Historicity of Christ

True & Righteous Altogether (The Historicity of Jesus Christ)

The Bible is not shy in laying out places, names, and events—all of which the inquiring mind can search out and confirm or deny. And yet, there are still those who would reject the historicity of Jesus Christ, a real, live person whose existence can be proven.
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True & Righteous Altogether (The Historicity of Jesus Christ)

Article#: 2013

Beyond marvelous: A believer called me one day and asked how I was doing.  I told her it was the best day of my life.  She asked in jest, “Did you just hit the lottery?!”  “Oh, far greater than that,” I responded.

What I’m going to say next will seem braggadocious, but it is true.  You might not know who I am.  I am a blood-washed servant of the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His unmatchable and miraculous work on Calvary, I am a son of God!  John 1:10-13:

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

You might not know who I am.  It is so staggering and beyond the human lexicon, but try to imagine this: I am a sinless son of God, and now one with the Father through Jesus Christ (John 17:11-26).  I have been born into the house of God.  Jesus aptly calls it BORN AGAIN.  John 3:3:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

You might not know who I am.  I have been given a new name and my new birth certificate has been registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Angels have been dispatched to encamp about me.  Psalm 34:7:

The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

By commandment, all things are working together for my good, especially—most especially--the bad and dark times. Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

You might not know who I am.  I have been duly liberated from all of Satan’s bondages by the mighty authority of Jesus Christ; and now in Christ’s name, I have authority over the devil. I am very special.

You might not know who I am.  I am one of the world’s wealthiest men. I have been chosen by God to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to reconcile the lost unto God in Jesus’s name.  That is truly eternal wealth.  Big! Big!! Big!!!

Do you know somebody like me?  You say it’s you, too?!  Well, hallelujah! It is such a marvelous place to be, and it is known as the Commonwealth of Israel

Dear visitor, have you been BORN AGAIN? Would you like to read the amazing claims I just read and proudly proclaim, THAT’S ME, TOO?!  Today’s about to be the best day of your life because in just a moment, I will invite you to follow me in a simple, life-changing prompt, and if you do, everything changes today.  You will participate in the glorious promise in II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.   

Today, all your sin and shame will be washed away by Christ’s cleansing blood.  Today, all of Satan’s bondages in your life will be broken, and the word is ALL!  Here is the simple prompt I promised: Click onto Further with Jesus for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Galatians 1:19:

But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

GOD SAID, Matthew 26:3-4:

3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.

GOD SAID, Matthew 27:17-20:

17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

MAN SAID: I’m really getting bummed out.  Oh, all the stress and confusion!! I’ve got to take a sabbatical; I’ve got to find myself.  You think AI could help find me?

Now THE RECORD: Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature 1194 that will stand and contend for the magnificent inerrancy of God’s beautiful, majority-text Holy Bible. Each feature is archived here in text and streaming audio for your edification and to be used as bait for the fishers of men.  Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one.

Thank you for visiting. May God’s Love and Light flood your heart, mind, and soul.

The world is filled with the spirit of the antichrist, in essence Christ deniers. I John 2:22 defines “antichrist:”

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God, and the only name under heaven by which men can be saved.  Acts 4:10-12:

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

By Jesus Christ, God created the earth, its universe, and all its lifeforms.  Hebrews 1:1-3:

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

This Jesus Christ will soon gather His church unto Himself in the clouds and return to the earth at the world-ending battle of Armageddon where He will destroy the wicked.

This Jesus Christ just partially described is rejected by all the world’s religions and even by some religious groups claiming to be Christians.

GodSaidManSaid uses a four-proof platform establishing that God IS, that He authored the Holy Bible, and that He will hold all men accountable to it at a soon-to-come Great White Throne Judgement. Proof platform number four is “The Historicity of Jesus Christ.” Many features are archived here establishing the bonafides of this King of Glory.

The Bible is not shy in laying out places, names, and events—all of which the inquiring mind can search out and confirm or deny. Relax, children of the Word, God’s Word is true and righteous altogether.

A point of serious controversy concerning Jesus Christ, His brother James, and His stepfather Joseph ended up in Israeli courts in 2012. GodSaidManSaid followed that story in some detail, but the pertinent facts are: A stone box called an ossuary, the receptacle where the bones of the deceased were finally placed after death, was discovered that set the archaeology world abuzz and blared alarms in the camp of the Christ deniers.  The ossuary was remarkable for its inscription, which read, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”  The Israeli government confiscated the ossuary from its display in Toronto and charged forgery, which precipitated a trial that would last eight years.  In the end, Israel dropped the forgery charges and the ossuary was returned.

Field archaeologist Dr. Titus Kennedy reported the following regarding the “James ossuary” in his book Unearthing the Bible:

In Judea and Galilee, and especially around Jerusalem, from the 1st Century BC to AD 70, the use of a carved stone box called an ossuary was popular, in which the bones of deceased relatives were commonly stored and placed within a tomb.  Nearly 1,000 ossuaries from this period have been found, and approximately 25 percent of those ossuaries have inscriptions.  While many of these bone boxes were unfortunately looted from tombs rather than discovered in archaeological excavations, the artifacts can still provide valuable information when analyzed.

