EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY
THE BIG QUESTION?
DEAD SEA SCROLLS
SHROUD OF TURIN
RESURRECTIONPhoto By Lonnie Paulson ©www.lonniepaulsonphoto.com
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He is the only religious figure that has risen from the dead and came back to earth to talk about it. He is now ascended into heaven and preparing a place for those who truly believe in Him. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3 NKJV®)
Many people do not believe in the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are wrong. Much evidence is available in the Bible and other sources to prove them wrong. The main reason I set up this website was to show any skeptics evidence of the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. You can look at the evidence in the Bible which also includes fulfilled prophecy verifying the birth, life, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are other writings, archaeological evidence, and the Shroud of Turin gives physical evidence for the resurrected Christ.
Some people will not believe in the concept of a resurrection, but will believe in reincarnation. There is a resurrection, but there is no reincarnation. The author of Hebrews states, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV®).
In one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, that would be chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians known as the Resurrection chapter—the apostle Paul makes this very powerful statement to the Corinthians.
“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15: 13-17 NKJV®).
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
1 Corinthians 15:19 NKJV®
Theories of Opposition to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Many theories of opposition to the resurrection of Jesus Christ have arisen through the years. All of these claims that Jesus did not have a physical resurrection from the dead are as empty as the grave of Jesus Christ. Here are some of the more common oppositions.
Stolen Body Theory:1 The first of these theories arose through a secret conspiracy. After the dead body of Jesus was put in a tomb the chief priests and Pharisees wanted to place a guard at the stone of the tomb. They remembered when Jesus was alive that He said, “After three days I will rise.” The priests and the Pharisees were worried that within three days that His disciples might come at night and steal the body. Then they figured His disciples would say “He has risen from the dead.” These men voiced their concerns to Pontius Pilate governor of Judea. Pilate told the men, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they sealed the stone of the tomb and set a guard. See Matthew 27:62-66 NKJV®.
The Roman guards saw the resurrection happen before their very own eyes, but did not believe. There was a great earthquake. An angel descended from heaven and rolled the stone from the door of the tomb. When the guards saw this they were almost scared to death. An angel told the guard and disciples at the tomb to not be afraid. The angel said that this Jesus who was crucified is raised from the dead. See Matthew 28:1-8.
The guard went back to Jerusalem to tell the chief priests about what they had just witnessed. The reason that they went to the priests was that they knew the Jewish rabbi had some political influence over Pontius Pilate. These priests along with their other colleagues held a special secret meeting. The plan was to bribe the Roman soldiers. The priests gave a large sum of money to these Roman soldiers. They told these soldiers to say, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” The priests further stated, “And if this comes to the governor’s ears, [Pontius Pilate] we will appease him and make you secure.” (Matthew 28:14 NKJV®)
Josh McDowell in his book, The Resurrection Factor asks the question “If the Roman guard had fallen asleep, how could they have known it was ‘the disciples who had stolen the body’”? The Roman guard would have never fallen asleep on the job for fear of punishment. Punishment was a torturous death. One method the Roman authorities used for punishing their soldiers was to burn them alive. Their clothes were stripped off of them and the executioners ignited those clothes to start the fire which was used to burn them alive.
Another Stolen Body theory would involve either the Jewish or Roman authority. The Jews or Romans decide to steel the body before Jesus’ disciples can get to it. Then Jesus’ disciples could not steel the body and say that Jesus rose from the dead. However, the disciples would hear that the tomb was empty and would proclaim a resurrection. Now the only thing that the Jews or the Romans would have to do is show the body they stole of Jesus and the religion of Christianity would have been dead. The only reason why Christianity has survived is because of the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.
Unknown Tomb Theory:2 The disciples and others did not know where the body of Jesus was buried. This idea rose out of the knowledge that many men who were crucified were buried in a pit or mass grave. The only people that would believe this theory is someone who does not believe the Bible. The Bible destroys this theory completely.
A wealthy man from Arimathea by the name of Joseph who became a believer asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. He wrapped the body in an opulent linen cloth. Joseph laid the body of Jesus in a new tomb that he owned. (Matthew 27:57-60) The Romans also knew where the tomb of Jesus was. They had placed a Roman guard there and sealed the stone of the tomb.ChristianImageLibrary.com © V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers Home of Joseph of Arimathea
Wrong Tomb Theory:3 This theory sounds very similar to the unknown tomb theory. Early the first day of the week Mary Magdalene and the other Mary mother of James and Salome brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus. These women became disoriented and went to the wrong tomb. They found an empty tomb.
