. This leads inevitably to the notion that what we do in our physical actions has virtually no spiritual impact. Carry this over to today’s belief that works are unnecessary.

The Gnostic held that to know is the highest truth, and that is where the word Gnostic comes from – the Greek word, “to know.”

Another way that Gnostic or Platonic Christianity downplays the material is the way it teaches that the soul is immortal. The body, then, is considered unnecessary baggage that compromises the reality of, or the need for, a resurrection. For both the Gnostic and Christian, the individual lives on after death, as he or she automatically ascends to the spiritual.

The physical world is the starting point, the proving ground. Why would Yahweh ever place us in an evil environment? Talk about defeating His purpose!

It was mankind’s sin that polluted this world, not an inherent evilness in the material.

Yahshua said in His prayer in John 17:17 that the Word is truth and that we are sanctified through the truth. Sanctified means set apart as we willingly obey what the Word tells us to do.

 

Yahweh Challenges Us

Another prophecy informs us that going back to right teachings will result in the kind of blessing everyone wants. Malachi 3:12 shows us what happens when a people submit to their father in heaven: “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith Yahweh of hosts.”

Imagine a whole nation like ours turning to Yahweh with one mind and heart in humble, willing obedience! But that’s highly unlikely. Most fear what they think would be losing their freedom and ability to live their lives their own way. They don’t understand the blessings of obedience.

Just the thought of following the Scriptures puts some into paralysis. They fight it with every inch of their being. They obviously haven’t a clue about the life-changing impact doing so will have on them from now and into eternity.

Yahweh issues a direct challenge in the book of Malachi. He says prove Me. Experience the joy, peace of mind, and happiness that come with following Me. Walk in newness of life, Paul said in Romans 6.

Turn from the dead-end ways of this world and experience peace, joy and deep-down fulfillment and contentment in your life just by conforming to your Father’s will. Rather than putting off a commitment yet again, try it, and see how Yahweh always keeps His promise. He will never forsake those who follow Him.

Modern Church traditions

When Worship Went Wrong

Modern Worship

At Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry we spend a great deal of time and energy debunking error, both from the pulpit, on television, and in this magazine and literature. We aren’t alone by any means. This effort has been ongoing by others for 1500 years. Still, most of the world remains steeped in fourth century heresies and 15th century Reformation deviations from the Scriptures. A huge challenge for us is that most of churchianity doesn’t know any better. They blindly trust in clerics and in traditional dogmas. And they don’t bother to test what they are told against Scripture. Once the resistance from unbelieving relatives and friends is overcome, tradition is the next barrier for the new truth seeker. The vast majority are not even looking for truth. They blindly accept the beliefs they grew up with, thinking there is no need to go further. In their minds their inherited belief system has to be right because “Mom and Dad believed it, and that’s good enough for me.”

We read inProverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Do you not agree that testing the veracity of your faith against Yahweh’s Word is serious business? Incredibly, the vast majority leave the most crucial part of life – their personal salvation – up to someone else. If I planned to climb a 10,000-foot mountain peak and someone gave me an old rope to use, I would be crazy not to check that rope for integrity first before I trusted it with my life.   Yahweh won’t accept willful indif-ference to the Truth that’s right there in plain sight. He demands that we examine our beliefs and then make necessary changes. “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good,” 1Thessalonians 5:21. Any minister who refuses to take questions from the congregation about doctrinal teachings is playing with their salvation. He is guilty of malfeasance for violating a clear, biblical directive. Today we will zero in on the most widespread and popular of traditional errors. We at YRM test all of our teachings against Scripture, as well as anyone else’s teachings. In fact, we welcome inquiries about what we believe and teach. A prime purpose for publishing the Restoration Study Bible was to answer the many questions people have about certain passages. How else will anyone discover what they may have missed unless they critically test what they believe against Scripture? How else can we come to the Truth unless we separate out error through diligent inquiry? Because of a refusal to put their teachings to the test, a tangled mishmash of error runs deep in today’s church culture.Conflict with the Word is why so many are turned  off by traditional belief systems.

