Truth Seekers Ministries Presents…
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Fact or Fiction ?
This study that I am now embarking on with you did not originate in my mind, although it seems so sometimes, for it has been drilled into my mind over the years. I have been taught this message by Dr. Gene Scott every year since 1986 until his death. I will give it to you in my own words, however the overall format and research is taken directly from Dr. Scott’s lessons. The importance of this study, however, demands that I worry not about where it came from. So,… that some don’t call it plagiarism, I give credit now where it is due.
Most Christians have never taken the time to give this subject the sincere attention that it deserves. For if the resurrection of Jesus proves itself to be a fact of history and not some fairytale, then it is by far the most important and significant event in the history of this world. This event is so important, that it is even the central focus that the Great Pyramid and the Gospel Message in the Stars, teaches us, (please read my letters A Disciple’s Study of the Great Pyramid of Giza), and (The Stars Speak), for studies on these subjects.
The Bible teaches us that we should always be ready to give an account, or testimony, of why we believe, yet most Christians have thought little of the actual reasons that they believe. Most just grow up in church and “believe” because everyone else does. Quotes often given such as, “The Holy Spirit beareth witness with my spirit, that I am a son of God”, or “You ask me how I know he lives, he lives within my heart”. These do little to advance God’s Kingdom though, for unbelievers tend not to just accept something heard as true. Other statements, while perfectly accurate, do nothing to give to unbelievers a real good reason to believe. We need to prove the resurrection to ourselves first, through inductive and deductive reasoning, then we can “go into the world..”. The only real reason to follow any God, is simple. The promise of eternal life. If there is no eternal salvation, then what’s the point. Just do what you want to do in this life, never mind the consequences, and die just like everyone else. But, if eternity is promised to us and we can be sure of that promise, then the assurance and confidence we receive for our walk of faith helps us in this life of sorrows, for we know our future is sure. There can only be one way to be sure of that promise, and that is to KNOW, beyond any doubt and past all the accusations and doubts of unbelievers, that Jesus our Lord did defeat death, he did come out of that tomb, and he did ascend back unto God the father, where he will come back and receive us unto himself. With that in mind, lets look at this subject a little closer.
The founders of all modern religions, have a stamp of divinity on them from their followers, yet none, save Jesus, ever claimed it themselves.
Mohammed: Only claimed visions of eternity from Allah
Confucius: Only tried to solve the problems of this world and life. When asked about eternity, he said that he couldn’t figure out this world, so why ask him about the next..?
Buddha: Sought a way to escape, “tanya”, meaning “worldly lusts and desires”. He reached what he taught was an 8-fold path of spiritual meditation that allowed him to reach the, “that beyond all that, or nirvana”, and he only advised his followers that this path worked for him and it might work for them. He told his followers that he, (Buddha), wasn’t worthy of leading them.
None of these leaders of modern religions ever claimed any divinity upon themselves, it was only bestowed on them after hundreds of years by their followers. Jesus boldly claimed his divinity, leaving no doubt of his intent. You can find the tombs for Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha, but not Jesus’ tomb. There are two claims in Israel of where it was, but no one knows where it really was because it was forgotten about. The tomb didn’t matter any longer, for why worry about that when you had the real thing. Only later when relics cane to be desired, did they try to determine where his tomb was. So lets take a look at this most remarkable event of human history, and try to determine if it really happened or not.
To begin with, to have a logical examination of the resurrection of Jesus, there are several facts that you have to assume as true.
1: Jesus Lived.
2: He was crucified, which was instigated by the Jewish leaders, at the hands of the Romans.
3: He was considered dead.
4: He was buried in a known accessible tomb.
5: He was preached raised from the dead, the tomb was empty, and he ascended to heaven.
6: The Jewish leaders had a lot at stake disproving Jesus’ Resurrection.
7: The disciples were horribly persecuted.
8: The tomb was empty.
The fact that Jesus lived, is no longer questioned by scholars, although not too long ago, it was. Both biblical and secular Jewish records tell of his persecution by the Jewish Leaders and of his being crucified by the Romans. You just don’t survive a Roman crucifixion, although whether or not he survived is irrelevant at this point, he was considered dead. The tomb was bought by his uncle, and the Romans posted a guard and seal on it so it was definitely known and accessible. The first message preached told of his empty tomb, his resurrection and his ascension back to heaven. So, out the gate, not only the empty tomb, and resurrection, but also the ascension of Jesus embodied the message that the Christian Church first proclaimed. To the leaders of Jewry, disproving Jesus’ resurrection was essential. Their very livelihood depended on it, for if it was proven true, then they were out of a job. All of the disciples of Jesus were persecuted unto death save John, he also was persecuted, just allowed to die in slavery. If the tomb hadn’t been empty, then surely this story would have never been heard. Since both the Jewish leaders and the Romans needed to disprove these claims, Jesus body would have been produced to quell this new uprising.
