The Disciples Saw a Ghost: Evidence from the Bible Itself

The Mystery of Paranormal Ball Lightning

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

–Matthew 28

Some doubted?  Hadn’t the eleven disciples just seen the resurrected Jesus at least twice in Jerusalem (once without Thomas and once with Thomas)?

If we are to believe the Gospels, even some of Jesus’ disciples weren’t sure that the being who appeared to them was Jesus. Think about that: Your friend just died a few days ago. Suddenly he appears to you in the flesh. He allows you to touch him. He speaks to you. You recognize his voice. You watch him eat a fish lunch. As he eats, you recognize his mannerisms. He even shows you his wounds and lets you poke your finger into them. (You have to be up pretty close to someone to poke around in his wounds.)  And this dead friend has now appeared to you not once, not twice, but (at least) three times!

Yet after he leaves the third time…some of them aren’t sure it was him!

Huh???

There is a very simple answer, folks: They saw a ghost (an illusion).

Stories about watching a resurrected body eat a fish lunch, levitating into the clouds, and poking fingers into his wounds were literary embellishments—written decades later—titilating fictional additions to the original story; a story that probably only involved the sighting of a phantom (ghost)…a ghostly image which consisted of nothing more than a cloud formation, a shadow, or a bright light!

Poorly educated, superstitious minds are fertile ground for ghost sightings. Modern, educated people should not believe in ghosts.

 

 

 

End of post.

14 thoughts on “The Disciples Saw a Ghost: Evidence from the Bible Itself

  1. “There is a very simple answer, folks: They saw a ghost (an illusion).” That is Gary’s simple answer to Matthew 28:16-17 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

    But when a thorough examination of the entire chapter is done, we come to an entirely different understanding. First, verse 17 is not in reference to the 11 disciples and apostles of Jesus who had already seen Him alive and clearly understood that He was no “ghost.”

    Gary assumes as do others that Jesus only had 11 disciples, simply an incorrect view. When we read Matthew 28:7 “go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead and He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him.” And in verses 9-10 we read: “on the way, Jesus came to them and they put their hands on His fee and worshiped Him. Jesus says to them: “Go and tell My brothers to go into Galilee and there they will see Me,” we should realize that the words disciples and brothers are plural and do not simply mean the ONLY ELEVEN!

    Tell all of His disciples and brethren, many who did not see Jesus after His Resurrection until that meeting at the mountain in Galilee. These are the ones who were doubting the reports! It was NOT the Eleven!

    Jesus did not appear to ALL of HIS Disciples! The disciples who are “doubting” are those who have not as yet literally seen Him! These are not the 11 for they have seen Him and touched Him and watched Him eat. But not all of His disciples have experienced the appearance of Jesus, not all of His disciples have seen Him nor touched Him.

    Gary assumes that Jesus only had 12 disciples (now minus Judas) and some out of these 11 doubted, but that is an assumption based on a superficial read of Matthew 28, in fact, Gary only used 2 verses to make his case: verses 16 and 17.

    In Acts 1:15 we read that “Peter got up and spoke to 120 disciples gathered there with them (the 10 apostles/disciples of Jesus: Acts 1:13.

    “Stories about watching a resurrected body eat a fish lunch, levitating into the clouds, and poking fingers into his wounds were literary embellishments—written decades later—titilating fictional additions to the original story; a story that probably only involved the sighting of a phantom (ghost)…a ghostly image which consisted of nothing more than a cloud formation, a shadow, or a bright light!”

    Gary assumes the above-mentioned is correct and he has no evidence to confirm his opinion and assumption. Anyone can do this and it has been done. Gary is not the only one to assume and give his non scientific (evidence) opinions. And it is okay to assume and opine; however, it is not okay when opinions and assumptions are meant to come across as “the truth and nothing but the truth!”

    “Poorly educated, superstitious minds are fertile ground for ghost sightings. Modern, educated people should not believe in ghosts.”

