Skip to comments.Did The Resurrection Really Happen?
Posted on 03/25/2002 7:30:44 AM PST by truthandlife
The crucifixion of Jesus was especially well documented and accepted as fact. The crucial question then becomes, "Did Jesus rise from the dead, proving His claim to be God incarnate? Or did something else happen with His body? Or was He never dead at all?"
A key to this issue is the extreme local importance placed on handling this execution. Jesus' powerful, insightful speaking and many miracles had led the populace to request that He become king. This began to threaten the local political stability of the Romans and the religious power of the Jewish whom Jesus openly criticized. Both the absolute death of Jesus and the protection against a hoax were critical, since Jesus had claimed He would overcome death. Furthermore, He had already raised other people from the dead. As a result, all precautions were taken to secure His corpse (Matthew 27:62-66).
The Bible implies the cause of Jesus' death was cardiac arrest, indicated by blood and water from a spear thrust (medical experts confirm this).
To secure the body, a Roman guard was placed outside the tomb. Such a guard would have consisted of 16 soldiers, with a disciplined rotation for sleeping at night (every four hours, four would switch). The guards all faced the rigid Roman penalty of crucifixion if they slept outside of the assigned shift or deserted their post. The idea that all guards were asleep, considering the death penalty, is especially unreasonable.
To further ensure safekeeping, a two-ton stone was rolled in front of the tomb with Pontius Pilate's seal on it. Breaking the seal without the official Roman guard's approval meant crucifixion upside down.
The central issue -- unexplainable by Jewish leaders, especially in light of the many precautions -- is:
What Happened To Jesus Corpse If He Did Not Rise From The Dead As Indicated In the Gospel Accounts?
The official explanation is that the disciples stole the body while the guards were asleep (with the priests protecting the guards from the governor). This story was necessary only because no one could produce a dead body of Jesus, which would have stopped the resurrection story forever. Is a theft of Jesus body even remotely possible given that:
All 16 guards would have had to risk the penalty of crucifixion by sleeping while on duty or deserting. Surely at least one guard would be awake.
The disciples were in a state of shock, fear, and disarray, having seen their Master crucified. Is it reasonable to think they quickly created a brilliant plan and flawlessly executed it on the Sabbath day of rest?
What possible motive could the disciples have? If Jesus was not the Son of God as He claimed, stealing the body would create a lie with no apparent benefit, and death for no purpose for the disciples.
Analysis of Other Explanations
Was Jesus really dead? Crucifixion was more routine and was a longer, more visibly excruciating death than the electric chair is today. Is it likely that such professional executioners would not know death? The final spear thrust to the heart area was to ensure death. For such a political threat, they would be certain. If Jesus was not dead, what are the chances that a barely living person could move a two-ton rock from the inside of a tomb and escape a full Roman guard unnoticed?
Was the body stolen at night? Recognizing that no flashlights nor infrared sensors were available then, is it likely that a band of scared disciples carrying torches could bypass a full Roman guard, move a two-ton rock, and not be noticed? Furthermore, the Sabbath greatly limited movement. And again, for what motive?
Eyewitnesses to the Truth Died to Tell the Story
Martyrdom for a belief is not unique. But what kind of person would die for a known lie? Someone insane? Would all the disciples face hardship and death for a known lie? The disciples were with Jesus constantly for three years. They would certainly know the truth of the resurrection. Lying would serve no purpose since Jesus' ministry would then be moot. Yet historical record and reports about the disciples indicated they all died cruel deaths for their beliefs (except John). James was stoned, Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was beheaded, Thaddaeus was killed with arrows, Matthew and James (Zebedee) faced sword deaths and other believers were crucified.
The Testimony of the Catacombs
Underneath Rome lie some 900 miles of carved caves where over seven million Christians, executed for their beliefs, were buried. Other believers hid and worshiped in these caves during the height of Christian persecution. The earliest known inscriptions in the walls were dated A.D. 70. Some early occupants probably communicated directly with eyewitnesses of Jesus. Since about A.D. 400, the Catacombs were buried and "forgotten" for over 1000 years. In 1578 they were rediscovered by accident. Today they can be seen as silent memorials to many who died rather than curse Jesus or bow down to an emperor's statue. Christian martyrs differed greatly from other world martyrs in that historical facts were the foundation of their beliefs -- facts verifiable at the time -- not just ideas.
Hostile Witnesses Turn Christian
Paul, a leading executor of Christians, gave up wealth, power, and comfort upon seeing the resurrected Christ, then wrote most of the New Testament. Two Sanhedrin members (not present when the Sanhedrin sentenced Jesus to death) were secret disciples. Unbelieving natural brothers of Jesus later became believers after the resurrection.
Indirect Archaeological Evidence
Evidence that the people in Jesus' time believed in the resurrection is found on caskets of bones (ossuaries) discovered in a sealed tomb outside Jerusalem in 1945. Coins minted in about A.D. 50 were found inside the caskets, dating the burial within about 20 years of Jesus' crucifixion. Markings are clearly legible, including several statements reflecting knowledge of Jesus' ability to overcome death.
Examples of writings (in Greek) of hope for deceased loved ones include: "Jesus, Help" and "Jesus, Let Him Arise." The caskets also contain several crosses, clearly marked in charcoal. This is powerful evidence that early Christians believed in Jesus' ability to triumph over death. It also ties the idea of victory over death to the cross.
Prior to the resurrection, "grave robbing" was not considered a serious offense. The resurrection changed that. An inscription found on a tomb in Nazareth warns that anyone found stealing from the tombs would receive the death penalty. Scholars believe the inscription was written as early as Tiberius (circa 37 B.C) or as late as Claudius (A.D. 41-54). In the latter case, it would have been shortly after the crucifixion. Naturally, Jesus' hometown of Nazareth would be an obvious city of "interest" to officials.
