Where would Golgotha be located?


I was reading an article on your website titled "The Offering of Isaac" and had a couple of questions about it.  The fourth paragraph says this:

The place chosen for the sacrifice was about 50 miles from Abraham's home. It took Abraham three days to reach the place. The journey gave Abraham three days to change his mind, but he did not relent. The place chosen was not arbitrary. It was a mountain called Moriah. Moriah is only mentioned in one other place in our Bibles -- II Chronicles 3:1. This is the place where God appeared to David on the threshing floor. Later, this was the same place where Solomon built the temple. And a long time later, it was on this same mountain that God's only Son was sacrificed outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem.

It says the following events took place on Mt. Moriah:

  • Abraham offered Isaac
  • God appeared to David on the threshing floor
  • Solomon built the temple on this site
  • Jesus was sacrificed on this site

This is all very interesting to me.  Anyway, if Jesus was crucified outside the gates, would Golgotha have not been on the hill or mountain next to Mt. Moriah?  I am assuming that the place called Golgotha would have been east of the temple since the altar of sacrifice was placed east of the entrance to the tabernacle and the temple and that the lamb of God would have been sacrificed in the same way. Sacrifices were to be made before the Lord. I believe the Kidron Valley is just outside the gates on the east side of Jerusalem and then the Mount of Olives.  I was just curious as to what your thoughts were?


The walls of Jerusalem did not occupy the entire mountain.

We know Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, "the Place of the Skull," and that it was located just outside of Jerusalem's walls. "For the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city" (John 19:20). "Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate" (Hebrews 13:12). The problem is that we don't know from the Bible outside which city gate it took place. We do know it was a gate that saw some traffic since passers-by saw and mocked Jesus (Matthew 27:39; Mark 15:29; Luke 23:35). The place contained a garden and new tombs. "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" (John 19:41). It probably was on a rise since the women looked on from a distance (Mark 15:40).

The most likely place is where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher currently occupies. It is just to the west of Jerusalem on the edge of a major road. Just prior to A.D. 335, Helena, the mother of Constantine, had journeyed to Jerusalem and asked the local people where Christ had died. It was to this site that they took her. At the time a temple to Venus occupied the site. With Helena's authority and funding, the temple was torn down. Several tombs were uncovered, one of which the local people identified as Jesus' tomb. A point in this site's favor is that the tombs located here were made in the first century according to archeologists.

Another site that is favored is to the north of Jerusalem on a hill called Gordon's Calvary, named after the man who promoted it as the site of the crucifixion in the 1800s. It too has tombs, but the ones found date back to around 700 B.C., much too old to be the tomb of Jesus. The reason Gordon favored this site was that the hill roughly looks like a skull. However, there is nothing indicating that Golgotha acquired its name because of the look of the site. This site is also just off of a well-traveled road.

Both the west and north sites are located on the same mountain as the temple.

Going east from the temple is not a likely site as the Kidron Valley is right against the walls. To get up on a hill you have to cross the valley to the Mount of Olives, so you are no longer just outside the gates of Jerusalem. However, as a point to note, some first-century tombs have been found in the Kidron Valley at the base of the Mount of Olives to the east of the temple. Another negative point is that the road to the east was not as well-traveled because of its steepness.

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