Thunder in the Holy Land

Testimony Of The Tomb

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Stephen Fowler, Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria


Series Code: THL

Program Code: THL000015

00:03 Dave Wottle was an athlete who astonished many.
00:07 He ran the 1/2 mile or 800 meter race so well
00:10 that he made it to the Olympics.
00:12 The interesting part, however,
00:14 is that Dave Wottle always started in the back of the pack
00:18 but would kick himself into gear
00:20 at the end of the race in order to win.
00:24 People watched him run, with amazement
00:26 because amongst the competition he was running against,
00:29 there was no way to come from behind
00:31 and win every single time. But he did.
00:36 He won race after race until he finally won
00:39 the gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games
00:43 by 3/100 of a second.
00:47 Dave wottle epitomizes why people stay engaged
00:50 during a race or sporting event.
00:53 They want to see the finish.
00:55 They want to see the culmination of the whole thing.
00:58 The end or the finale summarizes and represents
01:01 the entire process of getting there.
01:05 Human interest is based on endings.
01:08 That is to say, we don't read books
01:10 or watch movies or go to sporting events
01:13 without wanting to hear or see the end, the finale.
01:17 And speaking of endings, every single living being
01:21 on this earth has one thing in common.
01:24 They will all eventually die.
01:27 All life at some point comes to an end.
01:31 However, there lived one man
01:32 who claimed to overcome the grave.
01:35 We've talked about how the radical teachings
01:38 of this man caused thunder in his day and ours.
01:43 But is it possible that what happened after his death,
01:46 even more than the miracles and teachings of his whole life,
01:50 is the true cause for the thunders,
01:52 reverberations that have rattled the world for centuries?
02:48 All the major world religions have one thing in common.
02:52 They were all founded or initiated by the teachings
02:55 or inspiration of one main person.
02:59 Some examples include Judaism
03:01 which follows the teachings of Moses.
03:03 Buddhism, which follows
03:05 the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.
03:08 Islam, the teachings of Mohammed.
03:11 And Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth.
03:16 To many, their lives appear somewhat similar.
03:19 But what about their deaths?
03:21 One and only one leader was said to have risen from the dead.
03:26 Jesus of Nazareth has a strikingly different ending
03:30 than all the other religious leaders and all of humanity.
03:35 For He died, was buried and then rose again
03:38 the third day according to the Scriptures.
03:42 Many scoff at such a preposterous claim.
03:45 They can believe that he lived,
03:46 that He was a teacher, maybe even a prophet,
03:49 but to believe that he came back to life
03:51 goes beyond the realm of possibility.
03:55 However, this claim is crucial to the Christian faith.
03:59 Our reporters are standing by at the Garden Tomb
04:02 just outside the old city walls of Jerusalem
04:05 to take a look at the evidence
04:06 that substantiates such a radical claim.
04:11 Thanks, Charles. To begin our investigation,
04:14 we're gonna start with a historical account
04:15 or record of the death of Jesus.
04:17 To review this account, we'll be using the Bible,
04:20 which even if you discounted
04:22 is still classified as a valid historical document.
04:27 It should be noted that the event being discussed
04:29 happened some 2,000 years ago.
04:31 It's rare to find any written history about royalty
04:34 and other famous persons from this time period,
04:36 much less an entire written description
04:38 about a typical crucifixion of a so-called criminal.
04:42 So the fact that there's any historical record
04:44 is fascinating enough in itself.
04:47 The death of Jesus has also been addressed
04:48 in other historical sources
04:50 such as the writings of Cornelius Tacitus,
04:52 the greatest historian of ancient Rome
04:54 and Flavius Josephus, core historian for Emperor Vespasian.
04:59 Wilbur Smith says it best in his book,
05:01 "Therefore Stand," when he writes,
05:03 "Let it simply be said that we know more
05:06 about the details of the hours immediately before
05:09 and the actual death of Jesus
05:11 than we know about the death
05:12 of any other one man in all the ancient world.
05:15 We know more about the burial of the Lord Jesus
05:17 than we know of the burial of any single character
05:19 in all of ancient history.
