If a person claimed something of theirs was missing or stolen and you interviewed several alleged witnesses, but the witnesses had varying stories with details that contradict one another, could you for certain declare something to be fact? Could you say with 100% certainty someone was guilty or not-guilty? What if throughout the reports of the eye-witnesses there was a common denominator of a certain person or group of people were indeed involved? Would not those people be perceived as suspects?
When I study the various accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, I find it problematic there are many contradictions, but a similar report of the women being first on the scene, but can’t get their stories straight… Let us dissect and discuss…But first, grab your New Testament.
Consider how and when the women saw the resurrected Jesus such as: In Matthew 28:1-8, Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” came to the tomb around dawn the day after Sabbath and experienced an earthquake when an angel came down from heaven and personally rolled away the stone. Supposedly it scared the guards, plural, to death paralyzing them in fear. In Mark 16, after Sabbath was over, early in the morning, when the sun had risen, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (and Jesus), and Salome brought spices to anoint the body. At first, they were perplexed as to who will roll the stone away for them, but when they arrived, the stone was already rolled away for them. What happened to the earthquake and seeing the angel descend? The speculated but not proven author of Mark skips over that detail. Seems like a a highly important detail to somehow forget. Upon arriving at the open tomb, they see a young man inside. No mention of the guards in that version.
A few verses earlier, evidently the tomb’s stone is able to be moved by just 1 person since Joseph (not Mary’s husband) rolled it himself in Mark 15:46 so that leads me to believe 2 or 3 women could have rolled it if just 1 man could have. In Luke 24, on the 1st day of the week, very early in the morning, certain women and “other women with them” so now we have a group of women went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body. Upon arriving, like in Mark, but unlike in Matthew, they discover the stone is already rolled away. After going inside the tomb, suddenly not 1 man as recounted in Mark, but in Luke’s version 2 men were inside the tomb.In John’s version found in John 20, he describes just 1 woman went to the tomb, Mary Magdalene, while it was still dark so not at dawn or after dawn like the other versions describe. No mention of any earthquake nor other women or 1 or 2 men or angels are told to us in John’s version, but we do learn Peter and another disciple race to the tomb and reveal another interesting clue and that is that the linens Jesus was wrapped in were neatly folded within the tomb (John 20:5-7). Verse 9 of John 20 states the disciples did *not* know of any Scripture (in Tanakh) prophesying the Messiah must rise from the dead because there is none. Rather, the Messiah is to bring world peace, unity, and elevate the Jews to assist in teaching Torah to the world as light to the nations (Isaiah 2, 11, 42, 49, 53-56 among others).
Also, we learn in John’s version that both Joseph and the Pharisee Nicodemus wrapped and anointed Jesus’ body in spices (John 19:38-42) upon his burial. If Nicodemus and Joseph already anointed Jesus’ body, then why did the women need to come again to do so at the time of his burial in Luke 23:56 PRIOR to Sabbath and why did the women return to do so AGAIN AFTER Sabbath as defined in Mark 16:1? Matthew writes about a guard or guards being there to seal the stone whereas none of the other gospels do; Joseph rolled the tomb in place; Yet, the women wondered how they would unroll the stone as if impossible to do so- then why come to anoint him in the wee hours of the morning or at dawn, depending on which version, if the stone cannot be unrolled and if they cannot unroll it themselves? This does not make sense.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus lived and died as there are a limited number of historical writings of such events. There also is little doubt his body was missing or the Pharisees and Romans could have simply opened the tomb to dispute the claim of the resurrection. I suppose they still could have done so, but we know not of historical documents stating this theory so for the sake of argument, let’s say the body was indeed missing. Conversely, should the Pharisees or other Jews or the Romans discovered Jesus indeed did resurrect from the dead, wouldn’t that have been the catalyst to producing far more believers instantly rather than just a small group who were already Jesus’ fans? How come we have no documentation of detailed accounts of the resurrected Jesus appearing to any of the alleged 500 Paul claims though Paul didn’t even personally know Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:5-8)? Not to mention Paul’s order of appearance list also contradicts the gospels. There is no account of Jesus revealing himself to anyone but primarily the women first, then some men, IF any of that is even true. Wouldn’t the resurrected Messiah be sure to reveal himself to his accusers? To those who didn’t believe him? Wouldn’t that be far more magnificent and noteworthy to propel God’s mission? Wouldn’t that be far more effective and critical in sharing the ‘good news’ of the gospel, particularly to the so-called lost sheep Jesus was sent to (Matthew 15:24) as in the Jews?
Let’s say for the sake of argument, the Pharisees or Romans inspected the tomb and verified Jesus’ body was missing. Is it not possible though that the body was removed? Who would have the most motive to remove Jesus’ body?
