On resurrection

Dear all,

It is said that the disciples rolled away the tomb stone while the guards were sleeping and so Jesus escape/escaped from the tomb.

Here i have three questions:

1.Did the disciples rolled away the tomb stone while the guards were sleeping and so Jesus escape/escaped from the tomb?

2.Did Jesus escape from the tomb with the help of the disciples or Jesus alone?

  1. Did Jesus just appeared somehow (a month or so) to many including the disciples and died somewhere without leaving any trace?

Please help!

Thank you.

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Thank you for the question. I know this is one of the theories surrounding resurrection of Jesus Christ, so let me start by giving evidence that refute this theory.

  1. The amount of physical trauma that Jesus endured on the cross means, there was no way He escaped death. If I am right, there is a whole chapter dedicated to explaining it in Lee Strobel’s “Case for Resurrection”. So any medical doctor, unbiasedly will give you this verdict: Death by suffocation and blood loss.
  2. According to the Roman law, if a criminal is sentenced to crucifixion and manages, somehow, not to die, then the Roman soldier in charge of the case will be put to death. So there is no way that those Roman soldiers let Joseph and others take down the body before making sure that Jesus was certainly dead.
  3. The disciples were scattered and scared. There is no way they got together are conspired with a cool mind to cross Roman authorities and Jewish authorities to steal the body. And again, the soldiers who were guarding the tomb would have been put to death if they were found sleeping on the job. So that throws out the case that the disciples snuck past the sleeping soldiers to steal the body.
    By this point, we are way past your theory of Jesus not dying on the cross and subsequent questions of His escape. If you see the evidence, as circumstancial as it is, proves that Jesus died and rose again on the third day and was seen by many witnesses. If that is the case, here is my answer to your questions. 1. NO 2. NO 3. NO.
    Thank you for the question. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to answer and clarify. Hope I helped. May God give you enlightenment and His Grace!

In Christ

2 Likes

Dear John,

Thank you for your question. The resurrection of Jesus is an important question for us to consider because, “If Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.” (1st Corinthians 15:14, NLT)

Many explanations for the empty tomb have been given over time, and the disciples helping to roll away the stone is one of them offered by sceptics today and during the time of Jesus’s death and resurrection (Matthew 28:13 – 14)

It is unlikely that the disciples helped to roll away the stone of Jesus’s tomb for an escape for the following reasons:

  • The Romans were skilled executioners (consider the efficacy of crucifixion and the method used to determine death. See John 19:31 - 31), military experts (consider the expanse of the Roman empire) and so they were also likely to be effective in guarding a tomb, probably utilising a shift pattern to supervise the tomb consistently eg. To accommodate the need for sleep.

  • It is also likely that Roman soldiers faced pain of death if they failed in their respective tasks. (Acts 16:25 – 30). Thus the incentive to keep a thorough watch on the tomb of the man whose teaching and ministry had created civil unrest was all the more weighty.

  • Given the Jewish customs of the time, it is unlikely that Jesus’s disciples would have gone to retrieve his body because being in contact with a corpse would make them unclean. (Numbers 19:11)

  • When the disciples heard reports from the women about the empty tomb, they were in genuine shock and disbelief, suggesting that they were not part of a prior escape plan. (Luke 24:9 – 11; the extended chapter of Mark 16:14 suggests that Jesus was displeased with the disciples for not believing the report of the women.)

I hope this response provides you with some clarity in your questions. If you would like to research further, The Son Rises by William Lane Craig is a fantastic book exploring the resurrection of Jesus.

Clare

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I would like to add that theory would take alot of premeditation and preperation, on everyone’s part to continue that lie let alone that many of the Disciples died for a lie. Just look at all the details that took place just from death to resurrection. Let me also add many were looking for a conquering King not a suffering Servant. Wouldn’t they be dejected and upset even mad that the restoration of Israel did not happen. Roman rule was not a pleasant time. Just my thoughts.
Mike

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Also, how is it that the disciples could roll that huge, rough rock stone over a rough rock path and against a rough rock wall, so soundlessly that not one of the guards woke up?

Hey @JohnLemphung!

Great question! Although it makes me think of more questions. Like, how do those theories fit into Paul going from a Christian persecutor, to a Christian convert? How would those scenarios explain Paul’s dramatic conversion?

