The Academy of Jerusalem GOSPELS OF THE TEMPLE

The Temple at Jerusalem – a new Revelation

John Michell

Here is some startling news, which is also very good news – for many people the best news that they could possibly hope to hear. It concerns that most disturbed and controversial part of the world, which is called Israel, Palestine, the Holy Land and the Near East. In particular it is about that most controversial and mysterious building, the Temple at Jerusalem , founded by King Solomon in the tenth century BC, destroyed by the armies of Babylon in 587 BC and rebuilt by the Jews who returned to Jerusalem after the captivity. King Herod replaced it with a new, larger temple a few years before the birth of Christ. This magnificent structure took many years to build, and it had not long been completed in 70 AD when it was demolished by the Romans. So thoroughly was it obliterated that no trace of it remains above ground, and in the course of time even the place where it stood was forgotten.

That was the situation until quite recently. It was an awkward and dangerous situation, awkward for the religious Jews who are instructed by their law to rebuild the Temple, and dangerous because the walled platform around the site is entirely controlled by the Muslims. Their most holy shrines in the country are located on the Temple Mount (also called Mount Moriah and Haram al-Sharif), including the great Aqsa mosque and the sacred rock beneath the golden dome, Jerusalem’s most famous landmark. Any attempt to excavate for the site of the lost Temple, let alone set about rebuilding it, would be so fiercely opposed by the whole Muslim world that total and calamitous war would be the likely outcome.

This question of rebuilding the Temple is not just of theoretic or historical interest but immediate and urgent. For the Jews, the necessity of undertaking that task as soon as possible is emphasized by the stern dictum that “a generation that does not rebuild the Temple is judged as if it had destroyed it”. This is taken seriously by the religious, and fanatically by certain extremists, who would like to seize the sanctuary area, demolish the Muslim architecture and start construction. A first step to this would be to blow up the golden Dome. Many believe that the rock beneath it, from which Mohammed took off on his miraculous night flight to Mecca and where Abraham bound Isaac for sacrifice, is the Even Shettiyah, the Rock of Foundation, that stood at the centre of the world in the Holy of Holies within the Temple of the Jews.

The good news, completely changing the situation, transcending all difficulties, fulfilling every religious duty and delightful to every inhabitant and lover of Jerusalem, is that the peaceful restoration of the Temple is now actually in process. This is no metaphor or poetic fancy but a physical, concrete fact. Yet no demolition or construction is required, for the site of the Temple has been disclosed, and there it is, fashioned by the ancient builders as that temple of all people, prophesied by Isaiah.

In the following pages the Temple is carefully displayed, allowing everyone with a serious interest in the subject to consider the evidence and decide for themselves on its implications Anyone can see the structure, and religious people will recognize it as the temple referred to in both Jewish and Christian prophecy, which descends ready-made from heaven. There is no need to build it, because here it stands, revealed.


The Temple and the Millennium

…There are good, practical reasons for Zionism and the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, but there are also mystical reasons, and these are the deepest and most compelling. A constant theme in Biblical prophecy is that one day the Temple will be seen once more, greater and more splendid that any that preceded it. This will inaugurate the Millennial process, leading to the reunion at Jerusalem of all the twelve tribes of Israel and finally to the reappearance of divine order upon earth.

This does not now seem a likely prospect, certainly not from a political point of view. But we are not here concerned with politics or with any other form of human contrivance, for the great changes that take place in history and human consciousness are not planned but occur spontaneously, as if in accordance with certain universal patterns and cycles. That is indeed the traditional view. Plato and other ancient philosophers attributed the origin of each nation’s culture to divine revelation from some god or goddess who gave them their code of law. For as long as they upheld it, strictly, without change or deviation, their lives were long and happy. Human nature, however, is not constant, and everything on earth is subject to entropy and corruption. Observations became lax, innovations crept in, and the societies founded on divine principles either dissolved or were destroyed.

That was the end of one cycle but it was also the beginning of another. The process is illustrated in St John’s Revelation, where the fall of corrupt, mercantile Babylon is followed by the appearance of the Heavenly Jerusalem and a new world of innocence and enlightenment. Divine revelation, of which the Temple is both a symbol and a product, is not just something that may have happened in the past, but ever living, recurring at different times in response to needs, desires, prayers or its own mysterious cycles. These present times are characterized by signs that traditionally signify the end of an era. They are also times of revelation, when the reappearance of Jerusalem’s Temple seems no less likely than any future conceived of by economists or politicians.

The Pattern of the Temple

It is not only the Jews who long to see the Temple at Jerusalem restored. Christians have inherited that aspiration with the Old Testament, and it has been the declared purpose of many western idealists and esoteric movements. The crusading Templars and the Knights of St John were dedicated to rebuilding Solomon’s Temple, and so today are the Freemasons, who claim King Solomon as their first Master.

Evidently there is more to this than meets the eye. Rebuilding the Temple is not just a construction work but an ideal symbol, corresponding to the Holy Grail, a symbol of paradise again on earth. In the days of Solomon and while the Temple was still intact, the tribes of Israel were prosperous and high-spirited and lived harmoniously in a state of perfect order. All this was a product of the Temple and the cycle of rituals performed in and around it. When the Temple was destroyed, they say, the world fell into disorder and nothing has ever gone right since.

