Was Jesus Really Born on December 25th?

Q. Was Jesus really born on December 25th? I have heard he was born in the spring.


 God has allowed His Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the right day or very close to it. This is not mandatory or a matter of faith, but why doubt it without very good reason?

The argument for assigning late December as the rightful date of the birth of Yeshua is based on the time Zacharias was told that Elizabeth would conceive a child.

Osservatore Romano: December 24,1998

“December 25 is an historical date,” Professor Tommaso Federici, Professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University and a consultant to two Vatican Congregations, has stressed. In an article in the Osservatore Romano on December 24, he wrote: “December 25 is explained as the ‘Christianization’ of a pagan feast, ‘birth of the Sol Invictus’; or as the symmetrical balance, an aesthetic balance between the winter solstice (Dec. 21-22) and the spring equinox (March 23-24).

But a discovery of recent years has shed definitive light on the date of the Lord’s birth. As long ago as 1958, the Israeli scholar Shemaryahu Talmon published an in-depth study on the calendar of the Qumran sect [Ed. based , in part, on Parchment Number 321 — 4 Q 321 — of the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls,], and he reconstructed without the shadow of doubt the order of the sacerdotal rota system for the temple of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 24, 7-18) in New Testament times.

Here the family of Abijah, of which Zechariah was a descendant, father of John the herald and forerunner (Luke 1, 5), was required to officiate twice a year, on the days 8-14 of the third month, and on the days 24-30 of the eighth month. This latter period fell at about the end of September. It is not without reason that the Byzantine calendar celebrated ‘John’s conception’ on September 23 and his birth nine months later, on June 24. The ‘six months’ after the Annunciation established as a liturgical feast on March 25, comes three months before the forerunner’s birth, prelude to the nine months in December: December 25 is a date of history.”

Therefore, If Zacharias served during the end of September and Elizabeth conceived shortly thereafter, we can place the date of Jesus’ birth during the month of Tevet, in late December. The explanation is as follows:

1. Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, was conceived just after Yom Kippur (late Sept) and born 9 months later in (late June).

* John’s father (Zacharias) was a Levite of the house of Abijah who was assigned to serve in the temple during the 8th and 34 weeks of the year. If the Angel’s announcement to Zechariah was the 34th week that would have been during the High Holiday of Yom Kippur.
* It is written that John was conceived shortly after this tour of duty (Luke 1:23-4), and Yom Kippur. Thus, John would have been born around (late June).

2. Jesus was conceived in (late March), six months after John the Baptist (Luke 1:24-27, 36) near Passover, and born 9 months later during late December.

Luke 1:36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.

3. Circumstantial Evidences:

Church history, since the time of the late first century, has attested to a late December birth.

Hippolytus, in the second century AD, argued that this was Christ’s birthday.

In the fourth century,

John Chrysostom (347-407) argued that December 25th was the correct date. Chrysostom taught that Zechariah received the message about John’s birth on the Day of Atonement and John the Baptist was born sometime in June or July, and the birth of Jesus took place six months later, in late December (or early January). There was never a question about the period of Jesus’ birth either in the East or in the West; only in the recent years this date was challenged.
Early Jewish sources suggest that the sheep around Bethlehem were outside year-round. In the normal traffic of shepherds they move around and come near Bethlehem from November to March of the year. But then these were a special class of Levitical shepherds who kept the sacrificial lambs. They do not move around because they supply the lambs for daily sacrifice from whom people bought their approved lambs, which are blemishless. The fact that the Angels announced the arrival of the perfect sacrificial lamb to these shepherds indicates this. The climate near Bethlehem is more like Southern California, it is after all Mediterranian. It is not a Canadian or Russian climate.

Alfred Edersheim, a Messianic Jew, wrote, “There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date. The objections generally made rest on grounds which seem to me historically untenable.”

Edersheim notes that Megillot Taanit states that the 9th of Tevet is considered the day of Christ’s birth, and that puts the birth of Yeshua sometime during late December.

