DISCUSSION FORUMS
MAIN MENU
Home
Help
Advanced Search
Recent Posts
Site Statistics
Who's Online
Forum Rules
Bible Resources
• Bible Study Aids
• Bible Devotionals
• Audio Sermons
Community
• ChristiansUnite Blogs
• Christian Forums
• Facebook Apps
Web Search
• Christian Family Sites
• Top Christian Sites
• Christian RSS Feeds
Family Life
• Christian Finance
• ChristiansUnite KIDS
Shop
• Christian Magazines
• Christian Book Store
Read
• Christian News
• Christian Columns
• Christian Song Lyrics
• Christian Mailing Lists
Connect
• Christian Singles
• Christian Classifieds
Graphics
• Free Christian Clipart
• Christian Wallpaper
Fun Stuff
• Clean Christian Jokes
• Bible Trivia Quiz
• Online Video Games
• Bible Crosswords
Webmasters
• Christian Guestbooks
• Banner Exchange
• Dynamic Content

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter.
Enter your email address:

ChristiansUnite
Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 25, 2017, 12:22:22 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
277872 Posts in 26491 Topics by 3790 Members
Latest Member: Goodwin
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  ChristiansUnite Forums
|-+  Theology
| |-+  General Theology (Moderator: admin)
| | |-+  Historical Evidence of Jesus
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Historical Evidence of Jesus  (Read 3823 times)
Soldier4Christ
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 58573


One Nation Under God


View Profile
« on: January 29, 2006, 04:38:17 PM »

Many of us have heard of the recent news of the Priest being sued by an atheist. The atheist wants the Priest to be forced by the courts to prove that Jesus Christ was an actual historical figure. This atheist Luigi Cascioli is the childhood friend of the Priest, Rev. Enrico Righi. What all this boils down to is Luigi Cascioli is attempting to get more publicity for his book he has written alleging Jesus never existed while at the same time trying to embarass and desecrate belief in Jesus Christ.

Those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour have already received all the proof that we need to know that Jesus Christ is real. Note I did not say was real but "IS REAL". He is alive today and will be returning for us just as He has promised.

For those others that do not believe, I have put together some interesting articles that prove that Jesus Christ did in fact walk here on earth just as the Bible says that He did. There are many written works done by non-Christians that report that Jesus was a real historical figure. The only question left to answer is to believe or not believe that He was who He said He was, very God.

----------

Resurrection proofs - Is there historical evidence?

Christianity has many extraordinary claims but they all rest on one event, the resurrection of our Lord. If this event did not come to pass, Christianity is of no use. 1 Corinthians 15:14 says, "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

The Christians of the early Church agreed with the Apostle Paul's statement. The Church would have come to nothing had the resurrection been discredited. Yet when the Church was experiencing growth, the Romans did not debunk the resurrection. There were certainly a plethora of hostile witnesses to the events of the Gospels, but not a single Roman came forward to expose supposed fallacies. Many Roman critics attacked the philosophy of Christianity, but they were unable to attack its historical accuracy, as they were witness to the events of the New Testament. The Church could not have grown in Jerusalem if Jesus' own generation (who had Him put to death) could have immediately exposed the resurrection as lies.

The resurrection is not a lie. Christ died. Roman soldiers were experts at execution. They plunged a spear into Christ's side, and resultant blood and water flowed through the wound. This was recorded in the gospels, however they did not understand the medical connotations as we do today. The fluid was flowing from the pericardium and Christ could not have survived.

Many historians readily accept the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, and Caesar. Plato wrote between 427-347 B.C., with our earliest copies of his works dating from the 900s (1200 year span), of which 7 copies have survived. Aristotle wrote between 384-322 B.C., and his earliest works are dated from the 1100s (1400 year span), with 49 surviving copies. Thucydides wrote around 460-400 B.C.; our copies of his works are from the 900s (1300 year span), with 8 copies in existence. Caesar's life was chronicled from 100-44 B.C. Our earliest copies of the chronicles of Julius Caesar date from the 900s (1000 years) and we have 10 surviving copies.

The New Testament, on the other hand, was written between 40-100 AD and our earliest copies of the New Testament manuscripts are from the 130s (less than 100 years) and we have 5000 Greek copies, 10,000 Latin copies and 9300 copies in other languages.