Legends of the Temple describe it as the instrument of a mystical, priestly science, a form of alchemy by which oppositely charged elements in the earth and atmosphere were brought together and ritually married. The product of their union was a spirit that blessed and sanctified the people of Israel. In the Holy of Holies dwelt the Shekhinah, the native goddess of the land of Israel. It was her marriage chamber, entered at certain seasons by the bridegroom. His name was the Glory of the God of Israel, and he came from the east, from over the Mount of Olives. He penetrated the Holy of Holies while Solomon was dedicating the Temple (I Kings, 8, 10-11), and in Ezekiel, 43 is a description of his coming.

“Behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory… And the glory of the Lord came into the house by way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east… and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.”

Procuring the sacred marriage was a highly technical and potentially dangerous operation. It was not only a work of physics, but more comprehensive, on the level of kadesh, the holy. Every detail of the ceremony had to be followed to the letter. The appropriate sacrifices and burnings, the purifications, processions and chants of the priests, their robes and regalia were strictly specified in Jewish Temple law. Most important were the numbers and harmonies exin the diof the Temple. It was built to a certain pattern, reflecting the order of the heavens and relating it to the human microcosm. In the Biblical account (I Chronicles, 28, 11-19) it is said that the pattern was given to King David by God himself, in writing, and David passed it on to his son, Solomon, who built the temple according to the divine specifications.

The importance of the Temple’s plan is emphasized by the prophets of Israel. Ezekiel goes into it in great detail, giving the dimensions of its various parts as imparted to him by an angel with a measuring rod. “Thou son of man”, he exclaims, “Show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.” A similar angel, also with a measuring rod, appeared to St John in Revelation, 11, and told him to “rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” The object of his measuring was the celestial Jerusalem, that pattern in the heavens which he saw descending to earth.

The essence of the temple was its plan, and that plan was divinely revealed. It was not a once-and-for-all revelation but is renewed from time to time, and when that happens a new world appears. In the plan of the temple is the key to forgotten knowledge, to the blueprint by which the universe was made, to the lost canon of number, measure and music that provided laws and standards for the Egyptians and other ancient civilizations. That is why the Templars and other mystical idealists devoted lives to discovering the secrets of the Temple. It is like the philosopher’s stone, a talisman that turns base metal into gold, that brings new light into the world and restores it to its natural condition as an earthly paradise.

The finding of the old Temple

The question of exactly where on the Temple Mount the former Temple of the Jews was located is controversial and keenly debated. Rabbinical scholars believe that Herod built the Second Temple on Solomon’s foundations, and most authorities accept that there was only one temple site. Yet there are three major theories on its location, each of them backed up by plausible evidence. The three hypothetical temples are ranged neatly in a row, one lying over the Dome of the Rock, one to the north of it and the other to the south. They are all three virtually parallel and of similar size, with the entrance to the east and the main temple building (the Hekhal) containing the Holy of Holies at the west.

A radically different view on the matter is held by the Muslim custodians of the sanctuary area. They point out that Solomon and David are mythological figures, recorded only by tradition, and that there is no conclusive evidence that the Jews’ Temple stood within the walled enclosure. It could have been elsewhere in the city. It is easy to see and sympathize with one motive behind this attitude, which to discourage Jewish interest in Islam’s most sacred precinct. But the case for the Temple in its traditional location is quite formidable, and in denying it the Muslim authorities also deny that there is any need for archaeological research in the area. That is why there is such room for doubts and different theories.

Of the three proposed Temple sites two are embarrassing because, if either were accepted, it would involve the Jews in a direct claim to sites of major importance to the Muslims, including the Dome of the Rock. Until quite recently the belief that the Temple overlaid the Dome site was generally held though some theorists located it between the Dome and the Aqsa mosque This theory is vigorously promoted by the Israeli architect, Tuvia Sagiv. Lengthy researches have convinced him the the Holy of Holies was near the site of El Kas, a sacred Muslim fountain situated north of the mosque. This accords with the tradition that the Jews’ sacred place, the Western (formerly Wailing) Wall was the western retaining wall of Solomon’s Temple.

Passing down the length of Sagiv’s temple site is the main east-west line in Jerusalem’s street pattern. The Romans called it the decumanus and built a wide road along the western stretch of it, running eastward from the Jaffa gate along the line of the ancient First wall of David’s city. East of the Temple Mount, in the Kidron valley, the terminus of this line is marked by the prominent, 45-foot-tall monument known as Absalom’s Tomb. It is said in the Bible (II Samuel, 18, 18) that Absalom, King David’s son, erected a pillar there as a monument to himself. The present structure was probably built in Herodian times around the end of the first century B.C. The distance from the corner of the tower at the Jaffa gate to Absalom’s Tomb is 2000 cubits, measured by that cubit of 1.728 feet (0.526694 metres) by which the Temple was built.

The Holy of Holies in Sagiv’s temple would have been located on this line, about twenty cubits to the north of El Kas, the large bowl below which is a spring of water. This agrees with Ezekiel, 47, where it is said that waters entered the Temple from the south and then flowed eastwards.

