The scenario of Jesus’ revival from the dead presents many problems. Some of them have already been discussed in the previous chapter. Now we turn to other elements and complexities.
What we have in view is the nature of the ‘mind’ of Jesus, prior to the Crucifixion and after his revival from the dead. His mind was brought to life again, after a loss of function for three days and nights. The question is, what actually happens to the brain at the time of death? On one point at least there is a consensus among both the Christian and the non-Christian medical experts: if the brain remains dead for more than a few minutes, it is dead and gone forever. As soon as the blood supply ceases, it begins to disintegrate.
If Jesus died during the Crucifixion it can only mean that his heart ceased functioning and stopped supplying blood to his brain, and that his brain died soon after. So his entire life support system must have stopped to operate or he could not have been declared dead. That being so we are faced with a very intriguing problem in relation to the understanding of the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The death of Jesus Christ, as has been demonstrated, would mean a final departure of his astral body, or soul as we may call it, from the physical cage of his human body. If so, his revival would have to mean the return of the same astral body to the same physical body that it had left behind three days earlier. Such a return of the soul would restart the clock of physical life and set it ticking once again. For such a thing to happen, the disintegrated and dead brain cells would have come to life suddenly and the chemical processes of rapid decay would have been reversed entirely. This involves an enormous problem and will ever remain a challenge for the Christian biochemists to resolve. Describing the reversal of the entire chemical processes of decay within the central nervous system is beyond the reach of the farthest stretches of scientist’s imagination. If it ever happened it would be a miracle indeed, defying science and making a mockery of the laws made by God Himself, but a miracle that would still fail to solve the problem at hand.
Such a revival would mean not just the revival of the cells of the central nervous system, but actually their synthesis. Even if the same cells were reconstructed and brought to life exactly as they were before, they would, in fact, be a new set of cells devoid of any previous memory. They would have to be re- manufactured, complete with all the data relevant to the life of Jesus that was wiped out of his brain after the death of his mind.
Life, as we know it, comprises of a consciousness that is filled with information held by billions of neurons within the brain. That information is then subdivided into far more complicated and interrelated bits of computerised information received from each of the five senses. If that data is wiped out, life itself would be wiped out. Therefore, the revival of the brain of Jesus would mean the construction and the manufacture of a new brain computer with a completely new set of software. This complexity also relates to the chemistry of the rest of the body of Jesus Christ. To revive the body, a colossal chemical reconstruction process will have to be put into operation after retrieving all the material lost in the process of decay. With such a great miracle having taken place the question would arise as to who is revived and with what effect? Is it the man in Jesus or is it the god in him? This is why we are emphasising the importance of understanding the person of Jesus.
Whenever Jesus is known to have faltered and failed to exhibit his superpowers as the Son of God, Christians take refuge in the claim that he faltered as a man and not as a god. So we have every right to question and to clearly define which part in him was man and which was god. The faltering of the man in Jesus requires a human mind as a separate entity to that of the god in him. When the brain was revived it was the human element in Jesus which was revived because the ‘Divine’ entity of Jesus did not require a material brain to support him. For the ‘Divine’ entity it only worked as a receptacle during his previous sojourn on earth; as in the case of a spiritual medium. Hence the revival of Jesus would only implicate the revival of the man in him, without which the return of his spirit to the same body is rendered impossible.
If this scenario is not acceptable then we will face another grave problem of attributing to Jesus during his earthly life two independent minds, one of man and another that of god. The two cohabiting the same space but otherwise unrelated and independent. If so, the revival issue will have to be re-examined so that its true nature is clearly understood. In this scenario, one does not have to conceive of the essential reconstruction of the human brain to provide a seat for the human mind, we need only to imagine Jesus revisiting a skull filled with the decaying remains of the brain of his former human host.
The deeper we look into this problem more problems raise their heads at every newly probed level. Man’s mind requires a brain as a tool of his thought process. As far as the functions of the physical body are concerned, if we believe that the mind is a separate entity which lives by itself, then it would imply that the mind and the soul are the same thing. By whatever name we refer to it, whether we call it mind or soul, it may be considered as capable of living separately even when its relationship with the human brain is severed. But if they are required to govern the human body or to be influenced by what goes on in their physical realms then there has to be a profound bondage between the mind and the brain, or the soul and the brain, otherwise they simply cannot influence, motivate or control physical, mental or sentimental processes in man. Perhaps this is not debatable.
