Skip to comments.Are There Discrepancies in the Resurrection Accounts? If so, Can They be Resolved?
Posted on 04/09/2012 8:42:59 AM PDT by marshmallow
When we read the various accounts of the Resurrection in the four Gospels, Acts and Pauline Epistles we can easily be puzzled by some apparent discrepancies in the details.
The Pope in his recent book, Jesus of Nazareth (Vol II) says, We have to acknowledge that this testimony [of Scripture] considered from an historical point of view, is presented to us in a particularly complex form and gives rise to many questions. (P. 242)
The Pope goes on to explain what he considers to be the reason for this complexity and apparent divergence in some of the details.
What actually happened? Clearly for the witnesses who encountered the risen Lord, it was not easy to say. They were confronted with what, for them, was an entirely new reality, far beyond the limits of their own experience. Much as the reality of the event overwhelmed them and impelled them to bear witness, it was still utterly unlike anything they had previously known. (p. 242).
The Pope then reminds us that Jesus resurrection was experienced by them as something far beyond the resuscitation of a corpse. Rather, Jesus had taken up a wholly new and transformed humanity that was beyond anything they could fully describe or had ever experienced.
With all this in mind we are better able to appreciate the ecstatic qualities of the resurrection accounts and appreciate why all their details do not perfectly line up. The accounts have a rather crisp, lets get to the point quality; especially the accounts of the first day of the appearances. Frankly, one would be surprised if every detail in the account of an astonishing event were exactly the same. One might even suspect a story that was too controlled and wonder as to a kind of brainwashing or conspiracy having taken place.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.adw.org ...
CBS Sunday Morning featured a guy (atheist) who admits the Shroud of Turin dates to the time of Christ’s death. His little Satan’s twist is that people did not see the resurrected Jesus, they were shown the image on this shroud.
You can have a bunch of people witnessing the same thing and all of them will come up with slightly different versions. If they all agreed critics will say it’s collusion; if they differed in their version critics will say they couldn’t agree. Can’t win in either case.
Much of the discrepancies can be resolved by the fact the Apostles and disciples learned about it from different people and would have learned a slightly different account.
I don’t believe any of the discrepancies are problematic ones.
Of course there are discrepencies. There are discrepencies regarding the Kennedy assassination, but we all know it happened.
That pretty much accounts for all of the discrepancies noted in the Gospels. These people led real lives and couldn’t always be there. Undoubtedly, when Christ told a parable, He often repeated them. The Apostles and disciples would have heard them in different times and places and in different ways.
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
vs the fact He was only in the tomb one full day—the Sabbath? I've read some explanations, but I wonder if there is a better one I haven't heard.
Thanks in advance to any who take the time to answer. I'm going to be away from the computer most of today, but I will try to thank anyone who responds later. Please don't think I'm a hit and run poster, however, if it takes a while for me to do it. Thanks again.
It counted as a day, if it was only part of a day. So, if Christ went into the grave prior to the Sabbath, it would ha e counted as the first day, the Sabbath would have been counted as the second day, then the evening until first day morning would have counted as the third day.
You likely are referring to an early test which later was shown to lack proper controls. A later, far more detained set of tests verified that the shroud dates back to the time of Christ.
Correction: I thought flawed carbon dating determined the oldest it could be was 300 years after Christ died?
Good answer and your tag line is even better.
I doubt if the Apostles told the stories in different ways, I doubt that they were at all confused. They did after all receive instruction from the ressurected Christ for 40 days before His Assention.
The problems lies in the methodology of the day. In the Apostles time writing was not like it is today, today writing is everywhere. While Israel was the most literate society in the world during it’s day, literacy was still not universal. Another problem was the written language was often in 3 popular languages and the spoken language a 4th. The written languages were Roman Greek and Hebrew while many locals spoke Aramaic. The Aramatic language was not often written. Official texts were generally Roman, while religious texts were generally Hebrew and many business texts were Greek. Most of the Apostles were, at least to some degree tri-lingual and in some cases spoke fluently in 4 languages. They had to speak so that the audience they were speaking to could understand them. It is not hard to understand how a story could be carried in a variety of different versions.
We have a tendency to think of the Apostles sitting down to record their stories or Gospels. That is not generally the case. We know that John did indeed write and Paul and James both were writers but that is about all we have for sure, and I emphasize “sure”. The Gospels were committed to writing after the Apostles death, for the most part, by those who traveled with them and heard their stories over and over again. What is amazing is how similar the different versions of the Gospel are.
