who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:4)

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EarthHarvest

There are hundreds of prophecies interlaced with others demonstrating that a supernatural and invisible hand inspired to the authors of the bible providing Christianity proofs and evidence of the deity Jesus Christ, historical evidence of Christ's death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb. In the bible three hundred references of prophecies exist about the Messiah from God that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The reality and the history of the resurrection of Jesus Christ are the most important pillars of the Christian faith.

5~ Powerful Evidence For The Deity of Christ

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God's Messiah graphicThe Greatest Sign - The Resurrection

Jesus said, "No one can kill me without my consent - I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right and power to lay it down when I want to and also the right and power to take it again. For the Father has given me this right" (John 10:18, Living Bible).

Paul argues, "For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ must still be dead. And if he is still dead, then all our preaching is useless and your trust in God is empty, worthless, hopeless; and we apostles are all liars because we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, and of course that isn’t true if the dead do not come back to life again. If they don’t then Christ is still dead, and you are very foolish to keep on trusting God to save you, and you are still under condemnation for your sins; in that case all Christians who have died are lost! And if being a Christian is of value to us only now in this life, we are the most miserable of creatures" (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). The reality and historicity of the resurrection is the most important pillar of Christianity. By being raised from the dead Jesus was proved to be the mighty Son of God, with the holy nature of God himself (Romans 1:4).

R.M’Cheyne Edgar, in his work, The Gospel of a Risen Saviour, said: "Here is a teacher of religion and He calmly professes to stake His entire claims upon His ability, after having been done to death, to rise again from the grave. We may safely assume that there never was, before or since, such a proposal made. To talk of this extraordinary test being invented by mystic students of the prophecies, and inserted in the way it has been into the gospel narratives, is to lay too great a burden on our credulity. He who was ready to stake everything on His ability to come back from the tomb stands before us as the most original of all teachers, one who shines in His own self-evidencing life!"

Jesus predicted His resurrection and emphasized His rising from the dead would be the "sign" to authenticate His claims to be the Messiah. The following cites document His claims to resurrection: Matthew 12:38-40; 16:21; 17:9; 17:22,23; 20:18,19; 26:32; 27:63. Mark 8:31; 9:1; 9:10; 9:31; 10:32-34; 14:28, 58. Luke 9:22. John 2:18-22; 12:32-34.

Just to quote one of these cites, John 2:18-22: "The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken" (NASB).

Using the historical approach we note the resurrection of Christ is an event which occurred in a definite time-space dimension. Wilbur Smith, noted scholar and teacher, observes (Smith, Wilbur M. Therefore Stand: Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1965):

"The meaning of the resurrection is a theological matter, but the fact of the resurrection is a historical matter; the nature of the resurrection body of Jesus may be a mystery, but the fact that the body disappeared from the tomb is a matter to be decided upon by historical evidence. The place is of geographical definiteness, the man who owned the tomb was a man living in the first half of the first century; the tomb was made out of rock in a hillside near Jerusalem, and was not composed of some mythological gossamer, or cloud-dust, but is something which has geographical significance. The guards put before the tomb were not aerial beings from Mt. Olympus; the Sanhedrin was a body of men meeting frequently in Jerusalem. As a vast mass of literature tells us, this person, Jesus, was a living person, a man among men, whatever else He was, and the disciples who went out to preach the risen Lord were men among men, men who ate, drank, slept, suffered, worked, died. What is there ‘doctrinal’ about this? This is a historical problem" (page 386).

"Let it simply be said the we know more about the details of the hours immediately before and the actual death of Jesus, in and near Jerusalem, than we know about the death of any other one man in all the ancient world" (Page 360).

The resurrection of Christ enjoys a wealth of evidence which includes:

1. The testimony of history:

A Jewish historian by the name of Josephus wrote at the end of the first century AD, in his Antiquities: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, upon his impeachment by the principal man among us, those who had loved from the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive on the third day, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him. And even now, the race of Christians, so named from him, has not died out."

Josephus was a Jew trying to please the Romans and he would not have related this story if it were not true as it was not pleasing to the Romans, portraying Pilate as condemning the "Christ."

2. The testimony of the apostles:

Simon Greenleaf, Professor of Law at Harvard University, wrote in An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice: "The great truths which the apostles declared, were that Christ had risen from the dead, and that only through repentance from sin, and faith in Him, could men hope for salvation. This doctrine they asserted with one voice, everywhere, not only under the greatest discouragements, but in the face of the most appalling errors that can be presented to the mind of man. Their master had recently perished as a malefactor, by the sentence of a public tribunal. His religion sought to overthrow the religions of the whole world. The laws of every country were against the teachings of His disciples. The interests and passions of all the rulers and great men in the world were against them. The fashion of the world was against them. Propagating this new faith, even in the most inoffensive and peaceful manner, they could expect nothing but contempt, opposition, revilings, bitter persecutions, stripes, imprisonments, torments and cruel deaths. Yet this faith they zealously did propagate; and all these miseries they endured undismayed, nay, rejoicing. As one after another was put to a miserable death, the survivors only prosecuted their work with increased vigor and resolution. The annals of military warfare afford scarcely an example of the like heroic constancy, patience, and unblenching courage. They had every possible motive to review carefully the grounds of their faith, and the evidences of the great facts and truths which they asserted; and these motives were pressed upon their attention with the most melancholy and terrific frequency. It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact" (Greenleaf, Simon. Testimony of the Evangelists, Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1965 (reprinted from 1847 edition).

After the crucifixion the apostles went into hiding, afraid of the persecution of the authorities (certainly not possessing the courage of breaking into Jesus’ tomb and "stealing" his body as the chief priests bribed the guards to represent), yet of the twelve apostles, eleven went on to die martyr’s deaths preaching that Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead. Peter denied Jesus several times after Jesus had been arrested but a short time after his crucifixion and burial Peter was in Jerusalem preaching boldly under the threat of death that Jesus was the Son of God who was resurrected. So fervent was Peter’s faith that when it came time for his own crucifixion he asked to be crucified upside down because he was not worthy to die as Christ had. Thomas who had put his fingers in Jesus’ nail prints to believe died a martyr’s death when he was thrust through with a spear. James, Jesus’ brother, who had been skeptical of His claims died a martyr’s death by stoning after Jesus appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:7).

