Matthew: And when they came to a place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a skull).

Mark: And they brought him to the place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a skull).

Luke: And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.

John: So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol'gotha.

(all quotes from KJV)

Why was Jesus crucified near a mountain outcrop that was shaped like a skull? Is there a symbolic significance here? If so, what is it?enter image description here

  • Perhaps someone can find the reference faster than I can - but, I think it is the "Book of the Bee". There are a few similar texts - of that period, that speak of the... erm... "immortal melchizedek, without father or mother". And how Adam was buried under Golgotha, (I think); and perhaps there is a reference about the correlation. Actually, I think we had another question along this line about Melchizedek. Regardless, contemporary texts, of that time, would be the first place I would look. Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 16:32

10 Answers 10


Strong's 2898 - kranion - meaning a skull.

Latin Vulgate translation - "Calvariae" meaning a skull, from which the English gets "Calvary"

Speculation on this name has been lodged in church history from Origen, Tertullian, and Jerome down through the centuries. Origen supposed it to have been the place where Adam was buried, according to some traditions. Some took the name to mean a common place of execution, but this is cast into doubt because of the singular noun meaning "a skull", not many skulls.

Others have supposed it to be indicative of the shape of a hill or small mount which is common practice even today in place names.

Excerpt from Meyer's NT Commnetary,

"Jerome and most other expositors (including Luther, Fritzsche, Strauss, Tholuck, Friedlieb) derive the name from the circumstance that, as this was a place for executing criminals, it abounded with skulls (which, however, are not to be conceived of as lying unburied); while Cyrill, Jerome, Calovius, Reland, Bengel, Paulus, Lücke, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, Volkmar, Keim, Weiss, on the other hand, trace the name to the shape of the hill.[35] The latter view, which is also that of Thenius (in Ilgen’s Zeitschr. f. Theol. 1842, 4, p. 1 ff.) and Furer (in Schenkel’s Lex. II. p. 506), ought to be preferred, because the name means nothing more than simply a skull (not hill of skulls, valley of skulls, and such like, as though the plural (skulls) had been used). A similar practice of giving to places, according to their shape, such names, as Kopf, Scheitel (comp. the hills called Κεφαλαί in Strabo, xvii. 3, p. 835), Stirn, and the like, is not uncommon among ourselves—(Germans)." Source: here.

But, the Hebrew use of the word is interesting. Vincent's Word Studies says,

"An Aramaic word, Gulgoltha, equals the Hebrew, Gulgoleth, and translated skull in Judges 9:53; 2 Kings 9:35." (ibid)

Excerpt from Gill's Exposition, (same source as above),

"And when they were come to a place called Golgotha,.... The true pronunciation is "Golgoltha", and so it is read in Munster's Hebrew Gospel. It is a Syriac word, in which language letters are often left out: in the Syriac version of this place, the first "l" is left out, and the latter retained, and it is read "Gogoltha": and so, in the Persic, "Gagulta"; and in the Arabic, "Gagalut". The Ethiopic version reads it, "Golgotha"; and so, Dr. Lightfoot observes, it is read by the Samaritan interpreter of the first chapter of Numbers: that is to say, a place of a skull: "

But, there are others who look back to the Old Testament account of David and Goliath of Gath. As Christ is commonly called the son of David, and as David buried Goliath's head in Jerusalem (1 Sam. 17:54), then it's a tempting thought to picture the son of David bruising the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15) at the victory of the cross where Goliath's head may have been buried. They consider that Golgotha may be a Hebrew corruption of Goliatha of Gath. See source here.


Genesis 3:15 (HCSB)

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

The New Testament interprets the Serpent in Genesis 3:15 to be Satan (Revelation 12:9).

Jesus strikes Satan on the head, (of which the skull is the remnant of a dead recipient of that fatal blow) as the Victor over the chief enemy of His people (cf. Judges 4:21; Judith 13:18 etc.); and Satan in the process injures the heel which defeats him, that is, of this Seed (Jesus) of the prophesied woman, by the nail through His two feet on the Cross. This Seed refers primarily to Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:5), but also those who confess Christ and keep the commandments of God (Revelation 12:17; cf. John 19:26-27; Romans 16:20).


A skull is a "dead head" Jesus is "the head" and he died (was cut off). A hill is representative of power or authority or rule.

Reference that a hill represents a power, king, kingdom symbolically:

Revelation 17:9-10 "Here is the mind which has wisdom The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.

  • Thanks, and welcome to the site. Please delete the comments now that they are irrelevant. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 1:37
  • Upvoted. Interesting profile. Regards.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 2, 2018 at 4:24


The symbolic significance of “Golgotha” (the place of the skull) today is about our minds which are located in the “skull” or cranium. The mind is located in our head.

Our minds can be corrupted from the simplicity that is in THE Christ….the true Jesus who is the one called the Christ.

The ministers of Satan preach their version of Jesus... “another Jesus”...and their handwriting of dogmas for us to keep and by which we judge others who do not keep them as "evildoers".