We are told the disciples did not believe the women when they came to them to report Jesus’ body was removed. Also, interestingly enough in John’s version, found in John 20:1-2, Mary Magdalene runs to the disciples to tell them “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”. Wow! Did she see him or not? In other accounts, she ran into Jesus either at the tomb or upon leaving the tomb prior to seeing the disciples (Matt.28:7-10; Mk 16:8-11). In John’s version, she runs to the disciples first to tell them Jesus’ body is missing, but then later, after Peter and another disciple inspect the tomb, Mary Magdalene speaks to two angels and Jesus appears to her, which she then ran to the disciples again to report what happened (John 20:11-18). Do you see the confusion in the timetable and details of the various gospels?
These many different accounts of the same epic moment seem suspicious and becoming less credible the more the reader compares the testimony of the so called witnesses. But back to motive…the disciples, being men of various trades, although disappointed and humiliated, could easily have gone back to their occupations. However, there is one person in particular who had EVERYTHING to lose if Jesus did not rise again. Mary, Jesus’ mother, not only would have been financially ruined if Jesus did not rise from the dead being her other sons would be the laughing stock of town, but she could have been stoned per the law being now the truth she was not miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit but rather by Joseph or whomever. Is it not strange the women knew where Jesus’ body was being each account testifies the women were there when he was placed in the tomb unlike the disciples, AND showed up either in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn to anoint his body when they or Nicodemus already did so while allegedly not knowing how they would open the tomb themselves, AND there are so many different versions of the details of what happened next, AND the linens just happen to be folded neatly all pointing to the women?! Is it not possible wanting to spare Mary, mother of Jesus and their friend, the women got together to remove the body under the guise of anointing the body, folded the linens neatly in place upon unwrapping them, and then after making it look like he vanished, ran to the men to tell them their many different versions of what happened?
Furthermore, could the women or men have hallucinated having been under great post-traumatic stress? Could they have seen a ghost as some versions express? How many reports are there in modern ages of people seeing their dead loved ones’ ghost or ghosts in general? Plenty, interestingly enough. There even is a ghost story in 1 Samuel 28:11-19 where the medium saw the ghost of the Prophet Samuel, much to her horror. The ghost of Prophet Samuel was recognizable, had a physical appearance, could clearly communicate and EVEN still give a prophecy to King Saul and yet, the dude was still technically dead! So could the disciples have seen and likewise conversed with Jesus’ ghost?
Could they have concocted seeing Jesus or could they have been deceived into seeing someone else posing as Jesus since they did not recognize him? Or could the unknown authors of the gospels created the story themselves since there is no other documentation of Jesus’ resurrection? If it was documented elsewhere that he lived and died, why would not people document the most epic event in all human history – his miraculous resurrection?! Even if he actually did rise again, others in the Tanakh/Old Testament rose again such as Elijah resurrected a child (1 Kings 17 & 2 Kings 4), does that make Elijah or those children THE MESSIAH? Even so, Jesus still doesn’t fit the majority of the profile of the Messiah as described by the prophets.
Also, if Jesus did rise from the dead, Matthew 7:53 says the graves were opened and there were numerous resurrected people walking around. What happened to those people? Moreover, how come NO ONE ELSE documented anywhere that historians know of this hugely monumental event? Maybe because it is largely fiction just as has been proven about Herod’s non-existent census.
These are somethings I have pondered the last several months..feeling like a Detective of the Divine. Seems to me if Jesus was the perfect son of God, then the accounts of such an important figure would also have been perfectly documented. Don’t go researching how many errors there are in the alleged “inerrant” word of God we are told of to describe the New Testament, you will be sorely disappointed. And yet, I know of no errors in the Tanakh (Old Testament). Perhaps some may find it alarming or suspect 1st Corinthians and Paul’s epistles were all written first decades before the gospels based off Paul’s mystical experience of seeing Jesus in the clouds, which no one else saw, but they did hear a voice according to Acts 9:7. However, in Acts 22:9, Paul testifies that the people with him in that moment saw a light, but did NOT hear Jesus’ voice, the exact opposite of what the author of Acts wrote several chapters earlier. Once again, we have a book that contradicts important details of the people who are sharing this new strange faith claiming to have seen the resurrected Jesus.
