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NON-CHRISTIANS PROVE JESUS’ RESURRECTION

Posted by FactReal on April 13, 2009

ANCIENT NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES PROVIDE THE FACTS
About 18 different ancient non-Christian writers present more than 100 facts about the birth of Christ, His life, teachings, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension:

Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus, Phlegon, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Emperor Trajan, Emperor Hadrian, the Talmud, Lucian, Mara bar Serapion, etc.

Next are the historical facts of Jesus’ resurrection.

Crowning With Thorns by Caravaggio

Crowning With Thorns by Caravaggio

FACT 1. JESUS DIED DUE TO THE RIGORS OF CRUCIFIXION
Jesus was crucified circa A.D. 30. It was reported by several non-Christian writings:
Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus, Jewish historian, (Antiquities. 18.3, 18.64), 1st century
▪ Tacitus (Annals 15.44), circa A.D. 115
▪ Lucian de Samosata, Greek satirist, (The Death of Peregrine, 11-13), circa mid-2nd century
▪ Mara bar Serapion (Letter to his son – currently at British Museum), late 1st-3rd century
▪ Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a), late 2nd century
Crucifixion was a common form of Roman execution


Jesus (Giotto-TheCrucifixion)

The Crucifixion by Giotto

  Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus (Jewish Wars, 5.451)
▪ M. Tullius Cicero (Against Verres 2.5.64)
▪ Cornelius Tacitus (The Annals 15.44)
Crucifixion was a torturous death
The crucified died of
▪ Exhaustion
▪ Asphyxia
▪ Dehydration
▪ Congestive heart failure
Early testimony support
▪ The Roman soldiers pronounced Jesus dead.
▪ Many people witnessed the events of which the writers of the Gospels wrote.
▪ Reported in all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (circa 1st century).*
▪ The flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier’s spear (John 19:34).*

FACT 2. JESUS WAS BURIED IN A KNOWN, ACCESSIBLE TOMB
▪ Jewish and Roman leaders and people, who witnessed the crucifixion, knew where the tomb was.
▪ The owner of the tomb was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin named Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43).
Had the Gospels been false on this matter they would not have been able to withstand the swift correction and ridicule from the Jews.

Jesus (Ruben-DescentFromTheCross)FACT 3. EMPTY TOMB
Jesus’ tomb was discovered to be empty just a few days later
Enemy and critics attested that the tomb was empty.

  Ancient sources:
▪ Justin Martyr (Trypho 108)
▪ Tertullian (De Spectaculis 30)

No corpse produced
There is no record from Jewish, Roman, critics and other writings to attest that a body was in the tomb. The enemies of Jesus had every reason to produce a body since it would have benefited them. If any corpse had still been in the tomb, it would have been impossible for Christianity to get off the ground in Jerusalem due to the importance of the Resurrection.

Women testimony of the empty tomb
A woman’s testimony was not highly regarded in those days in Roman and Jewish cultures.

  Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus (Antiquities 4.8.15)
▪ Talmud (Sotah 19a); Talmud (Rosh Hashannah 1.8); Talmud (Kiddushin 82b)
▪ Origen (Contra Celsum 2:59; 3:55)
▪ Gaius Suetonius, Roman historian, (The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 44) circa A.D. 115
▪ Luke 24:11*

Jesus(Champaigne-DeadChrist)

Embarrassing admissions support historical claims
Even the disciples (who were Jews) thought it was nonsense what the women were saying. (Luke 24:11)
It would have been damaging to the disciples’ claim to invent the story and place women as the primary witnesses. Thus, the empty tomb account appears to be historically credible in light of the principle of embarrassment.

FACT 4. JESUS’ DISCIPLES EXPERIENCED THE RISEN JESUS
The disciples preached that Jesus was raised, that the tomb was empty, and that Jesus ascended. 
They preached a seen and living Jesus with whom they partook food; they preached the Ascension with equal vigor.

Jesus (Rubenresurrectionofchrist)

Resurrection of Christ by Ruben

  Ancient sources:
▪ Clement, Bishop of Rome, (First Clement 42:3), A.D. 95
▪ Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, (Letter to the Philippians 9:2), A.D. 101
▪ Clement, bishop of Rome, is reputed to have personally known the disciples, according to two early church fathers, Irenaeus and Tertullian, circa 30-100
▪ Polycarp was, according to Irenaeus, taught by the apostles and knew many who had seen Christ, circa 69-155
▪ Polycarp mentions the resurrection of Jesus 5 times in his letter to the church in Philippi. (Letter to the Philippians 9:2)
Verbal tradition
The ancients relied on verbal tradition to teach others. Later on they were copied intro writings which were later compiled into the New Testament. Verbal tradition before the New Testament pointed to Jesus’ original disciples saying that the risen Jesus had appeared to them.
  Ancient sources:
▪ Tertullian, African church father (The Prescription Against Heretics, 32)
▪ Irenaeus, early church father (Against Heresies, 3.3.3), circa 185
▪ Irenaeus (Letter To Florinus) (preserved by 4th-century church historian, Eusebius)
▪ Tertullian (Prescription Against Heretics, 32)

Written tradition
We have written tradition that shows the disciples saying that Jesus had appeared to them after he rose from the dead.

