Here it comes...
You know, us "logical type" people (like myself) are hard to convince. We demand things like "compelling evidence", "proof", and "undeniable facts" in order to declare truth. However, to be a real "logic freak" requires that you maintain your logic-based beliefs unless some tidbit of information challenges it.
For instance, let's suppose that this is your first day on planet earth, and the time is 8:00am. If I asked you, "what color is the sky?" You would look up and most likely answer, "the sky is blue." Then if I told you that at night, the sky would be black, you would have no other choice but to have faith that the sky would be black. Several hours pass and you look up at the sky, and it is indeed black. At that moment, you know that you have proof that at night the sky is black. If there was any doubt about the color of the night sky before, then there is none now because you have seen it. What you have believed about the sky has been demonstrated and thus becomes logical proof.
I should have done this long ago. Below is a copy of a document that I found which gave me proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament.
I stumbled upon it back in the '90s (sometime between 1990-1994) while going through some of my readings, and I immediately thought to myself, "This is it! This is the logic to support my faith!" Little did I know that this was only the beginning. After reading this document, I progressively began seeing the world from a totally different perspective. Sure, I was saved (put my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior) long before reading this, but it was at the time of my reading the below document that I knew the solidity of the facts which my faith was built upon. In short, I knew that I stood on the "solid rock" of Jesus--there were no more doubts.
Read, if you will, this document and decide for yourself. Check it out, test it, try it. Don't just take it at face value. If there is anything wrong in it, then let me know. I'll be more than happy to check it out too.
Beware critics, "Bill Maher" types, hindus, muslims, those of the jewish faiths, and other beliefs...this document will test your world view.
C. Sanders, a military historian, in his, “Introduction to Research in English Literary History,” there are three tests to be used in determining the historical reliability of any document. These are: 1) the bibliographical test, 2) the internal evidence test, 3) the external evidence test. Since the New Testament is a document, among other things, then it should receive no special treatment.
The Bibliographical Test
In order to discover whether or not the New Testament has a bibliographical foundation, we must examine the following elements in the light of evidence:
· the amount of existing manuscript copies and their date of composition;
· the composition date of the original autographs;
· a comparison of the manuscripts of the New Testament with those of ancient secular history.
Before those, we must define what a “manuscript” is. According to New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger, Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, there are a total of 4,969 Greek New Testament manuscripts (“Text of the New Testament”). This, of course, does not include the 15,000+ copies of various versions such as the Syriac and Latin Translations of the New Testament (around AD 150), the Coptic versions dating from the third to the sixth century. More or less there are more than 20,000 known extant manuscripts of the New Testament.
The dates of the original autographs are (in chronological order): Pauline Epistles (AD 48-64), Mark (AD 50-70), Luke (AD 70-85), Acts (AD 70-85), Matthew (AD 80-100), and John (AD 90-110).
Most scholars believe that Acts and Luke are a part of the same document. And that the book of Acts ends abruptly without mentioning that Paul was tried and martyred by Nero in AD 64. So, they conclude that Luke and Acts were probably written before AD 64. In the opinion of William F. Albright, ;ate W.W. Spence Professor of Semitic Languages “..every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the forties and eighties of the first century AD” (William F. Albright interview in “Christianity Today,” June 18, 1963). Thus, there is very little doubt that the New Testament is a first century historical work.
Comparison of New Testament With Other Ancient Texts
Pliny the Younger (History)
Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, professor of New Testament at Princeton University writes: “…the work of many an ancient author has been preserved only in manuscripts…from the Middle Ages (sometimes the late Middle Ages), far removed from the time at which he lived and wrote. In the contrary, the time between compositions of the books of the New Testament and the earliest extant copies is relatively brief. Instead of the lapse of a millennium or more, as in the case of not a few classical authors, several papyrus manuscripts of portions of the New Testament are extant which were copied within a century or so after the composition of the original documents.”