If Zacharias served during Yom Kippur and Elizabeth conceived shortly thereafter, we can place the date of Jesus’ birth during the month of Tevet, in late December.

Both views can be seen HERE

Is Jesus Based on the Pagan God Horus?

Jesus IS Our Model

Jesus LA cathedralWOW: I am a CHRISTIAN.

BFHU: Me too. We, Catholics, too.

WOW: That’s what they were first called in Antioch (Acts 11:26), and that is what Peter said he was proud to be called (1 Pe 4:16). I’m not sure why everyone insists on calling themselves by any other title, other than referring to the only name given under heaven that can save you (Act 4:12).

BFHU: “Catholic” comes from the Greek word kataholos meaning universal. The Christian Church has been called “The Catholic Church” at least since 110 AD. We know this from a letter written by St. Ignatius of Antioch:

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 Ignatius of Antioch; 110 A.D. ).

There is nothing is this quote that indicates St. Ignatius is coining a new phrase but just the contrary, he is clarifying where one can reliably find Jesus Christ, valid Eucharist, and the authentic CATHOLIC CHURCH.

WOW: I have one question for everybody: At what point did Jesus Christ stop being the way, truth, life, and the one to whom we look for guidance?

BFHU:….UHMMMM….BEATS ME…..We beleive Christ is all of the above.

WOW:At what point did His life stop being the model for us?

BFHU:Who are you referring to? He is our model.

WOW:Read the gospels and Acts, the story of the first church, Please!!!

BFHU:We in the Catholic Church have been reading and hearing the Gospels  and the rest of the Bible, every Sunday for 2000 years. Who exactly is it that you are so sure have never read them?

WOW:Did Christ or the Apostles: Teach us to talk to Mary or to other people to pray for us after there bodies had experienced the first death?

BFHU:Where did He say it is forbidden?

WOW:Didn’t Christ teach us to pray saying “Our Father…” (Matt 6:9)? Read 1 Thess, 1 Cor 15, Rev 20 Also please don’t pray to angels, they are servants of God, messengers, they are not your mediator to God, and neither are people.

BFHU:We don’t pray TO Angels. We pray for their intercessory prayer. Ditto for the Saints in Heaven.

WOW: Christ is!! only Christ!!!
BFHU:Christ is….what…exactly….?

WOW: Read Hebrews. Did Christ or the Apostles:  Teach us about a place (purgatory) where we go when we die that we can be liberated from if we died in unbelief or deserving condemnation?

BFHU:We don’t believe that Purgatory is for unbelievers or those who are condemned to Hell. We do believe that unbelievers who, through no fault of their own were not Christian, can be saved through God’s mercy. We are judged based on what we knew and how we responded to that knowledge. No one will go to Hell because they were ignorant of Christ. ie. babies who die at birth, or through abortion, the Indians on the North American Continent before the advent of Christianity, or those before the death of Jesus. All of these will be judged by God based on what we knew and how we responded to God.

WOW: There are 2 types of people who die. Saved in Christ, dead apart from Christ. The saved will rise at His coming to life, the dead will rise to be judged after the 1000 year reign, their works will not save them and they will be cast into the lake of fire. Read the entire New Testament

BFHU:There are two types of people….but NOT as defined above. Those who go to Purgatory will have been judged to be worthy of Heaven once they are purified in Purgatory.

WOW:– Did Jesus Teach us to set up a system of priests to which we must confess to for forgiveness of sin? Ok, so yes it’s Ok to share sin with our brother, it’s good to open ourselves up like that, but a lot of people think that you have to tell the priest or it doesn’t count. Christ is our High Priest. Read Hebrews.

BFHU:Where is Scripture does it say what you assert? In the OT there were ministerial priests and the priesthood of all the believers. So also in the Church. Jesus certainly did set up confession in

Jn 20:19-2319On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Here we see Jesus annointed ONLY the disciples, the first priests and bishops of the Christian Church, with a special dispensation of the Holy Spirit. He gave them authority to forgive or not forgive  sin. The only way to do this would be if they heard confession audibly. And we know historically that this was done since the earliest era of the Church.

