The early church had no buildings. Believers worshipped from house to house. (Acts 2:46) Because of persecution, the early church met in secret places. According to church historians, the construction of buildings for worship was rare until the Edict of Milan in 315 A.D. in which the Roman Empire allowed religious toleration for Christians.
The Byzantines, or the Eastern Roman Empire, were the builders of most of the early church buildings. These buildings had at least two common characteristics; they were built over any “religious” site of note, and they had octagonal foundations.
The Holy Land has many churches built over Biblical locations. Here is a picture of the traditional site of the Apostle Peter’s home in Capernaum. You will note that the foundation is octagonal. There is a more modern church building over this ancient site.
I point this out because early Church historians note that the Byzantines built a church over the place that they believed to be the Praetorium of Pilate, where the Lord Jesus was condemned to die. The Byzantines believed that the massive edifice standing in Jerusalem was the Roman Fort Antonia, and constructed their church there. It was called the Church of Holy Wisdom and was built circa 335 A.D.
This was long before the Roman fort became traditionally known as the Temple Mount.
The church had an octagonal foundation, like so many other Byzantine churches, and was destroyed when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 637 A.D. Later the Mosque of Omar, or the Dome of the Rock, with its octagonal foundation was built on the original foundations of the Church of Holy Wisdom.
My conclusion of these facts is that the Roman Byzantines believed that the Praetorium was located on the Roman Fort Antonia, and built a church over the Praetorium as was their custom of building over Biblical sites. This building, with its typical octagonal foundation, was destroyed by the Muslims and then they placed their mosque on the same location. If my conclusions are correct, the Muslim Dome of the Rock is honoring and protecting the very place believed to be where the Devil thought he had won the victory over the Lord Jesus.
Scripture tells us that the Temple of God was located in the City of David. For more information please click HERE.
The traditional Temple Mount, the traditional Tomb of King David, the traditional location of Mount Zion are all wrong. These facts show us that tradition can be deceptive and misleading.
But the Word of God is our Rock. Praise the Lord for His Bible!