Saturday, April 19, 2014

Defending the RESURRECTION

THE RESURRECTION: The foundation of Christianity

The resurrection of Jesus was the primary, fundamental, and conclusive proof that the early Christians offered to the truth of salvation through Christ.

The early Christians pointed to the prophecies in the Old Testament that predicted that the Messiah would die and rise from the dead (ignored by most of the Jewish leadership who only wanted a political Messiah--not a soul-saving Messiah).

To demonstrate how important the resurrection was as evidence to the early followers of Christ, we only have to look at the earliest book that discusses their lives--the Book of Acts in the New Testament.

The RESURRECTION is referenced 28 times in one book!

Acts 1:3, 22
Acts 2:24, 27, 30, 31, 32
Acts 3:15
Acts 4:2, 10, 33 (key verse)
Acts 5:30
Acts 9:40,41
Acts 13:30,32,33,34,35,37
Acts 17:3,18,31,32
Acts 23:6
Acts 25:19
Acts 26:8,23

Acts 4:33
“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”

I Corinthians 15:17
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”

1. Empty tomb
2. Changed lives of the Apostles (people do not die for a lie)
People will die for what they BELIEVE/THINK is true (like the hijackers of 9/11), but normal, sane people do not die for a lie that they created (and if it is a lie--the apostles created that lie)
3. Testimony of the women (the first to arrive at the empty tomb)
4. Testimony of the early followers (eye-witnesses of early post-resurrection appearances)
5. Early Christian writings speak of resurrection immediately after crucifixion—not decades later
6. Old Testament prophecies
7. Jesus predicted His own resurrection

THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR THE FACTS is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and appeared to many (just as the scripture says)

Let’s consider what challenges modern skeptics of Christianity use against the evidence of the RESURRECTION:

Stolen Body Theory/Missing Body
Swoon Theory
Drugged-Body Theory
Twin Theory
Hypnosis Theory
Spiritual Resurrection Theory

Stolen Body Theory/Missing Body

1. The disciples stole the body/someone else stole the body

1. How could the disciples overpower the Roman guard?
2. WHY would they steal the body???
-they just spent 3 years believing in Jesus
then He DIES. Their hope for a Messiah is DEAD



They would have DIED FOR A LIE--and sane people do NOT die for a lie.

Swoon Theory

-Jesus only fainted, He didn’t actually die, he woke up in the tomb, escaped

1. Two Roman doctors had to sign a certificate of death (on pain of their death)
2. Blood loss of flogging and crucifixion would lead to death anyway
3. How could a nearly-dead Jesus, in a pitch black tomb, with no food or water, roll away a stone
4. How could a half-dead Jesus fight off a Roman guard
5. How could a half-dead Jesus convince his followers He was the Lord of all, conqueror over death
6. Ascension to heaven

Drugged-Body Theory

-Jesus was drugged with a special chemical to make him appear dead
(same problems as swoon + a whole lot more)

Twin Theory

-Jesus had an identical twin brother. When Jesus #1 died, his twin (that no one knew) took over

1. FAR FAR fetched
2. No historical account of a twin (which is rare anyway)
3. How could a twin convince the early followers of Jesus that he was Jesus (he would not know them, any details)
4. Ascension
5. WOUNDS---where are the wounds?

Hypnosis/Hallucination Theory

-Jesus was able to hypnotize people, and he made them think that he rose from the dead

1. Hypnosis was not understood in ancient world, certainly not in Israel
2. Not everyone is susceptible to hypnosis
3. The early followers were not expecting a resurrection
4. Physical contact with Jesus, eating, etc
5. Ascension

Spiritual Resurrection Theory

-Jesus did not BODILY rise, it was only a “spiritual” or “ghostlike” rising from the dead

1. Old testament predicted a physical resurrection
2. Jesus prophesied a physical resurrection
3. Paul taught a very clear PHYSICAL resurrection in I Cor. 15
4. The disciples spoke of physical contact with a risen Christ (eating, etc)



1. It validated that Jesus was our sinless substitute whose sacrifice was accepted
- Old Testament reveals that those who were not accepted, they died.
- High Priest had a rope tied, in case He died when He appeared before God
- Jesus emerged ALIVE after His sacrifice

IF JESUS HAD NOT RISEN—that meant that His offering for our sins was not accepted, he was a sinner, and a sinner cannot save a sinner.

I Corinthians 15:17
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”

2. It validated that He was Who He said He was --- God in the flesh

-Jesus said in John 10—No one takes my life from Me, I have the power to lay it down, and the power to take it up again.

THE RESURRECTION validates that He was God in the flesh, and therefore we should believe what he says.

Romans 1:3,4
“concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. “

3. It validates the believers own guaranteed resurrection.

Jesus said: Because I live (am resurrected) you shall live also.

Paul said that Jesus was the firstfruits of the resurrection, and that our resurrection would follow


Following Excerpt from The Atheist Delusion by Dr. Phil Fernandes, Ph.D.

First, the first eyewitnesses of the empty tomb (and the resurrected Christ) were women. This is something the apostles would not have made up, for a woman’s testimony was held highly suspect in the first-century ad. It offered practically no evidential value to fabricate a story of women being the first witnesses.

Second, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the Jewish religious authorities would have produced the rotting corpse of Christ, thus refuting Christianity and stifling its growth at its earliest stage.

Third, New Testament scholars agree that the sermons of Acts chapter 1 through 12 are the earliest sermons of the church-they date back to the early 30′s ad. Their antiquity is accepted by scholars because these sermons show no signs of theological development (this type of theological development is found in Paul’s letters which were written twenty years later). .

Fourth, Jesus was buried in the tomb of a well-known man-Joseph of Arimathea. It would have been easy to locate the tomb to ascertain if it was empty.

For further investigation: