Summary: As with the DiVinci Code the Lost Tomb of Jesus attempts to atttack the death, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven. But their arguementss won’t hold up to Scripture or Logic.
I Introduction: JERUSALEM (AP) -- Filmmakers and researchers on Monday unveiled two ancient stone boxes they said may have once contained the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but several scholars derided the claims made in a new documentary as unfounded and contradictory to basic Christian beliefs.
"The Lost Tomb of Jesus," produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron and scheduled to air March 4 on the Discovery Channel, argues that 10 small caskets discovered in 1980 in a Jerusalem suburb may have held the bones of Jesus and his family.
One of the caskets even bears the title, "Judah, son of Jesus," hinting that Jesus may have had a son, according to the film. (Archaeologists, scholars dispute Jesus documentary, POSTED: 9:27 a.m. EST, February 27, 2007 CNN.com)
A This is just the latest attempt to discredit the basic tenets of Christianity. In this case it is Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and bodily ascension into heaven. As Acts 1:9 states "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." Last year the movie "The DaVinci Code" attempted to do the same thing. Before that it was "The Gnostic Gospel" by Elaine Pagels. Before that it was the so called "Swoon Theory" that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross but was only unconscious and woke up three days later. The list continues back in history to the first century when the elders paid the soldiers to say that Christ’s body had been stolen (Matthew 28:11-15).
B This latest claim is based upon a Jewish custom where the deceased were placed in a tomb and when the body degraded to bones they were transferred to a box called an ossuary and the contents marked. In this case six were inscribed with names that could be translated: Jeshua (Jesus), Mara (Mary), Matthew, Josa (Joseph), Mariamene (Mary Magdalene?), and Judah, son of Jeshua.
C The Philosopher David Hume wrote: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless that testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." (Of Miracles) Before we look at the Scriptural evidence then let’s look at the illogical attempts to refute the Biblical account.
1 One theory is that Jesus did not die on the cross but rather lived many years afterward and died of natural causes - This can be further divided in two sub categories: There never was a crucifixion or there was and Jesus survived it.
a Few deny that the crucifixion took place, even the account in the Qur’an which states "That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:" Surah 4:157 is open to debate as the author Sheikh Ahmed Deedat wrote in "Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction" "It is not my place to judge or to declare which theory is the Reality. All I am trying to emphasize is that since Allah (SWT) has not categorically declared "Jesus was substituted with another man", the factual translation should leave the doors open for the alternate theory or theories." So the Qur’an does not deny Jesus was nailed to the cross only that he did not die there.
b Did Jesus survive the Crucifixion? - Crucifixion was a common method of executing individuals. The earliest historical record of crucifixion was made in 519 BC when Darius I, the Persian King of Kings, crucified 3000 political opponents in Babylon. (Wikipedia) although there is evidence that crucifixion predates this by 200 years. Both Josephus and Seneca write about Roman Crucifixion and it was apparently a common practice. Therefore the soldiers who crucified Christ probably were familiar with the process and knew when someone was dead. Some cite the brief amount of time in which Christ was on the cross as evidence that he was not dead. Even Pilate was surprised that Jesus died so quickly. Mark 15:44 states "And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead". But Pilate was assured in the following verse that Jesus was indeed dead. "And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph" (Mark 15:45).
i "To confirm that a victim was dead, the Romans inflicted a spear wound through the right side of the heart. When pierced, a sudden flow of blood and water came (from) Jesus’ body . ....In this case, a spear through the right side of the heart would allow the pleural fluid (fluid built up in the lungs) to escape first, followed by a flow of blood from the wall of the right ventricle.(Edwards) The important fact is that the medical evidence supports that Jesus did die a physical death." ("Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ" Compiled by David Terasaka, M.D.)