The Internal Evidence Test
“…historical and literary scholarship continues to follow Aristotle’s dictum that the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated to the critic to himself” (John Warwick Montgomery, “History and Christianity,” pp. 29-30).
In other words, listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and don’t assume fraud or error unless the author disqualifies himself by contradictions or known inaccuracies. Take note that the authors of the entire New Testament claim time and time again that they are recording eyewitness testimony of testimony derived from equally reliable sources.
Consider the following New Testament verses:
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.” (Luke 1:1-3)
“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you of the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)
“We proclaim to you that we have seen and heard so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and the Son.” (1 John 1:3)
“The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you may also believe.” (John 19:35)
, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.” (Acts 2:22) Israel
It is of importance to know that the Gospels of Luke and John claim to have primary-source value. F.F. Bruce, former Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the
, concerning the New Testament’s primary-source value, had this to say: “The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of this first-hand testimony, and appealed to it time and time again, ‘We are witnesses of these things,’ was their constant and confident assertion. And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened..And it was not only friendly eyewitnesses that the early church had to reckon with; there were others less well disposed who were also conversant with the main facts of the ministry and death of Jesus. Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.” University of Manchester
In conclusion, the internal testimony of the New Testament is that of a document claiming to contain eyewitness testimony in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
The External Evidence Test
In this portion of the analysis, the following question is asked: “Do other historical materials confirm or deny the internal testimony provided by the documents themselves?” The following extra-biblical writings, which quote passages from the New Testament, support the evidence already presented.
“The Epistle of Psuedo-Barnabas” (c. AD 70-79) contains quotations, and makes many allusions to New Testament books. He cites and alludes to passages from Matthew, and also quotes John 6:51, Romans 4:11, and 2 Peter 3:8. It is extremely difficult to quote from nonexistent books.
“Corinthians,” by Clement of Rome (c. AD 95-97) cites passages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Titus, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and include a possible allusion to Revelation 22:12. Clement, incidentally, was called by Origen, in “De Principus” (Book II, Chapter 3), a disciple of the apostles (eyewitnesses). Interestingly enough, Clement, who received instruction from the apostles themselves, was thoroughly orthodox in his theology. Therefore, in the case of Clement, his supernatural depiction of Jesus can’t be easily explained away assuming it to be a product of oral tradition or legend.
“The Seven Epistles of Ignatius” (c. AD 110-117) contain quotations from Matthew, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Galatians, Colossians, James, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and 1 Peter. Both Ignatius and Clement, who were disciples of the apostles (eyewitnesses), validate the theology contained within the New Testament as being the theology of the Church. For example, Ignatius affirms the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus. Clement substantiates the apostles’ belief in the resurrection of all believers. Both these men, being personal acquaintances of the eyewitnesses, successfully demonstrate the primary-source value of the New Testament.
Papias, bishop of Hierapolis (c. AD 130) wrote the following information he received from the Presbyter (Apostle John): “When Mark became the interpreter of Peter, he wrote down accurately whatever he remembered , though not in order, of the words and deeds of the Lord...Mark, then, made no mistake, but wrote down as he remembered them; and he made it his concern to omit nothing that he had heard nor to falsify anything therein…Matthew, indeed, composed sayings in the Hebrew language; and each one interpreted them to the best of his ability.”
Irenaeus, bishop of
Lyons, wrote: “Matthew issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke, also the companion of Paul, set down in the book a Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord who reclined at his bosom, also published a Gospel, while he was residing in Rome Ephesus in Asia.”
