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The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A Historical Fact

I. Introduction
A key point of difference between Isla and Christianity is the !ible"s testiony that
Jesus was executed on a cross and rose fro the dead. #ften with differences between
reli$ions the differences are atters of personal opinion or interpretation. There are%
thou$h% areas that are ore than opinion or interpretation% that put thesel&es into the
real of fact. !oth Isla and Christianity pride thesel&es on bein$ historical reli$ions.
They both hold that at a specific tie and place% 'od inter&ened and acted in huan
history% and that one can still in&esti$ate these e&ents throu$h the historical e&idence
that has been left. This facet of these two reli$ions takes their historical clais out of the
real of personal opinion into the real of historical fact. Isla is based on the historical
e&idence surroundin$ the clais of (uhaad to prophet)hood and his recei&in$ the
*ur"an. Christianity is based on the historical e&idence concernin$ the clais and life of
Jesus the (essiah. As concerns this discussion% Christianity explicitly stakes its &alidity
on the historical fact of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle +aul
stated:
,If Christ has not been raised% your faith is worthless- you are still in your sins., ./
Corinthians /0:/1 2A3!4
This lecture will present the historical e&idence that supports /4 that Jesus was crucified
and died fro this torture% and 54 that Jesus rose fro the dead in the sae body in
which He died. It will also consider the a6or Islaic ob6ections to Christ7s crucifixion.
II. 8&idence for the death of Jesus on the cross
This lecture is built on the preise that the !ible is a historically reliable docuent and
that its stateents of historical fact can be accepted as true. This was deonstrated in
the earlier article on this site% ,The !ible: Corrupt or 9nchan$ed., Fro a historical
standpoint% the 2ew Testaent is the reliable testiony of the copanions of Jesus as
to what they personally obser&ed of the e&ents of His life% of the character of His life% and
what they heard Hi teach. !ein$ Jesus" close copanions for three years% they are the
best witnesses of what occurred in Jesus" life. The 'nostic docuents that concern
Jesus are the only early docuents with a clai to call the 2ew Testaent records into
:uestion. The article on this site% ,The Historical Reliability of the 'nostic 'ospels,
explains why these records are not reliable historical records of the life of Jesus Christ.
9pon exaination% these docuents show thesel&es to be $reatly inferior to the 2ew
Testaent as far as their historical reliability.
A. The !iblical e&idence of the crucifixion of Jesus
;e need to now turn to the 'ospel accounts fro the !ible. They record the earliest
inforation a&ailable concernin$ Jesus. 2ot only is this inforation early% it is historically
reliable. The four 'ospel accounts in the 2ew Testaent were written by either disciples
of Jesus or the copanions of Jesus7 disciples who had access to the &ery earliest
written aterials concernin$ Jesus and the people who were intiately ac:uainted with
Jesus. An excellent book which presents the historical &alue of these 'ospel accounts is
+aul !arnett7s Is The 2ew Testaent Reliable< A =ook At The Historical 8&idence .I3!2
>)?@>?)/?@A)>4.
Here is soe of the testiony to Jesus7 death on the cross fro the 2ew Testaent:
/. The Bisciples: It is the unanious testiony of the disciples of Jesus that they knew
He died on the cross. This can be obser&ed by readin$ any of the followin$ $ospel
accounts:
a. (atthew 51:@@)0> b. (ark /0:55)@1 c. =uke 5@:@@)AC d. John /D:/C)@>
2ote: This testiony includes (ary% Jesus" other .John /D:50)514% any woan
disciples .(atthew 51:004% any other followers .=uke 5@:AD4% and the Apostle John% one
of Jesus" closest disciples .John /D:5C)514. Joseph of Ariathea and 2icodeus
actually handled the body of Jesus after He had died% wrapped it in $ra&e clothes and
laid it in a tob .=uke 5@:0>)0@- John /D:@?)A54.
#ther disciples% while possibly not obser&in$ the crucifixion% knew it to be a fact:
e. +eter: John 5>:/)1- Acts 5:5@%@C- / +eter 5:5A f. Thoas: John 5>:5A)5D $. The rest
of the twel&e apostles: Acts /:/@)/A%5/)5C- 5:/A Two unnaed ones: =uke 5A:5>.
5. The Roan authorities: The Roans% as the rulin$ authority in +alestine at this tie%
were le$ally responsible for Jesus" death. +ontius +ilate% the $o&ernor% decreed His
death after a series of reli$ious and ci&il trials. The Roans were &ery efficient in
executions and saw to it that Jesus was dead when He was taken
down fro the cross. The Centurion and soldiers ade sure Jesus was dead: John
/D:@@)@A% and +ontius +ilate ade sure Jesus was dead: (ark /A:AA)A0. @. The
Jewish authorities: The Jews were orally responsible for Jesus" death. They re6ected
Hi as their (essiah and plotted and succeeded in ha&in$ Hi executed by the
Roans. They ade sure Jesus was dead and that their schees had succeeded. The
Jewish leaders obser&ed Jesus die% ade sure the Roans killed Hi and knew it was
fact that he had died: (atthew 51:A/)A@% C5)CC- (ark /0:@/)@5- John /D:@/. A. Jesus"
own predictions of His death by crucifixion.
