Sunday 1 April 2018

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?                          

Ever since Jesus died on the cross, the mystery of his reincarnation has been on the lips of millions upon millions of people ever since that historical Sunday when some of his followers found his tomb empty. For  almost two thousand years, Christians from all walks of life during their days on Earth have looked for the reappearance of Jesus. As we have entered the beginning of this century, millions of Christian believers still speak of hope of his return to Earth. Never before has the world heard so much talk about it—from the backwoods preacher to the most renown television evangelist and all the time,  the Christians continue to search the Bible for further clues to the second coming of Jesus. Throughout the history of the Christian Church, it has steadfastly insisted on the reality of the reappearance of Christ as a settled belief, but at the same time, it has granted liberty on the question of when it will occur.

There are some instances in the New Testament that refer to the reincarnation of Jesus that might actually be proof of him being alive after his crucifixion on the cross.

After he was removed from the cross, he could have been in a state of suspended animation and wasn’t actually breathing. There have been quite a few incidents in history where people who were declared dead because they were not breathing and later suddenly became wide awake. According to the New Testament, Lazarus was one of them.                                                                                                            
The New Testament has spoken of a number of other events in which Jesus was seen alive after he was crucified. Let’s begin in the garden where the tomb of Jesus was situated. On that very day in which Jesus Christ was resurrected and he appeared to Mary Magdalene, she saw him as a man whom she originally thought was a gardener. If Jesus had returned from the dead in the exact form he was in when he was carried to the cave where he was entombed, she would have seen him as Jesus and not as a gardener whom she had never met before. However that could be because she believed that Jesus’ dead body had been removed from the tomb earlier and she was speaking to another man. However, she did believe that he was Jesus.

I refer you to another so-called appearance of Jesus to two of his disciples who were fleeing north after the crucifixion of their master. On the road, they were talking to each other about all the things that had recently happened in Jerusalem, and about the suffering and death of their Savior. While they were talking about all that had happened, the New Testament states that Jesus Christ himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him at all as Jesus. In Mark, chapter sixteen, verse twelve, it actually says, After this, he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.unquote         

The same thing happened again after the resurrection when his disciples were fishing and they saw a stranger on the shore who told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and it was subsequently filled with fish. The other disciples called out to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” believing that Jesus had return to them. According to the Bible, Peter swam to shore and when the others saw him on the shore at a fire he had built, they saw him with a stranger whom they later believed was Jesus. In fact, if it was Jesus, none of his disciples dare ask him, “Who are you?” when they really didn’t know who he was.

When Jesus appeared before his disciples later, Thomas had doubts until the man in front of them showed them his wounds.

I cannot explain the real reason why Mary Magdalene and the other disciples didn`t initially recognize Jesus for who he was. Perhaps they were convinced that Jesus was really dead and his body was snatched from the tomb by unknown people so that his followers would not visit the tomb as a revered burial place of their Savior.

In the year, 2007, a new archaeological discovery on a Jerusalem site had caused controversy as it revived the debate over the Jesus tomb and presented what scientists claim is proof that a burial box was found containing the remains of Jesus, and possibly his immediate family which is a direct contradiction to the belief in Christ's bodily resurrection. The tomb contained ossuaries (burial boxes where the deceased`s bones are placed) with inscriptions containing the names, Jesus, Mary and Joseph close to each other. That is little likely to be coincidental, the scientists said, even though at the time some scholars dismissed these claims, saying the names were mere coincidence.  In fact the names were quite common however it is interesting that the names actually coincide with those of Jesus’ immediate family.

Scientists believe that the Jesus Family Tomb is located on the land once belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, who, according to Scriptures, had Jesus’ body placed in his own tomb. The newly explored tomb, located only 200 feet (61 metres) from the Jesus Family Tomb, increases the likelihood that the theory is correct, that the tomb contains several ossuaries that have images and inscriptions related to Jesus’ resurrection and what some have suggested is the first image of a Christian cross. However, the image could represent a gate or a doorway.

The findings are the earliest testimony of faith in the resurrection of Jesus, pre-dating the oldest known copy of the New Testament Gospel and even the Gospels themselves. The carvings are believed to be the earliest Christian symbols ever discovered, and have been in the tombs for almost 2,000 years. They are the most important archaeological find since the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scientists also believe that there is a possibility that in the same tomb and next to the remains believed to be Jesus’ are bones that might have belonged to Mary Magdalene.

Carbon dating will determine how old the bones are but it won’t pin-point the time of Jesus’ death or the deaths of the others whose bones are in the ossuaries.

Jesus said that we will all be born again. Herein is the questions of the meaning of resurrection. Does it mean getting a new spiritual body? That’ question has been debated by Jews and Christians for centuries. What kind of body will our resurrection body be? It wouldn’t necessarily involve our old body, especially if our body has decayed and turned into dust.

In my book The Second Appearance (published in 2010) I raised this issue about reincarnation in which I said in part;

“The definition of man is best described as an entity on our planet composed of a body and a soul and made in the image and likeness of God. Man, then, is composed of a material element, the body and a spiritual element, the soul and not as two independent elements that just by coincidence, happen to be joined together while the body grows but rather as two separate elements that by God’s will, are joined together from inception and as such, they need each other to form a complete whole, namely, a human being. I believe that if Jesus returned to Earth, he appeared both in spirit and in body, as a human being, as he did when he first appeared on Earth almost two thousand years ago.” unquote

Pope John XXIII in 1946, when he was the nuncio in France, gave a sermon in the Cathedral of Bourges and he said and I quote; “We are the disciples of Christ who has been dwelling among us for two thousand years.” unquote. Many believe as the Pope did then, that Jesus has been dwelling with us on Earth ever since his original resurrection. If that is so, then why haven’t we seen him?