05:22 There are four Biblical reports on the happenings
05:24 surrounding the death of Jesus.
05:25 And while all are written by different authors
05:27 and bring out different details,
05:29 there are absolutely no contradictions.
05:32 Let's review the four accounts.
05:34 The chief priests and the elders of the people
05:36 brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate
05:38 accusing Him of blasphemy
05:39 and Pilate questioned Him,
05:41 "Art Thou the King of the Jews?"
05:43 And He answered and said unto him,
05:44 "Thou sayest it."
05:46 And the chief priests accused Him of many things
05:48 but He answered nothing.
05:50 And Pilate asked Him again, saying,
05:52 "Answerest Thou nothing?
05:54 Behold how many things they witness against Thee."
05:56 But Jesus answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
06:00 And Pilate called the chief priests
06:02 and rulers of the people and told them
06:04 that he examined Jesus but found no fault in Him.
06:07 Since it was the feast where he could release someone,
06:09 Pilate offered to release Barabbas
06:11 who was an evil murderer, or Jesus.
06:14 Pilate told the people that Jesus
06:16 was not worthy of death
06:17 but that he would chastise and release Him instead.
06:20 But the people cried out, all at once saying,
06:23 "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas."
06:26 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus,
06:28 spake again to them.
06:30 But they cried out saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
06:35 So Jesus bearing His cross was brought to the place
06:38 of the skull and crucified on the hill between two thieves.
06:42 At 3 p.m., Jesus cried out,
06:44 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
06:47 And a while later He concluded,
06:49 "It is finished" and died.
06:52 He was taken down from the cross and laid in a grave
06:56 and three days later, He rose from the dead.
07:00 The account is repeated not once,
07:02 twice or even three times,
07:04 but four separate times by four different disciples.
07:07 And yet, it is so straight-forward,
07:09 so clear and so full of detail
07:12 that to question the historical record,
07:14 one would have to put forth a great effort
07:16 to come to a reasonable doubt.
07:19 They sure would, Stephen.
07:20 And today, I'd like to address
07:22 some of those different areas of doubt.
07:24 Some have proposed that maybe Jesus didn't actually die.
07:28 Maybe He just fainted on the cross
07:30 but after three days of recuperation in the tomb,
07:33 was able to revive Himself.
07:35 It's amazing that the gospel authors did not know
07:38 that this would be a doubt many years later.
07:41 And yet, they gave specific details to quiet such questions.
07:45 First, when Jesus was brought before Pilate after His death,
07:49 Pilate marveled that Jesus was already dead.
07:52 And summoning the centurion,
07:54 he asks him if He had been dead for some time.
07:57 So when he found out from the centurion,
07:59 he granted the body to Joseph.
08:02 This verse points out that His death was double checked.
08:06 For Pilate's own respect and reputation,
08:08 he needed to make sure that the criminal
08:10 that he sentenced to death was in fact dead.
08:13 He gave the body to Joseph only after verifying the death.
08:18 Second, when the soldiers came to Jesus
08:20 and they saw that He was already dead,
08:22 they pierced His side with a spear and immediately,
08:25 blood and water came out.
08:28 If the crucifixion hadn't killed Him,
08:30 this thrust of the Roman soldier's spear
08:32 certainly would have done the job.
08:34 Also, Dr. Subodh K. Pandit points out
08:37 that the only way for blood to have the appearance of water
08:40 is for the blood cells to completely settle,
08:43 separating the red corpuscles from the clear serum.
08:46 And this does not happen unless the blood
08:49 is completely motionless for a solid one to two hours.
08:53 Dr. Pandit goes on to explain,
08:55 "The fact that John was no modern day physician
08:58 and so described it in the terms of an ordinary laymen
09:00 layman (water instead of serum) gives great credibility
09:04 to that simple, specific, yet significant observation."
09:09 Another doubt that is often raised due to the fact
09:12 that the body of Jesus was never found,
09:14 is the idea that the body was stolen.
09:17 However, this is easily refuted because there were guards
09:20 on duty night and day to prevent that exact happening.