Jesus predicted His own death any ties. The 'ospels record Hi predictin$ His
death on at least 5/ separate occasions. (any of these predictions record the details of
His death- that He would die in Jerusale at the tie of the +asso&er celebration% suffer
at the hands of the chief priests% and be killed by crucifixion. Here is a list of the
references where Jesus predicts His own death listed by separate occasion:
a. (atthew /5:@D)A> b. (atthew /C:A c. (atthew /C:5/- (ark ?:@/- =uke D:55 d.
(atthew /1:/5 e. (atthew /1:55%5@- (ark D:@/- =uke D:AA f. (atthew 5>:/?%/D- (ark
/>:@@%@A- =uke /?:@/)@A $. (atthew 5/:@@)@D- (ark /5:/)/5- =uke 5>:D)/D h.
(atthew 5@:@1 i. (atthew 5C:5 6. (atthew 5C:/5 k. (atthew 5C:5?- (ark /A:5A l.
(atthew 5C:@/%@5 . (ark />:A0
n. =uke /5:0> o. =uke /@:@A% @0 p. =uke /1:50 :. John @:/A r. John C:0/ s. John
/>:/0)/? t. John /5:@>)@5 u. John /C:/C
2ote: These predictions of Jesus" death confir that He is a true prophet accordin$ to
the #ld Testaent .Beuteronoy /?:554 in that what He predicted cae about in exactly
the sae way and at exactly the sae tie He predicted it.
0. #ld Testaent prophecies concernin$ the death of Christ:
Jesus was not only a prophet in His own ri$ht by predictin$ future e&ents% He also
fulfilled e&ents that had been predicted concernin$ the (essiah7s death at least 1>> and
/>>> years earlier.
a. Ba&id: Ba&id as a prophet in his psals />>> years before Jesus predicted details of
the death of the (essiah. +sal 55:/C)/? states:
,For do$s ha&e surrounded e- A band of e&ildoers has encopassed e- They pierced
y hands and feet. I can count all y bones. They look% they stare at e. They di&ide
y $arents aon$ the% and y clothin$ for lots.,
b. Isaiah: Isaiah% 1>> years before Jesus% predicted any aspects of the (essiah"s
death. Isaiah 0@:0)/> states:
,!ut He was pierced throu$h for our trans$ressions% He was crushed for our ini:uities-
the chastenin$ for our well)bein$ fell upon Hi% and by His scour$in$ we are healed. All
of us like sheep ha&e $one astray% each of us has turned to his own way- but the =ord
has caused the ini:uity of us all to fall on Hi. He was oppressed and He was afflicted%
yet He did not open His outh- like a lab led to slau$hter% and like a sheep that is silent
before his shearers% so He did not open His outh. !y oppression and 6ud$ent% He
was taken away- and as for His $eneration% who considered that He was cut off out of
the land of the li&in$% for the the trans$ression of y people to who the stroke was
due< His $ra&e was assi$ned to be with wicked en%
yet with a rich an in His death- althou$h He had done no &iolence% nor was there any
deceit in His outh. !ut the =ord was pleased to crush Hi% puttin$ Hi to $rief- if He
would render Hiself as a $uilt offerin$...,
c. Baniel: Baniel% A>> years before Jesus% stated this concernin$ the (essiah in Baniel
D:5C:
,Then after the sixty)two weeks the (essiah will be cut off and ha&e nothin$...,
d. Eechariah: Eechariah% A>> years before Jesus% said this in Eechariah /5:/>:
,And I will pour out on the house of Ba&id and on the inhabitants of Jerusale% the 3pirit
of $race and supplication% so that they will look on (e who they ha&e pierced- ...,
2ote: These specifically ention piercin$ (essiah .John /D:@A4 and piercin$ His hands
and feet .John /D:/?4% di&idin$ up His $arents by usin$ lots .(atthew 51:@04% He did
not fi$ht His torturers or cry out because of the in6ustices bein$ done to Hi .(atthew
5C:0>)0C%C5%C@- 51:/A4% He was un6ustly tried and condened .=uke 55:0A)5@:504% and
He was killed with criinals but buried aon$ the rich .(atthew 51:@?%01)C>4. Also note
that the Isaiah 0@ prophecy e&en predicts why the (essiah would die% to be a $uilt
offerin$ for sin .(ark />:A04.
2ote also that these are only a few of the any prophecies in the #ld Testaent of the
!ible concernin$ the (essiah. Jesus7 life and inistry as recorded in the $ospel
accounts of the 2ew Testaent fulfill these prophecies. They do not point to anyone
else. (any books are a&ailable on this topic and a paper is a&ailable at the book table.
C. (edical e&idence that Jesus was killed by the crucifixion:
(edical e&aluation of the historical accounts of the !iblical 'ospels ha&e concluded that
Jesus died as a result of the effects of the scour$in$ He recei&ed and the crucifixion.
2ote this :uote fro an article fro the Journal of the Aerican (edical Association:
,Thus% it reains unsettled whether Jesus died of cardiac rupture or of cardio)
respiratory failure. Howe&er% the iportant feature ay not be how he died but rather
whether he died. Clearly% the wei$ht of historical and edical e&idence indicates that
Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional
&iew that the spear% thrust between his ri$ht ribs% probably perforated not only the ri$ht
lun$ but also the pericardiu and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordin$ly%
interpretations based on the assuption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be
at odds with odern edical knowled$e. ./4
The Roans practiced crucifixion to kill. They were expert% well)practiced executioners.
They knew how to use this for of torture and they ade sure it killed their &ictis.
