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WAS JESUS REALLY BURIED?

The Christians believe that Jesus rose physically from the dead. They say that he was entombed and vanished from the tomb and appeared alive soon after. The tomb was found empty.

 

Josephus wrote that Jerusalem was razed to the ground in 70 AD: “All the rest of the wall encompassing the city was so completely levelled to the ground as to leave future visitors to the spot no ground for believing it had ever been inhabited.”  If the gospels were written near or after that terrible time, it stands to reason that nobody would have evidence of Jesus' tomb.  Lying then was easy at that point.

 

But, whatever!  Was he really buried?

 

Josephus our historian wrote that sometimes bodies were stolen to give them a dignified burial.  It would not have been unknown for the likes of Jesus who died in utter disgrace to be stolen from the cross in case he would be thrown away like thrash.  "Nay they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial: although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun."  Notably Josephus who supposedly wrote that Jesus was the greatest of men and killed because of the Jews blames the death of Ananus for the misfortunes of Jerusalem.  "I should not mistake if I said, that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city: and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs; whereon they saw their High-priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city. He was on other accounts also a venerable, and a very just man".  He writes as if he knew nothing of the core Christian claim that what happened to Jesus was the start of the end of Jerusalem.

 

Read all about it in Josephus Jewish War 4.

 

“It was commonly believed in ancient times that there were two classes of spirits of the dead which were relatively easy to conjure up and were thus most accessible for the purposes of ‘black magic.’ The first class is that of the atafoi, spirits of persons who had not received a regular burial. The second class, relatively more numerous and less immediately attached to a specific locality, is that of the biaioqanatoi [bi-aiothatoi], spirits of persons who had died a violent death.” Kraeling, Carl H. “Was Jesus Accused of Necromancy?” Journal of Biblical Literature 59 (1940): 154-155.

 

Here is a pagan prayer, "I beseech you, Lord Helios, listen to me [name to be supplied] and grant me the power over this spirit of a man killed violently (toutou tou bioqanatou pneumatoj) from whose tent I hold [a body part]. I have him with me [name of deceased], (ecw auton met’ emou [tou deina] a helper (bohqon) and avenger for whatever business I desire."

 

These traditions show why Christians had to lie that Jesus was buried.  If he was not the resurrection would have been seen as the appearance of a ghost.  It seems they had to make do with risking him being seen as a ghost for violently dying.  The violent death and then resurrection was needed to appeal to people who like stories of good triumphing over evil.  The traditions show why the body of an alleged miracle man might be stolen for magical rites.  The possibility remains that the traditions were the trigger and catalyst for the tales of Jesus' return from the dead which over time was turned more into a resurrection story than a ghost story.

 

The first Christian writer Paul said that Jesus was buried "etaphe".  It comes from Greek word for "taphos," which means "burial." The words do not mean tomb.  Tomb is "mnema"  The word for sepulcure is like it: "mnemeion".  Why couldn't Paul write entombed especially if Jesus unusually was entombed! 

 

Romans 14:9 has Paul writing: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.”  He seems to make a distinction between rose and revived.  It is as if he thinks Jesus came around as if he had recovered from the crucifixion and rose refers to him getting transformed into a glorified being.  This would diverge from the gospel template and certainly makes us wonder how reliable that template with the tomb being a considerable part of it was.

 

He wrote that Jesus was buried in an epistle which sought to help those believers who were falling away thinking resurrection was nonsense.  Some say they did not question Jesus' resurrection but to argue, "The dead will not rise for that is too silly.  But I believe Jesus rose" would not be worth answering.  Nobody would be crazy enough to argue that.  It would be either people can rise or nobody rises.  Paul took their problem very seriously and went as far as to argue that the faith is useless if Jesus did not rise.

 

In that light it is significant that Paul tells us nothing about the burial.  He is more interested in the apparitions of Jesus which raises problems for most apparitions even in the eyes of religion are to be ignored or debunked.

 

It makes sense to suppose that the burial did not come from a historical record or event but was read back into Jesus' life because of Old Testament texts which said somebody got buried. However it would not be surprising in the light of attempts to show that Jesus was the New Moses that God buried Jesus in secret as with Moses.

