Hello, my name’s Sam. I’m a freshman student in Mt. Vernon High School, Illinois. I greatly admire your passion to defend our faith. I think my favorite “subject” to defend is Jesus’ Resurrection. Christianity has proven to be true for thousands of years and its core foundation, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, after many assaults from the enemies, still stands strong to this day. YEAH!!
Now, I have some questions concerning the resurrection:
1. I want to know how it is that Jesus has been there for three days in the tomb. Some believe that he has not been buried in the tomb for there days but less.
That’s one that some people stumble over. We have to understand that the ancients numbered a different way than we do today and they used different expressions for time. For instance, if you are 18-years-old, a first century Jew would say you are “in your nineteenth year.” They would say that even if you were 18 and one day.
Likewise the phrase “three days and three nights” is found in Matthew 12:40.
“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
The Hebrew way of numbering days was from sunset to sunset. “Days and nights” does not mean a 24-hour period. The Jews counted any part of a day as a “day” or even using the idiom “a day and a night” whether it was a full 24-hour period or not.
- 1st day – Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday before sunset
- 2nd day – Jesus was in the tomb Saturday until sunset
- 3rd day – Jesus was in the tomb until sunrise Sunday morning
“Days and nights” doesn’t mean a literal 24-hour period. For instance, in Genesis it says that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights.
“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth” (Genesis 7:4)
I can remember hearing the story as a child and wondering why the “nights” were significant. Why not just say it rained for 40 days?
Another example is Exodus 24:18: “And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.”
The answer is simply that it is an idiom or a figure of speech not a literal 24 hours. We use non-specific time references today as well.
“Can you give me just two more minutes to explain this?”
If I took one minute and 30 seconds, then was I lying? No one nitpicks over idioms that we all understand.
Further proof that this is an idiomatic expression is backed up by the fact that in other places the Gospels say Jesus was raised “on the third day,” and “after three days.”
In a strict literalist English rendering “on the third day” could be the Sunday after a Friday. But “after three days” would be Monday. Why two different idioms here? This is explained by the fact that Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience and Mark is writing to a Roman Gentile audience.
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21).
“And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31).
2. Some people say that there are contradictions in how the events took place. Ex: on how Jesus was buried. (Lk. 23:50-56). The passage doesn’t seem to show that Jesus’ burial was complete. So, does it give a chance that Jesus could have easily unwrap himself since he wasn’t properly wrapped? Also, they say that just because the tomb was empty doesn’t mean that Jesus was resurrected.
Yes, they do say that! I answered this objection on another forum earlier today. My response is that there were eyewitnesses to the events. John was present, according to his Gospel, as were other disciples mentioned by name. Matthew records that because Jesus claimed he was going to rise from the dead, Roman soldiers guarded the tomb to keep His followers from stealing the body (Matthew 27:65).
If this were not true, then the simple way to dispel rumors after the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the resurrection was preached would have been to simply produce the body.
“And he that saw it (John) bears record, and his record is true; and he knows what he says is true, that you might believe” (John 19:35).
John is speaking about himself. He calls himself the “disciple whom [Jesus] loved” (19:26).
The skeptics conjecture that Jesus was not crucified and that He lived past the time of what is recorded in the book of Acts is everywhere else refuted. There’s simply no evidence or record of that Jesus lived beyond the time of Acts 2, but only to the contrary.
To claim otherwise is hyper-skepticism beyond reason.
3. Some people say that the Gospel Mark since doesn’t say anything about the 500 witnesses (note that Mark is the first written Gospel), then the 500 witnesses are just made up stories.
This is a good example of where the modern critics have influenced evangelicals beyond reason. To state emphatically that Mark was the first written Gospel is mere conjecture. This became a popular idea in the 1800s when traditional church teaching on just about everything came into question. The historical view is that the Gospels appear in the canon in the order written.
Irenaeus, writing in the early second century, says: “Matthew published among the Hebrews, in their own tongue, a written form of the Gospel, while Peter and Paul preached the gospel in Rome and founded the Church. It was after his departure that Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted in writing what Peter preached. Luke, Paul’s companion, also wrote in a book what Paul preached. Then John, our Lord’s disciple, the same one who laid his face on his breast (John 13:23), also published the gospel while living in Ephesus” (Against Heresies III, 1,1).
Similar commentaries can be found in Papias of Hierapolis and Clement of Alexandria (cf Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 3, 39,15:6, 14, 5-7).
If these accounts are true, then Matthew was written before “his departure” from Jerusalem as a missionary and was later translated into Greek. Mark is an abbreviation of Matthew also making use of Peter’s account, but not a source document for Matthew.
In any case, this is an example of the “argument from silence” fallacy. Just because one New Testament writer mentions an event that another one omits does not mean it did not happen.
4. I’d classify myself as a beginner in apologetics, any tips on how to study them and to put them into use? Also, where can I get more resources for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.”
– F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Books
The following non-believers all set out at one point to either disprove the resurrection or to see if it was historically accurate.
Lee Stroble, The Case for Christ and The Case for Easter
Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict
Dr. Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice
Ralph O. Muncaster, A Skeptics Search for God
F.F. Bruce on the New Testament:
Overview of Evidence by Ex-Atheist Josh McDowell
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
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Running Time: 130 minutes
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
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Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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