09:24 In addition, there are details of the scene
09:26 which include a folded handkerchief
09:28 and the linen grave cloths left behind.
09:31 Neatness and the time it would take to undress the body
09:34 do not lend themselves to the scene of a hasty theft.
09:38 Finally, the most important argument
09:40 against the idea of the body being stolen is the motive.
09:44 Even though they were told that Jesus would rise from the dead,
09:47 the disciples did not understand it to be literal and true.
09:52 The Bible makes it clear, the disciples were not
09:54 expecting the resurrection of Jesus when it says,
09:57 "For as yet they did not know the scripture,
10:00 that He must rise again from the dead."
10:03 So if the disciples did not have the courage to claim Jesus
10:06 during His sentencing and crucifixion,
10:09 where did the confidence come from to go against
10:11 Roman authority and trained guards
10:13 to steal the body of Jesus
10:15 when they didn't even understand the necessity
10:18 of the resurrection in the first place?
10:20 Therefore, the Biblical account of Jesus' death
10:23 and resurrection proves itself consistent and accurate.
10:28 That's true, Andrea.
10:29 And while the Bible sets the factual footwork
10:32 for the world's greatest event,
10:34 it's the after effects of that happening
10:36 that truly give it credence.
10:38 Let's take the disciples, for example.
10:40 One day they are fleeing cowards who wouldn't even claim
10:43 to know their beloved teacher and just three days later,
10:47 they were a powerful force willing to face death
10:51 to proclaim the name of Jesus.
10:53 What changed?
10:55 The witnessing of resurrection, perhaps?
10:58 The Book of Acts tells us that the disciples
11:00 and others of that time period
11:02 were witnesses of a resurrected savior.
11:06 Even in today's court system,
11:07 the greatest evidence is that of empirical evidence
11:11 which includes someone's solemn oath of being an eye witness.
11:16 And Peter said,
11:17 "This Jesus hath God raised up,
11:20 whereof we all are witnesses."
11:24 John said, "For we can not
11:25 but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
11:30 And Paul said that Jesus
11:31 "was seen many days of them which came up with Him
11:35 from Galilee to Jerusalem,
11:37 who are His witnesses unto the people."
11:41 If the disciples were so positive of their report
11:44 of what they saw with their own eyes,
11:46 and that they were willing to face death,
11:49 still swearing its truth,
11:51 after the resurrection the eleven disciples gathered
11:54 together to discuss the event and its meaning.
11:57 After they separated, they dispersed into
11:59 different parts of the country to spread the truth
12:02 and the promise of the resurrected Messiah.
12:05 Now, let's just pretend
12:07 that these eleven men made up the story.
12:10 It's an awesome story for mere men,
12:12 but let's just say they did.
12:14 The fact that all of them died swearing the validity
12:18 of a story they made up, is fascinating.
12:22 Furthermore, if they had all died together
12:25 with the encouragement and support of one another,
12:28 I might be persuaded to believe
12:30 that they could peddle the lie to their death.
12:33 But these men did not die together with the fortitude
12:36 of brotherhood to motivate them.
12:38 Each man died alone.
12:41 Each man died with the ability to recant their story
12:45 without any of the other disciples even knowing.
12:48 Each man died swearing that Jesus rose from the grave.
12:53 That's not human nature.
12:55 Sure, put a bunch of people in a room
12:56 and ask them to drink the Kool-Aid
12:58 and peer pressure might kick in.
13:01 but separate each one, interrogate them,
13:04 torture them, ridicule them
13:06 and find not one willing to change
13:09 their faith in the story of a risen Christ?
13:12 Peter was crucified upside down.
13:15 James was stoned to death.
13:17 Matthew was killed by the sword.
13:19 James, the son of Alpheus was crucified.
13:22 James, the son of Zebedee was killed by the sword.
13:25 Thadaeus was shot through with arrows.
13:27 Bartholomew was crucified.
13:29 Philip was crucified.
13:30 Simon, the Zealot was crucified.
13:32 Thomas was killed with a spear and though John survived,
13:35 tradition tells us that he was put into
13:37 a cauldron of boiling oil.