All these things are unimportant when you consider just a couple of things. The Apostles believed Mary when she said she saw the risin Lord enough to run to the tomb. Thousands believed the Apostles when they said they saw the risin Lord. Paul on the road, completly unconnected to the Apostles had his own meeting with the Risin Lord and writes about it in his own hand. So far we have a small enough group that you could suppose that there could have been a conspiracy of lies BUT there were upwards of 500 people who witnessed His Assention. 500 is just too many people to maintain a conspiracy. There would be some who recant. Actually getting 12 people to go to their deaths without recanting a lie would likely be impossible.
I can tell you this, I have never seen The risin Lord, I have however felt His presence and know as certain as anybody that the Apostles witnessed to that He is real. These talking head idiots on TV and in our universities will have a very rude awakening on resurrection morning. Christ lives, if you don’t know it or believe it simply ask Him.
In the CBS piece it was claimed, without any dissenting opinion, that carbon dating places it from the middle ages. From my reading I have found various scientists have been critical of that dating on technical grounds.
I haven’t read that 300 AD date before.
Entire article here — http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2869469/posts?page=56#56
Does not need to be excerpted.
The fact that he was raised back on Earth is a discrepancy but for different reasons,I have no problem believing he was raised from the dead.....just why he came back here.
It is not a form of damnation when that happens but it “can”
speak of a certain distance between the Lazarus(the raisee) and God.Essentially it speaks of unfinished work not of the world but of the individual.
Otherwise I am not unfamiliar to this subject,just have never experienced it from a first-hand perspective.Jesus could have experienced it face to face with people who’d died and then decided to try it for himself.
As if any of this could make any sense to anyone here.......
The sign of Jonah was the ONLY sign Jesus gave as proof of His Messiahship. 3 Days - and 3 Nights in the heart of the earth. That is 3 full days (6Am to roughly 6PM) and 3 full nights (6PM to roughly 6 Am). You cannot even get parts of days and nights from a Friday crucifixion to finding the tomb empty on Sunday morning.
Based on my own understanding and study - it is likely that Jesus was crucified possibly on Wednesday around 9 AM in 33 AD. That would correspond with Passover occurring at that date in that year. The fact as Leviticus 23:5 points out that at sunset (or even) on Nissan 14, “It is the Lord’s Passover”. Jesus led His disciples in the upper room to install the New Covenant. Notice that Passover is NOT a commanded assembly or ‘High sabbath” as the next verse in 23:6 states that the 15th of the month WAS an High Sabbath to the Lord, at Sunset. The High Sabbath being the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
Of interest to note is that in Jerusalem in 33 AD, the slaughtering of the passover lambs for the big Seder meal that opens the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread, was taking place in the Temple at 3PM, the Ninth Hour in which it is recorded that Jesus died.
The Gospels tell us that the ‘High Sabbath” (The First Day of Unleavened Bread) was drawing on (The Bible counts God’s days as beginning from sunset until the following sunset) and they broke the legs of the two thieves so they would die quicker so they could get the bodies down from the crosses and into the tombs before sunset.
Jesus was put in the tomb before sundown on our Wednesday before sunset in my understanding.
Wednesday night until Thursday morning was the first night in the grave, and it was an High Sabbath Day.
On Thursday evening at Sunset - Jesus was in the grave one night and one day.
At sunset on Thursday evening until Friday morning, Jesus was in the grave 2 full nights and one full day.
Friday morning at dawn began what the Jews called “The preparation” for the regular weekly seventh Day Sabbath. The Gospel accounts tell of the women buying preparations for Jesus’ burial as was their custom - and after all of their purchases and preparations of the spices and ointments (probably also in preparation for the regular Sabbath in which all heavy cooking was to be done for the following day on Friday before Sunset). The Gospel accounts tell us that they then “rested according to the Commandment” which came at sunset on Friday.
Friday at Sunset is two full nights and two full days in the grave for Jesus.
From Friday night until Saturday morning, the Sabbath- Jesus was in the grave for 3 full nights and two full days.
On Saturday - at sunset, Jesus was in the tomb for 3 full nights, and 3 full days.
The Gospel of John tells us in chapter 20:1 - “On Sunday morning while it was still yet dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance”.
This was BEFORE the sun came up on Sunday morning that John asserts Mary Magdelene reported that Jesus was not in the tomb. Mark and Matthew differ in the time - and some of it may have been alterations in the original Greek to support the doctrine of the church that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and rose Sunday morning.
In any event, my understanding is that Jesus had fully spent 3 days and 3 nights in the grave as He said - and rose sometime after sunset on our Saturday night so the tomb was empty whether it was still dark or the sun had just come up.
