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The Edicule

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Midnight at the Tomb of Jesus

Location – Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Map Coordinates - 31.778460, 35.229556

Merged Gospels story - 285-291

All of human history revolves around what happened inside this little building 2000 years ago. This is the tomb of Jesus Christ – the place where He was buried, and where He rose from the dead. The word edicule is Latin for little house, and it’s generally used to describe a building that is constructed over tombs.


We all know that this particular building is not the original tomb of Jesus. It is merely a structure that was built over the site of His tomb.


Jesus’ actual tomb probably looked something like this, comprised of two rooms.


When you walk into the Edicule, you’re following in the footsteps of the two Jewish councilmen who buried Jesus - Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the wealthy man who carved this tomb out of solid limestone.  When you look into the tomb, you’ll be doing exactly what the Apostles Peter, John and Mary Magdalene did, when they looked into His empty tomb. When you walk out of the tomb, you will be following the same path as Jesus Himself, when He walked out into the early morning air on Easter Sunday. And just like the sun rose in the sky, the Son of God rose from the grave.

For over 100 years after the resurrection of Jesus, His disciples continued to worship at this location. There are three ancient historians who tell us this. You can read their testimonies in Addenda R2.

In the year 135 AD the Roman emperor Hadrian decided to bury the memory of Jesus by building a pagan shrine to the goddess Venus on this very spot. This pagan temple covered both the tomb of Jesus, and the place where He was crucified. To add to his insult, Hadrian erected a statue of the Roman god Jupiter (Zeus) over the tomb of Jesus, and a statue of Venus (Aphrodite) over the site of His crucifixion. 

The resurrection of Jesus.

There are six ancient historians who all tell us that for 200 years after Jesus was resurrected the Christians in Jerusalem were very much aware that the tomb of Jesus was under this pagan temple. However, this Temple lasted only two centuries, after which the tomb of Jesus once again saw the light of day.

At the beginning of the fourth century Constantine the Great became the first Christian Roman emperor. He sent his aged mother, the Empress Helena, to this very spot, in order to find the tomb of Jesus, and to build a great church here.

How did they find the real tomb of Jesus? Constantine’s historian, Eusebius, said that the emperor already knew where the tomb was before they started digging. Eventually they unearthed Jesus’ tomb, and it perfectly fit the Bible’s description of it. It was an exact match.

The First Edicule.

Since that day there have actually been four Edicules that have covered the tomb of Jesus. The first one, commissioned by Constantine, was dedicated in the year 335 AD, and we have drawings of that tomb. 

To build it, the workers tore away the entire rock cliff in which the tomb was carved, but they left the original stone casing that surrounded the tomb. When people entered the tomb back then, they were actually going into Jesus’ real tomb, and His burial bench was fully exposed. People could even touch it.

This is a marble model of the first Edicule of Jesus, created in the fifth or sixth centuries, and currently on display in Narbonne, France.

Another view of the original Constantinian Edicule of Jesus.

However, this Edicule was destroyed in the year 1009 AD by a mad Caliph from Egypt named Al-Hakim. But not all of the tomb was demolished, and Jesus’ burial bench wasn’t destroyed at all.


The second Edicule was built around 1049 AD.

The second Edicule was built forty years later, in around 1049 AD. 

The third Edicule was built in 1555 AD.

The second Edicule was eventually renovated, and a newer third Edicule was dedicated in 1555 AD. That third Edicule was destroyed by a fire in the church in 1808, and the Edicule we see today has been here since 1810. 


In Matthew 28:6 we read that there was an angel at this tomb, who said to the women who came here, “Come see the place where He was lying.” In the last 2000 years that invitation has been accepted by countless millions of people, who have come to see the place where He was lying. This was the angel’s proof that Jesus had risen from the dead, and the testimony of the four independent Gospel evangelists today provides literary proof of this miracle.

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