Tue. Sep 17th, 2019

Fulfilling the Promises

"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." Mark 13:26

The Lost Temples Found Part 3 – Jerusalem Pilgrims and What They Saw

As our Bordeaux traveler enters the Upper City through the Sion Gate he starts north toward the Damascus Gate and records a remarkable observation: “From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk north towards the gate of Neapolis, towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate". This walled platform on Mount Moriah is a huge edifice of over 10,000 stones. This site is currently and has for almost 2000 years been the center of intense conflict and the focal point of religious passion in the birthplace of the Abrahamic religions. We need now to question whether the Jewish Temples were ever on this Moriah Platform. We need to realize that the struggle is not over the site of the Jewish Temple, but over a Roman Fort.
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the Madaba Mosaic Map, is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba Map is of the Middle East, and part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. It dates to the 6th century AD.

In Thessalonians 2:3-4  Paul writes “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” Jesus in Matthew 24:15-16 warns “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” For these events to happen there needs to be a Third Temple in Jerusalem, yet with the Muslims controlling what is almost universally accepted today as the Temple Mount by Jews and Christians and the Haram al-Sharif by Muslims, how can a Third Jewish Temple be built? 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. The very temple where the Antichrist will profane could then be built.

Third in a series on the true location of the Jewish Temples

Itinerarium Burdigalense – The Bordeaux Pilgrim

The Itinerarium Burdigalense (“Bordeaux Itinerary”) — also known as the Itinerarium Hierosolymitanum (“Jerusalem Itinerary”) — is the oldest known Christian itinerarium. It was written by the “Pilgrim of Bordeaux”, an anonymous pilgrim from Burdigala (present-day Bordeaux, France). It recounts the writer’s journey to the Holy Land in the years 333 and 334[2] as he traveled by land through northern Italy and the Danube valley to Constantinople, then through Asia Minor and Syria to Jerusalem, and then back by way of Macedonia, Otranto, Rome, and Milan.


 “There are in Jerusalem two large pools at the side of the temple, that is, one upon the right hand, and one upon the left, which were made by Solomon; and further in the city are twin pools, with five porticoes, which are called Bethsaida (John 5:2-18). There persons who have been sick for many years are cured; the pools contain water which is red when it is disturbed. There is also here a crypt, in which Solomon used to torture devils.

“Here is also the corner of an exceeding high tower, where our Lord ascended and the tempter said to Him, ‘If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence.’ (Matthew 4:7). And the Lord answered, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, but him only shalt thou serve.’ (Matthew 4:10). There is a great corner – stone, of which it was said, ‘The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.’ (Matthew 21:42; Psalm 118:22). Under the pinnacle of the tower are many rooms, and here was Solomon’s palace. There also is the chamber in which he sat and wrote the (Book of) Wisdom; this chamber is covered with a single stone. There are also large subterranean reservoirs for water and pools constructed with great labour. And in the building itself, where stood the temple which Solomon built, they say that the blood of Zacharias (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51) which was shed upon the stone pavement before the altar remains to this day.[1] There are also to be seen the marks of the nails in the shoes of the soldiers who slew him, throughout the whole enclosure, so plain that you would think they were impressed upon wax. There are two statues of Hadrian, and not far from the statues there is a perforated stone, to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart. There also is the house of Hezekiah King of Judah[2].

“Also as you come out of Jerusalem to go up Mount Sion, on the left hand, below in the valley, beside the wall, is a pool which is called Siloe (John 9:7) and has four porticoes; and there is another large pool outside it. This spring runs for six days and nights, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, it does not run at all, either by day or by night. On this side one goes up Sion, and sees where the house of Caiaphas the priest was, and there still stands a column against which Christ was beaten with rods. Within, however, inside the wall of Sion, is seen the place where was David’s palace. Of seven synagogues which once were there, one alone remains[3]; the rest are ploughed over and sown upon, as said Isaiah the prophet (Micah 3:12)[4].