 

1 Corinthians 15:4 gets Jesus was buried from Isaiah 53:9 which was supposed to prefigure the life of Jesus.  The next bit says that Jesus was brought back to the land of the living on the third day as the scriptures say.  That could read as if Paul is saying the information came from the Old Testament prophecies.  We must remember that even the gospels give no evidence as to Jesus rising on the third day.  If he rose he could have risen as soon as the stone was rolled back.  The third day thing comes from Hosea 6:2 which is not speaking of a man rising at all.  Even if Paul was speaking of a historic burial, he has proven himself to be a liar so his evidence is annulled.

 

The gospels elaborate on the alleged burial.

 

They allege that the man who buried Jesus was Joseph of Arimathea who was a member of the Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Jesus.  Yet the gospels say the whole Sanhedrin plotted to get Jesus put to death and succeeded. Was Joseph of Arimathea part of the conspiracy to destroy and condemn Jesus? Maybe he joined the Pharisees after this condemnation in the hope of reforming them. But though he is called a secret disciple of Jesus the fact remains he was a hypocrite and had joined the Pharisees under false pretences and was presumably silent whenever Jesus was condemned by them. He was perhaps a disciple but not a good one. With a deceiver like that handling the body of Jesus anything could have happened.
 
Joseph had been a secret disciple and so a deceiver. What else did he deceive us about? He supposedly put Jesus in a fancy tomb he had for he was very rich. Perhaps he didn't bury him in it at all? The gospels never actually say that the witnesses could prove Jesus was put in it. It may have only looked that way. Did they bury what seemed to be a body but which was actually an imposture in the shape of a body created from cloths stiffened by spices and ointments?

 

Joseph of Arimathea is one of the handful of people who could say where Jesus was entombed. We are not told if anybody asked him. Surely the people burying had agreed to keep the tomb a secret? 

 

We do not know what Joseph thought of the empty tomb business.  Nobody asked him that either.

 

It is possible that Joseph feared he would get in huge trouble from Jesus' many ruthless and powerful enemies for being so kind and had the body removed in secret and reburied or dumped. Nobody can question that possibility for they were not there and do not know the whole story.  Perhaps Joseph had to make it a temporary burial to get a chance of keeping out of trouble.

 

What did he do with the thieves who died with Jesus? Perhaps he put them and Jesus in the tomb and it was one of them who left the tomb alive somehow and it was guessed that it was magic man Jesus who rose? Nobody knows what happened to the two men who died with Jesus. It is assumed that Joseph let the Romans deal with their bodies. What if a switch had taken place?  That would be enough to create a missing body mystery as far as Jesus is concerned.
 
Another problem is that the story is unreliable if Joseph of Arimathea never existed. Nobody knows where Arimathea is.
 
NO EVIDENCE FOR BURIAL
 
Let us assume with the Christians for the sake of argument that we can depend on the gospels.
 
Was Jesus really buried?
 
The Christian Church tells you that the corpse of Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried nearby in a new tomb owned by a rich man from which he inexplicably disappeared and subsequently he started appearing to people claiming to have been raised from the dead. How much of this can we listen to? We must go back to the only sources we have, the four gospels to see if they can help us.
 
According to the gospels, Jesus was taken off the cross by Jews who seem to have intended to bury him in a tomb. The tomb may well have been already prepared and left open in readiness.
 
The gospels say that Jesus was buried on the Sabbath day, the Sabbath was thought to start on Friday evening. The Rabbis at the time allowed full burials on the Sabbath and the stricter ones required that bodies be covered in sand to make them keep for the real burial when the Sabbath was past (page 235, The Jesus Conspiracy). Perhaps the tomb was opened and because they didn’t want to do a full burial on the Sabbath they just put him in the sand outside and closed the door of the tomb. Some of them thought they saw Jesus being buried properly and the whole empty tomb thing was a mistake. Those who knew chose to say nothing and let a new religion come to birth.
 
The gospels say that the stone was rolled back on Sunday morning but it doesn’t confirm that the witnesses said they saw the tomb closed. One thing is for sure, if Jesus rose miraculously from the dead in the tomb it would have been better for him to have left the stone alone instead of having it rolled back by angels as if he needed to get out! It would have been a bigger miracle if Jesus had been put in the tomb and sealed in and still disappeared. He could have told the disciples later to have the tomb checked.

Jesus was allegedly interred on Friday and on Sunday the tomb was found empty and wide open.

