This discovery predates the composition of much of the Bible, other than folkloric tales passed along mainly orally for a couple of centuries, perhaps. Note that the sun’s rays are considered to bring or reveal the “divine presence” in the temple. As scholars and students of ancient religion and mythology know, the Israelites engaged in astrotheological religion and viewed their tribal warrior god Yahweh as a solar deity. In this regard, for centuries the Israelites were little different from their neighbors and predecessors the Canaanites, with the latter’s extensive pantheon that included various celestial and nature deities.

Here is yet more undeniable proof of the astrotheological nature of much religious worship, including the biblical.

2,750-year-old temple discovered in Israel

Israeli archeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient temple that is nearly 3,000 years old and was once home to a ritual cult.

“The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple,” excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz said in a statement released by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The temple remains were discovered at the Tel Motza site, located to the west of Jerusalem. The Israeli Antiquities Authority has been conducting excavation efforts at the site and says that along with the temple remains itself, the findings include a “cache of sacred vessels” estimated to be 2,750 years old.

“Among other finds, the site has yielded pottery figurines of men, one of them bearded, whose significance is still unknown,” the statement from Khalaily and Kisilevitz reads….

Dating back to the Iron Age, the temple was designed in accordance with similar layouts for other religious buildings from that era, according to the Israeli government. More from its analysis:

“The walls of the structure are massive, and it includes a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction in the ancient Near East: The rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine presence within. A square structure which was probably an altar was exposed in the temple courtyard, and the cache of sacred vessels was found near the structure.”

“The rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine presence within.”

The excavation directors said they will continue to examine the findings and conduct further digs while preparations for the highway construction continue.

“The find of the sacred structure, together with the accompanying cache of sacred vessels, and especially the significant coastal influence evident in the anthropomorphic figurines, still require extensive research,” they said.

Yahweh as Sun God

Demonstrating the copious substantiation for Israelite sun worship, especially as concerns the main Jewish god, in Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel, Rev. Dr. J. Glen Taylor, a theologian and professor of Old Testament and Biblical Proclamation at Wycliffe College, remarks (7):

This book is a slightly revised version of my doctoral dissertation entitled “Solar Worship in the Biblical World” which was submitted to the Graduate School of Yale University in the Spring of 1989. As may be judged from the title of that work, I had at one time planned to cover more territory than sun worship in ancient Israel, but found the material pertaining to ancient Israel so vast that I never got beyond it.

Moses bowing down to the burning bush of the solar Yahweh.The description of Yahweh and the Sun states, “This challenging provocative book argues that there was in ancient Israel a considerable degree of overlap between the worship of the sun and of Yahweh – even that Yahweh was worshipped as the sun in some contexts.” (Emphasis added.) As Rev. Dr. Taylor (20) further says:

Probably the most provocative issue related to the nature of sun worship in ancient Israel…is the specific claim that Yahweh was identified with the sun.

“Yahweh was identified with the sun.”

In his tome, Taylor discusses Yahweh as a sun god – terming this adulation “solar Yahwism” – as reflected in the sun worship by Israelites described in the biblical texts of Deuteronomy, the Prophets, Job and the Psalms. He also addresses linguistic evidence as well as various archaeological finds that reveal Israelite sun worship, including artifacts such sun disks and temple/shrine alignments.

As we can see, the ancient Yahwists were involved in nature worship and astrotheology little different from the peoples preceding and surrounding them.

Further Reading

Astrotheology of the Ancients
Astrotheology of the Ancients (forum thread)
Jesus as the Sun throughout History
The Eclipse of Solar Mythology?
Star worship of the ancient Israelites
Star Worship of the Ancient Israelites (forum thread)
Yahweh, God Sun