1. Conclusions on the !iblical (aterial
The !ible% taken as a historical docuent% is une:ui&ocal as to the reality of Jesus"
physical death. Its testiony is consistent in that e&eryone who obser&ed the crucifixion
or knew it took place knew that Jesus was crucified and knew that He truly died. This is
true for those who were friends and followers of Jesus as well as His eneies. The
$o&ernent authorities ade sure of His death as also did the Jewish reli$ious
authorities. The eyewitness accounts of His death also fully a$ree with the pro&en
edical effects of such torture. Also% all of this testiony is in full a$reeent with #ld
Testaent predictions of the (essiah"s death and with Jesus" own predictions of the
place% tie% and anner of His death. Accordin$ to the !ible% Jesus truly died by
crucifixion.
!. 8&idence fro outside the !ible ) secular testiony to the death of Jesus Christ by
crucifixion
/. 2on)Jewish and non)Christian sources:
a. Tacitus% a Roan historian% in his Annals% c. AB //0% describes the Roan 8peror
2ero"s actions after the $reat fire of Roe% c. AB CA:
,...2ero fabricated scape$oats)and punished...Christians .as they were popularly called4.
Their ori$inator% Christ% had been executed in Tiberius" rei$n by the $o&ernor of Judaea%
+ontius +ilatus., .54
b. =ucian% 'reek satirist% second century AB% alludes to Christ:
,...the an who was crucified in +alestine because he introduced this new cult into the
world.... Furtherore% their first law$i&er persuaded the that they were all brothers one
of another after they ha&e trans$ressed once for all by denyin$ the 'reek $ods and by
worshippin$ that crucified sophist hiself and li&in$ under his laws., .@4
c. Thallus% a 3aaritan)born historian% c. AB 05% :uoted by Julius Africanus% c. AB 55/:
,Thallus% in the third book of his histories% explains away this darkness Fat the tie of the
crucifixionG as an eclipse of the sun) unreasonable% of course% because a solar eclipse
could not take place at the tie of the full oon% and it was the tie of the pascal full
oon when Christ died., .A4
d. =etter of (ara !ar)3erapion% after AB 1@ .this letter resides in the !ritish (useu4:
,;hat ad&anta$e did the Jews $ain fro executin$ their wise Hin$< It was 6ust after that
that their kin$do was abolished....!ut 3ocrates did not die for $ood- he li&ed on in the
teachin$ of +lato. +ytha$oras did not die for $ood- he li&ed on in the statue of Hera. 2or
did the wise Hin$ die for $ood- he li&ed on in the teachin$ which he had $i&en., .04
5. Jewish sources:
a. Josephus% Jewish historian .AB @1)/>>4 wrote of Jesus:
,At this tie there was a wise an called Jesus% and his conduct was $ood% and he was
known to be &irtuous. (any people aon$ the Jews and the other nations becae his
disciples. +ilate condened hi to be crucified and to die. !ut those who had becoe
his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to
the three days after his crucifixion and that he was ali&e. Accordin$ly% he was perhaps
the (essiah% concernin$ who the prophets ha&e reported wonders., .C4
b. The Jewish Talud .Centuries of Jewish oral tradition coitted to writin$ between
AB 5>> and AB 0>>4:
,#n the e&e of +asso&er they han$ed Ieshu .of 2aJareth4 and the herald went before
hi for forty days sayin$ .Ieshu of 2aJareth4 is $oin$ to be stoned in that he hath
practiced sorcery and be$uiled and led astray Israel. =et e&eryone knowin$ au$ht in his
defense coe and plead for hi. !ut they found nau$ht in his defense and han$ed hi
on the e&e of +asso&er., .14
3ee John //:01 for confiration of this.
/. Conclusions fro the non)biblical sources:
All a&ailable sources reco$niJe Jesus" death by crucifixion as fact. !oth the Roans and
the Jews belie&ed Jesus died by crucifixion exactly as the 'ospels relate. Jews e&en to
this day don"t doubt that Jesus died on a cross. They 6ust don"t reco$niJe Hi as the
(essiah and that He rose fro the dead.
!. Conclusions
The historical e&idence o&erwhelin$ly points to the reality of Jesus" death on the cross.
The !ible"s testiony a$rees fully with the testiony of the Roans and Jews- people
who set thesel&es up as eneies of the Christians. The #ld Testaent prophets
predicted the (essiah"s death in detail and Jesus% as the (essiah% fulfilled it to the last
detail. All credible historical e&idence also supports this. 2o one has e&er presented
credible historical e&idence that Jesus did not die on the cross. Also% it ust be noted
that the death of Jesus by crucifixion is a historical e&ent on which the whole of the 2ew
Testaent is based. The 'ospels ha&e the e&ents of the crucifixion and the followin$
resurrection as the cliax of the accounts of Jesus" life. They are not incidental e&ents in
the biblical accounts- they are the $reatest e&ents that all of Jesus" iracles and
teachin$ led up to.
