Christ's Resurrection (Anomalies Noted)

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

27 April 2002

Revisions through 13 March 2009

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Why Jesus Christ Cannot Be the Messiah

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How the Hebrew Prophets _contradict_ Christianity's Teachings about the Holy Spirit

We are informed in the New Testament, that Christ promises to give the non-believers "a sign," just as Jonah lay 3 three days and 3 nights in the belly of a great fish, so Christ will lie 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb, then he will arise from the dead in a resurrection.

Matthew 12:38-40 (RSV)

"At this some of the scribes and Pharisees said, "Teacher, we would like you to show us a sign." He answered: "It is a wicked, godless generation that asks for a sign, and the only sign that will be given it is the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as Jonah was in the sea monster's belly for three days AND THREE NIGHTS, so the son of Man will be THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BOWELS OF THE EARTH."

However, other verses indicate Christ will rise after three days in the tomb, not after three nights:

Matthew 16:21 RSV

"From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."

Mark 8:31 RSV

"And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."

Luke 9:21-22 RSV

"But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, 'The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."

Matthew 27:57-66  (RSV)

"When evening fell, a wealthy man from Arimathaea, Joseph by name, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus, and approached Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave orders that he should have it. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen sheet, and laid it in his own unused
tomb, which he had cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a large stone against the entrance and went away...Next day, the morning after the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came in a body to Pilate. Your excellency, they said, we recall how that impostor said while he was alive, "I am to be raised again after three days." We request you to give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise his disciples may come and steal the body, and then tell the people that he has been raised from the dead; and the final deception will be worse than the first."

We have here a "contradiction": One verse has three days and three nights (Matthew 12:38-40) while other verses say only three days. Which is correct?

Some apologists have argued that when Christ said he would be in the grave three days and three nights before being resurrected that this was merely a Jewish "IDIOM" meaning a "short INDETERMINATE period of time" and that a LITERAL reading of _three nights_ is therefore UNCALLED FOR and "irrelevant." 

I have seen this "idiom" argument used before by some apologists to explain away contradictions involving elapsing periods of time. 

For example, those apologists acknowledging that Science indicates the planet Earth is billions of years old invoke Jewish IDIOM and METAPHOR for an "indeterminate" period of a long duration for Genesis' statement that God created the world in 6 days and nights. Other apologists noting the contradictions for the length of the Exile of 70 years (Jeremiah), 40 years (Ezekiel) and 490 years (Daniel) "invoke"  Jewish IDIOMS meaning an "INDETERMINATE" length of time of long duration must elapse, NOT that the Exile should really be the number of years given thus "absolving" the prophets of any contradictions for the length of the Exile

For two examples of the "Jewish idiom" argument please click on the following urls:

The anomaly, is that, according to the testimony of the Gospels, Christ was a false prophet in that he failed to accomplish "this sign" (Matthew 12:38-40) because he did not spend three nights in the tomb before being resurrected.

According to early Christian traditions, still celebrated to this very day, Christ's entombment is celebrated on "Good Friday." Allowing Friday to be day one, we have Satudrday for day two and then his tomb is found empty on day three, Sunday morning, by two women. The anomaly is that he has risen
and failed to keep his word that he would lie THREE NIGHTS IN THE TOMB BEFORE arising from the dead. Friday night and Saturday night do not add up to three nights in the tomb before a resurrection from the dead and the bowels of the earth/tomb. How did this "anomaly" happen? 

It looks like the author of Matthew forgot himself, that is, he FORGOT that he had earlier quoted Christ as saying he would rise from the dead after three days AND THREE NIGHTS (cf. Matt 12:38-40).

It is worth noting here that Christ states that only a "wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign," which is apparently in harmony with a statement from the Apostle Paul, who also criticizes his fellow Jews as "seekers after signs."

1 Corinthians 1:22 (RSV)

"JEWS DEMAND SIGNS, Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ nailed to a cross; and though this is an offence to Jews and folly to Gentiles, yet to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, he is the power of God and the wisdom of God."

According to Christian belief, Christ was the God who spoke to Moses and who lead Israel in the Wilderness. It was Christ (as God) who told Moses how to identify a false prophet. The people are to "wait for a sign," the sign being the prophecy's fulfillment. Strange that Christ in the flesh, has FORGOTTEN that when he was God (The Word or Logos) talking to Moses, that his people were instructed to "seek a sign" in order not to be decieved! In the flesh, God/Jesus is portrayed as
ridiculing his people as being "wicked and adulterous" in seeking after "the sign" their God/Jesus told them to in Deuteronomy. Talk about your "House divided against itself not standing"--Here it is:

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (RSV)

"If you wonder, "How are we to recognize a word that the Lord has not uttered? here is the answer: WHEN a word spoken by a prophet in the name of the Lord IS NOT FULFILLED and does not come true, it is not a word spoken by the Lord. The prophet has spoken presumptuosly; have no fear of him."

