(Picture credit-- I took all these pictures except for the original of Conrad Schick's photo below and the East Jerusalem Bus Station map.)
At the Garden Tomb, our tour guide showed us a picture of what Conrad Schick saw when he looked out a a house in Jerusalem-- a stony cliff with a skull staring back at him.
For centuries, many have believed that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was the place of Yeshua's (Jesus') death as well as burial. I visited it on my first trip to Jerusalem 19 years ago. To me, it was a dark place filled with centuries of gold decoration and candles in several ostentatious styles where priests of various denominations keep an uneasy peace as they claim certain parts of the building. Our guide told us that the government of Israel has had to replace a stone slab several times because of pilgrims determined to chip off a bit of the rock. The guide said that there is a Muslim family tasked with having the key to the building so that the Christians who inhabit the building don't fight about who owns the key. To me, there was no sense of anything real there although others may have a different impression.
Others have suggested Skull Hill as the place where Yeshua died. Today it is next to (and underneath) the site of the very busy East Jerusalem Bus Station.
After so many centuries, some things are very different, but some things are still the same.
Things that are the same:
- Nablus Street outside the Damascus Gate is a busy thoroughfare outside the Old City, as it has been for centuries.
- The cliff is still there, although (as my guide told me) the mouth of the skull has been covered over when the East Jerusalem Bus Station was paved. The eyes for the "Place of the Skull" can be seen behind the white building with arches on the street. The "eyes" are between green sign and the green banner on the top of the building. Next to the "eyes" is a big cave. My guide told me that cave is also an execution place. He said that Jeremiah was killed there if I remember correctly. To the left of that is where the Garden Tomb was cut into the rock. Above the Skull is a Muslim cemetery that was not built up with a wall 19 years ago. Around the back of the hill is where the hill slopes up to the top of the cliff. People would not have walked all the way around the hill to go up to the top. Everything needed was at the bottom of the cliff.
Here is a map showing the location of the East Jerusalem Bus Station. Look down at the blue route to see Sultan Suleiman Street across from the Old City's Damascus Gate. http://www.scribd.com/doc/30742639/eJerbusmap
Thanks to Avigail for posting the link.
Thank you, Fred, for what you wrote about the subject.
- It was a traditional place for execution because it is full of rocks. In the time of the Byzantines, it was known as St. Stephen's gate because of the tradition that he was killed outside of this gate.
- It fit the Roman goal of making an execution very public at a place where many would naturally be walking. The intent was to demonstrate Rome's power and frighten everyone into submission to Rome at all times.
The approach to the Damascus Gate Rampart
As Goner explains
Golgotha "Skull Hill"
The view back towards the Damascus Gate.
I took these pictures from on top of the Damascus Gate or from the Garden Tomb. I was with a wonderful Jewish guide, and as we exited the Damascus Gate, a large group of Palestinian children started chanting an Arabic chant I have heard before-- "Out, Jews, out!" :( For that reason, it is probably safer to look at the site from the Garden Tomb. There were IDF soldiers outside the Damascus Gate, and it was quiet that day. However, the bus station itself is not set up for people to come walk through the parking lot since it is a busy terminal.
Jeremiah's Grotto (perhaps)
Whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the actual place of execution and resurrection as the linked article makes a good case for-- or whether Gordon's Calvary (above) is the actual and historic place of Yeshua's death, the fact is that Messiah Yeshua-- a Jewish man born in Bethlehem whose custom it was to attend synagogue and go to the Temple , as described in Isaiah 53-- the forbidden chapter-- willingly laid down His life. He rose again just as He said. He was seen by many people, and He changed the lives of all who knew Him or know Him today. He gives beauty for ashes. He is the One the prophets wrote about. Read them for yourself and see.
In Proverbs 30:4, the author asks all of us-- Jewish, Gentile-- Muslims, Christians-- people of every language or culture:
|ד מִי עָלָה-שָׁמַיִם וַיֵּרַד,|
מִי אָסַף-רוּחַ בְּחָפְנָיו מִי צָרַר-מַיִם בַּשִּׂמְלָה--
מִי, הֵקִים כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ:
מַה-שְּׁמוֹ וּמַה-שֶּׁם-בְּנוֹ, כִּי תֵדָע.
: For more
Questions about Messiah
|4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended?|
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in his garment?
Who hath established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou knowest?