    Gary, that is true for the most part, and I would add the following: Modern, highly educated, non-superstitious minds are as well “fertile ground.” These moderns are so closed-minded people and yet they willfully deceive themselves into believing that they are “enlightened!”

    Like

    1. Rachel, it is a simple matter of understanding the use of pronouns:

      “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some [of them] doubted.”

      The pronouns “they” and “them” refer back to the noun “the eleven disciples”. You are reading into the text a noun that is not there. The subject pronoun is the “eleven disciples” not “all the disciples”.

      Like

  2. It is interesting to see that the 11 worship Him upon seeing Him, and yet some doubted? Why worship someone you doubt? The only one of the 11 who doubted was Thomas, and he quickly changed his mind when he saw Jesus, and called Him: “My Lord and My God!”
    All 11 worshiped Him and not one of them doubted. But here, you read “some doubted” and you say: “it is a simple matter of understanding the use of pronouns.”

    First, it was ONLY Thomas who doubted, but now it is more than Thomas because the word “some” is used in Matthew 28:17. And your answer for the doubting of some of the 11 is — “There is a very simple answer, folks: They saw a ghost (an illusion).”

    When we read John 20:25, the “other disciples” (let us assume it is the 11 Only) clearly said to Thomas the Doubter: “We have seen the Lord?” They saw Jesus their Lord, not a ghost! They were 100% certain without any doubt. But before this, at first they did think they had seen a spirit (you say ghost, but the Greek New Testament always says spirit, never ghost) —
    Jesus Himself says to them: “Peace to you.” “But being alarmed and becoming fearful, they thought they saw a spirit.” And Jesus says to them: “Touch Me, a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

    In Luke 24:41 we read that they were full of joy and wonder and thinking to themselves: “this is too good to be true” Jesus asks for food. The text here in Luke 24:41 does not say in the Greek that they doubted and continued doubting. The real resurrected Jesus with His wounds was there with them, speaking, eating and they were overjoyed and like many of us even today would say as they did: “This is too good to be true!”

    These 11 disciples of Jesus were so convinced that Jesus was a “ghost” that they spread this message of the Resurrected “ghost” Christ Jesus, all 11 dying as martyrs (except John who died of old age) for their belief in a “ghost.”

    Many modern well-educated,non-superstitious people believe this view: Amazing to read in the New Testament that they all preached a “ghost, lived and died for a ghost, and convinced others that a ghost died for them and forgave all their sins.”

    It is a lot more than “a simple matter of understanding the use of pronouns.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are assuming that all the appearance stories told in the Gospels are historical. If we look solely at Matthew’s appearance stories, some of the eleven doubted. Now, it is possible that Matthew’s story that some of the eleven doubted is just as fictional, as say, John’s story of doubting Thomas.

      But my point in this post is that there is evidence, in the Bible itself, that some of the eleven may have doubted. It is not strong evidence because we do not know who wrote the Gospel of Matthew nor do we know if this author’s sources were accurate.

      Like

      1. I am 100% accepting all the appearances recorded in the Gospels as historical accounts. I do not see it is “fictional” as you do. And if your point is that there is “evidence in the Bible itself, that some of the eleven may have doubted” that is your point, not mine. Why even bother to quote the New Testament section of the Bible if you see it as “fictional” from cover to cover? You are making statements and taking issues with what is written in a book that by your definition is “fictional.”

        Why use “fictional” accounts to make a case or a point and then whitewash your points by generically saying: “We don’t know.” It is as if you have just finished confessing that you do not know but then proceed to make statements like: “I do not know but you are wrong.” OR “I do not know if the writings are historical and truthful but I will use this flawed and fictional data to make my point.

        “We do not know who wrote the Gospel of Matthew nor do we know if this author’s sources were accurate.” You admit that you do not know and I will accept that statement of yours at face value; you, Gary, do not know! That being said, I, however, am convinced that Matthew wrote and that his sources were 100% accurate. Since the earliest of times, the Church has accepted Matthew as the writer and or author of his gospel, even if he used scribes. There is no gospel labeled: Anonymous!

