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Good Friday & the Hidden Meanings of "Golgotha": Whose Skull Was It?

There is a lot going on during Christ's Crucifixion just beneath the surface. You know that Christ is crucified on Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. But who's skull is it? Also, why was Christ crucified at this particular spot? 

"Whose Skull Was It?" Table of Contents

    Golgotha, Mt. Calvary, The "Place of the Skull" - Whose Skull Was It?

    So, whose skull was it?

    St. Paul gives us a hint in Romans 5:12-14:

    Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned ... death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

    All sin came into the world through one man, Adam. Wouldn't it be perfect if all sin was conquered by one man? It was.

    Wouldn't it be even more perfect if ...

    Wouldn't it be perfect if there was, not only this poetic symmetry, but a physical connection, as well?

    Wouldn't it be perfect if Adam somehow was there when Jesus, the New Adam, redeemed the world that was lost by Adam's sin?   

    What if I told you Adam was there?

    By Reddit User 20YearsAnInfidel, with permission from the artist

    The Jews & the Relics [Bones] of the Patriarchs

    The Jews - this is actually an inaccurate term historically. When we talk about the Jews before the Roman period, it is more accurate to call them the Hebrews, the Semitic people, or the Israelites, depending on the period. 

    Where did the word "Semitic" come from? Where did the word "Hebrew" come from? Where do these terms come from?

    "Semitic" comes from the name of one of the sons of Noah: Shem. We'll come back to him in a minute. The Semitic people (or Semites) are all the descendants of Shem. [source

    "Hebrews" comes from the name of Shem's great-grandson, Eber. The Hebrews are all the descendants of Eber.[source]

    The Hebrews, the Semitic people, the Israelites - all of them - were very careful with the bones of their forebears, the Patriarchs.

    The Israelites carried the bones of the Patriarch Joseph with them through their wanderings in the desert. Through forty years of wandering in the desert, through all manner of apostasies and failings, the Israelites nevertheless persevered with Joseph's bones. They abandoned the God of Joseph from time to time, but they never abandoned the bones of Joseph. 

    Thank God for small favors, right? But this was not a small thing, as we will see.

    Remember this scene from The Ten Commandments? Here, they are
    carrying the bones of Joseph through the parted waters of the Red Sea

    See, for example, Exodus 13:19:

    And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for Joseph had solemnly sworn the people of Israel, saying, “God will visit you; then you must carry my bones with you from here.”

    So the Israelites took special care for the bones of the Patriarch Joseph, but what about the Father of Fathers, the Patriarch of Patriarchs, Adam, himself?

    Incidentally, if you're wondering about what happened to the bones of Moses, whether there is a tomb of Moses, check out this article, the Assumption of Moses.

    What About the Bones of Adam?

    There is an amazing tradition among the Jews at the time of Jesus.[1] Noah confided the skull of Adam to his son, Shem - remember Shem? I told you we would circle back to Shem. 

    Shem, then, passed on the skull of Adam to Melchizedek, the priest of Salem.

    There is strong support for this tradition among the Church Fathers, as well. Saints Cyprian of Carthage [2], Jerome [3], and Ambrose [4] all make reference to Adam being buried at Calvary.

    Is Mary the NEW Ark of Noah?

    Before we move on, let's think about this. If Noah passed on the skull of Adam to his son, it follows that the skull of Adam was carried inside the Ark of Noah.

    Take this thought a step further. Who is the New Ark of Noah? This is Mary, who is also the New Ark of the Covenant. What did Mary, the New Ark, carry within her? Not just the skull of the New Adam, but the New Adam, himself.

    For more on Mary as the New Ark, check out this article. There are just so many connections!

    Here's a whole article on Mary as the New Ark of Noah:

    Here are some other notes on the Virgin Mary being the New Ark of Noah:
    • The Ark of the Covenant was covered "inside and out" in purest gold; God instructed Noah to "cover [the Ark] inside and out with pitch" (Gen 6:14)
    • God told Noah He would "bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life"; therefore, the Ark of Noah preserved "all flesh in which is the breath of life" within it (Gen 6:17). Similarly, Mary carried within her womb Jesus, "the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh" (John 6:51).
    • Both the Ark of the Covenant and Noah's Ark were measured in cubits

    Mosaic of Melchizedek, Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

    Melchizedek & The Bones of Adam

    Where, then, did Melchizedek eventually place the Bones of Adam? I think you can already guess at this, but hold on ... 