But was the body put in the tomb in the first place? The Gospels never indicate that Joseph of Arimathea or anybody else ever said that Jesus was buried. They just take it for granted that they were there and buried him. What if the body had been snatched off the cross for a secret burial and the women made up the story of the burial and the tomb to cover this up and throw the investigators off the track until the body was safe in its grave? The gospels never give any proof that the women were honest which is a sign that the gospels were hidden for readers would have asked for proof and if there was proof it would have to be inserted in later editions.

When you look at the Gospels you read what the writers assumed happened. They say that some people saw where Jesus was laid which need not mean they saw what they should have been sure was the body inside it. We are not told if they said they saw it and there was no mistake about it.  They are not written about as if they were eyewitnesses or saw much or would testify.

Joseph who arranged the whole thing was a dodgy character. It was only people who were unreasonably biased towards the cause of Jesus who were there – no impartial observers. The witnesses to the body being put inside should all have been named. Somebody was afraid of secrets slipping out or maybe there were no witnesses.

We must remember that since Joseph owned the tomb he could have legally removed the body or not even put the body in the tomb (page 173, Who Moved the Stone?). This would have had to have been done discreetly for underhand tactics would have brought shame on him. There is the legend from early Christianity that Joseph disappeared when the authorities wanted to question him about the mystery of the tomb (page 173, Who Moved the Stone?) which would eliminate the argument that fear would have stopped Joseph for he could have been planning to go abroad for a while. He had already shamed himself by coming out as a disciple of Jesus after deceiving the Sanhedrin that he wasn’t.

There is no reason to think that the Jews and Romans would have supervised the burial on the basis that they were afraid of plans to create a fake resurrection. Even Matthew stupidly says that they did not worry about that until after the burial. Also, they would have expected the body to have been stolen after interment not before or at it. The Jews would not come for it was near the Sabbath so it must have been the Romans if it was anybody. And it would have been the ones that had come to see Jesus as the salvation of the world (Mark 15:39) at that for they would have liked to have been there and do what they could to restore their idol to favour in the land.

Matthew says there was an earthquake before the burial. Earthquakes mean crime and looting so maybe there were no Roman guards there at the funeral for they had bigger duties to attend to. It depends on the rota and on where they were and how many there were. The crowd that gloated as Jesus died would have left if there was an earthquake to check on family and friends. Joseph of Arimathea would not have come out of the woodwork to help Jesus if they were about. And John says Jesus was crucified in a garden and buried in one for Mary saw what she thought was the Gardener. So, not many could have been allowed in to spoil the garden.

The funeral party just vanish from the New Testament like the ground opened up and swallowed them. This is extraordinary because their testimony to having placed Jesus in the tomb was important for many would have surmised that the tomb was empty for nobody had been buried in it. Their words could have been kept for posterity no matter where they went. Either they did not exist which was why they had to be eliminated from the story or they were found to have been up to something and really had to get away.

There were all sorts of ways to make it look like you were burying somebody and not do it. The shrouded body might have been hidden in bushes and replaced with a shroud full of straw. The straw could then have been shaken out inside the tomb and the cloths folded making the empty tomb seem inexplicable. We must also remember that the gospel of John only mentions the cloths that were seen in the tomb which does not rule out there being other cloths – so Jesus could have been removed in a shroud while the other cloths were left behind. The gospel says that Joseph wrapped Jesus in a shroud which need not necessarily mean he did it all himself. Perhaps he did the same for the other two men who were crucified with Jesus out of kindness though they would be thrown on the dump and ended up taking the wrong body to the tomb. Perhaps the real Jesus climbed out of the dump. Perhaps Joseph noticed signs of life in Jesus and took the wrong man on purpose and had this body stolen from the tomb for the broken legs would prove it was not Jesus. This was a cover so that they could attend to Jesus and hopefully save his life as quickly as possible. If they put him in the tomb he would have been harder to rescue. The gospels only say that no other body was in the tomb when Jesus was laid there but what if it was pretended that both Jesus and one of the thieves was buried there and when only one body the thief’s was found there they could still say the tomb was empty meaning empty of Jesus’ body whereas in fact there was only ever one body in it? Perhaps somebody came to steal the thief and took Jesus by mistake.

