Why Didn’t Josephus Mention Jesus’ Resurrection Appearance to Five Hundred People?

Image result for image of jesus appearance to five hundred

Lee Strobel, evangelical Christian apologist:

Where would this encounter [of the resurrected Jesus] with five hundred people have taken place?

Gary Habermas, evangelical Christian theologian:

The Galilean hillside.  …Matthew does say Jesus appeared on a hillside; maybe more than just the eleven disciples were there.

Strobel:

Wouldn’t it be likely that the historian Josephus would have mentioned something of that magnitude?

Habermas:

No.  I don’t think that is necessarily true.  Josephus was writing sixty years afterward.  How long do local stories circulate before they start to die out?  So either Joseph didn’t know about it, which is possible, or he chose not to mention it, which would make sense because we know that Josephus was not a follower of Jesus.  You can’t expect Josephus to start building the case for him.

The Case for Christ, p. 253

Gary:  Good grief!

Earlier in the book Strobel quoted another evangelical expert who said that oral stories in Antiquity remained intact for five hundred years, therefore we can trust the Gospels who even liberals will agree were written within 40-70 years of the alleged events.

Now another evangelical expert tells us that stories in Antiquity started dying out around sixty years after the event in question, and this is probably why Josephus doesn’t mention that five hundred people in first century Galilee claimed that a dead corpse appeared to them in a superhero-like body at one time and place!

Which is it, Christians?

 

81 thoughts on “Why Didn’t Josephus Mention Jesus’ Resurrection Appearance to Five Hundred People?

  1. Josephus didn’t mention the number 500, but Josephus implies that many saw him, assuming that the Testamonium is correct:
    Antiquities 18.3.3. “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.”

    So many Jews and Greeks came to follow him, and on the third day he appeared to those many people who loved him. So if 500 people loved Jesus, then one could imagine that 500 people claimed to have had him appear to them on the third day.

    It’s a different question what the appearances were like. In modern times, hundreds of Catholics claim to have had mass sightings of the virgin Mary, but Protestants are skeptical.

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    1. “those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day”

      Did Josephus say this? I doubt it. It is most likely a later Christian interpolation. Some scholars believe that Josephus authentic statement about Jesus can be found in this 10th century Arabic document:

      Arabic chronicle of the world Kit*?b al-*Unw*?n written by Agapius, Melkite bishop of Hierapolis, in Asia Minor, dated 942 C.E :

      For he [i.e. Josephus] says in the treatises that he has written on the governance [i.e. Antiquities] of the Jews:

      At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.

      Gary: Big difference from what Eusebius says Josephus said. Who is right? We can’t say, but the quote by Eusebius makes it sound as if Josephus is a believer himself! There is zero evidence in the writings of Josephus that he was a Christian; that he believed that the Messiah of Israel had come to earth.

      The evidence for a Christian interpolation is strong!

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      1. Supposing that the Arab version is correct, then a similar issue exists:
        ((And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive;))
        That is, he had “many people” from the Jews and the other nations become his disciples and they reported his appearance to them and “reported” “that he was alive.”

        Just as we have thousands of Catholics in the modern age claiming to have had visions of saints, it’s plausible that there were hundreds claiming to have seen Jesus. Paul claimed to have seen Jesus. How many Charismatics today have claimed to have had various visions? A lot.

        So what is more interesting and decisive is what actually happened during the appearances. That is true for both the Charismatics and early Christians.

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  2. Good insights, Gary. An even bigger problem with the end of Matthew (IMHO) is the trinitarian ending — supposedly added in response to the big trinitarian debates in early 300s. It is very, very unlikely that a trinitarian blessing would suddenly pop out of nowhere, without any earlier references to it. Similarly, no real commission to disciples until then. Which goes along with all your arguments about it being written later, and inerrancy of course.

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  3. The “broad consensus” among scholars is that the Testamonium Flavianum probably read like this in the original:

    “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

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    1. Thank you.

      So the question remains: If five hundred people in Galilee, sometime between 30 CE and 55 CE (approximate date of Paul’s writing of First Corinthians), claimed to have seen Jesus of Nazareth alive again after he had been publically tried and executed by Pilate in Jerusalem, why didn’t Josephus (or Philo) mention this event?