From this we are led to another serious problem; does the so-called Divine Son need to control a body through a brain? and does he depend on a physical brain for his thought processes? If he transcends all human limitations and if he has an independent system of thought processes, unique to him, with no parallel in the entire universe of his creation, then the return of the soul of God to the human body along with that of the mind of man reconstructs a bizarre situation of a dual personality with two conflicting thought processes, because it is impossible for the human mind and the human soul to be completely at one with the mind of God and His being. There would be a constant variation between the two thought processes with very irritating clashes of brain waves. Such a case would be fit to be treated by a superhuman psychiatrist. A new type of spiritual schizophrenia perhaps.
Having said that, let us reconstruct the entire scenario from a different angle. After studying Christianity at some depth I have come to the conclusion that there is confusion prevailing in the understanding of some terms and their application, without fully understanding their implications, to situations where they do not actually apply. Christian ideology is densely befogged with such confusion and misapplied terminology. ‘Revival’ is one term and ‘Resurrection’ is another, and both have different meanings. So far, we have intentionally used the term ‘revival’ when discussing the possibility of Jesus coming to life again. As we have clearly seen from the previous discussion ‘revival’ means the return of all vital functions of the human body after death. But ‘resurrection’ is a completely different phenomenon.
Unfortunately, the Christian church, all over the world, has been responsible for creating confusion in Christian minds by misusing these terms by swapping one with the other; or at least by attributing the meaning of one to the other. Most Christians understand the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the springing to life once again of his human body which he had abandoned at the moment of his so-called death. Of course we disagree with this and retain our right to describe it as a state of deep coma and not death.
If correctly understood and applied, the resurrection of Jesus cannot mean the return of his soul to the same human body which it had deserted at the moment of death. The term ‘resurrection’ only means the creation of a new astral body. Such a body is spiritual in nature and works as a sort of crucible for a rarefied soul within. It is created for the eternal continuation of life after death. Some call it a sidereal body or astral body and some call it athma. Whatever name you give it the essential meaning remains the same; resurrection applies to the creation of a new body for the soul which is ethereal in nature and not, we repeat, not, the return of the soul to the same disintegrated human body which it left previously.
St. Paul has spoken at length in exactly these terms about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He believed in the resurrection of not only Jesus but the resurrection in general of all those who die and are deemed fit by God to be given a new existence and a new form of life. The personality of the soul remains the same but its abode is changed. According to St. Paul, this is a general phenomenon which has to be accepted, otherwise there would be no meaning left in Christianity or religion.
St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians must be studied in depth because they are central to the issue. They leave no room for doubt in my mind at least, that whenever he spoke of Jesus having been seen alive after the Crucifixion he spoke clearly and without ambiguity of his resurrection and resurrection alone, and it never crossed his mind that the soul of Jesus had returned to his mortal body and that he was resuscitated from death in ordinary physical terms. If my understanding of St. Paul is not acceptable to some Christian theologians they will have to admit that St. Paul glaringly contradicted himself because at least in some of his accounts of Jesus’ new life he leaves no shadow of doubt that he understood Jesus’ new life to be the resurrection and not revival of the human body in which his soul is said to have been caged.
Following are some of the relevant passages which speak for themselves:
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. (Corinthians 1,6:14)
So will it be with the resurrection
of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised un-perishable;
it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it
is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (Ibid 15:42–44)
For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ (Ibid 15:52:54)
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (Corinthians 2,5:8)
The problem which remains to be resolved arises out of St. Paul’s reference to the early Christians account of how Jesus was seen alive in his body soon after the Crucifixion. If St. Paul understood Jesus to have been resurrected, he could be right of course and his personal ‘vision’ of Jesus or communion with him could be explained in terms of resurrection like the visiting soul of a dead person from the other world, acquiring an apparition very much like its form and shape prior to death. But there seems to be confusion over the mixing up of two types of evidence. Firstly we need to consider the early evidence of his disciples and of those who loved and revered him, although they might not have been formally initiated into Christianity. That evidence must have been misunderstood by St. Paul because it clearly speaks of Jesus in his human form with a corporeal body that cannot be interpreted as resurrection.
To prove this, one has only to refer to the episode of Jesus surprising some of his disciples:
They were startled and frightened,
thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why
do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself!
Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they
still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do
you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and
he took it and ate it in their presence. (Luke 24:37–43)
This episode categorically rules out the idea of resurrection and speaks of Jesus wanting to demonstrate clearly that he was the same person in the same human body and not a ghost; nor someone no longer dependant on food for survival. This further shows that the early Christians were speaking of two different things. Whenever they spoke of Jesus’ revival from the dead and were confronted by the sceptical regarding the sheer absurdity of the idea, they took refuge in the notion of resurrection which could be philosophically and logically explained. Corinthians 1 in particular, presents an excellent opportunity to study the dilemma of putting one’s feet in two different boats.
Finally returning to the evidence of the early Christian’s encounters with Jesus Christ, we are left with no option but to believe that the Jesus who appeared soon after the Crucifixion to many of his disciples and friends, who spoke to them, who accompanied them and moved gradually away from the scene of the Crucifixion, mostly under the cover of night was certainly not a resurrected person but one who could only be taken as a person who was either physically revived from the dead or one who never died but was miraculously recovered from a state of near death. So near, indeed, to death, that his state could be compared to the state of Jonah in the belly of the fish. We have no doubt in our minds that this latter option is the only acceptable one.
To make it easier for Christians to understand our point of view I will present a similar hypothetical case. The same story is repeated in real life today. An attempt is made to kill someone by crucifying him and he is supposed to be dead as a result. Afterwards, the same person is seen moving about by some of his close associates. They also observe that his physical body visibly carries the marks of crucifixion. He is then recaptured by the Law and presented to a court of justice with a demand from the prosecution that as he had somehow escaped death in the first attempt so to consummate the sentence passed against him, he must be crucified once again. That man then defends himself by postulating that he most certainly had died once; hence the purpose of law was indeed achieved and now that he had risen from the dead by a special decree of God so the past judgement of condemnation could not be re-executed for the reason that he was enjoying a completely new lease of life in which he had committed no offence against the law. If the court accepts this plea, obviously he would not be punished again for a crime for which he had already paid his dues.
If such an incident were to happen in a court of law in a Christian country with a Christian judge and a Christian jury, what verdict would the reader suggest they would or should pass? If the plea of the person under trial is to be rejected and he is condemned to be hanged again, on what grounds would it be justified?
Evidently, any sane judge, Christian or non-Christian, and any jury made up of sane people would not even remotely entertain the plea that having died once the accused had come to life again. Such a verdict has no parochial, religious, racial or ethnic bias. It is universal in nature and no man in command of his sanity can think of a verdict other than this. Hence the universal consensus of human intellect would reject the plea of ‘revival’, and will only pass a verdict of ‘survival’ from death. That is exactly what happened in the case Jesus Christ. It was neither a case of revival, nor of resurrection, but simply as common sense would have it, a clear case of survival.
The coming to life of the dead body of Jesus is so essential to Christianity that one has to investigate the real reasons behind it. Apparently there is no logic in the entire episode. Why should a so-called Son of God, having been once delivered from his human cage, ever choose to return to it? And how could it be taken as proof beyond doubt that he had actually died and had then come to life again? This aspect has already been considered at some length and I am not attempting to emphasize the same point, but I wish to draw the reader’s attention to another vital relevant question.
Why did such an absurd idea take root in Christian theology, and gradually in a few centuries after Jesus, grow into one of the pillars of Christian belief, without which the whole edifice of Christian theology would collapse? We will try to project ourselves into the minds of the early Christians who faced an almost insoluble dilemma and begin to reconstruct the circumstances in which Christianity was given a shape different from its reality. This way perhaps it will be easier for us to understand, in depth, the making and unmaking of Christianity. The hard fact which must be brought into sharp focus is simply this: If Jesus, peace be upon him, did actually die upon the cross then in the eyes of the Jewish people he would clearly appear to be an imposter.
Vitriolic Language Against Holy People
As referred to earlier, the scriptures had predicted that any false claimant who attributed anything to God which He had not said, would hang upon the tree. Therefore the death of Jesus upon the cross would be tantamount to the death of Christianity. That is why authentic Jewish religious literature is full of their gloatings about Jesus’ death upon the cross. He was considered to have been proved false, beyond a shadow of doubt, by his contemporary Jewish adversaries on the basis of that particular Biblical verdict. They lost even a semblance of respect for him and used such filthy and insulting language against him that it is an unbearable reading for anyone who loves Jesus as we do, as a true, beloved and holy messenger of Allah. One can well imagine the deep suffering and intense agony of the early Christians who had known Jesus to be a holy man and a true messenger of God, having been assigned the special station of the Messiah. How would they defend themselves against the onslaught of such filthy language which when read today in the present day context, brings to mind the ugly image of Salman Rushdie’s notorious book The Satanic Verses?
