Lost Landmarks

The Bar Kokhba rebellion, which began about 132 A.D., resulted in the de-population of Israel. An estimated 580,000 Jews died and most remaining alive were sold into slavery around the Roman Empire. Some historians consider this event an act of genocide. The Romans also suffered enormous losses at the hands of the Jews. The Roman emperor Hadrian was so angry that he leveled the city of Jerusalem, destroying most landmarks. He even changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the name of Israel to Syria Palestina, to honor the enemies of Israel, the Philistines.

The result of this catastrophe was the loss of the location of important sites in Jerusalem, including the Temple. The landmarks were gone and so were most of the people who could remember where they were.

The City of David is a twelve acre peninsula of land south of the traditional Temple Mount. West of the City of David is the Western Hill of Jerusalem, erroneously called Mount Zion, which was originally in the City of David.

Currently, the 3,000 year old Tomb of King David is said to be on the Western Hill in a 1,000 year old building. But Scripture places the Tomb of David within the original boundaries of the City of David. Nehemiah chapter three describes the rebuilding of the walls of the City of David. As he records the repairs section by section, in verse fifteen he notes the Pool of Siloam and the steps leading down from the City of David, both of which were at the southern end of the city. Next, in verse 16, he records the repairs done near the Tomb of David, in the City of David.

However, two hundred years ago, the location of the City of David was not known with certainty. It had been lost. Then Hezekiahís tunnel was discovered in 1838. This is the tunnel King Hezekiah had prepared in anticipation of an attack by the Assyrians. (Second Chronicles 32:30) The tunnel runs from the Gihon Spring to the Siloam Pool at the foot of the City of David. Today, archaeologists know that this tunnel lies beneath the City of David.

Some believe that the circuitous route of Hezekiahís Tunnel was caused by efforts of the diggers to avoid the Tomb of David, in the City of David. The location of the tomb was known as late as the Day of Pentecost. Peter said that Davidís sepulcher is with us today. (Acts 2:29)

Among the many lost holy landmarks was the location of the crucifixion and burial of the Lord Jesus. At the time of Hadrian, there were non-Jewish Christians remaining in Jerusalem who knew the location. Curiously, Hadrian had a pagan temple built on the site identified to him. Today it is the location of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

But, do we know for sure? The sites of Golgotha, the Tomb of David, the Temple and even the City of David were lost in the mists and ravages of time. We may not know with certainty the location of these holy sites until the King of kings and Lord of lords returns and tells us. I look forward to the Day! Praise His name!

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