Was Jesus Crucified? (2008)

Ehteshaam examines both claims from Christianity and Islam on Jesus last hours on earth. Ehteshaam proves that the Bible supports the Quranic account that Jesus wasn't killed on the Cross. This essay also clarifies minsconceptions Both Christians and Muslims have on the Quran regarding the Crucifixion.

                                         Ehteshaam Gulam

Christians claim from the Bible (Colosians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, etc.)  that Jesus died by crucifixion and then was resurrected three days later. However Muslims claim from the Quran (Quran 4:157-158) that Jesus wasn't killed nor crucified. So who's telling the truth? Are Christians right or are the Muslims right? The purpose of this essay is to show that the Muslims are correct, Jesus was not killed on the cross. I'll prove this from the Bible, Early Christian history and Early Christian Books. I'll also clarify many misconceptions about the Quran's position on Jesus crucifixion.

The Historical Record

Some Christian Apologetics claim that Jesus had to have been killed on the cross, due to the historical record. They claim that there are several documents in the 1st century that prove that Jesus was crucified. However the fact is that these "sources" of the crucifixion of Jesus come from authors who lived after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus.none of their accounts serve as eyewitness evidence for any alleged crucifixion of Jesus. There were over 60 historians in the 1st century in the Roman world. Yet only two non-Christian sources in the entire 1st century mention that Jesus was crucified. Here I'll analyze both Josephus and Tacitus sources and explain why they shouldn't be trusted as evidence.

Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a crucified Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus' short accounts of Jesus (in Antiquitiescame from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus was born in 37 C.E., well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus,and that puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the Gospels were written! Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.

Tacitus, the Roman historian's birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged death of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a "Christus" in his Annals (Book XV, Sec.44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. The problem with Tacitus is he gives no source for his material.Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus' mention of Jesus,the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.

Apologist Christians embarrass themselves when they unwittingly or deceptively violate the rules of historiography by using after-the-event writings as evidence for the event      itself. Not one of these writers gives a source or backs up his claims with evidential material about the death of Jesus. Therefore there is no historical evidence that Jesus died on the cross.

Was Jesus Crucified according to the Bible?

Paul preaches that salvation can be obtained through believing that Jesus was killed and resurrected in 1 Corinthians 15:14. If there is no crucifixion and resurrection, then there is no Christianity. That's the whole point of Christianity. However this story of a "Son of God" coming and being killed and being resurrected is not unique. This story actually existed before Christianity came in the 1st century. For example the Sumerians used to believe that their top Goddess Inanna (the Babylonian Ishtar and Goddess of Love, Queen of Heaven) was stripped naked and crucified and rose from the dead. This story was perserved in clay tablets dating over a 1000 years before Christ. So the idea of worshipping a crucified deity did pre-date Christianity and had entered Jewish society with Palestine. (Source, Richard Carrier's online Article).

Was Jesus Crucified according to the Bible?

(Special thanks to Doctor Zakir Naik and the late Ahmed Deedat for their work on this subject. All arguements are taken from both their debates, respectively. I claim no originality here).

Before getting to the Crucifixion, we need to look at what Paul (the earliest writer of the New Testament, his epistles are dated 50-60 C.E.) says about resurrected bodies. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, that resurrected bodies are spirtualised. They are not phyiscal bodies like we have. Jesus says the same thing in Luke 20:27-36, Resurrected bodies are spirtual and not phyiscal. (Also see Matthew 22:30-37). Now it gets interesting, nowhere in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John does it say that Jesus was resurrected. In the words of Dr.Naik "Not a single verse in any of the Gospels mention that Jesus was resurrected."

After the alleged crucifixion, Jesus comes into the upper room to meet his disciples. The disciples however were terrified and scared of Jesus. They thought he was a spirit. (See Luke 24:36-43) The disciples were not eye-witnesses to the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, in fact they all ran away from him after he was arrested (Mark 14:50). However Jesus wanted to prove he was not a spirit, rather he was physical. Jesus tells his disciples that he was not a spirit or resurrected. Jesus shows his hands and his feet. He then asks his disciples if they have any food, and they give him broiled fish and honeycomb and he eats. This proves Jesus was not resurrected or spiritualized. Rather he was alive during and after the crucifixion. (Again see Luke 24:36-43). If Jesus had been resurrected, he would've been a spirit according to his own words (Luke 20:27-37) and Paul's writings (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). However this was not the case. Jesus proved he was a physical body.

According to Mark 16:1 and John 20:1, Mary Magadelne goes to the tomb of Jesus. The question here is why should Mary go to the tomb after the crucifixion of Jesus? If you read Mark 16:1, she went to his tomb to annoit or to rub Jesus's body. But if Jesus was dead, why would she need to rub or annoit his dead body? It makes more sense that Jesus was alive. Mary was one of the people who witnessed the alleged crucifixion of Jesus and was one of the people who gave a burial bath to Jesus. She must've seen life in him and kept quiet about it. The stone also was moved out of the tomb when Mary Magadene goes to the tomb (Mark 16:4). Even the winding sheets (that were used to cover Jesus during his burial) were unwound and put aside. So why should the winding sheets be unwounded and the stone removed? If Jesus really was resurrected then he would be spiritualized thus he would've been able to move and pass through the sheets and the stone blocking the tomb. Thus this proves that Jesus came out a physical body, not a spirtual body.

