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Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

 
Mongo
User ID: 27598
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09/09/2005 01:54 PM
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Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Is this enough evidence, or is more needed?

FACT #1: BROKEN ROMAN SEAL
The first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus´ disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.

FACT #2: EMPTY TOMB
Another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was "too notorious to be denied." Paul Althaus states that the resurrection "could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned."

Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu." Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine."

Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God´s doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ´s body.

Paul Maier observes that " . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement."


FACT #3: LARGE STONE MOVED
On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.

Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus´ body, how could they have done that without the guards´ awareness?


FACT #4: ROMAN GUARD GOES AWOL
The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? Justin, in Digest #49, mentions all the offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors´ wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one wand be punished with death for the guard unit´s failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment "produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches."


FACT #5: GRAVECLOTHES TELL A TALE
In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty--because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty--like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar´s cocoon. That´s enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes--undisturbed in form and position.


FACT #6: JESUS´ APPEARANCES CONFIRMED
Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.


OVER 500 WITNESSES
Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ´s post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ´s appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience´s knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: "What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, ´If you do not believe me, you can ask them.´ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago." Let´s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.


HOSTILE WITNESSES
Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ´s appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ´s followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.
KHOSANNA

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09/09/2005 02:18 PM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The other thing, too is that if the Sanhedrin thought for one second that the apostles and others were lying about Jesus raising from the dead, I feel sure they would have gone and gotten that dead body and paraded it through the streets of the Old City. But they couldn´t do it, because He WAS NOT DEAD ANYMORE.

Not only did the guards go AWOL, some of them were bribed by the Sanhedrin. "11While they were on their way, some of the soldiers who were to watch the grave came into the city. They told the head religious leaders everything that had happened. 12The soldiers gathered together with the other leaders and talked about what to do. The leaders gave much money to the soldiers. 13They said, "Tell the people, ´His followers came at night and took His body while we were sleeping.´ 14We will see that you do not get into trouble over this if Pilate hears about it." 15They took the money and did as they were told. This story was told among the Jews and is still told today." Matthew 28, New Life Version.

Simon Greenleaf, the founder of Harvard Law School, set out to disprove the resurrection based on the laws of evidence. He ended up believing. Type his name in your browser and see what you get.

What a Savior...what a hope.
Anonymous Coward
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09/09/2005 06:56 PM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The arguments that you present as evidence for the ´ressurrection´ of Yeshua ben Miriam are merely arguments for his being seen and spoken to after his death. Read the archives of the Society for Psychical Research in England and you will find many case stories of people who have seen, touched and spoken with their mothers or fathers after the latter died. There is nothing unique to the event of Yeshua communicating with those close to him after he had died. What, however, at first sight seems unique is the claim by Christians that he had the same body as the one that hung dead on a wooden cross. But read the life histories of some Indian yogis or mahatmas and you will find the same thing - after their deaths they appeared to their disciples after creating a body called the ´mayavi rupa´ - body of illusion. This body is formed from matter but exists temporarily for the purpose of communication between our world and spirits from higher planes of existence. In Yeshua´s case, he made it from his own dead body. But it was the same kind of temporary body that one often finds described in Indian literature about saints and great yogis. Its unstable nature was what made Yeshua warn one of his disciples not to touch him. So your arguments don´t prove a singular event in the history of mankind. Yeshua´s powers and his ´resurrection´ have their counterpart in some of the mahatmas of the East.
Anonymous Coward
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09/09/2005 07:01 PM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Tell me what God has told you personally, or done supernaturally for you, please.
cossack47
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09/09/2005 09:19 PM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
This does seem to be rather weak when you consider that the Jews supposedly knew of the "resurrection" yet continued , it seems, to be UNIMPRESSED by Jesus` claims of divinity.Furthermore,why would Jesus not demonstrate to the Sanhedrin that he was risen from the dead if he was so eager to be taken seriously--other miracles are claimed on his behalf in the gospels;presumably the Sanhedrin or their agents would have witnessed some yet one must assume, were not impressed enough to think this so out of the ordinary.Why would the "Son of God", having "defeated death" decide to live like a fugitive thereafter; one would expect him to confront the Sanhedrin in triumph;there would then have been absolutely no need for a "second coming" and the sum total of all human misery for the past two thousand years could have been avoided.
Anonymous Coward
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09/10/2005 01:40 AM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
“What, however, at first sight seems unique is the claim by Christians that he had the same body as the one that hung dead on a wooden cross. “

