“Just when you thought it was safe to Believe”
or James Cameron’s own Titanic
This article is done with preliminary research, it is not meant to be an in depth refute of the TV produced film “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” With that said, there are enough flaws and questions on the research these men have done to “bury” their hypothesis.
People are free to believe whatever they want, even if what they believe goes against facts, history, eyewitness accounts and all reason- we on the other hand have an obligation to scrutinize.
A good example of this is: The TV special airing Sunday was executive-produced by Hollywood director James Cameron (Titanic, True Lies, The Terminator ) and directed by documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici (The Exodus Decoded, James: Brother of Jesus), whose work includes a number of films about controversies in Jewish history”(Discovery channel Mar.4, 2007).
The track record of these filmmakers in biblical documentaries does not fare well. Jacobovici and Cameron previously made a film for TV - Exodus Decoded. In this film they claimed to have found new evidence that the ten plagues of the Exodus were caused by a volcanic eruption on a Greek island that occurred 3,500 years ago. None of their arguments cited has been accepted by archeologists or any prominent archeological institution. Their theory, and their interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics was thoroughly refuted by experts in “Biblical Archaeology Review.”
This is similar to the idea that the Israelites exited Egypt through the Reed Sea instead of the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s whole army drown in about a foot and a half of water. This is often the position of those who hold to a anti supernatural view of the Bible, so they look for other explanations.
James Cameron is a three-time Academy Award winning director and well respected in the film industry, his work in producing the largest grossing movie of all time, “The Titanic” which brought in $1.8 billion (it has also been reported on the net by some that he is a 33rd Degree Mason, which I have not been able to verify yet).
After at least 3 years spent on the project and 3 million plus dollars spent from sponsors, Film director Cameron presents to us the TV film The Lost Tomb of Jesus, where they produced reenactments and recreation of a burial cave uncovered in 1980, 27 years ago in Talpiot, Jerusalem. The film is called a documentary but it is not a documentary for some obvious reasons. Much of the movie was filmed on sets recreated from the drawings. In one scene, the ossuaries (limestone bone boxes) are shown covered with dust that is being brushed away to reveal the inscriptions. But that's not the way they were found. A number of scenes have been concocted by the imagination of its creators.
Regardless of the facts, the Lost Tomb of Jesus drew the largest audience for the Discovery network in over a year, the Nielsen ratings had it average 4.1 million viewers.
The concern is that they are really pushing this as fact on their website and that people will actually believe it as fact. “An incredible archaeological discovery in Israel changes history and shocks the world. Tombs with the names Maria, Jesus son of Joseph, Mariamne e Mara, and Judah, their son, are found and an investigation begins.” http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com/
The show begins with showing Jesus on the cross and the narrator saying “the most famous death in history , Jesus of Nazareth.” “The gospels tell us he was buried…” Yes, and they also tells us he was raised from the dead, something they refuse to accept. After this, the whole program has a slant. As we will see this is about the physical resurrection versus a spiritual resurrection. And this is no small point, because if one does not believe in the physical resurrection they do not believe in the gospel and have no forgiveness of their sins (1Cor.15:1-4)
Meredith Vieira of the “The View” TV program interviewed Cameron and reiterated the claim that this is “absolutely fascinating, potentially, I mean, many would argue the biggest story or one of the biggest stories of our lifetime if you are correct.”
And that is the whole point of this TV special, it is a not so subtle assault on the Christian belief that rests on Jesus rising from the dead, or staying dead as every other religious teacher in history has.
In 1980 it was an excavation area, now the tomb is next door to Tova Bracha's apartment, located in the suburb called East Talpiot. James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici are convinced and promoting this tomb as that of Jesus of Nazareth and his family. Cameron says “We've done our homework; we've made the case; and now it's time for the debate to begin.”
Is a debate necessary for something so obviously flawed?
After this excavation was uncovered they had to work fast. The narrator says, “they had only three days before they would seal it.” Implying that they did not know the significance of the find at the time. The ossuaries were crated and were quickly transferred, stored on the shelves and the bones and remains were bagged and boxed and then buried.