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Hello @JohnLemphung, and thank you for opening such an important topic! Several have gone before here and have given good historical context. Another detail is that Jesus’s resurrection would have been easily falsified if any unbelievers or antagonists had just produced a body after the tomb was found empty. But his body was not available because He is bodily risen! There is so much rich discussion and background that can be approached here. I am posting a great lecture given by Nabeel Qureshi that covers a broad range of evidences and gives lots of food for thought on the topic including some discussion of Paul. @JohnLemphung do you have access to a Bible? Would you like to study what it says about the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

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Some great answers;

I would also second @ClareW, the book by William Lane Craig is very good. The first chapter ‘Cosmic Orphans’ is powerful writing to lay the groundwork for the topic.

The book covers the ‘conspiracy theory’; which is the disciples stole the body and claimed Jesus raised from the dead.

Craig covers

  • the apparent death (swoon) theory
  • the wrong tomb theory
  • the legend theory
  • the hallucination / vision theory
    and others…

and he builds a strong case starting with the historical proof for

  • the actual physical death of Jesus (without which you can’t have a burial)
  • the physical burial
  • the resurrection (you can’t have a resurrection without an actual death and and burial)
  • the appearance to witnesses

Some basic points to ponder; Why did the Jewish authorities invent the ‘stolen body’ story; all they had to do was produce a body; How did the soldiers, who were asleep at their post, know what had happened (as was the story invented by the Jewish authorities).

great question; I think you’d really enjoy the book. :slight_smile:

Ever since the disciples began to proclaim that Jesus was risen from the dead, some have denied the historical resurrection and have tried to come up with ways of explaining away the evidence through alternative theories. Most of these alternative explanations have proved to be blind alleys and have been unanimously rejected by contemporary scholarship. Nevertheless, a review of some of these theories of the past is useful, primarily for two reasons. First, the average person today, Christian or non-Christian, is largely unaware that they are in fact blind alleys. Many non-Christians still reject or at least claim to reject Jesus’ resurrection because of arguments that have been decisively refuted time and again and which no modern scholar would support. And Christians often produce arguments for the resurrection that are aimed at eighteenth-century opponents and cannot therefore really come to grips with modern skepticism. It is important therefore to discover exactly what these dead ends are so that we need not be unnecessarily sidetracked by them in the future. Second, an examination of now passé theories and the grounds for rejecting them will help to clear the ground for our discussion in the upcoming chapters. We will be able to focus our attention on the evidence for the resurrection and deal with the real issues of modern criticism. Therefore, it is very important indeed to see what issues are now obsolete and what issues are important today.

THE CONSPIRACY THEORY

We find the very first alternative explanation to Jesus’ resurrection in the pages of the New Testament itself: the conspiracy theory. In Matthew’s gospel we discover that the Jews used this theory to explain away the resurrection. The chief priests bribed the guards who were at Jesus’ tomb, instructing them: “You are to say ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ . . . And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day” (Matthew 28:13, 15). This rumor must have been fairly current among the Jews at that time, or Matthew would not have felt obligated to expose it. The conspiracy theory was thus the first alternative to the resurrection of Jesus and held basically that the resurrection was a hoax: the disciples stole the body and then lied about Jesus’ appearances to them afterwards. The conspiracy theory was refuted by the early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea in his Demonstratio evangelica (314-18).1 Eusebius argues that it would be inconsistent to hold that the disciples were on one hand followers of Jesus with His high moral teaching and yet on the other hand such base liars as to invent all these miraculous stories about Jesus. It makes no sense to say that the men who learned and then taught the ethics of Jesus would themselves be deceivers. Not only that, Eusebius continues, but it is inconceivable that such a conspiracy could ever be formed or hold together. Eusebius composes a wonderfully satirical speech, which he imagines to have been delivered when the disciples first joined together in this conspiracy.

“Let us band together,” the speaker proclaims, “to invent all the miracles and resurrection appearances which we never saw and let us carry the sham even to death! Why not die for nothing? Why dislike torture and whipping inflicted for no good reason? Let us go out to all nations and overthrow their institutions and denounce their gods! And even if we don’t convince anybody, at least we’ll have the satisfaction of drawing down on ourselves the punishment for our own deceit.”
Through this satire, Eusebius wants to show how ridiculous it is to imagine that the disciples invented the whole thing.

Craig, William L… The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (pp. 24-25). Wipf & Stock, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.