Did you know the gospels were written LAST of all the New Testament whereas Paul’s writings and others were first? Even the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, was written before the gospels. How suspect! Could not the gospels have been written to support the ideologies of Paul or others all those years later? As church history unfolds, billions are told or led to believe the gospels allegedly precisely quote Jesus. Over the centuries and still today, we are making doctrines and divisions out of things allegedly said or done by a man documented numerous decades after he lived and died. I can’t remember and therefore could not document what someone precisely said last week let alone decades later. Could you? And do you really believe each account is “inspired” by the Holy Spirit? If so, are they four different holy spirits because it is four different accounts of the same alleged event (being the resurrection, for example)? I know, you were told it is just different perspectives. With that reasoning, evidently, “God” has varying perspectives or accounts of absolute truth. Clearly, Paul or whomever he employed to pen the Book of Acts, some scholars say it was Paul’s Gentile buddy Luke (the same author of the Gospel of Luke), cannot keep Paul’s story straight of his alleged witness of the resurrected Jesus either as proven in Acts 9 and 22!
As a metaphorical detective in this case, my conclusions are as follows:
- None of the alleged eye-witnesses can get their stories straight regarding the resurrection as to who, what, where, when, how, creating plausible false testimonies.
- The documentation of the gospels were written numerous decades after the alleged events allowing for facts to be forgotten, scrambled in minds, out of chronological order, as well as subtracted from or added to possibly for greater sensationalism and meaning. Or, made up entirely!
- None of the alleged eye-witnesses are wiling to sign their names to their testimony (none of the authors of the gospels signed their names – it is merely speculated who may have written them). How would anonymous witnesses hold up in court? So essentially, you have no actual witnesses and no consistency in their stories rather than at least two or three witnesses with consistent and true testimony, per Torah.
- There is absolutely no third party documentation or accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, but there is of his existence and certain deeds he did as well as his death. Likewise, there is no third party documentation of others being resurrected simultaneously as Matthew 7:53 reports, all of which would surely have created quite a stir and prompted others to document such epic events had they actually occurred.
- Other false details, misquotes, and fiction has been proven throughout the gospels, the Book of Acts, and the Book of Hebrews (though not all discussed in this article) all building a case against these writings being the “inerrant” word of God (never mind the fact God suddenly changed His language from Hebrew to Greek, even though He is not a man who does not lie or change – see Numbers 23:19 and Malachi 3:6).
- Lastly, we know the primary proponent of Christianity, being Paul, the author of books/epistles written before the gospels all about Jesus, by his own testimony persecuted fans of Jesus, but then later recanted due to a bizarre vision like experience of Jesus, which may have possibly been triggered by severe guilt and mental illness. Then to make himself feel better, he exhorts himself to be on Team Jesus spreading the false stories of the “good news” or maybe better labeled “fake news”.
- Throughout history and not excluding during the period of Jesus and Paul, various pagan religions, including Greek mythology already believed a god-man figure who died and rose again, making it easy for Gentiles to accept and believe this new found faith spread namely by Paul based off his unusual and contradictory report detailed in Acts 9 and 22.
In conclusion, Jesus was a man, not God, who likely was rabbi (teacher) and prophet performing signs and wonders as most prophets do (even false prophets). Jesus taught many good and interesting concepts such as “Do unto others as you would have them do to you“. Nevertheless, according to the warnings of Tanakh, God tells us He will certainly test His people by sending false prophets to tempt people to worship them or another God instead of the One True Living God. What does God say to test a prophet by? Namely two (2) areas: Are they for or against Torah? Secondly, did their prophecy manifest? (Read Deuteronomy 12:29-13:11 and 18:9-22). Jesus was (and still is) such a test as he was a false prophet, not because he taught against Torah (we know he was for Torah not against it – see Matthew 5:19-21); although, fascinatingly enough, the Church has successfully brainwashed billions into thinking Jesus was against Torah and did away with it, which should be a red-flag to all Jews and other students of the Bible, never mind the fact the Church distanced themselves from anything remotely Jewish and instead created many replacement theologies, traditions, and feasts over God’s Holy rituals and holidays (found in Torah) all the while using the funds of naive and ignorant people to build a wealthy religious empire elevating the power and control of the Church and successfully produced fruit of holy wars, harm to others, and endless division still carrying on today. How many denominations are in just the Protestant sect of Christianity? Over 40,000! Furthermore, Jesus was a false prophet or false Messiah because his claim of being Messiah does not fit the Messianic prophecies defined in the Holy Scriptures (the Tanakh / “Old” Testament), more specifically what the anointed will be doing and in my opinion, Scripture blatantly says who God will resurrect to be King to usher in the New Covenant/Messianic Era/ World To Come – see Ezekiel 34:23-25; 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9; Isaiah 9:7. Lastly, Jesus was a false prophet because according to the gospels, he declared prophecies claiming he would return in the lifetime of his disciples and yet, that clearly did not manifest (Matthew 16:27-28; 24:25-34; 26:63-64; Mark 13:26-30; Luke 21:27-32).
Due to all the clues and findings, as a metaphorical Detective of the Divine, I would deem this case closed.
Penned by: Carrie R. Turner, August 28-29, 2020