Irenaeus’ testimony is extremely valuable because he had studied under Polycarp, bishop of
. Polycarp who was martyred in AD 156, having been a Christian for 86 years, was a disciple of the Apostle John and “always taught what he learned from the apostles” (Irenaeus, “Against Heretics,” in “Early Father,” p. 90). In reference to his relationship with Polycarp, Ireneaus writes: “I remember the events of those days better than the ones of recent years…I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat and discoursed…and how he spoke of his familiar conversations with John and with the rest of those who has seen the Lord, and how he could recall their words to mind. All that he had heard from the concerning the Lord or about His miracles and about his teachings, having received it from eyewitnesses of the Word of Life, Polycarp related in harmony with the Scriptures.” Smyrna
The external sources of Pseudo-Barnabas, Clement, Ignatius, Papias, Polycarp, and Ireneaus validate the first century dating, the primary-source value, and the supernatural Jesus of the New Testament. External confirmation of the New Testament’s internal testimony, and the historical existence of Jesus, is supplied by the following non-Christian sources also.
“Cornelius Tacitus,” a Roman historian, in AD 112, wrote of the existence of Roman Christians and of the death of Jesus Christ. He also wrote that Jesus was put to death by Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius (Annals XV.44). In a fragment of his “Histories” (Chron.ii.30.6) dealing with the AD 70 burning of the Jerusalem temple, Tacitus makes reference to Christianity in his writing about the fire in Rome in 64 AD: “But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiation’s of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from who the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a deadly superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world meet and become popular.”
Also, the secular record above agrees with the New Testament perfectly (i.e.: Christ’s ministry occurred during the reign of Tiberius; Christ was put to death under a Procurator, Pilate; Christ was killed by crucifixion; Christ was killed in Judaea; the movement spread from
Jerusalem to ). Rome
“Lucian of Samosta,” a second century satirist, spoke only scornful words concerning Jesus and the early Christians. He wrote that the early Christians repudiated polytheism and worshiped Jesus like a god. He also states that Jesus was crucified in
(“The Passing of Peregrinus”). Palestine
“Flavius Josephus,” a Jewish historian of the early second century, makes reference to both Christ and the early Christians, and that Christ’s disciples believed their Master had risen from the dead. He also wrote that Jesus was crucified under Pilate, and that His ministry, filled with many wonderful works, both Gentile and Jewish followers (Antiquities 28.33). Josephus writes: “About that time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
Josephus also writes: “…[Annas] convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called “the Christ,” and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned…”
“Suetonius,” a Roman historian, in AD 120, describes the expelling of Christians from
and Nero’s persecution of the early church (“Life of the Caesars,” 26.2). Rome
“Thallus,” a Samaritan-born historian, wrote in AD 52 that the darkness which fell upon the land during Christ’s crucifixion required a naturalistic explanation (a solar eclipse) and was well-known (from the third book of his “Histories,” as cited by Julius Africanus, who argues vigorously against Thallus’ interpretation). It is important to note that neither Thallus nor Julius Africanus debates that the event occurred as many critics do today. There was no question that the sky became dark when Jesus was crucified as far as Thallus and Julius Africanus were concerned. Rather, they debate how the event occurred.
“Phlegon,” a first century historian, also confirms Thallus’ affirmation about the darkness which fell upon the land. Phlegon places this during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Thus, confirming Luke’s account (Luke 3:1). This is found in “Chronicles,” as cited by Julius Africanus, who cited Phlegon as evidence against Thallus. He is also cited in Origen’s “Contra Celsum,” Book 2, sections 14, 33, 59; and in Philopon’s “De. Opif. Mund. II 21,” concerning the darkness.
In an AD 73 letter (preserved in the British Museum), written by a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapian to his son Serpion, Christ’s death is mentioned along with the deaths of Socrates and Pythagores.
Justin Martyr, in his “Defense of Christianity” which he wrote to Emperor Antonius Pius, refers the emperor to Pilate’s report, which Justin supposed was preserved in the imperial archives. In his “Defense,” he cites the “Acts of Pontius Pilate” which according to Justin, records a description of the crucifixion and, in addition, records some of Christ’s miracles (Apology 1.48).
“Pliny the Younger” (c. AD 112) wrote an epistle in which he stated that he has killed many Christians while he was Governor of Bithynia, and that Christ was worshiped as a god by his disciples. He also wrote that Christians had a habit of meeting once a week in order to sing hymns to their Lord (Epistles X.96).