The New Testament stands alone in historical accuracy. It is the greatest of the resurrection proofs. The gospels themselves are the most reliable historical books in existence. However there are secular sources to confirm the gospels' claims. Josephus, a prominent Jewish historian, corroborated the prophecies, miracles, and crucifixion of Jesus. Tacitus, a Roman historian, goes as far as to say, "Christus…suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea. . .but even in Rome." (Tacitus, Annals 15.44 as quoted in Case for Christ)

Scholars assert that when Tacitus says Jesus, "checked for the moment" it indicates Jesus' death, and, "again broke out" refers to the resurrection.

The Bible also says the Earth went dark for three days. This is supported in the writings of Thallus, a mid-eastern historian, who noted the darkness, which was parallel with the time of the crucifixion. Phlegon also wrote about a great earthquake and the greatest eclipse in the 202nd Olympiad, which is the year A.D. 33.


______________________


 Jesus' Resurrection - Essential to the Christian Faith
Jesus' Resurrection from the dead is as essential to the Christian faith as His death upon the cross. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Paul emphasizes the importance of the Resurrection with his statement "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not" (I Corinthians 15:14-15).

Jesus' Resurrection - An Historical Event?
So, is Jesus' Resurrection from the dead an historical event? It is proclaimed throughout the four Gospels as well as ancient correspondence. If these works are the historical documents they claim to be, then they bare witness to an historical event. According to Aristotle's Dictum, these pieces meet the criteria for legitimate historical documents. However, as they describe miraculous events, they are not recognized by secular society as valid testimony. How then will these accounts be validated? Two questions must be asked. First, do the authors of these literary pieces discredit their work, or do their lives give credit to their testimony? Second, do accepted historical authorities corroborate these accounts?

Cont'd on page two

Logged

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Soldier4Christ
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 58573


One Nation Under God


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2006, 04:39:34 PM »

Page Two

Jesus' Resurrection - The Disciples' Testimony
The men who believed in Jesus' Resurrection from the dead, known today as Christ's Disciples, certainly had their testimony, as well as their convictions, tested by those who disbelieved. With the exception of John, every one of these men were put to death. These deaths were excruciating and merciless. More so were their lives, as these men were persecuted by the secular world and suffered great hardship for the spreading of their beloved Gospel, which they proclaimed. Paul gives account in his second letter to the Corinthians "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." (II Corinthians 11:24-27). Paul was later beheaded after suffering in a Roman dungeon for many years. His death was far less brutal then those of his brethren as he was a Roman citizen and often they were not. These men believed the Lord allowed them to suffer greatly, as there is no better evidence of their sincerity and the truth of their message than their endurance and perseverance without any hope of an earthly reward. Every single one of them could have escaped such torture and humiliation by simply denouncing the Resurrection of Christ. This was the goal of their tormentors. However, not one ceded to their persecutors, and this is dramatic evidence in rebuttal of any conspiracy theory.

Jesus' Resurrection - Persecution
In 115 AD, Roman historian, Cornelius Tacitus, described the suffering of early Christians at the hands of their tormentors. Emperor Nero, in order to expand his Palace, had fires set to portions of Rome. These fires blazed out of control and became known as "the Great Fire of Rome." He then blamed these fires on the Christians and sparked a wave of persecution throughout the Roman Empire. Though the fiddle was not invented until some years later, this was the birth of the old saying, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned." Tacitus writes: "Consequently, to get rid of the report [that Nero ordered the fire] Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus (Christ), from whom the name had its origin, suffered extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberious at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much for the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of charioteer or stood aloft on a cart. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."

Jesus' Resurrection - Historical Authorities
Jesus' Resurrection and/or the persecution of His followers were documented outside of the Bible by the following historical authorities: Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, Flavius Josephus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and the Jewish Sanhedrin. Beyond these ancient historians, there are documents from other sources such as the 2nd century Greek satirist Lucian. John Foxe wrote the classic Foxe's Book of Martyrs, describing in detail Christian suffering from the deaths of 1st Century Christians up to the persecutions during the reign of Queen "Bloody" Mary in England. The Inquisition put to death 68 million Christians between 1200 AD and 1800 AD for their convictions regarding the fallacies of the Popes and their heresies against Christ. Again, those who were put to death could have their lives, if they would renounce their convictions and worship the Pope.

