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Death on the Cross

Ten Arguments From the Bible


Presentation in Slides

Jesus' Birth

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Strangely enough the three great nations of the world : Jews, Christians and Muslims are at variance with regard, both, to the birth as well as the death of Jesus Christ who was born among the Jews. The Jews declare his birth to be illegitimate and they are guilty of uttering a grievous calumny against Mary, mother of Jesus. They declare him to be unfit to "enter the congregation of the Lord" because of his illegitimate birth (God forbid). The Christians on the other hand believe that Jesus Christ was born without the agency of an earthly father and that he was the son of God Himself.

This shows that both the Jews and the Christians have gone to the opposite extremes as regards Jesus's birth. The Muslims on their part, believe that Jesus, no doubt, was born without agency of an earthly father, but he was not the son of God. A fatherless birth, may be a strange incident but it is not unnatural. There have been cases in medical history where virgins have given birth to babies. The Muslims believe that Jesus was a true prophet of God. His birth, without the agency of man, has nothing to do with his sonship or his divinity. He was human, pure and simple. Jesus invariably calls himself the 'Son of man' in the New Testament.

Jesus' Death

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His death is equally a controversial affair with the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. The Jews believe that Jesus died on the cross because he was a false prophet. In this Connection they quote the Bible.

According to them, Jesus was a false prophct, therefore he died on the cross as the accursed of God. The Christians also believe that Jesus was hanged on the cross and died an accursed death. Says Paul:

But the Holy Quran declares that Christ did not die on the Cross. God saved him from death by crucifixion in the same way as He saved His dear ones from tribulations, Did not Jonah the Prophet come out alive from the belly of the whale? The fact of the matter is that Jesus Christ only fell into a swoon on the Cross, but when he was taken down from it, he recovered then died a natural death at the good old age of 120.

On the strength of their belief that Jesus was a false prophet the Jews, Particularly the Pharisees of his time brought serious political charges against him alleging that he was disloyal to the Roman Emperor, and that he claimed himself to be the King of the Jews. The governor, Pilate was not convinced of his guilt but being influenced by the tumult of the multitude he delivered Jesus to be crucified. They put him on the cross where he remained, at the utmost, for three or four hours only and then was taken down in a swoon and placed in a sepulchre in a garden nearby.

Now in those days it took several days for criminals to die on the cross. They suffered the pangs of hunger and thirst and in most cases their legs were broken. They died a lingering death extending over several days. But it was not so in the case of Jesus Christ. Incidentally, he was put on the Cross on a Friday afternoon. The following being the Sabbath - day a day of religious observance by the Jews - no criminal could remain on the Cross on that Holy day, so he was taken down from it after about three or four hours. The loss of blood from the wounds caused him to fall into a swoon. He was taken for a dead man. His body was placed in a spacious sepulchre in a garden by Joseph of Arimathaea, his own disciple. Jesus being still alive in the sepulchre, left it on the third day in disguise, met his disciples at Galilee and ate with them. His wounds were healed by the application of an ointment especially prepared by his disciples for the purpose.

This is the natural story of Jesus's Crucifixion but the Christians gave a strange version of his death which is not only unnatural but also against historical evidence as well as logic. They believe that Jesus actually died on the Cross but on the third day he rose up to the heavens. What a paradox! What a myth! Modern Christianity rests on the belief that Jesus died on the Cross. But if it is proved that he did not die on the Cross nor did he rise from the dead, then the whole edifice of Christianity tumbles to the ground. Paul, who is the real founder of modern Christianity, himself says:

The late Dr. Zwemer, the well-known American missionary says:

I - Jonah's Sign

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Now we proceed with our arguments from the Bible itself to show that Jesus did not die on the Cross. We read in the New Testament:

Again:

Jesus Christ is said here to give a sign to the people of his own time as Jonah, the prophet, had given to the Ninevites? Now what was the sign given by Jonah to the Ninevites? The Bible says:

According to this verse is the Bible, Jonah was swallowed up by a big fish where he remained three days and three nights and then came out alive from the belly of the fish. It was a sign given to the Ninevites. Jonah prayed to God for deliverance while in the belly of the fish. The Lord heard his prayer and Jonah came out alive. Jesus says that no sign shall be given to the evil and adulterous generation of his time except that of Jonah. Now what is the resemblance between the two signs of Jonah and Jesus. It is nothing but going alive into the belly of the fish and the heart of the earth and coming out alive. Both Jonah and Jesus cried by reason of their respective afflictions and prayed to their Lord for deliverance. The prayers of both were heard. If Jesus did not enter the heart of the earth (sepulchre) alive, and come out alive, where is the resemblance of the two signs? Jesus promised to show only one sign to the generation of his time, but even if that sign be not proved to be true, is there anything also to prove the truth of his claim to be a prophet? Jesus's reference to the sign of Jonah simply means that he would not die on the cross. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that the swoon theory is not based on a wrong hypothesis.

