Pro and Con 1390

Posted 2-16-08


The builders of the Dome of the Rock kept the measurements
and the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in mind.

By Marilyn Agee

"Opposite to the entrance is a smaller door, through which, by stooping low, one may enter into a quadrangular chamber, about 6 feet wide, 7 feet long and 7 1/2 feet high, brilliantly lighted by forty-three lamps of gold and silver that are kept burning by the Latins, Greeks, Armenians, and Copts. This is the Holy Sepulchre. On the north side, about two feet from the floor, and extending the full length, is a marble slab covering the sepulchral couch. Floor, walls, and ceiling have also been covered with marble slabs in order to adorn the interior area and to protect the rock from pilgrims who would break and carry it away." (


The fat sassy face with its tongue sticking out that is on the stone under the Dome of the Rock reveals the intent of the leader of the Angelic Conflict.

There is no way that this stone was ever in the Holy of Holies of the Temple. That is not hard to figure out. Its dimensions are simply larger than the dimensions of the Holy of Holies. Wilson's Arch and the southeast slope of the aqueduct it brought in locate the Temple south of the Dome of the Rock. For the cascading cisterns to work as a water purification system, the Temple had to be lower on the slope of Mt. Moriah than the Dome of the Rock. For Herod to be able to see into the Temple court from his residence, it had to be lower too.

Fort Antonia in the northern half of the Temple Mount and the Temple court in the southern half joined on an east-west line just south of the rock outcropping. The foundation of the east-west dividing wall was found by two archaeologists August 30, 2007, when the trench was dug to lay new electric lines to the Al Aksa Mosque.

Listen to Josephus as he reveals that the northern half of the Temple Mount housed Fort Antonia and the southern half housed the Temple court, and that THE ROCK, WHICH WAS MUCH HIGHER IN THOSE DAYS, WAS IN FORT ANTONIA, which was north of the Temple's OUTER court.

"Now as to the tower of Antonia," Josephus said, "it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple; of that on the WEST, and that on the NORTH; it was erected upon a ROCK OF FIFTY CUBITS IN HEIGHT, and was on a great precipice; it was the work of king Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, THE ROCK ITSELF WAS COVERED OVER WITH SMOOTH PIECES OF STONE, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it."

The Bordeaux pilgrim visited Palestine in 333 AD. He wrote, "Under the pinnacle (pinna) of the tower (i.e., the tallest tower of Fort Antonia, at its south-east corner) are many rooms, and here was Solomon's palace. There also is the chamber in which he sate and wrote the (Book of) Wisdom; this chamber (i.e., the natural cave now called the Well of Souls) is covered with A SINGLE STONE (i.e., the rock that is now under the Dome of the Rock). There are also large subterranean reservoirs for water and pools constructed with great labour. And in the building (in aede) itself, WHERE STOOD THE TEMPLE WHICH SOLOMON BUILT, they say that the blood of Zacharias (Matt 23:35; Luke 11:51) which was shed upon the stone pavement before the altar remains to this day. There are also to be seen the marks of the nails in the shoes of the soldiers who slew him, throughout the whole enclosure, so plain that you would think they were impressed upon wax. (i.e., then the paving stones were still covering the ground) There are two statues of Hadrian." This doesn't sound like the Temple had ever been over the "SINGLE STONE" that is now under the Dome of the Rock.

The Bordeaux pilgrim also wrote, "From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk towards (i.e., not through) the gate of Neapolis, towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate (Matt 27:27). Here our Lord was tried before His passion. ON THE LEFT HAND IS THE LITTLE HILL OF GOLGOTHA where the Lord was crucified (Matt 27:33). About A STONE'S THROW FROM THENCE IS A VAULT (CRYPTA) WHEREIN HIS BODY WAS LAID, AND ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY (Matt 27:63; 28:6). There, at present, by the command of the Emperor CONSTANTINE...has been built A...CHURCH (DOMINICUM) OF WONDROUS BEAUTY" (i.e., the Church of the Holy Sepulcher) (

This shows that the Garden Tomb outside of the modern Damascus Gate is not Jesus' tomb. Since they turned LEFT, the location of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is perfect. It was outside of the walls in those days. To have gone to the Garden Tomb, they would have had to turn right and go out of the Damascus gate. That does not fit.

At the time of the Crucifixion, Gogotha was outside the city, but near a gate, a perfect spot for the Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection. It is ironic, but a statue of Jupiter marked the spot for 180 years, from 140 to 320 AD. On the map below, Golgotha and the tomb are just outside the jog in the reddish colored wall. The other walls were added later.