13:39 And that's the eleven and then there's the one
13:41 who replaced Judas Iscariot.
13:43 Matthias was stoned and then beheaded.
13:46 And the apostle Paul was tortured and then beheaded.
13:49 Not only did almost all suffer an excruciating death,
13:54 but they died knowing that all they would have
13:57 had to do was simply denounce their claim about
14:00 Jesus' resurrection in order to live.
14:03 Now, don't misunderstand me,
14:05 many people die for the things they fully believe in,
14:08 which in many cases are unfortunately not true.
14:11 Suicide bombers are notorious for this trait.
14:15 However, the disciples were actually witnesses.
14:19 This is different because if they were
14:21 lying about the fact that Jesus rose from the dead,
14:23 if they were lying about what they witnessed,
14:27 they'd be dying for a known lie.
14:31 It's one thing to die for something you believe is true,
14:35 but unfortunately is not.
14:37 It's altogether another to die for something
14:40 that you don't believe and that you know is not true.
14:44 The disciples no doubt knew that Jesus was the Messiah.
14:49 That He died, but then He rose.
14:52 That He conquered the grave.
14:54 And they were willing to go to theirs shouting His victory.
14:59 The disciples did have a marked change
15:02 following the resurrection.
15:04 But another thing to notice is the impact
15:06 the risen Jesus has had on our world today.
15:10 There are respected learning institutions
15:12 which carry His name.
15:14 Entire musical compositions, art pieces and literary volumes
15:18 that were inspired by His life. A multitude of people
15:22 whose personal testimonies have changed lives.
15:25 As well as those who are willing to give up everything
15:28 this world offers to share His story.
15:32 How could someone who was killed
15:34 as a despised criminal by the most contemptible
15:37 form of execution have a following
15:39 that outnumbers any other religion ever formed?
15:44 Furthermore, notice that every single leader
15:46 of a major religion was greatly revered
15:49 at the time of their death.
15:51 The loss of the Hindu masters and sages
15:55 were mourned for generations.
15:57 At the death of Mohammed,
15:58 there was a nationwide grief and intense lamenting.
16:02 But Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by His own people.
16:07 Something huge and beyond human capacity
16:10 such as resurrection must have happened
16:13 between the horrific death and the creation
16:16 of the Christian religion which exists today.
16:19 As I investigate outside literary sources,
16:22 Biblical evidence and historical happenings,
16:25 I find the necessary evidence for a solid foundation
16:29 on which to build a faith in the resurrection.
16:33 Lord Darling, Chief Justice of England said
16:35 it best when he said,
16:37 "On the greatest point we are not merely asked to have faith.
16:42 In its favor as a living truth,
16:44 there exists such overwhelming evidence,
16:47 positive and negative, factual and circumstantial,
16:51 that no intelligent jury in the world could fail
16:55 to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true."
17:01 But what does this mean for our lives?
17:04 Why is a resurrection that occurred
17:06 some 2,000 years ago so pertinent for us today?
17:11 Well, first of all, our God is a God
17:13 that knows the future.
17:14 "Declaring the end from the beginning,
17:16 and from the ancient times
17:17 the things that are not yet done, saying,
17:20 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.'"
17:24 So the first reason it was necessary for Jesus
17:26 to rise from the dead was because it was prophesied.
17:30 In the Old Testament before Christ was even born,
17:32 it details His life, death and resurrection.
17:36 His resurrection is specifically noted in Psalm 16:10."
17:41 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
17:43 nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption."
17:47 And also in Psalm 49:15,
17:50 "God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
17:52 for He shall receive me."
17:55 Then in the New Testament,
17:56 Jesus himself predicted the future
17:58 when He spoke to His disciples in Matthew 20:19.
18:02 "They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock
18:05 and to scourge and to crucify Him,
18:07 and the third day, He shall rise again."
18:11 According to Jesus Himself,
18:12 prophecy is not meant for the purpose
18:14 of necessarily predicting the future.
18:16 Instead, it exists so that when prophecies come to fruition,
18:20 we can look back and recognize
18:21 that God does indeed foretell the future.