The ”James Ossuary” had been acquired under mysterious circumstances and was in the possession of an antiquities collector in Israel before being revealed to the world in 2002.  An expert in epigraphy examined the inscription on the side of the ossuary, which is in Aramaic and translates as, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” Because of the names and their relationships to each other, the possible historical implications of the inscription made the artifact immediately famous and controversial.

Although this artifact was part of a forgery trial, after detailed analysis many scholars concluded that the ossuary and its inscription were authentic. Analysis showed that the ossuary, which measures 19.9 inches by 9.8 inches by 12.0 inches, was made of local Jerusalem limestone.  The patina, or ancient residue, demonstrated that the ossuary had been inside a tomb in the Jerusalem area, and although the exact find location is not known with certainty, there is a probable tomb origin based on information about looted tombs in Jerusalem at the time when the ossuary first appeared.  The craftmanship of the artifact and the style of the letters also indicate an origin in 1st-Century AD Jerusalem before AD 70.

James, the brother of Jesus, is mentioned in the Gospels, Acts, I Corinthians, Galatians, and Jude, and he wrote the Epistle of James.  The writings of Josephus also record the martyrdom of James in Jerusalem in about AD 62 and state his family relationship to Jesus, meaning it is expected that the bones of James would have been placed in an ossuary prior to AD 70 in Jerusalem.

Several years of research demonstrate that the ossuary stone box itself is authentic and from a Jerusalem tomb used before AD 70; the Aramaic inscription is genuine and ancient; besides James the apostle, there is no other known James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus from this period; a statistical name analysis determined it was probable only one person would have been described as “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” in 1st-Century AD Jerusalem; and of all the known inscribed ossuaries, only one other mentions a brother, meaning that the brother was very significant.

All of this data indicates that the inscription refers to James the apostle and leader of the Jerusalem church, and to Jesus Christ, which makes it the only known 1st-Century AD inscription mentioning either James or Jesus. [End of quote]

Dr. Kennedy also addresses the historicity of Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate, which were high-profile names in the instigation of and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews and Saviour of all that will call upon His name.  Kennedy’s book confirms and will add to information on GodSaidManSaid regarding these two prominent New Testament names.

Unearthing the Bible writes:

Joseph Caiaphas was the acting high priest in Jerusalem from about AD 18 to 36, according to information from the Gospels, Acts, Josephus, and perhaps the Mishnah.  Josephus relates that Caiaphas was appointed by the Roman prefect Valerius Gratus and continued his tenure through the time of Pontius Pilate. 

A recently discovered ossuary of Miriam, the daughter of Caiaphas, excavated west of Jerusalem in the Elah Valley contains an inscription demonstrating that the Caiaphas family was of the priestly lineage of Ma’aziah, a priest from the tribe of Levi who was appointed during the time of David. However, the high priest Caiaphas himself is known from another ossuary recovered from a 1st-Century AD tomb outside of ancient Jerusalem.  Twelve ossuaries were found inside the tomb, two of which have the family name “Caiaphas” inscribed on them.  One particularly ornate ossuary, carved from limestone, had a 1st-Century AD Aramaic inscription reading Yehosef bar Qayafa (Joseph, son of Caiaphas), which fits the New Testament Greek spelling of the family name Kaiafa perfectly.

Skeletal remains of six different individuals were discovered inside the ossuary, including a man about 60 years old, which may be the bones of the high priest Caiaphas.  The name, location, and decorative quality of the ossuary indicate that it was a burial box used for a wealthy and prominent Jerusalem citizen with the family name Caiaphas.  Additionally, the date of the Caiaphas burial is before AD 70, when ossuaries ceased to appear in Jerusalem, but from AD 43 or later, indicated by an AD 43 coin of Herod Agrippa I found in the skull of one of the skeletons.

Since Caiaphas served as high priest until he was replaced in AD 36 with Jonathan son of Ananus, this chronology fits the time frame for when this high priest likely died.  As the high priest, a Sadducee, and part of the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas was instrumental in the plot to kill Jesus by claiming charges of blasphemy and treason that would lead to execution.  Ultimately, this led to the trial of Jesus before Caiaphas, who then sent him to the prefect Pontinus Pilate due to requirements of Roman law about capital punishment. [End of quote]

Pontius Pilate should have listened to his wife.  Unfortunately for him, he did not.  Matthew 27:19-20:

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

For nearly 2,000 years, Pontius Pilate has known the magnitude of his error.  Again from Unearthing the Bible:

Pontius Pilatus (Pilate) was appointed fifth prefect of Judea Province in AD 26 while Tiberius was emperor.  Pilate had an irregularly long term as prefect, governing for over ten years and having his tenure exceeded only by one other prefect, procurator, or legate of Judea (his predecessor, Valerius Gratus, ruled for a few months longer).

During this time, Sejanus, commander of the Praetorian Guard, had accumulated so much power and influence that he effectively ruled the Empire.  Because Sejanus rose to power just before Pilate was sent to Judea, Pilate may have been appointed by Sejanus rather than Tiberius, and this had political ramifications for Pilate relating to the trial of Jesus.