    Who was Melchizedek?

    First off, in the Letter to the Hebrews - Hebrews! - Jesus is called a "priest according to the Order of Melchizedek" (7:13-17). Also, Psalm 110 prophesies "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" (Ps 110:1-4).

    The name "Melchizedek" means "king of righteousness," and combines the words for "king" (melek) and "righteousness" (zedek).[5] According to Genesis 14:18–20, Melchizedek was the king and priest of Salem. This is, in part, why we are baptized as "priest, prophet, king."

    A priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" is distinguished from a priest according to the order of Levi, a Levitical priest. Every Hebrew father was a priest according to the "Order of Melchizedek." Following the failings of the Israelites, only those fathers of the Tribe of Levi were allowed to be priests. God's original plan, however, was for all fathers to be priests. This is restored through Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism.

    Melchizedek, therefore, was a priest, according to the line of Adam. Christ restores this.
    There's a whole lot more here, too. We're just skimming the surface.

    Melchizedek was the Priest and King of Salem, the King of Peace. Hebrews 7:1-3 tells us the following:

    For this Melchiz′edek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever.

    Salem, like Shalom, means "peace." This is why Melchizedek is called "King of Peace." Does this sound reminiscent of Jesus' title, "Prince of Peace"? See, for example, Isaiah 9:6

    Later, the Hebrews would build a city at Salem. Guess what the Hebrew word for "City of Peace" is? [source]


    So Where Did Melchizedek Place the Bones of Adam?

    Melchizedek, King of Salem, placed the bones of Adam in his city, Jerusalem. According to legend, Melchizedek actually placed the bones of Adam at Golgotha! [1,6] 

    The Talmudists and the Church Fathers were well aware of this tradition. The Evangelists, too, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, also lend credence to the tradition, as they speak of one and not of many skulls. Golgotha is the place of the skull, i.e. one famous skull, not a general place of execution strewn with skulls.[2,3,4,6]

    Where Does the Word "Calvary" Come From?

    The word "Calvary" (Latin Calvaria) means "a skull". Calvaria and the Greek form Kranion, like "cranium," are equivalents for the original Hebrew word Golgotha. [6]

    So, "Calvary," too, is a reference to the "Place of the Skull."

    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre: What Lies Beneath The Mount of Calvary?

    The Church of Holy Sepulchre contains within it two of the holiest sites in Christianity: (1) Calvary or Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and (2) the tomb (of Joseph) where Jesus was buried and, ultimately, resurrected. It contains within it four (some say five) Stations of the Cross. 

    The two holy sites contained at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

    There is a very special chapel beneath Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Can you guess what it's called?

    The Chapel of Adam

    This next part will blow your "Calvaria" ...

    According to legend, at the Crucifixion, Jesus' blood ran down the Cross and through the rocks of Golgotha to fill the skull of Adam.

    Yes, that's right ...

    Jesus' Blood Pours Down on Adam's Skull

    The Blood of the New Adam redeems the bones of the First Adam!

    This is depicted in the artwork hanging in the Chapel of Adam:

    In the Chapel of Adam, the Rock of Calvary appears cracked through a window on the altar wall. The crack is traditionally claimed to be caused by the earthquake that occurred when Jesus died on the cross. 

    Here's an image of the cracked Rock of Calvary:

    Is that not *literally* mind-blowing? But wait ... there's more!

    Not only that ... Sister Anne-Catherine Emmerich Confirms Golgotha was the "Place of Adam's Skull" in an Amazing Vision

    From the Dolorous Passion by Anne-Catherine Emmerich:

    As regards the origin of the name of Calvary, I here give all I know. I beheld the mountain which bears this name as it was in the time of the Prophet Eliseus. It was not the same then as at the time of our Lord's Crucifixion, but was a hill, with many walls and caverns, resembling tombs, upon it. I saw the Prophet Eliseus descend into these caverns, I cannot say whether in reality or only in a vision, and I saw him take out a skull from a stone sepulchre in which bones were resting. Someone who was by his side—I think an angel—said to him, 'This is the skull of Adam.' The prophet was desirous to take it away, but his companion forbade him. I saw upon the skull some few hairs of a fair colour.

