Historicity of Christ

The Historicity of Jesus Christ Updated

The trail of credible history that certifies the reality of the person Jesus Christ is monumental. The trail of history that certifies the virgin birth, the ministry of Christ, the miracles, the crucifixion, the resurrection and more, is abundant. Was there a Jesus Christ? Does history endorse the Bibleís account of the Lord of Glory?
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The Historicity of Jesus Christ Updated

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Our problem began when the second voice spoke in the Garden of Eden. Our great-grandmother, in an act of unbelief and disobedience, yielded to it. Great-grandfather Adam followed her lead. Unbelief and disobedience ushered in the law of sin and death. Immortality and Paradise were lost in a single day. It’s at this place where the plan of God’s salvation is launched. The baton of salvation is passed from generation to generation. Some high points would be Adam’s son Seth passing the baton to Noah; Noah to Shem; Shem to Abraham; Abraham to Isaac; Isaac to Jacob; Jacob to David; David to Jesus Christ; and Calvary and Christ’s resurrection to the church; and onto Armageddon where the armies of the antichrist are destroyed and Satan is bound and cast into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. For more details, click onto "The Chronology From Here To Eternity."

When all things are ended concerning this earth, when the redeemed enter the New Jerusalem on God’s new earth, there will once again be only one voice (God’s voice), and this place will be called Paradise. The Word of God declares that if we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, the first voice, our days can be "as the days of heaven upon the earth" (Deuteronomy 11:21). Would you like to end your confusion? Today is the day of salvation. Have you believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, repented of your sins, and turned from them? You can do it now! It will be the best day of your life. It will be the day you become born-again—born into the household of God. Click onto "Further With Jesus" for immediate entry. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Matthew 1:18-23:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

MAN SAID: Jesus Christ is fiction! He never existed!

Now THE RECORD: For over 6,000 years, Satan has bred, groomed, and harnessed the world’s best carnal minds to challenge the veracity of the God of the Bible and the Holy Scriptures found therein. Unfortunately for them, Satan and his ilk have failed time after miserable time. This feature will simply be another example that God is, and that the opposition is the camp of foolishness. Psalms 14:1:

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

The trail of credible history that certifies the reality of the person Jesus Christ is monumental. The trail of history that certifies the virgin birth, the ministry of Christ, the miracles, the crucifixion, the resurrection and more, is abundant. F. F. Bruce, Rylands, Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, said the following concerning the antichrist group: "Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories."

Otto Betz, author of What Do We Know About Jesus, said, "No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus." [End of quote]

Was there a Jesus Christ? Does history endorse the Bible’s account of the Lord of Glory? The answer, of course, is a resounding "YES!" Cornelius Tacitus, who was born in 55 A.D. and died in 120 A.D., was called the "greatest historian" of ancient Rome. He was born approximately 20 years after Christ’s crucifixion. Tacitus wrote concerning the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, and recorded the following:

But not all the relief could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus (Christ), the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberias: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also.

That’s a quote from Cornelius Tacitus. Later on we’ll see what enormities the early believers were accused of.

The following excerpt is from Josh McDowell’s book, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. It reads:

Cambridge lecturer Markus Bockmuehl notes that Tacitus’s comments provide us with testimony by the leading Roman historian of his day, "independent confirmation that Jesus lived and was formally executed in Judaea in the reign of Tiberias and during Pontius Pilate’s office as procurator (technically still a prefect, A.D. 26-36). That may not seem like much, but it is actually surprisingly useful in discounting two different theories which are still sometimes advanced: first, that Jesus of Nazareth never existed; and secondly, that he did not die by the duly-administered Roman death penalty." [End of quote]

Again Tacitus, who was also the governor of Asia, wrote the following in his historic account entitled The Annals of Imperial Rome:

To suppress therefore the common rumor, Nero procured others to be accused, and inflicted exquisite punishments upon those people, who were in abhorrence for their crimes, and were commonly known as Christians. They had their denomination from Christus (Christ), who in the reign of Tiberias was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate. This pernicious superstition, though checked for a while, broke out again, and spread, not only over Judea, the source of this evil, but reached the city (Rome) also.

Luke, the beloved physician of the Bible, spoke of the persecution the Christians experienced at the hands of the Jews. Acts 18:12:

And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

In regard to the unrest, secular Roman historian Suetonius, who was a court official under Hadrian, and annalist of the Imperial House, stated in his historic record, Life of Claudius, the following:

As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (another spelling for Christ), he (Claudius) expelled them from Rome.

This event took place in 49 A.D., approximately 12 years after the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.

Again, Suetonius chronicled the firing of Rome under Nero in 64 A.D. and recorded the following: "Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."

