The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Has it been found?
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is alive today?
Thursday, March 01, 2007
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Hello to all our listeners this is Dave Billington with this weeks Bible in the News, thanks for tuning in. A new documentary is claiming that the burial site of Jesus' family has been found, including the coffin of Jesus himself. It's amazing how unbelievers scoff at every piece of evidence proving the historical Jesus and yet when they find something that they think could prove that Jesus is dead they hype it up and make a documentary about it.
Here are the details: The find is not new, infact the tomb was found 27 years ago. 10 years ago internationally renowned archeologist Professor Amos Kloner revealed the findings and the decipherment of the inscriptions. It was not believed to be Jesus' families tomb. To Kloner the new film is a scam. In a conversation with David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post he said such things as: "Give me scientific evidence, and I'll grapple with it", "impossible", "nonsense", "he's inventing a story." Kloner says that the inscription on the box that the film makers claim is Jesus' ossuary is far from conclusively decipherable and that he knows of four ossuaries that bear precisely such an inscription. These names were very common among Jews in the era of the gospels. Ossuary 2 is inscribed with the name "Mary". Ossuary 3 with the name "Matia" which is apparently a nickname for Matthew. They then go to the Gospel of Luke to look for variants of the name "Matthew" in Mary's ancestry--funny how Luke suddenly becomes a relaible historical record when it is convenient for them! Mark is then cited as a historical record for Ossuary 4 with the inscription "Joseh" which we are told refers to Jesus' brother Joses. Then there is Ossuary 5 with the inscription "Mariamne e Mara" - which may be translated as: "Mary known as the Master." We are informed this refers to Mary Magdalene. Ossuary 6 is inscribed with the "Judah son of Jesus". The conclusion: Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had a son called Judah. An argument has been built on the historical figures of the gospels from the gospels, and then we are handed a conclusion contrary to the documents the argument was based on!
We don't need a professor to tell us if this really is Jesus' family tomb or not. If it was there would not be a religion called Christianity today. If Jesus' family had a family tomb in Jerusalem, (odd seeing they lived in Nazareth and had roots in Bethlehem) that would have been the first place to look for the missing body that the Jewish leaders and Romans would have been so happy to get their hands on to show everyone and stop the whole Christianity phenomenon. Another problem is that someone had to put the body there and then come back months later to put the bones in the ossuary that had been made and inscribed with the name. Meanwhile, Jesus' closest friends were being put to death and beaten for not recanting on the fact that they had seen Jesus alive.
What is the historical evidence for Jesus? There is the quote from the Annals of Tacitus (A.D. 55-117) that reads: "Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius' reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus..." We are told by the skeptics that the great historian Tacitus is just repeating a story. If that is the case we should do away with history altogether! But does it sound like a repeated story? Tiberius and Pilate are both historical figures, we are told Jesus was executed in a way that sound more like quoting a government record than repeating a story. If this was just hearsay would it not have read something like: "Their claimed originator..."? Then, we have the Roman historian Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars who in the section on Claudius states: "Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (footnote: Christ), he expelled them from the City." The skeptics say that Chrestus was just someone who lived in Rome. However, the Acts of the Apostles confirms the event: "And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them." Acts 17:5-7 describes the kind of uproar that was turning the Roman world upside down: "But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus." Then there is the Josephus quote regarding Jesus--we could discuss this at length--which the critics tell us is simply too good to be true. In other words it must have been added in at some later point otherwise it would prove us wrong. Then of course there are the gospels themselves. The John Ryland fragment of the Gospel of John containing the words: "Art thou the King of the Jews?" has been dated to less than 100 years after the events. One must at least admit that the gospels are based on real people, real places and events some of which are referenced in other histories.
The New Testament directs us to the Hebrew scriptures for evidence of Jesus Christ being the Messiah. In the book of Dueteronomy 18:15 Moses told the Israelites: "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken" So Moses was typical of a future prophet that would arise in Israel. Moses was a representative man, a man that was at first rejected by his people as a ruler and a judge but later he became their king (Duet. 33:5). What kind of prophet was Moses? He was a mediator prophet (Exo. 24:2, Deut. 5:5). He was a law giving prophet (Duet. 33:4). He was a royal/kingly prophet (Duet. 33:5). The prophet like Moses would be all of these things. There would be consequences in not obeying the prophet like unto Moses (Duet. 18:19) and the section finishes with a warning that if a prophet speaks something and it does not come to pass, not to listen to him.
The New Testament claims that Jesus Christ was a prophet; a mediator prophet, law-giving prophet and a royal prophet who will yet sit upon the throne of David. If Jesus Christ were the prophet like unto Moses, were there consequences to those who did not hearken to the words of this prophet? Well, shortly after the death of Christ the Second Temple was razed and the Jewish people sadly scattered throughout the world. There was obviously something desperately wrong in order for God to do this--the first time it had been idolatry repeatedly over centuries, but can we in any way be sure it was for rejecting the words of the prophet like unto Moses?
