|Welcome friends. Thankyou for visiting this web site. I have always loved to teach the Word. Too many of God's people let their pastor or teacher do all their studying for them. But if the Bible is the Word of God, shouldn't you take a serious look at it yourself? To study and discover things on your own is both faith building and spiritually rewarding. It is exciting to discover the treasures of God's Word. Studying the Bible doesn't have to be a chore, it can be a most thrilling adventure. I hope to stimulate thought by this web site, provoke you to want to dig into the scriptures yourself, and honor the God of Israel, and our Saviour, the Messiah our soon coming King.|
The Jesus Tomb Discovery
by Alon Ronk
In 1972, North Vietnamese forces launched an offensive against South Vietnam called the Easter Offensive. But in recent years we see an Easter Offensive of a different kind. You will remember that Dan Brown wrote a book that was released on 18 March, 2003 titled, The da Vinci Code. Easter fell on 20 April that year. In 2006 the movie, The da Vinci Code was released, and although it was released after Easter on 19 May, it was being heavily promoted with announcements, previews and trailers on TV, the theaters, and other movies already out on DVD during Easter time which fell on 16 April that year. Also, in that year, the story on the lost gospel of Judas Iscariot was published by the media. Consider the following headlines:
Long-lost gospel of Judas recasts 'traitor'
'Gospel of Judas' Surfaces After 1,700 Years
Judas: Foe or Friend?
Notice the date for the press releases, 6 April, almost 2 weeks before Easter.
Lo and behold, here it is Easter time again in 2007 and the big news is the purported discovery of Jesus' tomb, of course with a da Vinci Code flavor and again, it's Easter time which falls on 8 April this year. We must realize the real reason behind this story. It is another Easter Offensive launched against Christianity. It is an attack on the truth of the Word of God.
Another story making headlines is, " Did the Red Sea Part? No Evidence, Archaeologists Say " published by the New York Times Internet Edition on 3 April, 2007. The Jewish Passover is being outright denied and look again at the timing, on the Jewish Passover. In the article, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, said concerning the story of the Exodus, "Really, it's a myth,". To say that it is a myth is conjecture. There is also good evidence to support the story of the Exodus. He says, there is no evidence. To say that the Exodus did not happen because there is no evidence is an argument from silence. Imagine a murderer telling a judge that he can present 100 witnesses that didn't see him do it. Does that mean he didn't do it? Scholars used to discount the existence of the Hittites and the story of Troy based solely on a lack of evidence. We know now that both the Hittites, and Troy did in fact exist. And yet, there is evidence for the Exodus. Nevertheless continues his denials of the Exodus and says, "If they get upset, I don't care,". Of course not. But since this article is not about the Exodus or Zahi Hawass I'll move on.
As I am writing this article, after reading the news on the internet this morning I came across this news headline,
"Christians angered by Easter-time promotions for questionable works about Jesus" By Rachel Zoll
I thought to myself, other people are beginning to notice it too. How can you not? It's so obvious. Some of the things printed in the article say, "In the last several years, churchgoers have been hit with a steady stream of claims that Jesus didn't die on the cross, that he had a wife and kids, and that the Bible is a fraud." " Why are they doing it now and why are they doing it in such a provocative way?" "New Testament scholars and archeologists say that, the more outlandish the claims, the bigger the sales - which increases demand for ideas from the fringe." " The public is presented with information that they cannot really evaluate." "We live in a Jesus-haunted culture that's biblically illiterate," Witherington said. "Everybody knows who Jesus is. But the actual knowledge about early Christian history and the Bible is very low in the culture and even large segments of the church. In that situation, anything can pass for knowledge about the historical Jesus, even wildly improbable theories."
Something I found very interesting, and I admit, it may mean nothing at all, but it is interesting that during the time of the annual Easter Offensive, there is also a national calamity of some sort. On 19 April, 1993 the Davidians perished in the flames during an FBI stand-off. On 19 April, 1995 the Oklahoma Federal building was blown up. On 20 April, 1999 the Columbine shooting took place. Then on 16 April, 2007 the Virginia Tech shooting occurred. A link to this article can be found at the end of this article.