The third contender in the debate is Dr Asher Kaufman of Jerusalem, a physicist, a rabbi and by origin a Scotsman. In 1977 he published a paper, ‘New light upon Zion: the plan and precise location of the Second Temple’ – a challenging claim. He began, as everyone does, with the Bible texts, and noted in Ezekiel, 8, 16, the prophet’s view of the Jerusalem Temple, shown to him in a vision, where he saw “about five and twenty men, with their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east”. This implies that the Temple was orientated eastward towards the Mount of Olives.

Another clue was found in Numbers, 19, which describes the ritual sacrifice of the red heifer. This took place on the Mount of Olives. Verse 4 says that the priest must sprinkle the blood of the heifer “directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times”. Further details are given in the Mishnah, a collection of old Jewish texts describing laws and customs during and after the Second Temple period. It records that the walls of the Temple were all high, except the wall to the east which was lower, “so that the priest who burnt the red heifer might, while standing on the Mount of Olives, by directing his gaze carefully, see the entrance of the Hekhal [the main temple building] at the time of the sprinkling of the blood:. The place of sacrifice must therefore have been on the eastward extension of the Temple’s axis, near the summit of the Mount of Olives. By further study of archaeological records and relics, Kaufman was able to identify the probable site of the red heifer sacrifice, to fix the line of the Temple’s axis and to discover the original ground-plan of the building.

Kaufman’s Temple site is not occupied by any important Muslim buildings but is about 100 yards north of the Dome of the Rock. The only thing on it is a small, pillared structure of sixteenth-century origin, with a dome covering a flat patch of outcropping bedrock. It is called the Dome of the Winds or of the Spirits, and it was formerly known as the Dome of the Tablets. This implies that the two Tablets of the Covenant, given to Moses, once rested there, and therefore that this was the site of the Holy of Holies. When Kaufman matched his reconstructed plan of the Temple with the modern site plan, he was amazed to find that the Holy of Holies in his diagram was on the spot occupied by the Dome of the Tablets. The rock protected by it must then surely be the Rock of Foundation in Solomon’s Temple.

Sagiv agrees with Kaufman’s location of an ancient sacred building at the Dome of the Spirits but believes that it was one of the shrines to native deities which Solomon built together with his Temple. In II Kings, 23, is an account of King Josiah in the sixth century BC desecrating Solomon’s pagan sanctuaries to the north of the Temple.

Sagiv has a strong case, but so too has Kaufman. The evidence reviewed here leaves no doubt that Solomon’s Temple, his universal, divinely planned Temple of Wisdom, was at theDome of the Spirits, while360 cubits to the south of it, on a parallel axis, was the temple that Solomon built exclusively for the Jews.

Further examination of Kaufman’s Temple plan and its axis from the Mount of Olives leads to a discovery of greater magnitude than any temple, while settling the question of where the Temple stood and whether it is necessary to build a new one.

The Messianic axis

The line forming the main axis of the temple that Kaufman discovered begins on the Mount of Olives near the traditional site of Jesus’s Ascension, enters the Temple Mount over its eastern gate, the famous Golden Gate, and then crosses the Dome of the Tablets, the site of the Holy of Holies. This is not the end of its career, for the same line, projected to the west, forms the main axis of the northern quarters of the Old City , conforming to the same grid as the cardo, the decumanus and the streets aligned with them. Most remarkably, it runs straight to the rock pinnacle, Golgotha in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the rock on which Jesus was crucified. It therefore links the two most sacred rocks and symbolic world-centres of both Jews and Christians.

This invisible line has an awesome reputation. It is described in legends as if it were a tightrope, “as thin as a hair, as sharp as a sword and as black as night”, stretching from the Mount of Olives over the valley to the Golden Gate. Along it the souls of the righteous pass to their reward in the Holy City. The first to enter are those buried on the Mount of Olives, which is why grave plots on its slope are so highly valued. The traditions of all three religions agree that this is the line on which the Messiah will enter the city. The Jews’ story is that, when the Temple was destroyed, the Shekhinah, the divine presence that inhabited the Holy of Holies, left through the Golden Gate, and that when it is restored she will enter again that way – on the same line as the Messiah will take. Christians say the same about Jesus at his Second Coming, and the New Testament records him as having already followed that route when, on the first Palm Sunday, he rode into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives through the Golden Gate and straight into the Temple, where he kicked out the money-dealers. The Muslim prophecy is that on the Day of Judgment the angel Gabriel will sound three blasts on a ram’s horn to announce the Resurrection. All the peoples of the world will assemble on the Mount of Olives, where Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed will stand beside the scales of justice. The souls of those who have been granted eternal life will pass along the tightrope and in through the Golden Gate.

The ancient Golden Gate is believed to be on the foundations of a gate built by Solomon. For reasons partly connected with the messianic prophecies it has been sealed shut for hundreds of years, ever since the Saracens conquered Jerusalem in 1187 A Muslim graveyard is now planted across its entrance. This blocking of the Golden Gate seems to be an old tradition, for Ezekiel, 44, 1-3, records it:

“Then he brought me back by the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh towards the east; and it was shut.

Then said the Lord unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.

It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by way of the same.”