It is hard to die for a lie. In recent history we’ve seen some die for political causes they believe in, but none die for what they don’t believe in. Something transformed these intimidated, cowering apostles into powerful spokesmen of their faith. Jesus had appeared to them. In the Book of Acts we are told that Jesus had presented Himself alive to his apostles. "He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3, NASB).

3. Jesus had in fact died on the cross:

While hanging on the cross, "When Jesus....had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for the Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe" (John 19:30-35, NASB).

"And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, ‘Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.’ And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:36-39, NASB).

"And when evening had already come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, a man who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph" (Mark 15:42-45, NASB). The centurion had knowledge that Jesus had died, otherwise he would not have confirmed the fact to Pilate and Pilate would not have granted the body to Joseph of Arimathea for burial.

"And Joseph bought a linen sheet, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen sheet, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus were looking on to see where He was laid" (Mark 15:46-47, NASB).

4. The Stone:

Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to anoint Jesus on the first day of the week when the Sabbath was over. The women were concerned and discussing who would roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb so they could anoint Jesus with the spices they had bought. When they arrived at the tomb, the stone "had been rolled away, although it was extremely large" (Mark 16:1,3,4, NASB). Matthew also describes the stone as "a large stone" (Matthew 27:60). It is generally believed the stone weighed about two tons.

5. The Seal:

Of more importance than the size of the stone, aside from the fact that a large stone would have deterred potential robbers, was the seal which was set on the stone. The Pharisees went to Pilate and informed him that Jesus had said that after three days he would rise again. They requested that Pilate give orders that the grave be made secure until the third day, "lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.’ And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone" (Matthew 27:64-66).

A.T. Robertson in Word Pictures in the New Testament (New York: R.R. Smith, Inc., 1931) described the probable method used in sealing the stone "...probably by a cord stretched across the stone and sealed at each end as in Dan. 6:17(‘And a stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel.’). The sealing was done in the presence of the Roman guards who were left in charge to protect this stamp of Roman authority and power. They did their best to prevent theft and the resurrection (Bruce), but they overreached themselves and provided additional witness to the fact of the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus (Plummer)."

6. The Grave Clothes

When Simon Peter entered the tomb of Jesus he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face cloth, which had covered His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself (John 20:3-9). John R.W. Stott comments, "It is not hard to imagine the sight which greeted the eyes of the apostles when they reached the tomb: the stone slab, the collapsed graveclothes, the shell of the head-cloth and the gap between the two. No wonder they ‘saw and believed.’ A glance at these graveclothes proved the reality, and indicated the nature, of the resurrection. They had been neither touched nor folded nor manipulated by any human being. They were like a discarded chrysalis from which the butterfly has emerged" (Stott, John R.W. Basic Christianity. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1971).

7. The Cover-Up:

Pilate’s response to the Pharisees was "You have a guard," which can be interpreted you may have a Roman guard or you already have your own guard in the form of the temple police. Prevalent authority concludes that a Roman guard was posted. Otherwise, why would the Pharisees go to Pilate to make the grave secure. They wouldn’t have needed Pilate’s authorization to post the temple guard which was under their control. When Jesus resurrected, in fear of Pilate’s wrath, the guards went to the chief priests and reported all that had happened (Matthew 28:11). The chief priests gave the soldiers a large sum of money to misrepresent what had occurred: "You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ ‘And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble. And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day" (Matthew 28:13-15, NASB).

Because of the strict discipline in the Roman military, a Roman guard would have reason to fear the consequences of dereliction of duty administered by an angry Pilate who would have accused them of sleeping on the job while the body was stolen, a capital offense (death). Evidently the chief priests had influence over Pilate and promised the fearful Roman guards protection if they lied and sweetened the pot by giving them a large sum of money. The chief priests would not have had to bribe a temple guard under their direct control. Their recourse to bribing the guards evidences Jesus’ body was missing and had not been stolen.

Professor Albert Roper (Roper, Albert. Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, copyright 1965) numbers the Roman guard as numbering from ten to thirty and the seal on the tomb as the Imperial Seal of Rome (whose violation would have carried the full retribution of the Roman Empire). Professor William Smith (Smith, William (ed.). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Rev.ed. London: James Walton and John Murray, 1870) informs us that four was the regular number of the Roman guard. Of these one always acted as sentinel, while the others enjoyed "a certain degree of repose, ready, however to start up at the first alarm."

Matthew describes what happened that night while the guard was on duty, "... a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; and the guards shook for hear of him, and became like dead men" (Matthew 28:2-4, NASB).

8. Suffering of Jesus:

Some have said that Jesus did not die on the cross, but merely passed out. After he was placed in the tomb, he revived, got up, and left.

What this argument completely overlooks is the physical trials Jesus suffered prior and during the crucifixion leading to his death. Prior to being taken prisoner Jesus traveled on foot throughout Palestine and it is reasonable to assume was in good physical health. Anticipating his ordeal on Thursday evening in Gethsemane Jesus suffered great mental anguish, and, as described by Luke, a physician, sweated blood. Bloody sweat is a rare phenomenon but may occur in very intense emotional states and is the result of hemorrhaging into the sweat glands (William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J. Gabel, MD; Floyd E. Hosmer, MS., AMI, "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ," JAMA, March 21, 1986 - Vol 255, No. 11, p. 1455).

After Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane by the chief priests, officers of the temple and elders he was mocked, blindfolded, and beaten. He was asked, "‘Are You the Son of God, then?’ And He said to them, ‘Yes, I am,’" (Luke 22:70) and the whole body of them took him before Pilate where they accused him of misleading the nation and forbidding the people to pay taxes to Caesar, saying he was Christ, a King. Pilate found Jesus not guilty and upon learning he was a Galilean, sent Him to Herod. Herod was glad to see Jesus as he wanted to see some sign performed for Him. Herod questioned Jesus at great length, but Jesus did not answer. Jesus was then mocked, dressed in a gorgeous robe, and sent back to Pilate. Pilate informed the chief priests, the rulers and the people he found no guilt in Jesus. He would therefore punish Him and release Him, but they cried for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus. He then granted their demand.

Flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution. A short whip was used of several braided or single leather thongs in which were imbedded small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bone to tear the flesh. The back, buttocks, and legs were flogged. Flogging was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death. The resulting bleeding set the stage for circulatory shock and determined how long the victim would survive on the cross.

The Roman soldiers spat on Jesus and beat Him on the head, placing on Him a crown of thorns. So weakened was Jesus that the Roman soldiers had to press Simon, a Cyrenian, to bear the cross. Since the entire cross probably weighed over 300 lbs. only the patibulum or crossbar, weighing 75 to 125 lbs., was carried. It was placed across the nape of the victim’s neck and balanced on both shoulders.