It was interesting also that at the Virginia Tech Service to honor the fallen students the first speaker was a muslim who invoked the name of Allah. And as WorldNet Daily reported on April 17, 2007 "another WND reader cited the speakers, in order:
I don't know if there is a connection between the Easter Offensives and April calamities or not but it surely does get one's attention and certainly is something to look into and keep an eye on. But I will say, when people blame God when bad things happen, or ask, where was God when I would say that society's ills are not due to the presence of God, but rather the lack of God. God is not some genie that gives us a consequence free lifestyle of sin and rejection of God, His Messiah, and His Word. It is appalling to me that the first speaker of the VT service was a muslim invoking the name of Allah in the United States of America, a supposed Christian nation, yet if the name of Jesus was invoked in a muslim country the speaker would be killed. They say they don't want to offend muslims but they don't care at all if they offend Christians by censoring Jesus. So it is not a matter of offending anyone, it's just that that they hate Jesus.
Psalm 2:1-9 Says, " Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
This whole tomb thing is nothing more than another shot at God from those who oppose Him in their long war against Him. But rest assured, as they shoot at God and His Anointed, He sits in the heavens and laughs at them. Their attacks against Him will only last so long and then they will stand before Him in judgment. The word Anointed in this verse is from the Hebrew word, Mashiach, or Messiah. In the Greek it translates to Christ. But as the people imagine a vain thing we are reminded in the book of Romans 1:21-22, the Bible says, " Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
It's interesting to me that the Bible says, "when they knew God". It's evident to me that these people understand and know full well Who they are attacking. They are not looking to call the Easter bunny or Santa Claus, or the tooth fairy into question, but they invest so much time and money to discredit God, Jesus, the Bible, Christianity and so forth. If they did not somewhere deep in their psyche believe in His existence I doubt they would be so fervent about, and invest so much money in denying it. But the core of the problem is, as it is written in the book of Luke 19:13-14 the scriptures say, " And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us." That is the real problem. They do not want God to tell them how to live.
But there is something in the human conscience that causes us to seek to justify our positions. For example, a child is sitting at a table playing with some toys. He has to go to the bathroom and while he is gone another child comes along, knowing full well the other child is playing with those toys, but he doesn't care, he wants to play with them so he sits down and starts playing with them. The other child comes back from the bathroom and starts to argue with the one at the table for taking his spot. The child at the table immediately says something like, "Well you got up and left". What this child is automatically and inadvertently doing is trying to justify why he was in the right for taking this other child's seat. The same principle can be applied to men like James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici; they are trying to justify why they are in the right for their unwillingness to believe in the Word of God. They have a subjective, vested interest in denying God. No one really likes to be wrong and when the Bible sheds light on where we are wrong most people respond, shut up, I don't want to hear it, and then seek to justify their position.
These attacks against God and His Messiah should not and most probably will not shake the faith of millions of Christians. But three things that it will do is:
1. Give unbelievers another excuse to legitimize their unwillingness to believe God.
2. Provide a stumbling block to other unbelievers who are seeking the way to God.
3. May shake the faith of believers who are not grounded in the Word, as Witherington said, "Everybody knows who Jesus is. But the actual knowledge about early Christian history and the Bible is very low in the culture and even large segments of the church."
Matthew 23:13 says, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
There are some good things that can come from these people's denial of the resurrection however.
First, and not necessarily in this order, it provides an example of Christian behavior. We are commanded as Christians to let our light shine. Remember when some cartoons were drawn against Muhammad how the muslim world erupted in violence. There were injuries, deaths, property destruction etc. And that was just over some cartoons. That's one reason the ones who so effortlessly attack Christianity are afraid to touch Islam. But compare that with the way Christians behave when the very core of their faith is blasphemed. We act like we think our God would have us to and they acted the way they thought their god would have them to. So not only is it an opportunity for us to let our light shine but also an opportunity to demonstrate the difference in character between our God and theirs as well as between us and them.
