The Historical Evidence for Jesus – Program 2

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Did Jesus Consider Himself God?

Was Jesus human and divine? Dr. Habermas discusses the many ways Jesus referred to Himself as equal to God in the New Testament.



today on the johnny Kernberg show what is the main reason for the fact that the early christians believed Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today and could give you eternal life when you die. It was because after he was dead and buried, they actually saw jesus alive, touched him and talked with him. They didn’t believe on jesus just because he said he was the son of God, but because they saw him alive after he was crucified. This proof to them that his teachings were true. For example, if you’re a university student and I told your dad just had a heart attack and died, you’d rush home and a few days later go to his funeral after the funeral. What if one day you are shopping at walmart and turn to the next aisle and suddenly you see your dad standing there in your amazement, You say dad and he turns around and says, how are you doing, son? You go over and shake his hand and give him a hug. Three of your friends who attended the funeral also see your dad standing there and come over and shake his hand and talk to him. In fact 15 other people who were at the funeral also meet you and your dad at walmart. What would you all conclude you would believe that somehow your dad who had died is now alive. Why? Because you saw him touched him and talked to him, You would never forget the fact that you saw him alive after he was dead. This is the kind of eyewitness evidence that the christian faith is based on individuals. The 11 apostles, family members over 500 people at one time all testified that they saw talked and touched jesus after he was crucified, buried and then appeared to them. The consensus position among scholars today is this historical evidence about jesus was written down and in circulation among christians within at least two years or possibly even weeks of jesus crucifixion today, world class philosopher Dr Gary Habermas will present this historical evidence. He received his PhD from michigan State University and a second doctorate from Emmanuel College in Oxford, England Dr Habermas is chairman of the department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University and has written more than 100 articles on the life of jesus in scholarly journals to hear the historical evidence for jesus resurrection. We invite you to join us for this edition of the john in Coburg show, welcome to our program, I’m john Achterberg and my guest today is dr Gary Habermas, you know, many college and high school students think that it is no longer credible to think of jesus as divine further, they don’t believe the resurrection of jesus ever happened. They think the new testament books do not present an accurate historical record of jesus life, but are only a witness to early christian beliefs yet, contrary to what they and many others think there is a massive amount of historical information inside and outside of the new testament that confirms traditional christian beliefs. as a student at michigan state. Dr Gary Habermas was working on his PhD and my guest himself was a skeptic, but he came to realize that there is solid historical evidence about jesus that he couldn’t ignore Gary. Please tell us about it. In last week’s program we mentioned the cradle material that paul presents the first Corinthians 15. This is probably the heart, the heart of contemporary discussions concerning the historical paul. And of course they have a great barrier and historical jesus. What we said was something like this. If we can imagine about a 25 year timeline beginning with the Cross 30 A shady ending with the writing of first Corinthians 55 to 57 A. D. We’ve got about 25 years there, Paul said in first Corinthians 15 1 and two, I gave you this gospel when I came. That’s about 51 A. D. We’ve cut it down to 20 years. And he said then he outlines it first Corinthians 15 3 and he said, I delivered unto you that which I also received and the typical view is paul ascertained this material in Jerusalem with Peter with James, the brother of jesus from Galatians chapter one verse 18 about 35 A. D. And of course if we’re only five years from the cross Cross paul’s visit to Jerusalem. Then somebody had it before he did and we can spend a couple of moments chatting about this. But one important thing from last week’s question, How do we know paul is not the originator of Christianity, paul says at the most important point first, Corinthians 15 3 says this is the first importance. He says, the center of my proclamation and then he says, it didn’t come from me as of first importance. The center of my proclamation, I gave you what I received. And if he received in Jerusalem from Peter and James, not only is this not paul’s material, but it came from two of the important proclaim, Ear’s in the early church, Peter and James, the brother of jesus. Now is what Paul says. True. Does it line up with the facts? Well, when you take a look at first Corinthians 15 3, we find out that it does. And if there’s any conclusion that’s virtually unanimous in new testament scholarship, it’s this the cradle statement that