18:24 They're meant so that we may
18:25 have yet another reason to believe.
18:28 In this case, Christ fulfilled prophecy
18:30 by both dying on the cross
18:32 and rising again on the third day
18:34 according to the scriptures.
18:36 The inspired word of God is truth.
18:39 When God says something it happens.
18:41 I mean, He spoke the world, the sun, the moon,
18:43 and all the animals of this planet
18:45 into existence with His words.
18:48 Likewise, His words told of a time
18:51 when His son would die and rise again.
18:53 So the resurrection was inevitable,
18:56 simply because God spoke it.
18:59 That's true, Stephen,
19:00 but God definitely had a purpose or a reason
19:03 behind the resurrection He spoke of.
19:05 You see, the reason we need a savior in the first place
19:08 is because we are descendants of Adam.
19:12 We are born into the lineage of Adam as man.
19:15 The lineage of Adam is sinful.
19:17 It is not eternal and it is destined to perish.
19:21 The only way to end a lineage
19:23 is to completely kill it off, or to die.
19:26 Therefore, the only way to change lineage is to die
19:30 and then to resurrect into a new lineage.
19:33 While mortal man cannot do this, God can.
19:37 When Christ died as man, He put an end to Adam's lineage.
19:41 When He rose again, He created a new lineage.
19:45 The lineage of Christ is not sinful,
19:47 it is eternal and it is destined for glory.
19:51 Paul explains this phenomenon in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22.
19:56 "But now is Christ risen from the dead
19:58 and become the first fruits of them that slept.
20:01 For since by man came death,
20:03 by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
20:07 For as in Adam all die,
20:09 even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
20:14 Adam's mistake brought death into this world.
20:17 In other words, sin brought death into the world.
20:21 So if we overcome sin, we overcome death.
20:25 The death alone of Jesus would have succeeded
20:28 in paying the penalty for our sins.
20:30 But if it had ended there,
20:32 we would only have proof that sin does,
20:34 in fact, lead to death.
20:36 We would only have the example of Christ's life.
20:39 And once again we would be sinful men trying to be good.
20:44 The resurrection provided a different option.
20:47 It provided the power to overcome the grave
20:49 and thus to overcome sin.
20:52 A new lineage humanity could share in,
20:56 if they choose to say yes.
20:58 If we choose to live in Him who overcomes the grave,
21:02 we automatically overcome the sin
21:05 that would have put us in the grave.
21:07 Let me expand on this point a little further.
21:10 In Romans 6:23, where it says that
21:12 "the wages of sin is death."
21:15 When Jesus took the burden of sin on His own soldiers,
21:19 He fully represented what the effect of sin is.
21:23 He was addressing the lie which is still spreading today.
21:26 A little sin isn't so bad.
21:29 But that's exactly what Lucifer argued as well.
21:32 When Lucifer first got the bits of rebellion in his heart,
21:35 he did not believe that it would lead to death.
21:38 How could a teeny tiny little bit
21:40 of disobedience lead to death?
21:42 However, Christ came to this world to live out
21:45 the effects of that little disobedience.
21:48 He wanted to prove the unavoidable result of every sin.
21:52 After displaying to the universe
21:54 what the end effect of sin truly is,
21:57 Jesus proved that sin could be overcome.
22:01 Many might argue that He proved sin could be overcome
22:04 before His death because He lived a perfect life,
22:08 a life without sin.
22:09 However, it was not until Sunday morning
22:12 when He overcame the grave that He fully proved
22:15 and demonstrated to the universe
22:17 and to humanity that sin had been overcome.
22:21 In 1 Corinthians 15:26, it says,
22:24 "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
22:28 Jesus destroyed the final enemy.
22:32 Death has been overcome.
22:34 The entire plan of salvation exists for the purpose
22:37 of atonement or being made one with God.
22:41 The death of Christ was payment for our offences.
22:44 And the resurrection was for our justification.
22:48 To be justified means to be proven right or acceptable.
22:52 The resurrection proved that God had accepted
22:55 the payment of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
22:59 It was everything that He had required.