Make no mistake about it, we should all respond to attacks on the faith and not take it lying down. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." Jude:3-4 says, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
You don't "earnestly contend for the faith" through compromise. Compromise is retreat and surrender. We should be vocal but not violent. Of course, in order for you to be able to do that you must be grounded yourself and that is your responsibility as a believer. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We are commanded to study, or research the Word of God to the point that, we are confident and secure in the faith and feel no need to compromise with those who deny the Word simply because we are intimidated by their supposed unanswerable arguments. This demands diligent study on our part, as the Bible says, "a workman" or laborer who, as a result of their study, are to be able to accurately and decisively disseminate the Word of God, as authoritative, untampered with, and in context as God intended His Word to be understood.
In our country and throughout the world, it is okay and even fashionable to attack Christianity. Christianity is slowing becoming illegalized as a hate crime and Christians are sued, jailed, for example, the Gideons were distributing free Bibles on a public sidewalk when they were arrested. The charges they were arrested on didn't stick so the State of Florida came up with a solution, let's just file different charges. NewsOneNow reported on 20 April, 2007 "After agreeing to dismiss trespassing charges against two members of the Gideons International missionary organization for handing out Bibles on a sidewalk earlier this year, the State of Florida has now charged the men under a different statute for that same incident." Please read the story. There is a link to it at the end of this article.
And then there's the 11 Christians in Philadelphia who, on 10 October, 2004 were arrested for protesting homosexuality. Homosexuals have more rights than Christians in the USA. The Christians were jailed and sued, and eventually found not guilty in the courts. But that did not stop local government and law enforcement from trying. There are repeated attempts to intimidate Christians into silence.
Here's a recent example, Published by NewsOneNow on 20 April, 2007; "A Christian student has been punished by his Michigan high school for demonstrating opposition to a school event celebrating the homosexual lifestyle. The boy's father, a pastor, says he's frustrated the rights of Christian students are being constantly trampled on campus At Oakridge High, duct tape was passed out for students to wear over their lips as a way to show solidarity with homosexual students who are purportedly suffering in silence a student at Oakridge High, was suspended for a day by the school because he wrote with a black marker "I'm straight" on a piece of duct tape and attached it to his shirt." So who's suffering in silence here? The homosexuals who are allowed to have school sponsored events and declare their homosexuality openly, or the Christian who is not allowed to declare he is straight openly and is even kicked out of school for doing so? I see anti-Christian bigotry here. Read the story at the end of this article.
Christians are also fired for their faith, even among the academia, i.e. scientists and teachers. But to attack islam, for example, is a definite no, no. In fact, islam is even being promoted in our country at the expense of Christianity. To speak out against islam like the anti-God movement in our country speaks out against Christianity is labeled as bigoted and intolerant. So why is it not bigoted and intolerant to attack Christianity? As Jesus Himself said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you They hated me without a cause." Hatred for God and His Messiah is nothing new. Hatred for God and His Messiah is the foundation of antichristian bias both in our country, and throughout the world.
Third, it gives us an opportunity to declare the resurrection. We are more than able to defend the resurrection against the fallacious attacks of unbelievers. What? They think that Christians are illiterate or uneducated and do not know why they believe what they believe? Do they somehow think that we will fall under their withering onslaught of lies, deceptions, and untenable proofs? Do they think that we can not counter their bold fables against the Word of God?
I would recommend for example, the books Evidence That Demands A Verdict and More Than a Carpenter by Josh Mc Dowell, just to name a couple. There are many books that do a thorough job of establishing the truth of the resurrection not the least of which is the most important book of all in this matter, the Bible itself. As Paul said in Philippians 1:12-18, "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."
So even though the name of Jesus is being blasphemed it gives believers the chance to become more vocal about it, and perhaps we have been increasingly too silent on the resurrection. Now we will be provoked to declare it all the more. In the early days of the church, persecution was the driving force in the spread of the faith throughout the world. As Christians fled they carried the message of the Gospel with them. Attacking Christianity is certainly a negative thing, as is persecution, but the blessing it may bring is provoking more and more believers to speak out.
Fourth, it may even help to promote unity among believers teaching us to lay our petty differences aside and unite around the things that matter most, i.e. the things that are essential to Christianity and personal salvation not the least of which is the resurrection.
In response to an article in the Jerusalem Post, some readers commented that they did not see why it mattered if Jesus' tomb had been found as long as His message remained in tact. For example:
48. re: Challenging Christianity
65. Historic truth or contemporary BS-- Doesn't change the message
Note: These comments were copied and pasted to the article and have not been edited for spelling or grammar.