If they had been seen to lay Jesus in the tomb perhaps the body went down into a secret compartment of the bier or there was a secret opening in the tomb from which the body could be removed when all was quiet. The tomb would have been left open when the body was removed if there was a secret exit so that it would not be found. We don’t even know for sure where the tomb is to examine it. Remember, if Matthew is right that the leading Jews knew Jesus vowed to resurrect then Joseph of Arimathea may have seen to it that this promise would be fulfilled one way or another.

Perhaps Jesus was alive and was smuggled out when the mourners had gone for it is not said they saw the tomb being sealed. If he was disguised well enough and helped out they would have paid no attention to him even if they had stayed until the end.

Sadly it is not necessary to believe that the tomb was empty for a supernatural reason to believe in the resurrection.

The Jews would not have let it be known where Jesus was buried. Putting guards at the tomb would only draw attention. Yet Matthew asks us to believe they got guards posted there. The Jews would not have let the women watch the burial if they thought he could rise again or could become an explosive political martyr. The gospels say the women did watch the burial. In reality, nobody knew what was going on during the burial. There was nobody allowed to be there.

Jesus would not have been permitted the burial the Bible describes. Criminals were thrown into a pit.

Joseph may have pretended he got the body while the real one had been incinerated at the dump. Perhaps the man that was buried was found not to have been Jesus and it was explained that this was somebody who was laid there about the time Jesus was and that Jesus had gone. This fits the Bible which simply says that Jesus was put in a tomb that had never been used. If Jesus was in a big cavern and the tomb referred to one of many alcoves in the cavern then the tomb on which nobody was laid could have just been an alcove. The Jews removed bodies that had disintegrated into ashes and bones.
 
Jesus could have sneaked out when somebody came into the tomb or just between his burial and the closure of the tomb. There is evidence that the crucifixion of Jesus wasn’t as bad as Christians are led to think. He could have survived his crucifixion.

Why listen to the gospels if Jesus might not have been buried at all even if they are true?

Evidence for the burial not having happened is that myrrh and aloes are light materials yet one hundred pounds of them were brought to the tomb according to John (19:39). A large pallet of bags was necessary. This only makes sense if they were going to embalm but the Jews abominated embalming for it involved removing the entrails. The pallet seems to have been a cover for getting Jesus out of the tomb before the tomb was sealed. You could throw off the spices and hide Jesus in their wrap and smuggle him out.

The spices were so expensive that it would be no wonder if the tomb was opened on Sunday morning to get them but we don’t know if they were left there. They probably were when they were so heavy. Nobody carries such a load without apparent need and then takes them home again. Some would be stupid enough to suggest that guards were posted to watch the spices! If nobody shifty knew about them they would have been safe inside. If there had been spices in the tomb that were still there when the body was gone the guards would not have left the tomb despite what the Matthew gospel says that they did abandon it.

The body was possibly stolen from the cross itself by Jesus’ followers for Pilate did not want to risk Jesus being paraded through the streets to incite the people to rebellion if Jesus was as popular as the gospels would pretend. If Jesus had royal blood as the gospels say, even if he was hated as a person he could still have been used as a trophy by those who sought an independent Jewish monarchy and who wanted the Roman occupation out. This thinking would suggest that nobody knew where the tomb was and could know and the women just deliberately went to an empty tomb and let on they had seen Jesus buried there. The guards could have been around for another reason that was unclear and the followers of Jesus made out that they had been watching the tomb of Jesus.
 
YOHANAN
 
When people were crucified, most (if not all) were not buried. They were left on the crosses for birds and animals and wild dogs to feast on. This was the norm. There is much archaeological evidence and evidence from texts that this was so. The epitaph for a person murdered in the second century says that the murderer was hung from a tree while alive for the feeding of the beasts and the birds. It is impossible to find the bodies of crucified people because all that is left is what was dragged away the dogs. Only one heel bone from a crucified man has been found, the bone of a Jew called Yohanan (John). This was found in an ossuary.
 
The crucifixion victim, Yohanan Ben Ha’Galgal’s remains were found in a tomb in 1968. He is held to back up the Bible’s claim that Jesus was put into a tomb (page 98, The Resurrection Factor). But it is possible that Yohanan was thought to be as bad as Jesus. Jesus was a super-criminal in the sight of the Jews and Rome. And Yohanan might have been exonerated when it was too late so Rome let him be buried properly for he never should have been put to death. But we do not even know for sure if Yohanan was crucified under Roman law (Still Standing on Sinking Sand).
 