the tradition that Paul is passing on the confession, if you will, that paul is passing on the catechism that paul said he received from somebody else. It begins in verse three, and it goes down something as far as verse five, something as far as verse seven. But here’s the point, There are a number of indications that this is not paul’s proclamation. There are a number of indications of exactly what he says. This is why we take Paula face value. He got it from somebody else. How do you know There are non pauline words there, Paul never again says on the third day this is his proclamation and that he’s given it, but not his proclamation as far as he made this up, he’s passing on tradition. There are non pauline words, peter is called Cephas and uh is the german new testament. Scholar argued that there’s perhaps an Aramaic original here, which means it really predates ah paul. Now folks, you probably know that some scholars claim that the apostle paul is the one who really invented the jesus of faith and what they mean by that is that paul made up the story that jesus was God and before that it had never been said. But dr Habermas presents the historical facts that clearly revealed. Paul did not invent Christianity or the christ of the christian faith. Listen now paul has said a couple important things, he said, I delivered what I received and I like these words as of first importance, paul said, this is basically the most important thing I can preach to. And of course the first two verses he said, if you accept that you’re saved, if not, you’re not. So we’re right here at the center, but then he says, it’s not mine. So paul is not the inventor. Now is this what we see, does the passage give evidence that paul while passing it on. Really got it from somebody else. In other words, paul’s repeating it, but it’s not really his material. Now we look at these words will see several indications that this does not come from paul for example, christ died for our sins according to scriptures that he was buried. Paul never again uses those words and he never again whenever he defines the gospel, he always includes, as I said last week, the deity of christ, the death and the resurrection. He never again adds burial. So there’s some non pauline words here. Another indication. Peter’s name is cephus. Now paul does refer to Peter as Sisyphus, but Peter is better known as Peter and Jeremy’s the german new testament. Scholar thinks that this is one indication that there may be an Aramaic original. Pizza copied the the conservative jewish new testament. Scholar has said there are other signs here that this is passing on tradition. For example, what’s called the triple HO T clause. English students will recognize that is and and and paul doesn’t come up for air until he gets us long sentence out died for our sins according to scriptures. And he was buried and he he was raised and he appeared and uh dr loopy tells us that is a means of hebrew narration. The words delivered and received our technical words for passing on tradition. Paul says it again in first Corinthians 11 concerning the Lord’s supper delivered and received. So these are just what three or four indications that this material is not paul’s. Now, how do you recognize a creator a tradition? Scholars have pointed out that this reads in two nice columns and it’s not english poetry that rhymes real nicely, But it reads like first century, a first century Jewish audience where it’s regimented. And you can see that when he appeared, Jesus appears to an individual Peter, then to a group, the 12-500 once, then he appears to James another individual, then he appears to another group. There’s some order to this and it’s it’s arranged like a catechism and I made the point last week. Perhaps 90% of Palestinians are are the the Jews in that area were not readers, they were not literate. And how do you give the heart of your message? Of first importance to people that don’t read you say it in a form where they can memorize it and repeat it back. That is the nature of these cradle passages and what we have here. His paul passing on the heart of his message, he said. But I preached when I came and he said, folks, it’s not even mine. So I think we need to return to several things here. The importance of this early message. Some data we have. We’ve got that timeline going all the way back to jesus and 30 A. D. It’s not paul’s. And so paul is not the originator of the new testament message first Corinthians 15 11. Once again, we refer to this last week, paul says whether then it was I or they this is what we preach. And this is what you believed the we there is the apostles, he’s saying here from them here from me were preaching the same message concerning what the gospel and the resurrection appearances in in general. What Paul says is, I didn’t make this up. I got it from somebody else I delivered to you. That’s what what I also received. Now look at verse 11, whether then it was I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believed. I think what paul is saying here is ask the disciples, they’ll give you the same thing I’m giving you. Ask me, I’ll tell you now, what is this message? Just look at the previous verses, it’s the gospel. And in particular, he’s been talking about the appearances here, he’s saying, I’ve