      If Jesus did the many amazing feats that the Gospels claim he performed, why would Josephus write more about John the Baptist than he would Jesus? And why was Philo completely silent about Jesus even though he wrote a substantial amount regarding Pilate? I think the answer is simple: Jesus was just not the big deal that the Gospels make him out to be. He may have developed a reputation as a miracle worker, but he was not the great prophet/messiah-claimant whose mighty deeds shook Judea, Samaria, and Galilee to their core as the Gospels claim.

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      1. You could be wrong. You think He wasn’t as big a deal as the Gospels make Him out to be, because a couple of people didn’t talk about Him much.
        I think Josephus did say He did some amazing things… but as I said below, he may have had other reasons to not talk about Jesus too much. John the Baptist was safer.
        We are both entering the area of conjecture.

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        1. Oh! I love that last sentence. In essence, that sums up the ENTIRE discussion related to religion, but especially Christianity and its so-called history book.

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  4. “So the question remains: If five hundred people in Galilee, sometime between 30 CE and 55 CE (approximate date of Paul’s writing of First Corinthians), claimed to have seen Jesus of Nazareth alive again after he had been publically tried and executed by Pilate in Jerusalem, why didn’t Josephus (or Philo) mention this event?”

    if luke calls himself an interviewer who INVESTIGATED everything from the beginning, then for the love of God, why didn’t he didn’t mention his interaction with at least 15 from the 500 ? the gospel of luke prefers to use markan wording over 1ST hand eyewitness testimony . the writer of luke is not acting like a video camera in the story, he is a story teller using wordings which arent even his.

    i don’t get any of this. one would describe what they saw and luke will be interviewing them, but luke is more interested in WRITTEN material ?

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    1. I agree. I think the fact that “Luke” fails to mention an appearance to “five hundred” is very good evidence that this appearance claim was dubious. Christians often like to point to the Early Creed in support of the historicity of this event but one thing they fail to point out is that the Early Creed suddenly fell off the radar of Christian teaching. Whereas the Apostolic Creed became a part of Christian liturgy, you don’t see the Early Creed in the liturgy of the church in the second and third centuries. Why was it dropped?

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  5. Josephus probably didn’t mention it because he didn’t believe it… and maybe he didn’t want to step on any toes by increasing Jesus’ stock.
    Something like how news is reported today.
    Each Gospel writer had his own emphasis. The other gospel writers record many miracles that John left out; he records only seven. Coffman says “ This author presented seven great signs of the deity of Jesus Christ.”
    Luke only used written material to compose his gospel. He didn’t use oral reports.

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      1. Good morning!
        When I am studying, I look at more than one translation; lately I especially like to see Young’s Literal Translation. Here is Luke 1:1-3: Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us,
        2 as they did deliver to us, who from the beginning became eye-witnesses, and officers of the Word, 3 it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to thee in order, most noble Theophilus

        Of course you could take that differently than I do… we all see things through our own world views.
        I have questioned literally everything about my Christian faith; with my educational background in science, I am trained to have a “high index of suspicion” so to speak. And I am still a Christian.
        I pray that you too will come home to Christ.
        Here is an interesting site on documentation of the words of Christ:

        https://www.gospelevidence.com/about_me/
        God bless you!

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        1. we all see things through our own world views.

          This is true. And it makes one wonder why others feel it so necessary to try and change other people’s worldview to match theirs …

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          1. Actually Christians have a purpose in that. It is to be obedient to Christ to share the good news of the gospel… that without the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we will not be able to be in the presence of a holy God. Nothing more, nothing less.
            When you see a beautiful sunset, or hear a magnificent musical performance, there is something in the heart of man that speaks… we are more than just animals.
            Perhaps you might listen to that inner voice, and not be so sure of your own beliefs.
            Curious why so many on this blog have the purpose of turning our minds away from the goal of faith in a good and holy God.

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            1. That “inner voice” talked to me many, many years ago … but one day I recognized it for what it was. NOT some ethereal being, but simply my own thoughts being influenced by people like yourself. I think many that comment on Gary’s blog are hoping that you (and other believers) will one day recognize that same thing.