Continuing, we now look at what Jesus said about himself, for therein lies the basis for most peoples thoughts and beliefs regarding Jesus the Christ. Whether or not you believe in the Divinity of Jesus or his resurrection, Christians and non-Christians alike tend to agree on this, that Jesus was a Good and Wise Teacher. Well, lets See….
1: Jesus thought he was perfect. He called the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Whited Sepulchers”, saying they “strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel”. He changed the Laws of Moses, saying, “You’ve heard it said, but I say to you…”, then self-righteously stated, “think not that I’ve come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it..”
2: Jesus thought that All Authority is in Himself. Saying, “You build on what I say, you build on a rock, you build on anything else, you build on sand..” , also, “All authority in heaven and earth is given unto me…”
3: Jesus thought himself the center of the religious universe. “I’m the way, I’m the truth, I’m the life. By me if any man enter in…” also, “I am the door of the sheepfold. He that hateth not father, mother, wife, children, brother, sister, yea even his own life also, taketh up his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple” Pretty harsh words from this humble carpenter, no?
4: Jesus thought himself a Denison of Eternity. Saying, “I saw Satan cast down..”, “Before Abraham was, I am..”, He said that he was going to die, go back to heaven, and prepare a place for us. Then he would return to receive us unto himself. He talked of heaven as if he was intimately familiar.
5: Jesus said that he had to die as a ransom. He stated that something was wrong with the whole world, which could only be put right by his dying as a ransom.
6: Jesus claimed that he would raise from the dead 72 hrs later. He stated that the only “Sign” they would receive would be the sign of Jonah, for as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights, so would the “Son of Man be in the heart of the earth”. Also, “Tear down this temple and He would raise if up again in three days”
Now if Jesus was just a Good and Wise teacher, then the above claims that He made about himself, make it impossible for Him to be both a Good, and a Wise Teacher. If he was good then he could honestly believe the things he claimed, but he wouldn’t be wise for he would be incorrect. He could be wise, knowing the claims he was making were lies, but then he wouldn’t be very good would he. If He were just a man, and not truly Divine, the “God-man”, that He had to be in order to kin himself to man, fulfilling God’s requirements, then the very words He spoke, demand that He could not be both good and wise. So what have we then…
C. S. Lewis, came up with the answer, calling it the “Startling Alternate”, Either this Jesus was a nut, a wacked out psycho, who led and is leading millions of people astray by his lies. Or, he is who he claimed to be. Jesus the Christ, the first begotten of the father, God himself born into flesh, sent to die for the sin debt that humanity owes. This free gift from God that, when accepted with childlike faith, will redeem us back unto God’s grace and presence.
So, how do we determine which Jesus we have here. Since history is literally “his story”, when all eye witnesses to the event in question are no longer available, you then have to look at the circumstantial evidence that remains in order to make a logical conclusion.
Now there are many theories given over the years to explain this so called resurrection of Jesus. Of those, the following reasons are the most believable.
1: The Disciples stole Jesus’ body.
2; The Jewish Leaders stole Jesus’ body.
3: The Romans stole Jesus’ body.
4: Women went to the wrong tomb.
6: He resuscitated.
7: The Disciples lied.
8: The Disciples told the truth.
Of all these reasons that people have come up with there are only 2 possibilities. Either the disciples lied, or they told the truth, describing events that they actually experienced. Looking at the examples, it is just a matter of reasoning to determine that either Christianity started out with a lie, or a miracle. If the disciples stole the body, then there was no resurrection or ascension, so they were lying. If the Jewish leaders stole the body, then by the very fact that their livelihood demanded that they would present their evidence that Jesus had actually died. If the Romans stole the body, then both the Romans, by their own desire for quelling this story, and the Jews would have insisted that the Romans produce the body, thereby solving both their problems. If the women went to the wrong tomb, then the immediate solution for all interested parties would be to show them the correct tomb. If hallucinations were the problem, then also they would have been shown the evidence. If he resuscitated, and by some chance of fate, didn’t die at the Roman crucifixion, then the ascension would be a lie. There are only two possible scenarios, either these poor disciples, leaderless, and scared of the authorities, concocted this amazing tale of a messiah, dying for the world, yet surviving death itself and ascending back unto God. Or, they actually experienced Jesus the Christ, God in flesh, beaten and crucified, dead and buried, yet miraculously cheating death, and in his glorified body, soaring back into the heavens witnessed by some 500 followers.
