Basic Definitions and Premises
Music: How Great Thou Art
Paul: Test everything. Hold on to the good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21)
Exposé’s come along often trying to disprove JESUS’ Resurrection – the core belief in Christianity - and do a hatchet job on the most famous death in history. Recently a documentary entitled The Lost Tomb of Jesus was shown on the Discovery Channel just prior to Easter, 2007. Back in the late 1980’s I read a book entitled The Body (by Richard Sapir and was later made into a movie) which had an almost identical plot: tomb of a Jesus found; the Vatican sends priest to investigate. Then the docudrama takes place: priest looses faith; priest falls in love with a female archeologist; etc. Without a firm grasp in the Resurrection of JESUS, these exposés can definitely shake ones faith. Dr. Gene Scott gave a wonderful lecture on his Faith in the Resurrection which I would like to summarize here as faithfully as I can. Easter week is a summary of events leading up to the Resurrection - Hal Lindsey did a wonderful job on - and which I want to use some of his key notes used on his TV special. Finally, I want to tie in the Ark of the Covenant to Easter week.
First I want to give the definition of faith as given by Dr. Scott: an Action based on Belief sustained by Confidence. This is the a,b,c’s of faith! A generally accepted secular definition of faith is based on closed-mindedness; that is, if someone has faith in something, all further discussion ceases at this point! I believe this to be unsatisfactory. As Paul said "Test everything, Hold on to the good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Hopefully this paper will build one’s confidence in the Resurrection; that is, a belief in the Resurrection should be sustained unwaveringly and thereby make any subsequent action or attack on our belief frivolous.
There are three aspects that I wish to address: the exposé Lost Tomb of Jesus based on statistics of family names found on six (or is it seven) of the ten ossuaries in a tomb in Jerusalem; one’s faith in the Resurrection (based on historical data, evidence, and logical arguments) by Dr. Gene Scott and Hal Lindsey; and lastly, a video by Ron Wyatt, where in he addresses the Ark of the Covenant and gives some very informative facts tying the death of the Messiah on the Cross to our salvation. First and easiest are some comments on The Lost Tomb of Jesus exposé.
LOTTERY OF IF’s
For the fun stuff – statistics based on “if”… and the more “if”s, the less likely of its occurrence … or as a herpetology expert once said: if a frog had wings, it wouldn’t have to bump its ass; and if … . I had a statistic mentor who once said to me: given enough time, life could evolve from matter!! … without once thinking that the event had to be possible and could be modeled in the first place before any probability could be assigned to it. That is, if the first event is not possible, then all subsequent events are irrelevant. This is how I look on the docudrama shown on TV and how the material shown would appear to a believer in JESUS and His resurrection.
Backing up a little, first let me address the overall scene: JESUS and his family lived in Nazareth (thus the title JESUS of Nazareth), not Jerusalem; the family was poor and could not afford a large lavish tomb in some other town (unless, or is it "if", JESUS had gotten a large cash advance on a book that He would soon be publishing); how could such a tomb get lost if no one knew about it or were not looking for it (especially the Pharisees, Sadducees, Sanhedrin, Jewish religious leaders, Roman soldiers, et al.); – this will be addressed in Part II and why this premise to start with (and never addressed in the docudrama) is bogus to people of faith;
… AND ...
how in the world would we know if one indeed did find the bones of JESUS without having anything to compare them to! I would love to see what the DNA of the bones of JESUS looked like – without an Earthly father. This topic of DNA will be addressed in a wild and wonderful hypothesis put forth by Ron Wyatt in Part III Ark of the Covenant on tested blood samples taken from the Crucifixion site - Oh my - I'm getting ahead of myself!
Ossuaries of IF’s
… or what’s in a name …
sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me
In 1980, while excavating an area around Jerusalem for building an Apartment Complex in Talpiot, a tomb was uncovered (not within close walking distance from where the Crucifixion took place) that had ten ossuaries, six with inscriptions. On one of these ossuaries was inscribed in Aramaic, Yeshua (Hebrew name for Jesus), son of Joseph. Joseph was either buried somewhere else or in one of the other unmarked ossuaries. Is this THE Messiah? Both were fairly common names of the time and a statistic of one in 190 was given for a likelihood of such a Yeshua/Joseph occurrence on any random ossuary; however, randomness it wasn’t – just this tomb was looked at and inference would be made based on the inscriptions on the other ossuaries. All the statistics were used as circumstantial evidence to say that this is “indeed” the tomb of the Messiah. Here is where the docudrama folk jumped off into Never-Never land, assuming that this is the tomb containing bones of JESUS! And these bones were moved to this tomb a year later after decomposing in a hidden location that His disciples moved Him to. The docudrama did mention that in the gospel of Matthew he mentioned all the stories going around, which were all lies. Us folk of faith say with certainty that this occurrence is zero. However, this didn’t stop further speculation – for they claimed that Jesus’ bones were moved later to this fancy tomb from … ? Noting again that one will never know with certainty (as we all now know there are two OJ’s running amuck in the world) who is really buried in this tomb. But by looking at the other ossuaries in this tomb that had inscriptions with names similar to those in JESUS’ family and associates, they want the viewer to come to the conclusion that this is indeed the tomb of JESUS and the inscription Yeshua, son of Joseph really is YESHUA, son of Joseph.