Jesus' Resurrection - Individual Decisions
The men who witnessed Jesus' Resurrection testified to it with their lives. Their testimony, besides the compelling evidences presented in the Bible itself (such as incredible prophecy), has inspired millions more to follow suit -- To suffer persecution and death at the hands of an unbelieving world for the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Almighty. That He came to earth to die for our sins as was foretold in the Bible hundreds of years before His miraculous birth. That He died upon the cross and rose again. That He presented Himself to hundreds of disciples before returning to heaven. That He will return again at the end of the age. These men did not proclaim their beloved Gospel with their words. They cried out to the world with their very lives. This, as well as detailed prophecy and such compelling evidence as the empty tomb itself, add proof to their claims. Thus, mankind the world over has the opportunity to accept or reject the Resurrection based upon their own convictions. It is not for a lack of witnesses to the event, nor a lack of evidence.

Jesus Christ: Many Things to Many People
Jesus Christ has been called many things by many people, including a great man, a great teacher, and a great prophet. There is no legitimate scholar today that denies that Jesus is a historic figure that walked on this earth about 2,000 years ago, that he did remarkable wonders and acts of charity, and that he died a horrible death on a Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. The only dispute is whether Jesus was God incarnate who rose from the dead three days after His crucifixion. These are all matters of historical record that can be earnestly discovered and tested. Jesus told us who He was – He didn’t mince words. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ: He is the Way
Jesus Christ declared “I am the Way,” but clearly, not everyone believes Him. What are we all afraid of? The evidence for Jesus and His great works are well documented both in and out of the Bible. The evidence for His crucifixion on the cross, the empty tomb three days later, and His appearances to over 500 eye-witnesses after his resurrection is very compelling. Jesus fulfilled over 300 messianic prophecies written in the Old Testament scriptures. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the reliability of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, both of which have been proven to exist prior to the time Jesus walked on the earth, you can be assured that these prophecies were not “conspired” after-the-fact. They were truly fulfilled by the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Actually, if you look at the polls, most people aren’t afraid of Jesus at all. They’re afraid of Christians. Look at the way many Christians act, and who can deny this fear. Arcane rituals, flamboyant preachers, money, power, hypocrisy – Do these present a real picture of who Jesus is, and who He wants us to be? No. However, Jesus did not ask us to follow men and religion, He asked us to follow Him.

Jesus Christ: He is the Truth
Jesus Christ declared “I am the Truth,” but clearly, many of us have created our own concepts of truth. Moral relativism and religious pluralism pervade our culture. Truth is redefined daily. However, Jesus, through His Word -- the Bible -- gave us absolute truth. With today’s archaeological, historical and manuscript evidence, there’s far less reason to deny the origin of the Bible and its divine authenticity than to deny the legitimacy of works by Homer, Plato and Aristotle. What about your own pursuit of the truth? Is it even a priority in your life? How do you discover Christ’s truth, you might ask? He tells us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Jesus Christ: He is the Life
In Philippians 3:8, Paul said it all when he claimed that everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ: He is Who He Said He Was
Jesus Christ said that He was the only way. Jesus is unique. He was either telling the truth, He was crazy, or He was a liar. But since everyone agrees that Jesus was a “good man,” how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? There is only one logically consistent alternative - He must have been telling the truth. Jesus is who He said He was - He is the only way to God!

cont'd on page three
Logged

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Soldier4Christ
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 58573


One Nation Under God


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2006, 04:40:06 PM »

Page Three

Messianic Prophecy: What Is It?
Messianic prophecy is the collection of over 100 predictions (a conservative estimate) in the Old Testament about the future Messiah of the Jewish people. These predictions were written by multiple authors, in numerous books, over approximately 1,000 years. Messianic Prophecy is so dramatic today, because with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the reliability of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament (both of which have been proven to exist prior to the time Jesus walked on the earth) you can be assured that these prophecies were not “conspired” after-the-fact.

Messianic Prophecy: Fulfillment by Jesus Christ
Messianic prophecy was fulfilled by the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Although many Jews did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, many did, and they became the Jewish sect later known as the Christians. Christianity, based in dramatic part on the fulfillment of historical prophecy, spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire of the 1st Century. Examine the prophecies yourself, and calculate the probability of one man fulfilling just a handful of the most specific ones, and you’ll be amazed.

“Jesus said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’” Luke 24:44 (NIV)

The Old Testament verses are the prophecy; the New Testament verses proclaim the fulfillment. Check them all out for yourself!

    * Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)
    * A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)
    * Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14)
    * Of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1)
    * Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
    * Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
    * Herod´s killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
    * Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17)
    * Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)
    * Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)
    * Would preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21)
    * Would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16) Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13)
    * Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11)
    * Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)
    * Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)
    * Die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:
         1. rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48)
         2. betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18)
         3. sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15)
         4. silence before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14)
         5. being mocked (Psalm 22: 7-8; Matthew 27:31)
         6. beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26)
         7. spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30)
         8. piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31)
         9. being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
        10. praying for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
        11. piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
        12. given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36)
        13. no broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36)
        14. buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
        15. casting lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
    * Would rise from the dead!! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
    * Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
    * Would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)

Logged

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
ggamble
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 62


My hope is in my calling.


