The Place, Golgotha. When you are in Israel they take you to a couple different places that are traditionally the sites: one is a Roman Catholic site, the other is predominantly a Protestant site where they believe Golgotha is. This teaching is a third location that has only been recently thought of, and supported by the scripture, rather than by tradition.
Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.
He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International and served as assistant to the president.
Beautiful, you may be seated. Thank you Ted, Dorothy and Tony. I’d like you to take your Bibles and go to the Gospel of Mark. Rev. Martindale received this week one of the things for this occasion which he passed on to me to share with you this evening. You see, we’re right in the grove of things here. Now, I personally couldn’t eat this myself just knowing that the cross does represent death – having a chocolate cross – besides that it’s made wrong, so I brought my knife along here. Is that better? Oh well, if I ate this … maybe I’d share with some of you, I don’t know. This wasn’t in the script, but, at any rate that’s closer to the truth of what it actually would have looked like. Now, it wasn’t one like this, but he had his hands above his head.
In the Gospel of Mark – this evening I am sharing with you on the subject called The Place, Golgotha. When you are in Israel they take you to a couple different places that are traditionally the sites: one is a Roman Catholic site, the other is predominantly a Protestant site where they believe Golgotha is. I’m going to share with you a third location that has only been recently thought of, and I think this is supported by the scripture, rather than by tradition.
In Mark 15 in verse 15 – we’ll begin reading here, it says:
And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away into … [a] hall, called Praetorium; and they call[ed] together the whole band [the band of soldiers]. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews [or Judeans]! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Now you see, traditionally this period of time is relatively short. But, in fitting all the records together (which Dr. Wierwille has done in Jesus Christ Our Passover), the arrest would have taken place sometime Monday evening because that evening throughout the night he was before Caiaphas and before Annas, who were both high priests that year. It says “in the morning, in the morning” when the sun came up, is when they brought him before the whole Sanhehdrin. It was after that that they took him to Pilate, then Pilate sent him to Herod; Herod sent him back to Pilate, and the judgement was made around the sixth hour which would have been noon, under Roman reckoning, around noon. It would not have been the sixth hour of the night. In the first place, that would have been an impossibility because he was already before the Sanhedrin in the morning, the early morning at daybreak and went to Pilate after that for the first time, let alone the second time. In the second place, they did not determine the evenings or the nights by hours; they determined it by watches. The daytime was reckoned in hours, so the sixth hour would have to be noon on Tuesday, then he went to the soldiers, and that’s what this record is about. They mocked him and so on throughout the afternoon, spit on him, bowed their knees to him. There were quite a few soldiers there. They probably continued this throughout the evening, perhaps even throughout the night. It wasn’t until the next morning that they led him out to crucify him.
Now, verse 20:
… when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, … put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. And they bring him unto the place [unto the place] Golgotha [which is what I want to talk with you about today – the place Golgotha], which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
And it was the third hour …
So, it’s 9:00 in the morning. Now, if it was the sixth hour that he was before Pilate, then you can’t go backwards; it would have to be the next day before you get to the third hour again when they crucified him. Then, they put the superscription of his accusation, the king of the Judeans, over his head and with him two robbers (one on the right and one on the left) and, of course, they had led out two malefactors with him, so you’ve now got four that were crucified with Jesus (which is also covered in Jesus Christ Our Passover)
… And he was numbered with the transgressors.
Then you get to verse 29,
And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
So, this location had to be by a road where people were passing by and could easily see him. It wasn’t a place where you had to go out of the way or it wasn’t out in the wilderness some place. It was by a main thoroughfare where a lot of people were passing by, and they could wag their heads and so on.
Then verse 31:
Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save
So you’ve got the chief priests and the scribes, you’ve got the people that are passing by – it had to be by a road where all these things were taking place – even where the chief priests would have been on this preparation day for the Passover. The first thing I want you to do is get in your mind exactly what the scripture says and the things that we’ve got to put together: first of all it had to be by a thoroughfare where people were passing by, a place where the chief priests would have been as they passed by mocking and so forth.
In John chapter 19, verse 19:
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS [or Judeans].
This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was … [near] to the city: and it was written in Hebrew … Greek, and Latin.
So it’s near the city and it’s a place where many could read the title as they passed by, but there’s something wrong with this verse 20.