Romans preferred to nail their victim’s hands to the crossbar. Remains found in an ossuary near Jerusalem dating from the time of Christ of a crucified victim reveal that tapered iron spikes 5 to 7 inches long and 3/8 inch wide were used. These spikes were driven through the wrists rather than the palms. The Romans also preferred to nail their victims’ feet.

The weight of the body hanging from the cross fixed the intercostal muscles in an inhalation state and severely taxed exhalation. Thus, breathing was shallow and, "Adequate exhalation required lifting the body by pushing up on the feet and by flexing the elbows and adducting the shoulders. However, this maneuver would place the entire weight of the body on the tarsals and would produce searing pain. Furthermore, flexation of the elbows would cause rotation of the wrists about the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the damaged median nerves. Lifting of the body would also painfully scrape the scourged back against the rough wooden stipes. Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the outstretched and uplifted arms would add to the discomfort. As a result, each respiratory effort would become agonizing and tiring and lead eventually to asphyxia" (JAMA, March 21, 1986 - Vol 255, No.11, p.1461).

Survival on the cross ranged from three to four hours to three of four days and was related to the severity of the scourging. When the scourging was relatively mild, Roman soldiers would expedite death by breaking the legs below the knees thereby suffocating the victim. By custom, one of the Roman guards would also pierce with body with a spear wound through the heart or with a sword.

The gospel of John informs us that, "When Jesus...had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit" (John 19:30). So that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, Pilate was asked that the legs of those crucified might be broken. "The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water" (John 19:32-34, NASB).

To allege that Jesus "swooned" rather than died on the cross and later revived in the coolness of the tomb, regained his strength after the extensive physical trauma he’d been through (including a spear thrust through the heart), pushed aside a two ton stone, and spent the next forty days ministering to his followers across the Holy Land is ludicrous. To examine the extensive historical evidence of His resurrection attests to his deity and gives us hope that by believing in Him, as he sincerely promised, we have eternal life.

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God's Messiah graphicResurrection in Depth

1. Vicious hoax or most fantastic fact of history

2. JESUS HAS THREE CREDENTIALS

a. IMPACT OF HIS LIFE UPON HISTORY
b. FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY IN HIS LIFE
c. THE RESURRECTION

3. MODERN PRESUPPOSITIONAL APPROACH (NATURALISTIC PERSPECTIVE)

a. THERE IS NO GOD
b. WE LIFE IN A CLOSED SYSTEM
c. THERE IS NO SUPERNATURAL
d. MIRACLES CAN’T HAPPEN

4. HENCE THEY LOOK AT AN EMPTY TOMB AND SAY THERE COULDN’T BE A RESURRECTION REGARDLESS OF EVIDENCE.

THESE ARE PHILOSOPHICAL AND NOT EVIDENTIAL PRESUPPOSITIONS.

“IT’S JUST TOO HARD TO BELIEVE” – DEBATE AT CALPOLY

EVERYTHING SUPERNATURAL ABOUT JESUS MUST GO

A LOT OF PROBLEMS PEOPLE HAVE IS NOT WITH THE EVIDENCE BUT WITH THEIR PHILOSOPHICAL FRAMEWORK

JOHN WARWICK MONTGOMERY SAYS “THE ONLY WAY WE CAN KNOW WHETHER AN EVENT CAN OCCUR IS TO SEE WHETHER IN FACT IT HAS OCCURRED. THE PROBLEM OF “MIRACLES,” THEN, MUST BE SOLVED IN THE REALM OF HISTORICAL INVESTIGATION, NOT IN THE REALM OF SPECULATION” (“HISTORY AND CHRISTIANITY”).

5. CHRISTIANITY AS OPPOSED TO OTHER RELIGIONS IS BUILT UPON THE LIFE, DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF ITS FOUNDER. ALMOST EVERY OTHER RELIGION IS BASED ON PHILOSOPHICAL PRESUPPOSITIONS OR IDEOLOGIES. CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON THE RESURRECTION OF ITS FOUNDER FOR SUBSTANTIATING THE TRUTH OF WHAT IS BEING SAID. OTHER RELIGIONS ARE BASED ON THE TEACHINGS AND PHILOSOPHIES OF THEIR FOUNDERS.

R. M’Cheyne Edgar, in his work, “The Gospel of a Risen Savior” has said:

“Here is a teacher of religion and He calmly professes to stake His entire claims upon His ability, after having gone to death, to rise again from the grave. We may safely assume that there never was, before or since, such a proposal made. To talk of this extraordinary test being invented by mystic students of the prophecies, and inserted in the way it has been into the gospel narratives, is to lay too great a burden on our credulity. He who was ready to stake everything on His ability to come back from the tomb stands before us as the most original of all teachers, one who shines in His own self evidencing life!”

You go to the tomb of George Washington you find him there, you go to the tomb of Richard Nixon you find him there, you go to the tomb of Jesus you find ….. TOURISTS.

Wilbur M. Smith, noted scholar and teacher, says, “The resurrection of Christ if the very citadel of the Christian faith. This is the doctrine that turned the word upside down in the first century, that lifted Christianity preeminently above Judaism and the pagan religions of the Mediterranean world. If this goes, so must almost everything else that is vital and unique in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘If Christ be not risen, then is your faith in vain’ (I Cor. 15:17).”

Dr. Simon Greenleaf, one of the greatest American lawyers, said in the area of circumstantial evidence:

“IF ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE ALIVE WHEN INFORMATION IS PUBLISHED ABOUT AN EVENT AND THESE PEOPLE ARE EITHER EYEWITNESSES OF AN EVENT OR HAVE PARTICIPATED IN IT IT CAN BE FAIRLY WELL ESTABLISHED THE VALIDITY OF A SECULAR EVENT.”

Dr. Greenleaf wrote the three volumes on the laws of legal evidence. He was a skeptic, always mocking at Christians in his classes at Harvard. He was challenged by some of his students to apply the laws of legal evidence and apply them to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the process he became a Christian and came to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the best established facts of history.

A journalist and engineer with some training in law by the name of Dr. Frank Morrison really admired the lifestyle of Jesus Christ but thought the resurrection was a myth. He set to write a book to refute the myth of the resurrection. He was so sincere about it he paid his way to Palestine to do his research. While there he committed his life to Jesus Christ and subsequently wrote the book “Who Moved the Stone.” The first chapter is significantly titled “The Book That Refused to Be Written.”