III. The resurrection of Jesus the (essiah fro the dead
The point of all the biblical accounts of Jesus" crucifixion is to show that He truly died to
then set the sta$e for His resurrection fro the dead. All four 'ospels state that Jesus
died on the cross:
K (atthew 51:0> states% ,And Jesus cried out a$ain with a loud &oice% and yielded up His
spirit., K (ark /0:@1 states% ,And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last., K
=uke 5@:AC states% ,And Jesus% cryin$ out with a loud &oice% said% "Father% into Thy hands
I coit (y spirit." And ha&in$ said this% He breathed His last., K John /D:@> states%
,And He bowed His head% and $a&e up His spirit.,
3oe ha&e reco$niJed that Jesus was put on the cross% but then ha&e denied he died
there. These theories% thou$h% do not ha&e any basis in docuentary e&idence. There is
not any written e&idence that states that Jesus swooned% or left the cross unconscious
and ali&e. 3uch theories are speculations by people who do not want to belie&e that
Jesus died on the cross. They are the in&entions of people who for other reasons do not
want to accept that Jesus died on the cross.
There is no historical e&idence that Jesus left the cross ali&e. The Roans and the Jews
ade sure he was dead. The disciples who handled Jesus" body knew He was dead.
As with Jesus" death% so all the $ospels are unanious that Jesus rose fro the dead in
the sae body in which He was crucified:
K (atthew 5?:0%C states% ,And the an$el answered and said to the woen% "Bo not be
afraid- for I know that you are lookin$ for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here%
for He has risen% 6ust as He said. Coe% see the place where He was lyin$.", K (ark
/C:C states% ,And he .the an$el4 said to the% "Bo not be aaJed- you are lookin$ for
Jesus the 2aJarene% who has been crucified. He has risen- He is not here- behold% here
is the place where they laid Hi.",
K =uke 5A:0)1 states% ,...the en .an$els4 said to the% ";hy do you seek the li&in$ #ne
aon$ the dead< He is not here% but He has risen. Reeber how He spoke to you
while He was still in 'alilee% sayin$ that the 3on of (an ust be deli&ered into the hands
of sinful en% and be crucified% and the third day rise a$ain.", K John 5>:D states after
+eter and John saw Jesus" epty tob: ,For as yet they did not understand the
3cripture% that He ust rise a$ain fro the dead.,
Also note that 6ust as Jesus predicted His own death by crucifixion% so He predicted His
resurrection. #f the 5/ recorded occasions where Jesus predicted His death% on ? of
those occasions He also predicted His resurrection fro the dead:
/. (atthew /C:5/- (ark ?:@/- =uke D:55 5. (atthew /1:D @. (atthew /1:5@ A.
(atthew 5>:/D 0. (atthew 5C:@5 C. (ark D:D 1. (ark D:@/ ?. John 5:/?)55
The #ld Testaent predicted the resurrection of Jesus in Ba&id"s 'od)inspired
stateent:
,For Thou wilt not abandon y soul to 3heol- neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy #ne to
under$o decay., .+sal /C:/> 2A3!4
Also% the unreser&ed% unwa&erin$ testiony of the rest of the 2ew Testaent is that
Jesus rose fro the dead. All of the disciples saw Jesus after He had risen fro the
dead. The Apostle +aul writin$ in about AB 00)01 records this concernin$ Jesus"
resurrection:
,For I deli&ered to you as of first of iportance what I also recei&ed% that Christ died for
our sins accordin$ to the 3criptures% and that He was buried% and that He was raised on
the third day accordin$ to the 3criptures% and that He appeared to Cephas% then to the
twel&e. After that He appeared to ore than fi&e hundred brethren at one tie% ost of
who reain until now% but soe ha&e fallen asleep- then He appeared to Jaes% then
to all the apostles- and last of all% as it were to one untiely born% He appeared to e
also., ./ Corinthians /0:@)? 2A3!4
The unwa&erin$ testiony of Jesus% the earliest disciples% and the Church since the
Apostles% indeed of all who take the !ible seriously% is that Jesus died on the cross and
rose fro the dead. In fact% in the !ible% and in Christian usa$e throu$h the a$es% the
phrase ,the $ospel, refers to the essa$e of Jesus" death and resurrection to sa&e us
fro sin. The word ,$ospel, eans ,$ood news, and the 'ospel essa$e of the 2ew
Testaent is the $ood news that Jesus has con:uered sin and death by His death and
resurrection.
Also% Jesus" resurrection fro the dead is the only credible explanation for the followin$
facts: The epty tob of Jesus% the draatic chan$e in Jesus" disciples fro fear and
despair to fearlessness and $reat feats of faith% and the draatic start and continuation
of the Christian Church. The e&idence that these three facts pro&ide is too len$thy for
this paper but ay be pursued easily throu$h any books published on the sub6ects.
IL. Islaic ob6ections to the death of Jesus the (essiah on the cross
I ha&e et with only three a6or ob6ections to the death of Jesus on the cross. The &iew
of Jesus bein$ crucified but not dyin$ is not included because there is no real e&idence
for it. It is a classic exaple of ar$uents supported by theolo$ical pre6udice% not
historical e&idence. The three a6or ob6ections to be dealt with are:
/. First% is that their book% the *ur"an% denies it happened. (uslis belie&e since it was
re&ealed it ust be true re$ardless of other e&idence% whether historical or lo$ical. This
is a theolo$ical reason for belief% not a historical one. 5. 3econd% (uslis see to find
it unthinkable that 'od would allow one of His holy prophets to suffer the shae of an
undeser&ed public execution. This is also a theolo$ical reason% based on assuptions of
the character of 'od and His treatent of prophets. @. Third% and perhaps ost
iportant is this: if Jesus died on the cross and rose a$ain% then the Christian doctrine of
sal&ation only throu$h Jesus" atonin$ death is upheld% which contradicts the Islaic &iew
of sal&ation throu$h repentance. If the Islaic &iew of sal&ation is to be upheld then
Jesus" death on the cross cannot be belie&ed. A$ain% this is a theolo$ical reason for
ob6ectin$ to the biblical account.