In addition, the Jewish Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a, “Eve of Passover”; and Yeb. IV 3; 49a) acknowledge Christ’s existence, but do not look favorably upon His ministry. They attribute His miracles to Satan, His birth to adultery, and acknowledge that he was crucified on the eve of Passover. The Jewish scholars, who would have been more than happy to show that Jesus was a myth, if it were possible, did not believe such an option existed (See Joseph Klausner, “Jesus of Nazareth” New York: Macmillan, 1925, pp. 23-28. Klausner, a Jewish scholar, document many citations from the Talmud” that verify Christ’s historicity.).
The just mentioned non-Christian sources confirm the following internal testimony of the New Testament:
· Jesus was worshiped as God.
· Jesus performed miracles (though attributed to nontheistic sources)
· The disciples of Christ believed that He had risen from the dead.
· Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate in
at the time of Passover. Palestine
· The sun was darkened on the day of Christ’s crucifixion.
· The early Christians repudiated polytheism.
· Roman rulers, including Nero, persecuted Christians.
· The Jewish religious establishment accused Christ of sorcery and of being a bastard.
· Jesus’ ministry occurred under the siege of Tiberius Caesar
· Christ attracted both Jews and Gentiles.
New Testament historicity is also confirmed by archaeological findings. Because of the abundance of evidence, we will deal with only four specific discoveries that confirm the New Testament’s internal testimony.
“The Pavement.” According to John 19:13, Jesus was tried by Pilate at a place known as the Pavement. For centuries there had been no record of this place. Fortunately, the Pavement has been recently discovered. Thus, confirming the accuracy of John (William F. Albright, “The Archaeology of Palestine,” rev. ed. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Pelican Books, 1960, p. 141).
“The Pool of Bathseda,” which was recorded in no other document except the New Testament, can now be identified with a fair measure of certainty (F.F. Bruce, “Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament,” in “Revelation and the Bible,” ed. Carl F.H. Henry, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1969, p.329).
“The Census” as described in Luke 2:1-3, not recorded outside the New Testament was assumed to never have occurred. In addition, there was no evidence that Quirinius was governor or that everyone had to return to his or her ancestral home. Fortunately, archaeological discoveries show that the Romans held a census every 14 years. They began with Augustus in 23-22 BC, or 9-8 BC. The one to which Luke refers would be the latter. Evidence has also been unearthed which verifies that Quirinius was governor of
around 7 BC. A papyrus found in Syria gives directions for how the census was to be conducted. The procedure concurs with the Lucian account of everyone having to return to their ancestral home (John Elder, “Prophets, Idols, and Diggers,” New York: Bobba-Merrill, 1960, pp. 159-160; and Joseph Free, “Archaeology and Bible History,” Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, p. 285). Egypt
In Acts 14:6, Luke writes that Lystra and Derbe was in Lycaonia and Iconium was not. This, however, is contradicted by the Roman historian Cicero, who indicated that Iconium was in Lycaonia. To the credit of the New Testament, Sir William Ramsey, in 1910, discovered a monument that showed Iconium to be a Phyrgian city. This is also confirmed by later discoveries (Joseph Free, “Archaeology and Bible History,” Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, p. 317).
It is obvious, from the examination of external sources (extra-biblical writing and archaeological discoveries), that the internal testimony of New Testament in historically reliable.
Although we have established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the New Testament is a historically reliable document, most people will reject the testimony of the documents solely because it records “miraculous” events. Rejections of such are based on the assumption that miracles can never happen. But we can know that miracles have never happened if we have evidence that they have never occurred. If a person assumes that miracles are impossible from the outset, then no evidence will be convincing. But such a state of mind is closed-minded and unbecoming of any self-respected skeptic. C.S. Lewis, late Professor of Midieval and Renaissance Literature at
, in response to a skeptical philosopher David Hume, reveals the fallacy of this anti-miraculous thinking: Cambridge University
“Now of course, we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely ‘uniform experience’ against miracles, if in other words they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately, we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all the reports of them are false. And we can know all the reports if them to be false only if we know already that miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.” (C.S. Lewis, “Miracles,” New York: Macmillan, 1947, p. 105.)