This title then read many of the … [Judeans]: for [then you see the words] the place
In the Greek text it is not associated with where he was crucified; it is associated with the city, so that this would read:
For where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the place of the city
The place of the city. Got that? That’s the way it reads in the critical Greek text.
This title then read many of the … [Judeans]: for the place where Jesus was crucified was … [near] to the [place of the] city:
The place of the city, as I am going to show you after a bit, was a term for the temple. The temple was called the place of the city. Furthermore, on the Mount of Olives (which was straight east from the temple) there was a road that led out of the temple over a bridge over the Kidron Valley and up to the peak of the Mount of Olives where there was an altar. That’s where some of the animals were killed and the bodies burned before the blood was brought into the temple for sacrifice. That was the altar outside of the city, and that was also referred to as part of that place, the place, which was the temple. So, that altar, as well as the temple itself, they were all part of the place.
Now, I want to show you Hebrews chapter 13, and keep that in mind and we’ll come back to “the place” after a bit. Hebrews 13 and in verse 10,
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood [now watch this] is brought into the sanctuary [that’s the main part of the temple - the blood is brought into the sanctuary] by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
The bodies of those animals are burned without the camp.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered [where?] without the gate.
So, wherever Jesus suffered had to be outside of the city, outside of the city of Jerusalem. It is in this verse (these verses associated with the priests burning the bodies of the sacrifice outside of the camp on an altar), which we know from the Mishnah (a 2nd century commentary), was located on the Mount of Olives straight east from the temple in the 1st century. So it says:
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
If you go to Israel where we were this last fall, they’ll show you two different locations where they believe the crucifixion took place. One is the Roman Catholic place, which is called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In that church they have a place where they believe the crosses were, and the place where they believe the grave was. That was established in the 4th century by Queen Helena, who was the mother of Constantine [the emperor]. His mother decided that’s where it should go; she said she had a vision. Well, Queen Helena was quite a business woman because she located quite a few other places, wrongly (which archaeologists have shown to be wrong). It was not something that was tradition from the 1st century; it was simply something she had established in the 4th century.
The second place they take you is the predominantly Protestant location, which is called Gordon’s Calvary because it was discovered by a General Gordon in the 19th century, the last century. General Gordon was sitting on the north wall of the city of Jerusalem, and he saw this hill that looked like a skull. I’ve got a picture of it here. You can see right here in this general area that it looks somewhat like a skull and from that he said, “This must have been Calvary.” Furthermore, he found a tomb nearby, which archaeologists have recently shown really came from a much earlier time period. However, for a while people believed that this was the general area because it did look like a skull. However, that’s the only reason for this being “Golgotha”. There's no other scriptural evidence for it. I want to show you why the Mount of Olives, scripturally, represents the most possible place.
In the 1st century the temple would have looked like this. This is the main part of the temple where the high priest went into. Once a year he went into the very back part of that, which was the Holy of Holies, and that was on the Day of Atonement. But, normally they had an altar out in front here where they offered certain animal sacrifices. But, there were others where (as we read in Hebrews) they did not offer here – this is facing towards the east – east would be over here, so this direction – they would take the animals up to the top of the Mount of Olives on that altar that I mentioned at the very peak. On the altar there, they burned the bodies of the animals and brought the blood into this sanctuary here in this temple area.
I mentioned the Mishnah (which is a 2nd century Jewish commentary) that talks about a bridge that leads from the temple area over the Kidron Valley up to the Mount of Olives. Here you have the temple and here’s the reconstruction of what that bridge would have looked like. It was a double tiered bridge, so that the priests would be uncontaminated as they went over this bridge carrying the sacrifices to and fro from the Mount of Olives.
Furthermore, the priests, the high priest, could stand here in the temple area and look up to the Mount of Olives (to the east); if they had two animals there, he could pick one. I don’t know exactly how far away, maybe a half a mile or so, but he could look up there and he could pick which animal he wanted – the one on the left or the one on the right, by hand signal. So, that’s more or less what that bridge would have looked like in the 1st century going over the Kidron Valley.
Here we’re looking at Jerusalem, looking towards the west. This is the eastern wall of the city, here’s the Dome of the Rock (it’s a Mohammedan Mosque or a Moslem Mosque that sits in the temple area), and this is where they believe the temple sat for a long time. The archaeologists have now shown that it sat north of here, over here in an area where there’s a rock – on top of it a little dome that’s called The Dome of the Spirit, which is right here. This is the Dome of the Spirit, north of the Dome of the Rock. That’s where they believe the temple actually sat.