These three will be treated in turn.
A. 3oeone else was crucified.
This &iew is based on the *ur"an &erses /01%/0? of 3urah A:
,And because of their sayin$: ;e slew the (essiah Jesus son of (ary% Allah"s
essen$er )) They slew hi not nor crucified% but it appeared so unto the-
and loM those who disa$ree concernin$ it are in doubt thereof- they ha&e no knowled$e
thereof sa&e pursuit of a con6ecture- they slew hi not for certain% !ut Allah took hi up
unto Hiself. Allah was e&er (i$hty% ;ise., .+ickthall"s trans.4
(uslis accept this &erse as re&elation. Their attitude is often% since Allah has re&ealed
it to be this way then the other historical records are wron$. I understand this &iew% and I
coend the attitude to accept what 'od re&eals and belie&e it and obey it. !ut we
should not be ashaed or afraid to allow our books to be scrutiniJed in li$ht of history.
The !ible clais to be re&elation and clais to be based on historically &erifiable e&ents.
As these e&ents ha&e been exained the historical records only confir the !ible. The
*ur7an% howe&er clais to be re&elation% and it clais to ha&e been $i&en in history% but
it akes clais which $o a$ainst historical docuentation. The *ur7an akes a bold
stateent here concernin$ Jesus7 crucifixion but does not $i&e a historically credible
alternati&e. If one is to accept the *ur7an7s &ersion of the e&ent they ust realiJe that the
historical e&idence supports the !ible rather than the *ur7an.
Also% this &erse leads to soe &ery difficult conclusions as to the beha&ior and character
of 'od. If Allah did crucify another an in Jesus" place% that an ha&in$ been ade to
look like Jesus% then 'od acted un6ustly in at least four ways:
/. First% 'od acted un6ustly toward the person crucified in that he was crucified for
cries he did not coit. 5. 3econd% 'od acted un6ustly toward Jesus" own other%
His closest copanions% and all the other disciples who had followed Jesus so loyally for
years. They sincerely belie&ed Jesus died on that cross. Accordin$ to the Islaic &iew%
Allah fooled the. ;hy< They had sincerely followed Jesus% any of the $i&in$ up
property% hoes% and failies. @. 'od acted un6ustly toward Christians for six centuries
until (uhaad recited 3urah A:/01. 'od did not lea&e any credible e&idence for those
six centuries that Jesus did not die on the cross. And% with this &erse fro the *ur"an%
Allah did not re&eal any new historical e&idence or proof to correct the centuries)old &iew
of the Christians. A. 'od has acted un6ustly toward us% Christians and (uslis today% in
that he has not left ore credible historical e&idence that Jesus did not die on the cross.
Also% and I don"t say this li$htly% this &iew akes 'od the author of perhaps the bi$$est
lie in history. All of the world"s population is eternally affected by who really died on that
cross. This is the ost iportant e&ent in history as far as eternal sal&ation is
concerned. !y foolin$ e&eryone present at the e&ent and not lea&in$ credible historical
e&idence that Jesus did not die% the (usli &iew akes 'od the an enorous liar.
3urely that is not worthy of 'od.
The Islaic &iew of the crucifixion only has only the conflictin$% insufficient e&idence of
the 'nostics for the historical support for its &iew. 2ot only is this e&idence inade:uate% it
also contradicts the Islaic &iews of Jesus in that they often portray anti)*ur7anic &iews
of Jesus. This is in addition to bein$ anti)!iblical. A siple readin$ of any encyclopedia
entry on ,'nosticis, will show the reli$ion to be anti)Islaic as well as anti)Christian.
=et e restate the historical e&idence for the Islaic &iew a$ain to show its inade:uacy
and its contradictions with Isla.
K !asilides the 'nostic% NAB /0>% tau$ht that% ,at the crucifixion He FJesusG chan$ed
for with 3ion of Cyrene who had carried the cross. The Jews istakin$ 3ion for
Jesus nailed hi to the cross. Jesus stood by deridin$ their error before ascendin$ to
hea&en., .?4 K This &ersion conflicts with the earliest 'nostic &iews on Jesus7 death
.those of Cerinthus4 that said Jesus did die on the cross. !asilide7s &iew is also part of a
'nostic &iew of 'od and the cosos that is anti)*ur7anic as well as anti)!iblical.
!asilides also thou$ht that Jesus7 body died and did not ascend to hea&en. Also% the
thou$ht of Jesus deridin$ those who were tryin$ to crucify hi is contrary to the teachin$
and exaple of Jesus in both Isla and Christianity. It is an undi$nified and &en$eful
act.
K (ani of +ersia% AB 5>>"s% head of the (anichaen o&eent ,tau$ht that the son of the
widow of 2ain who Jesus raised fro the dead was put to death in his place., .D4 K
Another (anichaen tradition has the de&il hiself bein$ the &icti of the crucifixion../>4
(anichaeis was actually not a Christian sect but a $nostic reli$ion in its own ri$ht.
(ani cobined Christian teachin$s with any other reli$ions. The $reatest influences
discernible in his syste are Christianity% 'nosticis% and Eoroastrianis. Influences of
!uddhis and Hinduis are also discernible. It7s teachin$s are anti)*ur7anic as well as
anti)Christian and in the early years of Isla% (anichaeans were persecuted and dri&en
out of Islaic reals.