talked to them, they’ve got the same message I have, they’ve talked to me. They commend me to go back and look at Galatians two. This is why we are in a very special point in history, rick almost reach out and and see what Paul is saying and touches messages linked to time space, history. It’s words on a page. He’s an accredited messenger. We’ve got ourselves a timeline and folks, it’s not an evangelical that came up with this timeline. This is largely developed in critical non evangelical theology, I think by using some of these methods, we see that we’re on very firm ground here regarding the very heart of our faith, the death, burial and resurrection of jesus christ. Now, if you are a college student, how many times in school have you heard that the material in the new testament books is nothing more than legend or myth? Well, again, that’s just not true. Dr Gary Habermas gives three reasons why scholars believe they are dealing with solid historical evidence about jesus. This is very important. So, I want you to listen now. I think we need to back up just a little bit and see what the significance of the first Corinthians 15 passages. If paul has given this material about 35 A. D. On a trip to Jerusalem Galatians 1 18 where he visits with Peter and James, the brother of jesus. We’ve got hands on material from a very early period that that uh emphasizes two very important facts. Number one, this material is early and you don’t know how early until you’ve worked with other Greco roman passages. I mean, livery reports, things that are hundreds of years before his time. And paul is talking about something that he participated in five years after the event and other people had it before he did so, I mean, we’re cutting down the gap here tremendously. Secondly, we have an eyewitness account here. This is one way to go after eyewitnesses. We talked about the gospels and and that’s one possibility. But going after Paul is really taking what is given to us what the critics will give us. And Paul himself was an eyewitness. Let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Paul said, I met the risen jesus. But you’ve also got Peter, we’ve got James, the brother of jesus, both of them, by the way, have appearances in Paul’s List of First Corinthians 15. 1 More little connection between Galatians One. First Corinthians 15. So we’re dealing with people here who were there. And I think paul was interested in talking to Peter and seeing what what he had to say. Now, back to this question, Does paul make this up himself? And I said, no, because this is the first importance. And yet he got it from somebody else. Another way to go after this whole picture and do the same thing is to look at the early cradle passages and Acts. If you ask an evangelical, what does early preaching look like before we have a new testament. They say simple read the Book of Acts. If you ask some critics, they’ll say, hey, read Acts one through five. Now, the answer sounds the same, but it’s for different reasons evangelicals say that because they trust the whole text. Critics find a number of these early confessional or traditional or cradle passages and x. And then one reason they find them another evidence that something’s a creed is they believe that the shorter, more compact, unevolved the theology, it is the more authentic it is. And so in a certain scene there in Acts where Peter says, you can almost picture him pointing at the jewish leaders, you killed him. God raised him from the dead. Now, see there’s a little tiny piece that you get the gospel right, talking about the Lord, jesus, he’s not just a man, you killed him. God raised him, you got the Gospel and Peter’s in and out. And that’s something that’s easy to remember. How about we ought to obey God rather than man. Now that’s not the Gospel, but that’s another one of those little pithy little saints and we have those in Acts 1 to 5 Acts 10, Peters Preaching to Cornelius and all of those are petrified acts 1-5 X 10 and x 13 paul sermon. Scholars also believe that there’s some cradle passages there and go back and find any of these. Let me tell you what you’re gonna find and every little encapsulation of the Gospel, you find the deity of christ his death, his resurrection. But guess what? Nobody would say, paul is the author. So here you have an encapsulation of early preaching, paul is not even on the scene In acts until Chapter nine. You’ve got five chapters there with early material, they’re saying some of the same things, paul is not around and we could still go to Acts and say this is of first importance, how that jesus died, he was raised and more than being jesus, he is Lord and his christ. Those are the two most popular titles. So go at it from the angle of Acts, you still see creeds, you still see this money, this unevolved short, concise, succinct theological statement that we see the gospel that we call the gospel paul is not even there. So here’s another hole. Look at what we call these, the central doctrine, the, the center of the christian core and that is the gospel salvation. Now, every christian university student should listen very carefully to how dr Habermas is going to argue as christians. We all accept the new testament books as authoritative and true. But your non christian professors and friends