C. S. Lewis said, “I was one of the most reluctant men ever to become a Christian. I was driven into the kingdom kicking.”

WHAT WAS THE EVIDENCE WHICH DROVE THESE MEN TO CHRISTIANITY:

CHRIST’S PREDICTIONS REGARDING THE RESURRECTION BEFORE THE FIRST EASTER:

Matthew 16:21 – “From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.”

Matthew 17:9 – “AND AS THEY WERE COMING DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN, JESUS COMMANDED THEM, SAYING, ‘TELL THE VISION TO NO ONE UNTIL THE SON OF MAN HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD.’”

Mark 9:10 – “AND THEY SEIZED UPON THAT STATEMENT, DISCUSSING WITH ONE ANOTHER WHAT RISING FROM THE DEAD MIGHT MEAN.”

John 2:18-22 – THE JEWS ASKED JESUS, “WHAT SIGN DO YOU SHOW TO US, SEEING THAT YOU DO THESE THINGS?’ JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID TO THEM, ‘DESTROY THIS TEMPLE, AND IN THREE DAYS I WILL RAISE IT UP. THE JEWS THEREFORE SAID, ‘IT TOOK FORTY-SIX YEARS TO BUILD THIS TEMPLE, AND WILL YOU RAISE IT UP INTHREE DAYS?” BUT HE WAS SPEAKING OF THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY.”

THERE ARE MANY OTHER BIBLE VERSES REGARDING JESUS’S PROPHECY OF THE RESURRECTION INCLUDING MATTHEW 17:22,23, MATTHEW 20:18-19

BIBLICAL EVENTS:

GREAT EARTHQUAKE

ANGEL OF LORD CAME DOWN, ROLLED STONE AWAY

GUARD FELL AS DEAD

SOLDIERS RAN TO HIGH PRIEST

HIGH PRIEST GIVES THEM MONEY TO SAY DISCIPLES STOLE BODY

PROOFS OF RESURRECTION

NEED TO ESTABLISH HE DIED FIRST - Sabbath approaching - Roman soldiers didn’t break legs as he was dead – One pierced side with spear – Blood and water – In rapid decomposition -Pilate ascertained death with Centurion prior to releasing body to Joseph of Aramathea.

THE TOMB –

TOMB WAS EMPTY

EVEN ENEMIES SUBSCRIBED TO EMPTY TOMB

APOSTLES BEATEN TO DENY IT

WOMEN SAW EMPTY TOMB

ANYBODY COULD HAVE CHECKED IT OUT – CHECK IT OUT

GRAVE CLOTHES:

MARY MAGDALENE INFORMED PETER AND JOHN TOMB WAS EMPTY

JOHN RAN FASTER THAN PETER

SAW LINEN WRAPPINGS LYING BUT DID NOT GO IN

PETER SAW THE FACE-CLOTH NOT LYING WITH LINEN WRAPPINGS, BUT ROLLED UP IN A PLACE BY ITSELF.

THE STONE –Matthew describes stone as large stone. Mark tells us the stone was extremely large - solid rock tomb 4.5 to 5 feet tall – generally believed weighed two tons – room for 3 bodies.

AFTER RESURRECTION STONE WAS MOVED, IN AN UNUSUAL POSITION.

MATTHEW SAYS STONE WAS ROLLED AGAINST ENTRANCE USING GREEK WORD “KULIO”, WHICH MEANS “TO ROLL”.

MARK USES SAME ROOT WORD WITH THE PREPOSITION “ANA,” WHICH MEANS UP OR UPWARD. IT CAN ONLY MEAN STONE WAS ROLLED UP AN INCLINE OR SLOPE. THERE HAD TO BE A SLOPE THERE.

LUKE, CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST ACCURATE HISTORIANS OF ANTIQUITY, USES “ KULIO” (LUKE 24) WITH THE PREPOSITION “APPO” WHICH MEANS AWAY FROM IN THE SENSE OF DISTANCE OR SEPARATION.

HE STATES THE STONE WAS MOVED AWAY NOT FROM JUST THE ENTRANCE BUT FROM THE “TOMB” OR “SEPULCHER”.

JOHN USED THE GREEK WORD “AIRO”, WHICH MEANS TO PICK UP SOMETHING AND CARRY IT AWAY. STONE WAS MOVED UP AND AWAY.

THE GUARD COULDN’T HAVE HELPED BUT HEAR THIS EVENT EVEN IF THEY HAD BEEN ASLEEP.

A GUARD – Pilate said “a guard you have, you make it secure”. – temple police or Roman guard – Both tough – Temple guard was beaten and clothes set on fire if slept on duty - REV 16:15, “BLESSED IS HE THAT WATCHETH, AND KEEPETH HIS GARMENTS.” Roman guard was fighting machine – 4 to 20 men – usually 16, each trained to protect 6 sq.ft. of ground, 16 men, 4 on each side in a square can protect 36 sq.yds of ground.

Sleep in shifts, every 3 hours change shifts. In group of 12, 8 men slept while 4 men awake – In group of 16, 10 slept, while 6 stayed on guard. Everybody got 8 hours sleep – Stayed ALERT.

ROMANS. Tough hombres. Armed with 6 foot PIKE, a 3 foot thrusting SWORD, a DAGGER, and for protection a wooden or wicker SHIELD covered with LEATHER AND METAL WORK, SIGN OF THUNDERBOLT!

IF A ROMAN GUARD FELL ASLEEP NOT ONLY ONE MAN WAS PUT TO DEATH BUT THE ENTIRE 12 OR 16 MAN TEAM WAS EXECUTED. THEY WERE STRIPPED OF CLOTHES AND BURNED IN A FIRE STARTED WITH THEIR GARMENTS.

THE ROMAN GUARD WAS NOT ASLEEP.

Regardless Pharisees wanted grave secure 1)not want political revolt, 2) religious reasons – thousands converted, 3) personal reasons – Jesus was constantly insulting them.

THE SEAL:

ONLY PLACED IN PRESENCE OF A ROMAN GUARD.

CORD OF 2 PIECES OF RAWHIDE STRETCHED DIAGONALLY TO FOUR CLAYPACKS WITH SEAL IN CENTER.

