Place of a Skull, John 19:17-24

“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:17-18.

It is recorded in the other three gospels that another man was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross after a while. This is not surprising considering the physical abuse that was heaped on the Lord.

“Now they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” Mark 15:21.

It is of interest to note that Simon is from Cyrene, a city on the north coast of Africa, and that he is mentioned as being the father of Rufus who may have been the same one known to the Roman Christians (Romans 16:13).

The significance of all this is that some believe that Simon, being from North Africa, was black. If this were the case, we would have representatives of all races involved in one way or another with Christ’s crucifixion.

While scripturally speaking, the world consists of two races, Jew and Gentile. Still, these two can be broken down even further as the sons of Noah from off of the Ark.

These three men are the fathers of all those living on the earth today; though we cannot forget that they and we are descendants of one set of parents, Adam and Eve, of whom it is said:

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” Genesis 3:20.

My Bible’s marginal note says that Eve means literally, life or living.

Noah’s wife, his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives, eight souls in all, are the only ones who survived the worldwide flood. As a result all races descend from them.

Shem is the father of the Shemites, the Semitic races, the children of Abraham being the foremost of this race.

Ham, which means black (or perhaps, hot or heat), is the father of the Hamitic races, such as the Egyptians, Canaanites, and the black African groups and perhaps the Libyans. Nimrod, the first world ruler was also Ham’s descendant, see Genesis 10:6-12.

Japheth is the father of everyone else, Europeans, including such as, Greeks, Russians, Germans, British, French, Italians, and so on.

Oriental races are also descendants of Japheth, Chinese, Japanese, islanders and even those who migrated to the Western Hemisphere.

If then we were to accept that Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was a black man, it could then be said that all races were represented at the crucifixion. With the Jews representing the sons of Shem, the Romans are the sons of Japheth, and Simon being a son of Ham.

It should not be surprising that God gathered representatives of all mankind to witness the death of His Son, because all of mankind will be held responsible for having received or rejected Him.

“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [damnation].” John 5:26-29.

There is coming a day like no other; it has never happened before and will never happen again, Judgment Day. On that day all who have rejected Christ and all who are in Christ will be gathered in one place. There will only be three persons missing from this, Satan, the beast, and the false prophet, these three will already have been cast into the lake of fire, see Revelation 19:19-21 and 20:7-10.

All creation, minus these three, both men and angels will be either standing with Christ or those who have rejected Him will be standing before Him to be judged. Except for this one location all of creation will be empty.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15.

All of mankind both those who were born of Adam and Eve before the worldwide flood and those born of Adam and Eve through Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth after the flood will stand in one of two places, beside Christ or in front of Him to face judgment. There will be no exceptions.

“… [Place of a Skull] where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:18.

Of these two men crucified with Jesus, one rejected Him and the other accepted Him; saying, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Luke 23:42b.

Again we see Christ as the dividing line for men and women; one either accepts Him or rejects Him.

Just as in Matthew 25:31-33 when, after the tribulation, the Lord (the Great Shepherd) returns and judges the nations, setting the goats on His left and the sheep on His right.

The goats, who rejected Him and persecuted His own will be sent into everlasting fire while the sheep who followed Him will inherit the kingdom (enter the millennium).

No fence sitting, no gray area, no middle ground. There will be no exceptions.

“…where they crucified Him”; according to Sir Robert Anderson in his book “The Coming Prince”; Kregel Publications, Jesus was crucified on 4/11/32 A. D. (Gregorian calendar) or 14th of Abib on the Hebrew calendar. According to Scripture it was 9 am. This is given in Jewish time in the book of Mark.

“Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” Mark 15:25.

The Jews reckoned the 24 hour day as being from sunset to sunset. From sunset night was divided up into three watches beginning at 6 p.m., the first watch ends at 10 p.m. the second watch ends at 2 a.m. and the third watch ends at sunrise, 6 a.m.

