In AD 691 the Muslim leader, Omar, completed a Muslim institution called The Dome of the Rock atop the large platform just north of The City of David, where Herod, king of Judaea under the Romans, had built the Antonia Fortress. Herod constructed the platform and built the Antonia to house the 5,000 Roman soldiers stationed in Jerusalem. That site is today called The Temple Mount by Jews and Christians because it is believed Solomon's Temple sat where The Dome of the Rock now sets. Christians have always wondered where the new Temple was going to be built during the Millennium since this Muslim building is on the site. Does the Dome of the Rock really set where Solomon's Temple was constructed?
When David conquered Jebus, the Jebusite city-state in the 10 Century BC, and made it his capital, renaming it Jerusalem, the city was approximately 10 acres in size. In comparison, the Temple Mount is about 35 acres. Ever since Omar built the Dome of the Rock Bible students have been in a panic over where the Kingdom-age/Millennium Temple will be built. Obviously a stray missile or a dedicated saboteur could blow The Dome up, or it could be destroyed during the war (Armageddon) when Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation. Does this site have to be cleared to rebuild Solomon's Temple?
I believe the dilemma has been solved by George Wesley Buchanan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies, Wesley Theological Seminary, in Washington, D.C.
He is aware that English archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon has determined that the small ridge along the Kidron Valley, just south of the Temple Mount was the entire City of David during his reign. The Temple Mount did not exist during David's reign so it stands to reason he would have set up the Tabernacle (the worship tent used in the wilderness wanderings) in his city. It is also logical that Solomon would have built the original Temple there also, probably near the Tabernacle. Is there any evidence of that?
Yes there is! First, they have discovered the foundation of the Tower of Siloam mentioned in Luke 13:1-4. This tower was near the Temple, and the foundation is in the old City of David, not on the Temple Mount. Second, every description in The Bible of the activities around the Temple involved water, lots of water. There was a bronze laver, no size given, where the priests washed before entering the Temple. Also there were ten brass lavers, each large enough to hold 320 gallons of water. The accounts of the various sacrifices made here tell of the washing of people, utensils, animals, etc. Lots of water was required. There is not a drop of water on or near the Temple Mount. The only constant, reliable source of water in Jerusalem was the Gihon Spring, in the Kidron Valley, at the east wall of the City of David. This is the water source King Hezekiah channeled into the city through a 1,700-foot tunnel during the Assyrian siege (2 Kings 20:20).
When Ezekiel tells about the future Temple during the Millennial Kingdom (Ez. 47) one of the main features of the Temple is water. He says, "Waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward" (Ez. 47:1), and Ez. 47:5 describes it as, "waters to swim in." We're talking about lots of water that has to drain into the Kidron Valley.
I think Dr. Buchanan is absolutely right. We don't need to worry about the Dome of the Rock interfering with the building of the next Temple. Israel can build it in the City of David, south of The Temple Mount, exactly where Solomon built the first one.