Why a delay of 27 years, certainly if this was a significant find as they claim, reputable archeologists would have been on this find immediately. Prof. Tabor takes the view that it was ignored when found. “We assembled a team of scientists, scholars and journalists to investigate the ten bone boxes and why they were ignored.”
As one listens carefully to the statements it becomes apparent that there is more to this than just a film project.
The TV film The Lost Tomb of Jesus, coincides with the book release of “The Jesus Family Tomb” (published by Harper-Collins). Coincidence- hardly. Many see this to be a money magnet for these men, though this may not be their only intention. In my opinion, neither is the timing of this release close to Easter a coincidence.
Above the entrance is a pyramid shaped awning with a circle in it. Archeologists Dr. Shimon Gibson of Albright University in Jerusalem, said it is extremely rare symbol, whatever it meant he did not know
The film shows limestone ossuaries (bone boxes) found in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Talpiot, Jerusalem. That is about where the truth ends. Anything more than this is pure speculation derived from there own imagination.
They claim they have scientific analysis of these ossuaries, “experts” that claim they may have once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth and his family. I don’t think we should not become over reactive about this because that is what they are trying to elicit from us by their own revision of history.
Let’s begin with the names they found in the tomb of which their whole concept is based on.
Jesus son of Joseph
Six of the ten coffins were carved with various language inscriptions carrying the names: Jesua son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Matthew, Jofa (Joseph, identified as Jesus’ brother), Judah son of Jesua.
Finding bone boxes inscribed with the names of Yeshua, Miriam, Mary, is like having most common names of our day; names like Jim, Steve and Bill which are all very common. One third of women in Jesus’ day were named Mary, we see this example in the New Testament. Jesus- Yeshua was one of the most popular male names and this is why he was called Jesus of Nazaret (or occasionally Galilee), to identify him. This Jesus referred to as the “son of Joseph,” but he was not called the son of Joseph by his family. Only twice in the New Testament is this phrase found:
John 1:45: “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
The people of his own town rejected him for who he claimed to be, they said: “And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” (John 6:42). Jesus was the legal son of Joseph; Joseph being his step dad, but he is not his biological son.
The son of Joseph was a term used in Judaism of the suffering Messiah (which they did not believe) The son of David was a term used for his kingship. He is more often called Jesus of Nazareth or the son of David. Yet we also have unbelieving Jews that viewed Jesus as an illegitimate son of Mary and Joseph, and would not call Joseph, Jesus’ father (John 8:41).
When Paul, an unbeliever and persecutor of the Christians was confronted with the risen Jesus, he asked 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting’ (Acts 22:8).
By 1980 over 1,000 ossuaries were found. Only 20% have names. Kloner, stated that “Jesus son of Joseph” inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years. This type of burial only lasted for 100 years and ceased about the time Jerusalem was invaded in 70 AD. Researchers have cataloged the most common names at the time. The ten most common were: Simon/Simeon, Joseph, Eleazar, Judah, John/Yohanan, Jesus, Hananiah, Jonathan, Matthew, and Manaen/Menahem. The name Jesus appears in 98 other tombs and on 21 other ossuaries. Finding some other names outside his family on the ossuaries implies that the tomb belonged to someone other than Jesus of Nazareth and his family, not to his family.
Here is what The Discovery Channel says about the program: All archaeologists confirm the nature of the find” (“The Lost Tomb of Jesus” http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/about/about.html).
No they do not, at least not the way they claim it is.
When the tomb was discovered in 1980, Israel’s Antiquities Authority (IAA) sent a team of archaeologists to examine its authenticity. Archeologist Amos Kloner summed up the findings of the team saying, “It was an ordinary middle-class Jerusalem burial cave. The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time.” Everyone agrees with Klonar (many on the film) - they are all common names and prove nothing. But this is unacceptable to these men who are on a mission to disprove the Bible. The narrator then asks the question “could this be linked to Jesus of nazaret?”
