The Historical Evidence for Jesus – Program 5

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12 Historical Facts About Jesus from Outside the Bible

Is there evidence for the life of Jesus outside the Bible? Dr. Habermas provides examples supporting 12 key facts from the life of Christ from early historical sources.



today on the johnny Karberg 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 philosopher dr Gary Habermas. Now, if you’re a skeptic, I have a question for you, you probably believe that there’s very little historical evidence available to provide a very strong basis for traditional christian beliefs about jesus, specifically that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and appeared to his followers, you say, I just don’t believe that. Well, my guest today was working on his PhD at michigan state University and was just as skeptical as you are, But in his research, he was confronted with 12 historical facts that stopped him and showed that he was wrong. In fact, these historical facts pulled him across the line from being a skeptic to becoming a christian. And he talks about the persuasiveness of some of the facts that he discovered. You need to listen to this. The last program. We ended with about a half dozen facts that I said based on this material alone, we can argue that jesus died and that he appeared after his death. Just a personal note. The reason I think these facts are so important, at least in my life is because I spent spent 10 years as a skeptic. I argued with Christians actually argue with anybody claim to be religious at all. It might be a Jehovah’s witness, might be a mormon. But many times it was a Christian and I kept rejecting their factual basis. I kept saying don’t have data for that. That’s in the gospels. You have data for this, you don’t have data for that. I study religion, State University. And and I thought that way, and what these four facts say to me is, we can reduce our list if you want and christians have a right to believe the gospels and so on. But for those who reject that we we need just a small basis. In fact to show that the naturalistic theories have failed and that christ has been raised from the dead. And I think that’s what these half dozen facts do basically. Here’s what we’re doing. We’re playing the method here the way the critics do thinking the way they think and saying even treating the bible, there’s no more than an ancient book of literature. I mean, you know, how can it be less than that? It’s ancient, it’s got pages in it and there’s words on the pages. I mean that’s pretty basic and treating treating the bible is a book of ancient literature. You still come up with these core or minimal facts as I call them. And on this basis alone, we can refute the naturalistic theories and argue that Jesus was raised from the dead. Now I asked dr Habermas asked to specifically tell me the facts that really got to him. And here’s what he told me now. The very first fact on this list is that Jesus died. Why’d do scholars today rarely question the death of jesus? Why do the founders that Jesus seminar, for example, those who have written on the subject. Why do john Dominic Crossan and Marcus borg say that the fact that Jesus died is the surest fact we have in his career because the data are so strong now, what are some of those first of all, death by crucifixion is essentially death by asphyxiation when you hang on the cross and the weight of your body pulls down on the intercostal pectoral pectoral and deltoid muscles around your lungs, you reach a state where when the weights dragging down on them, you can inhale but you are increasingly unable to exhale until you reach a place of almost paralysis and you can’t exhale at all. Actually in the 1950s, an experiment was done in West Germany where male volunteers were asked to be tied to two x 4. These males lost Consciousness and a maximum of 12 minutes. Now on the cross, you can push up if only on the nails or whatever you can push up. And when you push up, you relieve those muscles in your lungs. But when you pull down on them again, because you can’t stay up there for long, you pull down when you’re in a low position of the cross, you asphyxiate. The Roman historian did not have to have a degree in medicine. If the person is hanging low on the cross for any amount of time, let’s say 30 minutes he’s dead second, we’re told that they stabbed jesus in the chest and blood and water came out. Someone says, well that’s the gospel of john and we’re not going to give that to you. Let me tell you something. And the ancient crucifixion accounts, there are a number of accounts of a coup de gras a crushing blow that’s done at the end of crucifixion. To end the account, we have an account of a man whose skull was crushed. To finish the process, a man who was threatened with a bow and arrow. We have two other cases outside of jesus and the gospel of john where he was stabbed to make sure he was dead. And of course we have what is known as cruciferous Agrium in latin, the break into the ankles so the person cannot push back up again. In all these cases, here’s what the execution are saying. You’re not getting down alive. So reason number one, you’re low on the cross dead. You’ve asphyxiated. Number two death blow in the case of jesus were told that it was a spirit, one of the chest and the Journal of the American Medical Association just about 15 years ago, we were told that jesus’s death came from asphyxiation, the researchers said, including the pathologist from Mayo clinic, They said that the spear entered his heart and the water. How do you know the water came from the sac surrounding the heart called the pericardium. So Jesus was dead. But if he wasn’t, the death blow would have done it. Third reason now this gets a