Two ossuaries had female names inscribed – Maria (Latin-ized name for Mary, mother of JESUS) and Mariamne (Mary Magdalene). Tracing these names was very sketchy and left lots of doubt. Also one ossuary had the inscription of Matthew which the authors left out the statistics, since this would require going back along Mary’s bloodline to get this name – but deemed to be a good possibility of being a brother of Jesus. On one of the ossuaries was the name Jose, a nickname for Joseph, believed to be a name of one of JESUS’ brothers (surely not the father!). Now for some real flaky logic – one of the ossuaries was missing. Originally, there were ten ossuaries; however, on checking the inventory of ossuaries for this tomb, only nine are listed! And you guessed …
Ossuary ten showed up on the open antiquity market some 22-years later – someone must have stolen it and sold it on the open market. And you guessed it – it had a plain and legible inscription on it (even though it didn’t according the one of the men who originally looked at it in 1980). The inscription was for James and read: James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. WOW!! Not only that, there was also a small ossuary for an infant with the inscription: Judah son of Jesus, which the documentary concluded that this must have been the son of Jesus, even though the Bible never mentions such an event. I now count seven ossuaries with inscriptions; such a remarkable coincidences of if’s – that link these names to a family line of Jesus – but not necessarily to JESUS.
DNA tests were done from bone fragments from the Yeshua, son of Joseph ossuary and bone fragments from the Mariamne (Mary Magdalene) ossuary; they were found not to match - thus leading to the conclusion that Yeshua and Mariamne were not related so they must have been husband and wife!! Well, this is almost as good as the book, The Body, which I mentioned earlier – where a family who lost their son, buried their son in the tomb along side the real JESUS in hopes of when JESUS resurrected, their son would also be resurrected … or something on this order.
On a John Ankerberg program, John gave eight items that challenged the docudrama credibility:
1. Does the inscription on the ossuary really read “Jesus, son of Joseph”?
Inscription is very poor – looks more like graffiti.
2. Maria, there is no indication that the Mary mentioned is Jesus’ mother
3. Matthew, not part of Jesus’ family
4. There is no evidence that Mariamne e Mara refers to Mary Magdalene
5. There is no mention in the New Testament that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene
6. There is no mention in the New Testament that Jesus had a son Would Jesus name his son Judas?
7. Joseh should be vocalized “Josah”, who then could not be Jesus’ brother mentioned in
Mark 6:3 and Mark 15:40
8. The “so called” James ossuary was photographed in the 1970’s, before the Talpiot tomb was discovered
(taken from Dr. Gene Scott’s lecture on the Resurrection)
One of the greatest religious philosophers ever to live was C.S. Lewis. Dr. Scott quotes from a C.S. Lewis book:
“I’m trying to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about JESUS:
“I’m ready to accept JESUS as a great moral teacher but I do not accept His claim to be GOD.
“That’s the one thing we must not say.
"A man who is merely a man and said the sort of things JESUS said would not be a great moral teacher; he would be either a lunatic on the level with a man who says he’s a poached egg or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of GOD or else a mad man or something worse. You can take him up as a fool; you can spit on him; you can kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him LORD and GOD but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about Him being a great human teacher.
"He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
That’s out of JESUS under Fire – one of the most powerful arguments against The JESUS Seminar in print.
CLAIMS of JESUS
In looking for words to check historic sources/facts that show JESUS as GOD, JESUS said one or more of these things that need to be looked at in more detail:
1. JESUS thought He was perfect
2. JESUS seated authority in Himself
… every religious leader preached by objective, separate authority; JESUS did not preach there is one GOD and He’s only a prophet
Confucius said try it, it will work for you Buddha says my life means nothing – all I leave you is the way Mohammed got revelations in a cave but seated authority outside himself
whereas JESUS said build on what I say; you build on a rock, build on anything else you build on sand. All authority under Heaven and Earth is given unto me.
3. JESUS talked of Heaven from the inside
4. JESUS put Himself as the center of the religious Universe
JESUS preached from within; He preached
I’m the door;
I’m the life;
I’m the water;
I’m the light;
By Me enter in;
I have come here from Heaven;
No one can come to me unless through the Father
I am the Bread of Life;
I am the way, the truth, the life
... I am the Messiah ...
5. Something is wrong with the world and could only be set right by His death
6. His death was a ransom
7. Resurrection with specificity (on the third day)
8. Raised, seated in glory and will return again as the conquering Messiah
Facts to prove or disprove the above claims of JESUS
1. JESUS lived
At the hands of the Romans Instigated by Jewish leaders accusing JESUS of blasphemy
3. Considered Dead
4. Buried in a Known Accessible Tomb
5. Tomb was Empty
If there was a body in the tomb – all the Jewish leaders would have to do is show the body and get all the preaching stopped.
6. Preached/ Raised/ Ascended/ Tomb Empty
7. Jewish Leaders concerned to Disprove Resurrection
Jewish leaders charge JESUS of blasphemy; now they would have to save face for what they said; instantly they charged the disciples of stealing the body
8. Persecuted the Preachers who were preaching the Resurrection
Peter preached they killed the prince of life; GOD raised Him from the dead
Within the facts is an individual who is either good and not wise or wise and not good
The above facts can be argued without difficulty, except for the sixth point
and being raised and ascended; but if the body in that tomb did indeed come out of that tomb, this would require one to take another hard look at the facts. Arguing the case for the Resurrection is a much harder task – the other facts above must be taken for granted.
Since the Jewish Leaders instigated the charges, they would be very concerned to silence the preaching. Since the location of the tomb was known, all the Jewish Leaders would have to do is go to the tomb and produced the body. Argue with me these facts, and I have a much easier job. But to talk about the tough job, the Resurrection, these facts must be taken for granted. Since the preaching of JESUS’ resurrection was with such prominence and fervor and the cause of the rise of Christian Church, every kind of theory has been presented to explain the empty tomb:
1. Disciples stole the body
2. Romans took the body
They had enough power to take it;
3. Jewish Leaders took the body
Within this group we could add grave robbers; Joseph of Aremathia of the Sanhedrin got permission to take the body and put it in a royal tomb.