During his time as prefect, Pilate experienced at least six significant conflicts with the local population, with the last resulting in recall from the province in AD 36.  One of these conflicts was the trial of Jesus.  Since the Roman prefect had power over life and death, his approval was ultimately needed to sanction an execution.

After a series of events put Pilate at odds with many of the Judeans, matters were made more complicated when Sejanus was accused of a plot in AD 31 and subsequently executed without trial, followed by the arrest and execution of many of his associates.

The trial of Jesus in AD 33 came after Pilate had already angered the Judeans, and with a likely Sejanus association, he was in a delicate position that required him to stay in favor with the emperor.  When the Judeans told Pilate if he released Jesus he was no “friend of Cesar,” he would have clearly understood it as a threat to destroy his favor with Tiberius and endanger not only his career but his life.  As a result, Pilate acted in his best interests and submitted to the pressure of the religious leaders.

Now, two artifacts are known that are directly connected to Pontius Pilate as prefect of Judea.  In a staircase near the theatre at Caesarea Maritima, excavations discovered a monument stone reused as building material that had a dedicatory Latin inscription reading “Tiberium, Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea … dedicated.”  The inscription, dating between AD 26-36, refers to this Roman politician with his name, his title, and a dedication to the reigning Emperor Tiberius. 

More recently, a copper-alloy Roman-type ring bearing the name “Pilato” (Pilatus) was analyzed and the findings published even though it had been discovered in excavations about 50 years ago at the palace fortress site of Herodium near Bethlehem. It was finally cleaned and details of the inscription on the ring were seen for the first time.  The oval-set section of the ring is slightly less than one centimeter at its longest point, has an amphora design in the center, and is circled by six Greek letters that spell PILATO (equivalent too Pilatus in Latin).  The letters are inscribed so they would be read left to right, but in a semicircle, on a surface that the ring would stamp.

Because the cognomen of Pilatus is of Italian origin and is unknown from any other person in ancient Judea, this ring almost certainly refers to Pontius Pilate the prefect and would have been used during his tenure in Judea, but it may have been used by a lower-ranking Roman official performing tasks in the name of the governor rather than by Pilate himself.  Prior to the discovery of this ring and the official inscription at Caesarea, Pilate was known only from manuscript copies of Josephus, Philo, Tacitus, the Gospels, Acts, and I Timothy. [End of quotes]

The Christ deniers and those who deny the historical accuracy of God’s beautiful Book will continue to deny, but God’s Word will continue to be vindicated, every jot and every tittle.

A final tomb Dr. Kennedy addresses is an empty one.  Finally, from Unearthing the Bible:

Burial practices common in Judea during the Roman period involved preparing the corpse for burial by washing and anointing with oils, then wrapping it in a linen shroud before being placed in the tomb, as soon as possible after death. 

Because easily cut limestone was available throughout the region, people utilized tombs carved into rocky hillsides or shafts into the ground, cut with chisels. Most of these tombs had an entryway that could be closed and opened by moving the rolling stone or blocking stone, a central chamber, and multiple extension chambers or burial benches.  The tradition of ancestral tombs goes all the way back to early civilization and is embodied in the phrases “gathered to his people” or “gathered to his father.”

The tomb of Jesus, however, was a new tomb in which no one had been interred, and which no one used afterward.  Recent restoration work to the edicule surrounding the tomb of Jesus has confirmed that it was a single chamber tomb carved into a limestone hill during the 1st Century.  Further, a stone bench consistent with an arcosolium tomb from the Roman period was protected underneath the current structure, the tomb was originally sealed with a large circular stone, and the Romans had built a temple over the site prior to the building of the church.

This information accords with what was recorded in the Gospels and writings of the early church about the burial and tomb of Jesus.  Christians in Jerusalem then passed down a continuous memory of the location of the tomb from the time of the burial and resurrection in AD 33 until construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was started in about AD 326.  

According to the Gospels, the tomb of Jesus was a new tomb just outside the city walls, hewn out of rock, single chambered, having a bench on which to place the body, and sealed with a large stone.  Due to the significance of the resurrection in Christianity, the tomb of Jesus has been remembered, revered, and preserved for almost 2,000 years.  [End of quote]

I need to know its true.  EVERYTHING depends upon it.  “The Historicity of Jesus Christ,” proof platform number four on GodSaidManSaid, certifies that the Jesus Christ of the Bible is everything. It said He was, and is, and will forever be.

Saints, be of good cheer!  God’s Word is true and righteous altogether, a place to build a life that will last forever.

GOD SAID, Galatians 1:19:

But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

GOD SAID, Matthew 26:3-4:

3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.

GOD SAID, Matthew 27:17-20:

17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

MAN SAID: I’m really getting bummed out.  Oh, all the stress and confusion!! I’ve got to take a sabbatical; I’ve got to find myself.  You think AI could help find me?

  

 

 

 

 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Kennedy, T., Unearthing the Bible, Harvest House Publications, 2020

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