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Second Temple Model

On Sunday, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Muslim cleric in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, said there has never been a Jewish temple atop the Temple Mount, and that the site has been home to a mosque “since the creation of the world.” He said on top of Mount Moriah there was a mosque “3,000 years ago, and 30,000 years ago” and has been “since the creation of the world.”

The Mufti is echoing the propaganda of Palestinian Chairman Abbas, and Muslims across the Middle East. But when he spews that nonsense he is ignoring the fact the ancient Greeks, Romans, Christians, and even the ancient Muslims reported that Jerusalem and Temple Mount were Jewish lands.

After the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE  the Romans punished the Judeans (Jews) for revolting once again by changing the name of their country from Judea to Syria Palaestina (after the Philistines the ancient Jewish enemy who no longer existed). At the same time they changed the name of the holy city from Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina (literally Capitoline Hill of the House of Aelius).

But for ancient Greek and Roman pagan authors, Jerusalem definitely was a Jewish city. An examination of their texts indicates the unanimous agreement that Jerusalem was Jewish by virtue of the fact that its inhabitants were Jews, it was founded by Jews and the Temple, located in Jerusalem, was the center of the Jewish religion.

These ancient texts, disprove recent attempts by Muslims and others to deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and the location of the Temple in Jerusalem through fabrications and lies. Below are just some of examples from Greek and Roman times published in a November 2008 Report issued by the JCPA:

Some writers recall distinctive Jewish customs, such as the absence of representations of the deity, male circumcision, dietary laws and the observance of the weekly day of rest, the Sabbath. Indeed, in 167 BCE, the Greek Seleucid King Antiochus IV ordered Jews to place an idol of Zeus in the Temple, outlawed circumcision, demanded the sacrifice of swine and forbade Sabbath observance (I Maccabees 1:41-50). He thus desired to eliminate those unique features of the Jewish religion which had been noted by pagan writers.
In an account by Hecataeus of Abdera (c. 300 BCE), Jerusalem appears toward the conclusion of his counter-Exodus account and before his description of Jewish society and practices. He attributes the expulsion of the Jews to the pestilence which the Egyptians blamed upon the presence of foreigners, not only Jews, who caused the natives to falter in religious observance. “Therefore, the aliens were driven from the country.” While some went to Greece, most “were driven into what is now called Judaea … at that time utterly uninhabited … on taking possession of the land, he [Moses] founded, besides other cities, one that is the most renowned of all, called Jerusalem. In addition, he established the temple that they hold in chief veneration, instituted their forms of worship and ritual, drew up their laws and ordered their political institutions.”
Several of the selections in Against Apion which include the anti-Exodus narrative also provide descriptions of the interior and exterior of the Temple and some of its rituals. For example, Hecataeus states that in the center of the city is an enclosure where there is “a square altar built of heaped up stones, unhewn and unwrought.” The Temple itself is “a great edifice containing and altar and a lamp stand, both made of gold … upon these is a light which is never extinguished … there is not a single statue or votive offering, no trace of a plant in the form of a sacred grove, or the like.”Hecataeus “On the Jews”, in Against Apion I, 198-199; Stern, I, V, No.12, 36-37
And in his account of Titus’ siege of Jerusalem, Tacitus describes the Temple as “… built like a citadel, with walls of its own … the very colonnades made a splendid defense. Within the enclosure is an ever-flowing spring.”[Tacitus, Historiae V:12:1 (Stern, II, XCII, no. 281) 22,30.
In addition to physical descriptions, the authors mention the religious aspect of the Temple which differed radically from Greek and Roman paganism. In the text preserved by Diodorus, Hecataeus mentions the priests and their duties in the Temple and even describes a worship service and sacrifice. Similarly, the first century Roman historian Livy remarks that the Jews do not state “to which deity pertains the temple at Jerusalem, nor is any image found there, since they do not think the God partakes of any figure.”Hecataeus, in Diodorus, Aegyptiaca, Bibliotheca Historica XL, 3, 4-6; Stern, I, V, No. 11, 26-28.
From The Second Temple, Warning In Greek delineating a section of the Temple complex which was off-limits to Gentiles
From The Second Temple, warning in Greek delineating a section of the Temple complex which was off-limits to Gentiles.
It is noteworthy that an earlier capture of Jerusalem by the Greek-Egyptian King Ptolemy, son of Lagus, provided an opportunity for the obscure Agatharchides of Cnidus (second century BCE) to remark about the fact that “the people known as Jews, who inhabited the most strongly fortified of cities, called by the natives Jerusalem” lost their city because they would not defend it on the Sabbath. Josephus includes this selection in Against Apion as one of the early pagan critiques of the Jewish Sabbath which Agatharchides deemed as “folly,” “dreams,” and “traditional fancies about the law.”
The Palestinians point to the fact that their is little archeological evidence that either Temple existed, but ignore the very convenient fact that there is no digging allowed on the Temple Mount in resect of its holiness to the Muslims. And when the Muslims dug up part of the Temple Mount to add to their Mosque, the dumped the tons of dirt with artifacts outside the holy city:
The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, the institution overseeing the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, carried out excavations on the Temple Mount between 1996 and 1999 as part of the construction of a subterranean mosque in an area known as Solomon’s Stables. Tens of thousands of tons of dirt — roughly 400 truckloads — were excavated by heavy machinery, without the supervision of archaeologists, and were dumped outside the Old City.
Archeologists have been sifting through the dirt for years (the project’s called the Temple Mount Sifting Project) , and have found artifacts from the Holy Temples. For example in 2005 the archaeologists found what is now known as the Gaalyahu Seal which in Hebrew says belonging to Gaalyahu son of Imer. The house of Imer was a well known priestly family at the end of the First Temple period, roughly from around the 7th – 6th Centuries BCE.


There are references to the Jewish Temple in the holy Muslim texts the Grand Mufti ignores as reported n the Jewish Virtual Library:
The Qur’an refers to the existence of both temples in verse 17:7. In this passage, the Qur’an deals with God’s punishment of the Children of Israel for their transgressions:

(We permitted your enemies)
To disfigure your faces,
And to enter your Temple
As they had entered it before,
And to visit with destruction
All that fell into their power.
The word translated as “Temple” by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (and by the influential translator Marmaduke Pickthall


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