little bit gory and maybe you’re thinking, well what have you done so far? But but the third thing is called sucking chest, it’s a very well known medical phenomenon. If you’re stabbed through the upper thoracic area and it goes through the lung, a living person. If you’re alive, there will be a sucking sound that comes through that hole. And guess what, you don’t have to be a medical doctor to know that if you’re making that sound, you’re live. I had a student tell me just today that he shot a deer and when he walked up to him, he had shot it through the chest. That was making that noise and he put his gun up and shoot it again and the noise stopped the animal died. So if he was stabbed in the chest and it didn’t go through the heart, we would know because of the sucking chest syndrome. So these are some of the reasons to believe that crucifixion is lethal, asphyxiation, heart wound and if it only went through the chest, you’d have the sucking chest. Now, having said these things, this is not none of these are the historical reason. The chief reason for believing that Jesus did not fake death in 1835, a german liberal named David Strauss, He wrote a life of jesus and he was so liberal that he was pensioned off from his very liberal university and told to just quit teaching. He was pensioned off for life because of his highly critical view of jesus. But here’s what he says in that famous writing, criticizing those who believe that jesus didn’t die. By the way, That was the most popular theory, up until 1835 that Jesus didn’t die. He said, here’s the problem with the swoon theory, It’s basically self contradictory, Jesus should have died on the cross, don’t worry about it. He didn’t should die in the tomb, don’t worry about it. He didn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to roll the stone away, took several men, you’d be rolling the stone uphill out of the little gully in front of the tomb. He was in a weak condition. Don’t worry about it. He rolled the stone away, walked. How long? I don’t know, quarter mile blocks to where the disciples are on feet. They were pierced by nails And Strauss said, you think all of these are problems? It’s not the chief problem. Here’s the chief problem with saying, jesus didn’t die. He comes to the door where the disciples are and when you come, when they open the door, what’s he going to look like? What’s he looking like? He’s pale, he’s sweating, the side wounds opened up again, He’s hunched over, he’s not even washed his hair. Sweat blood have caked his hair, he’s limping and he says, fellas, I told you I would rise again from the dead Strauss says, watch what happens here, he’s alive. Yes, raised No, here’s what they would do, peter, give him your chair Andrew, go get some water, john, go get a doctor, they’d say thank the Lord, he was healed or he’s getting healed or he’s alive, but they wouldn’t say thank the Lord, he’s going to be raised and so don’t expect to see Philip over in the corner saying as the new testament says, Oh boy, someday, I’m gonna have a resurrection body, just like his, no thanks, thanks, I will keep the body, I have, let jesus keep the body he has. Now that Strauss’s point, here’s what swoon says and we often miss this alive. Yes raised no. What’s the problem if the disciples don’t at least believe he’s raised, you have no cost for the new testament Church, no cost really preaching, they have to at least believe he’s been raised. The swoon theory doesn’t give that to you conclusion. Asphyxiation, heart, chest, Strauss’s critique. We’ve got many other problems what to do with paul, what do you do with James? How are they convinced to join the crowd here? The conclusion assuredly, is that Jesus died on the cross due to roman crucifixion. Now folks, a few years ago, I once took a cruise and one day I looked up and everybody was sitting on the deck and they were reading the same book and for some reason they were all reading Hyuk shown Fields bestselling book called the passover plot. Do you ever remember reading that book? Well, it claimed that jesus was given drugs while on the cross and just appeared to die, but he really didn’t die. So I asked dr Habermas about this book and here’s his response now, what happens when we apply this to a book, like the password plot, the author suggested that jesus did not die on the cross and by the way, a lot of people don’t remember this, but he said this is only a suggestion, I’m not saying this really happened, but he said what if jesus didn’t die on the cross? Well, he runs up against asphyxiation, he runs up against heart, he runs up against chest, he runs up against Strauss’s critique. And so the swoon theory in the past or plot was largely ignored by critics. In fact, he got put on a lot of list by scholars that uh you know, don’t take this as our work, because the point is, you can’t rule out this material in that matter. In fact, let me tell you this. After David Strauss’s critique at 18 35 Albert Schweitzer’s famous book on the quest of historical jesus, he lists no scholars who hold the swoon theory after 18 40. Historically speaking, Strauss’s critique alone, if you’ll pardon, the pun Strauss’s critique alone, killed the swoon theory. Now, if you just tuned in Dr. Gary Habermas, a philosopher is laying out 12 historical facts that are accepted by virtually all critical scholars around the world today. The importance of these 12 historical facts is that they form a solid historical foundation for traditional Christian beliefs about Jesus and they repudiate the jesus seminar and other liberals and shoot down all naturalistic explanations which have attempted to explain away, Jesus resurrection. Now, the next fact we’re going to look at is this, Jesus was buried, why is this fact so important? Listen now, for the