on

Who was he?

Who was he?

           WHO WAS HE?

           Now it’s time to evaluate the most controversial person that has ever lived, Jesus.  He fulfilled hundreds of prophesy predictions of the coming Messiah (God incarnate).  All of these predictions were made 200-1,000 years before His time.  Most of these predictions were out of His control such as His place of birth, ancestry, death, and many other events.  No other religion can claim to have such specific predictions.  Nobody foretold of the coming Muhammad, Joseph Smith, or Buddha.

           Just ignore the Bible verses listed and read past them.  They’re just there for reference.  You can take my word for these references or look them up for yourself.  I could have used many more examples but didn’t.  Also the prophesying authors sometimes speak in the first person though this is understood as God speaking through them.  The gospels are the first four books of the New Testament telling the story of Jesus from four different authors.  They’re so much alike, it’s pointless to start out reading all of them.  So if you want to read one to compare these prophesies then read Matthew or John, they are the most detailed.  Remember also, that any capitalized He, His, or Himself is referring to Jesus.

 

           FULFILLED PROPHECIES

           In the book of Daniel 9:25-27, it accurately predicts the time of birth for the Messiah and His death in relation to the new Jewish temple being built.

           Daniel was written around 600 BC and predicts that the Messiah will come to Jerusalem after the time of “seven ‘sevens’ and sixty two ‘sevens’.  This is a very confusing verse because in ancient Hebrew the word “weeks” can mean weeks or years.  Scholars consider it must have meant years.

           The decree of king Artaxerxes in 444 B.C. is when the temple rebuilding was started in Nehemiah 2:1-8; 4:1-10.

           This is how the equation is done:

* 62 + 7 = 69 x 7 year periods = 483 years until the Messiah comes after the temple begins rebuilding.

* 483 years x 360 days in the Jewish calendar = 173,880 days.

* 173,880 days ÷ by 365.25 Roman calendar days = 476 years.

* 476 years – 444 BC when the temple rebuilding began = 32 AD when Jesus was crucified.

 

           My version of this equation is not exact because there are some other minor factors to consider.  If I were to bore you with converting the exact days and minutes you would see that this prophecy was exact to the very year and month!  Jesus was crucified in the month of Nisan 14th 33 AD or April 3rd 33 AD.

           BEFORE this historical prophecy was even figured out in 1977, it was already determined that Jesus was crucified in 33 A.D., the exact year and month predicted by this prophecy.  This is probably one of the reasons why so many people became Christians 2,000 years ago.

           I simplified this equation a lot, it actually takes many other factors into the equation, even the minutes.  This research was done by H. W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, he’s a scholar who spent a lot of time putting these pieces together, and did a great job.

           The same prophecy also predicts the destruction of the Jewish temple after the Messiah is killed (Daniel 9:26).  “The people of the ruler (Romans) who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”  The Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 AD.  This prophecy was fulfilled long after the Old Testament was already written.  And the temple being destroyed is confirmed by Roman historians.

 

           JESUS’ BIRTH

           The story of Jesus’ birth tells of an angel who informs three wise men of a coming king from Bethlehem.  The wise men end up telling this to king Herod.  When king Herod heard of this coming king he felt threatened, so he ordered all young babies boys to be killed in Bethlehem.  So Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus fled to Egypt until Herod died.  This is predicted in Hosea 11:1; Numbers 24:8; and Jeremiah 31:15.  “And out of Egypt I called my son.”

           Now Micah 5:2 predicts that Bethlehem will be where the Messiah comes from.  Jesus wasn’t killed as a child because He was taken to Egypt.  But it says that He was born in Bethlehem while Joseph and Mary were traveling.  So Jesus was considered “from” Bethlehem during the beginning of His life.

           Jesus was raised in Bethlehem for a while, but after king Herod died Jesus’ family then left Egypt to return to their homeland.  But they settled in Nazareth instead where Jesus was raised like the prophecy says in Judges 13:5.  A Nazarite in Hebrew means, devoted one.

           The Messiah was prophesied to come from Bethlehem, come out of Egypt, and be a Nazarite which all happened, Matthew 2:4-6,26; Luke 2:4; John 7:42.  Jesus’ birth was basically 3 different prophesies fulfilled at the same time.

 

           Here are some other specific prophecies that Jesus fulfilled from the Old Testament written hundreds of years before Jesus was even born.  The dates listed are when each book was written.  Just read past the verses and dates, they’re just there for reference.

 

-The Messiah is prophesied to be born of a virgin in Isaiah 7:14 (700 BC).

-Isaiah 60:6 (700 BC); Psalm 72:10-11 (600 BC) predicts that wise men will come bringing gifts for baby Jesus.

-Isaiah 40:3 (700 BC); Malachi 3:1 (430 BC) predicts the coming of John the Baptists who prepared the way for the Messiah.  He can be found in Matthew 3:1-3, 11:10; Luke 1:17; John 1:23.

-Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1 (700 BC) predicts the Spirit of God resting upon the Messiah as told in Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 4:15-21; John 1:32.

-Zechariah 9:9 (470 BC) describes the Messiah coming on a donkey which happened in Matthew 21:6-11; Luke 19:35-37.

-Psalms 69:9 (600 BC) predicts the Messiah turning over the tables in the temple where people were wrongly making it a place of business.

-Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe He was the Messiah as predicted in Psalm 69:8 (600 BC).

-The Messiah will heal the blind, deaf, and crippled in Isaiah 35:5-6 (700 BC).  Check Matthew 9:32-35; Mark 7:33-35; John 5:5-9; 9:6-11; 11:43-47.

 -In Psalm 118:26 (600 BC) the people cheered “Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” As it happened in Matthew 21:9.

-The Jews and religious leaders who worked to put Jesus to death are prophesied of in Psalm 118:22 (600 BC); Isaiah 8:14 (700 BC).  The Pharisees can be read about in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

-Isaiah 49:6; 60:3 (700 BC) predicts that the Messiah will be a light for the gentiles (non-Jewish people).

-The resurrection is prophesied of in Psalm 16:10 (600 BC).

-Jesus’ crucifixion experience is prophesied of before the punishment of crucifixion was even invented.  Isaiah 53:12 (700 BC); Psalm 22:14-18 (600 BC).

-Psalm 68:18 (600 BC) tells of the ascension told in the gospels after Jesus’ resurrection.

 

           During the Jewish Holidays of Passover all of these prophecies listed below were fulfilled in one day through Jesus.  They all come from the Old Testament which was written hundreds of years before Jesus was even born.  All of these fulfilled prophecies are recorded in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

 

-Jesus was betrayed by a friend (Judas).  Psalm 41:9 (600 BC).

-Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.  Zechariah 11:12 (470 BC).

-The silver money was foretold to be thrown into the temple and then used to buy a potter’s field.  Zechariah 11:13 (470 BC).