Now, we’re looking east. The hill you see in the background over here is the Mount of Olives, so that from the temple area to the eastern gate of the city there would have been a bridge, then over the Kidron, and then a walkway up to the very peak of the Mount of Olives. That’s where that altar would have been.
Here we’re looking west. You have the eastern gate, which is built right over where the eastern gate would have been back in the 1st century. (This is not the one that was there then, but it is over the top of the ruins.) Then the Dome of the Spirit (you can see it right back there in the middle of the picture, right in front of those arches), and now we’re looking straight west, so that if you drew a line from here through the eastern gate, then up the Mount of Olives, that would show you where that altar would be – which is right on top of the Mount of Olives. See that steeple up there? That’s where the peak of the Mount of Olives is, and that’s approximately where that altar, outside of the city, would have set.
The temple is actually to the right of the picture here. But, you see that green area coming down to the left of that steeple that’s on top – a roadway coming down there? That is a road today, and it would have been the position of a road in the 1st century that the people would have travelled coming into the city. They would have travelled along that road. The road that the priests would have used going to and from this altar would have come straight down to the temple area and in between there, there’s a cliff that we (when we were in Israel) felt that could have been the cliff or the area, the general area, where the crucifixion should have taken place. Here’s a close up of that cliff; you see the road coming down the middle of the picture here, and the cliff right over here to the right. You can picture five crosses on top of this cliff, the people passing by wagging their heads and yelling things at Jesus.
Furthermore, the tomb that he was buried in was nearby. It was a new tomb that was built by Joseph of Arimathea. On the Mount of Olives, even today, there are many tombs. (This is all graves.) People, even today, anticipate the Messiah coming to the Mount of Olives, and that’s why it is such a popular place to bury people. As a matter of fact, our tour guide told us (when we were there), that one of his ancestors was buried there because they believe the Messiah (he’s a Jew [the tour guide]) is coming to the Mount of Olives.
Now, Bob Moynihan, Rev Moynihan, got excited about the coloring book. Well, I got excited about Israel, doing something else here when I got back. So, in my living room I began to put together a model of Israel. And (much to my wife’s dismay), I had lumber and cardboard and glue and things all over the living room floor. Shortly after that, I moved it out here, and Joseph Milano, who works in the Bookstore, took an interest in it. He did most of the work –
although, John Schoenheit, John Crouch and I understand a few others have had their hands into it and finished putting this together, but Joseph did most of the work on it – so that we would have something to illustrate Jerusalem and exactly what happened there and how it looked.
Now, this is the city as it would have looked in the 1st century. I might point out, this is the Mount of Olives over here; you can tell by the olive on top. I specifically requested black ones because I don’t like the green ones. (If Wanda would have been up here they would have been green. She told me that.) Boy, that was good. That’d go good with those hamburgers afterward. If we would have thought this through ahead of time, we would have had olives tonight to serve with the burgers, but I suppose we didn’t. Well, anyway . . . here’s the city as it would have looked in the 1st century. Now when David captured the Jebusite city … the city that David captured was the Jebusite city, which was just this southern area down here. Then when Solomon built onto the city, he added this area up north and built the temple. The temple didn’t look like this in Solomon’s time; it was much smaller. Then, later on some other kings added a western part to the city, which was destroyed by the Babylonians. However, by the time of Christ it had all been rebuilt, and this is approximately what it would have looked like in the 1st century when Christ was there.
This is the Antonio fortress where they kept their eye (the Romans kept their eye) on the temple and watched what was going on. This temple was built by Herod the Great. It is one of the most prominent architectural works that he did. It began in approximately 18 BC and was not finished until 64 AD or something and 6 years later it was destroyed. This is the temple area that he built and the way it would have looked in the time of Christ.
This is that temple proper that we saw in that one picture before. Over here is where Caiaphas’ house was and where Annas would have also lived. That’s where Jesus was first taken after his arrest. Then he was taken to the Sanhedrin, which would have met here in the morning in the temple area, then he was sent over to Pilate, who would have been in the Praetorium. (As a matter of fact, it says that in the scripture, the Praetorium, not Antonio’s Fortress, but the Praetorium. Today they always take you to Antonio’s Fortress.) But he would have been here. Pilate would have also been staying in this Praetorium, and he sent him to Herod, and Herod sent him back to Pilate. Then after judgement was made, the soldiers would have had him in the courtyard.
