Historicity of Christ

Forgery Trial of "Jesus Box" Ends

Recently quite a stir was made over the archaeological find of an ancient ossuary discovered in Israel. This ossuary was a 20-inch long box which once held the bones of a dead man. This find was especially electrifying because of the inscription on its side.
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Forgery Trial of "Jesus Box" Ends

Topic#: 1322

Even the bad times are good. A believer once called me on the telephone, and in her greeting she inquired of my well-being, to which I answered, "Today is the best day of my life." She asked whether I had hit the lottery and my response was, "Much better than that!" Psalm 66:10-12:

      10

For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

      11

Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.

      12

Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

There is a secret place that the children of faith have discovered, a wealthy place where all things are good, and even the bad can be the best. Converting negative circumstances is the marvel of marvels. By the childlike application of the Word of God the dark, ominous clouds give way to Light and Truth. Consider these documents of truth:

I Thessalonians 5:18:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Proverbs 4:18:

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

James 1:2-4:

      2

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

      3

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

      4

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

II Corinthians 4:17:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

I Peter 1:7:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

With no battles there are no victories, and without giants, no trophies.

The key to the door of this wealthy place and the beginning of this amazing journey, Jesus calls "born again." Have you been born again? Are you ready to end the foolishness of this life? Would you like to have all your sin and shame erased? Would you like a purpose to live that exceeds your supper plate and the clothes you wear? Would you like to dwell in a place where everything works to your good? It's called born-again. Make your move now. Click onto "Further With Jesus" for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. Do it today. Now for today's subject.

GOD SAID, Matthew 1:16:

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

GOD SAID, Matthew 13:55-56:

      55

Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

      56

And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

MAN SAID: There is not one shred of historical evidence that the man Jesus Christ ever lived.

Now THE RECORD. Stand fast saints, for the battle against the Word of God continually stiffens. The Word of God speaks of the Israelite tribe of Zebulun in I Chronicles 12:33:

Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.

They were of one mind and in the din of battle they kept rank. They didn't flinch. Welcome to GodSaidManSaid. This is feature article #583 that proves the full veracity of the Holy Bible. These features are archived on GodSaidManSaid in text and streaming audio for the edification of the blood-bought and for ammunition in the battle for the souls of men. Every Thursday evening, God willing, they grow by one. We look forward to your visits and we speak these words over you: "May the face of our God shine upon you and all that you put your hand to with Light and Truth."

Today the cautionary note attached to the first of two GodSaidManSaid features on the so- called "Jesus Box" comes down. The front page caption of the May/June 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Reviewreads, "Defendants Acquitted in Forgery Trial." Several foundational paragraphs follow from our original features on this matter:

The very fact that the ancient Jews constructed a defense against the testimony of Jesus Christ is in itself a certification that He did live. Their official position was that Jesus Christ was a bastard and a sorcerer. It was necessary that Jesus be a fatherless child (a bastard). Isaiah 7:14 speaks prophetically of the miraculous virgin birth of the coming Messiah. It reads,

      Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
    If Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary as the scriptures attest, then the Jews crucified the Messiah. Therefore, we see their position that Jesus Christ was a bastard. Secondly, if Jesus Christ performed all the marvelous miracles ascribed to him in the Scriptures as well as in ancient history, then He could only have been the holy prophet of God and the Messiah that He said He was and as the Bible declares. The Jews' official position then is that Jesus Christ was a sorcerer or else they, the Jews, instigated the crucifixion of their Messiah. This is still the position of the unsaved Jews of today. They may have toned down the verbiage but the result is the same. The Jewish defense against Jesus is a certification for the existence of the Christ. The following passage is from the ancient Jewish Babylonian Talmud. This is a piece of their historical record of the Lord Jesus Christ:
      Jesus was hanged on Passover Eve. Forty days previously the herald had cried, "He is being led out for stoning, because he practiced sorcery and led Israel astray and enticed them into apostasy. Whosoever has anything to say in his defence, let him come and declare it." As nothing was brought forward in his defence, he was hanged on Passover Eve.
      Of course the Lord Jesus was tried and crucified on the Passover. He is known in the scriptures as "Christ our Passover" (

I Corinthians 5:7

    ).
    Recently quite a stir was made over the archaeological find of an ancient ossuary discovered in Israel. This ossuary was a 20-inch long box which once held the bones of a dead man. Between the years 20 BC and 70 AD it was a burial custom to place one's bones in the ossuary for final burial after the flesh was fully decayed. This find was especially electrifying because of the inscription on its side. It read, "Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui de Yeshua" which means "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The following excerpts were found in an AP article dated October 22, 2002:
      A burial box that was recently discovered in Israel and dates to the first century could be the oldest archaeological link to Jesus Christ, according to a French scholar whose findings were published Monday.
      An inscription in the Aramaic language - "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" - appears on an empty ossuary, a limestone burial box for bones.
        Andre Lemaire said it's "very probable" the writing refers to Jesus of Nazareth. He dates the ossuary to A.D. 63, just three decades after the crucifixion. Lemaire, a specialist in ancient inscriptions at France's Practical School of Higher Studies, published his findings in the November-December issue of