4. Wrong tomb
In the darkness or early light; doesn’t make sense – if not the right tomb, go to the right one!
… You’ve got to have a mental state of expectancy;
… it can’t be something alien to your own nature;
… Jews never believed in the Resurrection until the next Judgment; none of these people expected a three-day resurrection and it wouldn’t come until the next Judgment;
… you don’t have hallucination with 500 people at once,
… you don’t have diverse hallucinations, single people having the same hallucination. Go to the tomb!
… It staggers the imagination that someone stole the body at the same time all these people were having hallucinations.
He was considered dead but in the coolness of the tomb He revived; you don’t resuscitate from a Roman crucifixion. JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) reported that you don’t recover from a Roman crucifixion - a beating which left round holes with bone fragments and tore through the skin below the muscles; the remains were not of a wasted, bloody mess. Resuscitation is not plausible. It doesn’t matter … resuscitation has nothing to do with ascension and the resurrected Christ they were talking about. The reporters of this idea of recovering from a crucifixion are just liars.
7. The whole thing is a lie
The facts require accepting preaching of a resurrected, ascended vital and healthy Christ. One has to choose between this being the truth or a lie. The Jewish Leaders did – they said He blasphemed - and are now claiming the preachers are making up a story. The Jewish Leaders are trying to save face. They are lying.
They as honest people told what they honestly saw and believed to be true; honesty has to do with the state of mind of the testifier. These people are preaching a live, vital and healthy Christ.
There are only two choices. Each one of these steps proves that most people do not want to face the possibility of the super natural. Their view is that: it can’t happen; therefore it didn’t happen; therefore anyone who says it did happen is just either gullible, simple minded, or is continuing the fraud. It can’t happen; therefore it didn’t happen; therefore the individual isn’t worth listening to; therefore it can’t happen; etc. You’re arguing in a circle and you made up your mind before you started.
The Christian position is that it can’t happen by anything we know of; and, it only happened to this person. This should be looked at as any other historic event. Historic certainty is impossible - by definition all logical evidence is not there; you can no longer be an eye witness – that logically possible evidence is gone. Historic certainty is always relative. Psychological certainty can only happen through exposure to the facts.
Look at the evidence, there’s only two choices: lie or truth. JESUS is either who He said He was or either a nut or fraud. All the above are only theories to avoid looking at the facts. I don’t even want to attack the theory – the Jewish Leaders took the body – what nonsense. You have to choose – why not - the Jewish Leaders did – He blasphemed.
ARGUMENT FOR THE TRUTH
Why do I believe it’s impossible that they were liars, rather honest reporters? The preaching was not a lie … rather … the facts indicate honest reporting.
(1) Cataclysmic Change The Gospels were written in different places, by different people and
within a few years after JESUS’ death and resurrection
they support the preaching of JESUS’ resurrection.
Why do I believe they’re not preaching a lie: A lie can change someone - but not uniformly and all for the better. These psychological personality types of JESUS’ disciples are woven through the independent Gospel studies.
… it’s Peter who is always being impetuous; in trouble with himself; always going to far or drawing back to far.
… it’s Peter who sasses JESUS when Jesus talks of His death
… it’s Peter who goes to sleep on the Mount of Transfiguration
You don’t get this in just one story; it’s woven through all four Gospels
… it’s Peter who goes to sleep ... JESUS takes Peter, James and John with Him to pray because He has to prepare Himself for the Passion week and
- Peter goes to sleep -
GOD had to send two old tigers of the Old Testament (Moses and Elijah) who did not die a natural death. Moses’ body was fought over between Michael and the devil; Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. But in the transfiguration record GOD sends these two old tigers, Moses and Elijah who had fought in faith … and when Peter woke up he hears them talking about Christ deceased; Jesus took Peter up with Him, His helper, to get encouragement; and imagine that, Peter went to sleep!
GOD sent Moses and Elijah to encourage Him about his impending demise; and then you read further, JESUS goes down the hill and sets his face to Jerusalem, knowing He must die. He was up there to get strength and when
… Peter wakes up after hearing them talk about Christ being deceased and says:
let’s build three tabernacles here - one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for JESUS.
A take charge, impetuous, individual - elevating Moses and Elijah to JESUS.
JESUS says: “I want to wash your feet “
… You’re not going to wash my feet.
If I can’t wash your feet you’re not going to be in My kingdom. … then wash me all over; ever if there was an extremist.
Wait and watch with Me while JESUS was preparing for the event of His crucifixion;
By the way we get the word excruciating from the Latin word meaning:
“From the Cross”.
JESUS went through excruciating pain in the Garden as He agonized to see if GOD would not let Him make the trip. Soldiers come and
… Peter wakes up half asleep, draws his sword and cuts off the High Priest’s servant’s ear. JESUS’ says to him, quit and He healed the ear.
One of you is going to betray me tonight.
… Not me, even if they try to slay me I’ll not betray you; before the cock crows he betrays JESUS three times.
A consistent personality trait.
JESUS sends a special message to the disciples after His resurrection and tells them to wait in Galilee: “I’m coming”. JESUS is late and …
… Peter goes fishing
Suddenly after the resurrection, Peter becomes the rock that JESUS had prophesized. Never wavering; standing in front of a mocking mob on the street accusing them:
“You killed the Prince of Life and GOD raised Him up”.
Peter changed from a person of impetuosity and instability to stability in faith – a rock - and all for the better. By the way, the one who makes Peter look the worse is Mark; and Peter was the eye-witness source of all the events and was the tutor of Mark.