Many decide in their own minds (the mind located in the cranium) to receive “another Jesus” rather than keep the true Jesus we had originally received.

2 Corinthians 11:3-5 KJV (3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Many false apostles come in His name (the name of “Jesus") and preach that their Jesus (“another Jesus”) is the true Christ (“I am the Christ”)…. a “Jesus Christ" which is really the antichrist instead...a Jesus that we did not originally receive.

Yet, in our own minds, we reckon that this is the true Jesus which is among those transgressors as we receive their “another Jesus” that they preach which is not the true one.

Again, many in their own minds (in their own "wisdom") readily receive the false apostles and their “another Jesus” that they preach and so end up denying the true Jesus….crucifying/extinguishing His eternal life from ever appearing in their mortal flesh in this earth.

(4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (5) For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

He was “numbered with the transgressors” upon “Golgotha”…..the place of the skull or cranium where the MIND is located.

In our mind which is located in the cranium, we suppose/reckon/estimate that He (the true Jesus) is among those (the thieves) who are preaching “another Jesus” and we gladly receive them. He was numbered...that is, reckoned, estimated, considered, etc...with the transgressors.

Mark 15:27-28 KJV (27) And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. (28) And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

In doing so (figuring that the false prophet’s Jesus that he is preaching is the true one), we are denying the Holy One and the Just and desire a “murderer” (“another Jesus”) and so “kill the Prince of Life” out of our own lives as His eternal life never is made manifest in our mortal flesh in this earth for all of the world to see.

The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy us by the removing of the true Jesus out of our own lives and replacing Him with “another Jesus” and another gospel that they preach.

God has already raised the true Jesus from the dead so that we might have His eternal life in the here and now.

If our minds are corrupted from the singleness of Christ by the seduction of false prophets, then we easily receive their “another Jesus”…the son of their father (Jesus “Barabbas”….the “Jesus” the “son” of their “father”…the devil).

Acts 3:14-15 KJV (14) But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; (15) And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Again, our mind is located in the “place of the skull”…in the cranium…. where we decide in our own “wisdom” to receive the false Christs that the false prophets are preaching and deny the true Jesus and so His eternal life is being crucified/extinguished out of our own lives.

John 19:16-17 KJV (16) Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (17) And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

The false prophets come to deceive us with the preaching of their “Jesus” who they are saying is the true Christ but is instead the “antichrist”….the instead-of the true Christ.

They come in His name (Jesus) and say that the Jesus they preach is the true Christ (I am the Christ). and deceive many.

Matthew 24:4-5 KJV (4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Yet, they deny that the true Jesus is THE Christ as they push their Jesus which is the antichrist upon those they deceive.

1 John 2:22-26 KJV (22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. (24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

They come to seduce us away from the receiving of the promise of His eternal life which should be made manifest in our mortal flesh in this earth. Jesus…the true Jesus…IS COMING now in our mortal flesh to give us His eternal life in the here and now. Their 'jesus" SHALL COME someday in the future and is not looking for His eternal life to appear in our mortal flesh giving us His eternal life in this earth.

(25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

Seeing ourselves as “wise” in our own minds, we gladly receive the false prophets who come forth to lead us into bondage and exalt themselves over us and take from us….

2 Corinthians 11:19-20 KJV (19) For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. (20) For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

Let us not glory in men and their so-called deceptive “wisdom” that they preach in their churches. Let no man deceive himself in his own mind…in his own “wisdom” that he sees himself in...and receive the "wisdom" of the false prophets.

He takes the “wise” (that they think themselves as “wise”) in their own craftiness. We are our own worst enemy as it starts in our own minds where we deceive ourselves that we are "wise" in receiving the false prophets and the doing of their handwritings of dogmas...the doctrines and commandments of men that were written by the church scribes.

1 Corinthians 3:17-21 KJV (17) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (18) Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. (19) For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (20) And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. (21) > Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

In their own minds which they see themselves as “wise”, they choose the “another Jesus” that the false prophets are preaching in their deceptive words….in the guile found in their mouths.

Satan minds the things that be of men rather than the things that be of God. Satan’s ministers also are minding the things of men (earthly things).

Mark 8:32-34 KJV (32) And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. (33) But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

We must deny ourselves (our own “wisdom” and the receiving of man’s church wisdom) and take up our cross (by which we are denying the true Jesus in the mind...the place of the skull) and follow Him….the true and faithful Jesus Christ our Lord.

To be carnally-minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

(34) And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.


One theory of Golgotha (the place of the skull, Calvary from the latin) by third-century scholar Origen of Alexandria(185-253 AD), is that the name referred to the burial place of Adam's skull. Which would be interesting since jesus became the curse and death to free us. "The last Adam" as his title. A head is a symbol of "father". refferences: Rick Renner article (https://renner.org/article/golgotha-the-place-of-the-skull/) also see wikipedia article on "Calvary/Golgotha"

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer! I hope you can add references and more evidence in your examples (like schoolwork). Welcome to the BHSE community! Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 3:53

The only thing significant about the 'skull of Golgotha' is that the authors give it as a landmark for where Jesus and other criminals were crucified. There's nothing symbolic about it. And there is no evidence from the gospels that Golgotha was shaped like a skull.

