Historical Jesus? His Reality

Introduction

In this atheist ridden culture, the pursuit to prove God non-existent seems to be at an all time high. Since when in history since the day of Christ did anyone question whether he even lived except for those who have ived in the last couple hundred years? Even Thomas Jefferson, who did not believe the Bible and went through and marked out all of Jesus’ miracles, didn’t question whether the “man” lived or not.

All these writings that try to prove Jesus did not exist are direct satanic missles targeting the faith of all Christians, and will topple some who are not rooted and grounded in scripture and full of the Holy Spirit. To me, to question Christ’s existence is to question God’s existence in whole and on that matter anyone can quote me saying this, “It is entirely impossible to prove God non-existent because even the smallest piece of physical matter has to have a solid explanation of its beginning aside from God.

The burden of proof there is a God doesn’t lie with the faithful, because of faith’s meaning and actions. We believe in God without proof because of faith. The burden of proof will always exist with those who haven’t been fortunate enough to find faith.

It is impossible to prove Christ non-existent because even the smallest shred of so called evidence against his existence is blown away by the hurricane that is for his existence.

You can’t get to the bottom of this God question when all you do and will ever do is dig up more questions. By digging up more questions you outright admit you are attempting to overthrow all faith in Christ, proving you work for Satan, thus proving the existence of God. That is how we Christians ought to think especially if we are studied up on Satan’s tricks.

Now that I’m done blowing off a little steam by pointing out the obvious, let us take a look at a few evidences of a Christ who lived on earth.


Flavius Josephus

Flavius Josephus was a 1st Century Romano-Jewish scholar and historian who was born in 37 A.D., approximately 4-6 years after Christ’s crucifixion. He is the author of the earliest documents verifying that Christ lived. Josephus was born in Jerusalem and was of priestly decent per his father. His mother was rumored to have royalty in her blood. He fought against the Romans in the First Jewish Roman War as a commander for the regiment in Galilee, before becoming a Roman captive and slave of interpretation to the emperor Vespasian. He defected totally to the Romans to earn his citizenship and freedom.

Flavius Josephus is the responsible author for two important works concerning the history and culture in the 1st century. The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews was written around 93-94 A.D just 6-7 years short of his death in 100 A.D. References are made concerning Christ in Books 18 and 20 of Antiquities. The first reference in Book 18 Chapter 3, 3 states Jesus as a “wise teacher” who was “crucified by Pilate”. The second reference found in Book 20 Chapter 9, 1 of Antiquities in speaking of the apostle, says,

“the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”.

This shows that by 93 A.D., Christianity had made itself fully known to the Roman Empire. A faith that hardly developed that fast based on someone who did not exist.

Of equal importance in proving Christ’s existence, Book 18 Chapter 5, 2 is attributed by all modern scholars as an original work of Josephus. Speaking of John the Baptist, this reference says,

Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man… Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion… Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death“.

This reference proves Christ’s existence by way of John the Baptist’s existence. It proves that the record in the Bible concerning John the Baptist are accurate by both writings stating John was a good and just man.

These are three early references to support Christ and Christianity outside the Holy Bible, of which, although historically accurate and never proved otherwise, is left out of the atheistic works written against Christ’s existence.


The Dates of the Writing of Certain Books

This section would be considered a philosophy toward the existence of Christ by the dates, authors, and writings of some of the books in the New Testament.

Dates and Writings

Undisputed is the place and time of Paul the Apostle’s death by all modern scholars, atheist and theist alike. Paul was beheaded in Rome in the years of anywhere from 64-67 A.D. Born in 5 A.D. he was just shy of being a decade younger than Christ. This means that all his letters were finished and some already in circulation before 67 A.D. The book of Acts does not record Paul’s death. It ends with him still proclaiming the kingdom of God after two years being captive there. This can only mean that the book of Acts had an earlier date of writing than 80-90 A.D. as presupposed by some. By 80 A.D. Paul was at least 13 years deceased and the book of Acts ends with the assumption he was still living. Acts, as known by most, is Luke’s sequel to the Gospel of Luke or at least considered the second book written by Luke. Both works address the recipient as Theophilus (Compare Luke 1:3 with Acts 1:1). This witness puts the Gospel of Luke in the Mid-50s A.D. versus 70 A.D. as some proclaim. The Gospel of Luke was most likely written at the same time or prior to the Gospel of Mark (58 A.D.)

The letters of Paul have significant dates pertaining to this philosophy as well. The Epistle to the Romans had an authorship date of no later than 57 A.D. which is undisputed by any legitimate scholar; the Epistle to the Galatians completion date no later than mid-50s A.D.; and 1st Corinthians no later than 56 A.D. So what do all these dates and times have to do with each other?

The Nitty Gritty of All This

Galatians 1:9 records Paul’s testimony of three of the original Apostles acceptance of his apostleship stating,

“and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, percieved the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised” (Gal. 1:9, ESV)

This means that the Apostles Peter, James, and John, who were three of Jesus’ original disciples, were alive in the mid-50s A.D., giving their eyewitness testimonies to Mark and Luke who seemingly played the role of scribes in writing the two Gospels that bare their names. The atheist writers use much later dates of completion of the gospels than that which is presented here.

Some have developed a theory that the Gospels were all written after the death of the Apostles, except for John’s Gospel of which some claim wasn’t even written by the Apostle John but written by some other mysterious John who popped up out of nowhere.

The gospels that bear the name Matthew and John are original works by two of the original twelve disciples. This means all four gospels were written or guided in writing by four of the original twelve hand picked disciples of Christ. There were no hand-me-down copies or stories turned gospels that were told sitting around the campfire.

Also Paul recorded the earliest creed recorded in Christianity in the 1st Letter to the Corinthians saying,

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also recieved: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James and all of the apostles. Last of all, to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (1 Cor. 15:3-8)

Scholars place this Christian creed as early as 35 A.D., 2-5 years after Christ’s death. Paul’s recording of this creed, the gospels being written with all eyewitnesses present (and more), the sacrifices of the apostles, the surge of the faith, all point to a living Christ and mock laughlingly any other notion.


A Few Others

The time that Christ lived in was considered to be both “messianic” and “apocalyptic” meaning that Jesus lived during a time when the revealing of the Messiah was expected. He did not come in a time or culture that would’ve considered Him a surprise.

The New Testament writes detailed geographics, detailed political records, and detailed culture records that have never been disproven. On the contrary, all that has been unearthed support the New Testament writings.

Tacticus (A.D. 113) confirms that Jesus lived in a time when “Pontus Pilate was prefect over Judaea”(26-36 A.D.). This is found in a historical piece he wrote.


The Conclusion

There are many more “outside” sources that could very well fit neatly into this article, however, I am leaving those to your individual research. We could talk of Pliny, more early Jewish writings, more philosophers, etc, etc, etc. The point is that we as Christians need not be brushed aside with such modern day philosophy. Has it not occured to some that the further away you get from history, the less likely you are to know its truths in detail? This is why these early accounts are so important. This is why the Bible and Christ are important! The question, as one author wrote, is not whether to believe that Jesus lived and died. That has been decided. For you the actual question may be is whether to believe that Jesus died and lived. I am convinced that He did.

Rev. M.S. Cox, Jr., C.T.R., C.C.C.

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