In early Christian times, the path of Jesus’s last journey through the Golden Gate, into the Temple and, soon afterwards, to crucifixion at Golgotha, was made sacred by his followers. When the Crusaders held Jerusalem, they opened the Gate only on Palm Sunday to allow processions. The messianic axis was probably the original version of the Via Dolorosa. One of the last people to have walked along it was the Emperor Heraclius. In 631 he brought back to Jerusalem the fragments of the True Cross which he had regained from the Persians. He carried the relics in a procession along the path taken by Jesus from the Mount of Olives, through the Golden Gate and to Golgotha which at time stood in a courtyard outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the Church the remains of the Cross were enshrined, together with the cup from the Last Supper, the famous spear and other relics of the Crucifixion. In the twelfth century, when the Crusaders rebuilt the Holy Sepulchre, they enclosed the rock of Golgotha in the new building but preserved the orientation of the messianic line in the aisle leading up to it from the east.

It is easy to see a reference to this line in Zechariah, 1, 16: “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built on it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”

It has always been an esoteric line; its length has never been marked out on the ground. Yet it forms the main axis of Jerusalem’s street pattern and, together with the two sacred rocks, gives the vital clue towards exploring and interpreting it.


The pattern over the city

The Old City of Jerusalem can be seen as one large temple. Religion is its main business. Within its ancient, golden stone walls is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, crowded by day with traders, pilgrims and visitors of all types and nations. Jerusalem is unique among holy cities as a sanctuary of not just one but three world-wide religions, Jewish, Christian and Islamic, which compete among themselves for the same sacred places but in normal times are peacefully coexistent. This, sad to say, is largely because the authorities do not allow violence between them. The city’s present administrator is the state of Israel, but whoever governs Jerusalem has the historical responsibility, and privilege, of protecting its shrines and pilgrims – and of keeping the peace between its rival sects and religions.

Since Roman times Jerusalem has been divided into four quarters. Those to the north are now called the Christian and Muslim and those to the south the Armenian and Jewish quarters. Their borders are still more or less defined by the two main thoroughfares laid out by architects of the Emperor Hadrian, beginning in 135 AD when the city was largely rebuilt on the rubble of its destruction during the suppression of Bar-Kochba’s Jewish revolt against Roman rule. The new city was called Aelia Capitolina. Its most prominent feature was its the north-south axis, the Roman cardo maximus, a broad street running southward from the Damascus gate on the line of the present, much reduced Khan al-Zait street. Crossing it at right angles was the decumanus, the Roman east-west axis, represented today by the approximate alignment of David and Chain streets. The lines of these streets perpetuated earlier features; the cardo was built on a section of the city’s old Western wall (the so-called Second wall), and the decumanus ran inside and parallel to the east-west orientation of the First wall. On this same grid other streets were constructed.

Together with this grid there is another, also though to be of Roman planning. This second pattern of streets is at a slight angle, about 6 degrees from the first. Its north-south orientation is parallel to the western wall of the Temple Mount, and its east-west line is followed by the streets of the Via Dolorosa, beginning at St Stephen’s gate to the east.

Just inside the Damascus gate, at the northern terminus of the cardo, Hadrian’s town-planners erected a tall pillar dedicated to the Emperor. It also marked the terminus of two other streets, running at the same 36-degree angle from the cardo and each other, and thus conforming to neither of the two rectilinear grids. These streets provide the key to the remarkable geometric scheme which the Roman augurs laid out over the upper half of Jerusalem.

There is much wisdom to be found in the streets of Jerusalem, especially through studying their pattern. The pole of that pattern is the invisible ‘messianic line’ through the Golden Gate, the former Temple and Golgotha.Parallel to it, 360 cubits (.08 feet or 189.61 metres) to the south, is the extended axis line through the temple identified by Tuvia Sagiv. It is also the line of the Roman decumanus. It runs between the northern corner of Absalom’s pillar and the corner of the tower of David’s citadel at the Jaffa gate, a distance of 2000 cubits. From the angle at the Jaffa gate a perpendicular line, drawn northwards, ends at an angle of the city wall at a point exactly 360 cubits north of the main axis, and a line eastward from there produces a rectangle with the messianic line down its centre. The eastern side of the rectangle proves to be the north-south line through the entrance to the Golden Gate in the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. The dimensions of the rectangle are 720 by 1728 cubits. Measured by the longer ‘cubit and a handsbreadth’ of 2.0736 feet, these same dimensions are 600 by 1440.

This rectangle provides the framework for the grid of streets in the north-west quarter of the city, now called the Christian quarter. One of its streets, Christian Quarter Street, conforms to this grid, lying parallel to and exactly half way between the western side of the rectangle and the main north-south cardo. The messianic line at right angles to that street divides the area of the rectangle west of the cardo into four smaller rectangles, each of 300 x 360 cubits, and the extension of the line to its terminus near the most western point of the city wall is another 300 cubits.

To the east of the cardo, in the Muslim quarter, the other street-grid takes over. The rectangular city blocks it creates are of different proportions, but they too are laid out by the same cubit of 1.728 feet as was used in the first grid. In contrast to the east-west axis of the first grid, the main orientation of the second is clearly north-south, parallel to the line of the western wall of the Temple Mount. This orientation has its own axis, which is formed by the street line from the north of the Temple Mount, projected southward through the sacred enclosure and passing over the Dome of the Rock, the El Kas fountain and the Aqsa mosque.