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                1. It’s MY opinion that people who live their lives under the laws and by-laws of Christianity (especially as defined by church leaders) are not enjoying life to its fullest — particularly since they are faced with an “unpleasant ending” if they don’t “follow the rules.”

                  But that’s just me. And you asked.

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                    1. We atheists accept death and suffering as facts of life. We don’t believe that telling people supernatural tall tales so that they will feel better justifies not telling them the truth. Since most atheists tend to be secular, democratic humanists, we believe that it is in our best interest and in the interest of all humankind to help others in their times of suffering.

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                    2. Yes, I believe that.
                      I didn’t come to faith to escape the pain of thinking about the futility of life, nor the finality of death, nor any other emotional reason. Hope was an incredible byproduct of my conversion, not a catalyst.
                      But now that I am a Christian, I find it truly heartbreaking when I think of those with no faith saying goodby to a loved one. Cannot imagine.

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        2. History records many, many instances of very sincere people claiming to have experienced a supernatural event. What criteria do you believe that we should use to determine which of these supernatural claims are true and which are not?

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          1. You don’t even have to go back that far lol! Fatima etc come to mind.
            You have to look at the whole body of evidence regarding Christ and His claims. Either you accept it and believe He is God or you don’t. Either you accept the Bible as originally written as the Word of God or you don’t.
            I was convinced of His divinity without thinking about the 500 people who witnessed the resurrection.
            That being said. Have you ever read Josh McDowell’s book? He talks about what criteria historians use to determine the credibility of a source. The New Testament is way up there as far as the criteria historians use.
            There is at least one other mention of disciples seeing Jesus after the resurrection, but they are not numbered.
            Paul was a brilliant man. Persecuted Christians. Then became one and suffered terribly and then was martyred. All the apostles, every one except John, continued in the faith till martyrdom. You would think one of them at least would have jumped the ship to save their skin if they had any doubts.

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            1. The thing is, 1BWise, all this is based on the contents of a BOOK that has been disputed for ages and ages as to its authenticity and authority. You, along with untold thousands of others, consider its words to be valid and unquestionable — and you reference it as “proof” for your claims. However, in essence, its only true validity rests with those who believe its contents,

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                1. Oh yes, I know about the emotional side as well. But that’s just it. Your personal experience with “Christ/God” is just that … personal. When you (or any believer) attempt to convince others of your faith by referencing this experience, it has little to no effect.

                  Jesus said in Matthew that if others don’t receive you or listen to your words, you’re to shake the dust off your feet … and move on. I fail to understand why Christians don’t do this.

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            2. Have you ever read Josh McDowell’s book? He talks about what criteria historians use to determine the credibility of a source. The New Testament is way up there as far as the criteria historians use.

              Yes I have. Josh McDowell is not a professional historian. He is an evangelist. The only sources which claim that the New Testament is a credible source of historical information are fundamentalist Protestants and evangelicals. Not even Roman Catholic scholars make such a claim.

              https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/majority-of-scholars-agree-the-gospels-were-not-written-by-eyewitnesses/

              You need to venture out from your conservative Protestant bubble, my friend.

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              1. Of course not. Obviously they believe in what they have died for.
                Jews believe in the same God as Christians, but they reject Christ as Messiah, as was prophesied in the Old Testament.
                Muslims believe in a religion founded by a man with questionable ethics and morals.
                Hindus believe in numerous gods.
                Muslims and Hindus are, next to communists, two of the worst persecutors of Christians.
                I’m talking about present times, not the Middle Ages. I know of no present day persecution by Christians of other groups.
                We are taught to love our enemies. Do good to them. Bless them. If they hate us so be it, Jesus told us that would be.
                My point is that these 12 walked with Jesus. They talked with Him, touched Him after the resurrection, and we have historically credible sources that recorded many of His sayings and actions. They said He rose from the dead. I believe them. There are numerous proofs that have convinced me that what is in the Bible is true.
                Interesting, today I was listening to someone talking about faith, and that we are dependent upon God to provide it. And faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
                But I believe He bestows it upon those who are willing to receive it, no matter the cost. Means you can’t keep doing the things your flesh wants to do.

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                1. “There are numerous proofs that have convinced me that what is in the Bible is true.”

                  And there it is, the real reason why most Christians believe: subjective personal feelings and their subjective perceptions of odd events in their life.