This theory evaporates very easily. An angel at the tomb talked to the women. “But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. ‘He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’” (Matthew 28:5-6 NKJV®) An angel would not have directed the women to the wrong tomb. If anybody thought that these women went to the wrong tomb all that anybody would have to do is direct them to the right tomb.
Swoon Theory:4 Instead of dieing on the cross from crucifixion Jesus fainted and didn’t revive until He was in the tomb. Next He gets up pushes the heavy stone away from the entrance of the sealed tomb and attacks the Roman guard; knocks them out, and walks away from the tomb. He then meets up with His disciples and declares, “See I rose from the dead within three days just like I said I would.”
This theory is probably the dumbest theory I have ever heard. You would have to be a complete idiot with the intelligence of a head of lettuce to believe this nonsense. It’s obvious that this theory does not follow the Bible, but medically it could not have happened. Jesus was severely flogged with a whip and scourge. He was not even strong enough to carry His own cross. He had nail holes in His wrists and the heels of His feet. These nail holes were made by heavy wrought-iron nails. He hung on the cross from morning till evening. The heavy stone that Jesus was supposed to have rolled away from the tomb weighed anywhere from one to three tons.5 To make sure He was dead the Roman soldiers pierced His side with a spear and out flowed blood and water.
Many people do not understand what the torture of crucifixion does to the body. It was a slow painful process of asphyxiation. All victims were severely beaten before they were nailed to the cross. When a man would hang on the cross with his arms extended his pectoral muscles in his chest along with other muscles in the chest cavity would become paralyzed. When this happened he could not normally inhale or exhale to breathe. The only way to breathe would be to push himself up with his feet to breathe. Since the nails were in his wrists and the heels of his feet every time he pushed himself up He would feel great pain from the pressure of the nails. When the victim’s leg muscles were too tired to lift him up, he died of suffocation. The reason why the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two criminals on the cross next to Jesus was to cause death by asphyxiation. The Jews didn’t want the men hanging on the cross during the Sabbath. When the Roman soldiers came up to Jesus they saw that He was already dead. They wanted to make sure by stabbing Him with a spear.
Besides all of this, the victim would suffer traumatic fever from hanging for such a long period of time. During crucifixion within twelve minutes the blood pressure drops by half and the pulse rate doubles. This is caused by all of the blood entering the lower part of the body. Fainting would occur because not enough blood was getting to the heart.6
If He was revived like the swoon theory says then He would have to eventually die. When the revived Jesus would die someone could present the body and the worship of Jesus Christ would have ended right there. Christianity can not survive without the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Hallucination Theory:7 The apostles and others who saw Jesus as resurrected after His death were hallucinating. They never saw a resurrected Jesus; they only thought they saw a resurrected Jesus. These followers of Jesus only saw what they wanted to see.
Like the swoon theory above this theory is not medically possible. Hallucinations are very personal. They are linked to an individual’s past experiences and come out of his subconscious mind. This makes it very unlikely that any two individuals could share the same hallucination at the same time. Those who hallucinate have a psychological problem. Most of these individuals who hallucinate are schizophrenic.
Hallucinations require an anticipating spirit. After the death of Jesus Christ, His own followers weren’t looking for a resurrected Christ. They thought there religious hero was dead. “For as yet they did not know the Scriptures, that He must rise again from the dead,” (John 20:9 NKJV®)
The apostle Paul said that the resurrected Jesus was seen by His disciples and five hundred others. Not all of these people could experience the same hallucination at the same time. “and that He was seen by Cephas, [Peter] then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.” (1 Corinthians 15:5-7 NKJV®)
Hallucinations occur over a long period of time. So why did the hallucinations stop after Jesus’ Ascension? It’s because there were no hallucinations. Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day just like He prophesied He would.
Legend Theory:8 Even the most liberal scholars of today believe that there was a Jesus Christ that lived. They may not believe many parts of the Bible, but at least they acknowledge that such a person lived. The Legend Theory states that the whole story of Jesus is all make-believeit never happened. If you want to believe Jesus is just a legend, you can believe that, but there is much evidence on this website that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and can save you from sin and an eternal death.
