Review - Temple: Amazing New Discoveries That Change Everything About the Location of Solomon's Temple

Many of us recognize Robert Cornuke as the man whom many believe discovered the real Mt. Sinai. He is also president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute, and has been featured on major television networks including ABC, FOX, CNN, National Geographic, and the History Channel; he received his PhD from Louisiana Baptist University.

What I especially appreciate about the author is that he begins with complete confidence in the Scripture. If accepted tradition contradicts Scripture, Cornuke’s game is afoot.

Dr. Cornuke, in a few pages, argues convincingly that the Temple was built in the old City of David—as he documents the Bible avows—rather than atop what has been wrongly dubbed the “Temple Mount.”

Cornuke quotes a number of passages that equate Zion with both the Temple and the City of David. Since the “Temple Mount” sits outside the old City of David, Zion and the Temple Mount cannot be one and the same.

What we call the Temple Mount, he argues, is actually the plateau built by the Romans for the Fortress Antonia. The Romans built their fortresses at the highest elevation possible, building a plateau akin to the “Temple Mount.”

He argues a convincing case, offering a variety of evidences from the biblical texts, formally recorded history (especially Josephus—whom those who accept the Temple Mount as the true location—believe erred), ancient eyewitness accounts, and both older and very recent archaeological findings (2013).

Herod’s Temple was so thoroughly destroyed that all traces of it have vanished. Ancient pilgrims postulated that the Temple had been built on the highest part of the city, and thus dubbed that location the “Temple Mount.”

Cornuke garners convincing evidence that the Temple was actually located to the southwest of the Temple Mount on a smaller piece of real estate, within the Old City of David and with access to the Gihon Spring.

Although Herod’s Temple was destroyed without a trace—as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:2—apparent remnants of Solomon’s Temple are evident underneath the suggested City of David location. The book actually contains a few photos of this subterranean archaeology.

This is not just an attempt at sensationalism, but a generally logical, thoroughly argued case that will appeal to readers open to consider this possibility. The evidence leads me, personally, to embrace Cornice’s conclusion.

To those of us who believe the Temple will one day be rebuilt—and that this rebuilding is associated with the End Times—the issue is more than just historical.

Getting back to the book itself, part one is both the real meat and bulk of the book: “The Temple.” Although not all arguments in this section are equally compelling, a number of them are quite so. Parts 2 and 3 (the future Temples and the Ark of the Covenant) make a few logical leaps, although I agree with his basic outline.

Dr. Cornuke does a good job summarizing the historical possibility that the Ark of the Covenant is now housed in Ethiopia, but the author stretches the Scriptures to teach that the Ethiopians will one day return it to the Temple for Jesus to use the Mercy Seat (Ark of the Covenant’s top) as His throne during the Millennium.

Make no mistake about it: this book is monumental. Its tight and compelling case for locating the Temple in the City of David (not the Temple Mount) is persuasive and positioned to become a popular viewpoint.

The author does repeat himself quite a bit, but this reinforces his points and will help readers who might otherwise find the subject confusing. The average layperson can readily understand this book. It is fascinating and the type of book that could become a “game changer.”

Ed Vasicek Bio


Ed Vasicek was raised as a Roman Catholic in Cicero, Illinois. During his senior year in high school (1974), Cicero Bible Church reached out to him, and he received Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone. Ed earned his BA at Moody Bible Institute. He has served as pastor of Highland Park Church since 1983. Ed and his wife, Marylu, have two adult children. Ed has written many weekly columns for the opinion page of the Kokomo Tribune, published articles in Pulpit Helps magazine, and posted many papers at his church website. Ed has also published the The Midrash Key and The Amazing Doctrines of Paul As Midrash: The Jewish Roots and Old Testament Sources for Paul’s Teachings.

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There are 12 Comments

TylerR's picture

Editor

I've never looked into the issue of where Solomon's Temple "really" was. I appreciate the review because I would have never even thought to purchase this book otherwise. Judging from the author's other works on Amazon, he seemed like a man angling for his own Christian reality adventure show (behold Relic Quest). The title is sensationalistic, and makes me think "tabloid" immediately.

Consider this excerpt from the synopsis of In Search of the Mountain of God: The Discovery of the Real Mt. Sinai:

Sneaking across borders, crawling into forbidden military installations, and using night vision goggles to avoid being detected, these men pursued their mission.

Is this book on the temple written in this kind of fashion? 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm sure there will be a fresh case for the "traditional" view in print again shortly as well. If it's done right, they'll boil it down to the points in dispute.... where the evidence is strong, where it's weak, etc. I doubt that a high level of certainty is possible either way with the facts we currently have available, but I'm open to persuasion.

dgszweda's picture

I don't agree with the comment, that Herod's temple was destroyed without a trace.  There is significant traces available.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I wasn't aware it was even in dispute. The author has also written books on where the ark "really" is, where Sinai "really" is, and now where the temple "really" was. My default assumption after perusing his works is that he's just trying to sell books. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding David's comment, it's claimed that the Western Wall is the last remaining part of Herod's temple.  That's why Jews have such reverence for it, and one would infer that if indeed it is such, it needs to be torn down in the end times per Matthew 24.  I am not quite sure, outside of tradition and Roman architectural and building methods, how one would definitively prove that it was, or was not, a retaining wall for Herod's temple.

