[ Home | Eschatology | Bible Studies | Classics | Articles | Sermons | Apologetics | Search | F.A.Q. ]

Author Topic: DRASTIC measures by Resurrection skeptics  (Read 2903 times)


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Gender: Male
  • ;-)
DRASTIC measures by Resurrection skeptics
« on: February 28, 2007, 10:54:14 AM »
About 10+ years ago I came up with an acrostic to defend the Resurrection when I was inspired by H.Hanegraaffs use of other acrostics. Since our faith is currently under attack in regards to the Resurrection, I thought there might be some benefit in sharing this.  Naturally, I'd welcome any apologetic improvement comments or even debate.

- - - - - - - -

The Skeptics have had to take drastic measures in order to gloss over and dampen the effect of the Resurrection.   To refute these gloss-over-the-fact theories, the word DRASTICS will serve to remind us of the facts that the skeptics wish to gloss over.   Because when reminded of them as Simon Greenleaf and a great many other skeptics were, these skeptics might themselves be persuaded to admit that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead!

D - Dead
R - Roman soldiers
A - Amnesia of the disciples
S - Sealed Stone
T - Teachings
I  - Innocent of charges
C - Clothes in the grave
S - Sabbaths, Sundays and Sacraments

Dead - Jesus was DEAD when He was removed from the cross.   How do we know?

1.   The Roman soldiers who executed Him were professionals who knew a dead man when they saw one; they crucified people frequently.

2.   Pilate required a certificate of His death65 and a spear was thrust through Jesus' side to verify the death.   The soldiers saw no flinching from the pain, no blood spurting alomg with the heart beat to indicate any life - just a flow of blood and water indicating death.

3.   Those who prepared His body for burial with grave clothes and 70+ pounds of burial spices and glues66 had every chance to witness and verify the death.   Standard burial procedures that used mummy-like wrappings would have suffocated any last glimmer of life had there been any.

4.   The Jewish rulers who wanted him dead KNEW HE WAS DEAD!   HOW?   WHY?   Because they set a Roman guard at the tomb so that no one would steal the body and claim that he had risen from the dead.   (See also the Sealed Stone below)

Roman soldiers - The Roman Empire had engulfed the entire known world (except for a tiny rebellious town at the tip of Gaul  66a) Strict discipline, rigorous training and military punishment laws attributed to their conquests.   For instance:
Leaving a post
            or                                                   =   were punishable by death.67
 falling asleep while on duty

In addition to their superior training, they looked down on all non-Romans and treated other peoples with little repect.   In carying out the Roman law in these occupied lands, they were ruthless enough to gamble for the dying victims clothes,(Mt. 27:35, Mk. 15:24, Lk 23:34, Jn. 19:24).   With Jesus they made great sport of by mocking and spitting in his face becuase he had claimed to be “King of the Jews”.   
On the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and consequential guard duty at the tomb their sole interests were in serving the Roman Empire and keeping their own lives.   The tomb was made secure as "best they knew how” by posting a Roman guard that consisted of at least 4 soldiers with a Captain over them.

Amnesia of the disciples -
 The disciples did not realize that Jesus would truely raise from the dead even though he had predicted it numerous times before his death.    After the crucifixion, their world had literally crumbled and they were in fear of their own lives.   Even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciple denied knowing Jesus three times.  (Mt. 26: 70-75)
In the Gospel of John, the Crucifixion account is in chapter 19; the following chapter begins with the morning of the third day after the Passover Feast as the women are going to visit the tomb.  In John 20:9 it says:
"For as yet they knew not that the Scriptures said that He must rise again from the dead."   
The disciples did not seem to understand that He was to rise the third day; they certainly were surprised when they found that He had risen.    They did not beleive the women when they returned with news of the empty tomb.   Luke 24:7-8 records what the angel said to the women and then verse 11 records the disciples response to the women’s story.
7  'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"
8  Then they remembered his words....
11  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Had the disciples been capable of violating all forms of Jewish, life, culture and holy law to attempt to steal a body during the holy Sabath of Passover, they had no motivation to do so because they did not believe Jesus about the Resurrection.
They had:
•    NO Belief
•    NO Motivation
•    NO Courage
•    NO Means (to overcome a well trained Roman guards)

Sealed Stone -     The Tomb of Jesus was sealed with an extra large stone, then officially sealed on the outside and guarded by well trained Roman soldiers.

The way of sealing an entrance or a stone in those days would have involved using a rope to span the stone, then placing large clay seals at each end with an official emblem embossed in there; in this case, the Roman Empire’s.
  • - The fact the stone used was larger than normal;
    - The fact that the stone was sealed in the name of the Roman Empire;
    - The fact that Roman Guards were posted to keep Jesus IN THE TOMB or anybody from stealing the body (including the Jewish leaders) ---- simply illustrates that all the parties agreed that Jesus was dead and that the Resurrection prediction was to be prevented from being fulfilled!