“From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk towards the gate of Neapolis (Damascus Gate), towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:27). Here our Lord was tried before His passion. On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified (Matthew 27:33). About a stone’s throw from thence is a vault wherein His body was laid, and rose again on the third day (Matthew 27:63; 28:6). There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty, having at the side reservoirs from which water is raised, and a bath behind in which infants are washed (baptized)[5].

“Also as one goes from Jerusalem to the gate which is to the eastward, in order to ascend the Mount of Olives, is the valley called that of Jehosaphat. Towards the left, where are vineyards, is a stone at the place where Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ (Matthew 26,47-50); on the right is a palm – tree, branches of which the children carried off and strewed in the way when Christ came (Matthew 31:8). Not far from thence, about a stone’s – throw, are two notable tombs of wondrous beauty; in the one, which is a true monolith, lies Isaiah the prophet, and in the other Hezekiah, King of the Jews.

“From thence you ascend to the Mount of Olives, where before the Passion, the Lord taught His disciples (Matthew 24-25). There by the orders of Constantine a basilica of wondrous beauty has been built. Not far from thence is the little hill which the Lord ascended to pray, when he took Peter and John with Him, and Moses and Elias were beheld (Matthew 17:1-8).”[6]

What we see before is the earliest surviving diary of a pilgrim to the Holy Land[7].  History does not tell us his name, but he has left us a most interesting itinerary of his journey written in Latin in the year of our Lord 333.  There is an assumption our traveler was from Bordeaux in Gaul since there is where his journey begins.  His entries are quite brief, mostly notes recording distances traveled, where he stayed, what he saw, and what our pilgrim thought.  He leaves us little commentary, yet he gives us much insight into the location of the Jewish Temple and Fortress Antonia.

Our pilgrim approaches Jerusalem from the northeast corner of what traditionalists call the Temple Mount and proceeds south down the valley of Jehoshaphat entering the Holy City somewhat south of its southeast corner by turning west. As he proceeds west toward the Sion Gate it is obvious he first describes seeing the site of the Temple and the pools that are on either side of it: “There are in Jerusalem two large pools at the side of the temple, that is, one upon the right hand, and one upon the left, which were made by Solomon….”[8]  So as he turns west and enters the environs of Jerusalem he sees either the ruins of the Temple[9] or what the early church viewed as the historical site of the Jewish Temple.  The pilgrim made no mention of what the traditionalists today refer to as the Temple Mount, no mention of large walls surrounding what he is viewing as the site of the Temple.  He does see “two large pools at the side of the temple….” These are undoubtedly large mikveh that were used by pilgrims for ceremonial cleansing before entering the Temple.[10] As an aside our pilgrim then notes: “and further in the city are twin pools, with five porticoes, which are called Bethsaida (John 5:2-18)[11]. There persons who have been sick for many years are cured; the pools contain water which is red when it is disturbed.” The pilgrim’s mention of the Bethsaida pools makes it clear that he has recorded in his diary not only what he first sees as he turns west, just south of the traditional Temple Mount, and toward his destination, the Sion Gate, but what he sees later on as he enters into the city. What he clearly sees is that the twin pools with the porticoes are further in the city. In fact, the Pools of Bethsaida are universally recognized as having been north of what traditionalist call the Temple Mount.  The two pools he initially sees as he enters the environs leading to the Upper City are on either side of the Temple, however the pools of Bethsaida are north of the traditionalist’s Temple Mount.  So how do we reconcile what the pilgrim has recorded? The Temple the pilgrim sees is south of the traditionalists Temple Mount which I will now call correctly Mount Moriah or Fortress Antonia.