                  Personal feelings and perceptions are not good forms of evidence.

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                  1. I agree with you, to a point. But I did not first come to believe because of any personal feelings or perceptions, nor did I continue in my faith because of them… maybe even in spite of them, as I’ve been in church services that were downright weird and somewhat repulsive to me.
                    I majored in science and have a logical mind. I have questioned everything, and still do. Funny how all my answers have led me to Christ and you, away.

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                    1. Initially I came to believe because of all the prophesies concerning His first coming, coming true, and also the prophesies concerning His second coming, playing out before our eyes. It seemed to me that it would be impossible for anyone but God to be so precise.
                      As I had my doubts, and questionings, they were answered one by one.
                      I became convinced that the Bible was inspired by God, in its original languages. And so I believe what are in its pages.
                      As CS Lewis said, Jesus was either God, or He was a liar, or He was a madman.
                      His teachings, alone, are sufficient proof that He is neither a liar or a madman.

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                    2. And essentially, it all boils down to the credibility of that several thousand year old book written by individuals who may or may not have existed.

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                    3. Interesting. Let’s start with prophecies. You do realize that all the alleged prophecies about Jesus in the OT are disputed. The overwhelming majority of Jewish Bible scholars reject the Christian claim that the Hebrew Bible says anything about a messiah who will be born of a virgin or die to atone for sins. Even Christian scholars agree that many of these alleged prophecies can be interpreted to NOT be about Jesus (Isaiah 7 and 53, for instance). That doesn’t sound like very good evidence to believe that a human being is the Creator of the universe. You are a scientist. I’m surprised you consider disputed fortune telling as good evidence. What am I missing?

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  6. I thought we were having a discussion, but I see it has deteriorated into insults directed at me and the “Book” I hold near and dear. Never mind, it’s ok, I forgive you.
    You do realize the Jews rejected Christ as Messiah, as was foretold?
    I am truly not expert enough to argue with you on prophesy, but have studied enough to conclude it was truly recorded and was and is being fulfilled.
    God bless you all, may your searching (hopefully you are truly searching) lead you to truth.

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    1. Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you. I will be more careful with my wording, but to me “prophecy” and “fortune-telling” are one and the same thing. I hope we can continue a polite conversation.

      Why do you think all (or at least almost all) Jewish Bible scholars reject the alleged prophecies about Jesus?

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      1. Thank you Gary, that is noble of you… I hope I don’t do the same thing, I have in the past when frustrated!
        Not a whole lot. They have a vested interest not to believe in them… and yet… they still do hope for a Messiah don’t they? On what do they rest their hopes?

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        1. So you believe that Jewish Bible scholars have a bias, and that is the primary reason why they reject the Jesus prophecies as valid; it is not because of a sincere evaluation of the objective evidence. If they were objective, they would see that the Jesus prophecies exist.

          Very good.

          Would you agree that it is also possible that the reason that Christian Bible scholars do see Jesus prophecies in the OT is due to their own bias and not due to a sincere evaluation of the objective evidence?

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          1. Absolutely. And they both could be wrong.
            But I think the Christians are right. Not enough of a scholar to pop off the top of my head why I think so, and don’t have time right now to dig into it, but hopefully I will get back to this in a few weeks.
            Just a thought, though…If you saw the Jewish nation converting to Christianity in droves, what would you think? That is one of the prophesies concerning the second coming.

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            1. So we agree that both Jews and Christians could be looking at the evidence with biases. And you and I probably have our biases on this issue too, right? So I suggest we look to other sources to evaluate whether or not the alleged Jesus prophecies in the OT really exist. Think about this: If the Bible’s futuristic predictions/prophecies were so amazingly accurate, other people who have no “dog in this fight” should notice that fact. Yet the fact is, I am not aware of any non-religious history textbook which points out the incredible accuracy of the Bible’s predictions. And it is not just historians, what about people who compile books about records, such as The Guinness Book of World Records? If the Bible contains the most accurate predictions of any book in the world, you would think this amazing feat would be mentioned. It is not.