The rock of Golgotha at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is split. Mt. 27:51-54 says, "behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent." That fault is still moving and requires shoring up the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Edicule over Jesus' tomb at times. The Edicule has cables and some scafolding steadying it today. Tradition and this movement speaks for the authenticity of Golgotha and the tomb of Jesus now enclosed within this church.

The Dome of the Rock was meant to dominate the architectural sites in Jerusalem, and it does. What picture do you see first in articles about Jerusalem? It zeroes you in in a hurry. The Dome of the Rock is also known as Kubbat as-Sakhra and TEMPLUM DOMINI. It is sad to think that many people think that Herod's Temple was built over that rock, even the Temple Mount Faithful group.

At the time of the construction of the Dome of the Rock, the octagon shape and the dome were not characteristic of Islam. It was built in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, intended for the veneration of so-called "saintly relics." What relics were there? an outcropping of the bedrock of Mt. Moriah that had been in Fort Antonia? No. The real relics are the arches and columns scavenged from the ruins of churches and the Temple. I do know of one reddish marble column by the entrance that was new.


"According to Prof. Shlomo Dov Goitein, the inscriptions decorating the interior clearly display A SPIRIT OF POLEMIC AGAINST CHRISTIANITY, while stressing at the same time the Qur'anic doctrine that Jesus Christ was a true prophet. The formula la sharika lahu 'God has no companion' is repeated five times, the verses from sura Maryam 16:34-37, WHICH STRONGLY DENY JESUS' SONSHIP TO GOD, are quoted together with the remarkable prayer: Allahumma salli (with ya; read salli without ya) ala rasulika wa'abdika 'Isa bin Maryam - "In the name of the One God (Allah) Pray for your Prophet and Servant Jesus son of Mary". He believes that this shows that RIVALRY WITH CHRISTENDOM, together with the spirit of Islamic mission to the Christians, was at the work at the creation of the famous Dome. " (a b Goitein, Shlomo Dov; The Historication background of the erection of the Dome of the Rock, Journal of American Oriental Society, Vol. 70, No. 2, 1950). (all emphasis is mine)

"The most imposing structure the Muslims found in Jerusalem was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Nearby the Arab conquerors undertook to build a more spectacular edifice, the Dome of the Rock, not only to proclaim the supremacy of Islam, but also to ensure that the new followers of Islam would not be tempted by Christianity" (


"O people of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not "Three", (it is) better for you! - God is only One God. FAR BE IT REMOVED FROM HIS TRANSCENDENT MAJESTY THAT HE SHOULD HAVE A SON."

Contrast that with the Bible. Not only is Jesus the Son of God, he is YHWH of hosts, King of Israel and the Redeemer. Isa. 44:6 says, "Thus saith the LORD (YHWH) the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD (YHWH) of hosts (Jesus Christ); I am the first (YHWH King of Israel), and I am the last (YHWH of hosts, the redeeemer, i.e., Jesus Christ); and BESIDE ME THERE IS NO GOD."

Rev. 1:8 says, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is (i.e., at the time of the Rapture), and which was (at the First Advent), and which is to come (at the Second Advent), the Almighty." II Cor. 5:19 says, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself". In Rev. 22:13,16, Jesus said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last....I am the root (YHWH) AND the offspring of David (Jesus)". Mt. 27:23: "he said, I am the Son of God." Mark 1:1 says, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God". Mt 1:23 says, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Isaiah 7:14 says, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

"Prof. Shlomo Dov Goitein of the Hebrew University states that the Dome of the Rock was intended to remove the fitna, or 'annoyance,' constituted by the existence of the many fine buildings of worship of other religions. The very form of a rotunda, given to the Qubbat as-Sakhra, although it was FOREIGN TO ISLAM, was destined to RIVAL THE MANY CHRISTIAN DOMES. [6] A.C. Cresswell in his book Origin of the plan of the Dome of the Rock notes that THOSE WHO BUILT THE MOSQUE MADE USE OF THE MEASUREMENTS OF THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE. The diameter of the dome of the mosque is 20m 20cm and its height 20m 48cm, while the diameter of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 20m 90cm and its height 21m 5cm" (

I also found out that in 1193, the Omar Mosque was built by the southern courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Saladin's son Aphdal Ali. That particular location reveals the competition too. In pictures of Jerusalem, its distinctive square minaret is easy to pick out. The dome over the Rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher can be seen nearby. First the statue of Jupiter marked the spot. Now the minaret of the Omar Mosque marks the area. They don't understand, but they can't win for losing.

Note the intentional similarities of The Dome of the Rock (completed in 691 AD) to the Rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (built by Constantine in 333-335 AD).