As he continues west toward the Sion Gate he records seeing an exceedingly high tower (The Tower of Ophel or Great Tower) and Solomon’s Palace. At this point he would be passing the ancient City of David which is on a narrow ridge running south from the Temple as he is seeing it. These landmarks clearly mark his path.  He mentions the Temple once again and the House of King Hezekiah.[12] He mentions the “two statues of Hadrian[13] and not far from the statues there is a perforated stone[14], to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart.” History tells us that after Emperor Hadrian had destroyed the Jewish attempt to rebuild the Temple in the second century AD he built a temple to Jupiter on that very site and erected a statue of himself on the site of the Holy of Holies. The ruins, which the pilgrim is seeing are, undoubtedly, the ruins of the Jewish attempt to rebuild the Temple, which Hadrian would then destroy, or the remnants of the temple to Jupiter. The “perforated stone” was the stone referenced in the Mishnah that was situated in the Holy of Holies and was called Shetiya. The Mishnah records that this was the very stone that had been revealed in Scripture by David and Samuel. Situated inside the Holy of Holies, this was the rock upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple. The pilgrim was seeing the very site of the Temples of the Jews or more accurately, the site where it stood since the Romans did not leave one stone on another in 70 AD. This was the site that Yahweh Himself had dwelled between the two cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant which had stood on that very “perforated stone”. Our Bordeaux traveler had not yet entered the walls of the upper city through the Sion Gate.

The pilgrim’s path is easily traced to this point by one who has eyes to see and a desire for absolute truth.  As he continues to move west toward the Sion Gate he continues describing pools and as he looks off to the south he observes: “Also as you come out of Jerusalem to go up Mount Sion, on the left hand, below in the valley, beside the wall, is a pool which is called Siloe[15] (John 9:7) and has four porticoes; and there is another large pool outside it.”  What he is describing to the south in the distance is the Upper Pool of Siloam and further off the King’s Pool or Lower Pool of Siloam in the royal garden of the ancient Israelite kings.  He has not yet entered the Upper City. He continues and as he reaches the House of Caiaphas[16] he has reached the Sion Gate.

As our Bordeaux traveler enters the Upper City through the Sion Gate he starts north toward the Damascus Gate and records a remarkable observation: “From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk north towards the gate of Neapolis[17] (Damascus Gate), towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:27). Here our Lord was tried before His passion. On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified (Matthew 27:33). About a stone’s throw from thence is a vault wherein His body was laid and rose again on the third day (Matthew 27:63; 28:6). There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica,[18] that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty, having at the side reservoirs from which water is raised, and a bath behind in which infants are washed (baptized).”  What is plain is that to the pilgrim’s right was the walled praetorium of Pilate and to his left Constantine’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

These “walls” must have certainly been the defining feature of what he saw.  It may seem difficult for the modern mind to understand and conceive of how workmen over 2000 years ago could construct such a platform with such immense walls.  This walled platform on Mount Moriah[19] is a huge edifice of over 10,000 stones with some weighing as much as seventy tons and varying in length from three to forty feet. This indeed was a great feat of engineering and workmanship.  The immensity of this structure is dwarfed, however, by the struggle over it by three major religions and by peoples and governments whose animosities deeply stain the course of history.  This site is currently and has for almost 2000 years been the center of intense conflict and the focal point of religious passion in the birthplace of the Abrahamic religions.  We need now to question whether the Jewish Temples were ever on this Moriah Platform[20].  We need to realize that the struggle is not over the site of the Jewish Temple, but a Roman Fort.

We next come to another sojourner, the Piacenza pilgrim[21], who wrote of his pilgrimage about 570 AD.  This sixth century pilgrim, Antoninus of Piacenza, Italy also writes of his journey in the Holy Land.  This traveler is much more detailed and although the whereabouts of many of his stops are lost to history we are able to follow his route.  Upon approaching Jerusalem Antoninus left us the following record of his journey to the site of the Jewish Temples and to Pilate’s Praetorium.[22]  It is wise if one takes some of his account with a degree of skepticism as to the veracity of what he was told he was seeing, however, it becomes significant to note the sites he writes of as confirming the accuracy of the Bordeaux account and path.  Let us now read of Antoninus’ account.