-Jesus’ disciples abandoned Jesus when He was taken away.  Zechariah 13:7 (470 BC).

-The Messiah was testified against by false witnesses as in Psalm 35:11-12 (600 BC).  The witness in Matthew 26:59-61 is telling the truth but the text also claims there were other false witnesses.

-Jesus was silent before His accusers as foretold in Isaiah 53:7 (700 BC) and fulfilled in Matthew 27:26.

-Specific prophecies of Jesus’ wounds are foretold of in Psalm 22:17 (600 BC), Isaiah 53:5 (700 BC), and Zechariah 13:6 (470 BC).  These tell of the stripes on his back, bruises, and piercing between His hands.  The hand in ancient times was considered from the elbow down to the finger tips.  This Psalm prophecy was written 500 years before crucifixion was even invented.

-Prophecies predicted that the Messiah will be pierced in Zechariah 12:10 (470 BC) and Psalm 22:17 (600 BC).  Jesus was pierced in His hands and feet.

-Prophecies of the Messiah letting Himself be struck on the back, having His beard plucked out, and being spit on without any resistance was predicted in Isaiah 50:6 (700 BC) and Micah 5:1 (710 BC).

-Prophecy of people mocking Jesus is found in Psalm 22:7-8 (600 BC).

-Prophecy in Psalm 109:24-25 (600 BC) tells of His weakness in knees which refers to Jesus not being able to carry His cross.

-Isaiah 53:12 (700 BC) explains the Messiah being poured out until death and numbered with wrong doers as He was crucified alongside criminals.

-The Messiah will bare the sins of many as Jesus is believed to.  Isaiah 53:12 (700 BC).

-He will be despised and rejected by men in Isaiah 53:3 (700 BC).

-Jesus’ own brother didn’t believe in Him at first as foretold in Psalm 69:8 (600 BC).

-He was hated without a cause.  Psalm 69:4 (600 BC), Isaiah 49:7 (700 BC).

-His friends stood afar from His suffering.  Psalm 38:11 (600 BC).

-Onlookers shook their heads at Him.  Psalm 109:25, Psalm 22:7 (600 BC).

-The Messiah was beaten beyond recognition in Isaiah 52:14 (700 BC).  This was performed by the Roman guards.

-The Roman guards divided Jesus’ garments and gambled for His clothes as foretold in Psalm 22:18 (600 BC).

-When Jesus was being crucified, He was offered gall, a drink on a sponge believed to be sour wine.  Psalm 69:21 (600 BC).

-Jesus’ bones were not broken as prophesied in Psalm 22:17, Psalm 34:20 (600 BC).  The other two criminals being crucified next to Jesus did have their legs broken which was common to quicken the death of suffocation, but the guards already observed and confirmed that Jesus was dead without breaking His legs.  The gospels confirm this.

-It’s written that His bones will be out of joint in Psalm 22:14 (600 BC).  This would have happened from Jesus having His wrists nailed apart to a post with His body weight pulling His shoulders out of socket.

-Jesus’ side was pierced by a spear as predicted in Zechariah 12:10 (470 BC).

-The Messiah is predicted to bare our griefs and carry our sorrows in Isaiah 53:4 (700 BC).

-He was led as a lamb to the slaughter in Isaiah 53:7 (700 BC).  This means that Jesus wouldn’t resist His crucifixion, plus a pure firstborn lamb was a common sacrifice for sin in the Old Testament.

-The Earth became dark during the crucifixion as prophesied in Amos 8:9 (750 BC).  It’s recorded that darkness lasted for three hours.  That’s why secular writers also recorded this event.

-Jesus was assigned a death with criminals and buried in a rich man’s tomb as foretold in Isaiah 53:9 (700 BC).

-God was not to leave the Messiah in the land of the dead and let His body see decay as in Psalm 16:10 (600 BC).  This is saying that the Messiah will be raised from the dead.

-Non-Jews that became believers are prophesied of in Zechariah 13:8-9 (470 BC).

 

           An important prophesy in Malachi 3:1 (430 BC) says how the Lord will return to His temple.  Remember the temple’s destruction in 70 A.D., it has never been rebuilt to this day.  This prophecy is saying that the Messiah will return while the last temple still stood. (Daniel 9:26, 530 BC)  It tells of the Messiah being in the very temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D.  So the Messiah (Jesus) did come to the last temple and fulfilled all of these prophesies just listed.

           Because I’m approaching these topics as unbiased as I can be, I won’t mention prophecies such as Jesus telling His disciples of His coming death and resurrection in Matthew 16:21, 17:9, 17:22-23, 20:18-19, 26:32, Mark 9:10, and Luke 9:22-23.  When Jesus was on trial, He was accused by enemies for saying that He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days.  Of course, He was symbolically referring to His body’s death and resurrection.  Even His enemies knew what He really meant, that’s why they requested Roman soldiers to guard His tomb in Matthew 27:62-66.  So if Jesus didn’t predict His own resurrection, then why did the Pharisees have Roman guards watch over His tomb?

           Another interesting fact is that a temple worker cannot start his service until 30 years of age like Luke 3:23 says of Jesus.  There are more prophesies like these to list but I’m only looking for the undeniable evidence to show.

           Some skeptics have claimed that these prophesies were being said by the authors about themselves.  Psalm 22:16 and Zechariah 12:10 made no claims of themselves actually having their hands and feet pierced.  Not to mention crucifixion wasn’t even invented when those prophecies were written.  The book of Psalms was written 1,000-500 BC before crucifixion was even invented in 520 BC.  I think these authors would have mentioned more about their wounds throughout their writings if they had experienced such pain themselves.

           And what about the thirty pieces of silver?  What about the locations where the Messiah was supposed to come from?  All of these specific predictions came true through Jesus and some of these are verified through non-Christian sources.  And the Messiah’s predicted ancestry traces all the way back to Adam, Solomon, king David, and more leading to Jesus as foretold and verified in Matthew chapter 1.

           Some of these prophecies can sound a bit out of context.  I don’t like quoting the Bible to help reveal evidence of its reliability.  But the Old Testament was written hundreds of years before the New Testament was.

           I can see how some could doubt that these verses were talking about the Messiah (Jesus), but many of them specifically refer to the Anointed One, Son of God, Lord, Immanuel, Servant, and so on which all refer to the Messiah.  And who else could fulfill all of those prophecies and those I didn’t even mention?  Many of the prophecies listed have duplicates in other books or the same book, I didn’t even list all of the prophecies relating to Jesus.

           Jesus fits every description of the Old Testament Messiah, but the Jews were hoping for a Messiah that would be a powerful leader on Earth and that’s why some Jews still rejected Him.  The prophesies were clear that the Messiah would suffer but I guess the Rabbis didn’t like mentioning that He’s supposed to die as an ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world.  And it’s not like the Old Testament was sold at stores back then for everyone to study for themselves.

