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The place where the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected
The Place of the Lord Jesus Christ's Crucifixion
The Gospel is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, His Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
The gospel of salvation is centered and based on the Lord Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection. Although the place where the Lord had died, buried and resurrected does not affect a person’s faith and salvation, yet Christians throughout the ages have shown great interest in the knowledge of its exact location.
Traditional Site of the Place of Crucifixion
In the Fourth Century after the Roman emperor Constantine became a Christian, his mother Empress Helena went to the Holy Land to look for the site. When she arrived in Jerusalem she was told that Golgotha and the tomb were in the vicinity of an old Jewish cemetery located on the northwest side of the city. The present Church of the Holy Sepulcher that was built on that location is generally regarded by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Arminian and Coptic churches as the official site of the crucifixion, but many biblical scholars outside of these traditional churches have expressed serious doubts about it. The best-known alternate location, Gordon's Calvary (the Garden Tomb), is about 0.4 mile north of the ancient city.
Biblical Description of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Place of Crucifixion
According to all the four canonical gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ was brought to the "Place of a Skull”and crucified with two thieves.
Matthew 27:33 “And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,”
Mark 15:22 “And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.”
Luke 23:33“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.” [Calvaryis an English name derived from the Latin word for skull (calvaria),]
John 19:17“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,”
The Bible does not reveal the precise location of Golgotha. It simply states that Jesus’ crucifixion took place “near the city” of Jerusalem (John 19:20) . “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”(Heb. 13:12) Jewish law did not permit executions and burials inside the city.
The "Place of a Skull"
General Gordon’s Discovery of Golgotha
In 1883 British General Charles George Gordon, a hero of the Crimean War who abolished slavery in Africa, came to live for a year in Ein Karem near Jerusalem. During one of his tours near the Old City, and in parallel to a mystic experience he underwent, he suddenly noticed a small hill close to the Nablus Gate. He looked at the rocky escarpment from several angles and noticed its resemblance to the face of a skull with two hollow eye sockets and the bridge of a nose. He determined that this was the Lord Jesus Christ's true place of crucifixion and burial.
Gordon's "revelation" was based on the fact that the area was fenced, which according to Jewish burial laws, must be outside the walls of the city.
Besides the skull-like appearance, there are a few other details put forward in favor of the identification as Golgotha. The location of the site would have made executions carried out there a highly visible sight, to people using the main road leading north from the city; the presence of the skull-feature in the background would have added to the deterrent effect.
General Gordon saw the rocky escarpment resembling the face of s Skull with two eye sockets and the bridge of a nose
Biblical Description of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Place of Burial
Sepulchers (tombs) were carved out of rock on a hillside or placed in caves (Mt. 27:59-60; Gen. 23:19-20). Because dead bodies were considered unclean, Jewish burial plots and cemeteries were always outside the city walls.
“Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”(Jn. 19:41-42)
It was a new tomb provided by a rich man Joseph of Arimathea (Mt. 27:57-60). Pilate, the priests, and Pharisees wanted to assure that Jesus would not come back to life so they sealed and guarded the tomb (Mt. 27:62-66).
General Gordon’s Discovery of the Garden Tomb
General Gordon must have also read the Scriptures and perceived there would be a tomb cut out of the rock in the vicinity of the Place of a skull. Indeed there was one, and thus the burial place of the Lord Jesus Christ was discovered. The Place of the skull with the Garden Tomb near by fits exactly the apostle John's description in the Bible. (Jn. 19:41-42).