believer, for whom the death and resurrection of jesus are crucially important as paul says of first importance. Where do we go next? Jesus died on the cross? As by the way, even the Talmud tells us and then we’re told he’s buried. Now, this is not questioned by a lot of people. I mean it’s a pretty normal event, people who die are buried. But what is there to say in favor of the burial accounts is we learned of them in the new testament first of all, Although today critics are not so inclined to take the gospels as they are to take paul. Let’s just make the comment that all four gospels are agreed that the tumor when jesus was buried, it was empty. Alright. The critic responds, I don’t like the gospels, but let’s point out number two, just because the critic doesn’t like the gospels, that does not explain the gospels away what you need. Number two is evidence that he was buried somewhere else and that’s the key evidence that he was buried somewhere else. There are no takers, really, You know, why there’s no evidence that he was buried anywhere else. You can say maybe this, maybe that, but let’s ask the unbeliever for the same question, Same type of data. The christian has asked for where’s your data to say that he wasn’t buried, Just like the gospel said, number three, A lot of folks have made the point that joseph and Nicodemus, their names are difficult to explain to those burial ah stories unless they were the guys that did the burial. Why bring these names out of obscurity? If they weren’t really the people, it makes sense of somebody who believes they’re telling the right story continuing. We have a few early texts now, we’ve mentioned this before, creeds first Corinthians 15, remember the triple ho T and and end argument, paul says he died for our sins according to scriptures and he was buried and he was raised and he appeared. Now follow that sequence in this very early non pauline pre pauline text, if somebody is dead buried, raised and appeared, the strong implication is the one that went down is the one that came up. You’ve got paul sane, there was a burial, But he’s going to go further than that. We’ll save that for a comment on the empty tomb. But but the first Corinthians 15 passage says buried. And there you go there again. You got that early evidence. Another good argument is acts 1329. Why? Because some critical scholars are willing to grant that, as I said, earlier. Acts 13 contains another of those little cradle passages, the abbreviated theology and there in acts 1329. In this passage, we are told that he was buried. So there’s a there are two textual too early textual arguments. You’ve got uh the gospels no evidence against joseph and Nicodemus. You’ve got First Corinthians 15 acts 13 And lastly, Jerusalem is the last place you want to proclaim the burial. If it’s not been buried there, because that’s the place, the only place in the world that can be refuted, they can grab the body, they can say no, he’s not here, he’s over here. Jerusalem is the last place to make that claim. So there’s a half dozen arguments to believe that what the gospels say about burial and what paul says at a very early data about burial is indeed true. The next fact that we want to look at is the empty tomb. This too is a fact of history. And it leads to the question, what happened to jesus body? Where was he dr Habermas explains, Okay, let’s move on to the next step he died, He was buried. What happened in that tomb? Well, the christian story is that he was raised, but in between burial and raising, we’re told the tomb was vacated, jesus is leaving left it alone. Is there any reason to believe that again? One of the first points you want to say is all four gospels record the empty tomb and here comes the critics. I told you, I don’t like the gospels. What do we have to back up those early gospel stories of the empty tomb. Let me give you three big evidences Right off the bat one, Is that the earliest witnesses to the empty tomb are women. Why is that important? Because if you’re making up the story, remember our monday morning quarterbacking scenario, if you’re making up a story, putting the words back into the mouths of the earliest christian sometime later, don’t use women for your first witnesses, Why in the first century they were not allowed to testify in a court of law, They were not to be believed to be able to tell the truth, were actually told that they couldn’t testify. So why do you take people who can’t go on the witness stand? It would be like making your chief witnesses little Children, why do you say there they are, the tomb’s empty, The women saw him unless in fact the woman found the empty tomb first. Okay. Second reason the jews believe the tomb was empty. Now there’s a fact in history, there’s a method in history rather that says, when your critic admits something most likely it’s correct if if you can’t stand somebody and you say he’s this and that and this and that and this and that, but he is a brave person, chances are he’s a brave person And the disciples said the tomb is empty now they thought the disciples stole the body and nobody virtually no reputable scholars held that theory for over 200 years because liars don’t make martyrs, you have no explanation for disciples transformation and they’re honest belief if they stole the body and lied, you have no explanation for James, you have no explanation for Paul. So that explanation does not make a lot of sense. But what are you left with if the disciples stole the body according to the jews. But that theory doesn’t really work. What you have is an empty tomb. What it seems like is that the jewish leaders are making something up to making an explanation to explain a fact, the body’s gone. Third argument, you have that early text I gave you a moment ago. First Corinthians 