 “Coming down the Mount of Olives we arrived at Gethsemane and the place where the Lord was betrayed.  In it are three couches on which he reclined and where we also reclined to gain their blessing.  There is also a basilica of Saint Mary in the valley, which people say was her house, and the place at which she was taken up from this life.  The valley of Gethsemane is also at this place called Jehoshaphat.  We climbed by many steps up from Gethsemane to the Gate of Jerusalem.  There is an olive-grove on the right of the gate: in it is the fig-tree from which Judas hanged himself.  Its trunk still stands there, protected by stones.  This gate of the city is next to the Gate Beautiful which was part of the Temple, and its threshold and entablature are still in position there.[23]

 “After we had prostrated ourselves and kissed the ground, we entered the Holy City[24] and venerated the Lord’s Tomb.  The tomb is hewn out of living rock, or rather in the rock itself… and in the place where the Lord’s body was laid, at the head, has been placed a bronze lamp.  It burns there day and night, and we took a blessing from it and then put it back.  Earth is brought to the tomb and put inside, and those who go in take some as a blessing.  The stone which closed the Tomb is in front of the tomb door and is made of the same coloured rock as the rock hewn from Golgotha.  This stone is decorated with gold and precious stones, but the rock of the tomb is like a millstone.  There are ornaments in vast numbers, which hang from iron rods:  armlets, bracelets, necklaces, rings, tiaras, plaited girdles, belts, emperors’ crowns and precious stones,[25] and the insignia of an empress.  The Tomb is roofed with a cone which is silver, with added beams of gold.  In front of the Tomb stands an altar.[26]

 “From the Tomb it is eighty paces to Golgotha; you go up on one side of it by the very steps up which our Lord went to be crucified.  You can see the place where he was crucified, and on the actual rock there is a bloodstain.  Beside this is the altar of Abraham, which is where he intended to offer Isaac, and where Melchizedech offered sacrifice.  Next to the altar is a crack, and if you put your ear to it you hear streams of water.  If you throw an apple into it, or anything else that will float, and then go to Siloam, you can pick it up there.  I suppose it is a mile between Siloam and Golgotha.  In fact, Jerusalem has no water of its own except the spring of Siloam.[27]

 “From Golgotha it is fifty paces to the place where the Cross was discovered, which is in Basilica of Constantine, which adjoins the Tomb and Golgotha.[28]  In the courtyard of the basilica is a small room where they keep the Wood of the Cross.  We venerated it with a kiss.  The title is also there which they placed over the Lord’s head, on which they wrote ‘This is the King of the Jews’.  This I have seen and had it in my hand and kissed it.  The Wood of the Cross comes from the nut-tree.  At the moment when the Cross is brought out of this small room for veneration, and arrives in the court to be venerated, a star appears in the sky, and comes over the place where they lay the Cross.  It stays overhead whilst they are venerating the Cross, and they offer oil to be blessed in little flasks.  When the mouth of one of the little flasks touches the Wood of the Cross, the oil instantly bubbles over, and unless it is closed very quickly it all spills out.  When the Cross is taken back into its place, the star also vanishes, and appears no more once the Cross has been put away.  In that place are also the sponge and reed mentioned in the Gospel (from this sponge we drank water) and also the onyx cup which he blessed at the Supper, and many other marvelous things besides: a portrait of Blessed Mary on a raised place, her girdle, and the band which she used to have on her head.  In that place there are also seven marble seats for the elders.[29]

“We climbed the Tower of David[30], the place where he recited the Psalms, and it is enormous.  It has cells in each of the banquet-rooms, and the tower itself is a hollow square building without a roof.  Christians climb this tower to spend the night in prayer.  If they rise at about midnight, they hear a sound of murmuring down in the valley of Jehoshaphat in the direction of the Jordan, Sodom, and Gomorrha.  The usual name for this valley is “The Valley of Jehoshaphat”, but is also Gethsemane.[31]

“From there we went to the basilica of Holy Sion[32], which contains many remarkable things, including the corner stone which the Bible tells us was ‘rejected by the builders’.  The Lord Jesus entered this church, which used to be the House of Saint James, and found this ugly stone lying about somewhere, so he took it and placed it in the corner.  You can hold it in your hands and lift it.  Then put your ear in the corners and the sound is like the murmuring of a crowd.  In this church is the column at which the Lord was scourged, and it has on it a miraculous mark.  When he clasped it, his chest clove to the stone, and you see the marks of both his hands, his fingers, and his palms.  They are so clear that you can use them to take ‘measures’ for any kind of disease, and people can wear them round their neck and be cured.  On this column is the horn from which kings were anointed (including David), and the church also contains the crown of thorns with which they crowned the Lord, and the lance with which they struck him in the side.  There are also many of the stones with which they stoned Stephen, and the small column in which they set the cross on which Blessed Peter was crucified at Rome.  The Cup of the Apostles is there, with which they celebrated mass after the Lord had risen again, and many other remarkable things which I cannot remember.  A monastery for women is there.  I saw a human head enclosed in a reliquary of gold adorned with gems, which they say is that of Saint Theodota the martyr.  Many drink out of it to gain a blessing, and so did I.[33]