Two main axis lines are apparent in the Jerusalem street pattern. One is the familiar east-west line, the other runs north-south, and the spot where they cross is at the threshold of the Holy Place in Asher Kaufman’s reconstructed Temple.

These facts can be checked on the 1:2500 scale map of the Old City, available from Israel’s Survey department in Jerusalem. After they have been accepted, the obvious question is what they mean. There is a strong hint at that in the third feature of Jerusalem’s street pattern, those prominent streets that do not conform to either of the two grids. These are the streets that radiate from the site of Hadrian’s column inside the Damascus Gate, forming angles of 36 degrees. This is an angle of the pentagon and five-pointed star. When the pentagon is duly completed, with the five-pointed star inside it, it is found to be centred upon the messianic line, which forms its axis, and each of its sides measures 720 cubits, the same length as the side of the framework rectangle.

The north-south diagonal of the pentagon falls upon the line of the main street in the Old City, the cardo. The symmetry of the scheme suggests another, reciprocal pentagon, ‘married’ to the first and sharing its north-south diagonal. Resulting from their union is a figure with six equal sides of 720 cubits. In Pythagorean number symbolism six is known as the marriage number, and the symbolism of this particular figure, the marriage of equal pentagons, is natural and obvious. It demonstrates reconciliation, and since the pentagon is the equally natural symbol of humanity, the reconciliation here is between two nations or peoples.

The geometrical function of the pentagon and the streets that form it in the Jerusalem scheme is to reconcile the two different grids and their respective axis lines. Whoever designed this pattern put into it every possible indication of their purpose, to represent, and thus magically procure, harmony between two different peoples living and worshipping in the same city.

The subtle beauty of the designers’ geomantic art is illustrated in a detail of the second, western pentagon. Its diagonals create a smaller pentagon at its centre; within that can be drawn a lesser pentagon, and so on, down to the central dot. In this case, the dot at the centre of the reducing pentagons is the rock of Golgotha. A five-pointed star enclosing a pentagon with central dot is the ancient symbol of Jerusalem.

The temple revealed

Readers who have come so far may already have anticipated this revelation. All the clues are there, and once they are put together the truth becomes obvious. It is that the rectangle, stretching from wall to wall of the Old City, forms the outline of a large-scale temple. It is a recognizable temple, a magnification of that temple which Kaufman found and measured on the Temple Mount. The dimensions he published (63.4 x 151.6 metres) show that its overall measures were, width 120 cubits, length 288 cubits, a ratio of 10 to 24. When these dimensions are multiplied by six, making them 720 by 1728 cubits, the enlarged plan fits perfectly into the plan of the city and its 720-by-1728-cubit rectangle.

The whole greater temple is based upon two rocks, Golgotha, the most sacred rock of Christianity, and the Rock of Foundation, the ancient world-centre of the Jews. These two rocks are symmetrically placed within the temple rectangle, the same distance from each end, and they divide its axis into four equal parts, each of 432 cubits. They have determined the entire shape and plan of the northern quarters of the Old City. They are indeed the twin pillars and foundation stones of Jerusalem’s greater temple.

In the greater temple the Golden Gate forms the eastern entrance, leading into the outer court. The magnified version of the Hekhal stands upon the cardo, which overlies the old Second Wall, and within it is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Golgotha appears within the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies falls to the west of the church. The entire city with its shrines, mosques, synagogues and churches is revealed as one temple, which is how it actually is.

This greater temple of Jerusalem is not just for one people, one religion and one set of rituals, but accommodates them all, just as they are. It is a temple of the spirit, seen by the spiritual eye, invisible to the grosser faculties. It has no cult or priesthood of its own, no property or possessions, nor does it demand tribute from the separate religions in Jerusalem, to all of whom it gives protection. The protection it gives is not material but something firmer and more needed. In the Holy City today, and the land around it, peace is maintained by force of arms in an atmosphere of fear and hatred. It would take a miracle to change that. But revelations are miracles, and the revelation of Jerusalem as the promised temple for all people can so utterly change hearts and minds that the miracle may happen, delivering the Land of Israel from the rule of fear and bringing to mind its true nature as the Holy Land.

This is the temple of prophecy, as foreseen by the Biblical sages. Ezekiel in his detailed description of the Temple’s dimensions uses two different scales of measure, the cubit and the rod of six cubits, implying the 1 to 6 ratio between the actual building and the greater temple over the city. Isaiah makes it plain that the future Temple will not belong only to one people but will admit the “sons of the stranger”, and he writes (56, 7) “For my house shall be an house of prayer for all people”. St John in his vision of the heavenly city sees that the New Jerusalem is not focused upon any particular building. Inhabited by the Holy Spirit, the city itself will be itself the temple. In Revelation, 21, he says:

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

And the gates ofit shall not be shut at all bday: for there shall be no night there.

And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.”

At the centre of the new, revealed Jerusalem, John sees no temple but the Tree of Life, bearing twelve different kinds of fruit (an image from Ezekiel, 47, 12).