Literally and figuratively - Jesus IS the undisputed Lamb of God in accordance with the scriptures. The trouble always begins when traditions of men are grafted into the plain words written in the bible, and it is how the Secularists and Atheists are able to convince many people that our faith is nothing but a fable.
What people forget is that their C14 results were skewed by samples that were taken from expertly repaired sections of the Shroud (not to be confused with the huge triangular repair patches from 1532). The repairs were made (it is believed) in the 16th Century.
More details are available from http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/marben.pdf
I take it on faith that Jesus rose from the dead. It is comforting to me that despite all the suffering and torture the Apostles went thru not one of them changed their stories.
The 3 full days mean that you have to take into account not only to include the time that Jesus was buried but to include Jesus’s suffering, which started with the agony in the garden. So three days right there.
‘Are there any biblical examples where “after three days and three nights” may not mean exactly 72 hours? Yes, 1 Samuel 30 is an example. The account in this chapter is about David and the Amalekites, and certain events in the village of Ziklag. Verse one tells us that, “David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day” (emphasis ours throughout). Upon arriving at Ziklag, David encountered an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. He told David, “My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago” (verse 13). The account also says that the Egyptian had not eaten or drunk for “three days and three nights” (verse 12).
‘”On the third day” is not necessarily three full days. In fact, it would be less than 72 hours. “Three days ago” is equally vague, as it could be less than three full days. Yet, this time is equated with “three days and three nights.” Its certainly possible, or even probable, that we are not dealing with a full 72-hour period here. If that is the case, then “three days and three nights” could be an idiomatic expression that would refer to parts of three days. 1 Samuel 30 indicates that “three days and three nights” was an expression that did not necessarily mean a full 72 hours. Other examples where variants of the expression “three days” are used includes the following passages: Genesis 42:17-18 (”for three days” = “on the third day”); 2 Chronicles 10:5, 12 (”three days later” = “in three days”) and Esther 4:16-5:1 (”for three days” = “on the third day”).’
Thanks, Jonty. Your explanation may be the correct one. I’m just not sure why Jesus would have specified “three nights” when He could so easily have left at “three days”. This is something I have thought about and researched, and I’ll no doubt keep on thinking about it. I appreciate your input.
Thanks for laying this out so clearly. I had read this explanation elsewhere, but it wasn’t articulated as well as your version. If you’re right, then when Jesus said “three nights”, what He meant was ‘three nights’. This is in keeping w how He usually spole: i.e.: He said what He meant and meant what he said.
Thanks for your input and examples. Is there any indication in the Samuel passage that the Egyptian slave really hadn’t eaten for three days and three nights? It seems he could have been telling the truth. But even if he was lying or exaggerating, it would be understandable under the circumstances. I’m less inclined to believe Jesus said ‘three days and three nights’ when what He meant was ‘three days’. I for one have never said ‘three nights’ when I meant ‘two nights’. Something to think about, anyway.
Verse 12 doesn't say the slave said he hadn't - it says he hadn't: "And when he had eaten them his spirit returned, and he was refreshed: for he had not eaten bread, nor drunk water three days, and three nights."
"If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." - Luke 14:26
Perhaps his master began withholding food from the slave when he saw the man was getting sick. He saw no reason to squander resources.
Iow, if the text says the slave hadn’t eaten for three days and three nights, why should we assume that’s not true? It very likely is true, since that’s the way it’s expressed.
I do not read ANYTHING in the Gospel accounts or other places in scripture where such an accounting exists in relation to Jesus being in the grave.
Jesus specifically said "Three days AND Three nights" would be the ONLY SIGN given of His Messiahship.
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" - Matthew 12:40.
Three days and three nights in the heart of the earth or grave. Jesus DID NOT include the suffering in the Garden 9 hours previous to his crucifixion in the accounting.
For folks who rightfully insist on going by every plain word in the Constitution to mean what it says - why is the same concept so hard to apply with the scriptures?
The confusion ALWAYS begins when you attempt to shove traditions and agendas into the plain reading the the bible.
The Left does this all the time with the Law of the Land, and reads their own agendas into the plain words of our Constitution. Just ask a public high Schooler to recite the First Amendment, they will tell you "Separation of church and state". Such is nowhere found in the plain words written, but agendas and traditions READ INTO the plain words, totally changes what the vast majority understand what those plain words meant by those who wrote them.
The bible has suffered this same fate millennia ago, until most have no clue what the plain words mean outside of tradition that they were taught as children. When confronted with the original intent and plain meaning of the words, pretzel logic always ensues and men look to other places to cobble together a justification for the discrepancy between agendas/traditions and the plain words.