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2006, 10:01:53 PM »

Greetings, Pastor Roger

Well, done brother, one day every knee shall bow, and claim Him, King, "The Christ".
Many just don't see it, but one day they will. Prayers for the Father to draw them that "don't see it" yet, I lift up nearly every day.
But, I just wanted to comend you for them true facts documented, other than in the Gospels / Bible.
From  what I know of history which I love to research myself. I'd say you covered all that I knew about and many others I did not. Great job, enjoyed it.
I read about that case in Rome myself, and for that to be happening in Rome, well.
Just proves, its closer than many may think, He's on His way. Blessed be His name.
God's been sending the message pretty good here of late, I just pray people who don't know Jesus as their Saviour, will seek Him while they still got the time.
Because like you said and I also know, without all the evidence of the historians. That He is surely for real, always has been, always will be. Our blessed hope, Praise His name, "Lord Jesus".
Good job, on this post brother and thank you, because I know there are many out there, that these seeds, sown on this thread, will reap the harvest. God Bless You Brother

May the Lord, bless thee and keep thee
Only Always For Jesus
in the love of a brother - press on in the way
ggamble
Logged

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
Soldier4Christ
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 58573


One Nation Under God


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2006, 10:26:38 PM »

Thank you, brother but all glory belongs to Him. I can do nothing without Him.

It is my hope and prayer that these words will awaken the light in those that do not yet know Him and will bring them to Him.

Logged

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
ggamble
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 62


My hope is in my calling.


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2006, 10:44:20 PM »

Pastor Roger,

Amen, on its all from Him,
Amen, it's all about Him,
Amen on its all for His glory

God Bless
Only Always for Jesus
ggamble
Logged

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
2nd Timothy
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2706


Resident Meese Master


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2006, 09:08:38 AM »

Let me also add a huge AMEN to this Pastor Roger.   Outstanding posts!!!


Grace and Peace!
Logged

Tim

Enslaved in service to Christ
nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60539


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2006, 03:38:37 PM »

Pastor Roger,

ANOTHER AMEN BROTHER!

Love In Christ,
Tom

1 Peter 1:3 NASB  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Logged

Shammu
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 32182


B(asic) I(nstructions) B(efore) L(eaving) E(arth)


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2006, 10:19:05 PM »

Pastor Roger I don't know how I missed this but, AMEN, AMEN, and AMEN again!
Logged

sincereheart
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4832


"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2006, 06:57:40 AM »

Thank you, Pastor Roger! Would it be ok if I added to it?
If not, let me know and I'll delete!

FACT OR FICTION
Truth is not negotiable. Historical statements of fact are not open to question. When we read, for example, that George Washington and his men spent the winter of 1777 enduring wretched conditions at Valley Forge, we are obligated to believe it. Although none of us observed their long, deadly winter, what we know about it is supported by the written testimony of those who were there and by the scholarship of later inquirers who studied the Revolutionary War. The written accounts may differ on a few minor details, but we know that we can trust the record of the historians.

In a historical sense, the resurrection stands on ground that is just as solid as the story of George Washington's winter at Valley Forge. Reliable witnesses wrote about meeting and talking with Jesus after His death. Skeptical enemies noticed His disappearance from the tomb. Extrabiblical, historical reports were given of His resurrection. Eyewitnesses of Jesus' post-death appearances died defending their belief in it.

In order for an honest historian to be convinced that something actually happened, he needs to see two specific criteria met: (1) The event in question must be supported by the testimony of believable, trustworthy witnesses. And (2) the circumstantial evidence must be authentic. When both of these demands are clearly supported by the evidence at hand, the inquirer is compelled by logic to believe that the event actually took place. We will see that each of these criteria is met by the things we know about the resurrection.

Even so, some still don't believe. To make that refusal, a person must not only reject the eyewitness accounts and the circumstantial evidence, but he must make an even greater leap. The person who thinks that the resurrection is a fraud or a hoax must reject the entire New Testament. There can be no picking and choosing. If the resurrection is a hoax, then so is the New Testament and everything Jesus said or did. Claiming that Christ was a great teacher or a prophet--as even most unbelievers attest--while rejecting His resurrection is an impossible position. Consider what Jesus said during His ministry--before the crucifixion:

The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day (Lk. 9:22).
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mt. 12:40).