On the Yeshua bar Yoseph tomb (Jesus son of Joseph), it is written in very scratchy Aramaic and has an X before the name. Frank Moore Case pro Emeritus of Harvard University said it was very informal and very difficult to read. It looked like graffiti.
If this was Jesus’ family tomb then Joseph, his step dad would be in it and it would not be located in Jerusalem. Jesus and his relatives had no family tomb and they were a poor Galilean family they had no ties to Jerusalem, they were from Nazareth. The family of the first century would not travel with their dead to a family tomb far away from where they were located.
According to the Bible’s account Jesus had his body put in someone else’s tomb because he did not have a family tomb. Joseph was not a rich man; these tombs were only for the well to do and the rich. According to Gospels, Jesus was buried in a borrowed rich man’s tomb (Mark 15:43) that it did not belong to his family, but to Joseph of Arimathea. And he rose three days later. He was not transported to yet another tomb in Jerusalem.
The Talpiot tomb is a large tomb that could not have belonged to poor family in the 1st century. Why would Jesus' family have a tomb in Jerusalem if they were from Nazareth? How could Jesus of Nazareth have an expensive family tomb in Jerusalem, fifty miles from His hometown. Furthermore, could a tomb be unknown to the Jewish and Roman authorities of the time.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Amos Kloner, the archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb starting in 1980 published detailed findings on its contents, he dismissed the claims: It makes a great story for a TV film, but it's impossible... There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb”.
Here are the names the archeologists (Israel Antiquities Authority) found carved on 6 ossuaries in the Talpiot tomb: Jesus, son of Joseph; Maria; Mariamene; Matthew; Judas, son of Jesus; and Jose, a diminutive of Joseph.
The Narrator said “If it is his tomb then all the others would have to be of his family” “Only expect to find the names of the family tree.” I agree- but they are not.
Jesus’ half brother Simon is missing, his step dad is missing, and where are Jesus’ sisters in this tomb? Don’t they deserve to be buried with the family? And then there are those who should not be. This makes the whole theory of the tomb an unbalanced report.
The Producers of the documentary believe that Mariamene (or Mary) is Mary Magdalen. (Marah) is written in Hebrew (modern Hebrew). The two Mary ossuaries do not mention anyone from “Migdal” (or “Magdala”), which would be expected, to tell apart Mary Magdalene from the other named “Mary.” And there is a dispute whether the Aramaic term Mara in this first-century context means “master,” as claimed.
There are at least six distinct “Marys” in the New Testament: The mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the sister of Lazarus, the wife of Cleopas, the mother of John Mark, and a Christian in Rome. So these ossuaries could have belonged to any of them - or none of them. In fact, Herod had two wives who were named Mary.
The traditional tomb of Mary (the mother of Jesus) is said to be in located in Ephesus. Christian tradition says she lived with John before and after he was released from his exile on the island of Patmos.
Mark 6:3 mentions Jesus’ brothers ‘James, Joses, Judas, and Simon’ and sisters who are unnamed.
At the cross we see who is there:
Matt 27:56: “among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.”
John adds “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)
The Scripture mentions another Mary- Mary the mother of James and Joses, (Matt 27:56), if this is Jesus’ mother than what of Judas, and Simon (Mark 6:3).
“There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee; and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem” ( Mark 15:40-41)
These could not be his brothers (or sister), therefore this Mary could not be his mother. Because Scripture says “For even His brothers did not believe in Him”(John 7:5). We know his brothers did not believe on him until after the resurrection. But Mark 15 tells us the persons with these same names of his family were following him. Which shows the commonality of these names and the great possibility of this being another persons tomb other than Jesus. His mother was the only immediate family at the cross.
So if there is another Mary at the cross that is not Jesus' mother who has the name of the same sons and the name of what they claim is his sister- that makes 4 of the 6 same families names in another disciples family. Which seems to negate the whole hypothetical argument ofg this films “researchers”.
The discovery channels comments-“All leading epigraphers agree about the inscriptions.” [“The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/about/about.html)
Actually, they do not.
