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The Lost Tomb of Jesus A believer’s response. The dangers of Christian “reactionism”  It is unwise to “react” to everything in culture that appears to.

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Presentation on theme: "The Lost Tomb of Jesus A believer’s response. The dangers of Christian “reactionism”  It is unwise to “react” to everything in culture that appears to."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Lost Tomb of Jesus A believer’s response

2 The dangers of Christian “reactionism”  It is unwise to “react” to everything in culture that appears to be a threat to Christianity  Unthoughtful, reactionary responses are usually not honoring to God  However, certain cultural events both warrant careful, wise biblical responses from Christians and provide believers with opportunities for conversations with unbelievers

3 What is “The Lost Tomb of Jesus?”  It is a Discovery Channel TV “documentary,” in which the producers claim to have found Jesus’ family tomb, including his ossuary containing his bones.

4 4 Questions  What did archeologists actually find?  What conclusions does the show make?  Are those conclusions correct?  How should a Christian respond?

5 What did archeologists actually find?  Background: –In March, 1980, on Dov Gruner Street in the Jersualem neighborhood of East Talpiyot, the entrance to a burial cave was discovered by a construction crew. –Yosef Gat of the Department of Antiquities and Museums lead a salvage excavation, along with Shimon Gibson, who published the first drawings of the tomb. –The excavation lead to the discovery of ten ossuaries (bone boxes), six of which had inscriptions on them. There were also bone fragments and bone dust found on the floor of the tomb. The bones catalogued, and were then reburied.

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9 What did archeologists actually find?  Background: –L.Y. Rahmani published information on the ossuaries and their inscriptions, along with hundreds more in –In 1996, Amos Kloner published an article on this particular tomb in the Israel Antiquities Association publication, ‘Atiquot.

10 What did archeologists actually find?  The six ossuaries

11 1.78 ft 1.1 ft 0.8 ft

12 Ossuary # 1 Mariamenou e mara = “of Mariamene,who is (also called) Mara

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14 Ossuary #2 Yehuda bar Yeshua = Judah son of Jesus

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16 Ossuary # 3 Matia = Matthew

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18 Ossuary # 4 Yeshua? bar Yehosef = Jesus? son of Joseph

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20 Ossuary # 5 Yose = Jose = short for Joseph

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22 Ossuary # 6 Mariah = Mary

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24 What conclusions does the show make?  This is a family tomb, and specifically the family tomb of Jesus Christ  The names are interpreted as follows: –“Jesus, son of Joseph” is Jesus Christ –“Mary” is Mary, Jesus’ mother –“Matthew” is an unknown relative of Jesus –“Joseph” is Jesus’ brother, Joseph –“Judah, son of Jesus” is Jesus’ son, Judah –“Mariamenou e Mara” – is Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ wife

25 What conclusions does the show make?  The producers claim these conclusions on the basis of archeological, forensic (DNA), and statistical evidence  They specifically claim a 600:1 probability that this is Jesus’ tomb

26 Are the conclusions correct?  The inscription “Jesus” is uncertain and the identification of Mariamenou e Mara as Mary Magdalene is extremely unlikely according to experts. –Acts of Phillip is unreliable gnostic literature, and it doesn’t appear to link Mariamene to Mary Magdalene, but instead to Mary of Bethany –Mara is written in Greek, not Aramaic, therefore it is to be taken as the name “Martha,” not an Aramaic word for “Lord” –The question of why this one ossuary is written in Greek and not Aramaic/Hebrew as the others has not been considered  The relationship of the occupants with one another is total speculation. There is no way to tell if they were related at all, let alone how they were related.