SEAL OF TIBERIUS CAESAR

STRENGTH OF ROME RESTED BEHIND SEAL

PUNISHMENT OF SEAL WAS EXECUTION UPSIDE DOWN

APOSTLES WOULDN’T HAVE BROKEN IT

THE APOSTLES:

BEFORE SEEING JESUS AFTER RESURRECTION:

PETER DENIED CHRIST (6 DENIALS – 2 SETS OF THREE EACH)

COWARDS.

DISCOURAGED, DEFEATED. DIDN’T UNDERSTAND PROPHECIES THAT HE MUST RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD (John 20:9).

AFTER

AFTER RESURRECTION PROCLAIMED JESUS ROSE FROM DEAD IN FACE OF TRIBUNALS, BEATINGS AND DEATH.

ALL THROUGH ACTS PROCLAIMING JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD

“WE WERE EYEWITNESSES”.

ONLY AN ACTUAL RESURRECTION COULD HAVE IGNITED SUCH FERVOR.

JESUS APPEARED TO APOSTLES OVER A PERIOD OF 40 DAYS. HE PRESENTED HIMSELF ALIVE “BY MANY CONVINCING PROOFS” (ACTS 1:3). LEGAL TERMINOLOGY.

MARY MAGDALENE CLUNG TO JESUS IN TOMB. JESUS ASKED HER NOT TO CLING TO HIM AS HE HAD NOT YET ASCENDED TO THE FATHER.

APPEARED 1ST DAY OF THE WEEK THROUGH CLOSED DOORS AND SHOWED DISCLIPLES HIS HANDS AND HIS SIDE (John 20:19-20)

THOMAS NOT WITH THEM, DIDN’T BELLIEVE. 8 DAYS LATER JESUS AGAIN APPEARS AMONG THEM EVEN THOUGH DOORS WERE SHUT (John 20:26). THOMAS WANTED EMPIRICAL, OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE.

LET THOMAS EXAMINE HIS HANDS AND SIDE (SPEAR WOUND)

JESUS APPEARED ON A BEACH 100 YDS. FROM WHERE DISCIPLES WERE FISHING IN A SMALL BOAT. HE TOLD THEM.TO CAST NET ON RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE BOAT (John 21:6). HADN’T CAUGHT ANYTHING ALL NIGHT. GREAT HAUL. 153 FISH. NET NOT TORN.

JOHN TOLD PETER IT WAS JESUS. PETER PUT ON HIS OUTER GARMENT AND JUMPED INTO THE SEA TO GO TO HIM.

WHEN DISCIPLES ARRIVED WITH THEIR HAUL SAW JESUS HAD CHARCOAL FIRE BURNING WITH FISH ALREADY PLACED ON IT AND BREAD.

IN 56 A.D. PAUL SAID JESUS APPEARED TO MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN AT ONE TIME, MOST OF WHOM WERE ALIVE AT THE TIME AND COULD CONFIRM IT! (1Corinthians 15:6).

11 OF 12 DIED AS MARTYRS, PETER CRUCIFIED UPSIDE DOWN, NOT WORTHY. SOMETHING HAPPENED.

THE SABBATH:

WORSHIP CHANGED TO FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, SUNDAY.

JEWS FEARED TO BREAK THE SABBATH. JEWS WERE SENT INTO THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY FOR NEARLY 500 YEARS FOR BREAKING THE SABBATH.

THE APOSTLES WERE GOD FEARING JEWS WHO OBSERVED THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT.

SOMETHING MONUMENTAL HAPPENED FOR THEM TO CHANGE THEIR WORSHIP FROM SATURDAY TO SUNDAY.

NON CHRISTIAN - TESTIMONY OF HISTORY - Josephus in “Antiquities” – states Jesus appeared on the third day.

HAD THERE NOT BEEN A RESURRECTION, THEY WOULD HAVE RISKED THE WRATH OF GOD, ASIDE FROM BEING OSTRACIZED BY THEIR COMMUNITIES.

CONCLUSION:

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

ARGUMENTS AGAINST:

DISCIPLES STOLE THE BODY: PROBLEM WITH BREAKING OF SEAL, ROMAN GUARD, STONE, GRAVE CLOTHES, APPEARANCE TO 500 PEOPLE AT ONE TIME, MORAL AND ETHICAL PROBLEM (THEIR MASTER TAUGHT AN ETHICAL LIFE).

HALLUCINATIONS:

HALLUCINATIONS ARE VERY INDIVIDUALISTIC, NOT GROUP

DON’T STOP SUDDENLY. JESUS’ APPEARANCES STOPPED AFTER ASCENSION.

EXPERIENCED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE AND EXPECTING AN EVENT (A UFO ETC…). APOSTLES WERE NOT ANTICIPATING TO SEE JESUS AGAIN.

JEWS AND ROMANS COULD HAVE DISPROVED EMPTY TOMB

ROMANS AND JEWS TOOK BODY TO PUT TOMB IN SAFE PLACE:

WHY WOULD THEY DO ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT CAUSED THE PROBLEMS THEY DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE?

IF KNEW WHERE BODY WAS WOULD HAVE PRODUCED IT.

BY SHOWING BODY THEY WOULD HAVE STOPPED CHRISTIANITY

INSTEAD JEWS ARRESTED CHRISTIANS, BEATH THEM, FLOGGED THEM TO STOP PREACHING RESURRECTION.

JOSH MCDOWELL, “SILENCE OF THE JEWS SPEAKS LOUDER THAN VOICE OF CHRISTIANS.”

SWOON THEORY:

JESUS DIDN’T DIE, JUST PASSED OUT.

JESUS WAS SEVERELY BEATEN, COULDN’T CARRY HIS OWN CROSSBAR, HE WAS NAILED TO A CROSS, SUFFOCATED, SPEARED, HIS BLOOD SEPARATED TO BLOOD AND WATER, AND THEN REVIVED IN THE COOLNESS OF A TOMB?

FOUR EXECUTIONERS SIGNED HIS DEATH WARRANT.

AND THEN HE GOT UP, MOVED A TWO TON STONE, AND SPENT THE NEXT FORTY DAYS MINISTERING TO HIS FOLLOWERS ACROSS THE HOLY LAND.

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God's Messiah graphicProphecy Fulfilled

After His resurrection Jesus appeared to two apostles on the road to a village named Emmaus. The apostles did not initially recognize Him because their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. They were sad and He asked them why. They informed Him how Jesus the Nazarene, a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, had been crucified (Luke 24). They continued to tell Him that some of the women among them had gone to the tomb and did not find the body, but had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. Others had gone to the tomb and found it as the women had said with no trace of Jesus. Jesus then said to the two apostles, "'O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?' And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (Luke 24:25-27).

