There is some confusion about the exact location of Golgotha—“a place of a skull” (Matt. 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17). Most feel that the site of Christ’s crucifixion is the same place where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre sits. But is this true?
Evidence from both biblical and secular history would suggest otherwise. Let’s first notice the Old Testament account of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. In Genesis 22:2, God told Abraham to go to “the land of Moriah” to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice on “one of the mountains.” The hills of Jerusalem were part of the land of Moriah. Most likely, Abraham went to the highest point in this mountain range—Golgotha. This would have been the most logical point from which to offer a sacrifice.
Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac foreshadowed God offering His only Son to die for this world’s sins. This makes it even more likely that these events took place on the same spot!
This was the same location as Mt. Moriah, where the angel of the Lord appeared to David after he chose the punishment for his numbering of Israel. This was also the site of the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. David bought the hill from Ornan to build an altar to God (I Chron. 21:15-31). Solomon would later build the Temple there (I Chron. 22:5-10; II Chron. 3:1).
Also, a major highway between Damascus and Jerusalem was found near this area during the Roman occupation of Judea. This spot would have been highly recognizable for those traveling to and from the city. It also would have been a likely spot for crucifixions. The Romans displayed their criminals in obvious locations to serve as examples.
So where is this place? A rock cliff west of Herod’s Gate and just beyond the Old City of Jerusalem’s northern wall, overlooking the garden tomb, is the location of Golgotha.
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