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. (Source)
There are numerous problems with the documentary’s hypothesis. For the sake of remembering these problems in upcoming discussions, remember the acronym:
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, watch the DVD below.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES IN OUR ONLINE STORE:
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.
ONE MINUTE ANSWERS TO SKEPTICS: CONCISE RESPONSES TO THE TOP 50 OBJECTIONS & QUESTIONS
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Could you use help answering atheists, skeptics, and agnostics’ top 50 objections and questions about God and the Bible? Objections like:
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• “The God of the Old Testament commanded the Israelites to commit genocide!”
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ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE BIBLE: Discoveries that Verify People, Places, and Events in the World's Most Influential Book
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This updated edition now includes more than 500 faith-strengthening quotes by leading defenders of the Christian faith...
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THE BIBLE'S SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY AND FORESIGHT
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Has the Bible been disproved by scientific discoveries? Is the Bible hopelessly out-of-date? Critics of Christianity say yes. But the evidence says no. In this 50-minute video, Charlie Campbell lays out a case for the scientific accuracy of the Bible by looking at several ancient revelations in the Bible that revealed amazing facts about the Earth and the universe thousands of years before the invention of telescopes, satellites, deep-diving submarines, and all the other technology that finally allowed scientists in the last century or two to verify these revelations were correct! This video will surely strengthen your confidence in the accuracy and trustworthiness of the Bible!
ANSWERING ATHEISTS: Concise Responses to Atheists' Objections to God and the Bible
(DVD or mp4 video download)
In this video, Charlie Campbell offers concise 3-5 minute responses to a variety of objections that atheists bring up about God and the Bible. Objections like...
• “The Bible condones slavery!”
• “God commanded the Jews to commit genocide!”
• “A talking snake in the Garden of Eden? How do you believe this stuff?”
• “If God existed, He’d appear to us in a public setting!”
• “The Bible was written by men! It’s not trustworthy.”
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• “Evolution is a proven fact.”
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• “Religions, Christianity included, are responsible for most of the world’s wars, suffering, and atrocities!”
• and more! Length: 48 minutes
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EVIDENCE FOR THE BIBLE: Ten Reasons You Can Trust the Scriptures
(DVD or mp4 video download)
Was the Bible written by deceitful men? Is the Bible out-of-sync with scientific discoveries? Has the Bible undergone corruption as it was translated down through the centuries? Are the persons, places and events mentioned in the Bible mythological? What sets the Bible apart from other religious writings like the Quran, Hindu Vedas, or Book of Mormon? Charlie Campbell has been researching answers to questions like these for more than twenty years. In this updated, expanded 83 minute video he answers these questions as he builds a compelling ten-pronged case for the trustworthiness of the Bible:
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• The Dead Sea Scrolls
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ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE BIBLE
(DVD or mp4 video download)
Is the Bible a collection of fables and myths? Are the persons, places, and events in the Bible just fabrications by deceitful men? Many critics of Christianity think so, but archaeological discoveries show otherwise. Over the past two centuries, archaeologists have made thousands of discoveries that have helped to verify the exact truthfulness of the Bible's detailed records of various events, customs, persons, cities, nations, and geographical locations. This video by Charlie Campbell will introduce you to several of these fascinating Bible-affirming finds, both old and new. Length: 53 minutes.
SCROLLS & STONES: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted (BOOK)
Can we trust the Bible? Isn’t the Bible just “ancient ﬁction” written by fallible, perhaps even deceitful men? Haven’t books of the Bible been lost and even tampered with down through the centuries? Isn’t the Bible out-of- sync with scientiﬁc discoveries? What about the apparent contradictions in the Bible? What makes the Bible any different than the Hindu Vedas, Quran, or Book of Mormon? Charlie Campbell has been researching answers to questions like these for nearly twenty-five years. It was his initial research that led him to become a follower of Jesus in 1990. In Scrolls & Stones he shares some of the evidence that changed his mind back then but also fascinating new discoveries...all confirming the reliability of the Bible. You’ll learn about:
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ANSWERS TO ATHEISTS' ATTACKS ON JESUS
(DVD or mp4 video download)
When it comes to Jesus, atheists commonly say:
• There’s no credible evidence Jesus existed
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• There are scientific errors in the Gospels
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Charlie Campbell responds to these charges and lays out a compelling case that Jesus really existed and the Gospels are trustworthy accounts of His life. Length: 52 minutes.
Is your teen prepared to survive college and a secular workplace with his or her faith still intact? Many teens are not. ABR has heard from so many parents whose kids have walked away from the Lord after heading off to college. And the parents consistently say, "We wish we would have done more to expose our kids to good Christian apologetics and evidences." You probably know the importance of apologetics. You want your kids to be prepared to stand against the onslaught of skepticism they will be confronted with in the world. But where does one begin? What subjects are the most important to address? What authors and resources can I trust? What resources will my teen be able to grasp and enjoy? If you’ve been wondering about these kinds of questions, ABR is excited to let you know that help has arrived. Learn more here.
EVIDENCE FOR GOD: Reasons to Believe from Cosmology, Biology, Philosophy, History and the Bible
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Did the universe just pop into being from "literally nothing," as Richard Dawkins and other prominent atheists say? Did human beings with 206 bones and nearly 700 muscles come into being by unguided natural causes? Searching out answers to questions like these led Charlie Campbell to abandon his atheism in 1990. In this DVD, he shares some of the evidence from cosmology, biology, philosophy, history, and the Bible that changed his mind. If you have doubts about God, watch this with an open mind! Length: 68 minutes.