“From Sion we went to the basilica of Saint Mary[34], with its great congregation of monks, and its guest houses for men and women.  In catering for travelers they have a vast number of tables, and more than three thousand beds for the sick.  We also prayed at the Praetorium, where the Lord’s case was heard:  what is there now is the basilica of Saint Sophia (the Church of the Holy Wisdom)[35], which is in front of the Temple of Solomon, below the street which runs down to the spring of Siloam outside Solomon’s porch.  In this basilica is the seat where Pilate sat to hear the Lord’s case, and there is also the oblong stone which used to be in the centre of the Praetorium.  The accused person whose case was being heard was made to mount this stone so that every one could hear and see him.  The Lord mounted it when he was heard by Pilate, and his footprints are still on it.  He had a well-shaped foot, small and delicate, but he was of an ordinary height, with a handsome face, curly hair, and beautiful hand with long fingers, as you can see from a picture which is there in the Praetorium, and was painted while he was alive.  From this stone where he stood come many blessings.  People take ‘measures’ from the footprints, and wear them for their various diseases, and they are cured.  The stone itself is decorated with gold and silver.”[36]

What can be seen here is that this pilgrim came upon the outskirts of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.  Descending into the valley below he next visited Gethsemane and the house of Mary “the place at which she was taken up from this life.”  He is northeast of the northeast corner of the Moriah Platform.  He continues south down the valley of Jehoshaphat and moves west toward a gate in the city wall which he refers to as the Gate of Jerusalem.  It is here he visits a fig tree which he is told is the very tree from which Judas hung himself.  He writes that this fig tree is in an “olive-grove on the right of the gate” by which he enters Jerusalem.  He next records that the gate he enters by is “next to the Gate Beautiful[37] which was part of the Temple, and its threshold and entablature are still in position there.”  The location of the Judas tree can be seen on a map of Jerusalem published in 1835 by Frederick Catherwood which can been seen below.[38]  Numerous maps show a gate west of the Judas tree in the vicinity of the Virgin’s Spring[39] which feeds the pools of Siloam.  Catherwood’s map notes an “Upper Pool” called “Siloam” which seems to place Antonius’ entry into Jerusalem at a point similar to the entry of the Bordeaux pilgrim.  As they enter Jerusalem the Bordeaux and Piacenza pilgrims were both seeing a site for the Jewish Temples and neither was identifying it with the Praetorium which they both later identify separately from the site of the Temple.  Neither pilgrim identifies the Temple area as being surrounded by the massive walls that surround the Moriah Platform which they identified as the praetorium.  Antonius’ journal continues and becomes ever so interesting.

The Piacenzaa traveler, once entering the Holy City, prostrates himself and kisses the ground.  He seems to be following the route of his Bordeaux predecessor and has entered through the Sion or Zion gate and headed north where he comes to the area of Golgotha, the Tomb and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  He then travels southwest of the Church of the Holy Selpuchre and climbs the Tower of David[40].  From the Tower of David he visits the “basilica of Holy Sion”.   This basilica was a congregation of Jewish Christians that had stayed distinct from the Gentile Christians that worshipped at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  It is also believed to be the lone remaining of “seven synagogues” which the Bordeaux pilgrim also mentions.  He is now midway between the Tower of David and the southwest corner of the Moriah Platform.  Now from here the itinerary becomes very interesting indeed.