Mariamne (Marah) is written in Hebrew (more modern Hebrew). Matthew is also in Hebrew, but a different script than Mary. Jose is also written in a different Hebrew. Nearly all are written in a different script. What are we to think of this?Inconsistencies on the writings of the names tell a loud story that these researchers did not want to hear.
Why are some written in Aramaic and Greek and Hebrew for the tomb. And Jesus’ name looks like graffiti.
There great leap of faith and logic is when they present to the viewers that “Marianmene e Mara” is“Mary Magdelene” and she is Jesus’ wife, Mariamne. The reason is because the Gnostic gospels carry this same name and call her Jesus wife (indirectly). They relied on the expert testimony of Harvard Professor Francios Bovon. Professor Bovon knows this from a 5th century text entitled; “The Acts of Phillip.” The only reference to be found to Jesus being married is in this 14th century manuscript, Acts of Phillip. What makes the “Acts of Phillip” conclusive evidence on whether Jesus was married, there is no historical evidence that Jesus was ever married. When one reads this book they find it disagreeing with much in the New Testament, as would be expected from the Gnostics who were enemies of Jesus and the church.
Is there DNA Evidence?
The film gives the false impression that they were sampling remains and human tissue which had decomposed in the ossuary.
The producer (James Cameron) and director (Simcha Jacobovici) of Discovery Channel's “Jesus Tomb” documentary featured fake evidence, false conclusions and a phony tomb -- a more accessible and “convincing” tomb than the actual one. “Jacobovici shows pictures taken by a camera that was sent down a pipe into the tomb. The majority of the viewers won't understand that this is not the same cave, said Professor Amos Kloner.” [Julie Stahl, “Jesus Tomb' Filmmakers Should Be Ashamed, Archeologist Says,”
CNSNews.com (Jerusalem Bureau Chief), March 1, 2007.
They claim to have evidence (through DNA tests, archeological evidence, and Biblical studies from other sources) as proof that the ten ossuaries belong to Jesus and his family. This should be called “in search of Holy Grail.” There is no DNA evidence that this is the historical Jesus of Nazareth because it can only work if you have something to compare the bones to, and they don’t. There is NO way to connect the DNA to the person of Jesus or anyone else.
Simcha Jacobovici told a press conference that there was enough mitochondrial DNA for a laboratory in Ontario to conclude that the bodies of Jesus” and “Mary Magdalene” were not related on their mothers’ side.Mr. Jacobovici then concludes that they were a couple otherwise they would not be buried together in a family tomb (and because of the heretical gospel of Peter). Now if you knew you had only one shot at a DNA test, what would be the most logical ossuary to test? It would his supposed mother or sister, not one that would prove nothing. The same mitochondrial DNA should certainly prove that everyone of this supposed family buried together in a family tomb are all related to Jesus, if indeed they are a family. This was a lazy pursuit of any DNA connection, avoiding the important comparisons. Mitacondrial DNA can only go so far in its identification, nuclear DNA would be needed. Instead of pursuing proof of a connection to his mother they tried to prove no connection to his wife, which is far less verification. And we are to believe that they do not have an agenda more than just proving his bones remain?
The DNA from the supposed Jesus ossuary did not match the Mary they tested. So they argue that they were not relatives and thus must have been married. That’s quite a leap in logic. Each step they did not follow logical conclusions which implies that they had other intentions. Did they compare the DNA to the others in the tomb? Maybe none of these are family. They left Matthew out of the picture, which would change the statistical analysis. They started with the presupposition that this is Jesus’ tomb and then try to determine the odds by manipulating the DNA testing to the least provable person. Why did they not connect the DNA from Mary, Jesus’ mother and Jesus instead of the Mary they claim is his wife? Because they want to present to the viewer that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have produced a son named Judah (without the DNA from this alleged “son of Jesus” Judah).
A reporter asked Jacobvici how those tests turned out. Jacobvici's answer is revealing- “We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA,” he said. “We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, ‘I’ve done my job as a journalist’ (NY Times, Feb. 27, 07).