Biblical Archaeology Review

      .
      The Rev. Joseph Fitzmyer, a Bible professor at Catholic University who studied photos of the box, agrees with Lemaire that the writing style "fits perfectly" with other first century examples. The joint appearance of these three famous names is "striking," he said.
      "But the big problem is, you have to show me the Jesus in this text is the Jesus of Nazareth, and nobody can show that," Fitzmyer said.
    Lemaire addressed Fitzmyer's question further in the article:
      All three names were commonplace, but Lemaire estimates only 20 Jameses in Jerusalem during that era would have had a father named Joseph and a brother named Jesus.
      Moreover, naming the brother as well as the father on an ossuary was "very unusual," Lemaire wrote. There's only one other known example in Aramaic. Thus, this particular Jesus must have had some unusual role or fame - and Jesus of Nazareth certainly qualified, Lemaire concluded.
    Lemaire dated the ossuary at 63 AD. History shows James the brother of Jesus being stoned to death in 62 AD.
    In Book XX, chapter IX, of the histories of this man Josephus, the following excerpt is found concerning James the brother of Jesus:
      Now the report goes, that this elder Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons, who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and he had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests; but this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who were very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority.] Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of the judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or some of his companions;] and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:
    In an ancient writing from about 330 A.D. the following excerpt was found:
      Now James was so wonderful a person, and was so celebrated by all others for righteousness, that the judicious Jews thought this to have been the occasion of that siege of Jerusalem, which came on presently after his martyrdom; and that it befell them for no other reason than that impious fact they were guilty of against him. Josephus, therefore, did not refuse to attest thereto in writing, by the words following: "These miseries befell the Jews by way of revenge for James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus that was called Christ, on account that they had slain him who was a most righteous person."
    The historical record of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His disciples and apostles is monumental. Only the foolish would deny it. [End of quote]

In September of 2005, the forgery trial of Oded Golan, antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch, and three others began.

The following information is from the October 2010 issue of The International Jerusalem Post, under the title, "Putting the case to rest," with the subhead, "The judge considers his verdict in the five-year Jesus forgery trial." The reporter, Matthew Kalman, writes,

The discovery in 2002 of a limestone burial box with the Hebrew inscription "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus" electrified the world of archeology. If genuine, the burial box, or ossuary, would be the only archeological artifact found with a possible direct link to Jesus of Nazareth.

    Amid international fanfare, the ossuary went on display at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum and swiftly spawned numerous articles, scholarly studies, several documentary movies and at least four books.
    But experts at the Israel Antiquities Authority declared it a modern-day forgery. Israeli police seized the burial box and arrested its owner, Tel Aviv collector Oded Golan. In December 2004 he was charged with faking the ossuary and dozens of other items, including an inscribed tablet linked to King Joash, which, if authentic, would be the only physical evidence from the Temple of Solomon.
    The indictment leveled 44 charges of forgery, fraud and deception against Golan and 13 lesser counts against a codefendant, antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch. The trial of Golan, Deutsch and three others opened in Jerusalem District Court in September 2005.
    Last month the defense ended its summing-up with just two men left in the dock, bringing to an end five years of court proceedings that spanned 116 sessions, 133 witnesses, 200 exhibits and nearly 12,000 pages of witness testimony. The prosecution summation alone ran to 653 pages. [End of quote]

The summation of the issue of the "Jesus Box" is now complete. The following paragraph was written by Suzanne Singer in the May/June 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Reviewunder the title, "Defendants Acquitted in Forgery Trial:"

As I write, the news is fresh. By the time you read this in BAR, however, surely nearly everyone knows that the defendants (Golan and antiquities deader Robert Deutsch) were acquitted on all counts of forgery.

    [End of quote]

Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, who doggedly followed the case of the "Jesus Box," had this to say in the current issue:

A former employee of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) named Joe Zias has for years maintained that he saw the famous bone box (ossuary) inscribed "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" in a Jerusalem antiquities shop without the words "brother of Jesus." If true, the addition of these words to the inscription is clearly a modern forgery.

      Once the claim was public, I felt free to discuss it in

BAR

    . Was Zias lying? Apparently, he made the same claim to his former employer, the IAA, because that became the critical allegation of the criminal indictment admitting that the ossuary itself and the first part of the inscription were ancient but the last part, "brother of Jesus," was a modern forgery.
    It has now been almost a decade since I had this conversation with Zias. The five- year forgery trial ended a year and a half ago, and the judge has only recently announced his decision acquitting the defendants of all charges of forgery. But Zias has never retracted his claim that he saw the ossuary without the words "brother of Jesus." Until now! [End of quote]

The howling of the skeptics has ended, at least on the ossuary that reads, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

Why all the denial? Jesus said in John 3:19:

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

GOD SAID, Matthew 1:16:

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

GOD SAID, Matthew 13:55-56:

      55

Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

      56

And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

MAN SAID: There is not one shred of historical evidence that the man Jesus Christ ever lived.

Now you have THE RECORD.




References:

Authorized King James Version

Shanks, H., Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2012, p22

Singer, S., Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2012, p16

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