Is there any evidence outside of the Bible that the Resurrection of Jesus was a real historical event rather than a myth or an allegory?
Unfortunately, there is no time machine to go back in history and confirm this event that is memorialized in the way the western world divides modern from ancient history, B.C and A.D.
However there is, surprisingly, evidence revealed from celestial, geophysical and historical accounts outside of the Bible that confirm this event.
According to Wikipedia, Easter (aka Resurrection Sunday) is a remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (~30 A.D.) as described in the New Testament. Jesus was crucified, that is, hung on a wooden cross, nailed through his hands and feet and hung on a wooden cross. The historical leaders in place at the time, Pontius Pilate the prefect (governor) of Judea at the time, and King Herod the Roman king, are established historical figures in the same time period and place as the Bible describes. They were responsible for assigning and delivering punishment to Jesus for blasphemy (claims He was God’s Son).
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In the Biblical account of the crucifixion, an earthquake and a darkness came over the land between 12 noon and 3 PM that coincided with Jesus’ crucifixion as explained in the Gospel of Matthew. (Matthew 27: 45-54)
Historian Eusebius of Caesarea cites Phlegon who wrote that in the year 32-33 AD: “A great eclipse occurred at the sixth hour that excelled every other before it, turning the day into such darkness of night that the stars could be seen in heaven and the earth moved, toppling many buildings.”
There is also another independent historical account:
“Dionysius, a pagan philosopher at the time, was present in Heliopolis (modern Cairo), Egypt, when the catastrophe occurred, in the company of a philosopher friend, Apollophanes. His account reads as follows: ‘We [Apollophanes and himself] were both present, standing together in Heliopolis, when we saw the moon falling into alignment with the sun in an abnormal way. For it was not the right time for a conjunction. Then again, we saw it [the moon] from the ninth hour [around 3 pm] till sundown, restored naturally to its place [in the sky] opposite the sun’.”
By the way, Dionysius was converted to Christianity during the Apostle Paul’s Areopagus sermon in Athens. Dionysius heard the Apostle Paul talk about the earthquake and eclipse of the sun that occurred during Jesus’ crucifixion. He personally knew the scriptures were accurate on that account.
Of additional interest, it was 800 years prior that the prophetic Book of Isaiah (chapter 13) foretold when “the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (an eclipse).” What are the odds that would happen?
Did Jesus die on the cross? Or was His death faked? Because Roman soldiers in this instance departed from their practice of breaking a criminal’s legs on the cross to ensure He was dead, probably not wanting to enrage his mother, brothers and other followers who were in attendance to the point of a riot, a Roman centurion thrust a spear in Jesus’ side to confirm He was dead, and the Bible account says water the blood came out. (John 19:34) This meant blood circulation had ceased and the clear blood serum had separated from the heavier red blood cells. Jesus was certainly dead.
There is another Biblical account of an event that surrounded the crucifixion. This story is from the 5th chapter of the book of Mark and the 8th chapter of the book of Luke.
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Jesus Himself was the fulfillment of over 300 prophecies, which included His place of birth (Bethlehem), His birth order (firstborn), His family line (from the line of David), the method of His death (crucifixion), even the amount of money he would be betrayed for (30 pieces of silver).
It says in the 27th chapter of the book of Matthew that in remorse, Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, returned those 30 pieces of silver to the priests and elders who had accused Jesus of blasphemy. They refused his offer to return the silver coins so it says Judas threw the money into the temple and left.
As the Bible account goes, the chief priests considered it blood money and used it to purchase a field as a burial place for foreigners. It was called the FIELD OF BLOOD. In the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, that field, called the Akeldama (HAKL-ED-DAMM), today is a large square sepulcher. The land was used as a burial place for non-Jews into the 19th century. The Christian Crusaders buried their dead there. This part of the crucifixion story is also partly confirmed.
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Some skeptics say Jesus never existed. The story of His life and death were fables.
Is there any astronomical evidence for the Christmas star in the east the Magi followed to find the baby Jesus and bring Him gold, frankincense and myrrh?
Astronomer Ernest L. Martin, as explained in his text THE START THAT ASTONISHED THE WORLD, ran computer simulations of the stars that shone in the sky over Palestine in 3 B. C. From his initial work astronomers came up with the date of September 11, 3 BC as the date for Jesus’ birth that correlates with astronomical alignments explained in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation.
Martin explains that Christmas star was the planet Jupiter aligned in conjunction with Venus and other stars to produce an ultra-bright star that would have appeared in the east. Martin’s explanation of the Star of Bethlehem is now the accepted explanation by modern astronomers.
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Regarding the veracity of the Biblical resurrection story, some of the most implausible facts (an earthquake and solar eclipse) and other medical facts confirm the Biblical account.
We don’t have a time machine. There is no way of knowing conclusively the crucifixion and resurrection occurred. The Apostle Paul said we “only know in part,” not the whole. (I Corinthians 13: 12)
Jesus said: “…all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24:44)
This article was first published on March 28, 2018.
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