The route Antonius is taking seems to have him heading toward the Moriah Platform’s southwest corner and the area of Robinson’s Arch. It is apparent that as Antonius leaves the Basilica of Holy Sion his intention was to visit the praetorium of Pilate and his entry point is at the southwest corner of the Moriah Platform.  It appears that he is entering the Moriah Platform over Robinson’s Arch.  It will become evident that what the traveler from Piacenza visits next is on the Moriah Platform and he clearly refers to it as the Praetorium of Pilate.  Once on the Moriah Platform he records: “From Sion we went to the basilica of Saint Mary[41], with its great congregation of monks, and its guest houses for men and women.  In catering for travelers they have a vast number of tables, and more than three thousand beds for the sick.  We also prayed at the Praetorium, where the Lord’s case was heard: what is there now is the basilica of Saint Sophia[42], which is in front of the Temple of Solomon, below the street which runs down to the spring of Siloam outside Solomon’s porch. In this basilica is the seat where Pilate sat to hear the Lord’s case, and there is also the oblong stone which used to be in the centre of the Praetorium.”  He clearly states that the basilica of Sophia was in front of the Temple, below the street which runs down to the spring of Siloam.[43]  It is very clear that both of the pilgrims referred to the walled area that they saw as Pilate’s Praetorium. The Piacenza pilgrim even entered onto the platform which he attested was the Praetorium of Pilate. 

All known historical evidence points to what is today referred to as the Temple Mount is really Pilate’s Praetorium which was within the Fortress of Antonia. I will now in the next post in this series turn to evidence of where the Temple actually stood.

[1] 2 Chronicles 24:20-21: 20 Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the LORD’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.’”  21 But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the LORD’s temple.  New International Version (NIV)

[2] Jerome, Commentary in Isaiah xxxviii, alludes to the ‘ steps of the house of  Hezekiah,’ as existing in the Temple enclosure, but the place has not been identified.

[3] The Church of Zion, Jerusalem, also known as the Church of the Apostles on Mount Zion, is believed to have been a distinct Jewish-Christian congregation continuing at Mount Zion in Jerusalem in the 2nd-5th Century, when it was the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina, distinct from the main Gentile congregation which had its home at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

[4] Micah 3:12 New International Version (NIV): “Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” The Prophet is addressing the wicked rulers of Israel.

[5] Originally built by the mother of Emperor Constantine in 330 A.D., the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built on what the early Church identified as the site of the crucifixion and the tomb of Christ’s burial. 

[6] The Pilgrim’s path is easily mapped as he makes a clear entrance at the southeast corner of the Haram and exits his Jerusalem at the northeast corner as he heads at ascent the Mount of Olives.

[7] Itinerarium Burdigalense, English translation by Aubrey Stewart (Palestine Pilgrim’s Text Society, 1887)

[8] A person was required to be ritually pure in order to enter the Temple.  During the second Temple period the mikveh was used by all Jews who wanted to enter the precincts of the Sanctuary. The law required every person inside the Temple grounds to be in a spiritually pure state appropriate to the pristine spirituality of the Sanctuary itself. What the Pilgrim is seeing are two mikveh, one at either side of the ruins of the Jewish attempt to rebuild the Temple during the reign of Constantine.

[9] John Chrysostom “Adversus Judaeos”, “…though the Jews tried many times to rebuild their temple. Not once, not twice, but three times they tried. They tried till the time of Hadrian, in the time of Constantine, and in the time of Julian. But each time they tried they were stopped. The first two times they were stopped by military force; later it was by the fire which leaped forth from the foundations and restrained them from their untimely obstinacy.” The ruins that the Bordeaux Pilgrim viewed was an attempt during the reign of Constantine between 312 and 325.  The later attempt, during the reign of Julian the Apostate, had not yet taken place while the Pilgrim was in Jerusalem.

[10] Excavations by Benjamin Mazar  and Dr. Eilat Mazar south of the Haram included well-preserved remains of a number of mikveh just south of the Haram. Much of the plaster facing of the baths was still intact which, along with the descending steps. The overall dimensions, design, and proximity to the Temple Mount clearly reveal them to be mikveh, a water immersion facility that Jewish pilgrims would use to ritually cleanse themselves before participating in Temple activities.