              What does all this mean? I suggest it means that most people in the world don’t consider the Bible to be an amazingly accurate collection of prophecies/predictions of the future. As a man of science, I hope you will recognize that the claim that the Bible is amazingly accurate in its predictions of the future is an exaggeration. Only people who already profess to be believers in Jesus the Christ consider the Bible to be amazingly accurate. That is not good evidence. And I suggest that as an educated person, you should examine why it is that you disagree with the thousands of historians and collectors of world recorders who don’t agree with you. I suggest you believe what you believe because of bias. You WANT to believe it.

              The question is, why?

              Please tell me about your conversion experience.

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                1. Many times what most people, including the experts, believe, is wrong.

                  So you are the final expert on all issues? That doesn’t sound like the attitude a man of science, to me. Men of science trust consensus expert opinion.

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          2. Another thought, too, about the Jewish rejection of Christ, besides it being a fulfillment of prophesy, is that they were not expecting a peasant, as you say, but a king. Even the disciples closest to Jesus expected Him to march to a political victory, not suffer and die like a common criminal.
            The problem they had was that there are 2 comings of the Messiah prophesied – one the suffering servant, and the second, as king victorious.

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            1. The Jewish mashiach is translated literally as anointed and traditionally refers to a king or High Priest anointed with holy anointing oil.

              In Greek, the mashiach becomes Khristós, which is then anglicized to Christ, and this became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth.

              From Wikipedia: The majority of historical and mainline Christian theologies consider Jesus to be the Son of God and God the Son, a concept of the messiah fundamentally different from the Jewish … concepts.

              These are facts.

              What has taken place is the Christian religion (Paul) turned an itinerant Hebrew fellow named Yeshua into something the Jewish people (who started this whole thing) do not recognize or accept.

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            2. Isn’t it also possible that Jesus was wrong? He wasn’t the messiah, even though he sincerely believed himself to be the messiah? If that is true, then the Jews are correct. Jesus was just another failed messiah pretender. He did not fulfill the messianic prophecies as almost all Jews interpreted them. The Jews are right to have rejected him. I humbly suggest that you seriously consider that possibility.

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              1. Do you think I haven’t considered that Jesus is not God? That the Bible isn’t true?
                Again, prophesy needs to be discussed… but I can’t do it now. Look forward to digging into it in the near future. Thank you for engaging with me!

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                1. Please tell me about your conversion experience. How old were you when you first believed in Jesus of Nazareth as your resurrected Lord, Savior, and Creator God?

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                  1. Thank you for getting me to write my testimony! I haven’t done that in a long time. (On the day of my daughters baby shower no less!)

                    I came to Christ at 21, after what seemed at the time a long time of searching for truth. I came out of the drug and hippie movement, where I found it was not all peace and love.
                    My boyfriend at the time was into anything spiritual, and read books on Ekankar, I Ching, astral projection, and the occult. I followed along, trying each of his current interests successively. They all seemed to have some spiritual power… but I wasn’t settled in them, and grew tired of the drug scene, feeling like it was not good for me, or anyone else for that matter.
                    We both were readers, and he always seemed to find interesting books, and I read them. Chariots of Fire, books on aliens..
                    Then he brought home Late Great Planet Earth. It all made sense to me, and it was like a light went on in my head.
                    I had a friend I met at a summer job, an older woman, intelligent, who I respected. I made a lunch date with her and brought the book to discuss. She brought the same book.
                    I can’t say when exactly I gave my life to Christ, I think it was some months later.
                    Since then I have many ups and downs in my faith walk, and many doubts. I can honestly say, each one has been settled.
                    Hal Lindsay was right about a lot of things and wrong on some. But I thank God he wrote that book.

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                    1. I don’t remember the book that well, I read it almost a half century ago! It intrigued me enough to look into its claims and eventually I became convinced enough to give my life to Christ.
                      I think it convinced me more that the Bible was reliable. If you read the Bible, it without question points to the deity of Christ.
                      Incidentally I was researching Josephus a little this morning. He seemed like a very smart man, somewhat self-preservationist.

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                    2. Ok, can you tell us the most important evidence that convinces you that Jesus of Nazareth is God the Creator. Please be specific. (If you say “prophecy”, please tell us which one so we can all evaluate it.)

