Where/what is Golgotha/Calvary?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Golgotha is the Aramaic name of the location where Jesus was crucified outside of Old Jerusalem. In John 19:16-18 we read, "So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place ...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The location of Golgotha is unknown but there are clues that may help locate where it might have been. 

It had to be east of the temple because the centurion could see the veil rent from top to bottom described in Matthew 27:51-54, Mark 15:37-39, and Luke 23:44-47. Of course, no one could see the inner or ‘second’ veil, Hebrews 9:3, but they could see the first or outer veil at the entrance to the temple that faced east. Josephus said this veil was 80 feet high and very thick like a carpet. The ripping of the carpet-like curtain would likely have arrested the attention of everyone. One has to look east for Golgotha.

Hebrews 13:11-13 indicates it was outside the city walls. Just as animals were burned outside the camp, Jesus suffered outside the gate. Remains of sin offerings were burned outside the camp, Leviticus 4:12, 21, likely at the Miphkad altar across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives. The goat offering on the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:27, and the red heifer, whose ashes were for purifying those defiled, Numbers 19:2, 3 were burned there. This place would have strong symbolic significance of Christ bearing our sin and cleansing us from all sin. 

In Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, and John 19:17, Golgotha is called “the place of a skull.” In Luke 23:33, the Latin form ‘Calvary’ comes from ‘calvaria’ meaning ‘skull cap.’ ‘Golgotha’ is the same as the Hebrew word ‘golgoleth,” Exodus 16:16, Numbers 1:2, 18, 20, 22, 3:47, and I Chronicles 23:3, 24, used for numbering people, individually, person by person. The place Golgotha probably did not get its name by what it looked like, but from the fact it was the place the headcount was done. 

Miphkad means ‘commandment,’ ‘appointment’ or ‘number,’ II Samuel 24:9, I Chronicles 21:5, 31:13, Ezekiel 43:21 so the Miphkad gate, Nehemiah 3:31, one of the gates facing east, may be where people were counted. This could be a connection to Golgotha.

Another clue is Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane which is to the east across the Kidron valley. It was Roman policy to crucify criminals where the crime was committed or where they were arrested, crucifying then on high ground visible from the city as the women viewed from afar, Mark 15:40. 

Also, east of Jerusalem, is a tall mountain, the Mount of Corruption where Solomon built idol temples to gods of other lands, I Kings 11:7. In various times, it has been called the ‘Mount of Offense,’ ‘Mount of Desecration,’ ‘Mount of Scandal,’ and ‘Mount of Contempt.’ It is interesting that Paul referred to “the offense of the cross,” Galatians 5:11, which might connect it to this place. 

Another connection, Mount Moriah where Abraham offered up Isaac, Genesis 22, the powerful picture of the sacrificial offering of the Lord, is believed to be near the Mount of Olives. 

These clues seem to locate Golgotha to the east of Jerusalem somewhere near the Mount of Olives.

December 26 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Skull Hill "The execution site [probably] rested on top of the hill above a cliff with its face, at least in modern times, eroded to resemble a skull. It has what looks like two sockets and the bridge of a nose. A British general named Charles Gordon (1833-1885) pitched that idea, which is now called Gordon's Calvary." 
Stephen M. Miller

The only other fact that I might add is that the site, Golgotha, was near a road. Don Stewart said, "The site of the crucifixion was also near a public road" and cites this verse:

"Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads" (Matthew 27:39).

December 27 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jim Dubé Former pastor
I have been to both of those locations, and proponents of each site have their own arguments as to why "their" site is the exact location. In my opinion, the ambiguity of this site and other sites is for our own protection. Allow me to explain:

There is a HUGE difference between a traditional site and a historical site. A traditional site is one where, by tradition, men say this is where it happened - but there is nothing to support it. A historical site is one that documentation has validated the site as the ACTUAL site. When I was there (in Jordan and Israel), we visited numerous traditional sites, but very few historical sites. Most sites today, such as Golgatha, are traditional.

For example: Mt. Horeb/Mt. Sanai's site is important historically, but even the best archeologists admit the exact location is not really known. Sara Japhet, a professor at Hebrew University, said this about Horeb/Sanai: "It is the revelation that makes the mountain sacred; it is an ad hoc rather than a permanent sanctity." Her point being it was the event itself that was sacred not the location.

God took Moses to die on Mt. Nebo, but the exact location on Nebo is not known. We could go on and on with other sites and the ambiguity of their location, but again I think ambiguity is inherently protective for those of us who tend be "religious" about locations.

On the location we call the mount of transfiguration (Mt 17), Jesus takes Peter, James and John and brings them up to this high mountain, apart from the others, and is transfigured before them, after which Moses and Elijah appear and carry on a conversation with Jesus. 

Peter sees this conversation of Jesus, Moses and Elijah and immediately suggests they build three tabernacles to the occasion on this site. God (Father) interrupts Peter's by stating Jesus is His beloved Son and they need to listen to Him. God shut down the plan to memorialize the location - Jesus was the center, not the location.

And once again, the exact location of THIS mount (transfiguration) is not known...this site like many other sites may have a "traditional" location, but historical (documented) sites are another matter. 

Here's my suggestion: if man knew the exact location of some of these sites, our religious tendency is to go there to worship. When Jesus encountered the woman at the well, He knew the Samaritans worshipped God on Mt Gerazim, yet He told her there was an hour coming when those who worshipped God wouldn't be worshipping from Gerazim OR Jerusalem, but rather would worship God in spirit and truth. 

David Guzik said it this way: "With these words Jesus described the basis for true worship: it is not found in places and trappings, but in spirit and in truth."

In conclusion, here is my point: What happened at Golgatha was Jesus Christ acquired salvation for all mankind; however, the EXACT location of Golgatha isn't important, but what Jesus did there is fundamental to our worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

December 19 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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