Then he was led from there over here to this area – you can’t see it from there, I’m sure, but we’ve got five little sticks there representing the five crosses here – which was in this area near the place of the city, here’s the altar on top of the Mount of Olives. There would have been a road coming from the temple, over this bridge over the Kidron Valley (this is the Kidron) up the Mount of Olives to this altar. That’s where the body was burned [some of the animal sacrifices], then the blood brought to the temple area. I’ve also got it on your map. You’ve got a map in your program here today, too, you get a good clear picture of this – here’s the temple; here’s the eastern gate; and then a bridge over the Kidron Valley and the road that led up to this altar. This is the road the people would have taken coming into Jerusalem. This is the area of that cliff that I showed you where the crosses would have been. In Hebrews it talks about that altar that’s outside of the city.
Now go back to the Gospel of John 19.
And he bearing his cross
Now we read in Mark it was not Jesus bearing his cross, it was Simon of Cyrene that actually carried the physical cross. Jesus would have been too beat up at this time (because of all the suffering) to hardly carry his own weight, let alone carry a cross. But, what he carried was the sins of the world; that was the cross he bore as he went to the Mount of Olives, to Golgotha.
… he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one
Remember in the critical Greek texts that word “one” isn’t there? So, it’s two on either side.
and two other with him, on either side one and Jesus in the midst.
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS [or Judeans].
This title then read many of the … [Judeans]: for the place where Jesus was crucified was … [near] to the [what] place of the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
It was near to the place of the city. Now this temple area is the place of the city, but this altar was also part of that place. This would qualify as part of the place. Now, Gordon’s Calvary is up here to the north, which is somewhat near the place, you could say. The one the Roman Catholic’s have is over here, on the west side of the city, somewhat removed in distance just as close to the temple area, but this is actually very close to that altar outside the city and would qualify as near the place of the city
In John chapter 11 verse 47:
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
What they were concerned about there was the place, the temple and the things associated with the temple and the nation. But, the place refers to the temple; that was common usage of that word, “the place,” the temple area.
In Matthew chapter 24 verse 15:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel
That’s in Daniel 9, he talks about the son of perdition coming and setting up that abomination of desolation in the temple area.
spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy [what?] place
The holy place – that was the temple area. It was the place or the holy place as it’s called there.
Chapter 27, Matthew 27 verse 33:
And when they were come unto a place [the place] called Golgotha, that is to say … [the] place of a skull,
It was Golgotha – was part or associated with the place, the place of the skull. Ezekiel chapter 43 (we’ll be back to Golgotha in a moment), but it was the place of the skull.
Ezekiel 43 verse 21:
Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.
Now, let me take you back to the time of Moses when he first built the altar. These certain sacrifices were to be burned outside of the camp, and it specifically said it was to be on the eastern side of the camp. Then, when they established a temple in the time of Solomon, they would have built a permanent place, because remember the tabernacle floated around from here to there. So wherever they stopped, they always had it facing east. Then to the east they had that appointed place without the camp where they would burn these sacrifices. But, once the temple was built, then they had a specific place which we know (according to the Mishna in the 1st century) was here on the Mount of Olives straight east from the temple, with the road, the bridge and everything else that the Mishna mentions.
Here, where it says:
burn it in the appointed place of the house
That word appointed place in Hebrew is miphqad. The miphqad is the appointed place or a place of registry. That’s what the word miphqad means, a place of registry or a place of polling, where they counted people. They counted them specifically in this area for the temple tax prior to the feast. In other words, you came to this area, registered, then paid your temple tax prior to the feast. That’s what that word miphqad means. They were to burn the sacrifice in this appointed place. This is where the altar was outside of the city. So, not only was this miphqad the altar where the animal was to be sacrificed, it was where the people came to be registered, so they would be passing by on this road in and out of the city all day long prior to the feast. That’s why if he was crucified near this registry place, that would explain why all the people were passing by. That’s what miphqad means, the appointed place or place for registry or where the people were polled for the temple tax.
Now, Nehemiah chapter 3 (the miphqad, the appointed place where people went to register), Nehemiah chapter 3 verse 3ff: here’s where they were repairing the wall – after the Babylonian captivity they came back and repaired the walls of Jerusalem, and it talks about all the different gates they repaired. Verse 29, they repaired up to the keeper of the east gate. The east gate is this gate, right here that led over this bridge up to the altar; that’s the east gate. Then you go north a little bit (this was not there in the 1st century), but in the time of Nehemiah there was another gate up close to the corner, verse 31:
After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith's son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate [what] Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner.