  Ancient sources:
▪ The 4 Gospels attest to the resurrection of Jesus and report the disciples’ claims that Jesus rose from the dead. The Gospels, all written within 70 years of the crucifixion, testify that Christ rose again.*
▪ Former church persecutor, Paul, claims to have known the disciples firsthand. He wrote the disciples claimed Jesus rose (1 Corinthians 15:9-11, Galatians 2:1-10).*
▪ The creed in 1 Corinthians 15 originated within 5 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. This creed says that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day and that he appeared to the disciples.*

FACT 5. THE DISCIPLES’ TRANSFORMATION
After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples receive strength and conviction in the face of martyrdom
The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify with Jesus, to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection, even being willing to die for this belief.


Jesus (Caravaggio-IncredulityOfSaintThomas)

Incredulity of Thomas by Caravaggio

  Ancient sources:
▪ Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria, (Smyrn 3:2-3)
▪ Clement of Rome (1 Clement 5:2-7)
▪ Polycarp (Letter to the Philippians 9:2)
▪ Tacitus, Roman historian, (The Twelve Caesars 15.44), A.D. 109
▪ Dionysius of Corinth (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:25:8, 3.1), A.D. 170
▪ Tertullian (Scorpiace 15), A.D. 200
▪ Josephus (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 95
▪ Hegesippus (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 165-175
▪ Clement of Alexandria (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 200
▪ Origen (Contra Celsum 2:56,77), A.D. 230-250
▪ Origen (Commentary on Genesis, volume 3
(cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 3:1)
▪ Luke (Acts 7;12)*

The skeptical Jew, James, was converted by the resurrection
▪ Early creed reports appearance to James (1 Cor. 15:7)*
▪ The Gospels (Mark, John)*

  Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus (Antiquities 20:200)
▪ Hegesippus (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 165-175
▪ Clement of Alexandria (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:1; 2:23), A.D. 200


Jesus (Caravaggio-CrucifixionOfPeter)

Crucifixion of Peter by Caravaggio


Conversion of Saul of Tarsus after seeing the risen Jesus
Paul, the great persecutor of Christianity, was converted by the resurrection
(Acts 9:3-9, 17, 22; 1 Cor. 15:8, 9:1; Gal. 1:22-23).
Paul believed to have experienced a personal appearance of the risen Jesus.

  Ancient sources:
▪ Clement of Rome (1 Clement 5:2-7)
▪ Polycarp (Letter to the Philippians 9:2)
▪ Tertullian (Scorpiace 15; (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:25:8)
▪ Origen’s commentary on Genesis, volume 3 (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 3:1)

The disciples stood by their account & paid the price 
Would you pay with your life for a lie? Liars make poor martyrs.
The disciples were persecuted because of preaching the Resurrection of Jesus. (Book of Act)
These persecutions would have stopped if the disciples had quit preaching this Resurrection message and the Ascension of Jesus. Their preaching was a threat to the reputation of the Jewish leaders.
▪ Peter was crucified upside down
▪ Andrew was crucified
▪ Luke was hanged by idolatrous priests
▪ Mark was dragged in the streets of Alexandria
▪ Bartholomew flayed to death with a whip in Armenia
▪ Thomas was pierced with a Brahmin sword


Jesus (Giotto-Ascension)

Ascension by Giotto


WHY IS IMPORTANT TO LEARN ABOUT THE RESURRECTION?
▪ The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.
▪ The resurrection was proclaimed in Jerusalem where the empty tomb was.
▪ The church was born and grew.

SOURCES
Dr. Gene Scott
Christian Answers
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
The Case for the Real Jesus
Coral Ridge Ministries
Risen Indeed
MIT’s Classic Archive
Original Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Answers
▪ D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, The Da Vinci Myth vs. The Gospel Truth

* The bible is used here as reference to the Christian stories. It is important to know that the bible contains writings within 70 years of Jesus. Other historic writings have a larger span than the bible between the time the original was written and the earliest copy. For example, Plato’s Tetralogies have 1,200 years interval between original and earliest copy. Aristotle’s works have 1400 years span. Homer’s Iliad, 500 years. The bible has more copies in existence of the ancient writings than any other ancient book that we regard as historic: Homer (Iliad), Plato (Tetralogies), Aristotle, Ceaser (The Gallic Wars). Copyist errors are minimal. The New Testament has 77 separate books and letters of ancient times which were later compiled into the bible. So, they serve as early testimonies from Christians.

MORE FACTS:
- ANCIENT WRITERS PROVE JESUS IS NOT A MYTH
- THE REAL THANKSGIVING STORY – As Written by the Pilgrims
- CHURCH & STATE SEPARATION IS A MYTH

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