This demonstrates the ignorance of many Christians about the importance and necessity of the resurrection to Christian faith. It was Charles Stanley who once said something like, I don't understand how Christians can be so satisfied knowing so little about their bibles. And because many Christians are not so well grounded in knowing why they believe what they believe, the best they can do to defend their faith is take the pathetic stab at compromise with those calling the biblical record into question. For example, for those who do not know enough to answer evolutionists they come up with the idea that maybe God used evolution to create the world. But this position creates a whole new set of problems for the believer. If fossils are dead things that died millions of years before Adam, then death is not a result of Adam's sin. If that's so, Jesus died for nothing because death is not a result of sin. And it doesn't stop there. Don't be so intimidated by your inability to answer those who question the faith. Let is provoke you to study to find out the answers. So if the Jesus Tomb story provokes you to study, then in that sense it has accomplished something positive.
The literal truth of the resurrection and who Jesus is, is so important, in fact, that the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:13-19, " But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
What more can one add to that? If Christ is not risen we are all still lost in our sins and Christianity is nothing more than just another religion. It is evident that many Christians needed this challenge because they did not realize the importance of the resurrection. But one reader who responded understood the importance of the message of the resurrection to the teaching of Jesus:
47. what if
If Jesus did not rise from the dead than He died just like you and I will. The scriptures say, "The wages of sin is death". If he is not risen He is dead. Was He therefore a sinner? Or was it for YOUR sins that He died, and for your salvation rose again? When Peter asked if he should build three tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration, one for Elijah, one for Moses, and one for Jesus, thus treating them all as equals, the answer came to him, " Mt 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." No doubt, Moses and Elijah were the greatest prophets of Israel, one representing the Torah (Law) and one representing the prophets. Yet they were not to be counted as equals to the Son of God. He was singled out as being the ultimate authority. To say that the resurrection doesn't matter is to make Jesus equal to any other great teacher or philosopher like Confucius or Buddha who are dead.
We can see how vitally important the fact of the resurrection is by the unbelievers choice of it as a target. The unbelievers have targeted the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, the resurrection etc because these are fundamental to Christian doctrine. Unbelievers seem to know this even better than many believers. They know full well what they are doing. It may be done under the guise of science or scholarship, as evolution, for example, or even religion, but it is done with the purpose of selling you on a competing idea. Like in politics, politicians feel that the best way to improve their chances of winning your vote is to tear down their opponent.
And as for Jesus being unmarried, what's the big deal on that? People keep parroting the notion that it is unusual for a Jew to be unmarried. But is it? Being unmarried was common among the Essene Jews. John the Baptist did not marry. The apostle Paul was unmarried. Why would God marry a human woman? We must remember that Jesus was fully God as well as fully man. To suggest that Jesus married necessitates a denial of His deity which those who claim Jesus was married do. It is not a stretch to believe that Jesus remained single and celibate.
Also, concerning the angels, it is written in Matthew 22:30, " For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Compare that with Hebrews 1:4-8, "Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." Seeing then that Jesus is God incarnate and is "better" than the angels in heaven, is higher than they, and worshipped by them, if His angels do not marry, why is it so hard to understand that the Son of God is not married? Most Jews in the Hebrew Bible married and it was important for them to do so to perpetuate their bloodline and that the inheritance remain in their tribes and families. Jesus was hardly interested in perpetuating a bloodline. He came to save mankind from sin. The only bride that the Bible says Jesus has or ever will have is the body of born again believers that He has redeemed; i.e. the Bride of Christ.
WHO WERE THE FINDERS?
Actually, James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici were not the finders of the stone ossuaries nor did they discover the cave in which they were found. This is, in fact, not even a new discovery. It is actually 27 years old having been found in 1980. The cave and the ossuaries were found by, " Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who oversaw work at the tomb when it was uncovered in 1980, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that the documentary's claims were "impossible" and "nonsense," and that there was "no likelihood" that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb." - Jerusalem Post 26 Feb. 2007. So we see Cameron and Jacobovici are making claims that even the original discoverer would not make. As for Jacobovici, some readers who responded to the news article in the Jerusalem Post said,
42. Hype, pure and simple
"More anti-Catholic bigotry by Cameron. In Titanic, he defames the Catholic Priest who actually liberated the third class passengers from down below decks, and then stayed with them to comfort them in their suffering (and died with them despite several offers to escape in a lifeboat). And now Cameron defames the founder of the Church, his mother and the first witness of the resurrection. What nonsense."