So, somewhere in here between the east gate and the corner there was a miphqad gate, and that miphqad gate would have been the gate leading to the area of the miphqad, where the people went to register.
The word Golgotha, it’s the place of the skull, like the miphqad was the place of registry, the place where they went to register to place the temple tax or to be polled. Golgotha, the Hebrew word, actually that is a Hebrew word, but the actual Hebrew word is spelled gulgoleth. That means a skull or head or a poll. That word, the Hebrew word gulgoleth, is used 11 times in the Old Testament: 3 times it’s used of an actual physical skull or head; the other 8 times it’s used of a poll or registry.
I want to show you a couple here in I Chronicles 23.
I Chronicles 23:3
Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their [Golgotha – by their] polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
Eight times out of the 11, gulgoleth is used of a poll, rather than a head, because it stands for the head count, just like we would use that term today.
In the same chapter in verse 24 is another one.
These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls [gulgoleth – there it is, by their polls], that did the work … [of] the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and upward.
Now you really have to be smart to figure these things out, because you’ve got to be able to open up a Young’s Concordance and look up this word, gulgoleth, and find out how often it’s used. No you don’t. Just open it up and you can see it. Three times it’s used of a head, a physical skull, and the other eight times it’s used of a poll, a count, a number of people. That’s what this word meant back in the gospels where we just read.
Let’s go back there again to Matthew 27 verse 33.
… when they were come unto a place called Golgotha [the place called Golgotha], that is to say … [the] place of … [the poll, the place of the registry],
Not that it looked like a skull, but that it was the place where the people went to be registered and what was that area? The miphqad area, the place of registry, where they went to be registered for the temple tax prior to the feast, on the top of the Mount of Olives in the vicinity of this altar as we read in Ezekiel, was right near that altar. So, this altar served as the place where the animals’ bodies were burned (some of them) and also where the people came to be registered. So, there would be a constant flow of people coming to and from this area all day long, passing by this cliff or this area (where the crucifixion would have taken place) and wagging their heads and yelling things at him. Besides that, the priests would have been using this road from the bridge straight up to the altar, hitting him from the backside, the side that it says the two robbers on either side of him were yelling things at him, so he was surrounded – criticism all day long.
Luke chapter 19. Another thing that enters into the picture is the Roman custom of crucifying. Whenever they crucified their prisoners, it was near the place of the crime or near the place where they were arrested. Now, what was the crime? In chapter 19 – keep your finger there and look at chapter 23 verse 2, well verse 1.
… the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
That was the accusation – that he was the king. That was his crime. Luke 23 look at verse 37.
… [they say] If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. [That was his accusation. Then verse 38]
… a superscription also was written over him … letters of Greek, … Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE [Judeans].
That was his crime of which he was accused.
Back in Luke chapter 19 verse 32, well verse 29, let’s start in 29.
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany
Now, I better point this out on your map. Here’s the Mount of Olives. Bethphage is right on this side of the Mount of Olives, on the eastern slope. Bethany is over here off of the model some place, much further on this side of the Mount of Olives. It would have actually sloped way down over here. This is where Bethany would have been. When Jesus Christ ascended, it says he took them out as far as to Bethany, not Bethphage. Yet, they always take you to Bethphage today and show you a footprint where he ascended. That’s not scriptural. The scripture says he ascended from Bethany. So, now you know where those two places are. He’s heading from Bethany (where he always stayed) up to the peak, the summit of the Mount of Olives.
Now verse 29:
… [came] nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
(That sounds like the Rock of Ages – always clothes all over the place. We got give away afterwards. You know, left over … well, anyway …)
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King [the what? The king] that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
That’s where he made his triumphal entry from the Mount of Olives using the very road to come down. The people would have spread their clothes in the way as he went, using this very road here. That’s his triumphal entry; traditionally it’s on Palm Sunday, which is today. But, there were actually two entries: this one on the colt, and the one in Matthew where he came on two animals, the ass and the colt, which was an entry of blessing. One of those entries was on Friday and one on Saturday. It’s in Jesus Christ Our Passover, and it shows how you can work all those days using the calendar and so on.