A Failed Reformation

Many of today’s popular deviations from Scripture began in the Reformation, driven by a desire to get as far away from the Roman Church as possible, just as the Roman Church itself turned away from the Hebraic roots of the New Testament and developed their own teachings.   We can cite their inventing of Easter to replace Passover and Sunday to replace the Sabbath and a myriad of other serious deviations. Where the Bible commands that we honor Yahweh by His real Name, the church manufactured a name and turned titles into names that are still used today. The reformers didn’t do any better by taking off on their own tangents and not dealing with gross errors. Beginning in the 1300s the Reformers themselves threw one baby after another out with the bathwater. until there wasn’t much left of the Apostolic faith. They thought they were cleaning up the church when all they did was whitewash it and overlay more aberrations that proved just as far off from Scripture.

Instead of following the Word as it is written, the 14th century reformers created their own doctrines by twisting the Word and eliminating fundamental teachings of Yahshua that bind the Scriptures into a harmonious unit, as Yahweh designed it. The first big leap into their apostasy was to eliminate the Old Testament as the foundation of truth.

This is news to many today. Because they never looked into the Scriptures and compared church teachings diacritically with the Word, they just assume everything is okay. They believe that their faith flowed seamlessly from the apostles into their church pulpit.

Apostasy was prophesied. Age-old sacrilege was not lost on the apostles in the New Testament era. They saw what was happening, and what was coming.

The brother of James wrote in Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, wicked men, turning the grace of our Elohim into lasciviousness, and denying the only Sovereign Yahweh, and our Master Yahshua Messiah.”

They denied Yahshua by ignoring what He taught about obeying the Father. And then there was GRACE. They turned grace into an excuse for lawless living. Quite reminiscent of what we hear today! “Grace over obedience, grace covers all. Just rely on His grace,” no obedience necessary. This is the main problem with modern worship.

They reasoned that the more sin you commit the more grace you get in a corruption of the true purpose of grace and forgiveness.

To show how corrupt things can get, one of Martin Luther’s key objections to the Roman Church was its selling of indulgences to get souls released from purgatory, as if the church had such powers. But the belief degenerated further into the practice of paying the church to absolve you of your sin even BEFORE you committed the sin!

Luther railed against the church’s arrogation of Yahweh’s authority. The world’s way of thinking is to compromise your beliefs, find a work-around. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, just make your own rules and authority. The mindset of the church for centuries has been to change for expediency, back away from truth for the sake of numbers.

No one, including the biggest church in the world, has the right to fiddle with Yahweh’s ordinances and usurp His authority.

Peter prophesied, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of,” 2Peter 2:1-2.

At one time or another, every believer has been criticized for following the Scriptures as commanded. Yahweh will turn such criticism on its head. Those who will not follow the Word are in for some big surprises.

The Protestant reformers missed the mark by failing to follow all the Bible’s teachings.

Often when people leave a group because of a serious doctrinal disagreement they also start believing teachings other than those for which they left.

Luther fit this dynamic. He made a left turn after his original grievances with the Roman church and he struck at the heart of the biblical teaching of obedience itself. He reinterpreted the Bible’s teaching on justification and called it “the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness.” He said the church stands or falls on it. Luther maintained that justification by grace alone through faith alone in Yahshua’s righteousness alone is the gospel, the core on which all other Christian doctrines stand. Luther added the word “alone” to the Bible’s teaching on grace and justification.

Calvin: Organizer, Consolidator

Along comes John Calvin, a latecomer to the Reformation. He took Reformation teachings to a new level. His doctrines permeate most Protestant denominations today. Calvin systemized the doctrines of Protestantism and organized its ecclesiastical discipline. He consolidated the scattered forces of the Reformation.

 Whenever someone claims to be saved by faith alone, believes it is impossible for a believer to be eternally lost, and believes in salvationary predestination, he is reflecting Calvinist teachings.

