Argument of Jesus’ Existence Still Rages

by | Jan 7, 2013 | Man

Even though the vast majority of historians accept that Jesus lived (even if they do not believe He performed any miracles or was raised from the dead), a large number of Internet atheists parrot the claim that the early Church made Jesus up entirely. They argue that Jesus must be made up because there is no “contemporary and local” evidence to the contrary.

This insistence uses a standard for Jesus that is not required for other historical figures. They want (as one insisted to me) to find a manuscript from AD 30-40 speaking of Jesus. However, the ancient world had no newspapers. In many cases, scholars rely on surviving documents written decades or even centuries after the events they describe.

For example, few scholars question the existence of Alexander the Great, but historical documentation (such as some skeptics insist we provide for Jesus) can be found! The first documentation available for Alexander is Diodorus Siculus’ Library of World History from the first century BC, a full 200 years after Alexander’s death.

Granted, it is based on older works (Diodorus states whom he used), but those are lost. No contemporary accounts of Alexander’s life have survived. To apply the same standard that atheists hold Jesus to, we must conclude that Alexander did not exist and was made up by the Greeks to explain their empire’s sudden expansion and split.

On the other hand, accounts of Jesus from the ancient world are astonishing in both their number and how close they are to the time. While the atheist will insist that we disallow the New Testament, we still have a wealth of material. Here are some of the most important.

Josephus was born in AD 37 in Galilee. He wrote two extensive histories of Judaism. Twice, he mentions Jesus in Antiquities (ca. AD 90). While one likely has some later additions (for instance, it is likely that he wrote “some called him the Messiah” instead of “he was the Messiah”), both mentions of Jesus are considered as authentic by the vast majority of scholars. These references can be found in Antiquities Book 18 3:3 and Book 20 9:1.

The Roman historian and senator Tacitus wrote about Jesus in Annals book 15 chapter 44. This work comes from AD 116. This work is from an enemy of the church, who was a historian and dates to only 80 years after Jesus’ death. Such close time frames are almost unheard of in ancient studies. That the author was not a Christian, but accepted their testimony about Jesus (and he was not a man who merely took his opponent’s word as truth) also adds to the weight.

Mara ben Serapion (AD 73) mentions the “wise king” of the Jews who was slain in a letter.

Suetonius in Life of Claudius 25:4 (AD 121) speaks of Chrestus. Suetonius states that “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.” He states that this happened in what we would call AD 49. Most scholars are certain that this passage was written by Suetonius and is not a Christian addition because it places Jesus in Rome in AD 49, calls Him a troublemaker and misspells His name.

There are other references to Jesus and Christians from the ancient world. Some merely speak of Christian beliefs and worship practices, but others speak of Jesus himself.

For other historical figures, one mention from sources so close to the time would have scholars salivating. You can be sure that Jesus existed historically.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder we used to tell our kids was, “Don’t think about it, don’t hesitate,...

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

RECENT ARTICLES

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding...
God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

We spend a lot of life figuring out if we “measure up,” a phrase someone coined in the mid-1800s. Even in childhood, we begin comparing ourselves with siblings and kids at school, and it never seems to stop. The problem goes back to Cain and Abel, doesn’t it? Most of...

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

”Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Rom. 2:4). Looking retrospectively at my past as an atheist, I can see where God...

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why speak with tongues? There are many reasons for speaking in a spiritual language. Primarily, though, the Scriptures require it. The apostle Paul commanded us, saying, “Pray in the Spirit always” (Eph. 6:18). Jude commanded it in verse 20, saying, “Pray in the Holy...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]