don’t. Well then what evidence should you use in talking to them? If your professor and friends are up on just a little modern scholarship, they know that certain portions of paul’s writings and portions of the four gospels are accepted not as inspired, but as historically reliable information. Now, if your professors accept that, then let’s use that material because it reveals the historical facts that Jesus lived, claimed to be God died on the cross, was buried in a tomb and appeared to his disciples. Later, its historical evidence which can’t be ignored. Now, if you ask what are some of the passages that virtually all critical scholars, including your professors and your friends should accept that. Tell us these things dr Habermas tells you listen Now we’ve kind of gone the backdoor, we’ve started with the data, that is the strongest. First Corinthians 15, Paul’s undisputed epistles. We’ve moved backwards. We’ve taken a little look at Peter and James through Paul’s eyes, Galatians one. We’ve taken a little bit of a look at some petrin gospel snippets and acts. Now, having said this, why do you think the critical community says there’s virtually no value in the gospels? I say critical community. I mean, the far left, there’s a moderate community out there with probably the most influential scholars who wouldn’t dispute half as many things as as we’re hearing from the far left, the ones who claim to be mainstream. Now, when you go back to the gospels, do you hear the same message, or don’t you? But before I get there, let me make a point again. 1st. Corinthians predates the gospels At least. First Corinthians 15 is the longest extended treatment of the resurrection, before the four gospels. So, really, the gospels are coming along later. But here we’ve got the the the the horse in the right place before the cart. If you’ve already found it in Paul. And if you have it later in Acts, why are you objecting to the books that we’ve already got it from the earliest sources in paul. Now, when you go to jesus, here’s what you find in the gospels the same proclamation. I mean paul is not dealing with amateurs here, and he’s not dealing with people who never do jesus, he talked to Peter, he talked to James himself. He comes back to Jerusalem by the way in the next chapter and the same too. Men are there Peter and James and john is there john the Apostle. So paul’s got connections. When you get back to Jesus, himself and the gospels, we read that paul did not make up the deity of christ. You see these titles I mentioned in the early uh shortened creeds and acts, but you see them in the gospels too. And I think our two best grounds for talking about the deity of christ in the gospels, our jesus self designations, Son of Man and Son of God. Now, Son of God is more usually recognized to be a title of deity. The Son of Man. What a lot of people don’t realize is this is not a title to be. Uh, mary’s son, Son of Man doesn’t mean human being. The Son of Man. To make a lot of scholarship real short here, Jesus shows that he knows of the passage in Daniel 7 13 to 14 where, where Daniel looks up and he sees the ancient of Days, one coming down who looks like a son of man. And in jesus time, this has been this idea had evolved some writings of some jewish books at that time that had nothing to do with scripture, but his readers knew that Son of man could be a mere human being, it could be a prophet like the Book of Ezekiel, or it could be the Son of Man who comes down from the ancient of Days. This prophetic figure who’s a pre existent divine figure, who sets up God’s kingdom, which one does. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man is jesus favorite self designation in the gospels, and at least twice one of them is in Mark chapter 14. He virtually quotes Daniel 7, 13 and 14 and says, that’s me at that point, when the jewish priest says, are you the christ, the Son of the Blessed One, notice what jesus does. Are you the christ messiah? The son of God. And jesus says Eagle and me I am. And then he changes the Son of man, Son of God, question to a Son of Man, answer, he says, I am the christ, the son of God, and you will see the Son of Man coming with the clouds of Heaven in judgment. And the priest makes a formal declaration of blasphemy. He rips his garment, he says, like the rest of your witnesses can go home, we got you! Now what set him off? And the passage there, Mark 14, Jesus says, Eagle and ME, I am the son of God. Then he says, and you will see the Son of Man come in the clouds of Heaven, Number one. It’s a virtual quote from Daniel seven 13 and 14, he claims to be the pre existent one who comes from the ancient of days to set up God’s kingdom. And secondly, he uses this enigmatic phrase, coming with the clouds. That phrase is used dozens of times and scriptures as a reference to deity. And Jesus said, that’s me, he’s already said Eagle and me concerning the Son of man and the priest, it’s almost like he was waiting for this, He said good, we’ve got him the rest of you go home. So if jesus is claiming to be the son of God and Jesus claimed to be the son of man, why do we think paul’s inventing the deity of christ? Later we see it in the gospels. We see in these little Shortened gospel phrases and acts and we’ve seen the first Corinthians 15, I