           You would think these fulfilled prophecies were one of the main reasons that people were believing in Jesus so quickly, but I say it wasn’t.  Many gentile converts didn’t even understand the Old Testament, but mainly it was something greater than prophecies, preaching, or any other explanation.  After Jesus’ death something unexplainable happened that changed people’s lives.  Keep reading and now I’ll go on to evaluate Jesus as the historical person that He was.

 

           THE VIRGIN BIRTH

           Jesus was said to be born of a virgin, but medically speaking that cannot happen.  When God “breathed his spirit on Mary”, it’s a similar description of God breathing the breath of life into Adam from Genesis 2:7 (breath, spirit, and life are all the same exact word in ancient Hebrew).

           So Mary became pregnant from God’s breath of life and Joseph wanted to call off the wedding since he knew it wasn’t his doing.  Then an angel appeared to Joseph which made him stick around until she gave birth before they were intimate (Matthew 1:25).

           In John 8:41, Jesus’ own enemies accuse him of being born out of wedlock.  They verify that this was an accusation about Jesus to discredit Him during His ministry.  They used this claim because they had heard how Mary became pregnant before being married.  In Genesis 3:15, the verse states that the seed of the woman (not man) will crush the head of the serpent (satan).  This is saying that the Messiah will come from a woman but not from a man.  Basically a virgin birth.

           Those that hated Jesus (the Pharisees) and had Him crucified later wrote of Mary, “who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot (slept around) with carpenters.”  First Jesus’ enemies confirmed Mary’s royal descendants.  Then they made a pitiful excuse for the virgin birth.  Their accusation would be reasonable if they said that Mary cheated with someone in particular, that would be believable.  But to use “carpenter” like Joseph actually was, is not reliable.  It shows that they just came up with any excuse that came to mind.

           Let’s just say for a moment that this did happen with Mary and another carpenter.  How would Jesus’ enemies even have known about it?  It’s not like they would ever talk to a poor carpenter, they were too busy being full of themselves.  But if their accusation was true, then they would know who the real father was since they claimed to know that he was a carpenter.  But instead they had nobody to point out from the local carpenters in their town.

           And Joseph wasn’t the father.  Joseph was about to call off the wedding when he found out that Mary was pregnant.  So obviously he knew that it wasn’t his doing.

           Here’s an important question to ask about Joseph.  It says that he was a good man and wanted to quietly cancel the wedding with Mary when she became pregnant before they were married.  After having an angel come to him in a dream, Joseph suddenly changed his mind.  If I was engaged and found out that my soon to be wife was pregnant but not from me, it would take a real angel to convince me to go ahead and marry her.  And I’m not easily convinced.  And what virgin engaged to be married would go off and get herself pregnant?  How often did that really happen back then?

           Of course the skeptics still have a case against the claim of a virgin birth.  But do they have a case against the existence of God?  That’s the real question behind this virgin birth.  Does God exist or not?  If God does in fact exist, then it definitely seems possible.  In light of all creation I hardly find such a God being unable to cause one virgin birth.

           Besides, the prophecy predicted a virgin birth hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Isaiah 7:14 which says, “The Lord will give you a sign: Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Immanuel means, God with us).  Now I have heard Jewish skeptics claim that His name was Jesus not Immanuel.  But Jesus is referred to as “Immanuel” all over the world, in the New Testament, in songs, and by billions of people.  Besides, the angel told Joseph to name Him Jesus.  Read Matthew 1:22–25.

           And doesn’t evolution teach how the very first life forms were able to reproduce as A-sexual virgins?  Parthenogenesis is the ability for a female to reproduce without any male involvement.  About 50 different lizards, 1 kind of snake, and some scorpions can reproduce on their own.  And didn’t mammals evolve from reptiles?  I’m not saying that Mary was a reptile.  This just shows that a virgin birth is scientifically possible from an atheistic perspective.

 

           MIRACLES

           Did Jesus really do miracles?  Could he have fooled people as a magician does?  After the crucifixion Jesus’ disciples and other witnesses preached in public with phrases like, “We saw this”, “just as you know”, “you yourselves know about it”, and “you saw this” regarding Jesus’ miracles and fulfilled prophecies.  The people didn’t disagree with these claims, instead they often became Christians.  Even Jesus’ enemies didn’t respond in denial of His miracles.  They just made excuses for what they had witnessed.

           The Sanhedrin or Pharisees were the very enemies that plotted to have Jesus killed.  Jesus often scolded them because they knew the law but they didn’t know God.  These high priests were humiliated in public by Jesus for their pride, greed, and lack of understanding.  These Pharisees wrote of Jesus as practicing “sorcery” while confirming that He did miracles.  They even talked about Jesus breaking the holy Sabbath day by doing work.  But the work they testified to was Jesus healing a crippled man.  Never once did these enemies of Jesus deny that He performed miracles and fulfilled prophecies.  And neither did any other witnesses.

           The gospels describe Jesus’ miracles as, “too many to count”.  They mentioned that many witnesses were present.  They publicly specified that He healed the sick, blind, deaf, crippled, diseased, and dead.  And they stated that the number of miracles couldn’t be counted because it would take up an entire book.

           They claimed that as many as 5,000 people on one occasion were witnesses.  And they always described being surrounded by “a multitude of people.”  They even identify the locations and names of people involved and the witnesses for some of these miracles, and no one disputed those miracles back then.

 

           NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES

           Many people witnessed Jesus’ miracles throughout the New Testament, but I’m only bringing up the testimonies that hold up to skeptics.

           Non-Christian sources confirm that Jesus was a person who practiced acts of “sorcery,” “magic,” “amazing deeds” or “miracles.”  These writings were made by non-Christian and Roman authors who confirmed the events in Jesus’ life.

           Josephus wrote of Jesus “as a wise man, if one would call him a man.”  Josephus also wrote about Jesus doing “amazing deeds” and also mentions Jesus’ resurrection.

           Tacitus was a Roman historian who wrote about Jesus’ crucifixion.  And Pliny was a Roman historian who confirmed that early Christians considered Jesus to be God and the Messiah.

           Celsus mentions the “powers” that Jesus had to do miracles.  The Jewish Pharisees who had Jesus killed wrote in the Talmud, “Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray”.

           The Toledot Yeshu is the story of Jesus’ life that was written by non-Christians as a form of sarcastic mockery.  But it confirms that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, healed people, He was crucified, and His tomb was empty afterwards.

           Hegesippus was a Jew who started investigating whether the claims about Jesus were true.  He analyzed the facts from witnesses in many different cities and then reported that every event of Jesus’ life agreed with the prophecies.  He became a Christian during his investigation.

           Thallus was a Roman historian who confirmed the darkness in the sky and the Earthquake that occurred after Jesus’ death.