The Bible is the best proof against any doubts about who Jesus is and that He was resurrected from the dead. The New Testament gospels were written shortly after the event. The date of the writing of the original autographs of the gospels was probably around 45-63 A.D.9 Chances are most of the New Testament was written before 70 A.D. I say that because during that year Jerusalem fell. The Romans also destroyed the Jewish temple. If the gospels were written after the destruction of Jerusalem along with the temple, the authors of the gospels would have acknowledged this fact as fulfilled prophesy.
The New Testament could not have been written two or three hundred years after the event either. We have today New Testament manuscripts dated as early as 125 A.D. As written above the resurrection was witnessed by over five hundred people.
Spiritual Resurrection Theory:10 Yes there was a resurrection some say, but it was spiritual, not physical. The body of Jesus decayed in the grave just like everybody else.
This is blasphemous. We Christians worship a risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The grave is empty. His body or bones will never be found. Recently a false blasphemous accusation was made by Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron. They put out a documentary film stating that the tomb of Jesus was found. They claim they had found the ossuary of Jesus with His bones in it. This is blasphemous and impossible. Only wealthy Jews could afford an ossuary which held the bones of the deceased taken from a rock-cut tomb. Jesus’ family was poor. Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus in a rock-cut tomb so He could be buried under Jewish law which stated a burial within 24-hours of death. Also Jews were usually buried in their hometown. If the family of Jesus had a tomb it would have been in Nazareth.11
Jacobovici and Cameron did not take the time to research this idea properly. This tomb was excavated by Amos Kloner, an Israeli archaeologist in 1980. Kloner rejects the claim of Jacobovici and Cameron. So it seems that Jacobovici and Cameron made this up out of thin air. This just proves anyone can make a film if you got the money.
“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39 NKJV®) This is all the proof we need. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was physical.©www.biblepicturegallery.com
"And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!"' (John 20:28 NKJV®)
Luke wrote these words about the living risen Christ.
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3 NKJV®)
"There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived, or that Alexander the Great died at the age of 33. It is strange that historians will accept thousands of facts for which they can produce only shreds of evidence. But in the face of the overwhelming evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they cast a skeptical eye and hold intellectual doubts."12
THE EMPTY TOMB IS THE EVIDENCE THAT JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND CAN SAVE US FROM OUR SINS AND ALSO RESURRECT THOSE WHO BELIEVE TO ETERNAL LIFE. JESUS CHRIST IS GOD IN THE FLESH JOHN 1:14
Pastor Eric Douma of Gospel of Grace Fellowship speaks on the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Scientific Facts About Crucifixion
You can get a better idea about the physical trauma on the body during crucifixion by listening to this 15-minute audio file below.Download Real Audio
Photo By Lonnie Paulson ©www.lonniepaulsonphoto.com
I made this photo many years ago. To me it symbolizes that Jesus Christ is no longer on the cross. The cross is empty. I cleaned up some leaves that were around the cross, but decided to leave one in the grass by the cross. This solitaire leaf to me symbolizes the One that was on the cross is now gone.
RESURRECTION PAGE: END NOTES
1. Josh McDowell. The Resurrection Factor; Here’s Life Publishers, Inc.; San Bernardino, CA 92402 (1981) pp 92-95.
2. Ibid. pp 77-78.
3. Ibid. pp 78-80.
4. Josh McDowell. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict; Thomas Nelson Publishers; Nashville, TN 37214 (1999) pp 258-263
5. Archaeological Study Bible; Zondervan; Grand Rapids, MI 49530 (2005) [notes on John 20:1] p 1760.
6. Dr. D. James Kennedy. The Resurrection; radio transcript; Truths That Transform [Dr. D. James Kennedy interviews Dr. C. Truman Davis on the medical aspects of crucifixion]; Coral Ridge Ministries; (1987) Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302 pp 14-23.
7. Ibid. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict; pp 272-279.
8. Ibid. The Resurrection Factor; pp 80-81.
10. Ibid. The Resurrection Factor; pp 81-82.
12. Joan Winmill Brown. Day By Day With Billy Graham; World Wide Publications; Minneapolis, MN 55403 (1976) [compiled and edited by Joan Winmill Brown from the sermons and writings of Billy Graham] Devotion April 15.