[11] The Pool of  Bethsaida is located near the Sheep Gate just north of the Temple Mount or Haram. Archaeological discoveries in the nineteenth century and in 1964 proved beyond a doubt that the description of this pool in the Gospel of John was not the creation of the Evangelist, but instead reflected an accurate and detailed knowledge of the site. In his gospel account, John describes such a pool, surrounded by five covered colonnades. “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

[12] Jerome in his “Commentary on Isaiah” alludes to the “steps of the house of Hezekiah” as existing in the Temple enclosure. This is a solid indication that the pilgrim is still south of the Haram and moving west toward the Sion Gate.

[13] In 398 AD, Jerome’s commentary on Matthew mentioned that an equestrian statue of the Emperor Hadrian was still standing directly over the site of the Holy of the Holies, then consecrated to Jupiter Capitolinus. “So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation: or to the statue of the mounted Hadrian, which stands to this very day on the site of the Holy of Holies.” – Jerome, Commentaries on Isaiah 2.8: Matthew 24.15. There is no extant historical reference to a second statue.

[14] Situated inside the Holy of Holies, this was the rock upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple. During the Second Temple period when the Ark of the Covenant was not present, the stone was used by the High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on it during the Yom Kippur service.

[15] The Lower and Upper Siloam (Siloe) Pools south of the Temple were designed at the time of Herod the Great to accommodate almost all of the ritual purification needs of the large numbers of Jewish pilgrims who flocked to Jerusalem for the festivals. The Upper Pool of Siloam has additional special significance: it is mentioned in the Gospel of John as the location to which Jesus sent “a man blind from birth” in order to complete the healing of the man.

[16] A relief map by Frederick Catherwood, 1835 notes the positioning of the House of Caiphas which he locates at the “Gate of Zion”.

[17] Damascus Gate

[18] The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the Christian Quarter of the walled Old City of Jerusalem built by Constantine. The site is venerated as Golgotha (the Hill of Calvary), where Jesus was crucified, and is said also to contain the place where Jesus was buried (the Sepulchre).

[19] The topographic map shows that Mount Moriah is not a single peak, but an elongated ridge which commences to rise at its Southern end at the junction of the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys, at the original City of David (elevation approximately 600 meters).  The ridge then climbs in elevation to a maximum of 777 meters just Northeast of the present Damascus Gate of the Old City. (Lambert Dolphin, http://www.templemount.org/moriah2.html)

[20] According to the Old Testament, Mount Moriah was originally a threshing-floor owned by Araunah, a Jebusite. The prophet Gad suggested the area to King David as a fitting place for the erection of an altar to God, since it was there a destroying angel was standing when God stopped a great plague in Jerusalem. David then bought the property from Araunah, for fifty pieces of silver, and erected the altar. God instructed David to build a sanctuary on the site, outside the city walls on the northern edge of the hill. The building was to replace the Tabernacle, and serve as the Temple of the Israelites in Jerusalem. (Wikipedia Rework)

[21] The sixth-century pilgrim Antoninus of Piacenza, or the Anonymous Pilgrim of Piacenza described the holy places of Jerusalem in the 570s.

[22] The following narrative is taken from:  Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141

[23] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 17.] VALLEY OF GETHSEMANE

[24] He would have entered through the Sion or Zion Gate.

[25] In about A.D. 550 Elisbaan, King of Ethiopia sent a delegation to Jerusalem bringing a crown to be hung “in front of the door of the Lifegiving tomb”, according to the accounting AA.SS 24th October (X) 758, written before 597 A.D.  This gesture of offering crowns may be connected with Rev.4.10 and is still practised at the Jewish Tomb of David on Mount Sion.

[26] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 18.] THE LORD’S TOMB

[27] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 19.] GOLGOTHA

[28] What Antoninus is describing is Constantine’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Constantine had directed his mother, Helena, to build Churches on sites which commemorated the life of Jesus.  This is the site which the Bordeaux Pilgrim referred to in his entry: by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty, having at the side reservoirs from which water is raised, and a bath behind in which infants are washed (baptized).