So, the question that needs to be asked is not “Can miracles occur?” But rather: “Have miracles occurred?” Since we have demonstrated that the New Testament is a reliable, primary-source recording of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of
-a life loaded with miracles-miracles did in fact occur. There is also abundant, reliable evidence available for miracles occurring today. If, of course, one believes that the disciples of Jesus all got together and concocted the whole thing, then one is left with a great psychological absurdity; eleven out of twelve men (John died of natural causes) allowed themselves to be martyred for what they knew from the outset was a colossal lie. Having left everything considered precious in the worlds eyes-family, social stability, loved ones, religious security-in order to preach that a Jewish carpenter (who they knew was dead) had been resurrected and was now sitting at the right hand of God, these men willingly let others put them to death. Having ample time to recant, they did not. Though it may be argued that many have died for a lie, it is always a lie that is believed to be the truth. However, this is not the case with the disciples of Christ. These men had personal access to His life and knew whether or not their message was true. It takes an enormous amount of faith to believe the psychological absurdity that they concocted the whole thing, and then went out and died for it. Nazareth
In addition, it is equally absurd to believe that the disciples were somehow deceived into believing the reality of the resurrection and the miracles of Christ’s ministry. Norman L. Geisler, a professor of systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, in reference to this objection, writes the following: “These charges have been made but must be ruled out by the known facts of the case. Mass hallucination or delusion is eliminated by several factors. First, there was the inclination to disbelieve the reports of the resurrection. Hallucination is a phenomenon which occurs when people are already inclined to believe in something. Second, the apostles and eyewitness were persons who had known Jesus intimately for years. Recognition was no real problem. Third, there were numerous and independent occasions of long duration, involving conversation and verification by various groups of people, that rule out any possibility of psychological deception. Fourth, mass delusion is ruled out by the numerous independent occasions when one, two, seven, ten, and eleven persons had the same experience that the five hundred had…the number and repetition of these miracles rule out any possibility of delusion.
Since, then, there is no evidence for either individual or collective delusion or hallucination of the eyewitnesses it is necessary to conclude that they were not only honest but also sane witnesses of the event of which they spoke.” (Norman L. Geisler and Willian Nix, “A General Introduction to the Bible,” Chicago: Moody Press, 1968, p. 316.)
Jesus: Deceiver, Deranged, or Deity?
God reveals himself to Moses in the Old Testament:
“And God said unto Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM:’ and He said, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of
I AM hath sent me unto you.’” (Exodus 3:14) Israel
The New Testament teaches that Jesus is this same God: “Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)
Since we have demonstrated that there is no reason to believe that His disciples knowingly lied about His claims, we only have three choices concerning His character: 1) He was a deceiver-He intentionally and knowingly lied about His nature. Therefore he was not a good man; 2) He was deranged-He sincerely believed himself to be God, but was not; 3) He was Deity-He was who He said He was, and should be worshiped. Let’s look at each possibility.
Jesus As Deceiver
The idea of Jesus as a deceiver doesn’t square well with the portrayal of His life in the New Testament. He placed a premium on honesty, love, and righteousness, and despised hypocrisy. If Jesus was a deceiver, He let himself be put to death when He could have recanted prior to His crucifixion. He obviously had ample time to do so (see Matthew 26-27), but chose not to. Therefore, we can only conclude that He sincerely believed himself to be God Incarnate. If this is the case, He was either God Incarnate or mentally deranged.