II - Pilate's Wife Sees a Dream

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The lady's dream was really true and quite opportune. It purports to mean that Christ be saved from the accursed death on the Cross. God saves his dear ones by means of dreams of others as was the case with Joseph who was released from jail having interpreted the two dreams of Pharaoh. God wanted to protect Jesus against his enemies, hence the dream of the Roman governor's wife which influenced his judgement.

III - The Roman Governor's Sympathetic Attitude

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The Jews presented the case of Jesus Christ to Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine. He held a judical inquiry into the case and declared that he was not guilty of the charges brought against him. He said unto them:

From the references given above, it is evident that the Governor regards Jesus innocent of all the charges brought against him by the Jews, he tries his utmost to release him but when the Jews threatened to report him to the Caesar at Rome he yielded to them and handed Jesus over to them. However, secretly he took measures to see that Jesus should be saved.

IV - Pilate's Scheme to Save Christ

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Pilate, the Governor, was thoroughly convinced of the innocence of Jesus Christ, he therefore, had a pre-planned scheme to save Jesus's life. As a responsible official of the Roman Empire he could not openly come to the forefront, but he was the master-mind behind the whole scheme and the chief actor in the drama. Other characters of the show were Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable councillor and disciple of Jesus Christ. He had already had a sepulchre hewn out in a rock garden nearby. Another actor in the drama was a learned Jew named Nicodemus who was also in the know of the whole matter. We read of him in St. John:

It was very clever of Pilate to choose Friday afternoon as the time for Jesus's crucifixion so that he could not rernain on the cross after sunset, the following day being Sabbath, so holy to the Jews. He selected Joseph and Nicodemus as the most trusted friends to execute the pre-arranged scheme. All necessary measures were adopted to bring Jesus to consciousness. Otherwise what did Nicodemus mean by bringing the mixture of myrrh and aloes ? Jesus was shown to have died in official records to pacify the Jews and the Imperial government at Rome. Joseph of Arimathaea boldly asked the Governor to hand over the 'body' of Jesus which request he readily granted. If the plan was not pre-conceived how could the Governor hand over the 'body' of Jesus to a stranger from outside. There is reason to believe that Jesus Christ himself must have been informed of the plan so that his prophecy might come true that as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Nicodemus's meeting with Jesus Christ the previous night brings into lime-light the whole story.

V - Duration of Crucifixion

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The duration of crucifixion or the period of time for which Jesus remained on the Cross was not long enough to warrant his death on the Cross. Criminals generally took several days to die a lingering death on the cross on account of the loss of blood from the wounds on hands and feet, the physical pain and the pangs of hunger and thirst. The minimum time of death on the cross ranged between 24 and 28 hours, but in some cases it took several days to die on the cross. In such cases it became necessary to break the legs of the criminals so that death may be hastened and consumated.

Let us now probe into the matter of Jesus's crucifixion. The New Testament tells us that Jesus remained on the cross for a few hours only. The actual duration of time Jesus remained on the cross was not more than three or four hours. Jesus Christ who was in the prime of his youth (33 years) and enjoyed excellent health, could not be expected to have died within so short a time. Especially as his legs were not broken as was done in the case of the two robbers crucified with him on the same day.

It may not be out of place here to note that, according to the Roman calendar the day began with the rising of the sun and ended with its setting. The same custom is in vogue even to this day in Arab countries. According to John (19:14) it was about the sixth hour of the day (Friday) that Pilate spoke last to the Jews vis-a-vis Jesus crucifixion and handed him over to them.

This shows that Jesus retained his consciousness up to the ninth hour of the day and then he fell into a swoon, that the New Testament writers call "giving up the ghost".

