“Here, in this carved-out place, stood the Ark of the Covenant”

So reads the headline in an Israeli newspaper reporting on an interview about the Temple Mount.

On the 11th of this month, I guided a group of Israeli visitors around the Temple Mount. All of them were highly interested in the Temple Mount for various reasons, some nationalistic and others religious. At the end of the tour, we had lunch together and a journalist interviewed me. His full-page report, with the above title, was published in the Hebrew Makor Rishon newspaper.

You can download the translation of this article with this link:

Their main interest was the location of the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant. And as we couldn’t enter the Dome of the Rock, I showed them an old photograph showing the indentation that King Solomon made for the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8.21)

The location where the Ark of the Covenant stood.

They were also very interested in the underground spaces beneath the mount and published in the newspaper a photograph of a tunnel that was found below the Triple Gate passageway. It was such a peaceful time in the 1970’s, that we had free access to these mysterious places. It was a real privilege to have seen, measured and photographed these spaces, something that would not be possible at present.

In the tunnel below the Triple Gate undeground passageway in 1974. The water that overflowed from an underground cistern was channelled out through this tunnel.

During that time, other tunnels were found running deep below the Double Gate. All these tunnels were closed off after thorough investigation.

This tunnel led from in front of the monumental stairway to the Double Gate to deep below the underground passageway of this gate.

In between the Triple Gate and the southeast corner of the Temple Mount, below the Single Gate that dates from the Crusader period, is another secret tunnel that runs below Solomon’s Stables, that has been converted to a mosque, the El-Marwani Mosque. This tunnel reached to the centre of the Royal Stoa above and may have been used by the workmen who built this edifice.

The entrance to another secret tunnel that ran below Solomon’s Stables. This opening is now blocked up.
Inside the tunnel below Solomon’s Stables

Afterwards we talked about the significance of the Temple Mount for Israeli and non-Jewish people alike. For one of the group, the Temple Mount was of nationalistic importance. He had come from Persia, but the reason was to get to know Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, without which, according to him, Israel had no significance.

Another religious Jew said that he couldn’t keep the Mosaic Law without the Temple Mount. I had to agree and said:


“If I were a Jew, I would like to sacrifice the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount. Jerusalem has no meaning without the Temple Mount.
When I arrived in Israel in 1969, we lived in Gat Rimmon and rented a house from Russian immigrants who had lived in Israel for decades but never visited Jerusalem. I found that hard to understand. Why did you return here if not for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount?”

They wanted to know what, apart from its archaeological importance, the Temple Mount meant for me as a Christian. I answered that Mount Moriah was the place where Abraham was called to sacrifice his only-begotten son Isaac, which, as explained in the Letter to the Hebrews 11:19, was an example of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

13 thoughts on ““Here, in this carved-out place, stood the Ark of the Covenant””

  1. Leen,

    Thanks for sharing these vintage photos including the translated letter. After I finish reading it, I plan to preserved a copy within my edition of your book, THE QUEST. I believe I speak for many when I say that your critics—those so-called ‘traditional Temple Mount deniers’— have no one on their side of the aisle who possesses your understanding and attention to detail. You are uniquely qualified and I for one am most grateful for your work. Blessings!

  2. An early tourist visits the Holy Land and because the Crusaders erected a cross on the former mosque, magic, this must have been the Temple location.
    Why is it that people want the Temple to have been located on the walled mount?
    You have ample evidence in the Scriptures saying the Temple was in Zion, The City of David. Jesus said no stone would be left upon another, yet you pray at the Western wall of where you hope the Temple was. There is so much evidence that Fort Antonia stood where you call the Temple Mount. Much more than what you have to prove your assertions. No water source for the mount. No water to wash away the blood of thousands of sacrificed animals much less Priests bathing. You hope for a 3rd Temple but scripture only says that David’s Tabernacle would be found and it’s breeches sewn up. Do you really suppose GOD would allow animal sacrifice to begin again? They tried to rebuild the Temple once before when Jerusalem was being rebuilt under the name of Alia Capitolina. Didn’t turn out too well for the builders. They were destroyed by GOD along with their building materials. Is it easier for you to think animal sacrifice in a 3rd Temple will wash away your sins rather than accepting Jesus Christ?