When they approached Emmaus they urged Him to stay with them as it was getting dark. He went in and at a table, He took bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. "And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’" (Luke 24:28-32, NASB).

Evidencing that a supernatural, invisible hand inspired its authors, interwoven in the Bible are hundreds of prophecies. There are three hundred references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. In his excellent and comprehensive book Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc., 1972, 1979) Josh McDowell, its author, in the ninth Chapter analyzes 61 major prophecies regarding the Messiah.

The argument has been made that Jesus deliberately fulfilled these prophecies, but many of the prophecies were completely beyond His control such as: His place of birth (Micah 5:2), the time of His birth (Daniel 9:25; Genesis 49:10), the manner of His birth (Isaiah 7:14), His betrayal (Psalms 41:9, Zechariah 11:12, 11:13b), the manner of his death (Psalms 22:16), people’s reactions (mocking, spitting, staring, etc...) (Isaiah 50:6, Micah 5:1, Psalms 22:7,8, Isaiah 53:3, Psalms 69:8, Psalms 118:22, Psalms 69:4, Isaiah 49:7, Psalms 38:11, Psalms 22:7, Psalms 109:25, Psalms 22:17), piercing (Zechariah 12:10, Psalms 22:16) and burial (Isaiah 53:9).

Another argument is that the prophecies were written at or after the time of Jesus and were therefore fabricated. The problem with this argument was that the historic date of completion of the Old Testament is 450 BC and the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, was initiated in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 BC). The Hebrew Old Testament must have been available in its entirety for it to be translated commencing at 250 BC. There is at least a 250-year span of time which the prophecies were written down and subsequently fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

We will now look at a few of these incredible prophecies (all quotes from NASB) pointing to the existence of an intelligent Being existing outside the dimension of time:

1. Born of a virgin: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah prophesied approximately from 758-698 BC).

Immanuel means "God with us".

2. Born in Bethlehem: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2). Micah prophesied from 756 to 697 BC As the second person of the trinity, Jesus’ days are from eternity.

3. His government and pre-existence: Same as #2, "From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2). "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this" (Isaiah 9:6-7). Isaiah prophesied between 758 and 698 BC

4. The killing of the children by Herod: "Thus says the Lord, ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more’" (Jeremiah 31:15).

5. Preceded by a messenger: "A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God’" (Isaiah 40:3).

The fulfillment of this prophecy came in the person of John the Baptist. "...John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’" (Matthew 3:1,2).

6. Ministry to begin in Galilee: "But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphthali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 9:1).

The prophecy’s fulfillment is documented in Matthew 4:12,13,17: "Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’"

7. The king was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Luke 19:35,36,37a).

The prophet Zechariah, who was born in Babylon, returned to rebuild Jerusalem with the first caravan of exiles under Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and was involved in the building of the second temple.

There are prophecies from the Old Testament which were fulfilled in one day. They were given by numerous prophets over five centuries from 1000-500 BC and concern the betrayal, trial, death and burial of Jesus Christ:

8. Betrayed by a friend: "Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me" (Psalms 41:9). Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, his friend (Matthew 10:4).

9. Sold for 30 pieces of Silver: "And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!’ So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages" (Zecheriah 11:12). Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:3).

10. Money to be thrown in God’s house: "Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord" (Zechariah 11:13).

When Judas saw that Jesus had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders saying he had sinned and betrayed innocent blood. He threw the money into the sanctuary ("in the house of the Lord"). The chief priests concluded it was not lawful to return the money to the temple treasury as it was the price of blood. Therefore, with the money they bought a potter’s field in which to bury strangers. God had revealed this to Zechariah hundreds of years earlier. Zechariah, however, was not fooled by the priests’ legal machinations to avoid the stain of innocent blood (form over substance), but placed the potter right in the house of the Lord.

The prophecies actually predict (1) betrayal, (2) by a friend, (3) for thirty pieces, (4) of silver, (5) money thrown, (6) in the house of the Lord and (7) refer to a "potter" whose field was bought.

Additional prophecies refer to the apostles abandoning Jesus (Prophecy in Zechariah 13:7 and fulfillment documented in Mark 14:50, Mark 14:27, and Matthew 26:31); to Jesus being accused by false witnesses (Prophecy in Psalms 35:11 and fulfilled in Matthew 26:59,60); that Jesus would be silent before his accusers (Prophecy in Isaiah 53:7 and fulfilled as documented in Matthew 27:12); that He would be wounded and bruised (Prophecy in Isaiah 53:5 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:26); that He would be smitten and spit upon (Prophecy in Isaiah 50:6 and fulfilled in Matthew 26:67); that He would be mocked (Prophecy in Psalms 22:7,8 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:31; that His hands and feet would be pierced (Prophecy in Psalms 22:16 and fulfilled in Luke 23:33, John 20:25); that He would be crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27,28); that He would make intercession for his persecutors (while on the cross) ( Prophecy in Isaiah 53:12 and fulfilled in Luke 23:34); that His own people would reject Him (Prophecy in Isaiah 53:3 and fulfilled in John 7:5,48); that He would be hated without cause (Psalms 69:4 and Isaiah 49:7 and fulfilled in John 15:25); that His friends stood afar (Psalms 38:11 and fulfilled in Luke 23:49); that people shook their heads (Psalms 109:25 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:39); that He was stared upon (Psalms 22:17 and fulfilled in Luke 23:35); that His garments were divided and lots were cast (Psalms 22:18 and fulfilled in John 19:23,24).

These prophecies continue to include: that He would suffer thirst (Prophecy documented in Psalms 69:21 and fulfilled in John 19:28); that gall and vinegar would be offered Him (Prophecy in Psalms 69:21 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:34); His forsaken cry (Prophecy in Psalms 22:1a and fulfilled in Matthew 27:46); the commitment of His Spirit to God (Prophecy in Psalms 31:5 and fulfilled in Luke 23:46); the fact that His bones were not broken (Prophecy in Psalms 34:20 and fulfilled in John 19:33; that His heart was broken (Psalms 22:14 and fulfilled in John 19:34); that His side was pierced (Zechariah 12:10 and fulfilled in John 19:34); that darkness covered the land (Amos 8:9 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:45) and that He was buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9 and fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60).