Such total lack of respect for decency by both seems to have arisen from the depths of human degradation. The following quotes will give the reader some idea as to what happens to all decent human values when the rabid antagonists of holy people choose to make them a target of their impudent, perverted and distorted ravings.
The Talmud, the doctrinal book which fully expounds all the knowledge and beliefs of the Jewish people, taught that Jesus had not only an illegitimate birth, but was doubly uncouth in view of his having been born out of a devilish wedlock of Mary during the period of her menstruation. It further elaborated that he had the soul of Esau; that he was a fool, a conjurer, a seducer; that he was crucified, buried in hell and set up as an idol ever since by his followers. The extracts which follow have been taken from the book The Talmud Unmasked, by Rev I.B. Pranaitis.
The following is narrated in the Tract Kallah, 1b (18b):
"Once when the Elders were
seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered.
The other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his
bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi
Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben
niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the
others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered
that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy’s mother whom
he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: ‘My
daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise
that you will be saved in the next life.’ She demanded that he would swear
to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so—but with his lips only, for
in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: ‘Tell me what kind of
son is this of yours?’ To which she replied: ‘The day I was married I was
having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me. But an evil
spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to
me.’ Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but
also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners
heard this they declared: ‘Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected
his Elders!’ And they exclaimed: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who
revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph!’ "
That the Jews understand this
story to refer to Jesus and his mother, Mary, is clearly demonstrated in
their book Toldath Jeschu—’The Generation
of Jesus’— where the birth of our Saviour is narrated in almost the same
All that is decent in man revolts against the stinking filth which was heaped upon the holy name and image of Jesus in the literature of his hostile antagonists. Of course, Jesus was conceived by a chaste holy lady named Mary and nothing else played a role in that conception but the limitless creative powers of our Lord God. The idea of conception by intercourse with the devil during the state of menstruation is far more aptly applicable to the mind that conceived this enormity. Alas, neither the holy spouses of holy people or even their mothers are spared by the tongues and pens of perverts who spit venom and ugliness alike. It does not make any difference whether such a maniac lived two thousand years ago or was born in the contemporary world. How amazing it is that even the most civilized societies of today can shut their eyes to this beastliness and would rather approve of such flagrant offences in the name of liberty of tongue and pen.
The language used by Salman Rushdie, for instance, against the holy ladies of the Holy Prophet of Islam is not dissimilar to the language used against the holy mother of Christ.
It is also narrated in Sanhedrin, 67a:
‘This is what they did to the son of Stada in Lud, and they hanged him on the eve of the Passover. For this son of Stada was the son of Pandira. For Rabbi Chasda tells us that Pandira was the husband of Stada, his mother, and he lived during the time of Paphus the son of Jehuda.’
The author of The Talmud Unmasked, Rev I.B. Pranaitis makes the following comment on the verses qouted above:
‘The meaning of this is that this Mary was called Stada, that is, a prostitute, because, according to what was taught at Pumbadita she left her husband and committed adultery. This is also recorded in the Jerusalem Talmud and Maimonides.’
‘Whether those who believe such devilish lies deserve greater hatred or pity, I cannot say.’
This indeed is a cry of anguish from the heart of a helpless victim who is grieved by the fanatical mockery of his beloved master. The early Christians must have suffered even greater agony and experienced hell by the mockery of the Jews of that period. They had to suffer invectives, directed not against someone whose memory was long buried in the past, but against someone whose beloved memory was still fresh and alive, and who was profoundly loved by those who had seen him and had shared some most beautiful moments of their lives with him. They would have been doubly tormented, because it was not only the heinous mockery which hurt them but further insult was added to injury by the suffering of Jesus Christ during his conviction and attempted crucifixion.
I only wish that the Christian conscience of the free West could at least make some effort to understand the agony and anguish of a billion Muslims who are most certainly not tortured less when similar inhuman language is used against their beloved Holy Master and his Companions.