That answer is easy to arrive at. If Jesus didn’t die on the cross and he married Mary Magdalene as many people suspect is a fact, then their offspring would propagate and Jesus’ DNA would spread world-wide. So in effect, part of Jesus’s DNA would still be present in our current era and beyond.

I know what you are thinking. Jesus did die on the cross. The proof is that when the soldier shoved his spear into Jesus’ chest, no blood emerged. That is because his heart had stopped pumping the blood throughout his body. However, there have been a number of instances when people who were declared dead were actually alive. It was just that at first, there were no apparent signs of life in their bodies when they were declared dead.

This explains why in the past, there was such a fear of becoming conscious while buried in the grave, a rope was attached to one of the dead person’s  hands so when that person became conscious, they could pull the rope that had a small bell at the surface that would ring so that anyone above the grave would hear it and rescue the person below them. I know of no instance anywhere that such a plan ever worked.

Joseph Smith, the founder or the Mormon religion believed that Jesus was also in the United States. I don’t know if he really saw someone that looked like the original Jesus but it is highly unlikely he did because no one could possibly know in the previous two centuries as to what the first Jesus Christ actually looked like.

It is my belief that our souls, like atoms are indestructible. When we die, our souls do not die but instead they take their places in the bodies of other human beings. I believe that when Jesus Christ eventually died and was buried in the tomb, his soul then took its place in other human bodies and that the soul in those human bodies was still the soul of Jesus Christ who had returned to Earth, time after time. However I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it is conceivable that no one will really take the place of the original Jesus Christ even though his DNA may be in many places around the world in the bodies of those that may have carried his DNA over the centuries.

Let me give you an example. Back in the early nineteen hundreds, when India was still a dominion of England, there was a boy of about five years of age living in a small village in India. One day, he and his parents went to visit some relatives in another small village that was several hundred miles away. This was the first time they had ever been in that village. When they arrived, their young son began talking with the elders in the village. He asked them questions about certain members of their families and about their health. He appeared to know all of them and what they had been doing five years earlier. The governor in that area arranged for British scientists to interview the boy and the villagers. They finally concluded that in all likelihood, he was the reincarnation of an old man who had died five years earlier in that village. As the boy grew older, he remembered less and less of his previous life in the village until finally, all memory of his past life was gone from his memory. This is certainly proof that the soul of the old man entered the body of the newborn baby.

The concept of children's past lives coming to the fore are quite common especially in western countries, where children have seldom been exposed to the beliefs of reincarnation. Often such memories can fade as some grow up, while others will be able to recall past incarnations all their lives. Thousands of cases have been documented by various researchers from around the world. Some of the children are recorded as having described where they had lived, and they have recognized family members by name, even when these families live in a different area of the continent. Many have successfully passed tests arranged by the identified families. What is remarkable is that in most cases, the children appear to have no incentive, financial or otherwise, to make such claims.

What this clearly means is that we have lived in the past and our DNA is evidence of that fact.

It is the belief by many that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that their son was named Judah, based upon the inscriptions found on ossuaries discovered in Jerusalem in 1980. Were they married before his crucifixion?  According to the vast majority of professional historians and scholars from related fields, there is no historical biblical, apocryphal,  archaeological,  genealogical or any genetic evidence  which actually supports this hypothesis.

If the bones found in the ossuaries are carbon dated centuries after Jesus’ crucifixion, this may change the thinking of the scientists who want to believe that the bones were placed in the ossuaries after Jesus died of old age. That would add to the belief that  he survived the crucifixion.   

My own view on this contentious issue is that Jesus really died on the cross. I base this possibility on one important piece of evidence. When the spear was thrust into his chest, it was only water that oozed out of the cavity. The average adult human body is 50-65% water. If blood had oozed out of the cavity, then his heart would still be beating. That would mean that he could have conceivably been alive when he was in the tomb and later left it on his own volition. I believe that it was his dead body that was removed from the cross. If he wasn’t breathing by the time they placed him in the tomb, then his brain would be irreparably destroyed and he couldn’t have left the tomb on his own.

That night, the priests had asked Pontius Pilate to send his soldiers to the tomb to guard it because of their fear that Jesus’ followers would remove his body and then later claim that he still lived amongst them. Pilate refused their request.  It was then that the priests knew that they could send their own soldiers to the tomb and remove Jesus’ body since there would be no Roman guards standing at the tomb. This clearly rules out any evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.

If the guards removed the body of Jesus on the instructions of the priests, it was a a foolish ploy because the missing body brought strength in the opinions of his followers that Jesus really did survive his crucifixion.

If Jesus and Mary Magdalene didn’t have a child, this then rules out any proof that Jesus’ DNA would have been passed on unless he and Mary Magdalene had a child before he died and there was nothing in the scriptures that said that they did have a child.

Since it is highly unlikely that he had a child while he was alive, I am convinced of one thing for sure. His soul lived on after he died and continued to live on in the bodies of others over the centuries. And without a doubt in my mind, Jesus’ soul will be in the body of someone whom Christians will later believe is their savior. It is conceivable that it is in someone’s body even today and that person has no idea that the soul in his body was that of Jesus more than tw0 thousand years ago. What is really interesting is—whose body was that soul in before it entered Jesus’ body and whose body will it be in when its present host dies?    

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