           Phlegon was another Roman author who wrote about the “great Earthquake” after Jesus’ death.   And Phlegon also confirmed that Jesus showed the scars from the crucifixion to His disciples afterwards.  He also mentioned that Jesus predicted “future events” and that they happened afterwards.

           These Roman and non-Christian writers despised Christians.  Some of them were having Christians tortured and killed.  They weren’t supporting Jesus’ miracles or resurrection out of favoritism.

           Even the disciples (or apostles) were later known for doing miracles.  A non-Christian history book recorded the order for condemning Paul and Peter as sorcerers.  Obviously this is something that continually happened that led to witnesses testifying against them.

           After Jesus’ death, Christians questioned in letters with each other whether it was permissible to heal people in the name of Jesus, this was a topic of debate.  Not whether it was possible to heal in the name of Jesus, but whether it was proper to do so.

           A Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, who was one of the greatest enemies of Christianity from around 361 AD was quoted saying, “Jesus....having done nothing worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it is a great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcize demons....”

           Many other sources describe Jesus’ followers as believers in the resurrection, and that’s His biggest miracle of all.  The empty tomb once guarded by Roman soldiers was walking distance away for anyone to investigate.

           Other religions mention Jesus’ miracles in one way or another although no outside sources mention Charles Russell, Muhammad, Buddha, or Joseph Smith doing miracles.  The Bible never mentions them or fulfilled predictions of their coming.

           In comparison to these other religions, these different religious leaders that claimed to have done miracles only claim a handful and still lack any unbiased witnesses.  Clearly Jesus was doing something to heal people.  Clearly He claimed to be the Messiah (God) and was crucified for it.  Clearly He did die and arose from the dead (as you’re about to see).  Jesus’ followers, enemies (Paul), brothers, and thousands of other eyewitnesses believed in such a way that changed their whole lives in the face of rejection, suffering, and death.  Something did happen.

           You might wonder, why don’t miracles happen anymore nowadays?  Remember the disciples wrote that, “Jesus could only do a few miracles in Nazareth.”  Well Nazareth is where Jesus was raised most of His life.  The people who watched Him grow up probably had the hardest time believing, like Jesus’ brother James.  It also says that the people there lacked faith.

           Jesus would say to people, “Your faith has made you well.”  Jesus makes it sound as if you must assist Him with some faith to be healed.  This is also demonstrated throughout the rest of the New Testament.  If the disciples made up these miracles, then why did they describe how Jesus could only do a few miracles in Nazareth?  Because it was the truth, the same truth that He did miracles everywhere else!

 

           HIS DEATH

           Did Jesus really die or did He somehow survive the crucifixion?  Some skeptics have made the claim that Jesus survived the crucifixion and wasn’t really resurrected.

           While the gospels told the truth so far, they also wrote of Jesus just before the crucifixion praying very hard until drops of blood dripped down His forehead like drops of sweat.  Skeptics used to have a field day with this long ago.  This is now a known medical condition called “hematidrosis.”  The capillaries in the sweat glands form a chemical that causes a small percentage of blood to be mixed with the drops of sweat.  Medically this is caused by excessive stress.  I’m sure the gospel writer wasn’t familiar with “hematidrosis” at the time but he accurately reported what he witnessed.

           When Jesus was on the cross, one of the Roman executioners stabbed his spear into Jesus’ side to check if Jesus was dead as he must have already suspected.  Right away “blood and water came out” (John 19:34).  This was caused by the escape of a water-like fluid in a sac around the heart.  Usually crucifixion victims died from suffocation or loss of blood.  But according to any medical coroner, this water like fluid coming out first signifies that His heart failed due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid surrounding the heart, known as a pleural effusion.  And the witness to this didn’t lie since no one had known the medical after effects of cardiac arrest or pleural effusion.

           The watery fluid would have been first to come out.  The verse listed (John 19:34) actually says, “blood and water” not blood then water.  In Greek, John’s words could have meant either that the blood came out first or that more blood came out than water.  Either way from a medical standpoint, the opposite verdict has the cause of death related to blood in the lungs.  In the Greek language, there are many different ways to say an average sentence.  The point of John’s words were that blood and water both came out separately.  This proves that John’s gospel was written exactly as it happened.  And most importantly, that Jesus did die on the cross.

           The Roman soldiers had to be sure that when someone was sentenced to die, they died.  That was their job and they were good at it.  They stabbed Jesus with a spear to check for signs of life or blood flow but found none.  This was mainly for the soldier to see if blood was continually being pumped out with every heartbeat.  Without this sign and any flinching afterwards, there was no need to break His legs because He was dead.  Their job was to end lives and they were very familiar with death.  They weren’t doctors, but making sure someone is dead seems pretty easy.  Besides, if a prisoner would escape, Roman law would require the guard’s life.

           These soldiers’ job was to nail your wrists and feet to a post.  Then to quicken the suffocation they would break the victim’s legs.  Then they would just stab a spear in the victim’s side to see if they’re dead.  There should be no debate that Jesus did die on the cross.

           These are some non-Christian references that confirm Jesus’ death.  The Roman historian, Cornelius Tacitus, wrote of Jesus as, “Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate.”  Lucian of Samosata wrote of Jesus as, “the man who was crucified in Palestine.”  Flavius Josephus wrote about Jesus as, “Pilate....had condemned Him to the cross....”

           An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that according to the gospel accounts, Jesus had certainly died before He was removed from the cross.

           Most importantly is the fact that the Pharisees and the others who had Jesus crucified watched the crucifixion and mocked Him.  But they never once made the claim that He didn’t really die on the cross.  They wouldn’t dare make themselves sound so stupid after everyone in town witnessed His death.  The Pharisees did claim later that the disciples stole His body, but only the Pharisees made this accusation while offering a bribe to the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb to agree with this story.

           The people I’ve heard say that Jesus never existed or never died have no idea that all of this information exists along with so much more that I didn’t even mention.  They talk like they’ve studied so much into this subject and have all of the answers but they really have no evidence to present, just worthless skepticism.

 

           THE RESURRECTION

           Did Jesus really rise from the dead?  That sounds wild, doesn’t it?  For starters, people believed in the resurrection right after it was said to have happened.  This was not a myth that developed over time.  Jesus was in fact deceased and buried in a tomb.

           The Pharisees had Jewish temple guards of their own to guard Jesus’ tomb.  One “Temple Guard” consisted of 10 guards.  After reading about the crucifixion you can assume that the Roman guards were tougher and more heartless than the Jewish temple guards.

           After Jesus died, the Jewish leaders then went to the Roman Governor Pilate to ask for Roman guards.  This also proves that Jesus’ prediction about rising from the dead in three days was well understood by the Pharisees who then asked the Roman governor for guards.  Then they received the “guard” they had asked for.  A Roman “guard” meant a group of soldiers.