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                    3. I am beginning to formulate an answer. I appreciate that you are making me do this!
                      It is not an easy question to answer but it most definitely is answerable. Please give me a little time.
                      In the meantime, I found this, which I heartily agree with and believe is why so many turn away from the faith:
                      “ This is what Packer said in characterizing evangelicalism. He said, “It is egocentric, zany, simplistic, degenerate, half-magic spell casting which is all the world sees when it watches religious television or looks directly at the professed evangelical community.” Pretty strong language from an Anglican.
                      …he was saying all that because he was comparing it to this massive tome written by the Puritan Richard Baxter. It is well beyond a million words applying the Scripture to Christian living. He further said, “Baxter’s work is a high level of intelligent Bible-based, theologically integrated wisdom with unfailing, unimpaired clarity that is dazzling to the mind.”” John MacArthur
                      I don’t watch “evangelists” on tv. I go to the masters such as I find in studylight.org

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                    4. You know … your reference to Late Great Planet Earth brought back memories. It was also one of the sources that “convinced” me to become a Christian. The thing is … after 15+ years of “serving the Lord,” I began to recognize the storyline for what it was … a misguided attempt to interpret the bible and world events as being “ordered by God.”

                      And now, of course, most all that Lindsey wrote and predicted has come and gone. Just like my faith.

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                    5. I’m so sorry to hear that Nan. Yes much of how he interpreted prophesy was wrong I know.
                      I haven’t been into eschatology in a long time so can’t off the top of my head defend much..
                      but I will attempt at some point to get back into its study a bit..
                      Have a blessed day, I’ve been praying for all of you, God put a love for you in my heart. (And no I have no objective evidence of that lol)

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  7. Gary –

    This post is purely “informational”.

    re: “So the question remains: If five hundred people in Galilee, sometime between 30 CE and 55 CE (approximate date of Paul’s writing of First Corinthians), claimed to have seen Jesus of Nazareth alive again after he had been publically tried and executed by Pilate in Jerusalem, why didn’t Josephus (or Philo) mention this event?”

    If one reads Josephus – not just the “usual excerpts”, but, the whole account, starting with the mention of John the Baptist, one will notice that Josephus is providing info to give background to one important historical event, which was the execution of James, the brother of Jesus, by the High Priest Ananus ben Ananus.

    He wants to give the history of “who the heck was this ‘James’ guy?”, because his execution by Ananus caused a big flap with the Romans, and cost Ananus his job.

    You might recall that Josephus noted John the Baptist as being well-known, and notes that “some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s [Antipas’s] army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism…”

    So, he begins with the “John connection”, and Herod Antipas. Then, on to Jesus, who was crucified by Pilate. And lastly – now that we all know this bit of “history” – Josephus ends the tale with the story of James – who he identifies as “the brother of Jesus” (now that we know who “Jesus” was), “…who some called the Christ”.

    And, that was Josephus’ job: he was telling an even BIGGER tale, of which these other events played a cumulative part… From Josephus’ perspective, it was all “moving ahead” to the time of the destruction of the temple, etc…

    Josephus was telling the history of the nation; he wasn’t writing autobiographies about every character involved in that history. He’s just bringing up John as a starting point (because evidently John was well-known), then moves to Jesus & his crucifixion at Roman hands, then finally gets to James, the brother of Jesus, who was executed by Ananus, and which started a major flap with the Romans (because they didn’t allow the Jews to carry out executions, and Ananus’ doing so was a major affront to Roman authority).

    So, miracles by John, Jesus or James were not important to the national history that Josephus was telling.

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    1. Interesting. Just curious, if the Romans did not allow the Jews to execute people, why didn’t the Romans get upset about the stoning of Stephen?

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    2. If we are to believe that Gospels (which you claim you do NOT believe), Jesus:

      –performed more miracles than all the Jewish prophets of the OT.
      –Jesus raised more people from the dead than all the OT Jewish prophets combined.
      –according to the Gospel of John, the pharisees and chief priests claimed that “all the world has gone after Him”, indicating that Jesus was an infamous person.
      –throngs (hundreds? thousands?) of Jews cheered Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday”, greeting him as the new King of the Jews, heir to the throne of David.
      –Pilate himself set in judgement of this Galilean peasant.
      –Pilate was so fearful of the “mob” at his gates that he relented to the execution of this man.
      –at the moment of this man’s death, the sky went dark for three hours; there was a great earthquake; and the Temple veil mysteriously tore down the middle.
      –and finally, shortly after his death, the followers of this man were claiming that he had appeared alive again to over FIVE HUNDRED people…

      …yet not ONE, single, solitary non-Christian author mentioned any of these fantastical events!