Ironically, Calvin and other reformers based their teachings on the supposed principle that the Scriptures are the sole source of truth. The problem is, they didn’t teach the Scriptures. They totally missed the mark. That led to more controversies, which in turn led to more than 33,000 distinct groups and denominations in the world, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Calvin differed with Luther over the nature of communion. And Calvin could not tolerate Spanish theologian Michael Servetus’ teaching against the Trinity, so Calvin testified against him at a Catholic inquisition and Servetus was then burned at the stake in 1553.

The central idea of Calvinism is the sovereignty of Yahweh. Calvin did not discover the sovereignty of Yahweh. He isolated it as an idea. He exalted the sovereignty of Yahweh to override all other truths of Scripture.

Now, we have no problem with Yahweh’s sovereignty. But Calvin twisted the idea to say that if Yahweh is absolutely sovereign, then it follows that salvation depends entirely on Him and not on man. Exit teachings of obedience. Exit the law. Enter total, supreme grace.

Calvinism Creates More Error

Calvin said Yahshua died only for the ones Yahweh had unconditionally chosen to save. This flies in the very face of the most quoted passage in all the Bible, John 3:16. Yahshua said that anyone can accept the truth and conform their lives to it.

We are saved only at the resurrection. Before that we are subject at any time to falling away. Yahshua clearly tells us in Matthew 10:22: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Paul corroborates that in Hebrews 3:14: “For we are made partakers of Messiah, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.”

Calvin taught that we are saved now, and once we are converted there is no way we can change our destiny. I discussed this with a Calvinist once and I quoted Hebrews 6:6, saying we surely can fall away once we have been converted. He had no answer, except that maybe those who fall away never were really converted, an argument that contradicts the very definition of being converted.

Calvin said that because Yahweh is supreme and salvation comes only through Him, and because man can do nothing but evil, then when He saves us we need do nothing to remain saved. Two points here:

First, the whole biblical teaching of obedience is turned on its head if we believe Calvin. In Matthew 7:21, Yahshua said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Master, Master, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Hebrews 5:9 reads: “And being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Paul wrote to the Romans in 2:13: “For not the hearers of the law are just before Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

And we find in 1John 2:5-6, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

Eternal Security Not Secure

Calvin also taught the doctrine of once saved, always saved, or eternal security. That means that you cannot fall from grace once you have been called by Yahweh, because that would be resisting the power of Yahweh.

This teaching does not take into account that calling does not mean choos-ing. Yahshua said many are called, but few are chosen. Yahweh doesn’t want robots or He would have created automatons instead of humans with free will.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Another major teaching of Calvinism is irresistible grace. It is also called ef-ficacious grace or invincible grace.

Calvinists believe that those who have been unconditionally elected to eternal life cannot resist Yahweh’s grace and His determination to save them. Just as those elected to damnation can do nothing about it, those who are elected to salvation can do nothing to resist it.

Again, their timing is way off. Yahweh chooses us at the resurrection. Until then we are merely called. Elect means chosen. Calvinists say those being called are already chosen.

Titus 2:11 says that the grace of Elohim that brings salvation has appeared to all people (Titus 2:11) and yet millions have rejected it. Each person is accountable for his own life, according to John 12:47-48. Those who reject the teachings of Yahshua are held accountable.

Personal accountability is the central teaching of the Scripture. If we have no accountability, if we are simply on salvational auto pilot and there is nothing we can do one way or the other to be ultimately saved or lost, then the whole plan of salvation of honing a people for Yahweh’s service is irrelevant.

The message of conforming to the image of Yahshua and the will of Yahweh is rendered meaningless by many major doc-trines today as well. Yahshua’s teachings tell us to obey the Father and not the will of man just as He did.

Salvation Based on Obedience, Not Talk

Nowhere in Yahweh’s Word can we find that salvation is instantly guaranteed in a believer’s life based on a mere confession or pronouncement. The Apostle Paul talked about having a “hope” of salvation in 1Thessalonians 5:8-9. He explained in 2Corinthians 2:15 that being saved is a process that is not completed until the end.

In 1Corinthians 3:15 he describes sal-vation and being saved as a state no one automatically possesses and is not instantly achieved upon conversion. He wasn’t even sure of his own future but he simply had the “hope” that he might attain the resurrection.