  3. James, this theory is wrong on all accounts. here are some of them:

    1) Early tourists and Crusader never determined the location of the Temple. There is a Hebrew inscription on the Western Wall quoting Isa 66:14 that was written in the 4th century AD. Other Hebrew inscriptions were found on stones that were thrown down in 70AD.

    2) The Scriptures say in 1 Kings 8:1-9 that Solomon took the Ark out of the City of David and placed it in the new Temple on Mount Moriah (2 Chron. 3:1).

    3) Josephus wrote in Wars 6:93 that Titus ordered to raze the foundations of the Antonia. Therefore the Temple Mount cannot be the Antonia Fortress. The Antonia stood at the northwest corner of the Temple Mount, and indeed not one stone of this fortress is left standing upon another, as Jesus said.

    4) there are 37 cisterns on the Temple Mount with a total capacity of 20 million gallons of water. The largest cistern contained 2 million gallons and was fed by a 13 mile long aqueduct that brought water to the Temple Mount from the spring Etam, which is south of Bethlehem, near the Solomon’s Pools. Therefore there was plenty of water for all sorts of functions on the Temple Mount.

    5) Please read the description of the future Temple in Ezekiel 40-48.

    6) It is presumptuous to think that you can tell GOD that He will allow sacrifices or not.

    7) I am a Christian believer, whose sins were washed away in baptism.

  4. Thank you Leen for your comments, and all your work. I appreciate your faithfulness.

  5. I felt like heaven on earth when i walked and prayed in the wailing wall in my visit to Jerusalem. I pray that i will get many opportunities in my lifetime and learn the precepts of G_d.

  6. Leen,
    I am grateful to you for the resources you share. I have a question. In the picture of the cut-out space for the ark, is it to the left of your ark tag, running vertically in the picture? I can see many other cuts of that bedrock in the same area. I read somewhere that the Crusaders cut stones from here for souvenirs and for profit. Can you shed light on the exact location of the ark space in the picture? Is the story about the Crusaders one you have heard?

  7. Dave,
    The emplacement of the Ark is where it is indicated. See also here: https://www.ritmeyer.com/product/image-library/buildings/temples/the-rock-in-solomons-temple-2/
    The account of the Crusader activities on the Temple Mount has been published in Crusader texts and the relevant sections are fully documented in our books, see: https://www.ritmeyer.com/product/books/the-quest-revealing-the-temple-mount-in-jerusalem/ and https://www.ritmeyer.com/product/books/jerusalem-the-temple-mount/

  8. Thank you, Leen, for this magnificent journey below the Temple Mount. As always, we are indebted to you for your work and encouraged by you sharing it. God bless you.

  9. I did not say that. I mentioned “the indentation that King Solomon made for the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8.21)”. Also remember: 1Kings 8:1 “Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.” So, Solomon put the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple, not David, who had died by that time.

  10. Leen,Im 80 yrs old and since ive retired, 15 yrs. ago,ive spent a lot of time visiting the temple mount and surrounding area. At one time I was able to enter the Dome. I purchased a few copies of Quest and have shared them with many others. Thank You. I believe that Zerubbabel and Joshua will build the millennial temple on a reconstructed Jerusalem and temple mount area,and that it may not be all that important as to exactly where the exact location should be at this time. Surely Christ is not returning to the next temple that man builds. D.H.

  11. Don, glad you find The Quest helpful. It is reasonable to suggest that Zerubbabel and Jeshua did build the Second Temple on the same place where Solomon’s Temple stood. I’m not sure if the same two men will build the Third Temple. As you have seen that the original square Temple Mount measured 500 cubits, and taking into consideration that the inner Temple Complex described in Ezekiel chapters 40:5 till 42:14 describe a complex that also measures 500 cubits square, it is reasonable to suggest that this is not mere coincidence. I believe that it suggests that this is a description of the millennial temple that shall be built when Christ returns, and under his direction.

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