Resurrection Under Attack – Again

by Bryant Evans on July 8, 2008

Time Magazine Online is attacking the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In an article published Monday, the magazine reports a dubious claim by a Jewish collector that an inscription has been found which shows the idea of three days in the tomb and then a resurrection was already known of in Jewish legend before Jesus actually did it. The article, entitled Was Jesus’ Resurrection a Sequel? appears at their online site, www.time.com. The claim is that a writing, dated before Jesus, records a command from the angel Gabriel to a Jewish rebel named Simon about the time of Jesus’ birth. The translation, which is open to much controversy, states: “In three days you shall live. I Gabriel command you. Other scholars believe the translation is incorrect but nevertheless the article tries to remove the idea that Jesus actually died and arose from the grave by making the Biblical claim just another part of Jewish apocalyptic writing which was common, yet never accomplished.

In fact, the idea of a third day resurrection was not new with Jesus. Our Lord himself used the semblance of Jonah’s three days in the belly of the fish as a shadow or ancient modeling of his coming resurrection (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40). The prophecy of Hosea 6:2, although not quoted in the New Testament, certainly seems on target here: “He will revive us after two days; he will raise us up on the third day that we may live before him.” The point is that the idea of a third day resurrection is not new with the so-called Gabriel inscription. Only by discounting the older Old Testament writings can one somehow suggest that Jesus got the idea from this suspicious Gabriel writing. The idea was not unique with Jesus. It was a part of the prophecy penned about him long before.

But the greatest strength, in my judgment, of the resurrection arguments is the fact of the first century church. How could a church begin with such power and growth so soon after his resurrection were it not true? The Church did not begin in a corner. It began on the grounds of the Jewish Temple. It began very publicly in the midst of a major Jewish feast. How easy it would have been to destroy the fledgling church by showing the resurrection was a fake? How could tens of thousands submit to the risen Savior if there was any evidence that he was still dead?

Paul seems to almost taunt the unbelievers when he writes,

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared unto Cephus, then to the twelve. After that he appeared to more that five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; ” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

Observe the invitation for the mid-first century readers to check out his resurrection story with hundreds of eyewitnesses! Even at that late date, there was ample first hand evidence to prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Please observe further that the claim was not simply of an empty tomb, but of an actual appearance of the risen Lord!

Detractors must further deal with the conduct of the apostles after the resurrection. They were changed men. And, every one of them suffered greatly because of Jesus after his resurrection. Can anyone explain why men would suffer, and in all but one case, die for something they knew to be false?

No, it is clear to those who will examine it closely and honestly: He arose! The implications of that resurrection are remarkable and perhaps that is why skeptics do all they can to assault the truth of that world changing moment.

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{ 2 comments }

bobby pinkston December 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

There were two “third days” to Jesus. The third day of Jesus as man and the third day of Jesus as Spirit. There were two “resurrections”. The first was Jesus as man when He descended in death and ascended back to where He was, this world. The second resurrection, and the second “third day”, the one Jesus was talking about, began with the year 2000. This is the day of His resurrection. It is only the first hour of the third day, and we know that His “going forth” will establish the morning. Only the Father can take Him from this World,Jesus can only wait. He has said His final prayer,its the 17 chapter of John,and once He is taken out of the way, Satan, who has been waiting for this day, will began his rule of this world. The answer to “time” in Daniels time,times times, and half a time,is “time”is one day or 2 and a half days or 2500 years. This is the day Hosea was talking about. One other thing we know about this day is that God will not tarry. He too, has been waiting for this appointed day. We know the day,only God knows the hour

Bryant Evans December 29, 2009 at 11:12 am

Hi Bobby. Thanks for your visit and for your comment.

I have to say I think you are making some huge unwarranted jumps in your reasoning. Can you explain how you come to see 2000 as the second resurrection? In fact, can you show Biblically that there are two resurrections of the Lord?

No, there was one resurrection of Jesus incarnate – both man and spirit and it occurred on the third day after his crucifixion. I would enjoy more clarity on your thinking.

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