        Hundreds of ancient Greek manuscripts all attribute the gospel to Matthew, no exceptions! Those ancient scribes spread all over the Roman Empire and having in their possession Greek manuscripts never attributed the gospel of Matthew to Mark, Luke, or John. It was unanimous; they all gave the correct names to the correct gospels, there was no mix-up, no error and no conspiracy by those early scribes to all agree to give the name of Matthew to the gospel that bears his name, to John and his gospel, to Mark and his gospel, to Luke and his gospel.

        Thank you again for admitting that you do not know even though you involve others by using the plural: we. These other scholars that you follow are just as ignorant as you. ( I mean no disrespect by using the word, ignorant. I know you are smart enough to realize that to be ignorant means to “not know.” And you have admitted as much!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “I am 100% accepting all the appearances recorded in the Gospels as historical accounts.”

          And that is the problem.

          NOWHERE do I claim that the stories in the Gospels are fiction. What I do say is that it is possible that these stories are fact and it is possible that they are fiction. Since we cannot even be certain who wrote these books, it is impossible to know for sure if the stories told by these authors are historically factual.

          Like

  3. Well, let’s not, Rachel, accept what the text actually says. Let’s impose our own meaning that fits with what we want to believe. Then we can insist that none of the 11 doubted, even though the text clearly states they did. Let’s supplement that particular sleight of hand with the unproven myth that all the disciples except one subsequently died for their faith (even though there’s no evidence they did and even though we know nothing about the actual beliefs of the few who may have been marytred and even though zealots today are prepared to die for their beliefs despite never having seen the risen Jesus) and, hey presto, Gary’s hypothesis is disproved.

    Except, of course, it isn’t. The resurrection accounts were written 40 years or more after the supposed event by people who weren’t there; and yet still they preserve the inconvenient fact that some of the disciples remained unconvinced by the visions and apparitions others of their number thought they’d experienced.

    Better luck next time, Rachel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neil, you write the following as if you know for a fact (100%) that “there’s no evidence” — “(even though there’s no evidence they did and even though we know nothing about the actual beliefs of the few who may have been marytred and even though zealots today are prepared to die for their beliefs despite never having seen the risen Jesus)”

      Neil, none of the 11 apostles/disciples of Jesus lied and died and convinced their families and loved ones to die for a fictional character. Unlike you and Gary, they literally saw the resurrected Jesus (that was enough evidence for them) and they spread the gospel (the good news of the Promised Messiah and that in Him the Old Testament pointed)

      You say that “zealots today are prepared to die for their beliefs despite never having seen the risen Jesus.” Care to give me examples of Christian Zealots today “prepared to die for the risen Jesus” sight unseen?

      And like Gary, there you go saying: “we know nothing!” Okay, I will agree with you and Gary, both of you have convinced me totally -— you guys know nothing! You will no longer get any argument from me! You guys know nothing! I am now fully convinced by your: “We (Gary and Neil) don’t know” true statement.

      Ironic isn’t it, Neil, you do not believe the New Testament accounts as historical events, and yet you like Gary proceed to prove your case by using “fictional” accounts! Go figure!

      Like

      1. Rachel says: ‘Neil, none of the 11 apostles/disciples of Jesus lied and died and convinced their families and loved ones to die for a fictional character.’ You’re right, we have no evidence that any of them did any of this. This was the point I was making: there is no historical evidence whatsoever that indicates 10 of the 11 died for their belief in the resurrection. With the exception of James we simply don’t know how, when, how or why they died I’m sorry you were unable to grasp this point.