27 Are the conclusions correct?  The producers were only able to get mitochondrial DNA samples from two of the ossuaries (Mariamenou e Mara and Jesus, son of Joseph)  All that the DNA evidence showed was that the occupants of these two ossuaries were not related maternally.  Furthermore, the original archeologist stated that each ossuary averaged 1.7 occupants per ossuary, further complicating the entire DNA hypothesis

28 Are the conclusions correct?  The view that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene has already been refuted by scholars. The entire “tomb” hypothesis falls apart if Jesus and Mary were not married.  This tomb was discovered in 1980 and scholars have known about it since then. This tomb is no big deal because the names that were found were some of the most common names in the first century Palestine. –Joseph = second most common male name –Mary = the most common female name –Judah = the third most common male name –Jesus = the sixth most common male name

29 Are the conclusions correct?  Specifically, the name “Jesus” has been found on 22 different ossuaries, with “several” (at least two, perhaps as many as six) of the inscription “Jesus, son of Joseph.”  The statistical analysis is filled with multiple problems, mostly involving unverifiable assumptions and even some flat out mistakes (such as the number of total occupants in the tomb)

30 Are the conclusions correct?  Jesus was from Nazareth, not Jerusalem; thus if he had a family burial spot it would not have been in Jerusalem  Neither Jesus nor his followers ever referred to Jesus as the “son of Joseph.”  The vast majority of archeologists (Jewish, Christian, and secular) have completely dismissed this documentary as “impossible,” a “publicity stunt,” and “nonsense.”

31 How should a Christian respond?  Any attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ, particularly on His resurrection, is to be taken very seriously and warrants a wise response from believers (1 Cor. 15, Gal. 1, 2 Cor. 11)  A Christian’s response in this case should particularly focus on the worldview of the producers, particularly their view of theology, faith, and truth.  This story is not ultimately about “who is right” based on evidence and empirical research, it is really about who has ultimate authority and who determines truth.

32 How should a Christian respond?  Video clip #1 –What is “faith?” –Biblical definition: “Faith is a confident trust in God and His Word.” –Biblical view of truth/knowledge versus Worldly view of truth/knowledge Where does the Bible fit into a worldly view of knowledge/truth?

33 How should a Christian respond?  Video clip #2 -  Doesn’t deal with theological matters?  Two story view of Truth  The assumption of neutrality

34 How should a Christian respond?  Biblical view of truth: –All truth comes from God (John 14:6) –The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7) –Instead of starting with a biblical worldview and Scripture as one’s starting point, today’s worldview sees man a neutral bystander, who through empirical research and the scientific method, determines for himself what is true

35 How should a Christian respond?  This worldview: –Dethrones God as the authority and determiner of truth and replaces it with man –Dethrones the Scriptures as God’s authoritative revelation of God-breathed truth and replaces it with man –Begins the journey of discovering truth with man’s own thinking and reasoning ability, which assumes certain biblical presuppositions about man –Assumes man’s neutrality and impartiality, ignoring the noetic effect of sin on one’s thinking and motives –At best, makes Scripture “fit in” to whatever conclusions are made, or otherwise ignores or discredits Scripture altogether –Does not pursue the praise and glory of God as the goal of the pursuit of knowledge and truth

36 How should a Christian respond?  Any attack on the person and work of Christ ultimately becomes an attack on Scripture, since Scripture is the final and inerrant authority which reveals and testifies of Christ  Theological anchors: –The Bible really is God’s inerrant, God-breathed, authoritative revelation (2 Tim. 3:16-17) –Jesus Christ really did come back to life physically and later ascended to heaven physically (John 20:27, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9, 1 Cor. 15:6)

37 How should a Christian respond?  All right thinking about anything starts with: –A submission to God and His Word –A commit to worship and glorify God through a relationship to Jesus Christ –Starting with a biblical worldview and biblical principles –Carefully pursuing knowledge based on these presuppositions and principles

38 How should a Christian respond?  When talking with people: –Don’t discuss this from the culture’s worldview, bring a biblical worldview into the conversation –Ask questions which will bring a person’s worldview to the surface –Graciously show how the Bible reveals a different worldview –Use the Bible to show that Jesus both rose from the dead and ascended into heaven physically, therefore the question, “Is this Jesus’ tomb and bones?” is irrelevant


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