Think about it. Wouldn't we consider a man who made such wild claims to be untrustworthy if he couldn't follow through on his predictions? Instead of calling such a person a great teacher, wouldn't we call him a charlatan and a threat to mankind? There can be no middle ground. If Jesus did not do what He said He would do, He must be rejected completely. And along with Him go the Old Testament (because of its predictions of the Messiah's coming), the trustworthiness of Paul (who converted to Christ at the cost of beatings, imprisonments, and banishment from his former colleagues), and 2,000 years of church history (which rests solely on the resurrection).

The evidence to be presented in the next few pages is based on the biblical and historical data as we know it. We will see why both secular and religious scholars find Jesus to be a captivating, historical person. So, let's get logical. Let's take a hard look at the evidence that gives us reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

~more
Logged



sincereheart
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4832


"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2006, 07:00:37 AM »

The Verification of Jesus' Death

We have to start with the bad news. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders of Israel cost Him His life. When the Roman soldiers removed Him from that awful cross of Golgotha, He was dead. As horrible as this fact is, the validity of the resurrection accounts hinges on it.

If, as some critics say, Jesus did no more than faint from the pain, there would be no need for a resurrection. For a person to be raised from the dead, he must first have died. To deny Christ's death, therefore, is to remove all possibility of resurrection. But the Bible teaches that He died.

In the four Gospel accounts of Jesus' crucifixion, His death is spoken of in two distinct terms. In Matthew 27:50 and in John 19:30, the writers said He "yielded" or "gave up" His spirit. The other accounts both record that He "breathed His last" (Mk. 15:37; Lk. 23:46).

Remarkably, Matthew, Mark, and Luke each recorded a simultaneous event that occurred some distance from Calvary. They wrote that as Jesus died, "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Mk. 15:38). This miraculous event signaled the end of the Old Testament era of animal sacrifice and limited access to God. But that's not all it meant. It also verified Jesus' death, because it demonstrated that His complete sacrifice had satisfied God's demands. For centuries, God had required the death of an unblemished lamb as an atonement for sin. Now Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, had become the new sacrifice. The veil was no longer needed, for access to God had been opened to all who would believe in Christ.

The following events at the site of the crucifixion help verify that Jesus was dead:

The Roman soldiers did not break Jesus' legs, because they "saw that He was already dead" (Jn. 19:33).
The soldiers plunged a spear into Jesus' side, and from it came both water and blood (Jn. 19:34). Medical experts say that if He were not already dead, this in itself would have killed Him. Others have concluded that the pouring out of water and blood from His side was proof that Jesus was no longer alive.
When Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Christ so he and Nicodemus could bury Him, Pontius Pilate ordered a centurion to verify that Jesus was dead (Mk. 15:43-45). The Roman governor would not release the body to Joseph until the centurion was certain that all signs of life were gone. You can be sure that an officer in the Roman army would not make a mistake about an important matter like this in his report to such a high official as Pilate. 
Joseph and Nicodemus prepared the body for burial according to Jewish custom. This included wrapping it "in a clean linen cloth" (Mt. 27:59), anointing the body with "a mixture of myrrh and aloes" (Jn. 19:39), and placing it "in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock" (Mk. 15:46). It seems obvious that any sign of life would have been detected by these bereaved friends. Surely they would not have buried a breathing Jesus.
The Pharisees and chief priests met with Pilate to discuss what had occurred. They made such remarks as "while He was still alive" (Mt. 27:63). Soldiers were ordered to secure the grave with a seal. In addition, guards were placed on duty to prevent the disciples from coming to "steal Him away" (v.64). The Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities knew beyond doubt that Jesus was dead.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point1.html

~more
« Last Edit: January 31, 2006, 07:29:23 AM by sincereheart » Logged



sincereheart
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4832


"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2006, 07:02:40 AM »

The Empty Tomb

The Sabbath had ended, and Jesus' friends could now come to visit the tomb. As morning broke on the new day, the women who had watched Joseph and Nicodemus bury Jesus came back to anoint His body. It was Sunday now--a somber day that, as far as the women knew, would be followed by many more days just like it. They were undoubtedly resigned to a future of sad pilgrimages such as this one. They knew of nothing else they could do for their fallen loved one but to grieve at His tomb and to put spices on His body. But what a surprise lay ahead!