WOW: Where did Jesus Teach us that the communion supper should be imagined as real human flesh and blood?

BFHU: Right here in John 6
John 6: 47“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

48″I am the bread of life 49″Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

50″This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

51″I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.

54“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

55″For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

56″He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

57″As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.

58″This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

WOW:Remember Christ said His words are spirit (i.e. spiritually symbolic and important), the spirit gives life Jn 6:63.

BFHU Exactly, but the Spirit is in NO WAY just a symbol. That which is spiritual is an unseen reality. It is in NO WAY equivalent to a symbol.

WOW:We eat Christ spiritually, not physically like cannibals.

BFHU True that it is not cannibalistic. But neither is is symbolic. That would be impossible. In the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, to symbolically “eat the flesh” or “drink the blood” of someone meant to persecute and assault him. Did you know that there are several places in the Bible where “eating flesh and drinking blood” is used in a symbolic or metaphorical way? Lets take a look at what this phrase means when it is used metaphorically.

Psalm 27:2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me…”
Micah 3:2-3 you who hate good and love evil;…who eat my people’s flesh…
Rev 17: 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
Rev. 17:16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

So, we see that when “eating flesh” and “drinking blood” is used metaphorically or symbolically in the Bible it means destruction and murder. And it is still true today. If you got a letter that said someone wanted “to eat your flesh and drink your blood” you would take it as an evil threat of some kind and not an invitation to loving communion. Jesus was speaking literally in John 6 but no one would know just what He had in mind until the Last Supper. Communion in His body and blood is literal but not cannibalistic. Jesus feeds us spiritually with Bread from Heaven. Only the faithful stayed with him. Only faith helps us believe Him.

WOW: He is the bread from heaven. Spiritually. Remember, many of His disciples left Him that day because they thought He was saying to literally eat His body. Jn 6:66

BFHU Yes, many left Him BECAUSE THEY KNEW HE WAS SPEAKING LITERALLY AND NOT SPIRITUALLY OR SYMBOLICALLY. Did you know that in the Greek, when people began to question His seeming cannibalism, he switched from a general word for “eat” to a word that means “chew” or “gnaw.” Jesus did not try to explain in any way that he was not speaking literally.

WOW:Where did Jesus Teach us to erect statues of His mom and make beaded necklaces to hold and pray to His mom with? Teach us to erect statues of dead people, great servants of God or not, and put them in our churches?

BFHUBut where in Scripture is it forbidden? Statues and pictures were used to remind thousands of generations of Christians, unable to read, about the stories and people of the Bible, as well as heroes of the faith. That is a very good thing and still a wonderful tradition in our churches. There is nothing scripturally wrong with it.

WOW: Is Peter really the Rock upon whom the church is founded, or is Christ the eternal Rock whom Peter confessed, the real foundation?

BFHU Both. There is no denying that Jesus said to Peter
” Rock, upon this Rock I will build my Church”

WOW: Peter is not strong enough to be the foundation of the Church of Christ, only Christ is!!!

BFHUNot by himself, but supported by Jesus he can do all things, in Christ.

WOW: We all represent Christ here!! Christ in us is the true Rock of the Church.

BFHU That is true in one way. But it does not refute the Truth that Jesus founded a Church and He founded it upon Peter and gave him and his successors the Keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose. (a Hebrew idiom that means to rule)

WOW: Where did Jesus Teach us to believe that Mary never sinned and has already ascended to heaven, making her equal to Jesus Christ?

BFHU Mary is not equal to Jesus. We believe in the Trinity. Mary is fully human and not divine. She is human in exactly the same way as Adam and Eve were in the fullness and sinlessness of humanity. Adam and Eve sinned. Mary by the graces and power of God, not her own strength, did not sin. Gabriel addresses her as FULL OF GRACE. This is her title. If one is FULL of grace there is no room for sin.