2either of these pro&ides credible historical e&idence that soeone else was crucified
instead of Jesus for the followin$ reasons: ./54
K !oth are contrary to the existin$ testiony of eyewitnesses of the e&ent% friend and foe
alike% who unaniously state Jesus was crucified. There is no eyewitness testiony or
e&en first century testiony that soeone other than Jesus died on the cross. K These
stories are all contrary to the earliest existin$ secular testiony of Jesus" death% whether
Jewish% Roan% or 3aaritan.
K These stories are in&entions stein$ fro certain theolo$ical pre6udices. They are
oti&ated by heretical reli$ious &iews that are abhorrent to Christian and (usli alike.
They are also hi$hly iprobable and they disa$ree aon$ thesel&es. They also
deand total i$norance on the part of those closest to Jesus as to what actually
happened as well as those who watched the crucifixion itself. This would include Jesus"
other and the disciples% and also the Roan executioners% the Jewish leaders% and the
$reat crowd that assebled to watch the crucifixion. K They in&ol&e Jesus in a hu$e lie
and cruelty contrary to His teachin$ and coplete anner of life.
Conclusion: That soeone else was crucified instead of Jesus cannot be supported
historically. All credible e&idence supports the &iew that Jesus was the one who died on
the cross. Also% ha&in$ soeone else die on the cross in&ol&es 'od in lies and cruelty
that are :uite contrary to His 6ustice and lo&e.
!. Crucifixion is not fittin$ for a prophet of 'od
The second a6or ar$uent I ha&e encountered a$ainst Jesus7 crucifixion is not a
historical ar$uent but a theolo$ical one. It is the con&iction that 'od would not allow
one of His prophets to be huiliated or defeated. This assues two thin$s:
./4 it is contrary to 'od"s character to allow His ser&ants to suffer in this way% and
.54 it is contrary to 'od"s plan or way of workin$ to allow his ser&ants to be put to death
in a huiliatin$ way.
!oth of these assuptions are oti&ated by a con&iction that 'od would ne&er do such
a thin$- that it is beneath His honor and a6esty. !ut first let e ask% who are we to tell
'od what He can and cannot do< =et us not presue to tell 'od how He should act.
True% the thou$ht of a holy prophet bein$ so huiliated and tortured surprises and
re&olts our natural thou$hts and feelin$s% and with $ood reason. A holy life should not be
rewarded with in6ustice. It surprised and re&olted the Jews and e&en Jesus" closest
disciples% too. !ut% we should not let our feelin$s and thou$hts $et in the way if 'od is
doin$ soethin$ $reater than we can ia$ine. 'od says to us in Isaiah 00:?%D:
,For (y thou$hts are not your thou$hts% 2either are your ways (y ways% declares the
=ord. For as the hea&ens are hi$her than the earth% so are (y ways hi$her than your
ways% and (y thou$hts than your thou$hts.,
;e should accept what 'od re&eals hubly% and seek to see how it atches His
character and deonstrates His plan. ;e should look to see how it a$nifies 'od and
brin$s Hi praise and honor.
That the cross doesn"t &iolate the character of 'od or the plan of 'od ay be
deonstrated separately as follows:
/. 'od"s character is not &iolated or de$raded by such a death:
Jesus" death on the cross is presented in the !ible as the supree deonstration of
'od"s lo&e to His creatures. In it% 'od takes initiati&e and draws near to His creatures to
share their $rief"s and pain% and especially to bear the 6udicial $uilt of their sins on
Hiself. This is an act of supree lo&e in that 'od re&eals that no one ay ade:uately
pay for their sins" $uilt except by an eternity in hell .Roans C:5@4. 'od &indicates His
own standard of 6ustice in that He bears the $uilt of e&eryone"s sin. He then lo&es in
offerin$ coplete for$i&eness for sins to all who will belie&e in The (essiah"s death for
the.
a. ,For 'od so lo&ed the world% that He $a&e His only be$otten 3on% that whoe&er
belie&es in Hi should not perish% but ha&e eternal life., . John @:/C 2A3!4 b. ,For all
ha&e sinned and fall short of the $lory of 'od., .Roans @:5@ 2A3!4 c. ,For the wa$es
of sin is death% but the free $ift of 'od is eternal life in Christ Jesus our =ord., .Roans
C:5@ 2A3!4
!y the cross% 'od is showin$ us a lo&e hi$her than our thou$hts while aintainin$ the
standards of His pure% holy% perfect% incredibly exactin$ 6ustice. The cross also a$nifies
the so&erei$nty and power of 'od abo&e our thou$hts in that 'od is seen as predictin$
this e&ent centuries before it happened% and then carryin$ it out with incredible precision%
while allowin$ for the full exercise of e&il en"s schees and actions.
,(en of Israel% listen to these words: Jesus the 2aJarene% a an attested to you by 'od
with iracles and wonders and si$ns which 'od perfored throu$h hi in your idst%
6ust as you yoursel&es know)) this (an% deli&ered up by the predeterined plan and
foreknowled$e of 'od% you nailed to a cross by the hands of $odless en and put Hi
to death. And 'od raised Hi up a$ain% puttin$ an end to the a$ony of death% since it
was ipossible for Hi to be held in its power., .Acts 5:55)5A 2A3!4
'od re&eals in the !ible how $reat His lo&e% 6ustice% and ercy really are in showin$ that
e&en He was willin$ to suffer for us to the $reatest de$ree to show His lo&e. And in doin$
it shows He is fully worthy of our trust% our de&otion% our obedience% and our worship.