           Usually there were 4 soldiers in a Roman “guard”, and they took shifts staying awake.  These guards must’ve been warned by Pilate or the Pharisees about Jesus’ prediction to rise in three days.  Plus the Roman guards must’ve suspected that something was up by this unusual request.  There also might’ve been more than 4 soldiers, the Pharisees knew that a “guard” was 4 soldiers but there were 12 disciples of Jesus.

           Remember that these are the same kind of Roman guards that the disciples just saw gamble for Jesus’ clothing, whip Him 40 times, beat Him beyond recognition, nail three people to crosses, break two of their legs, and spear Jesus’ side.  The Roman guards probably would’ve been glad to kill some brokenhearted disciples just to have some more clothes to gamble with.

           These soldiers were trained to kill and they were experienced in hand to hand combat.  A Roman soldier carried a 6 foot spear in their right hand, a shield in their left hand, and a long dagger on the left of their belt.  And unlike police today with rules and forensics, they could kill someone and get away with it.  These guards were expected to do their job as thoroughly as if it were a crucifixion.

           Now the disciples just watched the crucifixion performed by Roman guards.  I highly doubt they would’ve considered breaking a Roman seal on the tomb and approaching the Roman guards to steal Jesus’ body.  The disciples abandoned Jesus when He was arrested and most of them watched the crucifixion from a far distance out of fear.  Plus the disciples were good men.  They hung around Jesus because He was righteous, not deceiving.  Later all 11 disciples believed in the resurrection, not some of them.  If 11 people witness a car accident and all of them point to one driver that was at fault, what police officer would be skeptical?

           As for the possibility of these guards falling asleep.  It has been found in Roman law books that if a guard was caught sleeping on the job, the punishment was death.  According to Justinian Law, the 18 offenses that are punishable by death all refer to times of war, but still what does that say about Roman soldiers?  Some skeptics have claimed that when the Pharisees asked Pilate for a guard, Pilate’s response could’ve been translated as “you have” OR “you can have” but Pilate did give them a Roman “guard” as you’ll see.

           After the resurrection in Matthew 28:12-15, the Pharisees bribed whatever guards where there and told them to say, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.”  “And if this comes back to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”  My Bible says “soldiers” not temple guards.  They bribed the soldiers afterwards to say they slept which would require punishment for a Roman soldier.  And the Pharisees told the soldiers that they would appease or bribe the governor (Pilate) if he heard about it.  That agrees with the involvement of Pilate and the bribery of Roman soldiers.  That doesn’t mean that the guards actually fell asleep though, the Pharisees would have sent their own guards also if they doubted the Roman soldiers.

           When the Bible describes Jesus’ resurrection the Bible says, “The guards shook for fear and became like dead men.”  I think they told the truth later and likely became believers, otherwise who could’ve told this story and of how they were “bribed” later.  It doesn’t matter which guards they were (though clearly Romans), because they spread the truth anyways.  If this bribery wasn’t true, then why weren’t the disciples arrested for breaking the Roman seal on Jesus’ tomb?

           In the non-Christian writings of a Roman named Tertullian, he mentions this supposed theft as, “the leaders of the Jews, who it concerned most to spread a lie....”  This confirms that Jesus’ enemies spread the lie that the disciples stole His body.

           Tertullian then exposes that the Pharisees offered the Roman soldiers two stories to spread, “....this is who the disciples stole....”, or “the gardener had taken Him away, in order that his lettuces might not be damaged by the crowds of visitors.”  So the bribery of the Roman soldiers is confirmed by the non-Christian Tertullian.

           Obviously the Roman guards still told the truth and exposed the bribery.  So this bribery was also talked about by the Romans.  And if the soldiers weren’t bribed, then wouldn’t the governor want to arrest the disciples for breaking the Roman seal and defying the Roman authority?  But they weren’t because the soldiers had to have told the governor that the disciples did not steal Jesus’ body.

           So what really happened that the soldiers and governor needed such a bribe in the first place?  The Pharisees who paid the bribe didn’t want Jesus body anywhere except in the tomb so they could show the people that Jesus was still dead and therefore not the Messiah.  And it was a Pharisee named Joseph of Arimathea who buried Jesus.  So it’s not like they didn’t verify Jesus’ death and burial place after the crucifixion.

           So the stone that covered Jesus’ tomb was moved at some point.  There’s no way the guards slept through a 3,000 pound stone being pushed up an incline and into a groove.  It was designed to roll down a small ramp to make sure that it stays put.  This was done to keep out animals, kids, and the smell from being exposed.  So to roll the stone closing the tomb was easy, but to open the tomb was extremely difficult.

           Now the verse in Matthew 27:66 says, “....sealing the stone....” which means that hot wax was poured and stamped with a Roman seal (symbol).  The punishment for anyone who broke this seal would’ve been an upside down crucifixion.  This also proves that Romans were involved in guarding Jesus’ tomb since there was no such thing as a Jewish seal.  The Jews had no authority to enforce any seal.  And though the seal was clearly broken, the disciples weren’t arrested for breaking it.

           If Jesus somehow survived the crucifixion, He wouldn’t have been able to wiggle out of his tightly wound grave cloths nor would He fold them as it says they were.  It would also be impossible for Jesus to move the stone away from inside the tomb.  Now if His body was stolen it would take many men to quietly roll a 3,000 pound stone upwards while the guards were supposedly sleeping.  And why would they steal Jesus’ body and create a huge lie just to suffer and die for later?  I see it more likely to try and overcome the guards, but then someone would’ve gotten wounded and the Roman government would have taken action right away.  Either way Jesus’ grave clothes wouldn’t have been folded or even left behind in the first place.

           The Bible says that Jesus’ grave clothes were left folded in the empty tomb.  Who would steal a body surrounded by 4 dangerous Roman guards without waking them and then take the time to take off and fold the grave clothes that are sticky from the myrrh?  Who would steal their best friends corpse, then strips it naked to carry it away?  Who in fact would even take off the grave clothes of a dead body in the first place besides the person wearing them?  The grave clothes would’ve covered the entire body with many narrow strips of cloth like a mummy.  The only person who would’ve had any interest in removing the grave clothes would be Jesus.  And He would only remove the clothes if He was alive and wanted to be free to move around.  You can read in John 20:7 about the folded gave clothes.  That’s the same book that accurately reported the blood and water as the Roman speared Jesus’ side.

           If somehow His body was stolen, Jesus would not have been a convincing Messiah after being beaten beyond recognition, speared in His side, and dead.  If Jesus was somehow alive, He would’ve been more swollen and bruised after 2 ½ days than he was on the day He was crucified.  He would’ve been on life support with tubes up His nose.  He would’ve needed an IV bag while trying to convince His disciples that He was still the Messiah.  The disciples would’ve not been convinced at all.