        Neither is there evidence ‘they literally saw the resurrected Jesus’. In fact, the only evidence there is, in the gospels, is sketchy, inconsistent and strongly suggestive of visions and apparitions, as Gary suggests. The only eye-witness report we have of the resurrected Jesus, that of Paul, is precisely of this nature, with Paul claiming the other sightings of Jesus were the same as his.

        And are you really questioning whether zealots today are prepared to die for a character they’ve never actually seen? A simple Google search brings up numerous Christian sites, either boasting or lamenting this very fact. Here’s one to start you off: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/11-christians-killed-every-day-for-their-decision-to-follow-jesus/

        Gary and I look at the texts as they are and draw our conclusions accordingly. We, like many others outside the evangelical bubble, acknowledge that the gospels are literary creations and as such are historically unreliable. The evidence they present for an actual, physical resurrection is weak, inconclusive and distorted beyond recognition by an agenda intended to promote faith, as they themselves admit.

        You, on the other hand, argue entirely from a position of faith, which prevents you from seeing what is actually there, making you dismissive of external evidence and compelling you to supplement your arguments with assumptions (for example, that most of the disciples died for their belief in the resurrection.) It also prompts you to add unnecessary ad hominem insults. I’m sure Gary is as glad as I am that you’re slinking away in defeat.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I happened to see this. Simply question for Gary: How do you know that what “some were doubting” was whether or not Jesus was physically resurrected? Right after that is stated, we are told that Jesus commissions them to go out and proclaim the Gospel to the nations (i.e. Gentiles). We know from Acts and the letters of Paul that the issue of how Gentiles “fit in” was an issue that was internally debated among the earliest Jewish members of “The Way” (i.e. the Jesus movement).

    Given the context, and what we know about what unfolded in the first few decades of the early Church, it seems much more likely that what “some were doubting” was not Jesus’ physical resurrection, but his Kingdom agenda to take the Gospel to the Gentiles.

    Like

    1. Hi Joel. I hope you are doing well. Did you receive the copy of “The Case Against Miracles” I sent to you?

      Context is very important. I do not doubt for a minute that the Jewish followers of Jesus, at some point in time after Jesus’ death, became conflicted about sharing “the way” with Gentiles. But if we only look at Matthew’s story, this is what we find at the end of the 28th chapter:

      Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

      Note that the statement “some doubted” occurs prior to Jesus giving the Great Commission. So if we only look at the context of Matthew’s story, the doubt occurred immediately upon Jesus’ appearance, not after he had instructed devout Jews to share the Gospel with Gentiles.

      Regarding what exactly it was that the original eyewitnesses saw, I do not believe that it is possible that all the appearance claims were based on hallucinations. It is quite possible that none of them were. However, I think it is very plausible and probable that many or all of the appearance claims were based on illusions (seeing something in your external environment that is really there, but, your mind for some reason perceives it as something else.) History has recorded multiple instances of people seeing a bright light, cloud formation, or a shadow, believing it to be the Virgin Mary, an angel, or even Jesus making a miraculous appearance to them.

      Like

  5. Could anyone cite a known case or two, from modern studies, that show that a person who has hallucinated “seeing” a deceased person also went on to claim that the deceased was bodily alive?

    In my research, I’ve never found a single instance of anyone having an hallucination of a decease person who then claimed that the decease person had returned to life, and left the grave. Not one. None. I have found instances in which a person with (for example) Alzheimers had hallucinations of a deceased loved one, and believed them to be alive – but – they had merely forgotten that the person had died in the first place. Other than that, I have not found a single instance in which an “hallucinator” claimed the deceased had come back to life, having left the grave.

    In fact, neither Ludemann or Ehrman, who each make a case for “hallucinations”, quotes any examples as the kind I’m looking for. Evidently, they couldn’t find any either, else, I’m sure they would have loved to have used that info to make their cases.

    So, if somebody could point me to a known case where someone had an hallucination of a deceased person, and then went on to claim the deceased was alive again, I’d really appreciate having the info….

    Like

Leave a Reply to Joel Edmund Anderson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s