5. 'od"s plan% or way of workin$ is not coproised by the cross:
The (usli ob6ection in this re$ard is based on the notion that 'od does not allow His
choice ser&ants to suffer huiliation% but instead shows the to be stron$ and &ictorious.
The !ible% howe&er% records the stories of any prophets that suffered huiliation and
re6ection. Abel was killed by his brother Cain .'enesis A4. The Israelites insulted and
rebelled a$ainst (oses% threatenin$ to o&erthrow hi .2ubers /C:/)@ is one exaple
of any4. 3apson was captured% aied% and ensla&ed by his eneies .Jud$es /C4.
Hin$ 3aul despised plotted a$ainst% and tried to kill Ba&id on any occasions ./ 3auel
/? for soe exaples4. Jereiah was constantly insulted and persecuted .the book of
Jereiah4. John the !aptist was beheaded by a cruel% weak kin$ .(atthew /A:/) /54.
8&en the *ur7an acknowled$es that the Jews istreated their prophets. 3urah 0:1@
says%
,;e took the Co&enant of the Children of Israel and sent the apostles. 8&ery tie
there cae to the an apostle with what they thesel&es desired not))soe .of these4
they called iposters and soe they .$o so far as to4 slay., .A. Iusuf Ali translation4
In all of the !iblical accounts% 'od had the final &ictory o&er His opponents but He often
had His ser&ants endure $reat hardship and huiliation before they were &indicated.
The sae is true with Jesus and in an e&en $reater way than any of the pre&ious
prophets. 2ot only did He suffer the ost huiliatin$ re6ection and death% He
experienced incredible &indication in His resurrection fro the dead. And He will
experience coplete &indication when He coes a$ainM
,And bein$ found in appearance as a an% He hubled Hiself by becoin$ obedient
to the point of death% e&en death on a cross. Therefore also 'od hi$hly exalted Hi% and
bestowed on Hi the nae which is abo&e e&ery nae% that at the nae of Jesus e&ery
knee should bow% of those who are in hea&en% and on earth% and under the earth% and
that e&ery ton$ue should confess that Jesus Christ is =ord% to the $lory of 'od the
Father., .+hilippians 5:?)// 2A3!4
C. If the Islaic &iew of sal&ation is to be upheld then Jesus" death on the cross cannot
be belie&ed.
Concernin$ this third reason% I can say this. The #ld Testaent and the 2ew Testaent
are in a$reeent that 'od in His holiness% that is His uncoproisin$ oral purity% ust
punish sin with death. 3econd% 'od has re&ealed in both the #ld and 2ew testaents
that sin% conscious and unconscious% intentional and unintentional% can only be for$i&en
throu$h the re:uired atonin$ sacrifice. Third% 'od"s lo&e is the oti&e that o&ed Hi to
plan and carry out the only sufficient sacrifice for the whole of ankind"s sin.
These &erses re&eal 'od"s uncoproisin$ oral purity:
K ,Thine eyes are too pure to appro&e e&il% and Thou canst not look on wickedness with
fa&or., .Habakkuk /:/@ ) #ne of the Jewish prophets% 2A3!4 K ,The =ord is in His holy
teple% the =ord"s throne is in hea&en- His eyes behold% His eyelids test the sons of
en.The =ord tests the ri$hteous and the wicked%And the one who lo&es &iolence His
soul hates.9pon the wicked He will rain snares- Fire and bristone and burnin$ wind will
be the portion of their cup.For the =ord is ri$hteous- He lo&es ri$hteousness- The upri$ht
will behold His face., .+sal //:A)1 2A3!4 K ,For the wa$es of sin is death% but the free
$ift of 'od is eternal life in Christ Jesus our =ord., .Roans C:5@ 2A3!4 K ,As obedient
children% do not be confored to the forer lusts which were yours in your i$norance%
but like the Holy #ne who called you% be holy yoursel&es in all your beha&ior- because it
is written% "Iou shall be holy% for I a holy .=e&iticus //:AA4.", ./ +eter /:/A)/C 2A3!4 K
,And this is the essa$e we ha&e heard fro Hi and announce to you% that 'od is
li$ht% and in Hi is no darkness at all., ./ John /:0 2A3!4
These &erses re&eal the necessity of an atonin$ sacrifice for our sins and that Jesus is
the ultiate% coplete sacrifice for ankind"s sin:
K ,For the life of the flesh is in the blood% and I ha&e $i&en it to you on the altar to ake
atoneent for your souls- for it is the blood by reason of the life that akes
atoneent....For as for the life of all flesh% its blood is identified with its life., .=e&iticus
/1://)/A 2A3!4
2ote: The entire book of =e&iticus in the Torah of (oses is about the necessity of blood
sacrifices for co&erin$ sin. Chapter A in =e&iticus $i&es the sacrifices for unintentional
sins. Chapter C $i&es the for intentional sins.