The 53 rd Chapter of Isaiah is a powerful, prophetic chapter regarding Jesus, the Messiah:

WHO has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face,
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the inequity of us all
To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living,
For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke
was due?
His grave was assigned to be with wicked men,
Yet with a rich man in His death
;
Although He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many
,
And interceded for the transgressors (NASB, italics mine)

This incredible prophecy of Isaiah written around 700 BC rings with all the truths which the life of Jesus Christ embodied including the themes of substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, His innocence, His humble and unpretentious nature, His gentleness, His willingness to bear injustice, His crucifixion with two criminals on either side, and His burial in the tomb of a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea. Nothing less than a God who is omniscient, outside the dimension of time, seeing the beginning and end of all things could have given Isaiah such revelation. Isaiah prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, probably from 758 to 698 BC He was married with two sons. According to rabbinical tradition Isaiah was sawn in half, pursuant to the order of the idolatrous king Manasseh, in the trunk of a carob tree, when he was ninety years old (Smith, William, L.L.D., A Dictionary of The Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville).

David, born in Bethlehem in 1085 BC and King of Judah, wrote the following prophetic Psalm describing Jesus’s torment (Psalm 22, NASB):

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
Oh my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer;
Yet Thou art holy,
O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
In Thee our fathers trusted;
They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.
To Thee they cried out, and were delivered;
In Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm and not a man,
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."

..... For there is none to help.
Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a postherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me.
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots (Psalm 22: 1-8, 11-21, NASB, italics mine).

As already mentioned, the Roman soldiers pierced Jesus’s hands and feet with spikes. Since the Sabbath was drawing near, the soldiers approached Jesus to break his leg bones so he could no longer exhale and would suffocate, but he was already dead and no bones had to be broken. The Roman soldiers took Jesus’ outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier. His tunic was seamless and they did not want to tear it, so they cast lots to decide who would get it (John 19:23,24).

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God's Messiah graphicThe Prophetic Odds

Using statistical probability in Science Speaks, Peter Stoner calculates that the fulfillment of just eight prophecies is a statistical probability of 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 or 1 in 10 to the 17th power (see Stoner, Peter W. Science Speaks. Chicago: Moody Press, 1963). To help us understand this staggering probability he provides the example of taking 10 to the 17th power silver dollars and laying them across the face of Texas. The entire state would be covered with silver dollars to a depth of two feet. "Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom."

The chance of one man fulfilling 48 prophecies is 1 in 10 to the one hundred and fifty seventh power. Jesus uncannily fulfilled at least 48 prophecies. The odds of this happening are infinitesimal. There is no explanation but that an intelligent God inspired the writing of these prophecies, effectively "planting them," and then fulfilled the prophecies in the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ!

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God's Messiah graphicHistorical Reliability of the Bible

Are the New Testament documents reliable?

Luke is the consummate historian. For example in Chapter 3, Luke informs us with great specificity, “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness” (Chapter 3; 1-2).

Tiberius became emperor in August, AD 14, and according to the method of computation employed in Syria which Luke would have followed, his fifteenth year would have commenced in September to October AD 27.

The Fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John, mentions three Passovers from the baptism of Jesus by John until His crucifixion (John 2:13; John 6:4; John 11:55), the Last Supper celebrated before the Feast of the third Passover (John 13:1).

The third Passover from AD 27 would have been in AD 30. It is therefore generally agreed that the crucifixion of Christ took place about AD 30.

When were New Testament gospels written per scholarly opinion?

When the New Testament Gospels were written is important as the memory of a witness to an event fades with time. Events are more accurately recorded if they are recorded when the event is fresh in the recorder’s (witness’s) mind. If information is attenuated with the passage of time the likelihood of error in relating the event is increased.

The Gospel of Luke per prevalent opinion was written by the same author the Acts of the Apostles, who refers to Luke as the “former account.” For example both are addressed to “Theophilus.” They both have a similar style and vocabulary. Historian Colin Hemer provides the following evidence why Acts was written between A.D. 60 and 62:

1. There is no mention in Acts of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
2. The Jewish War of 66 AD between the Jews and Romans is not mentioned.
3. The persecutions of the Christians by Nero in the late 60s is not mentioned.
4. The death of James at the hands of the Sanhedrin in 62 AD recorded by Josephus in “Antiquities of the Jews” is not mentioned.
5. The prominence and power of the Sadducees in Acts reflects a pre-70 date, prior to their subsequent hostility to Rome.
6. In Acts the Pharisees are treated relatively sympathetically which would have been unlikely after the council of Jamnia and the Pharisaic revival leading to renewed conflict with Christianity. This is not the case in Luke’s gospel
7. Acts appears to have been written prior to Peter’s arrival in Rome.
8. Acts was written at a time when Gentile “God-fearers” were permitted in the synagogues, a pre-70 date.

There is now a growing acceptance of earlier New Testament dates. Former liberal scholar William F. Albright states: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today” (“Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands”, 136 from “Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics,” Norman L. Geisler).

It is generally believed the Gospel of Luke was written shortly after Acts, Mathew shortly after 70 AD and John around 100 AD. In his book “Redating the New Testament” John A.T. Robinson, renown in launching the “Death of God” movement, places Matthew at 40 to after 60, Mark at about 45 to 60, Luke at before 57 to after 60, and John at from before 40 to after 65. All the gospels would have been written within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses of the events vouching for the reliability of the gospels. Jose O’Callahan, a Spanish Jesuit paleographer, identified a manuscript fragment from Qumran on March 18, 1972 as a piece of the Gospel of Mark whose date was ascribed to AD 50).

“The date of the writing of Acts depends on the date we affix to the third Gospel, the Gospel of Luke, for both are parts of one historical work, and the second part appears to have been written soon after the first. There are strong arguments for dating the twofold work not long after Paul’s two years’ detention in Rome (AD 60-62)” (F.F. Bruce, “The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable”).

FF. Bruce continues “The dates of the thirteen Pauline Epistles can be fixed partly by internal and partly by external evidence … There are some writers today who would reject Ephesians; fewer would reject 2 Thessalonians; more would deny that the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) came in their present form from the hand of Paul. I accept them all as Pauline, but the remaining eight letters would by themselves be sufficient for our purpose, and it is from these that the main arguments are drawn in our later chapter on ‘The Importance of Paul’s Evidence’.