Ok, you must agree on this. Either the disciples were lying, or they were telling the truth. How do we determine, with any amount of confidence, whether or not they are truthful, or liars. There are qualities and comments made, that more than prove that these first followers of Jesus the Christ were honest reporters, delivering their message just as they received it.
1: There was a cataclysmic change, for the better, in all of the disciples. Each disciple of Jesus was changed. Doubting Thomas became a pillar of faith, taking Christianity to India. James and John, (Sons of Thunder), become the brothers of Love, Unstable Peter, became the Rock, etc All of Jesus followers were positively affected. Now a lie will change people, but seldom will it change them in a positive manner. Lies almost always change people for the worse.
2: There are internal consistencies within the gospels that indicate the author’s truthfulness. Mark, who was sent to the gentiles, calls Jesus the “Son of Man” more times than in any other gospel. That term is a messianic term known to the Jews, but not known to the gentiles. If they were perpetrating a lie, then why call Jesus a son of man, call him the Son of God. It would be a better lie. Why did they wait 7 weeks, before preaching the first message? Doing this would only hurt their cause. Yet, because Jesus told them to wait, that’s what they did. When Jesus was feeding the 5000, (John 6:5) why did he ask Phillip where to buy the bread. In Luke you find out more, they were at Bethsaida. Then again at the beginning of John, he said that Phillip was from Bethsaida. These are just a couple, but there are many qualities within the gospels that indicate the truthfulness of the author.
3: The price each disciple paid, each one dying a martyrs death except John. Here’s a few. Paul– beheaded in Rome. Peter– Crucified upside down. Mark– Dragged to death in the streets of Alexandria. Thomas– Pierced by a Brahman sword in India. Bartholomew – Skinned alive with a whip in Armenia. Andrew– Crucified on what we now call Andrews Cross, a cross in the figure X. Luke– was hanged by idolatrous priests.
4: They all died alone, under severe torture and persecution, save John, and yet not even one disciple, who had witnessed the resurrection ever changed their story.
Now it is conceivable, that a group of people, sticking together in a kind of self preservation mode, could hold out for each other in telling this lie. What is totally impossible though, is that each disciple, separated by hundreds or thousands of miles, being tortured to death, yet not one of them ever changing the story. Just by saying, “Ok, I give..it was only a lie”, would have spared their life. Why wouldn’t they if it were only a lie? What you see in these disciples, are ordinary men, witnessing an extraordinary event that totally changed them. These men had to tell this story, this “Good News”, of the Gospel. There was no way they couldn’t shout it, no obstacle would prevent them from proclaiming this story from the rooftops.
It should be clear by now that Christianity didn’t begin with a lie, but a miracle. The most important event in the history of this world occurred when Jesus came out of that tomb. Death itself was defeated. Now, by simple faith in the completed work of Jesus the Christ, the greatest and eternal fear that besets each person, the fear of death, has been eliminated. We no longer have to fear what lies beyond the curtain that blocks our view into immortality. This mortal beginning we all go through is just a stepping stone, for the road ahead continues for those in Christ. The road ahead continues for those not in Christ also, however it’s destination is unclear and separation from God is certain which in itself is a Hell regardless of the “Fire and Brimstone” that is promised to those who chose not to follow Jesus.
Our reward though is sure, for Jesus did complete the task that God set before him, and set us captives free from the bonds of the Law unto the spacious freedom of God’s grace. When you know in your heart by study and confirmation in your own spirit that Jesus did defeat death and that he did come out of that tomb, then your walk becomes more sure and living through the trials that each of us has to go through becomes a little easier. For we know if Jesus can defeat death, then surely he can fulfill the rest of his promises to us. He will never leave us or forsake us, and He will return to receive us unto Himself where we will be reunited with our loved ones that have gone before us.
Keep the faith and keep looking up for our redemption really is drawing nigh…
With Love in Christ,