Greetings Companions and Friends,
Last month our Thrice Illustrious Master, George Lucero asked me to write “From the Crypt” and I’m continuing the subject I wrote on last month, today.
The subject was identifying the “Crypt” in Cryptic Masonry and the factual history behind crypt and King Solomon’s Temple above. In the article I spoke of the traditional site of King Solomon’s Temple which is where the Dome of the Rock stands now and the evidence that points to belief that there is a genuine crypt below. But what we’ll be talking about is a possible alternate theory of the location and how that could change how we think about the Temple Mount.
Architect, Tuvia Sagiv has been studying the Temple Mount and has put forth a controversial theory. He states that King Solomon’s Temple wasn’t standing where the Dome of the Rock is now but between the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Looking at the Solomon’s Temple from an architectural and logistical perspective he states that given the elevation of the Dome of the Rock water flow required for ritual bathing and sacrifices would have been impossible. Archeologists believe they may have found an aqueduct close to the Dome of the Rock but given the angle and direction of the aqueduct Sagiv believes there is no way water would have been able to reach where the Dome currently stands. Giving further credence to his theory is infrared pictures taken of the Temple Mount that shows that directly behind the Western or Wailing Wall is a structure that in many ways fits the dimensions of the Second Temple as laid out in scripture.
A major component of his theory though relies on the history of yet another temple that rested upon the temple mount. Not a Jewish, Christian or Muslim temple but the temple of Jupiter which the Romans built on the Temple Mount. Now any archeologist will tell you that holy sites are often built on top of one another. From the Vatican to Spanish missions we often find that holy sites are regularly designed to cover up the previous religion of the area. So that fact would lead one to assume that the Dome of the Rock WAS in fact built on the ruins of the Second Temple. Not so, says Sagiv. History tells us that the Romans built a massive Jupiter Temple upon the ruins of the Second Temple and though it was technically over the site of Solomon’s Temple it was designed to take up the majority of the Temple Mount and Sagiv states it had one large structure where the Dome of the Rock stands, another large structure where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands on the other side of the Temple Mount, and a large statue of a horse built over where they thought stood the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holy of Holies as a way of promoting the Roman belief that they had defeated the Jewish people. This is backed up by examples of other temples to Jupiter built by the same architect in the same period. Then before or during the Ummayad period of rule Jupiter’s Temple including the horse statue was destroyed and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock were built in its place leaving the Holy of Holies unmarked and lost to the ages.
So what’s the problem? Whether you’re looking for Solomon’s Temple or Sulaiman’s Mosque this is an amazing archeological find. Well the consensus among Rabbis and Imams is that the whole theory is a lot of wishful thinking, and the plan requires some major changes to holy sites. To get to the underground ruins or crypt of the temple one would have to destroy much of the western wall and dig up Muslim land, and no one would be willing to disturb such holy sites on little more than a theory.
Personally I couldn’t tell you for sure as much as I would love to be certain. Perhaps one day men will dig beneath the Dome of the Rock or behind the Western Wall in search of undeniable proof of the location of King Solomon’s Temple and the long hidden Sanctum Sanctorum. But until that light shines upon us we’ll have to wait and wonder.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this letter and hope that if you have never considered Cryptic Masonry or have just been waiting for the right time, come check us out and let us show you into the Crypt. We have three new companions in waiting so you can be assured you’ll be in good company.