Considering the magnitude of what he is proposing he has an obligation to see this all the way through. But it become obvious that he is not as concerned with accuracy as he is with the story and to become famous as the man who “disproved the Christian religion.” What was noticeable in the film was this mans sheer aggressiveness to make this be Jesus and his family despite other alternative answers.
When Jacobvici was later interviewed with Koppel in the aftermath challenge he stated “it was the most readily available DNA. “I followed the DNA as far as I could.”
Koppel asks Jacovi are you concerned it may not be – “I think the evidence is compelling that it is” Tabor chimed in. Reed challenges them and in Christianity’s defense and claims they are creating a chain that is self perpetuating.
The former archaeologists concluded they are husband and wife from this--Dr. Carry Matheson Lakehead University Paleo- DNA laboratory thunder bay Canada commented: His conclusions have no justification”
It does not prove that the Jesus buried in the ossuary was Jesus of Nazareth, neither does it prove that the Mariamne found in the other coffin was Mary Magdalene, it is not written on it.
Again we need to remember the Narrator said “If it is his tomb then all the others would have to be of his family” “Only expect to find the names of the family tree.” I agree- but they are not. Where are the sisters (which they assume are Mariam and Salome are missing). The names of his sisters are not mentioned in the Bible.
If this is the family tomb of Jesus, why does the name of Matthew appear with the rest of the family? Then there are the of the family missing, the father Joseph, Mary and Salome the sisters. At the end of the day there are more questions than there are answers.
James the Brother of Jesus?
James was the name of five biblical men mentioned in the New Testament. First, the brother of Jesus Christ. One of Christ's original twelve disciples-the son of Zebedee and Salome; an elder brother of John the apostle. The son of Alphaeus or cleopas. The brother of Joses and the son of a woman named Mary (who is not Jesus Christ's mother). The father of Judas, (not Judas Iscariot).
The Bible says Jesus’ step brothers became believers and undertook missions (1 Cor. 9:5). The half-brother of Jesus who authored the book of James was the early leader of the Jerusalem church, he was martyred for his faith. Fourth-century church historian Eusebius records for us that the body of James, brother of Jesus, was buried alone near the temple mount not Talpiot and not in a family tomb. James “was buried on the spot, by the Sanctuary, and his inscribed stone (stele) is still there by the sanctuary” (History Eccles. 2.23.18)
James was not found in the tomb yet Jacobvici said it is a match. Robert Genna Suffolk County Crime Laboratory said “I would never say they’re a match- no scientist would ever say definitively that one ossuary came from the same tomb as another” He stated “there could be other samplings from other tombs that match.”
Jacobvici “As a Journalist all I’m doing is telling a compelling story,” a story indeed.
This is all being done to reduce Jesus into one of the many teachers who came and died.
Professor Amos Kloner Said when he was in the tomb in 1980 he counted, photographed and categorized 10 ossuaries, the 10th was unmarked and did not say James the brother of Jesus. Can they prove these names were not added to the ossuaries as was “James the brother of Jesus?”
But this ossuary was found elsewhere which contradicts the theory they are presenting as fact. Oded Golan (an antiquities dealer) is on trial for forging the words “brother of Jesus” on the James ossuary. It turns out to be a hoax. He claims the ossuary came from Silwan, in an article on June 18, 2003 'Jesus box' exposed as fake, a panel of experts found this to be a modern inscription. A stone box touted as the oldest archaeological evidence of Jesus is, in fact, a well-crafted fake, Israeli archaeological experts say.
The box, an object known as an ossuary, was said to have contained the bones of Jesus’ brother James.
Carved on one side is an inscription in the ancient language of Aramaic bearing the legend: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”
Officials with Israel’s Antiques Authority announced Wednesday that while the box may date from the correct era, the inscription is a forgery added at a much later date.
“The inscription appears new, written in modernity by someone attempting to reproduce ancient written characters,” the officials said in the statement.