John, he and his brother are called “Sons of Thunder”. They call far from Heaven, they say, want it to happen on those who oppose them. They want the best seat in the Kingdom; these low-lives send their mother to ask for it. Everybody agrees that after the resurrection event John becomes the Apostle of Love, beyond all the other disciples; a radical change and this is read through all four separate Gospels.
Thomas is a consistent doubter. When JESUS is going to go through Samaria, Thomas says: let us also go so that we may also die with you. Give him credit for courage, but that’s a humanistic view of his master. He thought he would actually be killed by human hands when JESUS repeatedly said:
No man takest my life from Me; the Shepard voluntarily lays his life down for his sheep.
JESUS talks about going away to prepare mansions. He says I’m going to leave you - speaking of His departure, His death and His return to Heaven. Thomas doesn’t believe JESUS when He says:
I’m going to go away to prepare mansions; and then I’m going to come back and get you and take you to be with Me. And wither I go you know and the way you know.
I can see those other disciples – the minute He said the words mansion – it was like setting something off. I’m going to prepare mansions for you – they don’t listen to anything else. Not Thomas, the skeptic, he listens to every word. JESUS comes to the point – wither I go you know and the way you know – Thomas butts in and says: we don’t know the way; we don’t know where you’re going. Typical; always questioning; always doubting the resurrection story to come. The same Thomas – woven through all the Gospels – I will not believe it until I put my hands into the very print of the crucifixion. So much for hallucinations.
JESUS appeared to all except Thomas - Christ later said in an axiomatic truth that it is better to believe without seeing - because it’s better to have simple faith, without all the agony of the mind. Behold my hands and my side; Christ offered to submit to the very tests that Thomas asked for. Thomas fell on his knees and cried – my LORD and my GOD.
Manuscripts of the Thomas Christians off the coast of India tell about him being pierced with a bronze sword – but - he founded the St. Thomas Christians on the coast of India. They have some of the most priceless and prized and ancient Syriac manuscripts in the classic script of the Syriac because they cherish them. They’re in the hands of individual clerics who would give their life to protect them. They’re not in many museums for that reason. St. Thomas – he never wavered from that moment; piercing the area that begot the faith, the spring which Buddhism grew - the Hindu mentality focused philosophic religions. He pierced that and planted faith and the Syriac historic language penetrated into that area as a result of these Galileans, all who spoke Syriac. A change from doubt to faith. GOD, through the Holy Spirit in a miracle brought forth this spirit conceived GOD man.
If you accept the resurrection, you accept the fact that GOD moved from the eternities, struck a tent in human flesh to fulfill the Jewish law of kinsmen redeemer. He must be kin to us and He came to us; took the form of sinning flesh; yet knew no sin; fulfilled the law to bring forth the price of redemption and had to make it voluntary and did make it and is raised.
Now take your theological, philosophical platonic concepts and shove them in the garbage can. There was in this, something that has never been seen on history’s stage since GOD made Adam in His image. GOD is man, with a measure of spirit to conquer the flesh and move from there into the eternities; sitting there on the “elasterion” – mercy seat - what has never existed before and is now an immortalized GOD man; that’s the doctrine of the resurrection:
He went up to heaven as the first fruit of what we shall be.
James – and all his family at Nazareth were going to seize Him because they thought He was nuts with the claims He was making. His family rejected Him and He then said at the cross:
who is my mother; who are My brethren; who do the will of My Father who sent Me.
Not until the resurrection - specifically named as a witness in 1Corithians 15 - did James, the brother of our LORD, believe. He had a problem and had to be contested by Paul; he was a devout Jew, probably a member of the Essenes – who thought his brother was nuts until he confronted Him at the resurrection. Because of a Middle-Eastern belief that a blood relative must rule in the absence of the founder - which produced the Shiites in contrast with the Sunnis of the Moslems, who went with the one who had the spiritual leadership (the Shiites went with the bloodline) was James put in charge of the Church in Jerusalem. And all he did was to add a belief that JESUS was the Messiah but you still had to keep the law. A fight over this occurred at the First Counsel. James, pastor for 19 years in Jerusalem, changed totally - a brother, the hardest people to convince. A change to a believer and still a devout, and fair to say, a practicing Jew, who believed that Christ was the Messiah and still a keeper of the law. They say that he prayed so much that he had knees like a camel. It’s not the pattern of a liar.
What about Paul? Paul - who held papers of those who stoned Stephen; Paul - who had papers to put under arrest Christians worshipping in the synagogues at Damascus - cataclysmically changed for the rest of his life. Beatings, torture - he kept the faith; a change for the better – from a murder and persecutor of those who disagreed with his faith to an apostle of love who wrote 1Corthinians 13. These are cataclysmic changes.
. (2) Intrinsic
There’s intrinsic, inside evidences of truthful reporters. Contrary to their own interests, they paint bad pictures of themselves. That counts in a court of law when you’re evaluating the credibility of a witness. You’re making statements that hurt you’re cause. Mark writes to Gentiles about a Jew in the Book of Enoch, which was prominent in that day, and about Daniel wherein - the Son of Man means you’re the Messiah and coming on a cloud of glory. Everyone agrees that Mark wrote either to Gentiles in Alexandria and Egypt or to Romans. They haven’t read the Book of Enoch. They don’t know anything about the Son-of-Man mythology he was talking about. Yet, writing to try to prove that JESUS is the Son of GOD. He has JESUS referring to himself in the shortest Gospel, more than any other Gospel, as the Son of Man. Contrary to his objective, he was being true to the story. Little things suggest honest reporters.
In one passage JESUS asks the disciples - before the Five Thousand Miracle – where do we buy bread? In another passage it says He asked Philip – written in separate places. Why did He ask Philip? Go to another Gospel - John – and we find out that Philip was from Bethsaida and the place where He asked the question was near Bethsaida … the logical person to ask where to go and buy bread was Philip. You have to read at least two Gospels to find that out.