Ezekiel 34 speaks of the restoration of Israel and clearly this is in the context of the Messianic age: "And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it . And I will make with them a covenant of peace... And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid." However, when we go to the beginning of the prophecy we discover the reason for their dispersion was their wicked shepherds. They fed themselves and not the flock, they didn't strengthen the diseased, they didn't heal the sick, they didn't bind up the broken, they didn't bring that which was driven away and with force and cruelty they ruled them. Verse 5 says they were scattered because there was no shepherd. (The good shepherd had been put to death.) Yet God says in verse 13: "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country." If one were to compare Ezekiel's indictment on the shepherds of Israel with the indictment of Jesus Christ on the Scribes and Pharisees who sit in Moses' seat in Matthew 23, one would find the same problems pointed out by both prophets. In Matthew 24 Jesus prophesies the destruction of the temple and the scattering of Israel.
In Isaiah 41:22 God issues a challenge: "Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be , that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come." It is not within man's capacity to declare things to come. Yet Jesus Christ did this. Did the prophecies of this prophet come to pass?
In Luke 10 Jesus prophecies of three cities that rejected the Gospel of the Kingdom: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell." Today even though many ancient cities have been restored in the land of Israel these three cities remain ruins.
In John 16:13 Jesus told his immediate apostles that after his departing he would grant them the gift of being able to declare thing to come: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." It was predicted by these apostles that the simple teaching of Christ--the gospel of the kingdom--would be perverted and that the believers would go into apostasy. For instance 1 Timothy 4:1-3 speaks of those that would depart from the true faith: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." The passage predicts that those who would depart from the faith would have a characteristic of forbidding to marry like the Catholic Church. A characteristic of abstaining from meats, such as a Eucharistic Fast or fasting on Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent, like the Catholic Church. Timothy writes of doctrines of demons which is where the belief in the numerous saints of the Catholic Church has its origin. There are many more details given of this prophesied false church in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, 2 Peter 2:1-3 and symbolically in the book of Revelation. False Christianity is proof of the truth of the words of the Apostles and the prophet like Moses.
The book of Revelation claims to be a prophecy of Jesus Christ given to him by God and transfered to the Apostle John. It claims to be a prophecy given by Jesus after his death. Although the book is symbolic many believers have interpreted its message and wrote about it. Down through the centuries they have been able to understand at what point they fit into the prophetic timetable of the book and what remained to be accomplished before the return of Christ. Revelation prophesies of the persecution the followers of Jesus would experience for centuries--they were to witness clothed in sackcloth (Rev. 11), be slain for the testimony they held (Rev. 6:9) and they would be beheaded for the witness of Jesus (Rev. 20:4). All these horrible things came to pass at the hands of the Pagan Roman Empire, and then the Catholic Christian Roman Empire persecuted and tortured Christians such as the Waldensies and Huguenots for centuries.
Pierre Jurieu (1637-1713) on the basis of his understanding of Revelation 11 essentially predicted the French Revolution, he understood that the tenth part of the papal city (or Europe) that would fall first was France. He wrote: "Now, what is this tenth part of this City, which shall fall? In my opinion, we cannot doubt that tis' France." Robert Fleming (1660-1716) also predicted the French Revolution in his work "The Rise and Fall of Rome Papal" published in 1701 almost 100 years before the event with the following words: "I cannot but hope that some new Mortification of the chief supporters of Antichrist will then happen; and perhaps the French Monarchy may begin to be considerably humbled about that time... (at least before the Year 1794)." In a volume entitled "The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers" the writer Leroy Edwin Froom comments on the effect of Fleming's prediction from the Revelation: "In 1793, when the horrors of the French Revolution were at their worst, and Louis XVI was about to perish on the scaffold, Fleming's improbable prediction, written nearly a century before was recalled. It was brought to public attention by extracts in newspapers and by reprints in England, Germany, and America. The impression produced was profound." John Willison (1680-1750) likewise predicted the French Revolution on the basis of Revelation 11: "Before the Anti-Christ's Fall, one of the ten kingdoms which supported the Beast shall undergo a marvellous Revolution, Rev. xi. 13... By which tenth Part, is to be understood one of the ten Kingdoms into which the great City Romish Babylon was divided: This many take to be the Kingdom of France." Here we have three different men who, from different places all predicted the same event from the same prophecy!
Many writers also saw that the Ottoman Turkish Empire had to "dry up" in order for the Jews to return. One such writer was Joseph Mede who in 1640 wrote of the drying up of the Ottoman power on the basis of Revelation 9 and 16:12. Robert Fleming also did. Closer to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire Robert Roberts in 1885 penned the following: "A new turning point has, in fact, been reached, at which there is scarcely anything we may not shortly see in the way of the completion of the political programme on which our eyes have been fixed with earnest solicitude for over thirty years past. If the Turkish empire disappear, which is now almost the daily expectation of politicians, the Holy Land will be liberated from the only obstacle that restrains the full development of impending Jewish restoration under English protection."
There is much more to consider regarding the book of Revelation--the prophecy of the prophet like unto Moses. There is much more to demonstrate the truth of the prophet like Moses from the Hebrew scriptures--which we haven't really considered. However, we have demonstrated that: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" By shinning a little light in a dark tomb all the theories of man soon crumble to dust.
Come back next week to www.bibleinthenews.com for another edition--God Willing.
Printed: Thursday, March 01, 2007
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