"People will believe what they want to believe. Hollywood's faith is based on movie contracts. There is more faith there in plastic surgeons than in creation. Cameron has been quiet on the movie scene so he needs some publicity. Go and marry the daughter of Elvis or shave your head if you want to generate hype."
Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council said, "a Hollywood director is the least qualified to render any determination of biblical truth. Not only so, but the people Mr. Cameron has partnered with completely lack credibility. One has been discredited by experts as a charlatan. This is nothing more than a modern day circus sideshow. At best it is pure presumption. At worst, it is pure chicanery," Schenck said.
The two men promoting the Jesus Tomb theory are not unbiased and objective observers, they have a preconceived bias that the resurrection is not true and are looking for something to fit into their view of it totally ignoring all the existing evidence in favor of the resurrection. But enough said about them. It is not my intention to launch a smear campaign against them only to show that their only interest is in what they want you to believe not a pursuit after unbiased objective truth. It is more or less their version of the Da Vinci Code.
The Talpiot Tomb was discovered about two miles from Jerusalem where according to the Scriptures Jesus was buried. The Bible says regarding the burial of Jesus:
Matthew 27:57-66 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Mark 15:42-47 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
Luke 23:50-56 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
John 19:38-42 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
According to the scriptures the tomb where Jesus was buried was:
1. Privately owned by a Pharisee named Joseph.
2. The tomb was located in a garden near to the crucifixion site John 19:41-42, "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." When I was in Israel I visited the Garden Tomb which was in garden at the base of a place called Gordon's Calvary. This is the spot where, in my opinion, Jesus was crucified. Even today it still resembles a skull. The place where Jesus was crucified is called Golgotha, the place of the skull John 19:17. It's interesting because the Bible says in Mark 16:5, " And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted." When you walk inside the Garden Tomb the place where a body would have been laid is on the right side. The whole area fits the description of the Biblical narrative. The place Cameron said the Jesus tomb was found is two miles away.
3. The women paid particular attention to where the body of Jesus was laid.
4. The chief priest and Pharisees posted a guard on the tomb.
So the point that I'm making is that it was well known where the body of Jesus was lain. He was wrapped in grave cloths and Acts 2:31 the Bible says, " He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption." The word for corruption in Greek is diafyora - diaphthora, so according to the scriptures, Jesus' flesh did not decay and He resurrected bodily.
WHAT WAS ACTUALLY FOUND?
THE CLAIM: "Cameron, whose claim to fame is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the Titanic, unveiled a documentary claiming a coffin found in Jerusalem 27 years ago once contained the remains of Jesus Christ," said Rev. Rob Schenck, the president of the National Clergy Council.
Notice Cameron's claim to fame is a FICTIONALIZED account of a historical event. The Jesus Tomb he's promoting is no different; a fictionalized account of a historical event. The resurrection of Jesus is a historical event.
But what did they actually have? Empty stone boxes with names on them. That's it. He has no bones or anything. He has empty stone boxes found two miles away from Jerusalem. Bottom line, he doesn't have anything to support his claims.
What DNA evidence does he have? Obviously, this man is not a scientist nor is Simcha Jacobovici. First of all, the DNA they had was taken from dust found in the stone boxes and not from any human remains. Could the DNA have come from whoever placed the bones in the ossuary instead of the bones themselves? This can not be determined and therefore is poor forensic evidence. Do we even know for a fact that the ossuaries even contained any bones? It's not likely that they would be placed in the cave empty. But then again, it's not likely that the bones would be removed from the ossuaries after burial and the ossuaries left behind empty. Why move only the bones and not the ossuaries that contained them. That would be like us wanting to move the body of a relative from one cemetery to another so we exhume the body leave the casket in the grave, move the body to a different cemetery and place it in a different casket. Not likely. So why were they empty? Where are the new ossuaries if the bones were moved? Had the ones that were found even been used? Could the DNA have come from the person or persons who placed them there? Could this have been part of an early hoax? I'll return to this point when we discuss the names found on the ossuaries. There are more unanswered questions than concrete answers.