Perhaps Yohanan's body was stolen and buried. Or perhaps somebody stole what they thought were his bones so that he could be buried. Yohanan's heel bone being found in an ossuary does not indicate that he was buried but only that pieces of him may have been gathered up and put into the tomb. That he is all that can be found shows that it was very unlikely for Jesus to have been buried. If Yohanan was buried that does not make it likely that Jesus was buried.
 
We don’t even know if Yohanan died because of Roman crucifixion. Sometimes fanatics nailed corpses up as a warning. That a piece of the cross was attached to his heel does not sound like a professional Roman crucifixion.
 
Read  Jesus, A Revolutionary Biography, John Dominic Crossan, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1994.
 
If Yohanan having been buried proves that Jesus was buried, then why is he the only example of a crucified skeleton that we have? Page 141 says that he was nailed through the heelbones. And his arms were tied to the cross and wrapped behind the t bar. His plaque was nailed on on top of his heel, on each side, to prevent him tearing his foot free. A piece of his cross is attached to the nail going through his heel bone. His legs were not broken - the gospels say that the Romans broke legs to kill the victims faster.
 
The bodies of crucified men were guarded until death and then left on their crosses for scavengers as a warning to those who would break Roman law (Conspiracies and the Cross, page 155). Jesus committed a very serious breach - even more serious than any other crucified man. He claimed to be king and rode into Jerusalem in kingly style to the acclaim of the people - major treason. Jesus more than anyone would not have got any burial.

EATEN BY DOGS?
 
The earliest Christian writer, top apostle, Paul, wrote in Galatians 3 that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us on the cross for it is written, "Cursed be the person who hangs on a tree". He misquotes God in Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 which say nothing of the sort. The verses only say that the bodies of hanged criminals must be taken down and buried to prevent the land being defiled. It says nothing about a curse. Granted the misquote comes from the Septuagint which was a tarnished translation of the Hebrew Bible but Paul knowing the Hebrew Bible had no excuse. Some say that Paul was saying that because God is fair, he was cursing Christ for Christ was a great sinner. They believe that Jesus died as evil and rotten and was raised as good and holy and as saviour and Christ. There is another possibility. Did Paul mean by curse that Jesus was left on the cross? Did he mean that Jesus was left to rot on the cross and so defiled the land and was cursed that way? Does he mean that Jesus was not cursed by God but by those who left him to rot? He says elsewhere that Jesus was buried - perhaps this is referring to when there was nothing left but bones! Three days after burial he rose again according to Paul.
 
This is an examination of the argument that Jesus was left on the cross and eaten by animals. A counter to this argument is to be found in Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008.
 
My reply is,

The claim of the book that the Jews insisted on burial is very weak for the Jews hated Jesus and wanted him nailed to show he was cursed. The assertion of Josephus that the Jews got crucified men buried before sunset is not backed up by the evidence. Joseph of Arimathea is supposed to have gone in secret to get the body of Jesus to bury it. The Jews did not want to bury Jesus and they were not exactly queuing up to do it.
 
The book says that Pilate allowed Jesus to be buried for he was crucified outside of war time. It says it was only during war that the burial of crucifixion victims did not take place. Philo wrote of cases where burials were allowed by the Romans. In those cases the family wanted the body buried before the religious feasts and their wish was granted. For all Rome knew, it could have been wartime with the death of a descendant of David at their hands.
 
The book with typical Christian illogic, provides texts from Roman law that speak only of releasing the body to relative to support the gospel claim that Joseph of Arimathea received the body of Jesus. This law would in fact prove different for Joseph and Jesus were not related. It is also foolish how the book says that Pilate gave the body to Joseph because he wanted to keep the peace with the Jews (page 157). This contradicts the gospels in which Jesus is hated so much by the Jews that they didn't care what they did to get rid of him and the more he was mistreated the happier they were. The Roman law text says that bodies of people guilty of high treason were not to be given for burial. Jesus' treason was extremely high - he claimed to have supernatural powers and be protected in a way the godlike Roman emperor was not and to be the true King of Israel.

There is no reason at all to believe that if Jesus died on the cross that he was buried after.

MISSING BEFORE THE MARYS CAME?
 