Jesus As Deranged
If Jesus sincerely thought himself to be God, and was not, the conclusion cannot be avoided that He was deranged. Psychiatrists Noyes and Kolb, in their standard medical text, “Modern Clinical Psychiatry,” describe a schizophrenic person as an individual who permits himself to “retreat from the world of reality,” (“Modern Clinical Psychiatry,”
Philadelphia and : Saunders, 1958, p. 401). If Christ believed himself to be God , and was not, then He mad a significant “retreat from the world of reality,” and therefore must be judged as mentally deranged. But, in light of the profound insight of Christ’s moral and ethical precepts, and the New Testament’s picture of Christ as a well-balanced individual, can we really doubt His sanity? For this reason, skeptics have been, for the most part, unwilling to declare Christ insane. In fact, psychiatrist J.T. Fisher has written the following psychiatric appraisal of Christ’s teachings: “If you were to take the total sum of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene -if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out all the excess verbiage-if you were to take the whole of the meat, and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. And it would suffer immeasurably through comparison. For nearly two thousand years the Christian world has been holding in its hands the complete answer to its restless and fruitless yearnings. Here….rests the blueprint for successful human life with optimum mental health and contentment.” (J.T. Fisher and L.S. Hawley, “A Few Button Missing,” Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott, 1951, p. 273) London
If one still believes that Jesus was insane, we have a situation which one must believe the colossal absurdity that a completely deranged lunatic has given the human race “the blueprint for successful human life with optimum mental health.” Who, in their right mind, can accept the conclusion without sacrificing his own sense of reasonableness? As the Catholic apologist, G.K. Chesterton, has written: “No modern critic in his five wits thinks that the preacher of the Sermon on the Mount was a horrible half-witted imbecile that might be scrawling stars on the walls of a cell. No atheist or blasphemer believes that the author of the Parable of the Prodigal was a monster with one idea like a cyclops with one eye.” (G.K. Chesterton, “The Everlasting Man,” Garden City, New Jersey: Image Books, 1955, pp. 201-202)
Jesus As Deity
Since He was not a deceiver or deranged, only one option is left: Jesus was who He said He was, namely, God.
The Resurrection Verified
From the abundance of all the historical evidence, we believe that we have sufficiently demonstrated the reliability of the New Testament, and have verified the resurrection of Jesus. In light of this, the following quote is most appropriate: “Out of the first century AD, when the Resurrection, if untrue, could have been easily by anyone who took the trouble to talk with those who had been present in Jerusalem during the Passover week of 33, no contrary evidence has come; instead, during the century the number of conversions to Christianity increased by geometric progression, the influence of the Gospel story spreading out like a gigantic web. If Christ did not rise as He promised, how can we explain this lack of negative evidence and number of conversions? Furthermore, if the body of the crucified Jesus naturally left the tomb, how did He leave? Not by its own accord, for Jesus was unquestionably dead. Not through the efforts of the Jewish religious leaders or the Romans, for they placed a guard at the tomb for the express purpose of keeping the body there. Not Jesus’ followers, for to perform such an act would have been to deny the principles of truth upon which their latter lives were predicated and which they preached until killed for their own convictions.” (John Warwick Montgomery, “The Quest For Absolutes: An Historical Argument,” unpublished mimeograph, p. 7)
It is truly amazing that even the works of antiquity do not even begin to approach the reliability of the New Testament, people continue to reject the truth of the resurrection. The rejection is not supported by evidence, but runs contrary to it.
The Inescapable Truth
The following is an outline of what our study has covered:
Jesus claimed to have defeated death in history.
Historical verification operates on the principal of probability. This is not a disadvantage, because this is a contingent universe, the certainty of synthetic statements (statement about the world) religious or otherwise, can never rise to 100% proof.
In the New Testament, which contains the account of Jesus’ resurrection, can be shown to be historically reliable, then Christ’s resurrection can be verified.
According to three tests *bibliographical, internal, and external) of examining the historicity of any document, the New Testament is historically reliable. In addition, to dispense with the New Testament because it contains miracles, as Lewis has observed, is to reason in a circle. Claiming that the disciples (eyewitnesses) made the whole thing up is to ignore the fact that eleven out of twelve of them signed their testimony in blood. And due to their personal access to the event of Christ’s ministry, it is equally absurd to believe that they were somehow deceived.