23:01 Perfect and complete.
23:03 The monumental death on the cross
23:05 paid our past debts and the resurrection provided
23:09 a new life for the future.
23:12 Not only did Jesus fulfill
23:14 the requirements for the plan of salvation,
23:17 but He also proved that He was
23:20 and is who He claimed to be, God.
23:24 And throughout His time here on earth,
23:26 Jesus claimed both by word and deed to be the son of God.
23:30 Now, however, no matter
23:32 how many miracles He performed,
23:34 no matter how insightful He appeared,
23:37 there existed doubt.
23:39 And Paul says that Christ's declaration
23:41 "to be the son of God was given with power,
23:44 according to the spirit of holiness,
23:46 by the resurrection from the dead."
23:50 And notice here that Paul doesn't mention
23:52 any of the other incomprehensible
23:54 and fantastic parts of Christ's life in this statement.
23:58 He says it was the resurrection
24:01 which legitimized Christ's claim to be the son of God.
24:05 Now one might think that a virgin birth,
24:07 a perfect life, healing powers, extraordinary comprehension,
24:12 the ability to walk on water and raising people
24:15 from the dead would provide the validation
24:18 needed to convince the world that He was divine.
24:21 But it was overcoming the grave Himself
24:25 that truly sealed His rank and mission as a deity.
24:30 And throughout history, there have been many
24:32 who claim to do miraculous things
24:34 and today there are entire television shows
24:37 dedicated to people who have the power of healing.
24:40 Also, other religions claim
24:42 their leaders have divine abilities.
24:44 It is said that Siddhartha Gautama Buddha
24:47 walked within the first few hours of birth
24:50 and flowers sprung up on the ground he walked across.
24:53 Islam followers believe the insightful creation
24:56 of the Quran by Mohammed was a miracle.
24:59 In fact, there are still people today
25:01 who claim to be God on earth.
25:05 These various religions talk about miracles
25:07 that have happened in the lives of their founders and leaders,
25:10 but no other religion or person has ever
25:14 claimed to come back from the dead.
25:17 If there was ever any one truly distinguishable
25:20 difference between Jesus and other religious leaders
25:23 and teachers, it is His resurrection.
25:27 One might consider it blasphemy to make the confident
25:29 claims Jesus did about being the son of God.
25:32 The Jewish teachers of His time certainly did.
25:35 However, Jesus made it absolutely clear
25:38 that He was divine. In John 10: 30, He said,
25:42 "I and my Father are one."
25:45 And in John 14: 11, when He said,
25:48 "Believe me that I am in the Father
25:51 and the Father in me,"
25:53 Jesus was and is "The way, the truth and the life."
26:00 And not only did He say He was the son of God,
26:02 the "Great I Am," but He proved it.
26:05 The physical act of rising from the dead
26:08 was the pinnacle piece of evidence
26:10 needed to ensure His divine nature.
26:15 Dave Wottle came from behind to win a foot race.
26:19 Jesus came from behind the stone sealed with the Roman seal.
26:24 He came from behind a troop of Roman guards
26:27 charged with keeping His lifeless body
26:30 in a borrowed tomb.
26:32 But that just made more dramatic
26:34 the Sunday morning surprise.
26:36 The angel rolled away the stone and then tore down the wall.
26:41 Jesus did not leave the tomb bowed down as if in defeat,
26:45 He stood tall, victorious
26:48 and proclaimed over the rent sepulcher,
26:51 "I am the resurrection and the life."
26:54 He came forth in majesty and glory worthy of worship.
27:00 Paul understood the significance of the resurrection
27:03 when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14,
27:07 "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain,
27:11 and your faith is also vain."
27:15 The empty tomb is living proof of His divinity.
27:20 The resurrection of Christ is God's
27:22 triumphal proclamation that the forces of evil
27:25 are a defeated foe and all who accept
27:29 the atonement of Christ can be assured
27:31 of their own final victory over sin and death.
27:36 We can trust and base our faith on a God that is risen,
27:41 on the God who overcame the grave.


Revised 2014-12-17