Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Risen: The Opening Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

 The Assured Resurrection of Jesus

by Mike Robinson 
movie risen book resurrection
Jesus is risen - numerous people witnessed his resurrection

The ‘Resurrection’ to which they bore witness was, in fact, not the action of rising from the dead but the state of having risen (C.S. Lewis).

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).

He observed that it was not possible for the apostles “to continue to reaffirm the truth time after time, if in fact Jesus wasn’t resurrected from the dead” (Simon Greenleaf, onetime skeptic; Law School professor at Harvard: wrote the long-used text book for ascertaining legal evidence).

Selected facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1. Numerous eyewitnesses testified under the threat of death that they saw the risen Jesus, including around 500 people at one time (see 1Corinthians 15).

“To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

2. All the apostles, except John, died a horrible death knowing they observed Jesus whilst alive from the dead. Hundreds more died because they would not recant the fact that they had seen the risen Jesus. Not one apostle recanted to save himself from a torturous death.

3. The resurrection was proclaimed in the city of Jerusalem where the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection took place. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, his enemies only had to produce his body and this new religion that they hated would be terminated before it even started.

4. The conversion of the opponents of Christianity, including many Jewish Priests and Pharisees (Acts 6:7, 15:5, 20:21), can best be explained by the resurrection of Christ. The risen Jesus converted many of those who executed Him because of the overwhelming evidence of His resurrection and His many varied appearances.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee’” (Luke 24:1-6).

5. Ancient hostile sources and extra-biblical writers record the matching facts of Christ’s death and the empty tomb including Josephus in his Testimonium Flavianum recorded below: 

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

6. The continuous defense of the resurrection in front of Roman government officials from Paul to Tertullian was left unchallenged by Rome and all ancient historians. No plausible explanation, other than the resurrection, existed or the precise government records could have been employed to refute and subsequently disregard the Christian claims.

7. Jesus’ tomb was secured and guarded by well-trained Jewish and Roman guards. The tomb had a Roman seal to prevent any tampering, with the threat of execution looming for anyone found breaking the seal, yet the tomb was empty. Every ancient historical source that discusses the subject verifies that the tomb was empty.

Gary Habermas concerning the uniqueness of Christ: “The reports of Buddha and Krishna come hundreds of years afterward [after the resurrection of Christ]. No other major religious founder in ancient times was ever crucified. Further, it cannot be demonstrated that there is even a single pagan resurrection account prior to Jesus, whether mythological or historical.”

The only logical explanation for these historical events that can be given is that God resurrected Jesus (George Eldon).

Josh McDowell noted the “Professor Thomas Arnold, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: ‘I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.’ Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar, said: ‘raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it. "

The Real Battle

Moreover, the real analytical fight is between presuppositions.[1] The Christian presupposes God who raised Christ from the dead and provides all the required preconditions for the laws of logic. These laws allow one to investigate anything, including the resurrection. Atheism is absent an accounting of such a priori truth conditions.

God has never left himself without a witness to men. He witnessed to them through every fact of the universe from the beginning of time. No rational creature can escape this witness. It is the witness of the triune God whose face is before men everywhere and all the time. Even the lost in the hereafter cannot escape the revelation of God. God made man a rational-moral creature. He will always be that. As such he is confronted with God. He is addressed by God. He exists in the relationship of covenant interaction. He is a covenant being. To not know God man would have to destroy himself. He cannot do this. There is no non-being into which man can slip in order to escape God’s face and voice. The mountains will not cover him; Hades will not hide him. Nothing can prevent his being confronted “with him with whom we have to do.” Whenever he sees himself, he sees himself confronted with God (Van Til).

It makes more sense for people to believe first century Jewish eyewitnesses than twenty-first century occidental skeptics. Matthew wrote the following, as a witness, two decades after the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you” (Matthew 28:5-7 - Peter Thiede).

for more see my new book Risen: The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus HERE


1. One cannot have the analysis of evidence without God. The God of the Bible is the precondition for the examination of evidence. Analysis uses induction, empirical testing, the laws of logic, and morality. One cannot account for any of those dynamics without God and His revelation. In a moment of honesty, renowned philosopher W.V. Quine, granted: “The collapse of empiricism (truth is found through man’s senses) would admit extra input ... by revelation.” Considering that empiricism is self-refuting (one cannot measure by seeing or hearing the definition of empiricism, so it collapses under its own load) it must concede truth claims to revelation by God and the general application of its precepts. Frame notes, “It is the responsibility of the Christian to regard God’s word as absolutely certain, and to make that word the criterion of all other sources of knowledge. Our certainty of the truth of God comes ultimately, not through rational demonstration or empirical verification, useful as these may often be, but from the authority of God’s own word. God’s word does testify to itself, often, by means of human testimony and historical evidence: the ‘proofs’ of Acts 1:3, the centurion’s witness in Luke 23:47, the many witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Cor. 15:1-11. But we should never forget that these evidences come to us with God’s own authority. In 1 Cor. 15, Paul asks the church to believe the evidence because it is part of the authoritative apostolic preaching.”

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