According to the "apostle" Paul, the faith of a
Hebrew-Christian must stand or fall on a single alleged
fact: the resurrection of Jesus. In Paul's own words, "if
Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless" (1 Cor.
15:17). Are the accounts of Jesus' resurrection in the
Christian bible believable -- or have you, like Esau, traded
your holy birthright for a bowl of worthless soup?
Following is a short Biblical study to assist you in
evaluating this most central of Christian claims. We pray
that it will be received by you in the spirit of sincerity
and love in which it is written.
BETWEEN CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION, WHERE DID JESUS
Was he in heaven, in accordance with his promise to the
crucified thief that "today you shall be with me in paradise
(Lk. 23:43)? If so, how can we account for his
post-resurrection statement to Mary Magdalene, "touch me
not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" (Jn. 20:17)?
RESURRECTION MORNING: THE WOMEN'S TALE(S).
(1) Who first approached the empty tomb: was it Mary
Magdalene alone (Jn. 20:1) or Mary M. and "the other Mary"
(Mat. 28:1) or the two Mary's and Salome (Mk. 16:1) or the
two Mary's and Joanna (Lk. 24:10)?
(2) On first reaching the tomb, were they greeted by an
angel sitting outside (Mat. 28:2,5), by two men standing
inside (Lk. 24:4), by one man sitting inside (Mk. 16:5), or
no one at all (Jn. 20:1,2)?
(3) Did Mary Magdalene receive word of the resurrection
before her actual encounter with Jesus? Although Matthew
(28:5), Mark (16:6), and Luke (24:5) answer in the
affirmative, John disagrees, maintaining that it was Jesus
himself who first revealed to the grief-stricken Mary that
he was alive (Jn.20:14-17).
(4) Did the resurrected Jesus first appear to a
joy-filled Mary Magdalene on the road (Mat. 28:8-9) or to a
grief-stricken Mary Magdalene in the tomb (Jn. 20:14-17)?
(5) When the women were first informed that Jesus had
risen, did they fearfully keep the news to themselves (Mk.
16:8) or did they rush to inform the disciples (Lk. 24:9;
(6) Was Mary Magdalene's initial report to the disciples
a hearsay account of what she had been told by two men (Lk.
24:9) or a first-person account of an actual visitation by
the risen Jesus (Jn. 20:18)?
THE DISCIPLES' TALE(S)
Did Jesus first reveal himself in Galilee to the eleven
remaining disciples (Mat. 26:16, Mk. 16:7,14), in Jerusalem
to the eleven (Lk. 24:33,36), in Jerusalem to the ten, with
Thomas absent (Jn. 20:10,19,24), or to Peter and then to the
twelve (1 Cor. 15:15) -- and since Judas was already dead
(Mat. 27:5), and his successor had not yet been chosen (Acts
1:26) -- who was number twelve??
WOULD YOU BASE EVEN THE SIMPLEST DECISION UPON REPORTS
WHICH WERE SO OBVIOUSLY INCONSISTENT AND CONTRADICTORY? DOES
IT MAKE SENSE TO DO SO WHEN YOUR ETERNAL SALVATION IS AT
Dear friends, you are confronted with an eternal choice.
Will you be faithful to G-d -- or to a religion of myth and
men?? The prophet Elijah, himself a master of resurrection
(1 Ki. 7:21-22), addressed the issue succinctly: How long
will you halt between two opinions? If the L-rd be G-d,
follow Him; but if Baal, follow him" (1 Ki. 18:21). Joshua's
challenge too, rings forth even today: "choose you this day
whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers
served that were beyond the river, or the gods of the
Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my
household, we will serve the L-rd" (Josh. 24:15). As many
former Hebrew-Christian's have discovered, it is far better
to be on G-d's team.
Someone who used to be involved with Hebrew-Christianity
will be at the JEWS FOR JUDAISM offices throughout the week.
Why not talk to them and find out why they came back to
Judaism? Call or write one of our offices nationwide,
someone will be happy to speak with you.