Even if Christ was resurrected from the dead on the third day or after the third night it would still be of no importance in "proving" he was the predicted Messiah. How so?

Moses warned the nation that in the future their would arise false prophets who God would allow to accomplish marvelous signs and miracles. They were not to be believed in nor obeyed, however, if they taught the people to abandon the observance of Torah: the Commandments, Statutes and Ordinances of God. Chrsitianity does just that!

So even if Jesus was to appear to the whole world in the clouds with angels and the saints and trumpets blasting, the Jews could not worship or follow him. Why? 

Because God said he would allow the false prophet to accomplish miracles and signs, to test his people, to see if they would remain loyal and obdient to him. 

Christianity's advocating the non-observance of the Commandments, Statutes and Ordinances of God, given Moses means Christ "fits to a T" the false prophet that Moses predicted would arise and deceive many through the accomplishment of wonderous miracles and signs.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 RSV

"If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them," you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him, and keep his COMMANDMENTS and obey his voice...that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God..."

Moses clearly reveals that to "walk in God's ways" is to not only observe the 10 Commandments but the Statutes and Ordinances as well:

Deuteronomy 26:17

" will walk in his ways, and keep his STATUTES and his COMMANDMENTS and his ORDINANCES, and will obey his voice..."

Paul, who claims to possess God's Holy Spirit, informs his Christian converts that they are _not_ to observe God's Commandments, Statutes and Ordinances as Christ's death has abolished this need:

Ephesians 2:14-15 RSV

"For he [Jesus] is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by ABOLISHING in his flesh the LAW of COMMANDMENTS and ORDINANCES..."

How interesting that the present day controversy about the removing of images of the Ten Commandments from public buildings should outrage some Christians -apparently they are unaware according to Paul- that Christ's death has abolished the observance of the 10 Commandments for Christians.

Christ's followers urged the people to believe in him because he accomplished "miracles and signs" during his life: healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, turning water into wine, casting out demons, rising from the dead himself after 3 days and nights in a tomb; they also advocated the non-observance of the Torah and non-obervance of Israel's calendar of Holy Feast Days (Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, etc.). 

Jesus "fitted to a T" Moses' warning of the false prophet who would arise in the future, accomplish wonderous signs and miracles and advocate the end of Torah observance: the obeying of God's Commandments, Ordinances and Statutes. 

An educated Roman critic of Christianity called Celsus doubted the resurrection of Jesus. If God _really_ wanted the world to be saved and "know" that Jesus was his son why didn't Jesus appear to those responsible for his death, the Romans and Jews? The fact that he neglected to make an appearance before his former persecutors was proof for Celsus the resurrection claims of his followers was nonsense:

"If this Jesus were trying to convince anyone of his powers, then surely he ought to have appeared first to the Jews who treated him so badly -and to his accusers- indeed to everyone, everywhere...When he was in the body, he was disbelieved but preached to everyone; after his resurrection, apparently wanting to establish a strong faith, he chooses to show himself to one woman and a few comrades only. When he was punished, everyone saw; yet risen from the tomb, almost no one...What is plain is that this Jesus was a mere man, and rather more a reason to disbelieve in resurrection..."

(pp. 68-69. "Address to the Jews." R. Joseph Hoffmann. Celsus: On the True Doctrine, A Discourse Against the Christians. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1987)

Porphyry like Celsus before him also expressed disbelief in Jesus resurrection. He noted that the only people testifying to this resurrection were Christ's followers, who were considered "people of no account," they having a vested interest in claiming a resurrection while "the people of account," Christ's accusers and executioners, the Jews and Romans, make no statements about having seen personally this allegedly resurrected being:

"There is another way to refute the false opinion concerning the resurrection of [Jesus], which is spoken of everywhere these days. Why did this Jesus [after his crucifixion and rising- as your story goes] not appear to Pilate, who punished him saying he had done nothing worthy of execution, or to the king of the Jews, Herod, or to the High Priest of the Jewish people, or to many men at the same time, as for example to people of renown among the Romans, both Senators and others, whose testimony was reliable?

Instead he appeared to Mary Magdalene, a prostitute who came from some horrible little village and had been possessed by seven demons, and another Mary, equally unknown, probably a peasant woman, and others who were of no account...Had he shown himself to people _who could be believed_, then others would have believed through them -and [Christians] would not today be punished for fabricating these ridiculous tales."

(pp. 34-35. "Critique of the Gospels and Their Authors." R. Joseph Hoffmann. Porphyry's Against The Christians, The Literary Remains. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. 1994)

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