The Land Jesus Knew, Part 4
April 1983

“The Land Jesus Knew, Part 4,” Ensign, Apr. 1983, 32

The Land Jesus Knew, Part 4

The Ensign continues with Part 4 of a five-part series featuring paintings and photographs of sites and events associated with the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. This month we focus on the final week of his mortal ministry—the days in Jerusalem and vicinity that culminated in his death on the cross and his resurrection from the tomb.

The paintings are by Harry Anderson, noted living American illustrator of the life of Christ, and by David Roberts, a British artist who visited the Holy Land in 1839–1842 and produced many drawings and lithographs of scenes there. Roberts’ work, though romanticized in some aspects, offers a rare view of what the Holy Land might have looked like before the modernization of the twentieth century.

Some of Harry Anderson’s paintings are printed courtesy of the Church; others are printed courtesy of the Pacific Press Publishing Association, for whom Mr. Anderson has painted many illustrations.

The photography is from Church Educational System (CES) photographers.


1. Bethany, lithograph by David Roberts.

The Triumphal Entry

2. The Triumphal Entry, Harry Anderson, original artist; painting by Grant Romney Clawson.

The Temple Mount and Mount of Olives

3. The Temple Mount and Mount of Olives, photography by CES.


4. Bethany, photography by CES.

Jerusalem from the Road Leading to Bethany

5. Jerusalem from the Road Leading to Bethany, lithograph by David Roberts.

Map: Jerusalem at the Time of Christ

6. Map: Jerusalem at the Time of Christ

Jerusalem from the East,

7. Jerusalem from the East, photography by CES.

Jerusalem from the South

8. Jerusalem from the South, photography by CES.

Render unto Caesar That Which is Caesar’s

9. Render unto Caesar That Which is Caesar’s, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.

Herod’s Temple

10. Herod’s Temple, photography by CES.

This Do in Remembrance of Me

11. This Do in Remembrance of Me, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.

Not My Will, but Thine, Be Done

12. Not My Will, but Thine, Be Done, painting by Harry Anderson; © Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission.


13. Gethsemane, photography by CES.

Gethsemane from the Kidron Valley

14. Gethsemane from the Kidron Valley, photography by CES.

Jerusalem from the West,

15. Jerusalem from the West, photograph by CES.

Steps to the Palace of Caiaphas

16. Steps to the Palace of Caiaphas, photograph by CES.

Pontius Pilate Stone

17. Pontius Pilate Stone, photograph by CES.

Golgotha and the Garden Tomb

18. Golgotha and the Garden Tomb, photograph by CES.


19. Golgotha, photograph by CES.

It Is Finished

20. It Is Finished, Harry Anderson, original artist; painting by Grant Romney Clawson.

He Is Risen

21. He Is Risen, Harry Anderson, original artist; painting by Grant Romney Clawson.

The Garden Tomb

22. The Garden Tomb, photograph by CES.

Continuing his final journey from Galilee, Jesus left Jericho and ascended to Jerusalem by way of the road that wended upward through the Judean wilderness to Bethany, Bethphage, and the Mount of Olives. Bethany, the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, was a small village on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, “fifteen furlongs” (about two miles) from Jerusalem. (John 11:1, 18.) Here the Savior lodged with his friends during the atoning week. (See Matt. 21:17; Mark 11:11–12.) Buildings shown in this 1839 engraving may not have differed greatly in construction from those of Jesus’ day. The principal shrine in Bethany is the traditional site of the tomb of Lazarus, seen here as the small building on the left with a circular dome.

“And when Jesus drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and they were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

“Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find a colt tied; loose it, and bring it unto me; and if any shall say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of it; and straightway he will send it.

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, and he is meek, and he is sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass.

“And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them; and brought the colt, and put on it their clothes; and Jesus took the colt and sat thereon; and they followed him.

“And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed in the way.

“And the multitudes that went before, and also that followed after, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

“And the multitude said, This is Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet of Galilee.” (JST, Matt. 21:1–9.)

This photograph encompasses Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives—the scene of some of the most important events of the Savior’s life, and of earthly history. At lower left are the high walls of the Temple Mount, where the temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod stood. The mount where the ancient temple stood is now dominated by the Dome of the Rock, a Moslem mosque. Below the high walls of the mount on the east is the Kidron Valley, and the Mount of Olives stands opposite. On its eastern slopes are the ancient sites of Bethphage and the village of Bethany. The mountain literally separates the Jerusalem area from the Judean wilderness to the east; very little moisture falls beyond Olivet.

“Then Jesus … came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. “There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

“Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,

“Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

“This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

“And Jesus said unto them, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? For she hath wrought a good work on me.

“Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will, ye may do them good; but me ye have not always.

“She has done what she could, and this which she has done unto me, shall be had in remembrance in generations to come, wheresoever my gospel shall be preached; for verily she has come beforehand to anoint my body to the burying.” (John 12:1–6; JST, Mark 14:6–8.)

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

“For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:37–39.)

On the second day of the week, Jesus returned to Jerusalem and cleansed the temple of those who had been buying and selling within the temple itself, making it “a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:16.). The day following, he came again to the temple and was beset by contentious scribes, Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees, who rejected the Master and “sought how they might destroy him.” (Mark 11:18.) This 1839 view of Jerusalem’s temple compound is from the Mount of Olives, looking toward the southeast corner of the Temple Mount. In the foreground below the mount is the valley of the brook Kidron, and just visible at right center is the top of Absalom’s Pillar, which may still be seen in the valley today.

The actual locations of many biblical-era sites in the Jerusalem area are not known with total certainty—for example, the palace of Caiaphas, the Upper Room, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb, and Bethphage. The locations noted here have general, but not universal, acceptance.

Present-day Jerusalem is a sprawling population center. Bethany, known today as El-Azariyeh (“Lazarus’s village”), is seen here just above the curve in the highway at center. Behind it rises the Mount of Olives with the Temple Mount and the Old City visible just beyond. Modern Jerusalem has expanded its suburbs far beyond the confines of the ancient walled city.

This aerial view focuses on the crowded, walled area of the Old City of Jerusalem, with the Temple Mount prominent at its southeast corner. The deep Kidron Valley separates the Old City from the Mount of Olives at right, and the curve of the Hinnom Valley borders the city’s south and west sides. The Old City is approximately one-half mile square, and represents only 1/25 of the entire area of present Jerusalem.

“And the chief priests and the scribes … sought to lay hands on him; …

“And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.

“And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:

“Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?

“But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?

“Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s.

“And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.

“And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and held their peace.” (Luke 20:19–26.)

This view of a model of Herod’s Temple shows the Women’s Court in the foreground, with steps leading up to the Nicanor Gate, inside which was the Court of the Israelites. In that inner court Israelite men gathered, and it would have been there that Jesus faced the scribes and Pharisees and taught many of his famous parables. The tall structure in the background within the Court of the Israelites is the temple sanctuary, containing the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

“And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

“And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer;

“For I say unto you, I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled which is written in the prophets concerning me. Then will I partake with you, in the kingdom of God.

“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divide among yourselves;

“For I say unto you, that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me.

“Likewise also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.” (JST, Luke 22:14–20.)

On the fifth day of the week, which was the Galilean Passover, Jesus and his disciples retired to a house, the larger upper room of which was “furnished and prepared.” (Mark 14:15.) Here they observed the Passover, at which time Jesus instituted the sacrament in remembrance of his atoning sacrifice shortly to come.

At the conclusion of the Passover events in the upper room, Jesus said: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

“But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.

“And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;

“And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.”

“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

“And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping from sorrow.”

“And saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (John 14:30–31; Mark 14:32–34; Matt. 26:39; Luke 22:43–45; Matt. 26:45.)

Said King Benjamin to American Israelites about 124 B.C.:

“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth … shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles. …

“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God. …

“And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name.” (Mosiah 3:5–9.)

The lower Garden area contains a number of massive, gnarled olive trees that are of great age—many hundreds of years old. According to tradition, it was in this area that Jesus went in the full moon of Passover time to pray, and to undergo a degree of suffering that caused him, “even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore,” thus taking upon himself the sins of mankind. (D&C 19:18.)

This sunrise view faces northward up the Kidron Valley. In the foreground is Absalom’s Pillar, and the sunlit structure at left center is a modern church. Beyond it, the treed area traditionally regarded as the Garden of Gethsemane sweeps from the bottom of the valley upward on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The open area on the hillside just beyond the Garden has been developed as the Orson Hyde Memorial Park, in memory of Elder Hyde’s 1841 dedication of the land of Israel for the return of Judah.

In this aerial view, the Old City is outlined by a thoroughfare that parallels the north wall, and by a thin line of vegetation at the far side of the city that reveals the Kidron Valley and the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives that rise opposite. The bright gold of the Dome of the Rock marks the site generally thought to be the location of the ancient temple. The rocky, open space at far left center is the place presently identified as Golgotha.

“And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. …

“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.” (Matt. 26:47, 57.)

These stone steps leading up from the village of Silwan (Siloam) past the site of the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest, date to the time of the Hasmoneans (166–63 B.C.). Unlike many sites in Jerusalem that have been covered by the debris of centuries of building and destruction, it is likely that these steps have been in use since the time when the Savior was led out of Gethsemane to be interrogated before a tribunal presided over by Caiaphas himself. Though the tribunal regarded Jesus’ words as blasphemous, the tribunal did not have the authority to condemn him to death. Therefore, they brought him before Pontius Pilate, the governor, accusing him of declaring himself king of the Jews, in open sedition against Rome. Although Pilate found Jesus guiltless, he acceded to the multitude’s loud cries of “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

In 1961, Israeli archaeologists working at Caesarea uncovered this stone bearing the names of both Tiberius, the Roman Caesar, and “Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judaea,” supporting the biblical narrative which places Pilate in Judea during A.D. 26–34.

This closer view of the area adjacent to the north wall of the Old City of Jerusalem (at right) shows the barren expanse encompassing Golgotha at center, and the enclosed grounds of the Garden Tomb adjoining it on the west.

In the 1880s this site was judged to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, Golgotha (“skull”), because the rock formation here resembles a skull. The hill, which is now the location of a Moslem cemetery, is actually an extension of the same ridge that forms Mount Moriah, the mount upon which the ancient temple was built. But because of ancient stone quarrying, it now appears to be a separate mountain.

“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

“Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.”

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

“And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,

“Save thyself, and come down from the cross.

“Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.”

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? …

“And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.”

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:17–18; Luke 23:34; Mark 15:29–31; Matt. 27:46, 48; John 19:30.)

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

“Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

“Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, … and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

“And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. …

“Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

“And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

“And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

“And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” (John 20:1–18.)

Adjacent to Golgotha on the west is the quiet, secluded spot known as the Garden Tomb, a large sepulchre carved into the solid rock. Like many Jewish tombs of Jesus’ day, this one is composed of two chambers, one serving as an outer room for mourners and the other as a burial chamber where the body was laid. The entrance was closed by a large stone that rolled into place along the rock-cut channel that fronts the tomb. The Garden Tomb today is situated in quiet seclusion among clean, flowered paths shaded by beautiful trees. Here, it is concluded, were uttered the most significant words in man’s earthly history: “HE IS RISEN!”