    I learned also that the prophet having related what had happened to him, the spot received the name of Calvary. Finally, I saw that the Cross of Jesus was placed vertically over the skull of Adam. I was informed that this spot was the exact centre of the earth; and at the same time I was shown the numbers and measures proper to every country, but I have forgotten them, individually as well as in general. Yet I have seen this centre from above, and as it were from a bird's-eye view. In that way a person sees far more clearly than on a map all the different countries, mountains, deserts, seas, rivers, towns, and even the smallest places, whether distant or near at hand.

    Excerpt From The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Anna Catherine Emmerich. 

    Read more of Sister Emmerich's visions. I published this book compiling Emmerich's visions of the mysteries of the Rosary to enrich your experience of the Rosary:


    Not only that ... There's More in Genesis

    Genesis 3:15, the Proto-evangelium (read more here) or "First Gospel," states that the Messiah will crush the skull of the serpent.

    The Cross of Christ (Hb. Messiah) is literally stabbed into a skull-shaped or skull-associated rock.

    Not only that ... There's a Connection to Abraham & Isaac

    Adam's Burial is not the only historical event to occur at Calvary. According to Medieval tradition, Adam's burial and Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac are both located at Calvary.[6]

    Read more about all this article describing the connections between Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, his one and only beloved son, and the God's sacrifice of His Son:

    Please Bring This To Your Experience of Good Friday (and Easter)

    Hopefully, this will change the way you see the Cross on Good Friday. The Cross isn't just for one moment in time. The Cross connects Adam to Jesus to you and me. The Cross is for all time!

    What do you think? Please comment and share below. 

    Footnotes: Golgotha, Whose Skull Was It?

    [1] The Syriac writers provide the following: 
    "When Noah went out of the ark there was made a distribution of the bones of Adam; to Shem, his head was given, and the place in which he was buried is called "Karkaphta": where likewise Christ was crucified."(Bar Bahluli apud Castel. Lexic. Polyglot. col. 3466.)
    This word signifies a skull, as Golgotha does: and so likewise the Arabic writers affirm that Shem said these words to Melchizedek:
    "Noah commanded that thou shouldst take the body of Adam, and bury it in the middle of the earth; therefore let us go, I and thou, and bury it; wherefore Shem and Melchizedek went to take the body of Adam, and the angel of the Lord appeared to them and went before them, till they came to the place Calvary, where they buried him, as the angel of the Lord commanded them." (Elmacinus, p. 13. Patricides, p. 12. apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 257.)

    [2] St. Cyprian of Carthage says that it is a tradition of the ancients that Adam was buried in Calvary under the place where the cross of Christ was fixed (De Resurrectione Christi, p. 479).

    [3] St. Jerome makes mention of it more than once, so Paula and Eustochium, in an epistle supposed to be dictated by him, or in which he was assisting, say in this city, meaning Jerusalem, "yea in this place, Adam is said to dwell, and to die; from whence the place where our Lord was crucified is called Calvary, because there the skull of the ancient man was buried" (Epistle Marcellae, fol. 42. L. Tom. I.). Also, in another place, Jerome himself says that he heard one disputing in the church and explaining (comment to Ephesians 5:14) of Adam buried in Calvary, where the Lord was crucified, and therefore was so called.

    [4] St. Ambrose also takes note of it (Comment. in Luc. xx. 33). The place of the cross, says he, is either in the midst of the land, that it might be conspicuous to all, or over the grave of Adam, as the Hebrews dispute: others say that the hill itself was in the form of a man's skull, and therefore was so called; it was situated, as St. Jerome says (De locis Hebraicis, fol. 92. F.), on the north of Mount Zion, and is thought by some to be the same with the hill Gareb (Jeremiah 31:39).

    [5] Read more on this here.

    [6] New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, "Mount Calvary".

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    1. (...) however, Mr. Smith is using a faulty translation of the protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15. He uses the modern translation, as in the New American Bible, which replaced “she shall crush thy head” with “he will strike at your head.” The Douay, from the Latin Vulgate, has the former “she” not “he.”

      1. Happy Easter! This is how I responded to Mr. Kelly's very nice review on
        Thanks so much for sharing my article, Brian. Yes, I think the Vulgate's choice of "she" over "he" in Genesis 3:15, as compared to the Septuagint or modern translations, is really interesting. Since the Hebrew pronoun could be either masculine or feminine depending on the antecedent, I think this could serve as another Scriptural basis for describing Mary as the Co-Redemptrix. Several Church Fathers, too, went with "she" over "he." Very interesting!