WOW: Christ is the only one who is sinless!!

BFHUNo. Many humans may have a fallen nature but are not guilty of sin. Innocent babies and children who have not reached the age of accountablility. Nevertheless, they all need a savior. As did Mary. She was saved from a fallen nature, before she sinned .

WOW: We all await the resurrection, He is the firstfruits. You deny the grace of God when you say that Jesus couldn’t be born by a woman, a normal human like you and me, yes a servant of God, but human, with sin, dead, alive in the spirit, yes, but powerless to save you.

BFHU: God could have been born by any woman He chose. But why not create a pure vessel to reside in for nine months and to be your mother?

WOW: Read Acts. Baptism is a symbolic act by a conscious choice, by a repentant person to turn from sin and choose Christ for salvation. That’s what Baptism is. A baby can’t do that. A baby can’t repent. A baby doesn’t know what sin is. You can splash all the water on their head that you want, but don’t call it what it isn’t. It’s not baptism. Jesus got baptized when he was 30.

BFHU Please see my post Infant Baptism You make many assertions in your comments about baptism. Please back them up with scripture. I believe that what you have said above are Protestant Traditions about Baptism. Nowhere are they asserted in Sacred Scripture.

WOW: I know these aren’t all the teachings and maybe you’ll say they aren’t right, and maybe you don’t practice them, but you are still supporting them. And I know also that many Protestant churces are full of idolatrous worship and bad doctrine. If you look up the true doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, you will find these and many others. If these teachings aren’t found in the Scriptures, even in the Apocrypha which I enjoy, good Jewish history, then where are they from? Man? You can try to support these things with interpretation from the Scripture but in the end, they just aren’t there and you are left standing on the teachings of deceived men.

BFHU We accept and believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. BUT…it must be interpreted. We have historical, 2000 year-old, interpretations to draw upon. Protestant interpretations are only about 500 years old or less. I will go with the ancient faith, thank you.

WOW: The Bible is the only objective (unbiased) source we have to know that what we teach is the truth. If man’s teaching can’t be found in the Scriptures, then how can we know it’s true? Jesus taught the Law and the Prophets, the Scriptures. That’s what we have to teach today, the Scriptures. Don’t you want to know that you know the truth? for sure?

BFHU I do want the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. I have examined the scriptures and the historical claims of the Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. I did not want to be Catholic but I had no Choice when I examined the competing claims or the Protestants and the Catholics. You might want to read my Conversion Story

WOW: Please, read the Scriptures.

BFHUAs you may have seen from my Conversion Story, I have certainly done this extensively.

WOW: You must worship in spirit and truth. The apostles didn’t even imagine the things that the Catholic church is doing.

BFHU How can you KNOW what the apostles imagined? John clearly says that the world could not contain all the books if they were to be written about everything Jesus did. John 21:25

WOW: Turn from idolatry. Repent. Turn to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

BFHU I know you mean well.

Did Jesus Exist Before His Mother?

Jonah: If Mary was not the Queen of Heaven referred to in Jeremiah (because she was not in existence at the time), when did she begin to exist…at the time of Jesus??

Bread From Heaven: Mary began to exist about 15-16 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. She began to exist at the time of her Immaculate Conception as a result of the union of her parents and God saving her from the stain of original sin.

Jonah: Does that mean that God the Father and all the old testament people pre-existed the Queen of Heaven?

Bread From Heaven: Yes, God the Father and all the Old Testament people absolutely existed before Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Jonah: King Jesus was around for eternity, just incarnated around 2012 years ago…so he pre-existed his own Queen Mother? How would you spin this one?

Bread From Heaven: Yes, Jesus the second person of the Trinity, is eternal and therefore existed before the mother of His Flesh. There was no Queen of Heaven before Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.

The Holy Trinity is Eternal. Human beings are created creatures. Once created, our souls are eternal even though our bodies die as a result of The Fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus came to enable our salvation and Eternal life in Heaven. If we reject Him we will have Eternal Hell.