The Dome of the Rock


"The sacred foundation stone is encircled by sixteen arches that formerly came from different churches in Jerusalem, which were destroyed during the Persian occupation of the city in 614 AD." (

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher


What is left of the tomb of Jesus after many desperate attempts to obliterate it now seems to be located in the center of the Rotunda under the largest dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (also called the Church of the Resurrection).


Probably because that really is Jesus' tomb under the Rotunda, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher seems to be the only church where the miracle of the "Holy Fire" occurs.

It appears after the prayers of the Archbishop, about 2 PM on Holy Saturday (the Feast of Unleavened Bread). That is the day before the Orthodox Easter, the first Sunday after the spring equinox and Jewish Passover on the Julian Calendar. This miracle of the Holy Fire has been going on for centuries, maybe from 335 AD. From the stone on which Jesus lay, a blue light is said to pour forth. It turns to actual fire later. At first, even that fire does not burn the skin. As soon as the Patriarch can light a lamp of olive oil or two candles from it, he carries them out into the church. Odd things happen, and they are not the same every time.

"The Holy Light is not only distributed by the Archbishop, it operates by itself. It is emitted from the Holy Sepulchre with a hue completely different from that of natural light. It sparkles, it flashes on the walls like lightning, it flies like a dove around the tabernacle of the Holy Sepulchre, and lights up the unlit lamps of olive oil hanging in front of it. It whirls from one side of the church to the other. It enters some of the chapels inside the church, as for instance the chapel of the Calvery (at a higher level than the Holy Sepulchre) and lights up the little lamps. It lights up also the candles of certain pilgrims. In fact there are some very pious pilgrims who, every time they attended this ceremony, noticed that their candles lit up on their own accord! His divine light also presents some peculiarities: As soon as it appears it has a bluish hue and does not burn. At the first moments of its appearance, if it touches the face, or the mouth, or the hands, it does not burn. This is proof of its divine and supernatural origin....From the fourth century A.D. all the way up to our own time, sources recall this awe-inspiring event." (Miracle of Holy Fire which happens every year). It seems to have been happening ever since 335 AD, when the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was inaugurated.

"HOW THE HOLY LIGHT COMES the absolute quietness at the hour when the patriarch prays a wheeze is heard and almost simultaneously blue and white lightnings of Holy Light penetrate from everywhere, as though millions of photographic flashes turn on embracing the walls and all the lamps light up miraculously. In the Holy Sepulchre the torches the Patriarch holds while he prays turn on by the Holy Light. The crowd bursts out in cheers while teardrops of joy and faith run from the eyes of the people." (

The blue flashing light many witnesses call lightning, because of the way it flickers. Others have said that it is like a million flashbulbs going off, but it did that way before people had flashbulbs. It flashes from everywhere lighting up the walls at the Holy Fire ceremony. It is amazing.

It would be nice to be there to witness it, but one never knows when a fight will break out. The six church groups guard their individual rights so jealously, they are often like children that can't get along. It is another miracle that God sends the Holy Fire in spite of this. The way I see it, it is mostly because this is the place of the Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus, and he is the light of the world. In John 8:12, he said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." People do leave there changed. One man came once as an MD. He was shocked that it made such an impact on him. He returned several years later as a friar in the Catholic Church.

This miracle gives more meaning to the Parable of the Ten Virgins. The people that go to the church to witness the Holy Fire buy candles or what look like olive oil lamps made in the shape of thick candles. They don't want to run out of oil. Some take the Holy Fire home and keep it going as long as they can. Israel helps some get through customs fast and furnishes planes so they can take the Holy Fire to Athens and other destinations. This way the Holy Fire miracle becomes real to many that were not able to go to the ceremony in Jerusalem. Why this doesn't make the evening news all over the world on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I can only guess. It has been happening just about every year for centuries.


The destructive forces against this tomb, Golgotha and the surrounding church have made their presence known over and over. The church has been burned more than once, torn down and rebuilt, etc. The list is long.

To hide the tomb of Jesus, the whole original stone quarry was covered with a great mound of soil, and a huge rectangular pagan temple was built by Publius Aelius Hadrian (Emperor 117-138 AD) on top of it, c. 135 AD. As a reminder that Rome was in charge, he used stones from the Temple. This was when he rebuilt Jerusalem as Aelia (in his honor) Capitolina (a capitol for the Roman gods). Jerome said that a statue of Jupiter was put over Jesus' tomb, and a statue of Venus over Golgotha, showing that they knew exactly where those things were.

We need to keep in mind that we are not to worship statues or God's creation, just the Creator.