So what exactly was it? I can only think of 2 possibilities.

  1. It was a hilltop with a skull-like image embedded into the rock face. If this is true, it's easy to see why the Romans would've chosen a place like this for crucifixion. Being led to a place with a giant skull-like image looking at you would've added to the horror of being crucified.

  2. Golgotha was just a trash heap; a garbage dump that was always filled with skulls. Only bones would be left after the animals devoured the flesh of dead criminals hanging from their crosses. The dogs and other scavengers would've scattered the smaller meatier bones. The remaining skulls of the criminals would've been tossed in the trash by the Roman executioners.

  • Is it not Gehenna that is the place of bones and garbage - the valley of the son of Hinnom ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 0:42

Ron Wyatt the Christian Archaologist claims the ark of the covenant is (or was) buried under the Hill of the skull (where Jesus was crucified) and he saw it personally. (see the videos on youtube) he has a very compelling testimony and explanation How Jesus' blood literally hit the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant when he died. They tested the dried blood in a lab, hydrated it and it was "still alive". An earth quake is recorded in scripture and by historians in which a crack opened up and allegedly the blood of Jesus flowed through the crack and rested on the mercy seat. Ron Wyatt has discovered many other Biblical sites and has many compelling videos of his journeys. Some of which are controvercial and contested, but I highly recommend you watch them and see for yourself and make up your own mind. He has one about finding Sodom and Gommorah and Mt. Moriah and Noahs ark.

  • Interesting. When I read your answer I remembered reading about this before, but it had completely slipped my mind. Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 22:27

Using childish word-play, and notarikon some interesting observations are made. Golgatha is filled with riddle.

The dictionary meaning of Golgatha is skull or head, and as others have mentioned it may have looked like a skull. It is also translated 'every man' (Ex 16:16, Ex 38:26), with 'head' teases at death being the authority of every man. The fear of death were enslaved to sin (Heb 2:15)

It goes another step: It also is translated 'poll' referring to the tax for the census. The average Hebrew child could see the first two, but seeing that Jesus's death at Golgotha paid the price for their enslavement to sin, is reserved for those who love Christ.

Is this coincidence or by intention? If it stood alone, one might suggest it is a happy coincidence.

God's wheel on the earth has four faces (Eze 1:15) suggested by some to be the four gospels. There are four purposes for scripture (2Ti 3:16 ) and four voices that represent them. Doctrine - prophet, reproof - judge, correction - priest, king - training in righteousness. The gospels do fit this pattern.

Gigal גלגל means wheel, the final tov תin Gulgoltha makes is an object. The wheel is where God's purpose for his word meets the earth and accomplishes his will. The cross is the culmination of the revelation of the invisible God through the Word, Jesus Christ. He said "It is finished".

Gal גל is a collection of water as a wave, spring, or billow (water is a symbol for the word). A duplication means that something applies to the flesh and spirit. גל-גל - suggests the application of the word to the flesh and the spirit. This is a similar meaning to the wheel.

The gimel ג means 'to pursue' and the lamed means 'teaching', so again we see the same meaning as we drill into an interpretation built on observations, not free for all allegory, using notarikon.

The gospel from the word 'Golgatha' is that Jesus died on a hill called Golgotha according to the purpose of the word of God, accomplishing his will, to pay the price for every man, who was a slave to sin because of his fear of death, and reveal the invisible God.

Or is this just a coincidence?


The books of the prophecy mentioned something like it is a place where Jeremiah hide the ark of the covenant.(patriacts and prophets).


The skull of Golgotha looks a bit like the skull of a starved, faster (Job 19:20). A symbolic significance would then be that there is healing and restoration in the crucifixion of our flesh through fasting.

If not, another possibility is that one might see a resemblance between the skull of Golgotha and a late night winebibber. I am, off course, thinking about the dark rings around the eyes. Jesus prayer to the Father: "Take this cup away from me" (Mark 14:36), could be given the alternative interpretation of applying to wine. The bible verse in 2 Cor 5:21 that Jesus "became sin for our sake" comes to mind here.

If not, another possibility again is that the skull of Golgotha symbolically refers to the skull of John the Baptist, who was decapitated by Herod (Mat 14:1-12). John was, like Jesus (explained above), symbolically seen to be taking our sins upon himself. John's food was grasshoppers and wild honey, portraying a sinner's 'grass-hopper' mentality that 'the grass is greener on the other side of the fence' (Ex 20:17). John is wearing a dress made of hair from an unclean animal (camel), which symbolically could portray an animalistic nature. And finally John lived his life in the wilderness, portraying a sinners' wild life among the other animalistic people in the world (Mat 3:3,4).


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