When throngs pressed at Lake Gennesaret, one of the Gospels says He stepped into the boat. You have to go to another Gospel, written in a different place to find out that before the throng pressed in, JESUS instructed His disciples to secure a small boat. So the other one says He stepped into the boat - little intrinsic evidences of truth.
Why would they, if they’re making up a lie have women as the first witnesses, when women were not allowed to testify because they were not considered a truthful, adequate witness? They’re telling the truth.
Little things like, John ran ahead of Peter and got to the tomb first and waited. John was younger, Peter was older.
Each of the Gospels tells of JESUS’ trial before the High Priest. One Gospel says: they smote Him on the face and said – prophesize. Another says: they smote Him on the face and said – prophesize, thou Messiah. You have to go to a third to read: they first blind-folded Him; then smote Him on the face and said – prophesize who hit you. That’s why cops separate witnesses. Out of the different piece meals – you’re going to get a common thread of truth.
These people, if they were conniving - and a generation later, someone would accuse them of making up a lie - they would have protected themselves against such a thing as having JESUS referring to Himself as the Son of Man that presupposes the knowledge of Old Testament scripture. Again and again, there is intrinsic evidence.
They pierced Him; out came blood and water. They weren’t yet sophisticated enough to know about the separation of blood – to them blood and water came out. Why not just say blood? They told the truth.
. (3) Price Paid
Bartholomew was skinned alive with a whip – a persecution with a message - flayed to death in Armenia. Andrew crucified on a St. Andrew’s cross. Peter crucified upside down. Thomas pierced with a sword in India. Luke hanged by idolatrous priests in Greece. Mark dragged to death in the streets of Alexandria. And … Paul … on the Jews, received five times 40 stripes save one; beat with rods, stoned day and night and on and on with a record of his persecution. All of these save John, died a horrible martyrs’ death. You don’t pay that kind of a price for a lie!
Why did GOD make JESUS’ disciples martyrs?
… so we would know that they were telling the truth …
. (4) Died Alone
You don’t pay that kind of a price for a lie, particularly if you’re dying alone! I find it hard to believe that someone would concoct such a story – with no TV; no wire service; no telegrams; no CNN – I don’t even know if I write you a letter that I can get it you and we may never see each other again. Scenario ….
A few years ago we concocted this story – we bet on this wrong horse and He died a cursed criminal. To save face, we concocted this story. I can believe this if all of the disciples were always together – but they’re not – we’re scattered. Neither one of us wants to let the others down and break the faith; we’ve got to support the story. But scattered we are, I’m alone here in Armenia – none of you others don’t even know where I’m at. They’re beating me to death – flaying me to death with a whip and all I’ve got to say is – whoa, Lord Caesar, I’m a liar. What do I care? I made it all up … story tellers abound … and I get off from being flogged. We meet up later and I say … they tried to get me to renounce the story but, man, I stuck to it. I didn’t break the faith. I didn’t let us down.
How are you going to know, since I’m a liar? The issue is liar or honest. I don’t expect us to be telling some divine, canonized story; we’re trying to save face. I’m over here in Armenia and my skin is coming off; … Hey … you catch the next boat out and tell the others how you stuck to the story. Same goes for all the other disciples. This is psychologically impossible.
Nineteen-hundred years plus later, you cannot find the slightest evidence anywhere that any one of these story tellers reneged on their story. All dying alone for a lie – inconceivable! They believed their story – they believed in what they were saying and they were telling the truth. There is not any other explanation.
He came out of that grave. And if that’s true, I don’t need any other definition of GOD. He is the center of the religious universe; He is the source of authority. It was His use of the Old Testament that made me drench myself in it. He did ransom me; He did pay the price for my sins.
He is alive today as my seat of mercy
… and as I trust in GOD’s promise, I no longer have to be perfect. He puts the Perfector in me as I keep the connection of trust and faith in Him.
Ark of the Covenant
I want to summarize some incredible info provided on a video by Ron Wyatt (Christian Biblical-Archeologist extraordinaire). But first … Mr. Wyatt gave an outstanding introduction that I believe sets the scene for what follows.
GOD has preserved and is now presenting evidences of all of the major events that are mentioned in the Bible. Satan, in anticipation of what GOD was about to do has raised up stories about the Ark of the Covenant being in Ethiopia, about Noah’s Ark being on Mt. Ararat … Satan has brought all kinds of stories out to try to muddy the water and confuse the issues about these important things. GOD says: My words will not return to me void but will accomplish the thing where unto it was sent.
We live on a planet that has nearly seven-billion people. Many of these folk have been raised Hindu and Buddhist; they believe that their god is a piece of stone or a cobra, a deadly snake. Folks, if you and I had been born and raised there, we would believe the same thing.
So let’s not fool ourselves. Christ died for these people; GOD loves them. GOD has preserved Biblical things and is now showing them so that everyone can see. The Bible tells us that we should be able to give reason for the hope that is within us to them that asks. So anyway, GOD is providing these things that you will see here.
There are folk that tell people that if the Bible says so, you have to believe it is so. Well, there are over 600 Protestant denominations in America and all of these denominations have a different opinion of what the Bible says. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that out of 600 denominations, with 600 different opinions, that at least 599 are mistaken. And then you go into the probability whether that last one is right or not and it’s pretty slim.
The Bible says
there is not one that doest good and it says that our righteousness is like filthy rags.