He made both of those triumphal entries as the king. He descended down this road down the Mount of Olives and went into the city. The people said, “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.” So where was the location of his crime – where the people proclaimed him as king. It was right along that road. So, again, it would it would make sense for the Romans to crucify him on some prominent cliff along that road, the location of the crime.
Also, in chapter 22 verse 39:
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
Where did he go? The Mount of Olives. This is right after the last supper. He goes to the Mount of Olives, and that’s where he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane until you get to verse 47.
… while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
That’s where he was arrested, on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. Now traditionally, they place the Garden of Gethsemane somewhere down here in this area near the bottom of the mountain. But, it could have been any place on that mountain, his arrest could have been. At least it was in the general vicinity of where this location of the crucifixion is. It’s the location or the miphqad area where the people went to be registered. It’s the Golgotha area, which is the place of the poll, the place where people went to be registered. It’s along a prominent road leading into the city. It’s the area of his crime where he made his triumphal entry into the city. It’s also the area, the general area of his arrest, where he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Besides that, it is near the altar outside of the city, where the animal sacrifices, their bodies were burned (at least certain sacrifices). Hebrews says, “So Jesus suffered without the gate. . .” now it doesn’t say in that vicinity, but it’s the way God lines everything else up so beautifully with the other Old Testament records and things, it’s neat how this lines up with it, too, where he was crucified in this same area where that altar was where the other animals bodies would have been burned, and then the blood, of course, taken into the temple (but not his blood).
Matthew chapter 27 … I mentioned this before when I was showing the slides to you, but in Matthew 27 it tells us the tomb was nearby where he was laid, and it had been dug by Joseph of Arimathea.
When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
He was also on the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Israel. I’m sure he did not vote to put Jesus to death, neither did Nicodemus, who also would have been on the Sanhedrin. But, all the others voted against him. I think under Roman law you had to have at least one dissenting vote or two was it, I forget. John? [John confirms one vote.] One dissenting vote, otherwise, you’d think the people were in cahoots together or something. At any rate, there would have been at least two abstaining votes, I’m sure, two that voted against the crucifixion.
Here Joseph of Arimathaea, verse 58:
He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
And laid it in his own new tomb [one that he had dug], which he had hewn … in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
And as I’ve pointed out (on that one slide long ago), even today there are many tombs and graves in this whole area. There are some tombs from the 1st century and before, some old tombs. Joseph could have had a tomb in this general area where he would have laid that body in that new tomb that he had dug out of the rock. So, the logic for it being in this area of the Mount of Olives rather than on some other side of the city, from a scriptural standpoint, seems to make sense, to me anyway. Even the Jews today look for the Messiah to come to the Mount of Olives.
In Ezekiel chapter 10 verse 18:
Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house [this is talking about the temple, the house of God], and stood over the cherubims.
Now when the glory of the Lord moves off of the temple area, something exciting is going to happen because remember in the Old Testament when they had the tabernacle, whenever the pillar of fire moved, then the tabernacle went with it. They carried it with it; they followed it. The glory of the Lord was there with it in the wilderness. When they established a temple, the glory of the Lord was in the holy place, the inner sanctum of that temple area. It was in the back part of this holy place, right here in the back part of it. That’s the place the priests went only once a year, which indicated that the way into the holiest of all was not yet available. Yet it says in Ephesians we have access with boldness to him; we’ve got access to the Father.
So here the glory of the Lord moved from the house …
and stood over the cherubims
And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
Now where’s the east gate? Right here. So the glory of the Lord moved from the temple to the east gate, right here.
Then in chapter 11 what happened? Chapter 11 verse 23, 22:
Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.
So, it moved from there up to this area on the east side of the Mount of Olives.
Now look at chapter 43 of Ezekiel. There are some things that are spectacular regarding the return of Christ that are associated with the Mount of Olives. That’s why even today Jews consider that such a significant place. Ezekiel 43 in verse 21 was where you had the miphqad area to burn the bullock on the appointed place, the miphqad, but I want to look here at verse 4.
And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.
So it returns then from the Mount of Olives through the east gate to the temple area according to this prophecy in Ezekiel.