           The disciples were in no position emotionally to attack Roman guards risking a gruesome death like the one they had just witnessed.  They all abandoned Jesus right before the crucifixion, and most hid while watching the crucifixion.  After the crucifixion, the disciples did not show any signs of courage to defy the Roman authority and steal Jesus’ body.

           Those who claim that Jesus was in the wrong tomb have a lot of other unanswered questions that I’ve already answered.  The Pharisees would’ve located the body since it was a Pharisee that buried Him and then showed proof that Jesus was still dead.  And the disciples would not have claimed to have seen Him resurrected.

           Now right after the resurrection, Mary M. (not Jesus’ mother) was first on the scene to find the stone already rolled away.  Shortly after, she ran and told the disciples who didn’t even believe her until they saw the empty tomb and folded grave clothes.  They didn’t believe Mary because she was a women.  Back then, a woman’s testimony wasn’t even valid as a witness in a court of law.  It wouldn’t make sense for the gospel writers to fabricate the resurrection with the first testimony coming from a woman.  That would be like finding an ex-convict to be your false alibi.  This was how ancient culture treated a woman’s testimony back then.

           Now in one of the gospel accounts Mary M. visited Jesus tomb, but she didn’t recognize Jesus for a moment until He said her name.  It says that she thought He was the gardener.  Skeptics have tried to criticize this as if it wasn’t Jesus.  Apparently I have to answer every skeptic who lacks common sense?  Who goes to a funeral and doesn’t cry?  Girls are far more emotional that guys, plus she might have watched the crucifixion leaving her plenty of visual memories.  If not, then she heard all about it.

           She was definitely crying her eyes out all weekend.  Then when she arrived, the tomb turned out to be empty.  As if the slightest little thing wouldn’t have burst her into tears immediately considering her emotional state.  She could’ve been wiping her eyes with her head down while asking Jesus where the body was taken.  It doesn’t say that she made direct eye contact while asking where His body was taken.  It doesn’t even say how far apart they were during the conversation.

           She probably just cried for a while near the empty tomb until Jesus said her name when she recognized His voice and the way He said it.  And if my best friend just died a gruesome death I don’t think I’d be making eye contact with anyone.  And I can’t recognize anybody from 20 feet away without my contact lenses.

           Some have claimed that the disciples hallucinated seeing Jesus.  But hallucinations don’t come to 11 different people at once.  And the disciples don’t fit the profile of having crazy personalities.  The disciples held jobs as fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor, and so on.  These disciples were skeptical themselves and some insisted on touching Jesus’ scars to make sure it was really Jesus.  And there’s no evidence to suggest that Jesus had an identical twin either.  I’m an identical twin and people that know us can tell us apart immediately.

           Hallucinations don’t change multiple people’s lives to the point of suffering to spread what they had witnessed.  And most importantly, why didn’t they claim to continually hallucinate seeing Jesus?

           And what exactly happened to Paul?  He was having early Christians put to death after the resurrection.  Then one day Paul saw a bright light and heard Jesus’ voice which converted him to Christianity until death.  Most people who make the objection of the disciples hallucinating usually do drugs themselves.  Just because some people do drugs nowadays, that doesn’t mean that the disciples did.  Historical evidence from this time and location gives no mention of drugs except for medicine or poison.  Even still, drugs wouldn’t give everyone the same hallucination all at once on numerous occasions.

           The disciples wrote honestly of their shameful doubts in Jesus’ resurrection after it happened.  These disciples only believed after seeing Jesus resurrected.  Thomas told Jesus to His face, “I must see your hands”.  Mark and John both say that Jesus’ brothers believed in Him afterwards.  But before the resurrection, it says that Jesus’ brothers had heard of His miracles (who didn’t) and taunted Him to show them.  This probably happened in Nazareth where He only did a few miracles.  James was Jesus’ brother and not a believer throughout Jesus’ entire ministry.  But after the resurrection Jesus appeared to James, his own brother, in 1st Corinthians.  James then became the leader of the church in Jerusalem and he was later killed for his beliefs.  Christian and non-Christian records have verified this.

           Imagine the very brother of Jesus who doesn’t believe that his own brother was the Messiah.  Then suddenly James has an encounter with his resurrected brother and changes over completely, even until death.

           Other people saw Jesus after the resurrection including a report of 500 people at once.  That seems like 500 people who didn’t know Jesus as well as the disciples.  But if I barely knew Jesus, it would take a real sighting to convince me of His resurrection.  And His own brother would’ve known if it was really Jesus or not, and so would the disciples who basically lived with Jesus.  Thomas only believed when seeing His hands and feet.  So how could Jesus have faked that to someone who doubts so much?  Right after Jesus’ death, the disciples’ personalities came across as being doubtful, depressed, and hopeless.  Not gullible, easy to convince, and full of faith.

           After the resurrection, the disciples all began to preach in Jerusalem and many believed.  The disciples didn’t start a different religion, they spread the news of Judaism’s completion by the coming of the Messiah.  They preached specifically about the resurrection that took place in Jerusalem where everybody saw and heard of Jesus’ miracles, prophecies, crucifixion, and His empty tomb which was a short walk to see.  No Pharisees or anyone else dared claim that the tomb wasn’t empty.  The rumor started by the Pharisees that the disciples stole his body, was talked about as a “rumor” by reliable non-Christian sources.  This rumor isn’t credible since it was started by Jesus’ enemies who had Him crucified to begin with.  Keep in mind if this had all been a hoax, at least one of the disciples would’ve given up after some time and moved on to live a normal life.  Why would all 11 of the disciples live a lie filled with hardship, hostility, ridicule, rejection, imprisonment, hunger, torture, and death?

           Almost all of them died for their beliefs later on.  Eleven normal people with normal lives wouldn’t have suffered and died for a lie that they falsely claimed to be eye witnesses of.  This isn’t as convincing as the fact that the disciples had absolutely nothing to gain if the resurrection was a lie.  Still after many years of ministry none of them backed out.  The whole time they were teaching things like honesty and truth while living good lives.  The resurrection can become believable if and only if a God exists.  No theory can overcome this defense.  That alone explains how Jesus could have risen from the dead, just as Jesus Himself and the prophets predicted!

 

           WHO WAS HE?

           Now who was this Jesus?  What did He think of Himself?  And what did others think?  The terms “Jesus Christ”, “Lord Jesus”, or “Lord Jesus Christ” are used 125 times throughout Paul’s letters in the New Testament.  The gospels don’t use them very much because they were written in story-like form letting Jesus tell the reader who He was.  Jesus had different ways of saying it since He knew it would be hard for many to believe.  And also because the Pharisees were always looking for an excuse to kill Him.