K ,!y this will we ha&e been sanctified throu$h the offerin$ of the body of Jesus Christ
once and for all. And e&ery priest .Jewish4 stands daily inisterin$ and offerin$ tie after
tie the sae sacrifices% which can ne&er take away sins- but He% ha&in$ offered one
sacrifice for sins for all tie% sat down at the ri$ht hand of 'od., .Hebrews />:/>)/5
2A3!4 K ,And inasuch as it is appointed for en to die once and after this coes
6ud$ent% so Christ also% ha&in$ been offered once to bear the sins of any shall appear
a second tie for sal&ation without reference to sin% to those who ea$erly await Hi.,
.Hebrews D:51)5? 2A3!4
K ,For e&en the 3on of (an did not coe to be ser&ed% but to ser&e% and to $i&e His life a
ranso for any., .(ark />:A0 2A3!4 K ,For the 3on of (an has coe to seek and to
sa&e that which was lost., .=uke /D:/> 2A3!4
These &erses re&eal 'od"s heart of lo&e: .2ote: The word for lo&e here is the 'reek
word ,a$ape., This denotes a lo&e that is $reater than roantic lo&e or lo&e for faily
and friends. It is used in the 2ew Testaent of lo&e that lo&es in spite of resistance%
re6ection% or in6ury. It e&en ebraces eneies. It is not based on ipulse or feelin$ but
on a choice of the will to lo&e. ;here it is used of 'od in the !ible it is the deep%
constant lo&e of a perfect% infinite +erson towards entirely unworthy% unlo&ely% people.4
K ,For 'od so lo&ed the world that He $a&e His one and only 3on% that whoe&er belie&es
in Hi shall not perish but ha&e eternal life., .John @:/C 2A3!4 K ,And when they cae
to the place called The 3kull% there they crucified Hi and the criinals% one on the ri$ht
and the other on the left. !ut Jesus was sayin$% "Father% for$i&e the- for they do not
know what they are doin$.", .=uke 5@:@@%@A 2A3!4 K ,This is lo&e: not that we lo&ed
'od% but that He lo&ed us and sent His 3on as an atonin$ sacrifice for our sins., ./ John
A:/> 2A3!4 K ,And if you address as Father the #ne who ipartially 6ud$es accordin$
to each an"s work% conduct yoursel&es in fear durin$ the tie of your stay upon earth-
knowin$ that you were not redeeed with perishable thin$s like sil&er or $old fro your
futile way of life inherited fro your forefathers% but with precious blood% as of a lab
unbleished and spotless% the blood of Christ., ./ +eter /:/1)/D4 2A3!
The #ld Testaent and the 2ew Testaent are in a$reeent on these fundaental
truths. The *ur"an disa$rees on these issues and instead presents a &iew that is in
coplete opposition. The *ur"an"s &iew does not ha&e the supportin$ e&idence of any
existin$ pre&ious re&elations or e&en historical e&idence to under $ird its clais to be the
final truth $i&en to ankind.
L. Final conclusions
Fro the abo&e e&idence% it should be seen that there is no credible historical e&idence
that Jesus did not die on the cross% but that instead% the e&idence clearly supports that
He did die and rose fro the dead as He and the prior scriptures predicted. The Islaic
ob6ections do not pro&ide any historical e&idence for belie&in$ soeone else was
crucified% or sufficient theolo$ical reasons for re6ectin$ it. 8&en if theolo$ical reasons or
other kinds of opinion are used to re6ect the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus% they
ust be aintained as personal opinion% not as historical fact% and they can only be held
in the face of the pre&ailin$ historical e&idence that Jesus did die on the cross.
I would ur$e any (usli re6ectin$ the crucifixion of Jesus to please consider the
e&idence% and base their con&iction on fir e&idence% not unsupported assertions% for
their eternal sal&ation.
8&eryone is responsible for thesel&es to seek the truth. #ur eternal destinies depends
on it. +lease consider these atters and do not shut your hearts and inds to consider
what has been presented. +lease $i&e these issues a fair hearin$ and then ake your
decision.
+repared and subitted by Heith 8. 3all% @> (ay /DDC
LI. 8ndnotes
./4 Journal of the Aerican (edical Association .JA(A4% (arch 5/% /D?C)) Lol. 500% 2o.
//% ,#n the +hysical Beath of Jesus Christ, by ;illia B. 8dwards% (B- ;esley J.
'abel% (Bi&- Floyd 8. Hoser% (3% A(I% p. /AC@.
.54 Tacitus% The Annals of Iperial Roe% +en$uin !ooks% c. /DC0%reprint ed./DCC% p.
@0A.
.@4 =ucian% ,#n the Beath of +ere$rine,% :uoted in Christian Apolo$etics% by 2. 'eisler%
'rand Rapids% (I: !aker !ook House% c. /D1C% p. @5@.
.A4 Ibid.% p. @5A.
.04 Ibid.% p. @5A.
.C4 +. (aier% In the Fullness of Tie% Harper3anFrancisco% c. /DD/% p.5>>.
.14 The !abylonian Talud% 3anhedrin A@a% ,8&e of +asso&er%, *uoted in Christian
Apolo$etics% by 2. 'eisler% pp. @5A%@50.
.?4 2. 'eisler and A. 3aleeb% Answerin$ Isla% 'rand Rapids% (I: !aker !ooks% c./DD@%
p. 5?>.
.D4 Ibid.% p. 5?>.
./>4 Ibid.% p. 5?>.
.//4 Ibid.% p. 5?>.
./54 Ibid.% p. 5?>)5?5.
2ote: all !ible :uotations are fro the 2ew Aerican 3tandard translation of the !ible%
copyri$ht /D10% abbre&iated as 2A3!.