Speaking of Jesus, John 1:1-3,14 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made....And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

Heb. 1:1,2 says, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by (en, in) his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds".

"Hadrian's reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina in 135, followed the destruction after the Jewish Revolt of 70 and Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132-135. Emperor Constantine I ordered in 325 or 326 that the site be uncovered, and instructed Saint Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, to build a church on the site. Pilgrim of Bordeaux reports in 333: "There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty" (

Constantine issued The Edict of Milan in 313 A.D, making Christianity the state religion. He built Christian churches and converted pagan chapels to Christian churches.

Queen Helena had been directed by her son Constantine to build churches on sites which commemorated the life of Christ. A strong believer, she did her best. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built.

When Queen Helena and Constantine's architects arrived in Palestine, Christians pointed them to Hadrian's temple, which marked the site of the Crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus. In spite of the tomb and Golgotha being covered with soil and a pagan temple built on top of that mound, the Christians still knew the correct spot. To me, that is significant. I think Helena missed the true Mt. Sinai at Jebel Helal on the Way to Shur, but was right about the location of Jesus' stone tomb.

Constantine's architects demolished the pagan temple. Eusebius of Caesarea (260-340) wrote that "the place of the Passion and Resurrection, which was known to be occupied by a temple of Venus erected by the Romans in the time of Hadrian, or later. The temple was torn down, the ruins were removed to a distance, the earth beneath, as having been contaminated, was dug up and borne far away. Then, beyond the hopes of all, the most holy monument of Our Lord's Resurrection shone forth" (Eusebius, "Life of Constantine", III, xxviii).

The excess rock around the Holy Sepulchre was cut away. The tomb itself was inclosed in the little building called the Edicule. The Rotunda dome was completed by the end of the 4th century."

This seems to be the actual tomb of Jesus. That is probably why the miracle of the Holy Fire happens only in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Another site, called the Garden Tomb, was not even identified until the 19th century, and its location does not fit the facts.

It is easy to see that some entity does not want this particular tomb, or this particular church to exist. The original church built by Constantine in 333 AD was destroyed in 614 AD by the Persians. It was rebuilt and destroyed again in 1009 by the Egyptian caliph al-Hakim. He is the one that had the tomb hacked down to the bedrock. Isn't it amazing that the many efforts to destroy this tomb have failed to completely eradicate it?

"On October 18, 1009, under the so-called "mad" Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, orders for the complete destruction of the church were carried out. It is believed that Al-Hakim didn't like the scale of the Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and since it was caused by the annual miracle of the Holy Fire, he destroyed the church.

However, the plight of the church inspired the Crusaders, who rebuilt it over the next 50 years. It was inaugurated in 1149. That is basically the structure we see today, but it has had several renovations since that time. In spite of numerous attempts to destroy it, the Edicule in the Rotunda still preserves the location of the first century tomb of Jesus.


Unleavened Bread is a seven-day feast, on Nisan 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21. There was to be a Holy Convocation on both the first and last days. Why? Jesus was resurrected on Nisan 16. What will fulfill the 7th day of Unleavened Bread? Nisan 21 is the day that the Israelites circled Jericho 7 times. Then they blew the trumpets, shouted a great shout, and the walls fell down. They were given the city they had just circled 7 times. I think Jericho is a type of New Jerusalem, which seems to be on Saturn, the planet with 7 rings. It is the third Heaven that Paul was caught up to--Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It is the 7th lamp in the lampstand in the Temple. Josephus, a Pharisee priest, showed that the lampstand stood for the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (Ant. III. VI. 7).

I think the Pre-Trib Rapture will probably fulfill the 7th day of Unleavened Bread. Nisan 21 will be April 26, 2008. That Rapture will be the day the wise virgins with plenty of oil will be taken to New Jerusalem.

The best picture of the tomb is at this site. Scroll down to the picture of the tomb. It looks orange. Jesus' head was supposed to be where the candles are sitting. Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge again. All the pictures can be enlarged.

Here is a Holy Light/Holy Fire video taken by a witness in 1994. He said, "Suddenly blue and white lightnings of the Holy Light fill and spread the church of the Sepulchre and the people burst out in cheering. Towards the end of the video watch a flaming ball of the Holy Light running through and over peoples heads and lights up a faithful manís candle. I tried to see this better zooming my camera and I spoiled the image a little cause of my hurry and excitement. The moment the video finishes up on the left top you can see a lamp light up by itself."
Turn your speakers down. These videos are all loud.

Videos of Holy Fire on YouTube: You can search for both Holy Fire and Holy Light. I got 2 of each.

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© 1996-2008, Marilyn J. Agee; Updated 12-16-08