Christians habitually claim that the women who came to the tomb found it empty. This is an assumption that is unwarranted even by the Bible itself so it is heresy to insist it is right.
 
Jesus was allegedly anointed for burial after he died on Friday. Yet we are told women go to the tomb on Sunday to anoint him. That looks suspicious for he would have been smelly and rotting already. If they did not know he was already anointed then what else did they not know?

The women were told to look into the tomb by the men who shocked them with the news that Jesus had vanished and risen. They were startled to find the tomb open. If there had been an earthquake as Matthew says they would have been afraid to enter the tomb for long or to go deep inside it. It was dim outside and the women were in a state so they might have not looked in right and thought that the body was away though it was still there. Jesus could have escaped from the tomb or been stolen after the women went away. The gospels are careful to avoid saying that the women did look on the place where Jesus had been laid or that they could see it even if they did enter the tomb a bit. The Gospels never say that the women went all the way in or that anybody did. Anybody who sees a tomb open will automatically assume the body has been stolen.

Perhaps the men in white concealed the body inside the tomb when the ladies were seen coming and removed it after they had gone. The men had been in the tomb according to John.
 
BURIED BY TRUSTWORTHIES?
 
If we could show that Jesus Christ was buried by people whose honesty was not up to scratch the evidence for a resurrection would be considerably weakened. It would make it most probable that there was an earthly and not heavenly reason for the disappearance of the corpse.

The gospels claim that a man named Joseph of Arimathea who was a leading light in the Sanhedrin removed Christ from the cross, wrapped him up and buried him in a tomb which only Matthew says was Joseph’s.

Joseph could have got a relative of Jesus to do that instead of showing himself up by seeking to bury a criminal hated by his people. Joseph must have deceitfully told Pilate that he was a relative. Pilate would have been unlikely to have granted a relative the body and even more unlikely to grant a stranger the body. Joseph lied so what else did he lie about? Did Joseph lie about being in the Sanhedrin too for he would have got somebody else to take control of the funeral on his behalf?

John 19:38 says that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus and a member of the corrupt and malign Sanhedrin which the gospels blame for Jesus being put to death. Joseph must have been as bad as the rest for he pretended to hate Jesus as they did. You do not stay in a murderous organisation when you deplore its activities. You resign.

Joseph did not convert between the trial and the death of Jesus for then he had no time to be a secret follower of Jesus.

He pretended to be a Jew and supported the doctrines of Jesus that were considered to be heretical by his people.

This man was callous and devious enough to engineer the fraudulent miracle of a vanishing corpse.

The Gospel claims that Joseph was decent and good. That does not prove that he might not have done this for it does not mean he was decent and good in they way a person would not carry out such a hoax would be.


There is no first-hand evidence for everything being as it should have been under Joseph’s supervision.

 

SPICY DETAILS

 

The gospel of John (19) says a record number of spices and oils were used on the body.  Even when he was alive and well, Jesus spoke of this marination in oil.  Jesus in John 12 when he gets smeared with expensive oil says she is preparing him for burial which obviously hints that he will get expensive oil on the day of his burial some time later.  You would wonder if all the exorbitant use of aromatic ointments and spice on the body was evidence that it was actually smelling - a lot!  And it only dead for a little while?  Was it Jesus at all?  Was Jesus in fact not buried in that tomb but was the funeral a plot to hide expensive spices and precious oils? Was that what was really in the cloth? It explains both why the tomb might have been robbed and why there was no body.  The aroma was asking for trouble.

 

THE REVELATION SPEAKS

 

The two witnesses in the Book of Revelation who are killed in Jerusalem and left unburied and rise in three and a half days are interesting in that we have an account where there is no problem with two figures who did bigger miracles than Jesus being dumped and still rising again.  It reads as if Revelation means it literally but what if there is another layer?  What if the author gave us that information about them simply because the same thing happened to Jesus?  He is definitely, at the back of his mind, thinking of Jesus who supposedly rose after three days after being martyred.

 

Revelation shows that people might not be buried even in Jerusalem which you would expect to be very particular about that sort of thing.

 

BELIEVERS TRIED TO MAKE THE EVIDENCE SOUND BETTER THAN IT WAS

 

From the internet:

 

Take Luke's account. There are 5 clear instances in Luke's Gospel.


