Rolling back the stone


Back in November I was in the Holy Land. On our first evening there, our guide took us to an ancient tomb to show us the type of stone that was placed in a tomb’s entrance.

I always had it in my head that there was a large boulder placed at the entrance of Jesus’ tomb. I was very surprised to find out that the stone was actually a large circular stone like a solid wheel that would fit in the tomb’s entrance. That’s why the women when going to Jesus’ tomb wondered who would roll back the stone so they could anoint the Body.


Hi, Irish!

…it is wonderful to be able to place some of the Biblical Words in our present perspective… I remember working in a local parish where the Tomb is depicted in such manner as you previously held (a huge bolder instead of a round/wheel-like portal).

Your experience, I suspect, has opened your eyes to Biblical terms that are often misunderstood when seen with 21st century’s eyes (mindset).

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!

Maran atha!




Yes, that is true that my experience in the Holy Land has opened my eyes to Biblical terms. There are many examples such as Mary going to Elizabeth who lived in the “hill country”. Trust me. Elizabeth definitely lived in the hill country! I’m glad I took a walking stick with me!
I also had wondered how St John had avoided being killed during the killing of the Holy Innocents. Tradition there said that an angel told Elizabeth that St John needed to be protected and the angel made a large boulder behind where St John was placed. When the Roman soldiers came and saw Elizabeth, they thought she was too old to have such a young child (two years or younger) and left her alone.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!


Hi, Irish!

…thanks for the laugh!

…could just imagine you saying to yourself: ‘don’t look back, girl, don’t look back!’

I find it amusing how people who have never experienced what you have hold fast to their belief of how life in Israel had been in Jesus’ time; I mean, even the absence of folklore (as the story of St. John the Baptist’s brush with death)… opens holes in our understanding of what the Biblical Writers witnessed and experienced…

…the perspective changes when we find the subtle fillers such as the “eye of the needle;” even today some believe that Jesus was making reference to an actual tool used for sewing… and they believe that none has a chance for Salvation because the threshold for obtaining it is placed at such high impossibility…

Thanks for sharing your experience!

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!




And I have a photo of an example of the “eye of a needle” as well! L:D


The tomb of our LORD has been reworked over and over in the centuries since, which is why the circular stone cannot be found any more.



Would the narrow entrance to the Nativity Basilica be such an example?



Did you know it was a circular stone? It was news to me and other pilgrims on the trip.

The tomb may not have the circular stone but it still emits a magnetic field (from Christ’s resurrection). My camera went wacky there. I left it on and it would flash without my touching it (it was on a wrist strap). I have a bunch of weird photos, the floor, the ceiling, etc.


Do you mean the actual entrance to where Mary gave birth and the manager? I don’t know if that’s an example. In Nazareth, we were shown how people lived back then with the animals in the house for heating purposes. I believe that was the setup for the birth (with the animals).

When we would to Old Jerusalem, we would go through the Jaffa gate entrance to Old Jerusalem where there is a very large door that remains open now. In the large door, there is a door that’s about 6-7 feet high and about 3-4 wide. A camel with its pack could not pass through it. And no, we didn’t see an example of the camel trying to go through. :smiley:

I think the current fortress surrounding Old Jerusalem was built in the 16th century.


No, the main entrance to the Basilica (300s?) has a stone portal about the width and height of a medium-bodied human being.

The staircase into the crypt is within that.



There are renovations going on in the Basilica. Don’t recall a small door but there are many sites that are a bit fuzzy in my mind. We saw close to 95 sites while there (ten days). I need to refresh my memories with the photos and discuss it with my husband and son.

Check this out:


Hi, Irish!

…where are the scientists, the nerds, the “paranormal” trekkers?

It would be interesting to find that they would come up with the same conclusions as those who have studied the Shroud of Turin–‘aaaah, we know something extraordinary happened… some high energy release… yet… we don’t know what actually transpired…’

…it is interesting to find such links to the Resurrection and to Jesus while man continues to ask for proof while simultaneously denying the evidence.

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!




The way I understand it, at that time round stones were placed in grooves and rolled into place. It was the only practical way to move them.


I was checking with my husband and son as well as other people who were with us on the trip. We did not enter through the Door of Humility due to the renovations that were going on there.

The Door of Humility is a much smaller entrance than the “eye of a needle” opening in the Jaffa Gate based on the photos I saw on Wikipedia.


Jaffa Gate – ok, now I know the one you mean. No-one remarked on the “eye of the needle” being there when we went through it.



There’s actually two types of blocking stones that were used for cave burials back then. One is the circular disk type that was rolled over the door; the other is this square or rectangular shaped stone that was plugged into the entrance.

The Tomb of Herod’s Family, one of only four tombs in Jerusalem from the Second Temple period that have a disc-shaped blocking stone

1st century tomb in Emmaus-Nicopolis with a square plug-type blocking stone

Statistically speaking, the cork-shaped plugging stones were more common than the disk-shaped ones in part because they’re easier to manufacture. (In fact, there are only four surviving Second Temple period tombs in Jerusalem that have this type of blocking stone, all of them belonging to the wealthiest - royal, actually - families.*) It was only by the 2nd century onwards that the round blocking stones - slightly smaller than the 1st century ones - became more and more commonplace.

  • The so-called Garden Tomb is not counted here, because while some Christians believe it to be the tomb of Jesus (versus the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), some archaeologists have actually revealed it to be a tomb dating from around 700 or so years before Jesus.


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