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  8. Gary –

    about Stephan: read the account carefully — that was a “mob” thing. The Sanhedrin never “pronounced sentence” on Stephan at all. And – neither did they attempt to stop the mob. But, in any case, it wasn’t a matter of the Sanhedrin executing anybody. It was much more like a “lynching”, while authorities turned a blind eye. And — if nobody said anything to the Romans about it? Well, they probably weren’t going to care.

    Of course – that’s depending on whether the whole thing was even an historical event… shrug

    As far as your comments about stuff from the Gospels.. well… I certainly have no idea what is or isn’t “historical” in those books. Except — I will say, I don’t have any problem with the notion that Pilate actually did sit in judgement of Jesus. I suspect Pilate did that in a considerable number of cases, all leading to executions – but – we have no “names” of any of his victims. But, the rest of the stuff you mention? I dunno. I don’t spend any time on that kind of stuff…

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    1. If Jesus existed—which most historians believe he did, so I will accept his historicity as fact—he was a nobody during his lifetime. He only became famous decades or even a century later.

      That is what the evidence indicates. The Gospels are not historically reliable sources, therefore the detailed “eyewitness” accounts of people seeing a walking, talking resurrected body are very suspect, and without those eyewitness reports, no one should believe that a once in history “resurrection” occurred.

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  9. I have no idea what possible difference it makes if Jesus was a “nobody”.

    And, the Gospels are “suspect”, aren’t they? That’s one of the reasons I don’t rely on them (at all) for anything “historical”.

    re: “…without those eyewitness reports, no one should believe that a once in history “resurrection” occurred.”

    OK, sure. Maybe we, these days, don’t have “Gospels” that were written by eyewitnesses.

    but, back then? In the earliest church? Well, they didn’t have the Gospels at all. But, that didn’t mean that they didn’t have eyewitnesses, does it?

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    1. You and I are in agreement in our belief that the early Christians sincerely/genuinely believed that Jesus had appeared to some of them. What differentiates us is that I see their sincere belief as more probably based on illusions, false sightings, delusions, hallucinations, or hysteria than on literal sightings of a resurrected body. You disagree. You believe that a supernatural explanation is more probable for this belief.

      You and I will never come to an agreement on the most probable cause for this belief since your worldview involves the supernatural and mine does not. We are beating a dead horse.

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  10. well, I think it’s a good thing for you to know the reason you don’t believe in the resurrection has absolutely nothing to do with the Gospels, or Paul’s letters, or any other such thing. The reason you don’t believe in the resurrection is because you don’t believe in any kind of “supernatural power” that would do such a thing as a resurrection in the first place. The only problem with that belief, though, is that it might not be true. So, there’s that. shrug

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    1. The reason you don’t believe in fairy godmothers is because you don’t believe in any kind of “supernatural power” that would do such a thing as create a carriage out of a pumpkin in the first place. The only problem with that belief, though, is that it might not be true. So, there’s that. shrug

      Very true. Fairy godmothers, leprechauns, goblins, and unicorns may exist. I cannot prove that they do not. But since the evidence for the existence of these supernatural creatures is so poor, I choose not to waste my time worrying about the slim possibility that they do.

      Ditto with resurrected first century bodies.

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  11. That’s not what you said. You said you didn’t believe in a “supernatural”. A supernatural could exist regardless of whether there are fairy godmothers, leprechauns, (etc) – or resurrected corpses. A supernatural is NOT dependent on any of those things existing at all.

    Your comment is a total logical fallacy.

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    1. No. You obviously do not understand the concepts of logic.

      If I had said I know as a fact that the supernatural does not exist, that would be an illogical statement as it is impossible to prove that something that does not exist does not exist. For example, I cannot prove that unicorns do not exist.

      I don’t believe in the existence of the supernatural just as I don’t believe in the existence of unicorns. Why? Answer: Lack of good evidence. When someone presents good evidence for the existence of unicorns then I will believe in them. Ditto for the supernatural.

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