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

The clear message of prophecy is that the holy city of Jerusalem will become the new Temple and that the twelve tribes of Israel will gather there, preparing the way for the Millennium and God’s rule upon earth. An outcome of that process is the ‘healing of the nations’. Above its literal meaning, Israel is a symbol of sanctified humanity, and its twelve tribes represent the twelve different nations or types of personality into which humanity is traditionally divided.

The measures and numbers of the Temple

Only quite recently did it become possible to give exact values to the ancient units of measure. One reason for that is that is that most researchers have taken the metre as their unit of reference, whereas the ancient standard was the foot. That is now accepted by specialists in ancient metrology. Using the proper foot standard – that “perfect and just measure” specified in the Bible – it becomes evident that traditional units of measure all over the world are related to each other by simple ratios and that they are based on pure number. Examples are the two versions of the cubit, relating to each other as 10 to 12, by which the Temple was planned. These are:

cubit of 1.718 = 12 x 12 x 12/1000 feet;

cubit and a handsbreadth = 2.0736 = 12 x 12 x 12 x 12/10000 feet.

The length of the metre being 3.2808453 feet, the respective values of these cubits are 0.526694 and 0.6320328 metres.

These units are plainly indicated in the greater temple over Jerusalem by the distance between its two pillars, the Rock of Foundation in the old Temple and the rock of Golgotha. They stand on the main axis 263.347 metres apart, meaning that the distance between them is 864 of the lesser cubits and 720 of the greater. Since both these rocks are natural outcrops, it can be said that nature herself provides the yardstick for measuring the temple.

It is also the yardstick for measuring the earth. The distance of 864 cubits between the two rocks is precisely one seven-thousandth part of the earth’s mean radius, the distance from the centre to its surface. This is the calculation:

864 cubits of 1.728 feet, multiplied by 7000 = 6048000 cubits

= 10450944 feet

= 3185442 metres = earth’s mean radius.

It follows from this that the length of the greater temple, 1728 cubits, is a seven-thousandth part of the earth’s mean diameter.

There is also evidence of a third cubit in the Jerusalem scheme, referred to as the Greek cubit but far more ancient than classical Greece. Its definition is 1.52064 feet (0.46349 metres), and it relates to the other cubits by simple ratios - by 22:25 with the cubit of 1.728 feet and by 11:15 with that of 2.0736 feet. Like all the units of ancient metrology this cubit of 1.52064 feet is geodetic, measuring a fraction of the earth’s dimensions. Multiplied by 86400000 it is equal to the length of the earth’s mean circumference, traditionally established as 24883.2 or 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12/10 miles (40,045,562.65 metres). If only the French scientists two hundred years ago had studied ancient metrology, they would have framed their new unit in conformity with ancient standards and thus made it accurate.

The width of the Temple, as measured by Ezekiel, was 100 cubits by the ‘cubit and a handsbreadth’, making it 120 cubits of the lesser unit, which is conventionally called Egyptian. The Temple’s length was 240 of the longer, ‘sacred’ cubits or 288 of the shorter. In the greater temple over Jerusalem these dimensions are multiplied by six, making its width 720 and its length 1728 shorter cubits. This means that, measured in feet, the length of the greater temple is a thousandth part of 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 feet.

The use of two different cubits (1.728 and 2.0736 feet) continues the theme of reconciliation between two different elements that characterizes the Jerusalem scheme. The ratio between them of 10:12 is emphasized throughout. It determines the proportions of the greater temple rectangle whose sides are 720 by 1728 cubits, a ratio of 10:24, and it occurs in the block of four rectangles, formed by the parallel streets and the main axis in the Christian quarter of the rectangle. Their sides are as 10 to 12, measuring 300 by 360 lesser cubits and 250 by 300 in the greater units. The interplay here is between the numbers 10 and 12. There is a natural tension between these numbers and between the decimal and duodecimal systems of counting and measuring. Both have their own advantages, but whereas ten is the most apparently convenient base, number itself is essentially duodecimal. That is why the circle is divided into 360 degrees – a convention of unknown origin and very great antiquity. In Plato’s allegory of Atlantis, one reason for its fall was that it was founded on decimal number, in contrast to his ideal city whose plan and constitution were in units of twelve. In the Jerusalem scheme, decimal and duodecimal numbers are woven together, as if to symbolize harmony between those who count and measure in tens and the less obvious but more arithmetically natural base of twelve.

The number 864 is prominent in the temple measures, most of all in the 864-cubit distance between the two sacred rocks. In a previous work (John Michell, The Dimensions of Paradise, 1988) a short essay on this number identifies its symbolism.

“In the language of symbolic number, 864 pertains to a centre of radiant energy, the sun in the solar system, Jerusalem on earth, the inner sanctuary of the temple, the altar … and the corner stone on which the whole sacred edifice is founded. “

864 is called the ‘foundation number’ and a thousand times 864 is the diameter of the sun in miles. In the gematria of New Testament Greek, 864 corresponds to words or phrases such as ‘altar’, ‘corner stone’, ‘sanctuary of the gods’, ‘holy of holies’ and, most strikingly in this context, ‘Jerusalem’. The sum of the numerical values of the ten Greek letters in ‘Jerusalem’ is:

Iota 10 + epsilon 5 + rho 100 + omicron 70 + upsilon 400+ sigma 200 + alpha 1 + lamda 30 + eta 8 + mu 40 = 864.

