Moriah, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb

Appendix 1: Summary: Golgotha and the Garden Tomb

Appendix 1: A Summary of all the Ways these Locations for
Golgotha and the Garden Tomb agree with the Biblical Account.

*GOLGOTHA (Gordon's Calvary) - the Place of the Crucifixion.
(1) It is at the Peak of Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:8,14). It is topologically the Peak of the Mount lying between between the Kidron and the Tyropean Valley, higher up the same Mount where the Temple was built. 

(2) It is North of the Temple Altar (Leviticus 1:10,11).

(3) Jesus was crucified outside the City Wall, but near the City: “the Place where Jesus was crucified was near the City” (John 19:20, also Mark 15:20, Hebrews 13:11-13). Gordon’s Calvary is just outside the North Wall of Jerusalem.

(4) Jesus was crucified near (just outside) a major City Gate (Hebrews 13:12), 250 yards north-east of the important Damascus Gate. 

(5) The Biblical description of the place of Crucifixion is ‘Golgotha’ = ‘the Place of the Skull’ (John 19:16,17; Luke 23:33; Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22), a place that was obviously well-known in the time of Christ, no doubt as a place of executions. Only one place around Jerusalem has borne, and still bears, the name: ‘Skull Hill’- the northern peak of Mt Moriah, separated from the rest of the Mount by a large Quarry, which formed the Valley between the City Wall and Skull Hill. The result of this quarrying was a shape in Rock-Face with a striking resemblance to a human Skull. This Skull-Face overlooks a flat open space at its base, suitable for public executions, giving it the name: ‘the Place of the Skull.’ The Skull is 
at the north end of the Quarry, whose southern end is the vast underground Cave, where Solomon and Herod got their enormous stones to build the 1st and 2nd Temples. The latest anyone dates this huge Quarry is at the time of the Maccabees, so Skull Hill was already there in the time of Christ. From the nature of the remaining Rock, there is no reason to suppose that the ‘Skull’ was not there in the time of Christ. This Skull, etched into Mt. Moriah clearly identifies this as the Place of the Crucifixion! ‘Skull Hill’ was the easily identifiable background, appropriate to the events of death that took place at its foot. Where else is there a place that could be called ‘the Place of a Skull’? It is not called: ‘the place of skulls’, from bones left lying there. The Jews buried their dead quickly. For example, with Stephen, “devout men carried him to his burial” after his stoning (Acts 8:2).

(6) The Hebrew text of Matthew (‘Even Bohan’) refers to the Place of Crucifixion as ‘Mount (Har) of the Skull.’ This description confirms the location of ‘Skull Hill’, namely, that the Skull was cut into a Hill-side. 

(7) Jerusalem’s Execution Site. This Skull-shaped Hill, outside but clearly visible from the Walls, next to the major highways leading to the north and east, with a open flat area at its base with room for a crowd of spectators, satisfied all the requirements for Jewish and Roman executions. Tradition says it was the Jewish 'place of stoning.' This is confirmed by strong Jewish and Christian traditions associating it with the sufferings and deaths of both Jeremiah (see Lamentations 1:12, Hebrews 11:37) and Stephen (Acts 7:58). One can’t conceive of a more appropriate place for executions near Jerusalem, yet outside its Walls. This execution ground was plainly visible from the Wall, and passers-by could not have missed it, as required by the Roman need for deterrence (see Mark 15:20,21,29, Matthew 27:39, Luke 23:35). A disused Quarry could not serve any other useful purpose. 

*The GARDEN TOMB - the Place of the Resurrection.

John 19:41,42: “(1) in the Place where He was crucified (‘the Place of the Skull’) there was (2) a Garden and (3) in the Garden a new Tomb in which no one had yet been laid.... the Tomb was nearby.” 

So we must have together in the same Place: (1) a ‘Place of the Skull’, (2) a cultivated Garden, and (3) an appropriate Rock Hewn Tomb - all just outside the City Wall of Jesus' day! The Garden Tomb site offers this combination. Residing nearby to Golgotha are a Garden and ancient Tomb which fit the description of Christ’s Tomb as recorded in the Gospels. In all respects, it fulfils the required Biblical specifications extremely well. 