He said in Philippians 3:11-12: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…”

If this apostle who was taught by the mouth of the resurrected Savior Himself (Gal. 1:11-12) and who wrote much of the New Testament was not certain of his own salvation, how can anyone today say they are already saved? Yet you hear well-meaning evangelists ask, “Are you saved?” and then tell you just to pronounce a few words to accept the Savior and you are permanently home free.

Those who think they have salvation may then live any kind of life they please and still be assured an eternal reward.

Repentance from Sin

You don’t hear much about repentance these days, yet the act of repentance is essential to being a converted child of Almighty Yahweh in the process of becoming saved. Many have missed this key part of conversion in the New Testament. Without understanding repentance and changing of your life, you cannot know what it means to be saved.

Before we can repent of sin we need to comprehend what sin is.

Everyone knows what crime is. A crime is like a sin. Webster defines a crime as an act that violates a law. The same is true for sin. In the clearest and most precise definition in the Bible, 1John 3:4 says that sin is a violation of Biblical law: Here is the Bible’s fundamental definition of sin:  “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” That’s crystal clear.

If sin is breaking of law, then NOT breaking of law means obedience to the law. We can break a law in ignorance because we did not know about it. That doesn’t mean that sin is not imputed to us simply because we were unaware of it. We are still a violator.

We can speed down a highway not knowing what the speed limit is and still be charged with a traffic violation. Ignorance is no excuse.

Everyone has broken Biblical law and therefore all humans are sinners whether they know it or not. The law includes the Ten Commandments. Lying, stealing, killing – these are all acts of sin by Biblical definition. The Bible also gives other laws that Yahweh commands to be observed, and violation of any one of them is also sin by the simple definition of sin. Sin leads to eternal death.

If we are guilty as charged of a lifetime of unrepented, intentional, premeditated sin, our hope of salvation will be dashed.

The Scriptures tell us that unless we confess our sins, seek forgiveness, and turn completely around to live a different life, we are spiritually lost. There is no hope beyond this earthly life unless we change and conform to the Scriptures in how we live.

James 4:4 tells us that the ways of the world make one the enemy of the Heavenly Father Yahweh, and those ways lead to death. On the other hand, Proverbs 12:28 reveals, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.”

And that is where repentance is pivotal. Repentance moves us away from sin and toward righteousness.

Almighty Yahweh will not allow an unrepentant sinner to sit on a throne in His coming Kingdom. The Messiah Yahshua instructed His followers in Matthew 18:3, “Except you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Conversion requires change and it begins with repentance.

Repentance Is a Transformation

In Luke 13 we read that there were some murdered Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. In verse 3 our Savior said, “Except you repent, you shall likewise perish.”

Repentance is fundamental. Our sins have separated us from our Father in Heaven. Those sins must be forgiven as the first step to salvation.

One Greek word translated repent in the New Testament is metanoeo. It is a verb that includes a realization that one is a sinner. But it goes beyond just realization. It means to change one’s very perception or view of sin and to understand that sin is death. Sin that is practiced in one’s life ultimately ends in spiritual death.

A related word for repent in the New Testament is the Greek noun metanoia. This word signifies a real change in one’s entire attitude toward sin itself, which affects the whole life. It means a change in how we live. It amounts to a complete turnaround, not just to be sorry for sin but to make a 180-degree reverse course in how we live. It means a renouncement of sin and its destructive ways and to practice it no more.

Too often, however, is the more common and erroneous understanding of repentance, signified by the Greek metamelomai. It simply means that I regret what I did because I got caught. It is the kind of regret children often have when their parents punish them for doing something wrong.

In the Bible, it is also the kind of regret that Judas Iscariot felt for betraying the Savior Yahshua. But this is a false regret that lacks the power and force to effect permanent change in one’s life. It is shallow and  easily reversed. As soon as the punishment stops, the person is back to his sin again.