think this is a solid case for the deity of Christ. And don’t forget if Christ is raising the dead. Now you got to ask the question is God saying something and traditional Christianity says right in the new testament, in fact that God’s raising, Jesus confirmed his message and if Jesus claimed to be deity, nothing could be more blasphemous. So the resurrection is God’s stamp of approval on jesus and that’s argued that way in Acts Two, Peter argued that way in Acts 17, paul argued that way in romans one paul, the resurrection of the capstone as paul said, it truly is a matter of first importance. Now if you are sitting in class at the university and your professor and all the students around you are listening to what Dr Habermas just said, how do you think they would respond? Dr Habermas tells us listen in this program, we’ve been talking a little bit about that timeline of paul that goes from 57 A. D. Back to 30 and we’ve gotten that back to about five years and I said that paul was talking about the gospel with Peter and with James and then we talked about some little gospel portions, some little traditions and acts and I said you find some of the same ideas and and the gospels and I’ll tell you right now, I can tell you where critics are going to go here. Habermas is slaughtering Gospel studies. He thinks that because the gospels say, Jesus said something. He truly said something. And what could be more mythical than the claim to be deity. Look at the Greeks, look at the romans, you know, a question we really need to leave for text program is how do we know Jesus really did say he was the son of God and the son of man and we’re getting close to the middle. Now if we got this with jesus, certainly, Paul is not the author of the teaching of the deity of christ. Yeah, we don’t know what God’s going to do with us? But are you willing to give your time to the Lord that he can use any way that he sees fit? Right? Why is it? If you have an idea of how God would like to use you? Why is it that you snuff out the very dreams? The desire that’s in your heart that God gave you? I can’t believe how many christians say I want to do that and never do it. I wondered why when God gives you a real solid idea of what to do the first thing, who am I to do this? If you go back to moses in exodus 3 10, He’s at the burning bush. God said in verse 10. So now go moses. I’m sending you to pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt God Almighty says I’ve given you this idea. This plan, this is what I want you to do. Clear right straight down the line. And what does moses say, who am I that I should go to pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt God said to moses, I will be with you. Remember I will be with you because God’s got some ideas about this place. He’s got some ideas about this world that is in need. There are people that desperately need jesus christ and he needs to send people to them. Say God, I’m open. You know my talents. You know my abilities. You know how many hours in my life I’ve got left? I’m available? What do you want me to do? You’d be surprised what God will whisper into your mind. Mm hmm I mean from the very beginning I had people in my life that were telling me to be a disciple is to make disciples that we can’t disconnect these to the gospel is not intended to stop with any one of us. It’s intended to spread through every one of us and so and to see that play out and to see that play out in Robin’s life. I remember when I met him, he’s come to christ and he’s, he’s sharing the God, he’s got so much to learn, had so much to learn but he is sharing what he knows with the guys that God has put in his sphere of influence immediately. And I think about places, even where, where I’ve been around the world, even places where persecution is a reality for people who, who will be sharing the gospel with other people around them and I have a friend who lived in one particular context and whenever somebody came to christ in this context, the first thing they would do, first thing, this would be initial step of discipleship, would, would have that person make a list of all the people they know and then circle on that list, the 10 people who were least likely to kill them if they tried to share the gospel with them and they would say start with those people next week on the john anchor berg show Okay, first of all, in Matthew 1127 and it’s parallel and Luke here we have a passage that comes from what the critics called Q early sayings document very very early. They believe this predates the gospels by decades and yet in Matthew 1127 and it’s parallel parallel, jesus says, he said, I’ve come to you to reveal the father and this is the way he says it. He said, no one knows the son except the father and no one knows the father except the son and those to whom he will reveal him. Now, in that passage, jesus is claiming unique knowledge of God and this is found in the very early Q strata according to the way the critics arrange this and that’s a tough test.

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ABOUT DR. JOHN ANKERBERG Dr. John Ankerberg is an American Christian television host, author, and speaker. Dr. Ankerberg is a graduate of the University of Illinois—Chicago,...

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