The Apple Of God's Eye

March 23, 2009

Why Was Jesus Christ Buried Outside Of Jerusalem?

Filed under: Jesus Christ — melchia @ 5:15 am

Place of the Skull

John 19:19-20 and Matt. 27 show us Christ was crucified outside Jerusalem, in Golgotha. Was there a meaning to this? To find out, we will go back to Leviticus 4, which gives us amazing detail into this later sacrifice (some 1300-1400 years later). This is the sin offering, slaughtered  by the sinner.

Verses 11-12 show that the bulk of the sin offering was carried outside the camp. Why? What was so important about this step?

“But your sins have come between you and your God, and by your evil doings his face has been veiled from you, so that he will give you no answer.” Is. 59:2, BBE).

The sacrifice was so completely identified with sin, it was looked upon as sin. This is the significance of why Christ had to be killed and buried outside Jerusalem.

Heb. 13:11-12 also talks specifically about Christ perishing outside Jerusalem, because He became sin. The geographical separation between Golgotha and Jerusalem was a type of the separation of between Christ and God. He knew the bullock of the ancient sacrifice was a type which represented Him and Golgotha was His wilderness.

This was the first  time in history that Christ was abandoned by God the Father. He could not be within Jerusalem, though he loved it and it would have been hard for Him to turn His back on it. Remember, He wept for it (Luke 19).

Where was the place of Christ’s sacrifice?

Golgotha – the place of the skull –  was a barren rock cliff located just outside the northern wall of the Old City of Jerusalem, to the west of Herod’s gate and overlooking the Garden Tomb. This cliff is the highest point of the mountain ridge which extends from the area of the City of David, in the south.

When Abraham was instructed to offer up Isaac, he was told to go to the “land of Moriah” and offer him on “one of the mountains” there (Gen. 22:2). The land of Moriah included the hills of Jerusalem. Solomon later built the Temple on Mount Moriah (II Chron. 3:1). It seems entirely possible, even likely, that this was the same mountain on which Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac. Golgotha was the highest point on that mountain ridge, and, therefore, the most logical place for a sacrifice. God permitting Christ to be sacrificed for the sins of the world was foreshadowed by Abraham’s sacrifice. Apparently, the two events took place at the same location!

By the time of the Romans, a major highway between Jerusalem and Damascus existed near this area. Many people passed by this spot daily in their travels to and from the city. Typically, the Romans crucified criminals in conspicuous places as examples to others.

Although many people believe that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built on the site of the crucifixion, there is more reason to accept the hill above the Garden Tomb as the biblical Golgotha, “the place of a skull” (Matt. 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17).

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