Is It True That Jesus Did Not Really Die On the Cross, As Critics Claim?

Is It True That Jesus Did Not Really Die On the Cross, As Critics Claim?

“But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:33,34 NIV).

Some skeptics claim that Jesus somehow survived his crucifixion, and was unknowingly placed alive in the tomb, where he revived, and early on Sunday morning escaped from the tomb alive. This is quite a far-fetched story, but nevertheless, many people believe it. However, when we carefully consider all the known and pertinent facts, such a theory flies in the face of all the evidence.

“The centurion, who had stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died” (Mark 15:39 NLT). “Many women were there, watching from a distance” (Matthew 27:55,56 NIV; Mark 15:40,41). “All those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things” (Luke 23:49 NIV). “The man who saw it [John] has given testimony” (John 19:35 NIV).

Every single eyewitness of Jesus’ death would have been mistaken, if these critics’ claims were true.

Jesus would have to have survived massive blood loss, torture, and a very invasive, deep stab wound to his side, as shown above.

The Roman soldiers, and their centurion officer, who were professional soldiers, would have been quite derelict in their duties to have not only concluded that Jesus was dead, and to have allowed Joseph of Arimathea to remove his corpse from the cross, but then to have certified his death to governor Pilate (Mark 15:44-46; Luke 23:53).

The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two convicts who were executed beside Jesus, so as to speed up their deaths. If Jesus had still been alive at this point, they would have broken his legs also (John 19:32,33).

Eyewitnesses saw clearly that when Jesus was jabbed forcefully with a sharp spear in his side, there was “a sudden flow of blood and water”. Medical experts say that this is additional solid proof that Jesus “was already dead” (John 19:33 NIV).

When Jesus’ body was being prepared for burial, including being completely “wrapped . . . with . . . spices, in strips of linen” (John 19:40 NIV), as well as being “wrapped . . . in a clean linen cloth” (Matthew 27:59 NIV; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53), and being buried in the tomb, no one questioned the fact that he had died earlier that afternoon, while still nailed to the cross (John 19:38-42; Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-54).

There also were a number of other eyewitnesses to Jesus’ body being put into the tomb. “They followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it” (Luke 23:55 NIV; Mark 15:47; Matthew 27:60). It is absurd to think that any of these devoted followers of Jesus would permit him to be buried alive.

The sheer logistics of critics’ claims are absolutely impossible. Jesus had been beaten unmercifully, with severe lacerations to his back, a very large and deep puncture wound in his side, nails having been driven completely through his hands and feet. From inside the dark tomb, Jesus would have to have gotten a firm grip on the large 2,000 pound stone, and then to have rolled the stone away [which usually took several strong men], and then somehow sneak past four or more soldiers, and topping all this off, walk several miles out of Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus, without arousing any suspicion.

Such claims of Jesus performing all of these feats, especially in his weakened state, fly in the face of all reason!

If Jesus, who had already achieved some fame by the time of his death, and his earthly existence is testified to by at least 20 outside sources, had survived the crucifixion, and was only an ordinary man, as critics claim, there would likely be a record or a witness to Jesus dying at a later time. Since this didn’t happen, it only adds credibility to the Bible’s accounts of Jesus’ miraculous resurrection.

“Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay” (Acts 2:27 NIV).

Jesus’ resurrection on the third day fulfills this scripture. 

9 thoughts on “Is It True That Jesus Did Not Really Die On the Cross, As Critics Claim?

  1. “But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:33,34 NIV).

    GW1: The spear thrusting detail cannot be trusted and is probably false. It is not corroborated by any of the other Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.

    RT1: Some skeptics claim that Jesus somehow survived his crucifixion, and was unknowingly placed alive in the tomb, where he revived, and early on Sunday morning escaped from the tomb alive. This is quite a far-fetched story, but nevertheless, many people believe it.

    GW1: This is a straw man. I don’t know anyone who has said that he “escaped”! That implies that he just became conscious, got up, pushed back the stone, and left the tomb all by himself. That would be very unlikely. Much more likely is that he survived the crucifixion and his friends or supporters carried him out of the tomb where he recovered in a secret location. This is much less far fetched than the resurrection hypothesis which is super-improbable.

    RT1: However, when we carefully consider all the known and pertinent facts, such a theory flies in the face of all the evidence.

    GW1: My hypothesis is consistent with the “evidence.”

    RT1: Jesus would have to have survived massive blood loss, torture, and a very invasive, deep stab wound to his side, as shown above.

    GW1: As noted above, the stabbing detail is probably false. Crucifixion victims were known to survive for a day or two while hanging on the cross. This was often intended and planned by the Romans.

    RT1: The Roman soldiers, and their centurion officer, who were professional soldiers, would have been quite derelict in their duties to have not only concluded that Jesus was dead, and to have allowed Joseph of Arimathea to remove his corpse from the cross, but then to have certified his death to governor Pilate (Mark 15:44-46; Luke 23:53).