This is how applying a private letter Jefferson wrote in 1801, when he was not even one of the writers or signatories to the Constitution, changes the meaning of First Amendment to mean something entirely different than written. So too - this is how traditions are yanked from other places to make the bible work within traditions grafted INTO the church.
Three days AND Three nights - it's not that difficult to understand. The secularists bash Christians over the head with traditions read into scripture to prove our faith a myth. Yet the bible interprets itself and is most often deliberately taken out of context to prove a point or push an agenda - same as our Constitution is now suffering. Until a time comes when few even recall what the original words really meant.
"My people are destroyed for a lack of wisdom" - Hosea 4:6
So that means, to correct you, that includes Friday to Sunday, three days.
I also believe that from death to resurrection it was literally "three days and three nights" (not "one day and two nights" as some wish to rationalize it). Jona's duration in the belly of the great fish was measured by Jesus as a "three days and three nights" duration.
However, I do not think "heart of the earth" is the grave. Peter's sermon in Acts 2:29-32 says:
29* Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30* Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31* He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32* This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
I think the heart of the earth is in fact hell. And Christ's soul was there three days and three nights, while his body (flesh) was in the tomb where it did not see corruption.
Read the scriptures again dear, to correct your misunderstanding. Jesus did NOT simply say "three days" - He said "Three Days AND Three nights" He would be in the grave. You are not even able to get PARTS of three days and nights in a Friday at 3PM death to Sunday morning at sunrise resurrection. Unless of course you wish to do as I said most people do - and that is use pretzel logic to fit tradition into the plain words of scripture.
I do not subscribe to that understanding. As a former Atheist - I go by strict interpretation of the scriptures themselves and often look at the original words used to understand their meaning. I spent much time attacking Christianity for all it's inconsistencies with the scriptures and all the pretzel logic to explain traditions grafted into the faith to try and prove God's Word false. Taking the bible at it's own word without any traditions or twists to conform the scriptures to doctrine - I saw that the Bible was indeed God's Word, and unbreakable.
"Hell" as used in Acts 2:29 is the Greek word 'hades'. The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave,tomb or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead.
The Greek word Hades in this usage (11 times to be exact) is "ᾅδης" (Hades). The Greek word to denote the underworld of Greek myth is: ᾍδου, Haidou. Christians wrongly assume that the term 'hades' in the New Testament is a reference to the Greek underworld. The location of 'Hades' (or underworld) to follow tradition, the Greek words are ᾍδου, Haidou, an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades, the Greek God of the dead.
In the Septuagint (the ancient translation of the Old Testament into Greek), the Greek term "ᾅδης" (Hades) is used to translate the Hebrew term "שׁאול" (Sheol) in Isaiah 38:18. This use refers the term hades to the abode of the dead.
In New Testament Greek, the Hebrew phrase "לא־תעזב נפשׁי לשׁאול" (you will not abandon my soul to Sheol) in Psalm 16:10 is also quoted in Acts 2:27 as "οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψεις τὴν ψυχήν μου εἰς ᾅδου" (you will not abandon my soul to Hades).
I believe Jesus was in the tomb (or Sheol/grave) for 3 days and 3 nights, just as He said. His flesh did not see corruption as He was resurrected to Glory after the third day, rising again to the Life eternal we hope for in Him. Thus the prophecy in Psalms 16:10 was used again in Acts 2:27 to prove Jesus' Messiahship to the unbelieving Jews.
Your opinion, not mine.
No dear, those were biblical FACTS I presented. You can disbelieve them all you wish in favor of your own tradition.
“And answering, He said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, hypocrites; as it has been written: “This people honors Me with the lips, but their heart is far away from Me;
Mar 7:6-7 and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Again, your opinion, not mine.
Please do not argue, I will not respond back. Thank-you.
An excellent article! Thank-you for posting it!
For response for the last time, is this a personal interpitation of scripture?
No dear, those were biblical FACTS presented. It's silly for anyone to go spouting their 'opinion' about what God says. The bible either means what it says, or it does not and our faith is a fraud.
As an Atheist, Christians made it easy pickings for us to tear apart their beliefs as inconsistent and not even matching what the Bible itself says.
Or are you saying God's inspired Word is simply an 'opinion' however we decide to interpret it? If that is the case, you illustrate the reason why there are THOUSANDS of denominations all claiming Christ is their Lord. Jesus established a CHURCH, NOT a denomination.
