Moriah, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb

Chapter 5: The Garden Tomb - Part B

Matthew 27:60: “They laid it in his (Joseph’s) NEW TOMB, which he had hewn out of the Rock; and he rolled a GREAT STONE against the door of the Tomb, and departed.” 

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This tells us that it was Joseph’s own Tomb, and that therefore it was also his Garden. Moreover it says it was a GREAT STONE, another evidence that the owner of the Tomb was a very rich man. 

Matthew 27:62-65: “On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After 3 days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the Tomb be made secure until the 3rd day, lest His disciples 

come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.”

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Matthew 27:66: “So they went and made the Tomb secure, sealing the Stone and setting the guard.”

The Bible states that the stone was “sealed.” Large iron pins or shafts would have been driven into the Rock Face and a cord or chain would have been stretch across the Rolling Stone to seal the Tomb.

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In the face of the Tomb, are two holes (corresponding to the positions shown above of the two iron stakes), that are evidences showing that a very large seal-stone was once used to seal this Tomb. 

1. In the right side of the Tomb face, there is a hole which was pierced into the cliff face as a result of an iron pin being driven in there. This has since been removed, but the hole remains.

2. On the left hand side of the Tomb Face, another hole had been pierced into the rock for the insertion of a metal pin or shaft, to prevent the seal-stone from being rolled to the left, and the Tomb being opened. The gap between these holes shows the Stone was, indeed “a very great Stone” greater than the diameter of any other such seal-Stone found in Israel!

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Now the amazing thing is that the remains of the original iron pin or shaft are still within the left-hand hole!

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The iron stake had been sheared off, level with the wall. The appearance of the metal was consistent with its having been sheared off when struck with a tremendous force from the right-hand side.

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It was accomplished by moving the Stone in one simple move. This metal shaft on the left which held the stone in place was about two fingers in thickness. According to an engineer, the shear strength of this peg was approximately 70 tons. In other words, it could withstand 70 tons’ pressure before it actually snapped off. Imagine 10 trucks all compressed together and suddenly dropped onto the iron peg. That is the minimum pressure required to snap this iron peg.

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It would be humanly impossible to bend this metal shaft, much less snap it off, simply by pushing the seal-stone against it. To move the Great Stone even one inch, the shaft must first be taken out. But someone did push the stone aside without taking it out. Who did that? 

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Matthew 28:2-4 tells us what happened on that Sunday morning: “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an ANGEL of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”

At Sunrise the Son of God rose from the dead! The angel then rolled the Great Stone away, not to let Jesus out (!), but so that the witnesses come come in and see that the Tomb was empty. The Roman guards witnessed this event and shook in terror. 

The evidence confirms that the stone was moved with great speed, by some colossal force which did NOT REQUIRE TAKING OUT THE METAL ROD. That sheared-off metal shaft is still stuck in the wall. This is evidence of a supernatural opening of the Tomb! 

Now for some time critics have tried to explain away this metal spike as being a piece of shrapnel from an exploded shell which hit the wall during the 1967 war. But in 2004, the metal was tested by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA). Samples taken from the metal object were tested at Hebrew University and shown to contain both iron and lead, which is characteristic of Roman nails from the first century. It was common in Roman times to set metal pins in molten lead. This would make them easier to drive into solid objects. Archaeologist Yehiel Zelinger wrote a article stating that the metal object found in the wall of the Garden Tomb was consistent with metal pins used in Roman construction, such as those used to construct the Coliseum in Rome and with in other Roman sites.

Thus the findings are consistent with the conclusion that this metal pin was used by the Romans to seal the Garden Tomb. It is NOT MODERN SHRAPNEL. It definitely IS of ancient origin. 

So a large Rolling Stone covered the whole entrance. Then the Romans put a seal across it, using an iron nail or stake to hold the seal in place. The remains of the iron nail are in exactly the right position considering the size of the Rolling Stone. The angel rolled the Stone back and as a result, that would have sheered off the nail.

A First-Century TOMB Dating tombs is not always simple, and not all archaeologists agree on the date of the Tomb, but in 1970 Dame Kathleen Kenyon, the famous British archaeologist, described it as: "a typical Tomb of about the 1st Century AD." Many of its characteristics pointed to the time of Jesus. Other reputable scholars such as Sir Flanders Petrie and Sir Charles Marston also believed it to be a Herodian tomb, thus dating it to the era of Jesus Christ. It is indeed, a Jewish Tomb of the First Century, which as we shall see was never completed. It was located in the midst of a garden, near the place of execution, thus agreeing with the Biblical description. 

Over the years, some have argued that it is not a First Century Tomb. For example, Condor thought it was from hundreds of years after Christ, but that theory has now been disproved. More recently, an Israeli archaeologist, Gabriel Barkay has been influential in arguing that it is from the First Temple Period, hundreds of years before Christ (which means that it could not have been a new Tomb). In Appendix 3, I show that his main arguments lose all their force, if you accept that the New Testament is a genuine historical document.

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