Inconsistencies on the writings of the names tell a loud story that these researchers did not want to hear.
Why is each written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew in the tomb, and some look like graffiti.
They relied on the expert testimony of Harvard Professor Francios Bovon who refers to the Acts of Phillip, a Gnostic manuscript far later in history than the gospels.
This all become suspicious – especially when we find out that according Amos Kloner's report the tomb was disturbed in ancient times, and vandalized. The question of who vandalized the cave, what did they do? What if the people wanted to do something that would be uncovered in later generations?
The Gnostic gospels include The Gospel of Judas, The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip, The Gospel of Mary, The Gospel of Truth, and dozens of others. All of these are latecomers, and were rejected because they did NOT agree with the bibles already received record of ALL the eyewitnesses. (For more on Hollywood and Gnosticism (www.letusreason.org/current64.htm)
These men are looking to spurious sources for their information as do many who disbelieve the Bibles record. They then look to metaphysics, mysticism for the answers.
Of course these secular antagonists have not taken into account the history of the Gnostics that hated Christianity and the idea of a physical resurrection. They were the cultists of the day who tried to ruin the Christian church from its inception.
Docetism was a form of Gnosticism that arose later in the first century, it comes from the Greek word dokeo, meaning “to seem” or “appear”. Their philosophy was that matter is inherently evil and that the spirit is good. They denied his genuine humanity and physical resurrection.
The Acts of Philip, the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdelene were never accepted as inspired texts and are late 3rd and 4th century forgeries. They were not written by the actual names claimed nor under the guidance or of ANYONE who was alive during the time of Jesus or the Apostles.
The Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary are used to prove that Mary Magdalen was Christ’s “companion.”
But how trustworthy are these sources when the Gnostic Gospel of Philip says, “You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father” (Gospel of Philip)
The Gnostics used Mary Magdalen to bring doubt and confusion, challenging the validity of the Scripture delivered by the apostles that was already established in the church. The true gospels written by the apostles tell us a number of times who the “inner circle” of disciples were- Peter, James, and John, and Mary was not there.
Jacobovici and his specialized team jumped to the conclusion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that “Judah may have been their son.” This statement along with so many other claims is conjecture. This shows they have come to the table with preconceived ideas drawn from the Gnostic gospels, not the gospels written by the eyewitnesses that were there.
No ancient document, by Christians, even their opponents, Gnostic purports that the Jesus of the Bible had a son. We're told of his brothers, his mother, his cousin, his aunt, but not a child or marriage. For Christ to have married and fathered children could not have kept this a secret from the everyday people and the early church?
Selective information are put on the ground like bread crumbs that lead people into their persepective and dampens any critical or biblical thinking. So what are they trying to imply? That there is a blood line, just like the Da Vinci code.
Video-“So perhaps the unnamed beloved disciple referred to in John is the son of Jesus The beloved disciple at the base of the cross” (they have a child that looks about 8 years old in the video by the cross).
Video- “He said Mary behold your son. Traditionally this has been understood as Jesus addressing his mother. But was he talking to Mary Magdalen his wife to protect his son.”
Let’s think this through- Jesus had a ministry that lasted about three years, he met Mary halfway through, if he had a son, he could not be older than a year and this is supposed to be a disciple of his? This son is going to take care of Mary? In Judaism the parents are to bring up the children.
If Jesus’ wife and child were kept secret, then everyone knew about it at the cross. Besides the complication that these men are proposing that Jesus kept his marriage and child a secret. The Da Vinci code tells us that Mary and her child fled after the crucifixion to Gaul, France. Brown the author says Mary Magdalene's bones are buried within the glass pyramid structure at the Louvre. To cover this story these men then suggest she came back to Jerusalem and that’s how they got in the ossuary. I suggest it is none of these are true.
The Bible tells us what is meant:
John 19:25-27: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”
That would be a hard thing to do being under few years of age.