The Bible reveals the Tomb of Joseph had special characteristics:

*1. It was near the Place of Crucifixion, Golgotha. (John 19:41,42). The eastern boundary faces the rocky cliff popularly known as ‘Skull Hill.’ 

*2. It is close to the City, but also without doubt, outside the City Wall of Jesus' day, as required by Jewish custom and by the Gospel accounts

*3. This Tomb was set in a rich man’s Garden (John 19:40-42), as shown by the very large enclosed pre-Christian rainwater Cistern and Winepress, implying a single, very wealthy owner (Joseph of Arimathea).

*4. It is an ancient Jewish Tomb, although later reused in Christian times. Several noted archaeologists have examined it and declared it to be originally Jewish (Herodian period). Like other Jewish tombs of Jerusalem from this period, it is oriented towards the Temple. It also resembles them in form, in there being an outer Weeping Chamber for visitors and an inner Burial Chamber with burial niches for the dead. Its general appearance 

points to its construction being from around the time of Jesus. 

*5. It was a rich man’s Tomb. It is described as being a Tomb belonging to the wealthy, Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60, also Isaiah 53:9). It fits the qualifications for a Tomb belonging to a rich first century Jew. 

*6. It was a NEW TOMB: “wherein never man before was laid" (Luke 23:53, also Matthew 27:60). “In the Garden, a NEW Tomb, where no-one lay before” (John 19:41). The existence of the cavity in the receptacle at the Tomb’s NE corner, and the absence of this cavity in the SE receptacle, as well as the unfinished groove toward the north end of the west wall, show clearly that this Tomb was never completed. 

*7. It is not a natural cave, but was cut out of the solid bedrock, conforming to the Biblical description of: "a Sepulchre (Tomb) that was hewn out of the Rock” (Luke 23:53, Matthew 27:60, Mark 15:46).

*8. It was closed by a very large Rolling Stone covering the entrance (Matthew 27:60, 28:2; Mark 15:46, 16:3,4; Luke 24:2). A Rolling Stone was a clear sign of it being a rich man’s Tomb. The Garden Tomb has a Rolling Stone Entrance, as indicated by the Channel outside the front wall. Moreover, it is the only ‘Rolling Stone’ Tomb, that is next to Golgotha. The original doorway would have been a lower than it appears today, as the disciples had to stoop in order to look into and enter into the Tomb. However, it would have required a large Rolling Stone, as the Bible states.

The Gospel accounts indicate the Tomb’s Interior has a number of features
*9. Inside there would have been space for several mourners to stand inside the large Weeping Chamber (Luke 24:1-4,10) 

*10. The Burial Chamber and Place is on the RIGHT SIDE, as you entered into the Tomb’s Weeping Chamber (Mark 16:5), which is unusual.

*11. The Burial Place where Jesus was laid was fully visible, even to a person peering in from the doorway (John 20:5,11,12; Luke 24:12). 
The full length of the body could be seen, and there was enough space for an angel to be seen sitting (John 20:5-9, Matthew 28:5-8, Mark 16:5-8).

*12. There were places for 2 angels to sit, one at the head and another at the foot of His Burial Place (John 20:11,12). The fact these 2 angels were seen in these positions, confirms this was a Loculus, not a Kokhim Tomb.

*13. And, of course, it is empty! (Luke 24:6,12; John 20).

The Garden Tomb fits all the detailed specifications from the Gospel texts for the Tomb in which Jesus was buried. It is remarkable that all the features mentioned in the Bible's account can be seen to be fulfilled by the Garden Tomb. The cumulative effect of this striking resemblance to the Gospel accounts is impressive. It fits like a glove! It is the only Tomb yet discovered that satisfies all the conditions of the Biblical Record. It is by far the most suitable and the only viable candidate for the authentic Tomb of Jesus Christ. 

So, the Garden Tomb, a peaceful site outside the old walls of Jerusalem, was the scene for the most pivotal moment in history. Everything fits exactly: Geographically, it is in the right place, outside the City Wall, the north side of the Temple Mount, where the great and glorious sacrifice had to be made, part of Mt. Moriah, the Mount of Sacrifice. The Crucifixion Site and Resurrection Garden are next door to each other. We have a Garden containing a Winepress, Water Cistern and Empty Tomb that were all here 2000 years ago. Biblically, this setting also fits in perfectly with the Gospel accounts of Christ’s Death and Resurrection!



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