“Ten of the letters which bear Paul’s name belong to the period before the end of his Roman imprisonment. These ten, in order of writing, may be dated as follows: Galatians 48; 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 50; 1 and 2 Corinthians, 54-56; Romans, 57; Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and Ephesians, c. 60.” The Pastoral Epistles per their diction and historical atmosphere (changed state of affairs in the Pauline churches) were probably compiled later than the other Pauline Epistles in 63-65 AD. This does not present a problem for those who believe in a second imprisonment of Paul in Rome in the year 65 at which time he was probably executed.

F.F. Bruce concludes that the time between the evangelistic events related in the New Testament and when they were recorded was short giving them trustworthiness as the information would not have been corrupted with time (and subject to mythological embellishments).

Original Documents:

A multiplicity of manuscripts close to the time when the first original manuscript was created is evidence for an uncorrupted “chain of information.” Discrepancies between the oldest available manuscript and the most current copy of the same manuscript helps determine the authenticity of the most currently available manuscript.

German theologians in the 19th century argued that the Gospel of John was not composed until at least 160 AD. Therefore the events related of Jesus’s life were not of much historical use.

A fragment of papyrus about two and half by three and a half inches was purchased in Egypt in 1920 containing five verses from the eighteenth chapter of the gospel of John.

In 1934 C.H. Roberts of Saint John’s College, Oxford, sorted through papyri at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England and recognized this portion of John’s Gospel. From the style of the script he concluded it originated between A.D. 100 and 150. Adolf Deissman, a prominent paleographer was convinced that this papyrus fragment dates back to at least the reign of Hadrian, the Roman Emperor (117-138 AD) or even Trajan (98-117AD).

The fact that this fragment of a copy was found along the Nile River in Egypt, far from Ephesus in Asia Minor, where John probably composed his gospel, gives credence to an even earlier writing of the Gospel of John as it took time for it to reach Egypt.

Attesting to an earlier authorship of the Gospel of John, William F. Allbright states that evidence from the Qumran community shows that the concepts, terminology, and mind set of the Gospel of John is most likely early first century (“Recent Discoveries in Palestine’ from the “Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics,” Norman L. Geisler). “Thanks to the Qumran discoveries, the New Testament proves to be in fact what it was formerly believed to be: the teaching of Christ and his immediate followers between cir. 25 and cir. 80 A.D.,” (“From Stone Age to Christianity,” 23).

Manuscripts in Existence

We have in existence 5,664 Greek manuscripts, 8,000 to 10,000 Latin vulgate manuscripts, and 8,000 Ethiopian, Slavic, and Armenian manuscripts (source Lee Strobel’s interview of Bruce M. Metzger in “The Case For Christ”). The Codex Sinaiticus, the only complete New Testament, and the Codex Vaticanus both date to about 350 AD and are all in Greek capital letters.

The New Testament is extremely wealthy in manuscript attestation if compared to the textual material for other ancient historical works.

Quoting F.F. Bruce again, “For Caesar’s “Gallic War” (composed between 58 and 50 BC) there are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is 900 years later than Caesar’s day. Of the 142 books of the Roman History of Livy (59BC –AD 17) only thirty-five survive; these are known to us from not more than twenty MSS of any consequence, only one of which, and that containing fragments of Books iii-vi, is as old as the fourth century. Of the fourteen books of the “Histories” of Tacitus (c.AD 100) only four and a half survive; of the sixteen books of his “Annals,” ten survive in full and two in part. The text of these extant portions of his two great historical works depends entirely on two MSS, one of the ninth century and one of the eleventh.”

“The History of Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) is known to us from the eight MSS, the earliest belonging to c. AD 900, and a few papyrus scraps, belonging to about the beginning of the Christian era. The same is true of the History of Herodotus (c. 488-428 BC).”

“Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals.”

Click Graphic to go to the top of this Is There a God ?  Whos is God? Page

God's Messiah graphicEstablishing A Relationship With God

The goal of this website included furnishing you with a good understanding of the nature of God, who God is, who is Jesus Christ and God’s plan of salvation. The writer of this web site would now offer the reader to receive Jesus Christ through a simple prayer. Jesus said: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20, NASB). Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as he is with the attitude of your heart. Here is a suggested prayer:

"Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I ask you now into my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. I ask you to take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."

By asking Jesus into your life and accepting Him you have entered into a contractual relationship with the God of the Universe to give you eternal life. This is a not a passing emotional mood. This is not a temporary feeling. His Holy Spirit, now indwelling in you, will transform you, with your cooperation, into a new creature.

More musings from Sherif Michael at the Is there a God Blog, Biblical Perspectives Blog Page 1

The Da Vinci Code Truth Clip from the MONA LISA painting by da Vinci; decoration for The Da Vinci Code Truth, Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene truth proof blog article. Mona Lisa painting art like on the book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.

The book and soon to be released movie “The Da Vinci Code” is based on the idea that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a daughter whose bloodline survives in Europe. 

In the book, the Catholic Church is portrayed as having covered up this bloodline for 2,000 years and an alleged Opus Dei conspiracy is portrayed as violently covering up the secret of the bloodline.

Aside from the claim that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene, the book and, if closely portraying the book, the forthcoming movie have no compunction in casting in an uncomplimentary light the Catholic Church and the Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group.

The January 2, 2006 issue of “Newsweek” magazine reports that an Opus Dei spokesman petitioned Ron Howard, director of the movie, before shooting began, to remove the prelature’s name from the film, and received no response.  Howard told Newsweek, “Opus Dei is mentioned in the book, and we didn’t shy away from that or any other aspect of the story.”  Has the content of the book become “gospel”?

Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Code, in an interview on Good Morning America (November 3, 2003) said he’d initially been a skeptic to the “Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene scenario” (my quotes), but became a believer and presents it as historical truth in the book.

Twenty four years ago I read the book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” which speculates that the quest for the “Holy Grail” is really a search for the “Sang Royale” (Sangria) or a royal bloodline of Jesus Christ, through his alleged spouse Mary Magdalene, who fled to France after the crucifixion of Jesus.  This supposed “historical fact” was kept secret but indirectly alluded to by secretive groups such as the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion.

So, is there any Biblical authority to the claim that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus?

Did Jesus have a wife?
Was Jesus Christ married to Mary Magdalene?
Did Mary Magdelene and Jesus Christ have a child,
a daughter Sarah, leaving a bloodline from Jesus Christ with decendants that still survive in the world today?
The answers, the truth, the proof:
...Blog Article "The Da Vinci Code Truth", Continued here


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