13 April 2015

Resurrection—True or False?

empty tomb

Resurrection--True or False


Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead or was it a vision?


Bart Ehrman, the famous apostate, atheist, deconverted Christian, holds that it was only a vision, so also others (for example Francis Maloney, "The Resurrection of the Messiah: A Narrative Commentary on the Resurrection Accounts in the Four Gospels" as reported by Kermit Zarley in his blog).


Kermit Zarley brings reasonable logic for believing this view is false (see the reference link above).


How many post-resurrection appearances in the NT gospels are we talking about? In my book, I state that there either nine of ten. None of them are described as a "vision." Rather, I think the authors clearly present their narratives with the purpose of causing their readers to think that these were historical events that actually happened, thus certainly not visions that people only think in their minds. But in saying this, I need to address Luke 24.13-43.

Luke's says that on the first Sunday afternoon following Jesus' crucifixion death, two of Jesus' disciples were walking from Jerusalem seven miles to the village of Emmaus (Luke 24.13). Luke says, "While they...

This is well worth reading.


So how many people saw Jesus alive after His resurrection? It was at least 520 people. It is never enough for some folks, but these passages of Scripture were written in the first century and seem most reasonable.


What about where Jesus tells Mary to not touch Him, but later He invites the apostles to touch Him? Is this a contradiction? Many have written about this, but here is my opinion which is partly based on M. R. DeHann's argument.


  1. Jesus rose from the dead.

  2. Mary Magdalene sees Him.

  3. Jesus wants her to be the first witness. It is not written as to why, but it seems reasonable to me that since women in those days were not considered to be reliable witnesses, Jesus wants to show the world and especially the Apostles that women are very reliable witnesses. Jesus scolds the Apostles even for their unbelief of NOT believing the women.

  4. Jesus ascends to heaven to present His blood in the heavenly Temple.

  5. After completely His priestly ministry there, returns to earth when He visits/appears to the people. First He appears to other women, then Peter, the two on the Emmaus Road, then the 11.


The Post-resurrection appearances of Jesus

  1. Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11, John 20:11-18

  2. Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James (Matthew 28:9-10, compare with Mark 16:1)

  3. Peter (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)

  4. Cleopas and the other disciple on the Emmaus Road (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-35)

  5. Ten Apostles with Thomas absent (Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-25)

  6. Eleven Apostles, including Thomas (John 20:24-29)

  7. Seven Apostles at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-25)

  8. Eleven Apostles at some mountain in Galilee where Jesus told them to meet Him. (Matthew 28:16-20)

  9. Over 500 brethren who were together at one time. (1 Corinthians 15:6)

  10. James, His half-brother (1 Corinthians 15:7)

  11. With the Apostles for a meal. (Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:3-8)

  12. His ascension. (Acts 1:9-11, Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-51)

  13. Paul (Acts 9:1-6, Acts 18:9-10, Acts 23:11, 1 Corinthians 15:8)

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