Second, any DNA they found, assuming it's from the human remains that were in the boxes, may only be used to establish relationship and not identity.
I was watching Kong 6 news in Seattle, Washington on the morning of the 28th of February when the story came up and the news anchor was interviewing a geneticist on the DNA evidence Cameron and Jacobovici had. She was not a Christian so it can't be said that she has a pro Christian bias. I did not get her name unfortunately but she said Cameron's claim amounted to "publishing by press release". She further deemed it unscientific due to the fact that it was not subjected to peer review nor was the DNA tested multiple times, in multiple places and by multiple scientists.
The DNA evidence Cameron and Jacobovici is more special effects than empirical science or forensic evidence. It's subjective and can be used in multiple interpretations.
The names that were found inscribed on the stone boxes were also used as proof that this was the burial place of Jesus. But is that the only interpretation?
THE NAMES THAT WERE FOUND: "The tomb contained 10 ossuaries, five of which were inscribed with names believed to be associated with Jesus, Mary, a possible relative named Matthew, Jesus's brother Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription translates to "Judah Son of Jesus," according to the Discovery Channel article. All but one of these inscriptions are in Hebrew or Aramaic. The exception, written in Greek, reads "Mariamene e Mara," which can be translated as "Mary known as the master."
"Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film's hypothesis holds little weight
Pfann is even unsure that the name "Jesus" on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it's more likely the name "Hanun." Kloner also said the filmmakers' assertions are false.
The most common names found among Jews at the time." How common? Well, take the name, Jesus. WorldNet Daily reported on 27 Feb. 2007, "Ben Witherington, author of "What Have They Done With Jesus?" said the production is just "old news with a new interpretation."
Another one of the names found on one of the stone boxes is "Mariamne". And remember that this name "was the actual name given to Mary Magdalene in a non-canonical text called the "Acts of Phillip"". This is also the name that leads me to suspect that it is at least possible that the stone boxes may have been part of a hoax connected to a 4th or 5th century forgery called the Acts of Phillip, or at least the name inscriptions. Here is what Magdalene.com has to say about the Acts of Phillip.
Acts of Philip
So if this Mariamne was Mary Magdalene, not only was she Phillip's sister, which is contrary to the New Testament, but she was 3 or 4 hundred years old since that is the date for the Acts of Phillip. Obviously, Phillip and Mary were long since passed away at the time of the writing of the Acts of Phillip. The Acts of Phillip goes out of its way to emphasize the Hebrew language, way more than even the Bible itself does about itself. Strange, that her name should be found in Greek instead of Hebrew. It's like an American being buried and his family has the tombstone engraved in Russian.
One ossuary was said to be missing. It is claimed that the missing ossuary was the one that made news carrying the inscription, "James, Brother of Jesus". The Jerusalem Post 26 Feb. 2007, reported, " The filmmakers claim that the 10th ossuary, said to have disappeared from the collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority, may be the so-called "James, Brother of Jesus" ossuary, rediscovered in 2002 by Israeli collector Golan, who said he had bought it from an Arab dealer in the Old City decades earlier and not initially realized its significance. Although the ossuary still has its supporters, the IAA has branded it a forgery, and Golan has been charged with running a forgery ring - charges he has denied." If the James ossuary did come from the same tomb and was found to be a forgery, what would that say for the rest of the ossuaries in that tomb?
Suffice it to say, that, in spite of what James Cameron says, the names do not imply a 1 in 600 chance that this is the family of Jesus. All it says is that he has some stone boxes with names on them. Furthermore, there was not the kind of name pool in Israel at that time that we have today. The inscribed names were very popular names in a much smaller name pool and in a small geographical location making the possibility of finding these names in any one place very probable. These men are being very misleading and deceptive about the 1 in 600 probability claims.
