Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Live-blogging "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"

Introduction: The following is, as the title indicates, "live-blogging," so I am simply typing out a few thoughts as I watch the Discovery Channel special, The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Due to the highly informal nature of this type of blog-post, I won't have any "bells and whistles" I usually try to put in my articles (pictures, video, hyperlinks, etc.); I may even have a few typos.

Live-blogging: Near the beginning of the show the gospel account from Matthew is referenced in which the quote is given, 'His disciples came during the night and stole [the body of Jesus Christ] away while we were asleep' (cf. Matt. 28:13b, NIV). The narrator admits that this claim is portrayed by Matthew as a cover-up for Jesus Christ's physical resurrection, but the show fails to mention that Matthew and the other Apostles were killed as a witness to the resurrected Christ. In other words, they either saw Jesus Christ arisen from the grave, or they knowingly died for a lie.

The show claims that the corpse of Jesus Christ would have certainly been placed in an ossuary, such as the one archaeologists have found, “Following Jewish burial practices of the time.” But again, these burial practices would have only been followed assuming that He was not risen from the dead, something that this film must prove (contrary to eyewitness testimony) rather than take for granted.

Trying to down-play the extent to which this show is an attack on the Christian faith, the film-makers constantly make assertions such as, "In theory, this ascension [of Jesus Christ] could have been spiritual." [Thus, they wish to say, we could find the body of Jesus Christ and not undermine the Christian belief in the resurrection and assention.] But though they say, "In theory," they need to answer the question, "In theory of whom?" Certainly the New Testament presents Jesus Christ as physically resurrected and ascended to heaven and first century Jewish thought knew nothing of a merely spiritual resurrection.

Jacobovici, concerning the names found in the supposed "Jesus Tomb," exclaimed, "There isn’t a single name that does not fit!" But he ignores the fact that some of the names they found in the supposed family tomb of Jesus do not fit at all. There is no "Mariamne" in the New Testament, Matthew is not supposed to be a family member of Jesus Christ, and there is certainly no "Judah son of Jesus" ever before mentioned in relation to any Christian tradition. So when he exclaimed, "There isn’t a single name that does not fit!" he only meant, "There isn’t a single name that does not fit my baseless theories!"

Concerning how the creators of this show got their statistics to prove this must be the family tomb of Jesus Christ, they figured probabilities for, “Jesus with a father named Joseph, a mother named Mary, and a brother named Jose…” But this is simply begging the question! They have not proven these family relations for the actual physical remnants they found!

They did have Dr. Tabor say: "Those who take a strictly historical approach to the gospels would expect to find the body in his family’s tomb." "If you’re going to be historical about it, realistic about it..." Well, that is exactly what serious Christians are trying to be. Faithful, yes- but not blindly so. We want realistic, historical grounding for our beliefs, so that when theories that are based on little more than idle speculation are set forth as an attack on our faith- especially when these theories are packaged in a slick, pseudo-scientific fashion, which is liable to influence many people to be prejudiced against belief in the risen Lord Jesus Christ- it is indeed very frustrating.

The film (again) speculates that if in the early Christian tradition, Mary Magdalene was an apostle, then the inscription Mara found on the ossuary could point to something extraordinary. But the makers of this film are not even hinting that there's any speculative nature to identifying Mariamne as Mary Magdalene. They just keep saying that the Acts of Phillip talk about Mary Magdalene and her brother Phillip, or saying that Mariamne and Mary Magdalene are the same person. But this connection is never made in the Acts of Philip (which is a highly questionable document anyway) itself!

The creators of this special clearly assert that the DNA testing proves that there were “No familial ties…” between "Jesus son of Joseph" and "Mariamne." But this is, in fact, false, as the test only proves that they are not related through the mother. They could very well have been related on the father's side of the family exclusively, as half brother and sister, cousins, uncle and niece, aunt and son, or "Jesus son of Joseph" may have even been Mariamne's father. We simple do not know. To this end, the actual biotechnical researcher in charge of the DNA evidence merely said, 'If they are not related, they are most likely husband and wife,' but Simcha Jacobovici and his crew strengthen this, saying. DNA results of Talpiot suggest that they were married.

What this show leaves us with is a chain of improbable IFs that all must be answered in a certain way to reach the conclusion Simcha Jacobovici is promoting: IF James and Jesus Christ were the only two James and Jesus' with a father named Joseph buried in Jerusalem, IF Jesus Christ had ever been said to have a child named Judah, IF any document ever made a connection between Mariamne and Mary Magdalene, IF Mary had been referred to by a Latin form of her name in biblical times, IF Jose is also the son of Joseph, IF there is any reason to find a Matthew in Jesus' family tomb, IF Mariamne is not paternally related to Jesus son of Joseph, etc.

But all of this can be answered by a series of very probable (certain, really) series of IFs, namely: IF the Bible is true, IF Jesus died on the Cross for sinners, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to Scriptures, IF the risen Lord Jesus appeared to the apostles and about 500 others at one time, IF Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, IF He remains at the right hand of God the Father offering eternal life through the Holy Spirit to all who repent and place their trust in Him, IF He has been radically changing lives for thousands of years,
-then believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have nothing to worry about.

Maranatha!

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