So folks, when we have one of our best days, we still fall short of what GOD would like us to be. We are all in need of GOD’s cleansing and rehabilitation. We’re living on a planet so polluted with sin that we have become accustomed to it;
and many of the things we don’t think anything about, GOD cannot and will not tolerate in His eternal universe. If we read the 20th chapter of Exodus … GOD’s requirements were for us to live by His law and if we would all live by them we would have peace and happiness. That is what GOD will restore on the Earth.
Some have told me that all we need is the Ark of the Covenant; we don’t need the rest of the archeological finds. If GOD preserved them and is bringing them out now, then somebody needs them.
You and I may not but somebody does. GOD does not waste His effort. If I had been raised a Hindu or Buddhist I would need a whole lot more than I think I need now; and the fact is I probably need a whole lot more than I think I do.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CROSS?
In one of his videos, Mr. Wyatt addresses his discovery (and actual viewing) of the Ark of the Covenant. Mr. Wyatt links the Ark's earthly location to a site 20-foot below the crucifixion site of JESUS. Mr. Wyatt hypothesizes that GOD planned for JESUS' blood to flow (after being struck in the side by a centurion's spear which pierced JESUS' spleen) down through a crack in the rock at the bottom of the cross and onto the Ark's "Mercy Seat", which sits on top of the Ark. This sealed the covenant between GOD the Father and JESUS!
Briefly, GOD gave instructions to Moses at Mt. Sinai/Horeb (prior to Moses and the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years) to build a “sacred” Ark to house His Commandments and to be a place for GOD Himself to manifest His presence. The Ark was so sacred that anyone (other than Moses or the High Priest) touching or looking into it would be smoked! The Ark was where GOD met with the high priest once a year (Day of Atonement - Sept. 25th), when the Israelite’s sins were forgiven (transferred to a goat – scapegoat); was sacrificed; and its blood sprinkled onto the Mercy Seat – a reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion. GOD’s presence remained with the Ark until GOD left it in 586BC, just before the Israelites went into Babylonian captivity and Solomon’s Temple was destroyed.
The Ark represents GOD’s undefiled earthly throne and was patterned after GOD’s great Throne in Heaven. The Ark originally contained the stone tablets on which GOD inscribed with His own finger His Commandments - as well as - Aaron’s staff and some manna (what is it). However, we are told when the Ark was placed in Solomon’s temple that those latter two items were no longer there, only the stone covenant (1Kings 8:9).
The Ark of the Covenant is made in two parts – a container (Ark) and a one-piece golden cover (“Mercy Seat”) which sits on top of the Ark. The Ark holds the original Ten Commandment tablets. The cover is where GOD’s presence as a cloud of smoke resides and is the place where GOD manifested His presence to Moses and the High Priests.
Supposedly the Ark of the Covenant is a duplication of that which GOD sits on in Heaven, with His laws underneath. Mr. Wyatt proposes that the Ark was secreted away to a hidden chamber in Jerusalem where it now resides, just prior to the entrance of the Babylonians into the city, about 600 years before the crucifixion of JESUS; it has not been seen or referenced to since in the Old or New Testaments.
When JESUS died, the Earth did quake and the rocks rent. The rock below the cross split and formed a crevice extending down into the hidden chamber which contained the undefiled earthly Throne of GOD - the Ark with its Mercy Seat - and sprinkled JESUS’ blood onto the Mercy Seat. What a wonderful scenario! Mr. Wyatt said that significance of this scenario really took on meaning when he actually found a crack in the bedrock at a location he believed to be the crucifixion site. He eventually found that a crack did extend from the Mercy Seat all the way up through solid rock to the location he had proposed to be the site where the crucification took place.
GOD hid the Ark and other archeological finds of events presented in the Bible from prying eyes; prevented Satan and his angels and followers from destroying it, and now He’s presenting it to the world at a time when we have the technical abilities to do it justice. GOD does everything perfectly. We all have had the frustration that the Bible is true with basically no proof. Now GOD has provided the proof. There are things GOD wants us to use. Christ made the comment …
they have Moses and the prophets, if they don’t believe them,
neither would they believe the ones sent to them from the dead.
So GOD knows exactly what He wants shown to everybody.
GOD says … he that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out ... We go to Him on our own behalf – but for an easier and more successful Christian life – ask Him to help you know, understand and be able to explain to others in a humble, caring manner everything that will be useful to help these people come to Him in the name and blood of His Son and be saved.
On the Ark of the Covenant - not to belittle all the other archeological finds – which are wonderful and GOD preserved them and they are effective in talking about the Bible .. but ..
When Christ cried again He died; the veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom; the Earth shook, the rocks were rent; the graves were opened and many of the saints arose. When He arose, they arose and went into the city and were seen by many.
When Christ’s blood fell on that Mercy Seat,
all of us were bought and paid for!
In 1John 5:7-8 … there are three that bear witness in Heaven: GOD the Father, the Word (which is Christ) and the Holy Spirit. And there are three in the Earth that bear witness: the spirit, the blood and the water. I’ve seen that blood; I’ve taken samples of it; it’s been analyzed;
The individual whose blood that fell on the Mercy Seat had an Earthly mother but
no earthly father.
Some of you are aware of genetics. In the normal conception, the mother provides 23 chromosomes – these are all X-chromosomes; the father also provides 23 chromosomes – there has to be one Y-chromosome from the father to produce a male child. In the blood sample tested (believed to be Christ’s), there 23 X-chromosomes (from the female) and only one Y-chromosome.
There was not a human father!
Satan is hard at work to do away with what GOD has done for us. However, GOD has provided positive proof of what He did; and for those that love the truth, He will get the truth to each one of us. There’s a statement in Daniel 9:24-5 … and anoint the most holy. If you look this up in the Hebrew lexicon, you will find it’s the same word used for the most holy place in the earthly sanctuary in Solomon’s Temple – but - the only anointing that has real meaning is
the blood of Christ
and that He did. It’s history.