As they walked toward the garden, they worried aloud about who could roll away the heavy stone so they could go inside the tomb and apply their spices. But when they arrived, they saw that the stone had already been moved! They were greeted by an angel, who told them that Jesus had risen.

With this background in mind, let's look at the evidence that the tomb was empty. First, we can depend on the historical record. Surely the authorities of Jesus' day wanted nothing more than to have Jesus stay where Joseph had put Him. The mere fact that they sealed the tomb and placed guards to protect it--a highly unusual act--indicated that they were determined to keep the body behind that stone barrier. Suppose they had been able to do that. You can be sure the Sanhedrin and other officials would have been the first to use the knowledge of an occupied tomb as evidence when the disciples began to announce to everyone that they had seen Jesus alive. Yet no historical evidence exists to suggest that those officials knew where the body was. As we will see, the evidence shows that it was no longer in the tomb.

 Second, there is something even more conclusive than the officials' inaction--the actions of several eyewitnesses. The first to see and report the empty tomb were the women with the spices. Mark's account sets the scene for us:

Entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here" (16:5-6).
John and Peter were the next to see that Jesus was gone. When they heard the unbelievably good news from Mary and the other women, they raced to the gravesite. John got to the tomb first but didn't go in. Instead, he peered through the opening and saw the linen wrappings that Jesus had left behind. Characteristically, Peter was not content with a long-distance view. He charged right into the tomb and spied the linen wrappings and the face cloth lying undisturbed and neatly arranged. Then John entered and saw the wrappings. John, it should be noted, is the one who wrote this account as recorded in chapter 20 of his Gospel. If you need an eyewitness to convince you that the tomb was empty, you have one in the apostle John. He was there, and he wrote down what he saw. That is solid historical evidence in anyone's book.

A third strong piece of evidence that the tomb was empty is the reaction of the authorities when the guards reported the events in the garden. They wanted to destroy the credibility and influence of Jesus. Therefore, they would surely have been foolish to spread the rumor that the disciples had stolen the body--if Jesus were still in the tomb. No, Jesus' disappearance was the sole cause for their concern. Surely their collusion with the guards is solid proof that there was no body in the tomb.

We are faced with two facts. (1) Jesus died and was buried. (2) In a short time, His tomb became empty. The question remains: Where was Jesus?

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point2.html

~more
Logged



sincereheart
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4832


"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2006, 07:04:36 AM »

The Appearance of Jesus

Jesus' friends weren't looking for what they were about to see. Although they had heard and closely followed Jesus' teaching for 3 years, they just never fully understood that He was going to rise from the dead. Therefore, they would have had no reason to make up stories in which they claimed to have seen Him. To them, that wasn't even an option. Sure, they missed Jesus. And just as any of us who has lost a loved one or friend longs to see him, so also they had the desire to see Jesus. But they did not expect that they ever would (see Jn. 20:9).

Yet see Him they did! First at the tomb. Then on the dusty Emmaus road. Then in the upper room. Over and over, in different settings, Jesus appeared to His friends. For 40 days He made His presence known throughout the land. Let's look at who saw Jesus and where He appeared. It's one more piece of evidence for the resurrection.

To Mary Magdalene At The Tomb (Jn. 20:11-18). Mary had been standing outside the empty tomb crying because, as she said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him" (v.13). His death, combined with her fear that His body had been stolen, had engulfed her in heart-wrenching despair. But when Jesus startled her into recognizing Him by calling out, "Mary!" she rushed to Him in joy and relief. Then she ran to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord.

To Several Women As They Ran From The Tomb (Mt. 28:9-10). These women had already heard that Jesus was alive, even though they had not yet seen Him. They had just left the tomb, where an angel had told them that Jesus had "risen from the dead." When they saw the Lord, they "held Him by the feet and worshiped Him" (v.9). Jesus told them to spread the news that He was alive and to tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee.

To Two Disciples On The Emmaus Road (Lk. 24:13-32). Imagine the drama of this scene. Two disciples were walking the 7 dusty miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus when a fellow traveler caught up with them and struck up a conversation, asking what they were talking about. Apparently, they had been discussing the death and entombment of Jesus, because they were surprised that the stranger wasn't familiar with their topic. They said, in effect, "Do you mean to say that you don't know about Jesus' death?" The two then explained why they were so sad--that though some women had seen the empty tomb and claimed that Jesus was alive, they had not yet seen Him. These disciples would not believe without seeing the evidence for themselves.

