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A Response to
"The Lost Tomb of Jesus"
by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry
Twitter: @CharlieABReady



James Cameron, the director of The Titanic is back with another film. This time, the ship he's attempting to sink is Christianity. In a new documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, that aired nationwide on the Discovery Channel, Cameron makes the startling claim that Jesus did not rise from the grave as the Bible says (e.g., Matthew 28:6) but that He died and was buried in a cave with His family, including His wife and child. Cameron goes on to assert that the place where He was buried has been discovered near Jerusalem. Could this be true?

The prominent Israeli archaeologist, Amos Kloner, who was one of the first archaeologists to work on the ancient burial cave 27 years ago says there is absolutely no proof to Cameron's preposterous claims and that Cameron and his team are merely trying to make a profit by attacking a central tenet of the Christian faith. Kloner says, “The claim that the burial site [of Jesus of Nazareth] has been found is not based on any proof, and is only an attempt to sell....I refute all their claims and efforts to waken a renewed interest in the findings. With all due respect, they are not archaeologists."

There are numerous problems with the documentary's hypothesis. For the sake of remembering these problems in upcoming discussions, remember the acronym:

S. N. O. W. E. D.


That is what is happening to people. They are "getting snowed," when it comes to the facts.

First, Cameron's story contradicts divinely inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) and the eyewitness testimony of men who were willing to, and did, seal their testimonies with their own blood (e.g., Acts 7:58, Acts 12:2). The disciples went to their graves dying cruel and painful deaths for their ongoing preaching that Jesus was risen from the grave and that He was Lord. People may be willing to die for something they think is true (e.g., Muslim terrorists), but nobody is willing to die for something they know is a lie. And the disciples were at a unique place in history. They lived in and around the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was publicly crucified and buried. They knew for certain whether or not they had seen Him alive after His crucifixion. The fact they laid down their lives testifying that He had risen is compelling evidence that they were telling the truth.

Second, the names inscribed on the ossuaries talked about in The Lost Tomb of Jesus (which did include one with the name Mary and "Jesus, son of Joseph") were very common names in the first century [Source]. An inscription that mentions "Jesus, son of Joseph" is not sufficient proof that the cave was the burial site of Jesus Christ and His family. Kloner says there are more than 900 buried tombs just like the “Jesus” tomb within a two-mile radius of where this cave was found. Of them, 71 bear the name Jesus and two "Jesus, son of Joseph."

Third, if Jesus' tomb was occupied in the first century, the Roman officials and Jewish religious leaders would certainly have gone to the grave, pulled out Jesus' body, and put it on public display. This would have immediately put an end to this new religious movement that they so desperately desired to end (Acts 5:40). They would easily have been able to discover the location of this ornate tomb; it was right in their own backyard.

Fourth, it is highly unlikely that Jesus' family would have chosen to be buried in Jerusalem. Why? They did not live there. They lived in the city of Nazareth, a 63 mile walk to the north. That is why Jesus was commonly called "Jesus of Nazareth" (Lk. 18:37, Acts 10:38, 26:9). It is also unlikely that Jesus' family could have afforded an elaborate, expensive tomb for his family such as the one in "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." Joseph, Mary's husband, was a humble carpenter. They were a poor family.

Fifth, The Lost Tomb of Jesus continues to spread the idea that Jesus was married. This idea was made popular in The Da Vinci Code. Scholars from every end of the spectrum have long pointed out that there is no historical evidence to support this far-fetched idea. For example, historian Dr. Paul Maier, a graduate of Harvard, a best selling author and now a professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, said this: “If there were even one spark of evidence from antiquity that Jesus even may have gotten married, then as a historian, I would have to weigh this evidence against the total absence of such information in either Scripture or the early church traditions. But there is no such spark—not a scintilla of evidence—anywhere in historical sources. Even where one might expect to find such claims in the bizarre, second-century, apocryphal gospels—which the Jesus Seminar and other radical voices are trying so desperately to rehabilitate—there is no reference that Jesus ever got married.” Even the very liberal Jesus Seminar scholar John Dominic Crossan, who rejects the Bible’s teaching on Christ’s resurrection, when asked on Beliefnet.com whether Jesus was married, said: “There is no evidence that Jesus was married, multiple indications that he was not, and no early texts suggesting wife or children.” One of the few things on which the vast majority of liberal and conservative scholars agree is that Jesus was single.

Sixth, the documentary states “Jesus and Mary were married, as the DNA evidence suggests.” This is absolutely laughable. Think this through with me. How can DNA evidence establish that someone is married? DNA can’t say anything about legal relationships. Biological relationships? Yes. Marital relationships? No. According the documentary, the DNA evidence showed that Jesus and Mary were not related by a mother. So what? That does not mean that they were married. Mary could have been married to any one of the other males in the tomb, or to none of them for that matter. The DNA proves nothing regarding a supposed marriage.

Jesus warned His disciples that this very kind of deception would be happening in the last days. He said in Matthew 24:23-26, "Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him...Behold, I have told you in advance. If therefore they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go forth, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' [or we might say a hidden tomb!] do not believe them."

Much more could be said on this. For additional help with this issue, we encourage you to purchase our DVD listed below.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE IN OUR ONLINE STORE:

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THE LOST TOMB OF JESUS: A Response to the Discovery Channel Documentary (DVD)
by Charlie Campbell

The Lost Tomb of Jesus, a two hour documentary that aired nation wide on the Discovery Channel, makes the startling claim that Jesus did not rise from the grave as the Bible says (e.g., Matthew 28:6) but that He died and was buried in a cave with His family, including His wife and child. The documentary, which claims to have DNA and statistical evidence in its favor, goes on to assert that the place where Jesus was buried has been discovered near Jerusalem. Could this be true? In this hour long presentation Charlie Campbell responds to the claims in the documentary and lays out compelling evidence that the Biblical account of the resurrection is actually true. This DVD contains many of the images that Charlie uses in his PowerPoint presentation. Click here to purchase DVD.

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