Same basic idea with Solomon's or Ezra's--unless you had the precise layout of the foundation and indications that it was dedicated to YHWH and no other, you'd be unable to define it definitively.  Other temples in the region have a very similar layout, and the Bible itself records (as does the Apocrypha) pagan molestation of Solomon's and Ezra's temples.  So I would think there is an inherent degree of uncertainty, especially as the Bible records the complete destruction of the Temple in 586 BC.

Regarding the likelihood of it just being sensationalism, I'm torn.  Here is a quick bio of Larry Williams, and here is one of Bob Cornuke.   Suffice it to say that their previous work has been very controversial, but they've had some very real successes--Williams got Montana's tax rates indexed for inflation, for example.  He also failed to raise his daughter, actress Michelle WIlliams, for Christ--her adult life has been a mess.  The thing I can say in defense of these men is that getting access to various portions of the Sinai peninsula may have taken some doing.  Not everybody wants to establish the Torah bona fides of the Jews in that region, obviously.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Paul Henebury's picture

Thanks Ed for the review.  We both know Cornuke has issues, but we mustn't commit a genetic fallacy and dismiss him wholesale.  The biblical data on the temple site is not completely clear - perhaps for a reason?

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I am interested in this entire issue now. I really wasn't even aware that this was an issue. As for the genetic fallacy, Paul's point is well taken. We actually carry Bill Hybel's book Just Walk Across the Room in our church library because, well . . . it's a good book on being bold in evangelism. All the other legitimate problems with Hybels doesn't make his book on evangelism worthless. So it appears with this man. I'm just curious whether this book is written in a sensational and tabloid fashion (complete with night-vision goggles, secret military installations, Nazi stormtroopers - oh, wait - that was Indiana Jones), or as a responsible work. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Regarding David's comment, it's claimed that the Western Wall is the last remaining part of Herod's temple.  That's why Jews have such reverence for it, and one would infer that if indeed it is such, it needs to be torn down in the end times per Matthew 24.  I am not quite sure, outside of tradition and Roman architectural and building methods, how one would definitively prove that it was, or was not, a retaining wall for Herod's temple.

There is actually multiple pieces of archeological evidence.  The Warning Inscription, the Trumpeting place Inscription, Stairs of Ascent... and so on and so on, including documented information.  We may not know exactly how it all looked.  But it is a very far stretch to conclude that this was not the Second Temple Area.

Paul Henebury's picture

Thanks for these!

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Tyler R, when Cornuke documented the location of real Mt. SInai in Arabia, he began with the same premise, the truth of Scripture (Galatians 4:25).  But, in that case, he pulled some tricks to get into the region.  This is not the case with this book at all.  He used legal channels and connections he had with legitimate archeological authorities. He argues strongly from Josephus, history, and recent discoveries. 

Cornuke may be a bit of a sensationalist, but there is not need to be cynical about Josephus or the actual Biblical statement (2 Samuel 5:7). Before the actual City of David was discovered, things might be different. But now we know that the "Temple Mount" does not sit in the City of David  in which we find Zion.

Also, Tyler, unless Williams became a believer later, he was not when they discovered Mt. Sinai. He was a friend of Cornuke, taken along precisely because he was a skeptic and an unbeliever.

Brett, as far as the Wailing Wall, Cornuke makes a strong case that this is the retaining wall for the Fortress Antonia, not the Temple!  They actually found a coin from 20 AD at the bottom of the wall.  Josephus, in the Latin (and some translations that have not been altered by attempts to correct Josephus) says there was a legion of Roman Soldiers in Jerusalem in the Fortress Antonia. Some versions translate the Latin word for Legion as "cohort" to make it fit accepted tradition.  There is no evidence of a large fortress able to handle about 10, 0000 people (with the legion plus about 4,000 support personnel) except for what we dub the "Temple Mount."  Building a plateau on the highest point was a strategy for Roman fortresses.

There were originally 4 proposed Temple sites, and it was several centuries after Jerusalem's destruction that some began assuming that what we call the "Temple Mount" was the actual location of the temple.

The author does a good job talking about how what we now call the "Temple Mount" was given that name.  The location of the Temple had been lost.

I don't want to re-write the book here, but Cornuke advocates that, although Herod's temple was torn stone from stone and there are no visible remnants of it, the foundations of Solomon's temple are discoverable and may have been found (2014). The Fortress Antonia has many visible evidences, including what has come to be known as the Wailing Wall.  As excavations continue in the old City of David, I think Cornuke will be vindicated, although such conclusions will be suppressed for a while (think of the implications for the tourist industry in Israel).

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Rob Fall's picture

the implications with the Islamic defense of the mosque on that site.  If and when Cornuke is vindicated, the reason for that mosque's location gets murky.  Not to mention, a major flash point is smothered.

I think Cornuke will be vindicated, although such conclusions will be suppressed for a while (think of the implications for the tourist industry in Israel).

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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