[29] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 20.] THE WOOD OF THE CROSS

[30] The Tower of David is located at the northwestern corner of the first wall and protected Jerusalem from the west, overlooking and controlling the entire city. Throughout the centuries, many rulers have been forced to ‘fortify’ this area. Built during the 2nd century BC, the Tower of David has been repeatedly demolished, and then eventually rebuilt by various conquerors of Jerusalem- (Christian, Muslim, Ottoman, and Mamluk). While King Hezekiah, might have been the first to fortify the site, the Hasmonean- as per Josephus Flavius- laid down the ‘first wall’ as it was during the 1st century BC that walls and watchtowers were built around the area.

[31] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 21.] THE TOWER OF DAVID

[32] The Church of Zion, Jerusalem, is also known as the Church of the Apostles on Mount Zion.  The Church of Zion is presumed to have been a  Jewish-Christian congregation in the 2nd-5th Century, when it was the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina. It was distinct from the main Gentile congregation which had its home at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  The Bordeaux pilgrim seems to mention this Church but refers to it as a synagogue:  “Of seven synagogues which once were there, one alone remains….”

[33] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 22.] HOLY SION

[34] The Church of St. Mary was a Byzantine church that was built in Jerusalem during the reign of Justinian and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The church was located on the Moriah Platform.

[35] The basilica of Saint Sophia or the Church of the Holy Wisdom (which the Pilgrim describes) was built over “the oblong stone” he also mentions. The Jewish historian Josephus states that the “Rock” was the most prominent part of Fort Antonia [the Praetorium area], so this “oblong stone” was the central feature of the Church of the Holy Wisdom (that was destroyed by the Persians and Jewish soldiers in 614 A.D.).

[36] Wilkinson, John – Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades – Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England, 2002, pp 138-141 – [Entry 23.] CHURCHES OF SAINT MARY AND SAINT SOPHIA

[37] The Gate Beautiful is the gate of Acts 3:1-6 at which Peter heals the lame beggar.  There is no consensus as to the location of this gate.  The Piacenza pilgrim, however, locates it south of the Moriah Platform.

[38] Olin, Stephen.  Travels in Egypt, Arabia Petraea and the Holy Land.  New York, 1844, vol. II.  Catherwood, Frederick – Title Plan of Jerusalem [cartographic material]

[39] The only natural spring of water in or near Jerusalem is the Virgin’s Spring, which rises outside the city walls on the west bank of the valley of Jehoshaphat or as it is know today the Kedron Valley.  This spring is the upper water course of the Gihon Spring.  From this spring a tunnel was cut through the ridge which forms the south part of the temple hill and conveyed water to the Pool of Siloam.

[40] Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City’s defenses, the citadel that stands today was constructed during the 2nd century BC and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt by, in succession, the Christian, Muslim, Mamluk, and Ottoman conquerors of Jerusalem

[41] The Church of St. Mary was a Byzantine church that was built in Jerusalem during the reign of Justinian and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. What the historical records show (and even the archaeology demands) is that the Nea Church (the Church of Mary) was located at the southern quarter of the Haram esh-Sharif and covering the same site as Omar’s Al Aqsa Mosque now covers.

[42] The basilica of Saint Sophia or the Church of the Holy Wisdom (which the Pilgrim describes) was built over “the oblong stone” he also mentions. The Jewish historian Josephus states that the “Rock” was the most prominent part of Fort Antonia [the Praetorium area], so this “oblong stone” was the central feature of the Church of the Holy Wisdom (that was destroyed by the Persians and Jewish soldiers in 614 A.D.) The Church was built over the very rock that was believed to be the rock that Pilate judged Jesus on.

[43] A main street of Jerusalem was in the Tyropoean Valley and another ran along the western wall of the Temple Mount.  These two streets met slightly north of Robinson’s Arch and continued as one street, with stairs, down to the Pool of Siloam.  Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary by John J. Rousseau, Rami Arav, Fortress Press, 1995, page 162

Frederick_Catherwood Cropped

First in the Series – Jerusalem 70 AD: Not One Stone Left upon Another

Second in the Series – Fortress Antonia and the Jewish Expectations of a Great Military Leader

Fourth in the Series – The Second Temple and an Ever-flowing Spring – Location, Location, Location

Fifth in the Series – The Abomination of Desolation Standing in the Holy Place

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