15 appalls sequence again is died for our sins buried raised appeared now when the same person dies buried, raised, it appears guess what? The body is not there, what’s gone down has come up and there’s a strong implication in first Corinthians 15, you have an overt statement of the burial and you have a strong application of the next step the empty tomb. We can throw some other things in here. As I said again, Jerusalem, just like the burial, Jerusalem is the last place to proclaim the empty tomb because people could say boys, the tombs not empty, They can take you right back there. Acts 1329, another early cradle passage says he was buried and the tomb was empty. So here’s another half dozen arguments, but especially I like the women, I like the jewish admittance of the empty tomb and I like paul’s creed and first Corinthians 15, there’s three real tough arguments that say you know what the gospel said. they have the ring of truth regarding the empty tomb. Now we’ve looked at three historical facts about jesus today, first that he actually did die from crucifixion on the cross. 2nd he was buried And third, his tomb was found empty on the 3rd day next week. We’re going to examine the fact that all of jesus disciples believed that jesus had appeared to them and they saw him after they had seen him crucified and buried. What explains this fact group, hallucinations, visions or that Jesus really appeared to them. We’ll answer those questions next week. But now dr Habermas summarizes what we’ve seen today and its importance to you. Where are we going with all this? 1st, I said, the critics will give you probably a couple dozen facts. I’ve said that’s okay, I only want 12 For those who think 12 is too many and believe me, that’s very few of the published authors who deal with this. I’ll just give you four. And I said that basis alone shows us that the one who died is the one who was raised in between these two events. We have a burial and an empty tomb, gave about a half dozen reasons to believe both. The thing we haven’t said anything about yet is the appearances and this is the the chief evidence by far and the reason is because the critical community is willing to admit that the disciples really thought they saw the risen jesus and this is the best evidence for the resurrection of all of them, you know, john there’s a verse in the book of revelation, several verses, I should say that just take us to the very limits of our thought, this is what it says, he who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with me on my throne As I also overcame and sat down with my father on his throne that’s revelation, chapter three verse 21 did we grasp what the text is saying that if we are overcome earth’s, we will sit with jesus christ on his throne just as he overcame and sat on his father’s throne, this means that we are going to be sitting on the throne of the universe, the throne of God because of God’s matchless grace, picking us up out of the muck of our sin, cleaning us off and then elevating us to heirs of God and joint heirs with jesus christ and being the bride of christ to be able to sit with him so that we are his judicial equal. We will never be equal to jesus christ as to who we are because we are the creature and he is the creator. But what I mean to say is that we’re going to get to reign with jesus christ, he who overcomes to him, I shall give him possession of all things it says in another text, what that means is this, it is the solidarity of the family that we have that privilege. And it is because of the fact that jesus became one of us in becoming our brother. The text of scripture says therefore when the title deed to the universe is red since we are his brother, God is our father, we are heirs of God. Joint heirs with jesus christ. We have to be there to hear about our inheritance and we’re going to be rejoicing in the privilege that we will have to be with him. Now the text of scripture is very clear then that we are to be like christ to the extent that the creature can be like the creator and participate with christ in the ruler ship of the whole universe. That’s what we have to gain at the judgment seat of christ Galatians five says you are to walk by the Spirit of God. Mhm. The spirit of God promises he will hold you up your new nature that God has given you. When you accepted christ in your life, desires to serve the Lord. When you’re tempted by old thoughts, old patterns, old sinful desires that still exist. They’re not to try and conquer them in your own strength and ask the Holy Spirit who lives within you to immediately step in to help you and give you victory. He lives right in your life. You’re not to believe the devil’s lies, the lies of the world or even the lies that your parents told you you were growing up. That includes what they said about your value, your worth, your talent, your potential. Next week on the john anchor, berg, show, how do you get from Gospel data to salvation? There’s something missing. I suggest it’s facts plus faith equal salvation, but that’s not accurate enough in the new testament. It’s not facts in which we place our place, our faith, I love history, but new testament. Faith is not placed in history. It’s placed in the jesus of history. Or if you prefer to get real exact here, jesus of the gospel facts, deity, death, Resurrection plus faith, equal salvation. Faith goes in the person of jesus. You know, it’s sort of like marriage. I could be convinced that a woman is the best possible person for me. She’s good here. She’s good here. She’s good here everything. But you know what if I don’t say I do, we’re not married

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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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