In Ezekiel’s temple the altar is described as a square of 12 x 12 cubits. Its height is not given, but since the traditional altar was conceived of as a cube, half of it above ground and half below, it was presumably 6 cubits, so the measure of the altar in cubic cubits was 864. The surface area of the six sides of a cube of 12 is also 864.

There is much more that could be said about the numbers, measures and geometric symbolism in the Jerusalem temple plan, and there is a great deal more yet to be recognized in it. This temple revelation inevitably draws attention to that ancient code of sacred science which was suppressed by the three monotheistic religions. The greater temple of Jerusalem seems a likely centre for its study and revival.

The Temple of the four directions

When the dimensions of Kaufman’s Temple are multiplied by six, and his diagram is placed with the same orientation within the Jerusalem rectangle, the principal holy places in the Temple fall upon the Holy Sepulchre, the most holy church in Christendom, on the traditional site where Jesus was executed and entombed. Religious Jews may find this inappropriate and even impious, but Christian occupation of these sites is a quite recent episode in Jerusalem’s long history. Up to 334 a Roman temple to Venus stood on the site of the Holy Sepulchre. Judaisis older than Christianity, Jerusalem as a settlement is even older and the rock of Golgotha is older still. Archaeologists have evidence that Golgotha was a prehistoric altar or of ritual, and one of its impressive legends is that Adam’s skull was buried beneath it. That is why its name means ‘place of the skull’. To followers of the Bible this makes it a natural world-centre, Golgotha is likely to have been the ritual centre for the Jews before Solomon built the Temple and relocated the centre in its sanctum. It must be older than the rediscovered site of the Rock of Foundation, because it is a natural rock pillar, while the other is a featureless patch of bedrock at a spot which happened to be on the right axis and 864 cubits distant from Golgotha. From the pivot of Golgotha the ancient surveyors measured the city, adding another pivot, the rock in Solomon’s Temple. This second pivot became the Israelites’ sacred centre rather than the first, but whoever laid out the symmetrical pattern, now recognized as the greater plan of the Temple, restored the balance by giving the two rocks equal importance in the scheme. The bifocal design was clearly intended to represent harmony between two different religions.

The orientation of the greater temple is arbitrary. Its rectangle is made symmetrical by its two sacred rocks. It can therefore be turned round through 180 degrees without affecting the essential pattern. In that case, the Rock of Foundation replaces Golgotha in the greater temple’s sanctum.

Nor is that the end of the matter. The street pattern of Jerusalem has two main axis lines, east-west and north-south. Temple researcher, Tugia Sagiv, has already noticed the north-south line, now closely followed by the axis of the principal Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount, and has suggested that it marks the axis of the former Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. After the destruction of Herod’s temple in the year 70, the Romans built a large pagan temple across its site. Presumably it was on the Temple Mount, though no one knows exactly where. Temples to Jupiter were orientated to the north. One known example is the Jupiter temple at Baalbek, which was erected by the same architect and at much the same time as the Jerusalem building. When Sagiv laid the scaled plan of the Baalbek temple over the Temple Mount, he found that its main features coincided with the present pattern. The basilica would have been on the site of the Aqsa mosque, with a polygonal structure on the place now occupied by the octagonal Dome of the Rock. Sagiv’s view is that the temple of Jupiter was converted to Christian use in the fourth century, and when Islam arose in the seventh century, it became the foundation for the present Muslim buildings. The same axis was retained because the same pagan line to the north also ran south towards Mecca.

There are not just three but four religions with historical rights and claims on Jerusalem, but three of them are united in despising and excluding the fourth, that religion of philosophers that maintained classical civilization under the twelve gods. Jews and Christians claim many martyrs from persecutions by the classical religion, but when their turn came they and the Muslims persecuted it to extinction and have reviled the name of paganism ever since. That of course was not the situation when the unknown planners of Jerusalem’s street pattern executed their work. The reconciliation that idealists of that time would have had in mind was between Jews and classicists. Christians and Muslims came later, but when they came they found the two existing axis lines, suitable for their respective purposes, one pointing west towards Rome and the other south towards Mecca. The Holy Sepulchre is rare among Christian churches in having its orientation to the west, leaving the eastern orientation to the Jews.

Whether by chance or divine intent, Jerusalem has become the temple of four types of religion, issuing like the four rivers of paradise that rose from beneath the Temple towards the four directions, Jews to the east, Muslims to the south, Christians to the west and, in the direction of the north pole, followers of that ancient religious system that preceded the others.

The twelve tribes and the Temple

The revelation of the Temple and the gathering there of the Twelve Tribes of Israel are events which go together. So it is emphasized by the prophets. Yet here arises an immediate difficulty, because the identity of these tribes is now unknown. The Jews claim to represent only two and a half of them – Judah, Benjamin and an ‘admixture of Levites’. The others, who never returned from captivity in Assyria in the eighth century B.C., are lost among the ‘nations of the world’. Sects and nations in all continents have declared themselves or been declared by others as one or more of the lost tribes, and the whole subject has been swamped by antiquarian fantasy.