           The last two verses in the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5-6) clearly show that God, the Messiah, or Christ is going to physically come to Earth in a unique way.  First it mentions the coming of John the Baptist, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.  And he (John the Baptist) will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children...”  Hundreds of years later in Luke 1:17 the parents of John the Baptist are visited by an angel telling them they will have a son and to name him John, and that he will have the spirit and power of Elijah.  And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and prepare the way for the Lord.”  The only things worth noticing here is the fact that John the Baptist had a purpose to prepare the way for the LORD, which means God.

           The entire Old Testament ended with God saying to the prophet Malachi (Malachi 4:6), “Lest I come and strike the Earth with a curse.”  God was explaining that He is going to visit Earth and try to be merciful but that he was unhappy with mankind.  Needless to say God is very forgiving since the only thing that Jesus struck with a curse was a fig tree that died afterwards.

           Jesus told many people on different occasions that their sins were forgiven.  The Pharisees and towns people all questioned about this saying, “Why does this man speak in this way?  He is blaspheming, who can forgive sins but God alone?”  Jesus responded to them in this case referring to Himself saying, “The Son of Man has the authority on Earth to forgive sins....” Mark 2:1-2.  This is indeed a characteristic of God alone.

           In the Old Testament when Moses asked God in the burning bush what His name was, God replied, “I AM WHO I AM”; Exodus 3:14.  The “I AM” is a Hebrew word YAHWEH which became the same word for Jehovah (God).  YHWH YHWH is translated into, I AM WHO I AM.  YHWH is missing the vowels still meaning YAHWEH but was done to avoid actually writing God’s holy name.

           Now when the Pharisees were questioning Jesus and asked Him if He was greater than their ancient ancestor Abraham.  Jesus replied, “....before Abraham was, I AM.”  Jesus was not only saying that He was before Abraham (thousands of years ago), but that He was YAHWEH (I AM); John 8:57-59.  He used the Greek word for “I AM” ego eimi.  But the people listening to Jesus understood exactly what He meant which is why they tried to stone Jesus for blasphemy.

           Jesus dropped plenty of hints that He was God.  And twice the people tried to stone Him to death but He slipped through the crowds.  The actions of the crowd of people prove that Jesus claimed to be God since stoning was the recommended punishment for blasphemy (claiming to be God); Leviticus 24:16.  Plus the only reason that Jesus was crucified was because He claimed to be equal with God.  Check John 10:24-33, it’s a direct relation to Daniel 7:13, Psalm 110:1, and many more.  In this case Jesus didn’t just mention the name of God, “I AM”.  He used it to refer to Himself.  Exodus 20:7 says that blasphemy is only if the name of God is misused.  Not if it’s just merely spoken.  So the people were startled because Jesus used the word to refer to Himself.

           The Greek “I AM” is ego eimi in the first person singular form of the verb einai “to be.”  And ego eimi only means “I AM” not “I have been” or any other interpretation.  Just like in Spanish, “ser” means “to be” and “soy” means “I am”.  It can’t be mistaken by anyone who understands the language.  Jehovah’s Witnesses purposely mistranslate this.

           Jesus made many other claims for being the Messiah.  The Pharisees accused Jesus saying, “....He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:17-18.  Later Jesus says, “....If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also.” John 8:19.  Jesus claimed that unless you believe in Him, you’ll die in you sins; John 8:24.  Jesus even claimed to be without sin in a crowd of people; John 8:46.  Jesus claimed to be “the good shepherd”; John 10:11, as in, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Psalm 23:1.  Jesus claimed that He was, “the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25.  Jesus claimed to be the giver of eternal life; John 10:28.  Jesus claimed to be one with the Father; John 10:30.  And “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”; John 14:9.  Jesus often claimed that the fate of all men weighs on their belief in Him.  If anyone has doubts then just read the New Testament, it’s talked about everywhere.

           In Mark 14:62 when Jesus stood on trial before Pilate and the Pharisees, they asked Jesus to tell them plainly, are you the King of the Jews (the Messiah, God incarnate)?  Jesus replied, “I am” (yes).  Then the questioning Pharisee yelled “blasphemy” (claiming to be God) and tore his robe.  The Pharisee tearing his robe was also a sign in the Jewish culture that blasphemy or a serious offense was just committed.

           When Jesus was crucified, His crime was posted on the cross, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS”, in Matthew 27:37.  What other explanation could there be for this?  This was unlike a normal trial, Jesus wasn’t on trial for His actions but for who He claimed to be.  Jesus wasn’t crucified for offending the Pharisees.  Jesus was crucified for claiming to be the Messiah.

           The Roman governor Pilate found no fault with Jesus.  But the Pharisees urged the crowd of Jews to beg Pilate for His death as punishment for blasphemy.  The crowd of Jews agreed because they heard Jesus’ many claims to be the Messiah.  Pilate then had it done at their request.  This fulfilled another prophecy, “The stone (Jesus) which the builders (Pharisees) rejected has become the chief (most important) cornerstone (part).”

           One objection that Judaism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Islam use is based on the lack of research.  The verse in Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”  That means there is only one God, and I agree.  Though the Hebrew word for one used here is echod which also means a “composite unity” or “complete one”.  It’s the same exact word used in Genesis 2:24 explaining when a man and a woman get married and become one.  Echod also has a similar meaning of “alike”, “altogether”, or “together”.  Plus God is the Spirit that impregnated Mary with the pure spirit of God into the body of a Jesus.

           This is the best example.  Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  It’s talking about the three parts that make up your complete being; spirit, mind, and body.  And please don’t think the word “heart” here was meant literally.  It’s understood that humans have a spirit (your conscious mind), a soul (your brain), and a body (your physical body).  You’re just one person with three connected parts.

           In Genesis it says that God is spirit and that God breathed breath into Adams nostrils.  Remember breath and spirit are the exact same word in ancient Hebrew.  Not that they always mean the same thing.  It says elsewhere in the Bible that God’s spirit is what gives us life.  The soul is described as the mind because it is something spiritual and physical.  And the body is obviously our physical bodies.

           We already know that God is spirit, the Holy Spirit is considered to be the mind of God that also speaks to humans.  And physically the only logical Messianic body to be God’s, is Jesus’.  I’ve explained this many times talking to Muslims, Jew’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and even Christians that this makes so much sense.  Almost every time they’re speechless and stumped by the simplicity of this.

           Some people just can’t understand that this God who created everything in existence and knows everything had only a limited understanding of pain, rejection, temptation, love, death, friendship, hunger, and so on.  God understood these things but intended to experience them for Himself all throughout the prophecies.  Could a judge decide a punishment for a crime if he never understood the temptation?  And God requires a sacrifice for sin, and at the rate mankind is heading we’d have to sacrifice everything.  So God made the ultimate sacrifice, Himself.  He did this mainly to show how much He wants us to get to heaven.  Some may ask, why does God require a sacrifice?  I already explained that in the Atheist Questions & Answers chapter.  And I don’t see that God needs to even give us an answer why.

           Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man and the Son of God.  The way these sound can be deceiving.  First of all, the Old Testament prophets use these phrases often to signify the Messiah’s coming all throughout the Old Testament.  Jesus claimed these titles often including Christ and Messiah.   Jesus often claimed to be God and also referred to Himself as the Christ and the Son of God.

           When Jesus in Matthew 26:64 and Mark 14:62 was being question by the Pharisees, they asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?”  Then Jesus said, “I am”.  Nevertheless, I say to you, here after you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power (of God), and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Notice how they interchange Christ, Son of God, and Son of Man all throughout this conversation and many others because they all mean the same thing.  And that’s when the Pharisees screamed blasphemy accusing Jesus of claiming to be God.

           Daniel 7:13 also describes the Messiah as Son of Man saying, “One like a Son of Man was coming…”

           Just as a human father’s son must be fully human, God’s Son must be fully God.  Jesus also said, “All that the Father is, the Son is.”  Another Hebrew explanation of the phrase “Son of” doesn’t just mean “offspring of” but it can also mean “of the order of” as in 1st Kings 20:35 and Nehemiah 12:28.

           Now in early Jewish history the Israeli people were always ruled by only a prophet or a judge but they had no king.  Sometime later the people of Israel begged their dying prophet Samuel to crown them a king like the other nations had.  “And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not (any longer) reign over them.” 1st Samuel 8:7.

           For a long time Israel’s only King was God who guided them through the prophets and judges.  Jesus was referred to as The King of the Jews by the sign on His cross which said, JESUS OF NAZARETH KING OF THE JEWS.  And in the Old Testament the term Lord of Lords was also used to describe God (Deuteronomy 10:17 and Psalm 136:2-3).

           Jesus is also known as “God’s only begotten Son” but the Greek word begotten means “to become”, “to come into being” “arise”, “be brought”, or “come to pass”.  It can also mean “unique one” and the NIV version translates it rightly as “the one and only”.  This definition can be verified on Biblehub.com.  Search John 3:16, click the interlinear tab, and then click the number #3439 above the word.

           Another way a friend of mine put it was; a dog can only beget a dog, a human can only beget a human, and God can only beget God.  That doesn’t mean God Jr. either.  By 200 B.C. the word begotten wasn’t only being used for child bearing, but for authority belonging to an heir.  A “Supreme heir” would be another way of translating the word “begotten”.

           God through His prophets foretold of His Son in Psalm 2:7, 1st Chronicles 17:13-14, and 2nd Samuel 7:13-14.  God is speaking to the prophet about the Messiah here in Psalms 2:7, “...You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”  Even other expressions in the New Testament like “being born of God” is considered to have the same meaning as “being born from above (heaven)”.

           Some people still won’t believe this evidence.  Jesus wasn’t almost stoned when He called the Jewish Pharisees “children of the devil” or again when He called them “sons of vipers.”  Notice when He called them “children of the devil” He wasn’t referring to “the devil’s sons” but instead He meant “as evil as the devil”.  When He called them “sons of vipers” He wasn’t implying that they were the “offspring of vipers,” but that they were “as evil as vipers.”   Just like “Son of God” refers to “like God” and “Son of Man” refers to “like man.”  The point is that Jesus was God in the body of a man.  There is only one God.  And Jesus claimed to be “equal with God” who is only ONE.  This is why He was almost stone twice and finally crucified.  It was predicted that the Messiah would be God in a human body and then free all mankind from the punishment of sin.

           In the same way that God was incarnated into the body of Jesus, His body was created, but God’s spirit always existed which gave life to Jesus by impregnating (incarnating) Mary’s womb.  No one has ever been born of a virgin unless it was Jesus.  Not even prophets or other great men of God.  And it’s very well known that God is omnipotent meaning that He can be everywhere at the same time.

           Many other secular (non-Christian) sources recorded the same findings that Jesus believed He was the Messiah, that Jesus’ followers thought so, and that all of Jesus’ enemies understood this.

           Roman authors like Lucian wrote about Christians, “....denying the Greek gods and by worshiping that crucified sophist Himself and living under His laws.”

           Josephus wrote, “....Jesus, a wise man, if it is lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works....”, “....for He appeared to them alive again in the third day....”

           Pliny wrote, “....they sang in alternate verse, a hymn to Christ as to a God....”

           Tertullian wrote, “....received intelligence from the truth of Christ’s divinity....”

           Thallus wrote, “A solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died.”

           Phlegon wrote, “....during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ....”

           These secular (non-believing) authors believed in many different gods.  They were referring to Jesus’ followers worshiping Him “as God.”  This importantly shows that the disciples and other early followers considered Jesus to be God.  There is strictly only one God and Jesus was clearly the predicted Son of God, Christ, Messiah, and Immanuel (God with us).

 

           CONCLUSION

           The “resurrected Jesus” has changed billions of people’s lives.  No person in all of Earth’s history has changed as many people so greatly.  This could not be possible without the resurrection.  Jesus’ mission would’ve been over with if He didn’t really rise from the dead.

           No other religion makes such a claim about a leader who conquered death backed up by facts and reports from nonbelievers.  You can’t consider Him a liar, He predicted his own resurrection and left an empty tomb behind.  You can’t call Him a lunatic, He fulfilled many prophecies that were made hundreds of years before He was even born.  You can’t call Him just a great teacher or a prophet, He claimed to be the Messiah (God incarnate) and many other sources agree.  And you can’t call Him a magician, the miracles He did were more than just some minor magic tricks.  None of these accusations are realistic options.

Jesus has to be the predicted God incarnate, the Messiah, the Christ, and Immanuel (God with us).  The Creator of this universe came to visit His creation in the body of Jesus.  The concept is very easy to grasp IF a Creator or God does exist.  Then the idea of our Creator coming to visit His creation makes a lot of sense.  The evidence clearly shows that this is the most logical explanation.

           The best book explaining the facts about Jesus is The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.  His book explains every possible angle better than I ever could.  A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell is also a great book.

           Now think of every atheist argument that you’ve ever heard before reading this:  Jesus never existed, Jesus was a magician, Jesus never died, His disciples stole His body, the Bible was written way later, the Bible authors made up those stories, and so on.  After reading all of these FACTS backed up by non-Christian sources.  Now I’ll teach you another FACT.  You can’t trust anything an atheist says!  Atheists act like they’re so well educated, yet they make stupid accusations that were ALL answered in the last two chapters which are backed up by non-Christian sources.  And half of these questions could’ve been answered with common sense.

            There’s no way that all of those early Christians were letting themselves be imprisoned and killed for their beliefs if it were all a lie.  The disciples suffered daily to spread the truth until death as did many other Christians.  These early Christians did all of this because they witnessed Jesus fulfilling ancient prophesies, His miracles, His crucifixion, and most importantly His resurrection!