This seemed to be a classic example of "trying not to believe something".
Hardly. Until they were confronted by the Risen Christ, they were pretty cowardly. And even if they could have moved a two ton rock, they could not have done it silently. There is only one explanation for the empty tomb:
HE is RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!
Got to disagree with the post on that one. The guard was a Temple police detail. Their is NO WAY a jewish priest would have been able to get the commander of Legio X to look the other way for a "dereliction of duty" charge. But, that does'nt change the circumstances of the Sunday morning one bit.
The tomb was empty because the deceased that had been there Friday night was no longer deceased.
Hallelu Yeshua Messiach
Do pigs fly?
I am also struck by the testimony of 'doubting Thomas'. He was convinced. So am I.
The case of Jesus disproves somewhat this necessity in that it mandates God to define God, and not people to define God because they witness an unatural manifestation. This is not to say that unatural manifestations cannot help God define Himself either.
It is important to remember that the crux of the issue in the Old and New Testament is that of God's jurisdiction. We cannot name God, but He names but Himself. Defining God to one's convenience is blasphemy. In fact, even man cannot define man as he would animals, plants or matter, but man is to judge man by his jurisdiction encroachments, ie. when man takes blaspheming liberty of defining man.
The question of Did the Resurection Really Happen is a terrible way to approach the problem as it binds one to define the terms Resurection, Happen etc... It is a question that is made to lead one to never find answers.
A better question is this one: Did Jesus' gained jurisdiction through resurection provided jurisdiction to mankind? Truly, if it did bear its good fruits, then the resurection did truly happen.
No witnessing of supernatural phenomena can prove better the existence of God and Godly resurection. After all, it was Saul who in contravention to God's rules raised from the dead Samuel with the help of a witch. This resurection was not God's, clearly.
Disagreed. It comes down to not wanting to know something that demands a personal life changing response.
They asked for a watch and Pilate told them they had one. This is easily translated that he gave them one and told them with a wave of the hand to get out of his face and use it as they had requested.
Later in Matthew (28:14) the elders promise those on the watch that they will persuade the governor (Pilate) and "secure you". Now why would the tomb guards be afraid of Pilate if they actually belonged to the Jewish religious authorities who were promising to protect them?
Well...Many Freepers would say that those who kill themselves (And others) in the name of Islam...
Sure they do. Give me a trebuchet and I can make most anything fly.
Now, as far as "Did The Resurrection Really Happen?"
Without a doubt.
HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!"
1Jo 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Hope everyone has a 'revealing' Easter!
And he wrote a wonderful novel.
And those people sincerely believe they will get 72 virgins for their efforts.
If the apostles moved the body, they would know their story to be a lie.
IMO, this isn't quite right:)
The only place I find the "guard" talked about is in Matt. 27:62-66. I read it as Pilate did give the Jewish people a detail of guards and told them to make it as secure as possible.
But even if (which I don't think) it was the Jews guarding it, they would be as diligent at keeping it safe as the Romans, they didn't want a resurection to take place anymore then Rome did.
No need to try to "Prove" anything. Just state it was magic (Real) and move on...
And on the same point...Even if it was ever "Proven" (Which it won't be either way), then believers would no longer need "Faith".
Your plithey response just does'nt hold water.
Maybe to those who looking for an excuse not to believe:)
From my understanding it was not a cave, but an alcove that had been carved out. I believe people of means did that back then.
To put in my two cents, the New Testament was written by eyewitnesses, who wrote what they saw and heard, including the words of Jesus Christ. This is an historical account of this period of time, in this place. This is also the Word of God. Non-believers might says that "this is a good book, teaches good values" but discount the authenticity of the history; on the contrary, much archeological "proof" has been found to support what is written both the OT and the NT.
Yesterday began Holy Week, the most important time for Christians. In may ways, the Resurrection is the most important event in History, a triumph or life over death, a fulfillment of the OT Scriptures, the salvation of mankind. While Christmas and the incarnation is indeed Holy and a very special and sacred event, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ fills us with hope that we, too, can share in the Kingdom of God, and concur death with eternal life.
Anyway, I just had to throw in my two cents. I hope the non-believers can put aside their doubts for a time, and truly open their hearts. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will touch them and they will know the Truth.
Can you offer any proof - besides 2000yr+ old testimony - that:
* Hammurabi compiled a systematic code of law;
* A real man named Socrates inspired generations of Greek thinkers;
* Plato wrote a book named "The Republic" which expressed his dualistic philosophy;
* A young general known as Alexander conquered vast portions of the known world;
* Emporor Caligula grew into a cruel and demented individual;
If the historical record is not enough to prove this fact, then the entire breadth of history is meaningless drivel.
Some answers to your questions can be found in Romans and I Corinthians. There are those that find the whole idea of something that can't be measured or scientifically tested unacceptable. I know I did.
If you are really serious about finding some answers, first ask yourself if you would be willing to submit to God's will, no matter how humbling, if the answers point to a certain direction. If your answer is yes, then Freepmail me, and we can discuss.
So you're saying there's no proof that the Pilgrims fled Europe and landed in Massachussetts.
Or that Thomas Jefferson had any part in writing the Declaration of Independence.
Or that the Federalist Papers have anything to do with what the Founding Fathers intendede the Constitution to mean.
Or that George Washington was the first constitutionaly elected president.
If you believe that Julius Ceaser was assasinated in the Roman Senate March 15, 44 B.C. on three sources, it is intellectually dishonest to doubt Jesus' resurrection on 6 ancient exo Biblical references.