The place outside, although near, the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was impaled. (Matt. 27:33; John 19:17-22; Heb. 13:12) A road and a garden tomb were nearby. (Matt. 27:39; John 19:41) “Golgotha” or “Skull Place” is also called “Calvary” (Luke 23:33, AV, Dy), from the Latin calvaria (“a bare skull”).
The “Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” located within the present walls of Jerusalem, stands on the traditional site of Golgotha and Jesus’ tomb. But this identification is highly questionable. There is doubt whether this site actually was outside the walls of Jerusalem in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Not until the fourth century C.E. was any attempt made to determine the place of Jesus’ impalement and his tomb. Emperor Constantine assigned this task to Bishop Macarius, who decided that Hadrian’s temple of Aphrodite (Venus) had been erected on the site. Constantine therefore ordered the demolition of this temple. A rock-cut tomb, said to have been found below the temple, was acclaimed as Jesus’ tomb, and about 280 feet (85 meters) away three “crosses” were supposedly discovered. To one of these, healing powers were attributed, and it was therefore claimed to be Jesus’ “cross.”
Another location that has been suggested is “Gordon’s Calvary,” situated on a cliff about 250 yards (229 meters) NE of the Damascus Gate. The cliff somewhat resembles a skull. About 100 yards (91 meters) to the W of “Gordon’s Calvary” lies a very large garden, the N end of which is bounded by a hill. A tomb containing only one finished grave is cut out of a huge stone protruding from the side of this hill. Although this site would fit the Scriptural record, it cannot be stated dogmatically that this is the correct location.
[Picture on page 674]
Golgotha (Skull Place), the site of Jesus’ impalement, is said to be on top of this hill. Two large holes close together in rock resemble eye sockets of skull