AMEN . .
… sounds a whole lot like a Batman and Robin movie already …
BACK-TO-BACK SABBATHS AND A HEADLESS MUMMY
THE WEEK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
13.7billion (or is it 6000) years in the making
Sounds like a batman movie – maybe – but read on ye of little faith and see how these topics map into a real resurrection of one’s spirit. On a recent TV show, Hal Lindsey did a wonderful job summarizing events leading up to JESUS’ Resurrection. Here I want to give Mr. Lindsey’s proposed ideas which address concerns that have bothered me for years – like:
there doesn’t seem to be the three-day/three-night scenario called for;
linen strips vs a burial cloth (shroud) supposedly used to bury JESUS;
what did John see in the tomb that made him believe JESUS did indeed resurrect; and
why was the stone in front of the tomb rolled back in the middle of the night; etc.
We celebrate the Resurrection of JESUS Christ and the Passover in the same week. Strangely enough these two events are in separately related. The Week that Changed the World took place at that time – the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits, Palm Sunday and the crucifixion/resurrection set forth the whole scenario for that pivotal week in human history.
In Exodus, chapter 12 we find the institution of the Feast of Passover. It said:
Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you”.
This month is called Aviv (Nisan) and corresponds to the end of March through the beginning of April on our calendar.
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: “On the tenth of this month (Aviv) they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their father’s household, a lamb for each household. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, and then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.”
Now think about this for a moment – they were to take a lamb, a lamb without blemish and then they were to take it with them into the house and observe it for four days, till the 14th day. Now that means that this lamb became a real object lesson to the children as well as the adults because the little lamb became like a pet to the children; they learned to love the precious little lamb and then they had to kill it in order to deliver them from death. This was intended to be a great object lesson.
Moreover they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the house in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs …
By applying the blood to the door and looking at Exodus 12, it’s very specific on how they were to apply the blood to the door. It says:
You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin (bottom trench of doorway), and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his household until morning.
Now stand in the doorway and pretend you have this basin of blood and a bunch of hyssop; you dip the hyssop in the basin and start to cover the doorway – first to the lintel (the top of the doorway), then to one side doorpost and then to the other doorpost. What have I just done? I made the sign of the cross. That was part of their routine for centuries. Now this was called the Passover because GOD’s angel of death said that whenever I see the blood on the door, I will pass over you and no death shall enter into your house; for in Egypt, death shall come to the first born that did not have the blood on the door.
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread …
This is the institution of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
… but on the first day, you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.
This is more specifically defined in Leviticus 23:
The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations’ – My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings”.
That is the institution of the weekly Sabbath. He then goes on to say:
These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the appointed time for them. In the first month (the month of Aviv), on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day (15th of the month) you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.
In other words, on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath, no matter which day it falls on, it’s a Sabbath. Now let’s apply these things to the week that JESUS acted out the fulfillment of these things in a way that changed the course of history.
PASSOVER in JERUSALEM
A little-known fact about the Passover that is not given much attention is the place where the Passover Feast is to occur; the Passover Feast was changed by GOD from the home, wherever the Israelites were, to specifically to only homes that are in Jerusalem.
You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the LORD your GOD is giving you; but at the place where the LORD your GOD chooses to establish His name; you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, the time you came out of Egypt.
Where did He put his name – Jerusalem! That’s why in the times of Paul, the Apostle, they strove so hard to get to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
Now let’s look at the week JESUS fulfilled the Feast of the Passover. The parameters are very important here because this is going to upset a tradition that is very popular - but is very wrong – called Good Friday. It couldn’t have been Good Friday; it had to be Good Thursday! Now here’s why. JESUS said in Matthew:
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to JESUS, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “an evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
This corresponds exactly with a time schedule that Passover Feast week sets up for these events that were celebrated by Israel for centuries, unwittingly. All this would be a type of scenario of what would follow when JESUS the Messiah came. Alright, let’s go on to the week that JESUS was there, the 10th of Aviv. Now what happened on the 10th of Aviv – they were to select a lamb without blemish as the one who would be sacrificed for the deliverance of the people. The 10th of Aviv fell on Palm Sunday that week – that was the day that JESUS according to the precise time table of Daniel Chapter 9, verses 24-27 had predicted. He came in to Jerusalem on a donkey and for the first time presented Himself publicly as the Messiah and the heir apparent to the throne of David. Now, this was the same time GOD was selecting His Passover lamb for the world.
Four days later during the Feast of Passover week the lamb was to be put to death – that was the Passover day, the 14th of Aviv (also Day of Preparation), which was the Jewish Thursday of that week - the Jewish Thursday began at sundown Wednesday according to the Jewish time table and corresponds to our Wednesday evening; that was the evening that JESUS sat down with His disciples and celebrated the Last Supper. Later that evening JESUS went to the Mount of Olives and was taken prisoner and tried – actually JESUS went through six trials in all through that night before being sentenced to be crucified in the morning. JESUS’ execution started at 9am and at 3pm He died.
JESUS screamed out:
“Paid in Full”
The lamb of GOD has paid in full for the sins of the world; He then bowed His head and said:
Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit
and died of His own will.
After His death, two members of the ruling Israel Sanhedrin, who had become believers, begged for the body of JESUS; Pilate granted them the body - somewhere between 3pm and sundown. They prepared JESUS’ body for burial. It tells us in John 9:38 exactly how they prepared His body for burial. According to Jewish customs which they got from Egypt, they used approximately 2” strips of linen with about 100lbs of myrrh and aloe to coat these linen wrappings; they wrapped each limb individually, His torso, everything except the head and coated them completely with myrrh and sprinkled with aloe. Myrrh was an aromatic, very pungent spice that had the consistency of shellac; aloe was a powder that they sprinkled on afterwards. Remember, myrrh was just like shellac – it dried very hard and held the bandages like a mummy.