If mainstream Churchianity is claiming this, they are incorrect. When Jesus appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus, they did not recognize Him. He was not recognized in the Garden tomb area by Mary Magdalene, one of His most devoted followers, until He made Himself recognizable to her. In contrast, the Apostle Peter and others knew Him as soon as they saw Him. About 400 years (or more) prior to this, Isaiah wrote that He was badly beaten before He was crucified. If He had the exact same body, He would have appeared as badly beaten at all the recorded appearances. He did not and, in fact, could make Himself unrecognizable to people that already knew Him well.

“But it was the same kind of temporary body that one often finds described in Indian literature about saints and great yogis. “

Based on some of the accounts after His resurrection, I think that a resurrected body has the ability to transcend time, space, laws of matter and energy and it is not a temporary state. It is actually an ETERNAL state. Some of the Epistles address the issue of the spiritual body.

“But read the life histories of some Indian yogis or mahatmas and you will find the same thing - after their deaths they appeared to their disciples after creating a body called the ´mayavi rupa´ - body of illusion. This body is formed from matter but exists temporarily for the purpose of communication between our world and spirits from higher planes of existence. In Yeshua´s case, he made it from his own dead body.“

I note you do NOT say they were resurrected. There is a difference. The women who discovered the empty tomb were told that He was not there, He had risen. The only thing left in that tomb were the burial wrappings and the face covering. If He used a body of illusion, as you say, then wouldn’t His physical body still have been in the tomb?

“Its unstable nature was what made Yeshua warn one of his disciples not to touch him. “

No. According to the scriptures, he warned Mary not to touch Him because “I have not yet ascended unto my Father”. This issue is a study that requires a pretty deep level of Biblical research, because it is tied to the feasts of Israel.

As to instability, the fact that He could make Himself recognizable or unrecognizable to those who knew Him indicates the opposite.

For me, the thing that convinced me of the truth of the resurrection was actually a very simple concept:

There is NO BODY. This man, Jesus Christ, had such an impact on this planet that Western civilization marked time itself by Him --BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domine, in the year of our Lord).
One would think that if His body was really rotting in the Garden Tomb, it would be protected and memorialized. But there is nothing like that in existence. Because there is no body. Because it’s just like the angel said, He is not here, He is risen.

It’s not the life and death of Jesus Christ that scares the evil one, it’s the resurrection. The Bible says that if the ‘princes of this world’ knew what would be accomplished by the resurrection, they would never have crucified Him. And unfortunately, for Churchianity, they are far more interested in the prosperity gospel, political issues and entertainment. So you seldom hear them say “HE IS RISEN”.
Anonymous Coward
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09/10/2005 02:15 AM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The idea of labeling years as "BC" or "AD" did not come into effect until the year 525 AD, according to wikipedia:

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

So your reasoning for Christ is circular, and therefore, illogical.

In fact, to look back into history and claim this or that regarding Jesus is a exercise in futility to me. Just like the Bible has been woefully and radcially modified by human hand after human hand over the centuries, so too have the history stories and texts.

I can´t believe any of the so-called "evidence" for Jesus, and therefore, I do not believe in Jesus. I am not Jewish... nor am I Christian. I am simply not religious, and do not see any need to ever require a deity in my life.

Religion has caused far more pain in this world than things like racism ever have. And this is a useful concept, religion?

Bah.
wonbyOne

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09/10/2005 02:18 AM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Bah is what sheep say.
KHOSANNA

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09/10/2005 05:12 AM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
I´m not religious, either. I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a difference, a vast one.

As to the BC/AD thing, so what if it didn´t come into use until whenever? The point is that IT WAS USED. By a whole heck of a lot of people. That´s what I was trying to say.

I totally agree with you when you say religion has caused a lot of trouble. Religion has done more to subvert the cause of Christ than just about anything else.
Anonymous Coward
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09/10/2005 05:36 AM
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Re: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
[link to antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov]