Israel to give control of ‘tomb of David’ to the Vatican?

Claimed ‘Tomb of David’


A reader sent me a link to the following:

Is there a deal in the works to hand the Tomb of King David over to the Vatican?

Rumors of such an agreement appear to have enough substance to have prompted Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to write a query to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hotovely reminded the prime minister of the importance of the tomb of the Biblical monarch, noting its sanctity to the Jewish nation. She warned Netanyahu not to make the same mistake with King David’s Tomb that previous administrations made with the Temple Mount – that is, handing sovereignty over the sacred site to a foreign power…

There has not yet been any announced response to Hotovely’s letter.

Although an Israeli government source has denied any intention of transferring control over the site to the Vatican, other sources have said otherwise – including journalist Gulio Meotti, an editorial contributor to Arutz Sheva, who maintains there is truth to the rumors a deal is still in the works.

I was able to visit this tomb and the surrounding area last October.  Jews do not wish to give it up.  Although I was told by a rabbi that the Israeli government had promised, decades ago, not to give the general location (which includes a Muslim cemetery and a building) to the Vatican, political considerations often improperly override promises.  It may be given away as part of a peace deal and/or for political and/or economic reasons.

Notice also the following from a Catholic news source:

An Israeli lawmaker claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken with Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef about the possibility of ceding the Tomb of David— located in an old church building that is also revered by Christians as the site of the Last Supper—to the Vatican.

The report—which has not been confirmed by the Israeli government—comes after earlier rumors that the government was engaged in secret negotiations with the Vatican about future control of the site.

The Tomb of David is on the ground floor of the building in Jerusalem, which dates back to the 4th century. The Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper, is on the upper floor…

Negotiations on the long-awaited juridical pact between the Vatican and Israel are a focus of renewed interest as Pope Francis plans for his visit to the Holy Land later this month.

As mentioned before, I absolutely believe that the time will come when forces associated with the Vatican will gain control of this building. The Vatican has long wanted control of this location.

Notice that the real reason is not because of a claimed location for the tomb of David.  The ‘Cenacle’ building is a claimed location of certain New Testament events.  According to scholars and scholastic sources I have reviewed, it is questionable if certain New Testament events, such as the last Passover, etc. happened here, but some traditions indicate that it was.

As far as this being the location of the tomb of David, the first century Jewish historian Josephus seemed to believe that this Western Hill location was the correct one. He made several references:

1. AS for Herod, he had spent vast sums about the cities, both without and within his own kingdom; and as he had before heard that Hyrcanus, who had been king before him, had opened David’s sepulcher, and taken out of it three thousand talents of silver, and that there was a much greater number left behind, and indeed enough to suffice all his wants, he had a great while an intention to make the attempt; and at this time he opened that sepulcher by night, and went into it, and endeavored that it should not be at all known in the city, but took only his most faithful friends with him. As for any money, he found none, as Hyrcanus had done, but that furniture of gold, and those precious goods that were laid up there; all which he took away. However, he had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go farther in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon; where two of his guards were slain, by a flame that burst out upon those that went in, as the report was. So he was terribly aftrighted, and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone, at the mouth of the sepulcher, and that at great expense also. And even Nicolaus his historiographer makes mention of this monument built by Herod, though he does not mention his going down into the sepulcher, as knowing that action to be of ill repute; and many other things he treats of in the same manner in his book; for he wrote in Herod’s lifetime, and under his reign, and so as to please him, and as a servant to him, touching upon nothing but what tended to his glory, and openly excusing many of his notorious crimes, and very diligently concealing them. And as he was desirous to put handsome colors on the death of Mariamne and her sons, which were barbarous actions in the king, he tells falsehoods about the incontinence of Mariamne, and the treacherous designs of his sons upon him; and thus he proceeded in his whole work, making a pompous encomium upon what just actions he had done, but earnestly apologizing for his unjust ones. Indeed, a man, as I said, may have a great deal to say by way of excuse for Nicolaus; for he did not so properly write this as a history for others, as somewhat that might be subservient to the king himself. As for ourselves, who come of a family nearly allied to the Asamonean kings, and on that account have an honorable place, which is the priesthood, we think it indecent to say any thing that is false about them, and accordingly we have described their actions after an unblemished and upright manner. And although we reverence many of Herod’s posterity, who still reign, yet do we pay a greater regard to truth than to them, and this though it sometimes happens that we incur their displeasure by so doing. (Josephus. Complete Works: Antiquities, Book 16, Chapter 7. Translated by W. Whiston, Kregel Publications, 1960, pp. 345-346)

In 333 A.D. this building was observed by someone called the Bordeaux pilgrim. Here is an account by a Catholic priest and scholar:

Precisely from the topographical aspects, the Bordeaux pilgrim in 333 wrote, “Within the wall of Sion appears to be a place where David had his place. And of the seven synagogues that were there, there remains only one, the remains of the others they plough and sow as the prophet Isaiah said” (E 729)…

As a positive fact we have it that the Bordeaux pilgrim saw on Sion only one synagogue. To explain the silence on the mother church which certainly was on Sion, we can only identify this synagogue as mentioned by the Bordeaux pilgrim with the church adapted by use by the Judeao-Christians, and therefore called, according to their usage, a synagogue. This is confirmed by St. Cyril, who some half a score of years later…calls the place “a church of the Apostles”…

(Bagatti, Bellarmino.  Translated by Eugene Hoade.  The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 64)

Much more on why this location may be the correct one for the tomb of David and the original Church of God in Jerusalem, as well as some prophetic ramifications, is in the article Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill.

Some of what is known about the area is that the oldest part of original wall on the building above the ‘tomb of David’ was part of what appears to have been the first building constructed for Christian worship services in Jerusalem (and possibly anywhere else).  By attempting to control this, the Vatican wishes to imply that it is the continuation of the original Christian church.  But irrespective of what property the Church of Rome may control, its doctrines and practices differ greatly from those that the original Christians in Jerusalem held.  For details, see the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? and/or the free booklet Continuing History of the Church of God.

Currently I am doing some research related to the building, its location, and its possible role in end time prophecy. I have attempted to contact various scholars about it and keep updating a paper I am writing on it as I put together more information (see also Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill).

Here is a photo I took of some of the original bricks of the building:

It is believed that the original bricks (the large ones above, also called ashlars) were not only part of the first Christian church building (which was called a synagogue then), but that they also may have come from the second temple in Jerusalem.

Anyway, because of various biblical prophecies, it is possible that this is a location that the prophesied ‘man of sin’ will come to (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2).

The Vatican continues to press for control of this and my investigations are continuing.  Pope Francis is scheduled to conduct Catholic mass in this building later this month.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, which is located on a Mount Zion, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building? There is also a video titled Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications?
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén?
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.

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