They put Him in the tomb before sundown, which was still the Jewish Thursday. Now as the 15th of Aviv began, which was sundown on our Thursday (start of the Jewish Friday), they celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread and of course the day before, the Passover day was called the Day of Preparation. They had to remove all the leaven from their house. And … the Feast of Unleavened Bread commands in Leviticus 23:
… on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.
Now what is that? – It’s a Sabbath. So that means that on sundown on Thursday, which became Friday, they had a Sabbath. And what does this mean … it means there was a Sabbath on Friday followed by a Sabbath on Saturday, back to back. Now why is this important?
JESUS had to be buried on a day just before a Sabbath. If JESUS was crucified on Friday, He could have never stayed within the parameters JESUS Himself laid down for how many days He was to be in the grave. Since there were back-to-back Sabbaths, JESUS could have been buried on the day prior to the first Sabbath and this would have allowed the right amount of time for JESUS to be in the earth for three days and three nights. You see, the Passover day was the first day – the day He died and was put into the tomb; then on the 15th of Aviv, which was Friday, was the second day He was in the tomb, which was a Sabbath; then there was the regular Sabbath on Saturday … that was the third day He was in the tomb, until the sundown of Saturday … so that would have been the third day and night. Sometime after sundown, in the middle of the night, JESUS was raised from the dead. Now what feast was that?
On the 17th of that week was the Feast of First Fruits. This was the feast that celebrate that there was going to be a true harvest … in which … they offered the first fruits to the LORD. This is a picture the JESUS, who was to be the First Fruit of humanity; who would be raised from the dead bodily and translated into a new eternal mortal body. How beautiful are all of the feasts that Israel celebrates. There were seven of them, but these spelled out here are some of the more important in this time table.
Now, I want to apply the significance of the Resurrection, which is the highlight of this week, the week that changed the world. I’m going to focus on one really important evidences of the Resurrection, called the undisturbed grave cloth.
UNDISTURBED GRAVE CLOTH
There’s an incident described in John 19 and 20 that lays out one of the strangest and most powerful evidences that JESUS bodily was raised from the dead. In chapter 19, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both members of the ruling Sanhedrin, who had come to believe in JESUS, prepared JESUS’ body for the grave. They used a shroud to carry JESUS from the cross to Joseph's nearby tomb, which had a huge stone that would be rolled in place to secure the tomb. In the tomb they took the shroud off and wrapped JESUS’ body in 2"-linen bandage strips. They coated the bandages with myrrh which was like shellac; they used almost 100lbs of it with some powered sashay called aloes mixed in with it. Now we go to chapter 20 of John and we read:
Now on the first day of the week (Sunday), Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had already been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple who JESUS loved (the Apostle John, who was just a young teenager) and said to them, “They have taken away the LORD out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
… So Peter and the other disciple (John) went forth … they were going to the tomb. The two were running together, and the other disciple (John) ran ahead faster (of course, he was a teenager and could run faster) of Peter and came to the tomb first.
… Stooping down and looking in, John saw the linen wrappings lying there; but did not go in.
… Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and noticed the linen wrappings lying there and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
… So the other disciple (John) who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scriptures, that He must rise again from the dead.
The Greek language is more explicit than English – there are many more words that can be used to get across a point. The first reference to the word “to see” in verse 5 says that John stooped down looking and saw the linen wrappings and used the Greek word:
That’s the first use of the word to look. Then in verse 6, Simon Peter came and he saw, but this verse uses a different Greek word for to look
This version of “to look” gets more into theorizing – that is, Peter was questioning about what all this means but did not understand. Then in verse 8, John was doing more than just looking and looking in an questioning manner concerning the wrappings, but
Thus, John not only looked and saw but he saw with understanding what he was seeing – perceived with understanding. John looked at these linen wrappings and this time he understood what they meant ... and because of what he saw, he believed in the bodily resurrection of JESUS Christ. He did this before anyone understood the Scriptures of the Old Testament to mean that JESUS must rise again from the dead. Now the question is: What did John see that was so powerful that it convinced him a miracle had taken place – that something supernatural had taken place.
It is all answered when you look back to the former page in John 19, where it describes how the burial was prepared. The Jews had learned the idea of mummy preparation from the Egyptians when they lived there long ago. What John saw was the perfect shape of JESUS’ body, but without the body. In other words the myrrh, which is like shellac, had dried and held the bandages in the exact shape of the body of JESUS, like a cocoon – but without a body in it! The head was never wrapped – they put a beautiful embroidered cloth over the face when the body was readied for burial. So John saw a headless cocoon. He looked and saw (with understanding) that there was nothing inside the cocoon shape. It was still in the precise, exact shape of the body of JESUS. So John realized it would take a miracle to remove the body without disturbing one bandage in the linen wrappings. John put together, with a fact that a miracle had taken place, that as JESUS had predicted, came out of the tomb, bodily alive. We know later that JESUS could go through walls; his body just miraculously came right through those bandages and right through the wall of the tomb. The tomb was later opened by angels, not to let JESUS out, but to show the world He was already gone.
As a result this was not to take anything away from what happened – for the religious, Jewish and Roman authorities with a short walk to the tomb and could check out the tomb to see the evidence themselves. The book of Acts declares many came to be believers, even among the leaders of Israel. I’m sure that the wrappings are one of the main supporting evidences that there had been a Resurrection and something supernatural took place.