An exciting surprise awaited the pair when they arrived at Emmaus. The three of them stopped to eat, and as they ate, the disciples' "eyes were opened" and they recognized that this mysterious stranger was Jesus. But before they could speak again, He "vanished from their sight" (v.31).

To Peter At An Unknown Location (Lk. 24:33-35). In this passage, we are not given a direct look at the meeting between Peter and Jesus. All we know is that when the disciples who had been to Emmaus returned, they learned that Peter had seen the Lord too. Imagine the excitement that must have been generated in that place!

To 10 Disciples In The Upper Room (Lk. 24:36-43). Suddenly this praise meeting of the disciples was interrupted. As they sat comparing notes about the thrilling reality of seeing Jesus, He suddenly appeared. As might be expected, the men were startled because they thought they were seeing a spirit (v.37). Jesus quickly laid that idea to rest by offering to have them touch His hands and feet, and by eating supper with them.

To 11 Disciples In The Upper Room (Jn. 20:26-31). It must have been a long week for Thomas. The other 10 disciples had met with Jesus in the upper room, but he had not. Surely they had spent time trying to convince Thomas that they really had seen Jesus. But he reacted the same way they had when they heard from the women who first saw Jesus. They were not convinced without hard evidence, and Thomas wanted the same advantage. Now he was about to get it. Jesus suddenly appeared to the men and said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands" (v.27). Then Thomas believed, exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!" (v.28).

To Seven Men At The Sea Of Galilee (Jn. 21:1-25). Things had begun to return to normal for the disciples. They had gone back to work. Some went on an all-night fishing trip on the Sea of Galilee. But the fish weren't cooperating, and the men had an empty boat. As daylight broke over the water, they saw a man standing on the shore, shouting advice to them. The seven seamen did what He suggested and nearly capsized their boat with all the fish they dragged ashore.

When John informed Peter, "It is the Lord!" (Jn. 21:7), Peter dove in and swam to shore. When they all arrived on the beach, they saw that Jesus had prepared a hot breakfast of fish and bread for them. Jesus then offered to cook a few of the fish they had just caught.

To 11 Disciples On A Mountain (Mt. 28:16-20). This is the first planned meeting between the disciples and Jesus recorded after the resurrection. Matthew wrote that the disciples proceeded "into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them" (28:16). There He met with the Eleven, and probably some others. Perhaps this included the "500 brethren" mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

What is significant is that even though the Eleven worshiped Jesus when they saw Him, "some doubted" (Mt. 28:17). Although it is possible that a few of these men were still doubting Jesus' resurrection, it is more probable that the skeptics were disciples who didn't have the advantage of touching Jesus and eating with Him. They would naturally have been more hesitant to believe that this was the same man who had been crucified a few weeks before. Yet the fact that doubters are mentioned shows that the disciple who wrote the account was not afraid to talk about the skepticism of some of the observers.

To His Disciples Near Bethany (Acts 1:9-12). The final appearance of Jesus to His disciples ended with His disappearance. As He stood talking with them about the command He had just given them to be His witnesses, "He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (v.9). This turned out to be a commencement of sorts for the disciples. Just a few weeks earlier, they had been a disheartened group whose leader was dead. Now they were enthusiastic evangelists. They "returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Lk. 24:52), and "they went out and preached everywhere" (Mk. 16:20).

The evidence was clear. Jesus was alive. Now their job was to go and tell people about it.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point3.html

~more
Logged



sincereheart
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4832


"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2006, 07:06:25 AM »

The Reaction of the Jewish Officials

A Roman soldier was no coward. He was a specially trained, tough-minded, well-equipped warrior. Yet notice the reaction of the soldiers who were protecting Jesus' tomb when they felt the earth move and saw an angel roll back the stone (Mt. 28:2). They "shook for fear of him, and became like dead men" (v.4).

They probably realized that they had more to be afraid of than an angel. Their training told them that keeping watch was an important commission. They knew that various punishments were handed out to soldiers who couldn't stay awake on guard duty. Sometimes they were beaten; other times they were set afire. Most of the time they were executed. These brave, well-armed men had no way to stop the angel, so they had double reason to be afraid.

But look what they did next. They turned themselves in! Facing sure punishment, they still felt that they must report this amazing event to their superiors. Once they had spilled their story to the chief priests and elders, their fears turned to relief. The officials, realizing that sending Jesus to His death had not accomplished their purpose, decided to concoct a story. They bribed the soldiers to spread the news that "His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept" (v.13).