The early Christians had to suffer all this despite their personal knowledge and despite possessing irrevocable evidence to the effect that Jesus was alive and that he had not died upon the cross as boasted by the Jews. They had themselves treated his wounds. They had seen him recover miraculously from a deep state of coma in which his body was delivered to them, and had seen him with their own eyes, not in the form of an apparition or a ghost, but in the same frail human body which had suffered so much for the sake of truth and had yet miraculously survived death. They talked with him, ate with him and had seen him moving step by step, night after night in utter secrecy away from the scene of the Crucifixion.
The subject of the Ascension of Jesus Christ is untouched by St. Matthew and St. John in their Gospels. The lack of mention of such an important event leaves one wondering as to why.
The only two synoptic Gospels which mention the Ascension are Mark2 and Luke3. However, recent scientific and scholarly investigations have proved that the accounts contained in both these Gospels are later interpolations. These verses were non-existent in the original texts.
Codex Siniaticus dates
from the 4th century and remains the oldest near complete text of the Old
and New Testament. It stands witness to the fact that the said verses in
both Mark and Luke were not included in the authentic original versions but
were certainly added by some scribe on his own initiative much later. In
the Codex Siniaticus the Gospel of Mark ends
at chapter 16 verse 8. This fact is now acknowledged in some modern Bible
editions as well4. Also, the Gospel of Luke (24:15) in Codex
Siniaticus, does not contain the words ‘Carried up to heaven’.
According to the textual critic
C.S.C. Williams, if these omissions in the Codex Siniaticus are
correct, there is no reference at all, to the Ascension in the original text
of the Gospels5.
Even Jehovah’s Witnesses who
are some of the most vehement proponents of Jesus’ ‘Sonship’ and his ascent
to God the Father, had to admit ultimately that the verses in Mark and Luke
are additions without a foundation in the original texts6.
What Happened to Jesus’
A closer critical examination from the point of view of common sense and logic reveals further absurdities inherent in the episodes of the Crucifixion and Ascension as presented by the Christians of today. As far as the question of Jesus’ return to his human body is concerned, enough has been said. We only want to add to the issue of what might have happened to that body when Jesus finally ascended, if he ever did.
When confronted by the question as to what happened to the body of Jesus Christ, it is suggested by some Christians that as he ascended to his heavenly Father his carnal body disintegrated and disappeared in a glow. This raises a fundamental question. If the departure of Jesus from the human body was to result in such an explosive event, why did it not happen at the instant of his first reported death? The only reference we have in the Bible to Jesus’ death, is when he was still hanging on the cross and in the words of St. Matthew ‘he gave up the ghost’. Apparently nothing else happened other then a smooth departure of the soul from the body. Are we to assume that he did not die upon the cross after all, because if he had left the body, it should have exploded in a similar fashion even then. Why did it only happen the second time Jesus left his body? Under the circumstances only two avenues are open to proceed further.
- That the person of Jesus did
not remain eternally confined to the human body after his soul returned
to it and that during his ascent he cast away his human body and ascended
purely as a spirit of God.
This is neither supported by facts nor is it concievable because that would lead into a blind alley of believing that Jesus died twice. The first time on the cross and the second time on Ascension.
- That he remained confined
within the human shell eternally.
This cannot be accepted because it is utterly repulsive and inconsistent with the dignity and majesty of the image of God.
On the other hand, we have a
point of view of common sence; ‘It would be a mistake to understand Jesus’
ascension as a sort of ancient space trip, and heaven as a place beyond the
sun, moon and the galaxies.’ The truth is neither here nor there7.
The concoction of such a bizarre story, therefore, could only have been motivated
by the insoluble dilemma that the Christians faced during the nascent period
of Christianity. When Jesus disappeared from view, naturally the question
would have been raised as to what happened to him. The early Christians could
not have resolved the quandary by openly professing that as he had never
died so there was no question of a body being left behind and that his body
had in fact gone along with him during the course of his migration. In this
way the problem of the disappearance of the body could have been easily resolved.
But this confession was impossible to make. Those who would have dared to
admit that Jesus was seen alive and gradually moving away from Judea faced
the peril of being condemned by the Roman Law as an accessory to the crime
of escape from justice.
To seek refuge in the concoction of a story like the ascent of Jesus to heaven offered a safer option, however bizzare the idea. Yet of course it would involve indulgence in falsehood. We must pay our tribute to the integrity of the early disciples who despite this predicament did not seek refuge in a false statement. All writers of the Gospels chose to remain silent on this issue rather than take refuge behind a smoke screen of misstatements. No doubt they must have suffered the jeering of their adversaries but they chose to suffer in silence.