To read the post that sparked these questions click here–>Mary, Queen of Heaven

Early Church Beliefs in the Eucharist


Q. Did the Christians in the first three centuries believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist?

A. Yes. They certainly did!

110 AD–St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John wrote in :

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ. Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6,2)

“I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” (Letter to the Romans 7,3)

150 AD–St Justin Martyr wrote to the Emperor of Rome around :

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66,20 )

180 ADSt. Irenaeus, was the bishop of Lyons, France and a student of St. Polycarp who sat at the feet of the Apostle John. St. Irenaeus wrote around :

“He (Jesus) has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies, 5,2,2 )

350 AD St Cyril of Jerusalem, in a teaching to those coming into the Church wrote in :

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures:(Mystagogic 4) 22,6 )

Thus we see that the Christian Church, at the very beginning of its history taught and believed that the bread and wine of communion was transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Jesus’ discourse on the Bread From Heaven in John 6 and the plain sense of His words at the institution of Communion at the Last Supper. “This is My Body” This is My Blood”

This is the same Church that Jesus founded on Peter and the Apostles.

This is the same church that Jesus promised the Gates of Hell would never overcome.

This is the same Church that chose the books of the Bible out of all the other books floating around the ancient world, at the end of the fourth century.

This is the same Church that was called Catholic at least as early as 110 AD.

This is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Ancient, but ever young.

Is Christ, King of the Universe?

Q.A friend of mine was told by the pastor that  Jesus is NOT the King of the Universe but only the King of Christians. Which is it?

A. Jesus is KING OF THE UNIVERSE. The Bible the Catechism of the Catholic Church and as Pope Benedict said last year on the Feast of Christ the King:

The title “King”, designating Jesus, is very important in the Gospels and makes possible a complete interpretation of the figure of Jesus and of his mission of salvation. In this regard a progression can be noted: it starts with the expression “King of Israel” and extends to that of universal King, Lord of the cosmos and of history, The Cross is the paradoxical sign of his kingship, which consists in the loving will of God the Father in response to the disobedience of sin. It is in the very offering of himself in the sacrifice of expiation that Jesus becomes King of the universe, as he himself was to declare when he appeared to the Apostles after the Resurrection: “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mt 28: 18).

Next Sunday, the last of Ordinary Time, we shall be celebrating the Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe.

And then there is the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 786 Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection.211Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

So, the pastor was mistaken. Jesus Christ is KING OF THE UNIVERSE  and King of all peoples.

Advent is Coming

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

A Meditation on the Passion of Christ


Golgotha-The Protestant Site in the Garden Tomb.

My Mom asked me to go with her and her church–Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa to Israel .
Despite going to Israel with Calvary Chapel, I thought we would still be visiting a lot of Catholic Churches b/c they are at all of the holy sites. But the tour avoided them and went to other nearby locations instead, except one Church. I sneaked away on several occasions and visited the Catholic Church but I was always afraid I might get Left Behind because there was no precise or even estimated time schedule.

But on to our topic. I knew of course that the Church of the Holy Seplechure was supposed to be built over the site of Jesus’ tomb. I did not know that it is also built over the site of Golgotha/Calvary also until I went online yesterday to find out what was what. It is a HUGE Church.

On the last day of our tour we went to the Garden Tomb. First we were taken to site overlooking a rock formation that looked very much like a skull and given a little talk and Bible readings.

This is what “Golgotha” looked like at the time of my visit April 2008.
Click on the thumbnails for full size view.

Then we were taken through a lovely garden to the Garden Tomb.

There was a channel in front of the door to roll a large stone, almost like a millstone.

There was a window and inside an unfinished tomb site. After going inside we came out and waited for the whole tour to view the tomb. While waiting I ran up to the gift shop and bought one of the fold out souvenir post card packs with lots of pictures of the Garden Tomb etc.