The soldiers must have done what they were told, for Matthew commented that the story begun by those chief priests was "commonly reported among the Jews until this day" (v.15). Devised in the face of the fact of the resurrection, this fabrication stayed alive for many years among those who refused to believe that Jesus had risen.

It wouldn't have taken much effort to refute their story. First, if the disciples had indeed been able to steal the body of Jesus, how would the guards have known that it was they who had stolen it? Didn't the story go, "while we slept"? Second, it seems preposterous that a group of men could have sneaked up on highly trained, albeit slumbering, soldiers without waking them. And then to think that they could have moved the stone, unwrapped 100 pounds of graveclothes, folded them neatly, lifted the body, and carried it away while the soldiers slept is even more ridiculous.

Yes, the officials knew that Jesus had risen. Their reaction proves it. Their bribe verifies it. And their hastily concocted story authenticates it.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point4.html

~more
Logged



sincereheart
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4832


"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2006, 07:09:33 AM »

The Outlook of Jesus' Disciples

Sometimes you have to wonder about the disciples. They certainly didn't seem to be the kind of men you would recruit if you wanted to promote a revolutionary concept.

For instance, when Jesus tried to explain to them what would happen in the days ahead, they often misunderstood. When He asked some of them to stay with Him during His all-night prayer vigil, they kept falling asleep. When He talked of servanthood, they argued about their own greatness. When He tried to tell them that He would be raised up after 3 days, they didn't get it.

On the night Jesus was arrested, the disciples ran for their lives. Peter couldn't even stand up to a servant girl when she identified him as a friend of Jesus. The disciples just didn't seem like the men of action you would need if you wanted to win a following and influence the world.

But something happened to change all that. What would change a cowardly group of mourners into a courageous band of evangelists who were willing to stand up and testify that the crucified Jesus was alive? What changed them into willing martyrs for their faith?

Some would say that the disciples had nothing stronger to spur them on than a story they had made up. But can you imagine what it would take to believe this? Just picture Peter standing up before the disciples, who had remained safely hidden behind locked doors after Jesus' death for fear of their lives, and saying, "Well, the entire weight of the Roman government was just used to put Jesus to death by crucifixion. Even though He is still dead, we are going to start a rumor that He isn't. We are going to say that He rose from the tomb and that we all saw Him."

Did they make up the story? If so, why would they later risk their lives for nothing? If they hadn't even understood for sure that Jesus planned to rise from the dead, why would they break out of their anonymity with such a far-fetched scheme? And why would they record their fabrication in the Gospel accounts, complete with details?

A fictional story can't possibly account for the changes in the disciples. Take, for instance, the transformation of Thomas. Of all the disciples, he seemed the least likely to be convinced. His pessimism was first revealed earlier, when Jesus mentioned His plans to go to Bethany where Lazarus had just died. Thomas had suggested to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" (Jn. 11:16). Although this statement suggests a degree of courage, it also implies that Thomas was resigned to martyrdom. If that was his typical response, it is no wonder he responded to the disciples' claim that they had seen Jesus after His death by saying, "Unless I see . . . I will not believe" (Jn. 20:25). Does this sound like someone who is willing to rekindle the anger of the Roman officials by claiming that Jesus was alive if He really wasn't?

Now look at Thomas a week later. In the upper room, surrounded by his 10 friends who had already seen Jesus, he saw the Savior face to face. Finally, Thomas was convinced. His statement, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn. 20:28) is the ultimate proclamation of belief in Jesus' resurrection. Here was victory that could be won only through hard evidence. It's the only thing that could have changed this skeptic into a believer.

No, the disciples were not the type of men who could have lived a lie as far-reaching as one that claimed a dead man wasn't dead anymore. They might have misunderstood Jesus on occasion, but they were basically honest men. They had no reason to devise such a scheme, and they didn't have the courage it would take to defend such a bald-faced lie. Peter would never have been hanged upside down for a trumped-up story. Mark would not have been dragged through the streets to his death if he had been defending fiction. James would not have been beheaded for a falsehood. Thomas wouldn't have been pierced with a lance for a lie. Yet tradition says that these men died the horrible deaths just described. What a testimony to the truth of their claims! They were willing to die for the One who overcame death for them--and for us!

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point5.html

~more
Logged



Pages: [1] 2 3 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



More From ChristiansUnite...    About Us | Privacy Policy | | ChristiansUnite.com Site Map | Statement of Beliefs



Copyright © 1999-2016 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
Please send your questions, comments, or bug reports to the

Powered by SMF 1.1 RC2 | SMF © 2001-2005, Lewis Media