In John 20:15, Jesus sees Mary weeping. Jesus then comes to her, and Mary sees that Jesus is disguised as a gardener. Now why was Jesus disguised as a gardener? Do resurrected bodies look like gardeners? He was probably scared of the Jews. If Jesus was resurrected then he would be spirtualized. And he wouldn't need to be afraid of the Jews because according to Hebrews  9:27 , a man dies only once. After that is judgement day. Jesus says in Luke 20:36, resurrected bodies can't die once they are resurrected. After Mary realizes that it's Jesus who has come back, she rushes to him in John 20:15-16-17. Jesus then tells her not to touch him not (John 20:17). He probably didn't want her to touch him because it would phyiscally hurt him if she did. Jesus then says he has not yet ascended to the father in John 20:17. This means that Jesus had not yet been dead. Jesus never said he was resurrected-- proving that he was alive. In Mark 16:11-- the disciples of Jesus hear that Jesus was alive from Mary Magdalene. In Matthew 12:38-40, the Jews asked Jesus for a miracle. Jesus then calls the Jews an evil and adulterous generation, Jesus says that the only miracle they will see is the sign of Jonah:

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:38-40)

Everyone knows the story of Jonah--- Jonah ran away from preaching to his people, got swallowed by a whale and then spit out three days later. But how was Johah in the belly of the whale. He was alive. Jonah survived his ordeal. And same thing here, Jesus is saying that he will be like Jonah, he will also survive his ordeal-- like Jonah did. Christians however say its a time factor issue. However Jesus didn't furfil the "time factor" here--- Jesus was in the tomb for 1 day and 2 nights. Jesus was allegedly crucified on Friday--- then on Sunday Mary went to the tomb.

So Jesus survived the crucifixion. He was alive the entire time. If Jesus survived there was no resurrection. No death of Jesus--then no resurrection. No Death of Jesus, no Resurrection-- no Christianity.

A List of Proofs that Jesus survived and didn’t die on the cross

The following is a list of evidences from the Gospels that Jesus was alive and didn’t die on the cross:

1.)    Jesus was on the cross for only three hours. It’s not possible for anyone to die three hours on the cross. As Ahmed Deedat says “Ponitius Pilate knew from experience that no man can die so soon by crucifixion he suspected that Jesus was alive.” (Mark 15:44)
2.)    Jesus’s two cross mates were alive—proving that even Jesus was alive. (Mark 15:32, Luke23:39-43, John 19:32)
3.)    Jesus legs were not broken by the Romans. Furhter evidence that Jesus was alive and survived the crucifixion. (John 19:33)
4.)    The stone was removed and winding sheets were unwound. Proving that Jesus was alive. (Mark 16:1,4 John 20:1,7)
5.)    Jesus was disguised as a gardener. Why would Resurrected bodies need to be disguised as a gardener? This only makes sense if Jesus was trying to hide from the Jews and Romans. He was hiding in fear that they would kill him.
6.)    The Tomb of Jesus according to Biblical scholars was big and spacious—this is only necessary if Jesus was alive.
7.)    Jesus forbids Mary Magdalene from touching him. This is because Jesus’s physical body was hurt and not yet fully healed. It would hurt Jesus if Mary touched him. (John 20:15-17)
8.)    Jesus says that he had not yet ascended unto his father, which means he was alive. (John 20:17)
9.)    Mary Magdalene was not afraid to recognize him. Proving Jesus was alive. (John 20:16)
10.)   In the upper room, Jesus shows his hands and feet to show he wasn’t a spirit but he was alive. (Luke 24:36-49)
11.)   The Disciples, who were not there during his alleged crucifixion were overjoyed to see him. They were overjoyed because he was alive. (See above verse)
12.)  Jesus eats broiled fish and honey comb to prove he was alive. Ressurected bodies don’t have physical bodies therefore resurrected bodies don’t need to eat. (Luke24:36-49)
13.)   The disciples hear from Mary Magdalene that Jesus was alive. (Mark 16:9-11)
14.)    The sign of Jonah, Matthew 12:40. The completion of the sign of Jonah is only if Jesus survived his ordeal as Jonah before him survived his.

So in short Jesus was put on the cross but he didn't die. After he appeared to his disciples he ascended into heaven Mark 16:19 (which Biblical scholars say is a later addition and not in the most ancient manuscripts) and Luke 24:51. Thus the swoon theory (that Jesus fainted on the cross and came back three days later after healing himself in the tomb) vindicates the Quran's account on the crucifixion. Without the Crucifixion and "resurrection" of Jesus-- Christianity is pretty much nothing. And I've just proved that Jesus didn't die on the cross-- therefore Christianity falls apart and is nothing. Quickly touching on the alleged resurrection of Jesus-- there are absoultely no historical records for the resurrection of Jesus. None whatsoever. What does this tell you? It tells you its just a myth the early Christians (probably the second generation Christains) made up in order to get converts. No Modern Historian in their right mind will ever say that Jesus was resurrected-- because it never happened. He was resusated if anything. And again this vindicates the Quranic statement that they didn't kill Jesus nor crucifiy him, but it just looked like they did (Quran 4:157). It's my guess that Paul and the other early Christians were probably preaching some sort of spirtual resurrection of Jesus (Probably they did so by these Greek/Roman myths of Gods and Goddess being resurrected), not a phyiscal resurrection.