Therefore, Jesus rose from the dead.
From these conclusions, the following are deduced:
Jesus, throughout the Gospels, claimed to be God, He also claimed that His resurrection would verify His Deity.
Jesus rose from the dead, and He is therefore God.
Concerning Christ’s character, we only have three choices: deceiver, deranged, or deity. We have concluded that He could only be deity.
Thus we have an excellent reason to put our faith in Jesus Christ. Through a commitment of Christ (putting our faith in Him), the gap between the high probability of the resurrection and the desire for inward certainty is able to be bridged. As Francis Schaeffer once put it: “It should be added in conclusion that the Christian, after he is a Christian, has years of experimental evidence to be added to all the above reasons…”
Unlike other religious options, Christianity is not an irrational leap into the darkness of the unverifiable, but rather, a rational and reasoned leap into the light.
And finally, for those who still cling to the popular fallacy that all religions lead to God, and that there are no criteria to judge the truth or falsity of any religion, please accept the following poetic excerpt as a gentle rebuke:
“’All roads lead to God,’
I’ve heard so many say
But when they get to Jonestown
They beg to look the other way”
What you are about to read now is even more revelating and important than what you’ve already read. It is personal evidence that Jesus is God and ruler over all creation.
First of all, you must realize that God separated himself from man because of sin. Sin is an abomination in the eyes of God. Also, it is helpful to understand this parallel-that when light shines darkness flees. So, when Jesus (the Light) is in your heart, then Satan and his demons (darkness) flee. You must also realize that you are worthy of death and hell for your sins.
In this passage of scripture, we see that David is leading his men into a heated battle with the Philistines. Look what happens and what is said: “And David longed, and said, ‘Oh that one would give me drink of water of the well of
, that is at the gate.’ And the three broke through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, and poured it out to the Lord, and said, ‘My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it.’ Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.” (1 Chronicles 11:19) Bethlehem
Is not salvation the blood of Jesus who put himself in jeopardy for all of us?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“If we confess our sins, then He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
But just knowing what you must do in order to be saved from damnation is not enough to save anyone. Only Jesus can save. So, you must come before God in prayer and confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. There is no particular prayer or “magic” words to say to God, but here is a sample prayer that you may pray as you read:
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord of the Universe, I know that you created all things. I also know that by my sin you were separated from me. My sin is a detestable thing., and I know that I am worthy of death and hell. I humbly ask you, Lord, to have mercy on my soul and forgive me of these sins which I have committed against you-where I have rebelled against you and failed you. I know that Jesus bought me with His blood when He died on the cross for me. Please have mercy on me and let His death be the payment for my sins, God. I also know that Jesus rose again on the third day after His death by conquering death, hell, and the grave. And now my Lord Jesus sits at your right hand making intercessions for his people. Have mercy on me, Lord.. Thank-you, Lord, for saving me. I pray that you will use me, your servant, to glorify and serve you, teach, serve, and lead others to Christ, and lastly to care for myself so that I might bear the fruit of the Spirit to please you, God. May your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, my Lord. By Jesus Christ I pray these things and for His sake, amen.
You are a child of the Lord! Jesus has entered your heart and claimed your salvation! The kingdom of heaven is within you!
I am so happy that you have made this choice and all of Heaven is now rejoicing your salvation.
Now, it is my recommendation that you begin reading the Bible (the greatest textbook ever written!) everyday. If you don’t have one, go buy one, or go to a church house and ask for one-any church worth its salt will give you a bible if you ask. Also, go to church whenever you can and have fellowship with the other saints. Because the church is the body of Christ! If you don’t go to church, then find a church which preaches the Bible as the inspired living Word of God, After visiting churches, then consider baptism (which we are commanded to do) and become a member.
Again, I congratulate you on the victory which you allowed Jesus to win through you! Now, I challenge you to be a soul winner! Lead others to Christ like you’ve been led. You are truly BORN AGAIN!