The Herod Family Tomb

The tomb to the west of Jerusalem was at one time thought to be the burial place of the Herod family. Later research indicated that it was not Herod’s tomb. It is noted for the “rolling stone” still in place next to the entrance. This photograph was taken from the main entrance to the tomb. The steps descending to the tomb are visible in the foreground. The stone arch was originally part of the entire face of the tomb so that the round stone’¬†would have been completely hidden behind the wall. The stone is over five feet high and one and one-half feet thick, and perfectly round. One can understand how this well-preserved stone was pried loose and rolled to the left of its present position so people could descend into the rather large tomb.

After the burial had been completed, the stone was allowed to roll back down its “slot,” covering the opening to the tomb. Wax or clay was sometimes placed between the rolling stone and the wall, and the owner’s seal was impressed on it so people could determine if the tomb was opened or not. In Jesus’ case, the tomb was sealed and guards were placed in front of it (Matt. 27: 62-66). These extra precautions didn’t matter: Jesus, by the power of God, came out of the tomb, the angels rolled the stone back, and Jesus’ friends and disciples discovered an empty tomb.

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