Once Jerusalem as a whole is understood to be the prophesied Temple, the question can be seen in a new light. This greater temple is not a building exclusive to one expression of religion, but, dedicated to the Almighty, it is the spiritual centre of all who feel drawn to it. And since Jerusalem is Zion, a proper name for spiritual attraction towards Jerusalem is Zionism. This, of course, requires the redefinition of the meaning of Zionism. At present it is conventionally applied to the movement for resettling the Jews in the Holy Land, but it need not be so limited. All who aspire to Zion are by definition Zionists. Those of whatever race or religion, who think of Zion as their spiritual home, have their rightful place in the greater temple of Jerusalem, and by their yearning for Zion they identify themselves as among the lost tribes of Israel.

These present times are times of revelation, so it is not surprising that this perception is already alive in Jerusalem. Its philosopher and promoter is Isaac Hayutman, founder of the Academy of Jerusalem, an institution for studying and teaching current revelations of ancient and forgotten knowledge. With the appearance of the prophesied temple, his insight takes on new significance.

As the temple has revealed itself, so will the twelve tribes. And as the process develops, something else is revealed. The number twelve is a symbol of natural order. It orders the field of number itself, and past civilizations have made it the basis for ordering time, both greater and lesser cycles, for theology, psychology and political constitutions. The dodecahedron with its twelve pentagonal faces was Plato’s symbol for the ideal earth, and it is a model for the tradition of twelve races and psychological types. In classical Greece each nation with its own cult and sanctuary was divided into twelve tribes, three to each of the four quarters, in imitation of the zodiac. This same cosmological pattern has been known at different times throughout the world. Associated with this pattern is the form of religion which recognizes a council of twelve gods, the Olympians, and draws its teachings from science and philosophy rather than beliefs and dogma. Its worthy followers are initiated in the Mysteries and led towards justice and understanding. They inherit a tradition that goes back to the earliest times and recurs at different periods to provide true standards for human living and to refresh human spirits and culture. This is the missing fourth religion that partakes in Jerusalem’s revealed temple, and it is the oldest and deepest. Like the temple and the tribes, the reappearance of the perennial tradition, and the sacred science that comes with it, is a necessary part of the Millennial process.

The origin of the Temple pattern

By every account the plan of the Temple was divinely revealed to Moses and to King David, and the more one studies that beautiful scheme the more one is persuaded that the traditional explanation is the most likely. Someone, of course, must actually have built it, and someone must have laid out the framework of the street pattern that delineates the greater temple. It was once generally believed that thRoman augurs in the reign of Hadrian made a virtual clean sweep of the old city and laid out Aelia Capitolina to an entirely new plan. But it is difficult to erase the street pattern of an oestablished city, and not practical to do so, and modern archaeologists find more and more evidence that features of the old city were retained by the Roman planners.

One difficulty in attributing the existing street pattern to the Romans is that it does not account for the two different street-grids and their respective axis lines. The Romans could hardly have planned for reconciliation with the Jews, because they drove them out of the city and did everything they could to make sure they never returned. It is believed by some that Herod the Great, who built the last Temple of the Jews late in the first century B.C., laid out as part of his works the grid of streets running parallel to the western wall of the Temple enclosure, which he also designed. That would make him responsible for the pagan north-south axis, the east-west axis through the temple being already in place. He would certainly have had an interest in reconciling the Jews’ orientation of the city with that of the classical religion, for he ruled by Roman consent and was ever obliged to compromise with the dominant power.

Tuvia Sagiv, the expert writer on Jerusalem’s religious topography, attributes the outline of its sacred pattern to Hadrian but finds elements in it that go back to the time of Solomon. The rectangle based on the two sacred rocks must certainly be of that time.

The present position is that there is no firm historical explanation for the mystical plan of Jerusalem and the temple that lies across it. The pattern of the greater temple was apparently referred to by Ezekiel and other ancient prophets. St John also knew the secret, for at the beginning of Revelation, 21, he identifies the visionary city of Jerusalem with the temple and proclaims that it is already here.

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people.”

So here is mystery. The lack of any good rational alternative, leaves room for the miraculous: that the wonderful pattern over the Holy City was a product of divine providence, working through each generation of various different peoples to create an active symbol of the Holy Spirit that is ever the same for everyone, everywhere. The revelation of that pattern was to come about when it was needed, in response to a generation’s desire for the ‘healing of nations’, and in God’s good time. It seems as if that time has come.


To Christine Rhone, co-author with John Michell of Twelve-Tribe Nations in which an earlier version of this essay formed a chapter. Included here are some of her diagrams for that book.

To Isaac Hayutman, founder of the Academy of Jerusalem, whose hospitality in the Old City made this book possible, whose inspiration was contagious and whose expert guidance kept it on the straight path.

To Tuvia Sagiv for generously sharing knowledge and insights.

To Asher Kaufman, Gordon Strachan,Christopher Gibbs, Susan Rose, friends and helpers in the Holy Land.

The Israel Survey Department kindly provided the Jerusalem map. The other version used is from G.A. Smith’s Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land, 1915.