Mysterious silence on the part of those who knew the inside story must have been largely responsible for sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of Christians of later generations. They must have wondered: why, after the soul of Jesus Christ had departed, was there no mention of his body being left behind? Where had it gone and what had happened to it? Why did the soul of Christ return to the same body if it ever did? These vital but unanswered questions could have given birth to other questions. If revival meant returning to the same body, what must have happened to Jesus Christ after the second term of his imprisonment in the carnal human frame? Did he eternally remain locked up in that body, never to be released again?
On the other hand if the soul of Jesus once again departed from the same body then was that revival temporary or permanent? If he did not remain locked in it then what happened to his body after his second death? Where was it buried and is there any mention of it in any archives or chronicles?
It seems that these questions, even if not raised earlier, must have been raised during the later centuries when intense philosophical exercises concerning the mystery of Christ and all about him were witnessed widely among Christian theologians. It appears that some unscrupulous scribe tried to wriggle out of this by interpolating the last twelve verses in the Gospel of St. Mark and falsely attributed to him the statement that Jesus was last seen ascending to heaven in the same body.
The hands of concoction did not spare the Gospel of Luke either, where the clever insertion of the words ‘and he was carried up to heaven’ in 24:51 served the purpose of the interpolator. In this way he put to rest the queries once and for all. At least one mystery of Christian dogma was thus resolved. But alas, at what cost? At the cost of the noble facts relating to the real holy image of Jesus Christ. The fact of Christ was thus sacrificed on the altar of fiction. From then on, Christianity continued to proceed unabated and unchecked in the journey of its transformation from facts to fiction.
We know for certain that the
Jews were unhappy and disturbed at not finding the body of Jesus Christ8.
They wanted to be sure of Jesus’ death and for that they needed the universally
acceptable proof of death, that is, the presence of a dead body. Their complaint,
lodged with Pilate, evidently displays their uneasiness about its potential
The real and simple answer, however, lay in the fact that as Christ had not died in the manner that was believed so the question of a missing body was totally irrelevent, and in keeping with his promise he must have left Judea in search of the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Obviously he could not be seen again.
The Ahmadi Muslim Viewpoint
The Ahmadiyya Muslim viewpoint of the whereabouts of Jesus’ body is very clear, logical and factual. It presents Jesus and what happened to him in the light of truth, haloed by its glory. The very reality of Jesus Christ is so beautiful that there is no need to build an ornamental mystery around him. His suffering for the sake of sinful humanity throughout his life which culminated in the agony of the Crucifixion; his deliverance from the cross as promised by the Merciful and Beneficient God Almighty and his subsequent migration in persuit of the ten lost tribes of Israel.
Hence he delivered the message of God not only to the two tribes whom he addressed before the Crucufixion but reached out to all the other tribes of Israel and thus fulfilled the purpose of his commission. It was only then that he brought the full purpose of his ministry to a final end. These are the noble and illustrious realities of Jesus’ life.
The founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian declared about a hundred years ago that Jesus, a true prophet of God, was delivered from the cross as was implied in his earlier discourses. For the first time in the history of Islam, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, divinely guided as he was, lifted the mystical veil from the brilliant realities of Jesus’ life. It was he who declared in the face of the bitter resentment of the majority of the orthodox Muslims that Jesus had neither died upon the cross, nor ascended bodily to heaven, but was miraculously delivered alive from the cross in keeping with God’s promise. Thereafter he migrated in search of the lost sheep of the House of Israel as he himself had promised.
By following the probable route of the migration of Israeli tribes one can safely assume that he must have travelled through Afghanistan on his way to Kashmir and other parts of India where the presence of Israeli tribes was reported.
There is strong historical evidence that the peoples of both Afghanistan and Kashmir have stemmed from migrant Jewish tribes. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad revealed that Jesus ultimately died and was buried in Srinagar, Kashmir.
When Ahmadis put forward this explanation as a plausible and realistic solution to the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the country of his birth, many a time they are met with the rebuttal that even given that he was delivered from the cross alive, it is extrememly far-fetched that he should have taken the hazardous journey from Judea to Kashmir. Hearing this rebuttal Ahmadis are left wondering as to which distance is longer, the one from Palestine to Kashmir or the one from the Earth to the farthest reaches of Heaven. Again Ahmadis wonder what happened to the promise of Jesus Christ that he would go in search of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. If he departed straight from Palestine to sit on the right hand of his Father, did he forget about his commitment or was his promise impossible for him to keep? It is either this or as we suggested earlier, should it be expected that the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel had earlier ascended to heaven where Jesus went in their pursuit?