    2. Seems like a Lotta Vatican shenanigans to me? Why would anybody pay attention to any organization where their purported leader calls himself "Holy Father" which is in direct contradiction to our Messiah Jesus Christs instructions to all His people And if the Pope does not listen to the instructions of Jesus Christ then also by extension it follows that anybody who listens to the Popes instructions then, they also do not listen to the instructions of our Messiah Jesus Christ as well. Go figure.

      1. Do you think "call no man 'father'" applies to the Holy Father, to priests, etc.? Why? What does the rest of the verse say?

      2. St. Alphonsus Liguori in Part I, Chap. IV, Sec. II of The Glories of Mary has the following, “Some doubt as to whether these words refer to Mary, or whether they do not rather refer to Jesus Christ; for the Septuagint renders them, ‘He shall crush thy head. But in the Vulgate, which alone was approved of by the sacred Council of Trent, we find ‘SHE,’ and not ‘HE;’ and thus it was understand by St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustin, and a great many others. However, be it as it may, it is certain that the Son by means of the Mother, or the Mother by means of the Son has overcome Lucifer…”

    3. Doesn’t St Paul refer to himself as their father in the faith? And what am I to call my dad? Jesus often uses exaggeration to make a point, as the listeners well understood. And anyway, how can you believe anything from the Bible, which was collected and preserved and defined by the Catholic Church that you don’t trust?

      1. Exactly, Claire! And in the same breath, Jesus also says call no man "teacher." Should we also get rid of the teaching profession? What about the Latin word for "teacher" - Doctor? Should we call no man "doctor," as well? The anti-priest interpretation of "call no man father" is absurd!

    4. Look up on YouTube, Ron Wyatt Ark of the Covenant - the earthquake enabled the blood of Christ to reach down and land on the ark of covenant - Christ's blood is the new covenant Moses sprinkled animal blood, and water above the book of the law in the type, Christ had to sprinkle His blood and water above the tables of the law in the antitype.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Since you mentioned NOAH more than once, it brings to mind Genesis 5:28-31. "When Lamech was "182" years old, he had a son. He named him NOAH. ...............After Lamech had NOAH, he lived another "595" years,............... Lamech lived a total of "777" years. And he died.

      Fri., January 6, 2017-----Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
      5 murdered by Santiago. Esteban Santiago lands at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport aboard Delta Airlines Flight 2"182." Airport is alongside I-"595." This all occurs in the year 5"777" on the Jewish Calendar.

      Life of Lamech: 182 years-----595 years-------------777 years.

      Florida Airport: Flight 2182---Route I-595--Jewish Year 5777.

      Any comments or questions??? Email:

    7. Great Article! I found it fascinating and wonderful to read aloud and discuss around our family dinner table. Keep writing!

    8. When Jesus said, "call no man father...'' he meant it in a spiritual sense not natural.
      The natural man cannot understand the word of God because it is spirit.

    9. Scott, in reading St. Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on John, I came across this comment by Aquinas:

      "Chrysostom tells us that there are some who say that Adam died and was buried at this very place. This is why it was called Calvary, from the skull (calvaria) of the first man. And just as death reigned there, so there also Christ erected the trophy of his victory.
      However, as Jerome says, this is the popular interpretation and attractive to the people, but it is not true, because Adam was buried at Hebron: 'Adam the greatest among the Anakim was buried there' (Jos 14:15)."

      Can you reconcile Jerome to your theory and to Jerome's quote therein?

      1. Good question! I haven't verified this, but here's one possible explanation. Adam was buried twice. We know that Adam's body was protected from the flood waters. This required his body to be un-interred, then re-interred. Therefore, Adam was buried first at Hebron, second at Calvary.

      2. Good question! I haven't verified this, but here's one possible explanation. Adam was buried twice. We know that Adam's body was protected from the flood waters. This required his body to be un-interred, then re-interred. Therefore, Adam was buried first at Hebron, second at Calvary.

    10. That spot, the centre of the earth, the burial place of Adam, the place where Abraham almost sacrificed his son and where Jesus (Yeshua) died also happens to be the place where Ron Wyatt discovered the Ark of the Covenant. As it turns out, the blood of Jesus also dripped on the holy ark.

    11. Really i have learnt alot from ur channel. I pray that God continue blessing with the gift of wisdom and vision