Three days and three nights means exactly what it says, or your belief in Jesus as Messiah is a fraud. Not parts of a day or including the days before He died as part of some pretzel logic calculation in order to absolve a tradition that does not jive with Jesus' own Words. Jesus stated Himself what the sign of His Messiahship was. The Friday crucifixion to Sunday morning resurrection tradition is always the first and easily exploitable tradition the Atheists will illustrate as proof Christianity is a fraud.
You of course are free to discount and ignore biblical facts in favor of traditions, which is in keeping what Jesus had to say about the nature of men, whether His followers or not. This rebuke is as applicable to the church today as it was to the religious leaders of Jesus' day:
"And answering, He said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, hypocrites; as it has been written: "This people honors Me with the lips, but their heart is far away from Me; and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Mark 7:6-7 /Isaiah 29:13.
Can you not read the given scriptures yourself and decide?
The Bible tells us to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" - 1 Thes. 5:21
I'm not intending to argue with you for the sake of argument. My remarks to you should at minimum spur you to study this issue yourself based on what the bible itself has to say (and a little bit of historical study as well) apart from what preachers and traditions teach. I marvel at how many Christians cannot explain the WHY of their faith to anyone questioning them as to why they hold to a particular belief or tradition. I am often replied to with "Your opinion, and I have my own" - as if that somehow is how God establishes Truth. At best, if looking into what I have said and proving against the words in the Bible, you will be sharper in the faith and enhance your understanding of what Jesus did for all mankind.
That cannot be such a bad thing now, can it?
This NOW the last time I will respond. What I have read is a persoanl interpitation as well as the others that you have posted as well. Please do not respond again. Thank-you.
My sandals are dusted off for you dear.
Why do you say that Jesus was crucifield on a Wednesday? The Jewish sabbath was and is on a Saturday, and Passover back then as it is this year, started on a Friday at sundown.
NOW I am done. No more posts from me or from you.
Thanks again for taking the time to lay your explanation out so well. I can’t tell you how long I have wondered about this passage. I would be only too eager to believe that by ‘three days’ Jesus meant ‘from Friday afternoon to very early Sunday morning’ ... IF He had only left it at that. But why deliberately add “three nights”, if in fact what He meant was ‘three days’? Why???
I had read your explanation about seven years ago, and thought it was interesting but not dispositive. You, however, made a much stronger case for that scenario. You’ve given me so much to ponder; thank you very much!
You are most welcome. Secularists want to denounce and make you doubt your faith. I want Christians to be able to defend it with logic and unassailable proofs beyond resting on traditions or because of what some man or institution of men say.
The war for our faith is just getting heated up on these shores. Scripture tells us to have an answer ready when questioned about it.
At the same time, I don't disparage those who hold otherwise. This is a vexing passage, and good Christians can and do disagree on what it means. I have myself gone back and forth for years, and am still not 100 percent persuaded. After this discussion, though, I'd call it 99.9 percent. It has been very enlightening.
Del Rapier, I did read and understand what you were saying. For convenience, here is your post:
“The fact that he was raised back on Earth is a discrepancy but for different reasons,I have no problem believing he was raised from the dead.....just why he came back here.
It is not a form of damnation when that happens but it can
speak of a certain distance between the Lazarus(the raisee) and God.Essentially it speaks of unfinished work not of the world but of the individual.
Otherwise I am not unfamiliar to this subject,just have never experienced it from a first-hand perspective.Jesus could have experienced it face to face with people whod died and then decided to try it for himself.
As if any of this could make any sense to anyone here.......”
Actually the Scriptures are quite clear on why Lazarus was raised. Here is the explanation from the mouth of the Lord Himself, from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John:
‘40 Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’
Iow, Lazarus was raised not because of unfinished personal issues, but for the glory of God, so that the disciples could/would believe that Jesus was sent from God. I.e: Jesus raised a man who had lain four days in a hot tomb (1) to glorify God by showing beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has dominion over death, and (2) to establish and strengthen the faith of the disciples. That faith was about to be tested by the death of the Messiah. It would shake the disciples to the core. For any who opted to remember, the resurrection of Lazarus would provide a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal and shattering time.
Jesus’ resurrection is similar. If He had rose and ascended immediately to heaven, w’out appearing to even a single disciple, who would believe it? Humans tend more naturally toward doubt than belief. Being told Jesus had arisen and gone to heaven would only inflame that natural tendency. That He appeared over and over to the disciples—at one time to 500 of them—provided a firm foundation for the faith of millions down through the ages. We have not believed cleverly devised stories [i.e.: fibs] but eyewitnesses—eyewitnesses who died horrible deaths rather than recant what they knew to be true.
Does that make sense?
had rose = risen
More caffeine, please.