Luke 23:53


In Luke 23:53, it says that Jesus was placed in a tomb "where no-one had ever yet been laid". Just to make sure that nobody could argue that people stole Jesus's body, some scribes added the words "and he rolled a great stone before the door of the tomb". No less a manuscript than Codex Bezae was altered to add "and having placed him there he positioned before the tomb a stone that scarcely twenty people could roll."


Luke 24:12 reads "But Peter, rising up, ran to the tomb; and stooping down he saw the linen cloths alone, and he returned home marvelling at what had
happened.". This was just after Luke writes that the disciples did not believe the women, whose words seemed nonsense to them. This verse is missing from
Codex Bezae and some other manuscripts. The text varies in other manuscripts. Why would this verse be dropped from Codex Bezae by a scribe, especially given the reluctance of scribes to delete anything from the text? There are far more than insertions than deletions, especially in the Codex Bezae, which is notorious for adding stuff.  Was this verse added by a scribe so that it could be shown that somebody found the witnesses to the resurrection to be credible? If it was not added, then some scribes must have chosen to delete it. Why on earth would they do that? The verse is very similar to Peter's rushing to the tomb in John 20:3-10. The word for the linen cloths in Luke 24:12 (othonia) is not the word that Luke has just used in Luke 23:53. (sindoni)
This one verse (Luke 24:12) has 3 words or phrases used nowhere else in Luke or Acts. It also uses an "historic present", which Luke shuns elsewhere, - for example of the 93 historic presents in the Markan verses that Luke used, no less than 92 were changed by him. By this, I mean that Luke uses 'he sees', when everything else in Chapter 24 is in the past tense. Notice that the NIV translates that as 'he saw'. Even they recognise that writers do not suddenly change tense for no good reason. Luke 24:12 uses words for 'stooping down', 'the linen clothes', 'went away home' , which are never used elsewhere in Luke or Acts.


Exactly those words in Luke 24:12 which are not otherwise in Luke-Acts are in John 20, with John 20:5, being very close indeed. Clearly, a scribe has added in the verse. It is missing from important manuscripts, it has many non-Lukan features, but features which resemble John's Gospel and it is impossible to see why a scribe would ever have wanted to delete the verse.


Codex Bezae does not include Luke 24:40 - "having said this, he showed them his hands and feet". Either some scribe added this verse, or some scribe dropped it.   It is hard to see why any scribe would drop the verse. It is easy to see why a scribe would add the verse, basing it on John 20:20. He would have had to alter it as John 20:20 mentions 'hands and side' and there was no spear-thrust in Luke's Gospel, but that would only be a small change. It would all help to show that the Gospels "recorded" a physical resurrection.


In Luke 24:3,Codex Bezae and most of the Old Latin texts do not have the phrase "the Lord Jesus" in "they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." Clearly, the phrase "the Lord Jesus" was added by a scribe to make sure that the Gospels recorded that the women went to the right tomb. The phrase "the Lord Jesus" only occurs in the Gospels here and in Mark 16:19 (another addition by a scribe!) and it is hard to see why the phrase would have been dropped if it were original to Luke's Gospel.


Luke 24:6
In Luke 24:6,Codex Bezae and most of the Old Latin texts do not have the phrase "He is not here, but has been raised". Clearly, this phrase was added by a scribe to make sure that the women knew that Jesus had been raised.  It is hard to see why the phrase would have been dropped if it were original to Luke's Gospel.


We have clear evidence that Christians tampered with the text of the Gospels to make them better evidence for the Resurrection. How much tampering went on that we don't have evidence of?

 

My comment on all that is that there were problems with the burial story.
  
CONCLUSION
 
Jesus may have been stolen from the cross not the tomb.  The gospels give no evidence that Jesus was buried, they only assume it.  They do not even say if anybody was willing to testify.  Saying Joseph buried Jesus is not evidence when the source cannot say if he would testify to that or did so. Saying somebody was buried when you were not there is not evidence for all books contain remarks that are more the musings of the writer than a statement striving for accuracy.  This exposes the Christian claim that the tomb was empty indicating Jesus rose as incorrect.

FURTHER READING

Christianity for the Tough-Minded, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000
Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
The First Easter, What Really Happened? HJ Richards, Collins/Fount Glasgow, 1980
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten amd Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Event, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montifiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing, Cumbria, 1997