For those who still find it difficult to believe that the scenario of Jesus having been delivered alive from the cross is too far-fetched and unacceptable, we draw their attention to the fact that in the light of known and recorded history of man’s survival in extremely hazardous situations, the case of Jesus, as we have presented it, is neither bizarre nor impossible to accept. Many medically reported and verified cases of near death present a host of evidence in favour of the survival of people in almost impossible situations.
A well documented case of a maharajah of a small state of pre-partition India is worthy of mention. He was subjected to a similar near impossible situation in which he had few chances of survival. The maharajah in question was poisened by his wife and while his body was being cremated with the fires well lit, a violent storm suddenly appeared. Ultimately he not only escaped death but after a long legal battle was reinstated to his throne. The story runs like this:
Ramendra Narayan Roy, the Kumar of the Bhowal Estate with headquarters of the Court of Wards at Joydevpur, was alleged to have been poisoned and subsequently declared dead and placed for cremation at the burning ghat in May, 1909. Circumstances suggested that his wife was a principal player in the attempted murder. A heavy thunder burst before the completion of the cremation caused the party responsible for burning the dead-body to hurriedly return, leaving the dead body. The rain caused the fire to extinguish. A group of sadhus (Hindu hermits) who were passing by noticed that the man was alive. He was thus rescued. Next day when it was discovered by the conspirators that the body had disappeared, they had another body cremated to make Kumar’s death look like a fact.
The sadhus who had saved him then took him from place to place. The near death experience had caused the Kumar to lose his memory but he regained it gradually and visited Joydevpur twelve years later. The familiar surroundings of his home town caused him to regain his memory entirely. When the Kumar filed a civil suit to recover the estate from the Court of Wards as the genuine heir and owner of Bhowal Estate, his wife and some others contested it. A court case was then bitterly fought between the two parties. More than one thousand people gave evidence in favour of the Kumar and four hundred in support of his wife. The actual matter being contested was regarding the identity of Kumar as according to common knowledge he had died twelve years ago.
The case was won by the Kumar
after he identified some marks on the body of his wife which only a husband
could have known. His estate was then restored to him.10
Hundreds of thousands of similar cases might have gone completely unreported. Thanks to modern medical facilities and media coverage, hundreds of similar cases are being reported and recorded. If all this is plausible in cases of ordinary people from all classes of society and from all sorts of religious moral backgrounds, why could it not be posssible in the case of Jesus.
If any one has the chance of surviving in challenging and almost impossible situations, Jesus indeed stands a greater chance because of the special circumstance surrounding him. Strangely enough, however, the sceptics dismiss the suggestion that Jesus did survive the attempted murder by crucifixion. Yet they would readily believe a far more unrealistic, bizarre and unnatural tale of his revival from absolute death. A death which lasted full three days and nights according to them.
The field of medical research
has also taken interest in the phenomenon of near death. A study was carried
out where seventy eight reports of near death experiences were examined.
In eighty percent of the cases medical personnel were present during or immediately
after these experiences. Interestingly, Forty-one percent of the subjects
reported that they had been considered dead during the near death experience.11
With all kinds of gadgetry at their disposal, if medical experts can pronounce a living person dead, how reliable would be the testimony of an anxious observer who saw Jesus losing consciousness and from this deduced that he had died? Furthermore after seeing him again, to draw the conclusion, that he was revived from death is totally unjustified.
- The Talmud Unmasked by Rev I.B. Pranaitis, Chap. I, p.30
- After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken
up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
- When he was blessing them he left them and was taken
up into heaven. (Luke 24:51)
- Pg. 1024, the Holy Bible, New International Version (1984) by International Bible Society
- The Secrets of Mount Sinai, the story of finding the
world’s oldest Bible Codex Siniaticus; by James Bently, pg 131
- New World Translation
- The Lion Handbook of Christian Belief, Lion, London
(1982) pg 120
- Matthew 28:11–15
- Matt 27:62–64
- The Bhowal Case, compiled by J.M. Mitra and R.C.
Chakravarty, published by Peer & Son, Calcutta.
- The Phenomenology of Near-Death Experiences,
by Bruce Greyson. M.D. and Ian Stevenson. M.D., A.M. Psychiatry 137:10,