Jesus’ Resurrection Proven by Early Non-Christian Writers
Posted by FactReal on March 29, 2013
|ANCIENT NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES PROVIDE 100 FACTS ABOUT JESUS|
About 18 different ancient non-Christian writers provide 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.
|FACT 1. JESUS DIED DUE TO THE RIGORS OF CRUCIFIXION
Jesus was crucified circa 30 A.D. His death was reported by several non-Christian writings:
|Crucifixion was a common form of Roman execution
|Crucifixion was a torturous death
The crucified died of
▪ 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).
|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.
|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
|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.
The ancients relied on verbal tradition to teach others. Later on they were copied into 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.
We have written tradition that shows the disciples saying that Jesus had appeared to them after he rose from the dead.
|FACT 5. THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE DISCIPLES
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.
|The skeptical Jew, James, was converted by the resurrection
▪ Early creed reports appearance to James (1 Cor. 15:7)*
▪ The Gospels (Mark, John)*
|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.
|The disciples stood by their account and paid the price
Would you pay with your life for a lie? Liars make poor martyrs.
The disciples were persecuted and tortured for preaching the Resurrection of Jesus:
These persecutions would have stopped if the disciples had quit preaching the Resurrection message and the Ascension of Jesus. Their preaching was a threat to the reputation of the Jewish leaders.
|WHY THE RESURRECTION IS IMPORTANT
▪ 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.
▪ MIT’s Classic Archive: Ancient Authors and their Writings
▪ Dr. Gene Scott: The Resurrection (PDF)
▪ Christian Answers
▪ Catholic Answers
▪ Original Catholic Encyclopedia
▪ The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
▪ The Case for the Real Jesus
▪ Truth in Action
▪ Risen Indeed
▪ 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 — not as a proof of the Resurrection. However, 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.
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