Genuine, scriptural repentance is the person who admits his sin, seeks forgiveness, and then makes a complete turnaround – permanently stopping what he or she had been doing, never to repeat it. True repentance leads to true conversion. Nothing less will do.

Just to say I’m sorry is not enough. Just apologizing for your sin but failing to turn from sinful behavior is not repentance. If I steal your car, then tell you I am sorry but I still keep the car, I have not repented.  A change must take place in the heart. I must make everything right again by a complete heart transformation

In the New Testament, which in most doctrinal respects is simply a mirror of the Old Testament, we read from Acts 17:30: “And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent.”

Ezekiel 18:21 gives us the proper perspective on repentance. The prophet writes: “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he has committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?  says Yahweh Elohim: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”

For all its efforts, the Reformation only scratched the surface in church cleanup.It missed the real mark. The reformers, in reaction to what they rightfully saw as a plethora of man-made dos and don’ts in a man-made religion, made a radical turn that derailed truth even further.

By: Alan Mansager

 

Watch: “What Happened to Worship?” from Discover the Truth TV below.

greek influence in christianity

Churchianity’s Grecianized Worship

One of the major barriers to understanding the correct teaching of Yahweh’s Word is the simple fact that the Western world looks at the Scriptures through Western eyes. In truth, the Bible is about Middle Eastern people and their Hebrew-centered beliefs in the Mighty One named Yahweh.

Because of doctrinal derailment by the Adversary, most churchgoers today don’t recognize the truth when it hits them squarely between the eyes. They have swallowed hook, line, and sinker so many falsehoods for so long that when the truth is presented to them it seems strange and unbelievable.

It started when the Roman church found Biblical truths rooted in a Hebrew faith distasteful. Anti-Semitism was strong. That the Roman church had a “Jewish” Messiah at its center was an inescapable fact that the church fathers avoided like a dark secret.

To distance itself from its Hebraic roots, the early church created a new “sabbath” day and called it Sunday – the L-rd’s Day – with the justification that the Savior rose on Sunday. To reinforce this doctrine the church revamped another observance, the Hebraic Passover,  into a Latinized-Grecianized Easter observance. Other Biblical holy days were replaced by pagan celebrations that came to be called “holidays.” And New Testament writings, mostly by a Hebrew named Shau’l (a name altered to the Grecianized “Paul”) were twisted to support a whole array of unscriptural doctrines and Greek philosophy of men like Plato.

Torn from their Israelite roots and joined to a European culture, the Apostles are made to look as if they wrote their epistles on the steps of Roman basilicas. The question becomes, is the Bible a Hebrew book, a Greek book, a Latin book or a hopeless mixture? And how is the Truth reflected?

Hebrew is the language of the oldest Old Testament manu-scripts. Greek is the preeminent language of  the New Testament (though not the original  New Testament lan-guage). Therefore, in the minds of many the Bible is a book with a first section reflecting Hebraic faith and a new section reflecting a Grecian set of beliefs and practices.

This has been the major belief for centuries, even though the New Testament was written by Hebrews about Hebrew people who spoke Hebrew and lived in an Israelite society. That the oldest New Testament manuscrips in existence are in Greek does not mean they were composed in Greek. Keep in mind that the oldest available manuscripts of the Old Testament were in Greek also, until even older Dead Sea Scrolls were found with their Old Testament text in Hebrew.

Implied in today’s majority teachings is that the New Testament included progressive Jews who were in the process of switching from their Israelite faith to Greek thinking and beliefs. In this supposed reform process they were giving up the Sabbath for Sunday, Passover for Easter, other Feasts for Xmas, and obedience to the law for grace and faith alone.

But this presents a huge problem. We find that the Sabbath is still in effect in the New Testament, along with the Feasts and the law. We find Shau’l himself teaching that the law is not made void but is established, Romans 3:31. Even if it is argued that the Feasts and law were on their way out, why do we find them in the prophecies of the coming millennial Kingdom still being followed and enforced? Read Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 45, Micah 4:2; Zechariah 14.

Yahweh made a covenant with Israel and Israel only. Other peoples and nations may join in that agreement called the New Covenant through a grafting in process. To do that they obey the same laws given to Israel and accept the other terms of the covenant. May YOU  join with those who today are seeking Him through a pure and obedient heart.

Christianity and Greek paganism

Was the Savior Greek?

Why is a Hebrew Called by a Greek Name?

Suppose a new Bible translation had the second chapter of Matthew begin like this: “Now when Yahshua the Messiah was born at Athens Grecia in the days of Alexander the Great, behold there came wise men from the east to Olympia, Saying, ‘Where is He that is born king of the Greeks? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Alexander had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Olympia with him.’”If you read such a translation you would be troubled, too. “My Bible says the Savior was Hebrew, born of the tribe of Judah at Bethlehem!” you would say. “That translation is wrong! The Greeks were pagans. He wasn’t Greek nor was he born among Greeks.” You would be absolutely right. Now let’s look at this passage as it appears in the King James Version: “Now when Jesus was born inBethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is bom King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Now the facts are right, expressing the Hebrew heritage and birth of our Savior. But one problem remains. “Jesus” is a Greek name. It is as out of place in the setting of Hebrew Israel as the Hebrew Savior would be if born in Greece – to be king of the Greeks.

Yahshua the Hebrew

Our Savior was a Hebrew, born of a Jewish mother. He had a Hebrew family. He spoke Hebrew, lived the Hebrew culture, kept and taught Hebrew laws, had Hebrew followers, and quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. So what is He doing in our Bibles with a Latinized-Anglicized-Greek name? And why, being a Hebrew, is He referred to by the purely Greek title “Christos” rather than the Hebrew “Mashiyach” (“Messiah”)? One might argue, that’s because ours is an English Bible, not a Hebrew one.

If that is true, then why is the Greek “Christ” and its possessive “Christ’s” found 570 times in our ENGLISH Bibles, while the original, Hebrew-rooted “Messiah” appears a mere four times? Others may say, well, this just shows that the New Testament was originally inspired in the Greek. Not true, and we can cite myriads of reasons that the New Testament was written in Hebrew or perhaps Aramaic. But that still does not explain why the Greek title Christ, meaning “anointed,” remains untranslated in our ENGLISH versions.

Hebrews Loathed Greek Culture

Was the New Testament written in Greek? Consider. The Jews of the Savior’s day spoke Hebrew (or some say its sister language Aramaic). They held nothing but animosity for the heathen Greeks and the Hellenization policy of the Seleucid rulers. Why would the Jewish Apostles be writing in Greek under these circumstances and social tensions? What average Jew could or would want to read Greek writings (even if the Apostles could write Greek, which most could not)? Some Alexandrian Jews had resettled in Judea and did speak Aramaic.

Josephus, the eminent  first-century Hebrew priest and historian – who said he far exceeded the average Jew in learning – wrote, “I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness…” (Antiquities of the Jews, 20:11:1). If this eminent priest and scholar could not speak Greek, how could most of the common Jews in Judea?

Yahshua sent the l2 Disciples “not to the Gentiles [Greeks included], but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Matthew 10:6. Obviously, these Hebrew Disciples writing for Israelites wrote in Hebrew – so the average Hebrew would understand. To think they would be writing in Hebrew but inserting Greek substitute names for the Father and Son is absurd. On the contrary. They would use the personal Names first revealed from On High to the Hebrew patriarchs in the Hebrew language long before the Greek language even existed! (see Gen. 4:1, 26)

The Case for ’Yahshua’

That the Heavenly Father’s personal, revealed, covenant Name is Yahweh is widely known and recognized in religious circles. But how do we know that the Savior’s Name is Yahshua? First, the “J” did not exist in any language until about the 15th century common era (A.D.). This eliminates both “Jehovah” and “Jesus.” Second, Yahshua said He came in His Father’s Name, John 5:43. YAHweh and YAHshua both bear the family name “Yah.” The Name Yah-shua means “Yah’s salvation.” Third, Yahshua was a Jew, a descendant of the Hebrews. He would no more have a Greek name than a German would have a Chinese name.