On their website Discovery tried to assure Christians that this changes
nothing and is acceptable, by having a disclaimer:
On the Discovery website- Ascension: It is also a matter of Christian faith that after his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven. Some Christians believe that this was a spiritual ascension, i.e., his mortal remains were left behind. Other Christians believe that he ascended with his body to heaven. If Jesus’ mortal remains have been found, this would contradict the idea of a physical ascension but not the idea of a spiritual ascension. The latter is consistent with Christian theology” (“Theological Considerations” http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/theology/theology.html)
No it is not consistent, this is what the Gnostics, Mason’s, Bahai’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses along with other religions that disbelieve. This has never been an acceptable view in the church because of Jesus’ own words.
In the after math Ted Koppel hosted a challenge and did a very fair interviewing, being both inquisitive and critical minded in his approach to what was presented.
They are not denying that Jesus died, just that he did not raise from the dead-physically.
The Bible reports the resurrection of Jesus was not some mysterious event privy to a few. The whole nation knew, and within 50 days thousands were also convinced to believe. Are we to believe the Pharisees who plotted and made sure he was executed could not produce the body that was guarded heavily by the Roman soldiers when the people cried out he is risen? Could this large of an event take place in the heart of Jerusalem without anybody knowing where he was being buried?
The apostles' preached boldly about the resurrection in Jerusalem, where all these events took place. If the Pharisees had the body it they would have produced it and paraded it through the streets to disprove the reports that He rose and the whole movement would have been shut down before it began and we would not be discussing it today. The apostles would have been ignored and ridiculed but instead we find thousands believing, even some of those who crucified him. They could have carried his body out and paraded it in the streets to end this new movement, but they didn’t. Why? Because everything happened just as the Bibles eyewitnesses say it did.
Lying about the Truth
Tabor says “Unless he somehow magically disappeared and goes to heaven which is the position of the Christian faith. If you’re going to be historically realistic.”
There is posted an interesting article on a Former FBI agent Gerald Richard, who testified that a photo of the James ossuary, showing it in Golan's home, was taken in the 1970s.
Jacobovici conceded in an interview that if the ossuary was photographed in the 1970s, it could not then have been found in a tomb in 1980 (Source: Toronto Star article. http://www.thestar.com/News/article/185708)
The first lie on this event of the resurrection was that his disciples came and stole the body during the night and buried it somewhere else.
Matt 27:64-66: “"Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how."
So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.”
Matt. 28:11-15: “behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' "And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Yes- even to our day as well.
Jesus tomb was not left alone, Roman soldiers were stationed outside the tomb for days and they were on watch 24 hours. The trained Roman guard consisted of a unit of sixteen man governed by very strict rules. They had swords and shields and armor.
Peter the leader of the apostles was in a state of denial as he denied Christ three times and was in distress over what he had done. None of the disciples would have considered attacking these soldiers to get at the tomb, at the time they were fearful for their own lives. If anyone tried to steal the body in front of these trained soldiers they would have been killed. The Roman soldiers had no fear that Jesus’ followers would come after the body so they did not need to move it.To break the Roman seal that was around the tomb was punishable by death. The guards could not sit down or lean against anything while on duty. If a guard fell asleep while on duty they would be punished by death. He was beaten and burned with his own clothes. But he was not executed alone, the entire sixteen man guard unit was executed with him if only one of the members fell asleep while on duty. This made it essential for each to watch any other from shirking from their duty, for their own life was at stake.
If the disciples had actually stolen the body, an investigation by both Jewish and Roman authorities would have ensued and they would have been punished. Since the penalty is death for breaking the Roman seal that was stretched across the tomb. But it was an empty tomb and they paid the Roman soldiers who were on guard to lie by saying that the disciples had stolen the body. The body of Jesus was not going to be removed out of this tomb if He had stayed dead. It was Jesus himself who removed his body.
Luke 24:1-3: “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”
John 20:1-2 Mary Magdalene ran back to tell Simon Peter and the other disciple, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."
We are told when Peter and John ran to the tomb: “Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead” (John 20:8-9). They did not believe him being resurrected so there would be no intent to risk your lives against heavily armed roman soldiers to remove his body.