None of the writers were present on the spot to stand as eye-witness. The 'swoon' was taken to be 'death' and 'death on the cross' means an accursed death. Do we not read in the Bible,

What an audacity on the part of Christians to call a true prophet of God an accursed of God.

VI - Coming Out of Blood and Water

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(John 19: 3-234)

The soldiers did not break the legs of Jesus for they took him for a dead man while actually he was in a state of swoon, or just to silence the angry Jews he was declared be a 'dead' man. But one of the soldiers incidentally "pierced his side and forthwith there came out blood and water", which is a surer sign of life for blood and water do not come out of a dead man's body. There is much food for thought here for those who care to ponder over it.

VII - No Eye-Witness of Crucifixion

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Three writers of the Gospels state that there was darkness over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour and that there was an earthquake and the rocks were rent and the veil of the temple was rent in twain. It is a matter of common experience at the time of a severe dust-storm accompanied by an earthquake, people generally hasten to go home and they do not enjoy the luxury of a bloody sight-seeing. Now imagine for a moment, who could stand as an eye-witness to tell the story that Jesus actually died on the cross. The Jews, if, at all, there were any on the spot, must have run away at the sight of the rising storm and the shaking of the earth must have frightened them to turn on their heels and hasten to their homes. As to the disciples they had already fled from the scene of the crucifixion.

To be brief, there was no one present on the scene who could definitely and certainly say that he saw Jesus 'giving up the ghost'. This is all mere conjecture and imagination.

VIII - Jesus's Mission to the Lost Sheep of Israel

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From the quotations given above, it is clear that Jesus's mission was to preach to all the twelve tribes of Israel that were scattered in the eastern countries extending from Palestine to India at the time of Jesus's appearance. Of the twelve tribes of Israel there were at that time, only two tribes in Palestine while the other ten were found scattered in the lands stretching from Palestine to the confines of India. Jesus cannot be said to have been successful in his mission if he does not address and preach to the ten lost sheep of Israel. Jesus's supposed death on the cross at the early age of 33 gives a shattering blow to the mission on which he was sent. The truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ, after his escape from the cross, did migrate to the East in search of the lost sheep for which there is ample historical evidence and is recently supported by the modern 'finds' of archaeology. Jesus found his lost sheep in Persia, Afghanistan and Kashmir, preached to them and comparatively he was much more successful here than in Palestine. He died a natural death and was buried in Srinagar, Kashmir.

 

IX - Jesus's Victory Over His Enemies

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Addressing his disciples Jesus says :

Now what does Jesus's victory consist of ? In his death on the cross or in his escape from the cross ? If he died on the cross then the Jews were successful because the very aim of their's was to prove that he was false in calling himself the Messiah. They had in their support the Biblical statement "he that is hanged is an accursed of God" (Deut. 21:23).

But is we believe that he was taken down from the cross alive (in a state of swoon ofcourse) and he entered the heart of the earth alive, then he can rightly be said to have overcome his enemies and frustrated all their evil designs. Jesus says : "For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation".

In other words Jesus said to the Jews that God Almighty would save him from the clutches of death in the same way as He had saved Jonah from the belly of the whale. The similarity between the two incidents can be real and genuine only when Jesus enters the heart of the earth (grave) alive and comes out alive.

X - His Prayer Was Heard

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From study of the Bible we learn that God listens to the prayers of his apostles and saves them from trials and tribulations. Says the New Testament:

Again we read:

(John 11:14, 42).

(Mark 14:36).

From the quotations given above it is clear that Jesus was terribly afraid of being put to the cross, so he fervently prayed that the bitter cup be taken away from him. Jesus passionately and fervently prayed to God that he might be saved the accursed death on the Cross, how could he then, say that he had overcome the world; in case he died on the Cross, the mission of his whole life would come to naught and wrongdoers could challenge his claim to prophethood. The thought of death on the cross was simply grating upon his soul. Being a righteous prophet he was not afraid of mere death: he was certainly afraid of dying on the cross as such a death could be interpreted to mean an accursed death which was the very negation of his prophetic mission. He:

Hence we must presume that his earnest prayer was, no doubt heard and he miraculously escaped death by crucifixion and lived long enough to preach his mission to the lost sheep of the Israelites in the East.

These arguments prove that the idea of the crucifixion of Christ cannot be justified even from the Biblical point of view. Therefore, it is evident that the present Christian faith based on that erroneous idea, cannot hold ground.