Teachings -
The disciples were followers of Christ and his teachings.   The purpose of a disciple is to become EXACTLY like the teacher in “walk” and “talk”.     Jesus gave the world its highest ethical standards and taught that men were not to decieve one another nor tell lies.
It is impossible to believe that the disciples would throw away all the teachings of Jesus to overpower battle-harden Roman soldiers, steal his body and fake the resurrection so that they could tell the world not to lie or deceive one another.

Innocent of charges - 
There is no record, Roman, Jewish or otherwise that suggests anybody was held responsible for the empty grave.   It was a great mystery to all how the Resurrection could have happened after the elaborate measures that were taken to keep Jesus IN the tomb and to keep people out. 

The Romans had no explaination.
•   Violating the seal was in effect violating the Power and Authority of Rome.   Such a violation would not have gone unpunished and yet it did.
•   Attacking the Roman soldiers would have led to an immediated crackdown and retaliation from the Roman Governor and yet nothing happened.
•   The Romans guards failed their mission and were not held responsible even by their own rules.
The odd Roman behavior could only be explained in their believe in the power of the gods.    If the gods had done this thing then there was no point in them battling gods, therefore, the Romans attributed the Resurrection to an act of the gods.

The Jews tried to provide an explaination:
The Jewish leaders extended protection to the Roman soldiers if they would say that they had failed in their mission and that the disciples had come to steal the body while they were sleeping.  (By this the guards were already guilty of death two or three times over, what had they to lose?)   Matthew 28:12-15 records this:
12  When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,
13  telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.'
14  If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
15  So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The disciples were not charged with anything!

If ANYBODY thought that the disciples REALLY had ANYTHING to do with the:
•   Stealing of a body during the passover Sabbath,
•   Violating the seal of Rome
•   Overcoming Roman Soldiers
then why were they not IMMEDIATELY arrested and interrogated?

The silence of the Jews is as significant as the speech of the Christians!
If it were possible, the Jewish leaders would have loved to expose the disciples as frauds or better yet as vile grave robbers in order to forever quite the movement Jesus had begun.   

All parties agree that the grave was empty!

Clothes in the grave - The Gospels tells us that while the grave was empty, the burial wrappings reamined intact!     John gives a personal account in chapter 20: 1-10 of the Gospel named after him.      They both ran to the tomb to see if what the women had reported was true.   “Then they saw and believed”.    However, it wasn’t just the absence of the body that caused them to believe but also the presence of the grave clothes/burial wrappings in their still folded condition.

The undistrubed grave clothes highlighted the nature and the reality of the Resurrection!    When Jesus had risen from the dead he simply passed through the wrappings and left them the way they were folded around his previously dead body.


Unfortunately, many picture books for children that depict the resurrection/tomb scene also show the grave clothes neatly folded off to the side as if Jesus got undressed from his burial clothes and in the process miss the lesson and  stark imagry of the mummy-like wrappings collapsed but still folded.   In Luke 2:7 & 12, it says, Jesus as a new born babe was wrapped in “swaddling clothes”.   Swaddling clothes are STRIPS of cloth used for burial!!!   Jesus began and ended his life on earth in the same clothes.   Jesus was truly born to die!

Sabbaths, Sundays and Sacraments -   The whole “institution” of the Church can only be adequately explained by the Resurrection.     Keep in mind that the first Christians were all Jews.   Jews are known for keeping their customs.   And one of the biggestes customs changed and new customs (sacraments) were begun:

•    Worship on Sunday instead of Saturday (Sabbath) because the Resurrection occured on Sunday.

•    The Sacrament of Communion is celebrated to remember our union with the Resurrected Lord Jesus and our death to the things of this world.

•        The Sacrament of Baptism is to be a beleivers first act of obedience as a Christian to show the world that the believer’s olld ways are “buried with Christ” (dunked in the water) and then the believer is now “raised to walk a new life” (raised out of the water).  (Col 2:12)

As you see, if the facts about the Empty Tomb are not glossed over, there is only one conclusion; Jesus conquered death!    If Jesus overcame death then it has no power over him.   If we follow him he promises to extend this gift to us.

John 11:25  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

- - - - - - - - - - - -

H.Hanegraaff used an overall acrostic called FEAT to describe the truth of the Resurrection.
F = fact
E = Empty Tomb (under which I would use DRASTICS to remember the facts)
A = Appearances
T = Transformation

HEART could also be used.
H= History
E = Emprty Tomb
A= Appearances
R= Real Body
T = Transformation

Heb 12:1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Gender: Male
  • Fear God, Love God, Obey God
Re: DRASTIC measures by Resurrection skeptics
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2007, 06:21:49 PM »
Very good argument. I have heard and used many of those same arguments. Another one would be the fact that all of the Apostles went forth after Jesus was resurrected (after Pentecost) and preached His resurrection and suffered such persecution and even martyrdom  (I'm pretty sure it was all of them except John) for that belief. Nobody dies for something they know is a lie.

God's ways are as such that He leaves the atheist and the unbeliever holding on to a absurd belief in order to embrace their sin.

Thank you for that information.

God bless. In Christ
Eccl 12:13-14:

13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


[ Home | Eschatology | Bible Studies | Classics | Articles | Sermons | Apologetics | Search | F.A.Q. ]