The day, beginning at sunrise begins the count of hours from 6 a.m. so the third hour after 6 a.m. would be 9 a.m., the sixth hour is noon and the ninth hour is 3 p.m.

Roman time on the other hand, like ours, is reckoned from midnight. This means that the sixth hour is our 6 a.m.; the ninth hour is our 9 a.m., as the twelfth hour would be our noon. What can be confusing about all this is that John uses both formats in the four times he gives the hour.

John 1:39 appears to be the Roman 10 a.m.; though some commentators say it’s Jewish time, reckoned to be 4 P.M. However, the Roman time given as the sixth hour below is definitely 6 a.m.

“Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’” John 19:14.

Since the Jewish day was from sunset to sunset, and Jesus had taken the Passover Supper after sunset the night before, it was still Passover at the sixth hour above and still before the next sunset.

The times given by Jewish count are as follows; John 4:6, the sixth hour, twelve noon, and John 4:52, the seventh hour, one p.m.

While all but John 19:14 are debatable, these seem to be the best guess. As for the other three gospels, they all use Jewish time when they give an hour of the day.

“…the Place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha”, Golgotha is Aramaic for skull. The name Calvary, with which you are probably familiar, is Latin and has the same meaning as Golgotha. The reason for the name skull is said to be that the location itself resembled a skull.

Morrish’s New and Concise Bible Dictionary; Bible Truth Publishers, states that while the exact location is unknown, there is one location which resembles a skull from a distance, north of the city of Jerusalem, near the Grotto of Jeremiah. This should be a start for those of you who wish to investigate further.

“Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews,”’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’” John 19:19-22.

If you have been through Chapter 18 with us, you will have seen that Pilate did everything he could to keep from sentencing Christ to death.

But he was frustrated and countered on every side by the Jewish religious leaders; the final straw being that they charged him with treason if he supported Christ as a political king, which He was clearly not, and Pilate knew this.

Bear in mind though that Pilate made a volitional choice to knowingly sentence an innocent Man to an agonizing death. No matter how you feel about Pilate, this must not be forgotten.

It is, however, an ingenious though small revenge he was able to extract from the chief priests and his other tormentors.

Pilate wrote in the three, almost universal languages at the time, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the true charges the Jews forced him to crucify Christ for; being THE KING OF THE JEWS.

During the Passover, Jerusalem would fill with foreign Jews who wished to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem, the holy city.

It is likely that thousands of pilgrims passed this location, just as Simon the Cyrenian must have been doing when he was taken to carry Jesus’ cross.

The charges against Christ written in the three major languages would have been understood by nearly everyone. Israel, by the way, has always been a literate nation. God ensured this so they would be able to study His word for themselves.

That Pilate purposely worded the charges in three languages to embarrass the Jews is seen by his response to their arrogant request to reword them. “What I have written, I have written.”

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,’ that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. [Psalm 22:18]’ Therefore the soldiers did these things.” John 19:23-24.

One cannot but wonder if it was the loving hands of a woman who wove that tunic, realizing that she was making something to keep the Son of God comfortable, or perhaps He had healed her child or husband; maybe she was just rejoicing in her salvation in Christ.

The one who can answer that question is not dead, she is walking around in heaven right now and those with a like salvation will be able to ask her why she did it when they get there.

Heaven is a very real place with very real people walking and talking and enjoying its peace right now as you read this.

We are not talking about some mythical place or concept, but something as real as anything you have seen, touched, smelled, or heard in your life here.

It is even more real in that it is permanent, with no lying, greed, war, famines, pestilences, crying, separation, death, or anything else that has taken the joy out of your life here.

Jesus’ tunic, being in one piece, caused an ancient prophecy, written by King David, B.C. 1030-960, to be fulfilled. Curious that the work of a pair of loving hands would do so much to force unloving ones to roll the dice.

“I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:14-18.

Place of a Skull, John 19:17-24 taken from posted on 6-22-13, updated on 4-8-18.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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