Now look at Zechariah chapter 14 and we’ll put this together. This is regarding the day of the Lord, when Christ will return for Israel after the gathering together of the church.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh
Now that’s not Sunday, that’s the day that Christ returns to Israel. Before that is the gathering together of the church, then comes the day of the Lord.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
For I will gather all nations against … [Israel] to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
… his feet shall stand in that day [what day? The day of the Lord] upon the mount of Olives [there it is, the Mount of Olives], which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley [that’s going to be quite a split when that mountain splits]; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Now that’s referring to the day of the Lord and he’s coming back to the Mount of Olives. He ascended from Bethany, which is on the east side of the Mount of Olives. He’s coming back in like manner to this same area on the top of the Mount of Olives, and that’s when that ole mountain is going to split in fourths. But, that’s why there’s such significance connected with it, not only from a burial standpoint, but also from his death, the offering on that altar, in the area of that altar, also his resurrection from that area where the dead are going get up when he returns for Israel, the resurrection.
I want to show you a video of this area that we shot when we were in Israel. This is looking from the area of that Dome of the Spirit that I showed you before. That’s where we’re standing – at the Dome of the Spirit looking east to the Mount of Olives, see it? Now you see this temple, people on top, by me and over to the left is that cliff area (we’re zooming in on it), that’s where the crucifixion would have been. See that cliff area in there? That’s the approximate area where we believe that crucifixion would have taken place, right down here at the bottom actually. That’s the cliff. The road would have been to the left of that area. That’s the cliff area. I want to show you another shot of this here. This time we’ll zoom into the area where that steeple is, and that’s where the actual altar would have been in the 1st century according to the Mishnah, a Jewish commentary from the 2nd century. Again, we’re going to start here from the Dome of the Spirit which is where the temple would have been. Now watch it looking towards that steeple, that’s where the altar would have been, that general area, and the road would have gone right up the side of the Mount of Olives to that area. That gives you a good picture of where we think then the crucifixion would have taken place back in the 1st century.
Look at Hebrews chapter 13, once again, Hebrews 13. By the way, I’m going to leave this model up here and the map if you want to come up afterwards. I know you can’t all crowd up here at once, but you can take turns getting hamburgers and come back in. You’re welcome to look at this and get a better picture in your mind, but you can see all the valleys just as they would have appeared back in the 1st century. They’re pretty much the same today except the Tyropoeon Valley that goes right through the middle of the city is pretty well filled in with rubble today from all the different times the city was destroyed.
Hebrews chapter 13 verse 10.
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned [where] without the camp.
On that altar which in the 1st Century would have been at the peak of the Mount of Olives.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered [where] without the gate
In that miphqad area, the area of registry, the Golgotha area, which is the area or the place of the poll, the place of registry where the people went to be registered. He suffered without the gate.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice [that he offered, let’s be crucified. No.]
It says in Romans we were crucified with him. When he suffered we suffered with him. When he was on that cross, when he was crucified, we were crucified with him Romans says. When he died, we died with him. When he was buried, we were buried with him. When he was raised, we were raised with him. So do you need to suffer on the cross? NO! He suffered for you. He was that sacrifice.
… [but] let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
How do you give thanks well? By speaking in tongues. That’s perfect praise. That’s the sacrifice God wants today. Not the sacrifice of death. Jesus Christ laid down his life for you that you could live today. You offer up the sacrifice of praise by speaking in tongues, giving thanks well, praising God by speaking in tongues.
… [and] to do good and to communicate [or fellowship well] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is [what] well pleased.
God wants us in Romans 12:1 to present our bodies a living sacrifice, not a dead one. We renew our minds. We offer up praises of thanksgiving to God by speaking in tongues, by walking with Him, by renewing our minds, by doing well. That’s the sacrifice we offer today because Jesus Christ made the perfect sacrifice for all of us and we were identified with him. When he suffered, we suffered with him. When he was crucified, we were crucified with him. When he died, we died with him. When he was buried, we were buried with him. When he was raised, we were raised with him and when he ascended, we ascended with him because it says we’re already seated in the heavenlies. Jesus Christ paid it all, and he did it according to God’s plan of redemption. That’s why all these things line up so well with the Old Testament records.
So, I think it’s a more probable place than either of the other two traditional sites. We just keep working the Word to be able to understand it better and see how some of these things fit together, but it’s also a much more meaningful place when you understand what Golgotha really means.
Well, Father thank you for this time together to study your Word, and we do our best to understand your Word, rightly divide it, not to handle it deceitfully as others or not to be swayed and persuaded by the traditions of men, but just to see the beauty of your Word fit together. And we thank you Father for such a ministry where we can honestly do biblical research and see these things fit. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.