CONTEMPORARY VERSUS MODERN WITNESSES
The myth of the Jesus tomb is not backed by any credible witnesses seeing as how we are approximately 2000 years removed from the event. Did the chief priests post a guard at the wrong tomb? Were the guards guarding the wrong tomb? They would not seal it unless they first inspected the contents. Did Joseph bury Jesus in the wrong tomb? Did the women go to the wrong tomb? Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb? How about the angels, did they go to the wrong tomb? And then, all of a sudden, in 1980 we find the right tomb? The Romans and the chief priests, the Pharisees and the Sadducees who all were living at the time, and trying their best to stamp out Christianity sure wish they knew back then what James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici say they know now; the real tomb of Jesus.
But the thing about the resurrection is that there were eye witnesses. The very first eye witnesses to the resurrection were, of course, those guarding the tomb. Matthew 28:11-15 says, "Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."
After the resurrection took place, a natural reaction for the guards would be to look inside to see if the body they had been guarding was still there. After they had done this, and seeing that the body was not there, they would not have known what to do so the next logical thing would be to report it. That's exactly what the Bible says happened. The fact that only some of the guard reported may suggest that the others fled. The whole reason why this guard was even posted was an attempt to prevent the resurrection. Matthew 27 records the fear that the chief priests and Pharisees had and their understanding that the resurrection would be a bodily one.
Matthew 27:62-66, " the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch." Notice their interpretation of the resurrection was the absence of the body. If they understood it to be a spiritual resurrection, the body would have been of no importance.
Secondly, when the resurrection did occur the religious leaders gave the guards a story to explain it away and paid them bribes to tell it. If their explanation were a true account, why the need for a bribe? Also, if the guards were sleeping, how could they know who was responsible for stealing the body. And notice too, it is the absence of the body that that they were trying to explain away. Matthew 28:6, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." and that is the definition of the resurrection.
You may have heard of doubting Thomas. The fact of the matter is, Thomas did not doubt. Remember that. Thomas did not doubt. Pay attention to the details in John 20:24-31, " But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
It wasn't that Thomas was having a hard time believing it, notice that what Thomas did say was, "I will not believe". I WILL NOT. It was a matter of Thomas's will. In essence, I am not going to believe it unless I see it for myself. What was it, then, that changed Thomas's mind and caused him to proclaim Jesus as, " My Lord and my God" ? Jesus did not correct him for it either. And had it been merely an exclamation of surprise as taught by the Watchtower Society, Jesus most certainly would have rebuked Thomas for taking the Lord's name in vain. Jesus even promised to bless those who have not seen and believe what Thomas proclaimed. But Thomas saw and interacted with a risen Jesus that he could touch. Thomas was an eye witness and it was enough to convince him and change his mind .
Luke 24:1-10, " Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.?
Luke 24:32-46, "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day."
These were some of the "many infallible proofs" that Luke wrote of in Acts 1:3, "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
It's interesting that when they supposed that they had seen a spirit Jesus corrected them saying, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." So whereas today some would suppose that Jesus resurrected a spirit, Jesus Himself said that he was flesh and bone. There were some cases where Jesus was not readily recognized but the Bible tells us why that was so. Luke 24:16 explains, "But their eyes were holden that they should not know him." Lu 24:31 shows that when this was reversed they recognized Him. "And their eyes were opened, and they knew him "
So whose word will you take for it. Surely Jesus would know if He was spirit or flesh and bone and He would certainly not try to deceive us. Was He mistaken and men like James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici right? These men have nothing that threatens our faith. Only that which blasphemes it.
OVER 500 AT ONCE
1 Corinthians 15:3-8, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." This appearance to the 500+ people is very likely to have taken place in Galilee.
Matthew 26:32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Matthew 28:7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
And of the 500+ people who saw the resurrected Lord, most of them were still living at the time of Paul's writing and could independently confirm the truth of what Paul was saying.
Cameron and Jacobovici can offer all the so called evidence they want but it contradicts the eyewitness accounts of people who were there. The fact remains, that no matter how many storms of deceit rage and fraudulent claims against Jesus and the faith are made, our anchor holds. But the evangelists of deceit need to hide behind their lies and misrepresentation of evidence to prop up their fraudulent claims. If you have to base your case on deception you have no case at all. They always come up with new stuff and manufacture new deceits. So called scholars who question the Word come and go but the Word of the LORD remains forever..
Matthew 24:35 says, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Psalm 119:89, "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."
Psalm 119:98-100, "Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts."
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