Then the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was recounted as we gazed at the entrance to the Garden Tomb reclining comfortably in the shade of the lovely garden trees surrounded by nicely landscaped rock gardens. Chuck Smith did admit that we don’t know that this is actually the tomb of Jesus, but one was supposed to imagine that this really might be it.

I was feeling convinced myself but then I had reservations b/c I knew the Catholic Church had a very good track record of keeping track of Holy Sites and had existed continually since the time of Christ. Whereas this Garden Tomb was not discovered until a century ago and was left in complete obscurity by every church. And even our Israeli guide very clearly informed us that the Garden Tomb had absolutely no archeological support for it being the tomb of Christ. Still, it was a lovely site and close to what we might imagine the garden and tomb would have actually looked like 2000 years ago. Therein lies its appeal.

Before our visit to the Garden Tomb, I had visited the Church of the Holy Seplechure. I went for mass and a quick look around. But due to time constraints I had no guide and no audio guide. So I had no idea what I was looking at. While waiting for mass to begin in a chapel of the Blessed Eucharist I saw and heard a wonderful procession, in Latin I think. There was Gregorian Chant echoing around the interior of the gigantic church and organ music that sounded majestic ( I don’t really care much for organ music ordinarily but here it was absolutely chills-down-the-spine-BEAUTIFUL!!!! Then this procession came in to our Chapel and we had the unexpected pleasure of exposition and benediction of the Holy Eucharist. What a grace! I heard mass in Italian. When I left it was getting dark so I hurried off to catch a taxi. I came close to getting robbed or worse but that is another story.

As I said I looked at photos of the Church of the Holy Seplechure (CHS) online once I got home. I don’t think I ever saw the Tombwhen I was at the Church of the Holy Seplechur, but I did kneel and pray and touch the rock of Golgotha…someone spoke English and explained it that day to me. I would like to know more about the history of this site. But the fact that the Catholics, Armenians, and Orthodox all have a presence at the CHS argues for its authenticity. If the Garden Tomb was even a plausible alternative why wouldn’t one of these transfer their veneration to the Garden Tomb instead of CHS? Especially in light of the altercation at the Church in the spring 2008, between the Orthodox and the Armenians at the CHS.

As a Protestant I heard and also on this tour I heard again some irritation at the fact that Churches had been built on all the Holy Sites. Of course, ornate Catholic and Orthodox Churches are in complete opposition to the style of a Calvary Chapel Church in a warehouse or storefront or even in the decor of a proper church building in the Protestant Tradition.

So, Protestants in general are somewhat repulsed by all the gold, silver, and decorative elements meant to honor the holiness of historical Christian sites. They really want to go to the Holy Land and see what Jesus saw. But this is impossible. If the Catholic Church had not built churches on these sites the memory of their location would undoubtedly have been lost. Years ago, the Muslims did not destroy the Church in Bethlehem because in that church they saw a depiction of the Wise Men in Arabian dress, for instance. Pleased to see a familiar depiction of their people, they left the church alone.

But, I have to admit that when you go to the CHS it is hard to envision what it must have looked like before the Church was built over Golgotha and the Tomb. But it is much more edifying to be in the very place Jesus was crucified and buried. The Garden Tomb is more a representation of what it might have been like but I have to reject that it is authentic.

Remember the post card folder of pictures I bought? I saw in it two cards picturing “Golgotha” in the Garden Tomb area, the place of the skull. They looked very different. I asked the salesgirl why and she said one picture was an earlier photo

Early Black and White Photo

The more recent photo looks much more readily like a skull….so I think someone or many people have been fiddling with the site.

Communion was served, but I did not partake, of course. However, sensually the whole experience was very aestetically pleasing. IMO the Garden Tomb could be visited to gain a sense of what it might have looked like, sort of, but keeping clearly in mind that it is a sort of reproduction. And the Protestant alternative to visiting a Catholic Church. But, the Church of the Holy Seplechure has the REAL THINGS, the HOLY SITES –CALVARY/Golgotha and the Tomb.