None of this would hold any weight in the first century for those who lived at that time unless it took place the way it was written. The surest way to squash a movement based on belief in a resurrected man would have been for authorities to point to these ossuaries while they still contained remains, thus quickly disproving the resurrection. First-century foes of Christianity apparently did not know of any ossuary of Jesus’ family.
The events that transpired from the trial; Jesus punished while Barabbas was let loose, the public crucifixion, Jesus' burial approved by Pilate, the sealing and guarding of the tomb by the Jewish authorities and the Roman government. It becomes very difficult for detractors to defend their position rationally, that he really did not die or rise from the dead when 10 of the 11 original apostles died horrendous deaths.
Christ had 10 or more separate recorded appearances in 40 days to numerous different groups.
1 Cor.15:6: “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once” And he was seen by his own stepbrother who was not a believer during his life's ministry but after this appearance became a believer. 1 Cor.15:7: “After that He was seen by James.”
Jesus calmed Martha about her brother Lazarus saying to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). Lazarus rose physically from the grave. If He did not rise as He promised than he certainly could not be the resurrection or the life. God bore witness to it with signs and converted many unbelieving Jews “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). God does not bear witness with true miracles to liars.
All the lives he has changed for nearly 2000 years do not hold any weight because these men are haters of righteousness. Paul who was formerly an enemy of Christ and opposed his followers had personally been confronted with Christ in his glory; this changed his mind immediately. Paul says Rom 1:4: “ and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” By the resurrection he is proven tot be the Son of God not the Son of David (the king), this is a claim to deity.
How did Paul become that which he hated if none of this occurred? In fact he makes the statement as a Jew in his letter to the Corinthian church: 1 Cor. 15:12-15: “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-- if in fact the dead do not rise.”
Paul died for what he lived for. He knew this to be true and as a Jew would not live a known lie. His disciples and followers willingly went to their deaths for what they would have to have known was a lie. Hardly feasible.
Jesus followers were depressed and fearful for several days after Jesus’ death. They were not expecting a resurrection even though he told them a dozen times. All of the Apostles saw the risen Christ and some of them saw the empty tomb.
They became convinced of the resurrection and endured scorn, rejection and even torture and death for their believing it. How many would die for something they knew was a lie? In Acts 4 They arrested Peter and John and beat and threatened them so they would not speak of this any more. They Sanhedrin tried to suppress the message, beating them, threatening them to keep their mouths shut. If this all was a lie this would not be necessary.
As the film progressed these men’s hand is clearly on the table. “Jesus said in the gospels if you want to know he asked his master what are you up to he said the secret read the book of Jonah” Which gospel would that be?
“The gospels record that Jesus often spoke in parables and codes” Parables yes, codes- I don’t think so. The Bible does not even contain the word codes. Parables were used to illustrate the teachings he had in everyday life examples. If you could not understand the parable you could not understand his teaching.
This whole theory is an exercise of futility. At the end of the film they appealed to the same sources as the Da Vinci code, the same complaints surface, about a male dominated church, saying, “Mary Magdalen the most trusted apostle dies here in Jerusalem.” The Bible has no female apostles. And Mary Magdalen was not the chief among them.
The biggest questions that remain unanswered to this early break-in of the tomb: who vandalized the cave, when did it happen, what did they do there? The tomb being vandalized is not considered an option for obvious reasons. Yet we can also consider into the equation as a possible hoax from the past?
Are we to take the word of a Hollywood producer and those who believe in rejected ancient documents over all the archeology, history and eyewitnesses? Frankly this becomes one of the dumbest challenges for faith in Christ from anyone, least of all the Hollywood think tank. Skeptics, atheists, and even Muslims may agree with it but history does not. History is far more accurate in its reporting at the time the events happen than hundreds or thousands of years later. This is why we go to ancient historical records, and the records are overwhelming. The Bible is still the best historical record on the life of Jesus of Nazareth that argues against what they have found by the Gnostic forgeries. They were rejected then and it should be no different today.