As we continue, you’ll discover what “mischievous superstition” caused the death of the Christians. You will be surprised. Listen to this account by Pliniun Secondus, also known as Pliny the Younger. It was written in 112 A.D. He was writing to the emperor of Bythynia seeking counsel on how to treat the Christians. He explained that he had been killing both men and women, boys and girls—there were so many being put to death that he wondered whether he should continue killing all those who were discovered to be Christians, or if he should kill only certain ones. He explained that he had made the Christians bow down to the statues of Trajan. He went on to write that he also made them curse Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to do. And in the same letter, he writes concerning the Christians who were being tried in the courts:

The whole of their guilt, or their error, was that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day as to a god and bound themselves to a solemn oath: not to do any wicked deeds, never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, nor to deny a trust when they be called upon to deliver it up.

So, Pliny the Younger wrote that in those days Christians were being martyred because they refused to do evil.

One of the first Gentile writers to mention Christ is Thallous, who wrote in 52 A.D. However, his writings have disappeared and we only know of them from fragments cited by other writers. One such author is Julius Africanus, a Christian writer who lived about 221 A.D. What he had to say is that Thallous, in the third book of histories, explains away a certain darkness as an eclipse of the sun. This is unreasonable, of course: a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon and it was at the time of the Paschal full moon that Christ died. From this reference, we see that the Gospel account of the darkness which fell upon the land during Christ’s crucifixion was well known and required a naturalistic explanation from the non-believers who witnessed it. So, Thallous was attributing it to an eclipse of the sun. But it couldn’t have been an eclipse of the sun since it was the Paschal full moon. You see, Jesus Christ was crucified on the Passover—the Paschal full moon.

Lucian, who was a satirist, spoke despairingly about Jesus Christ and His followers in the second century. He speaks of Jesus as follows:

...the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world. ... Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers one of another, from the moment they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.

The famous Jewish historian Josephus was hired by the Romans to record Roman rule and actions in Israel. His writings were recorded 30 to 40 years after Christ’s crucifixion. One excerpt follows:

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 among 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 at this day.

Julian, the Roman emperor, an ancient enemy of the Cross of Christ, wrote the following:

Jesus...has now been celebrated about three hundred years; having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany.

So you see that Julian, the Roman emperor, ascribes to Christ the power to perform miracles. Again from Josh McDowell:

In the Babylonian Talmud we read: "It has been taught: On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out, in front of him, for forty days (saying): ‘He is going to be stoned, because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.’ But, not having found anything is his favor, they hanged him on the eve of Passover." Another version of this text says, "Yeshu the Nazarene."

"Yeshu" translates through Greek to English as "Jesus," and the reference to him being a Nazarene makes the link to Jesus Christ even stronger.

Moreover, the word "hanged" is another way of referring to crucifixion. "The Talmud," writes the Jewish scholar Joseph Klausner, "speaks of hanging in place of crucifixion, since this horrible Roman form of death was only known to Jewish scholars from Roman trials, and not from the Jewish legal system. Even Paul the Apostle expounds this passage ’for a curse of God is that which is hanged’ as applicable to Jesus."

Also, the reference that this crucifixion occurred "on the eve of Passover" agrees with John 19:14.

Therefore, this text clearly affirms the historicity of Jesus and His death. It also affirms that the Jewish authorities were involved in the sentencing, but it tries to justify their actions. In a backhanded way, it even attests to Jesus’ miracles, but it attempts to explain them away as the work of a sorcerer or magician, a response mentioned by Gospel writers. [End of quote]

This final excerpt, taken from the writings of a man by the name of Professor Arnold, sums up this message pretty cleanly. For 14 years he was the famous headmaster of Rugby, also the author of a famous three-volume history of Rome and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford. He says:

The evidence for the Lord’s life and death and resurrection may be and often has been shown to be satisfactory. It is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and tens of thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece, as carefully as every judge summing up the most important case. I have myself done it many times over. Not to persuade others, but to satisfy myself. I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them and I know of no fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort through the understanding of a fair inquirer than the great sign that God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.

When H. G. Wells, the noted historian, was asked which person had left the most permanent impression on history, he replied, "Judging a person’s greatness by historical standards, by this test, Jesus stands first."

GOD SAID, Matthew 1:18-23:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

MAN SAID: Jesus Christ is fiction. He never existed.

Now you have THE RECORD.




References:

Authorized King James Version

Jeffrey, G.R., Jesus, the Great Debate

Julius Africanus, Extant Writings 18, Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol 6

McDowell, J., The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict

Pliny the Younger, Epistles 10:96

Suetonius, Life of Claudius

Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars

Tacitus, Cornelius, The Annals XV, 44

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