    GW1: Only the Mark passage and not the Luke passage describes the details about this. According to the Mark passage, Pilate himself, not the centurion, allowed Joseph to remove Jesus from the cross. Jesus may have still been alive when he was removed. Why would the centurion have confirmed Jesus’ death to Pilate? There are many possibilities: Dereliction of duty, incompetence, a mistake, failure to make good observations, or bribery. All of these are more likely than the resurrection hypothesis.

    RT1: The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two convicts who were executed beside Jesus, so as to speed up their deaths. If Jesus had still been alive at this point, they would have broken his legs also (John 19:32,33).

    GW1: Maybe not. 1) The soldiers may have mistakenly thought he was dead when he was not. 2) Pilate may have agreed for Jesus to be removed without further injury or defacement. 3) The centurion, due to incompetence or bribery or sympathy for Jesus and his followers, may have given the order to remove Jesus without further damage. All these are more likely than the resurrection hypothesis which is super-improbable.

  2. RT2–John 19:33,34 is confirmed by the 550 year old prediction at Zechariah 12:10: “They shall look on him whom they have thrust through” (NAB). John 19:33,34 is also confirmed by the future prophecy at Revelation 1:7: “He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (NAB).
    RT2–The Roman soldiers had plenty of experience dealing with dead bodies of those executed. They knew that Jesus’ cold and discolored body was solid proof he was dead. All four gospel accounts describe how Jesus’ body was prepared for burial, and they would not have wrapped him up in the linen wrappings and the linen cloth (John 19:40; Luke 23:53). He probably would have smothered to death had he still been alive. The round-the-clock soldier guard assures even skeptics that Jesus disciples could not have helped Jesus escape (Matthew 28:62–66). After Jesus’ miraculous resurrection, Jesus’ religious enemies bribed the guards to spread the lie that Jesus’ disciples came while they were sleeping on the job, and stole Jesus’ body (Matthew 28:11-15).
    RT2–While it is true that some crucifixion victims lived for several days on the stake, Jesus, after all the ordeals he had been through during the previous 24 hours, without any sleep, was dead after being on the tree for several hours. This also was not unheard of.
    RT2–Your account (as expressed in your last paragraph) has too many holes in it, too many ‘may haves’, nothing but speculation on top of speculation. Yes, by natural means resurrection is impossible. “What is impossible for people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27 NLT).

  3. RT2-John 19:33,34 is confirmed by the 550 year old prediction at Zechariah 12:10: “They shall look on him whom they have thrust through” (NAB).

    GW2: The author of John probably fabricated his verse to match what he read in the verse of Zechariah written 550 years earlier. There is no confirmation here of the alleged detail of the spear thrust. John is the only Gospel which mentions the spear thrust. If it had really occurred, then it would have been a significant detail mentioned in three or four of the Gospels, not one.

    RT2: John 19:33,34 is also confirmed by the future prophecy at Revelation 1:7: “He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (NAB).

    GW2: The author of Revelation probably fabricated his verse (95 CE) to match what he read in the verse of John (90-100 CE). Neither author was an eyewitness to the crucifixion or its aftermath.

    RT2-The Roman soldiers had plenty of experience dealing with dead bodies of those executed. They knew that Jesus’ cold and discolored body was solid proof he was dead.

    GW2: There is no verse describing the “cold and discolored body of Jesus.” The error and bribery hypotheses are far more probable than the resurrection hypothesis.

    RT2: All four gospel accounts describe how Jesus’ body was prepared for burial, and they would not have wrapped him up in the linen wrappings and the linen cloth (John 19:40; Luke 23:53).

    GW2: But only one reports the spear thrust, which we are discussing here.

    RT2: He probably would have smothered to death had he still been alive.

    GW2: Probably not. There is some indication that the head covering was different and separate from the body covering. Jesus could have been in a coma and then waked up in the tomb. This is more likely than the resurrection hypothesis.

    RT2: The round-the-clock soldier guard assures even skeptics that Jesus disciples could not have helped Jesus escape (Matthew 28:62-66).

    GW2: Only the Gospel of Matthew says anything about guards. The detail is not corroborated. It was probably fabricated. If there had been guards, they might have fallen asleep, been drunk, overcome, or bribed. All these hypotheses are more likely than the resurrection hypothesis.

    RT2: After Jesus’ miraculous resurrection, Jesus’ religious enemies bribed the guards to spread the lie that Jesus’ disciples came while they were sleeping on the job, and stole Jesus’ body (Matthew 28:11-15).

    GW2: You are engaged in question begging here. You may not assume a “miraculous resurrection.” There is insufficient evidence to support that hypothesis. It goes against our scientific knowledge about dead bodies. My educated guess is that there were no guards and that allies of Jesus did remove him from the tomb alive. This idea fits well with the alleged appearances.

    RT2-While it is true that some crucifixion victims lived for several days on the stake, Jesus, after all the ordeals he had been through during the previous 24 hours, without any sleep, was dead after being on the tree for several hours. This also was not unheard of.

    GW2: Whipping usually preceded crucifixion, and the case of Jesus was no different in that respect. Still, several hours would be on the low end for a death, and even Pilate was surprised by the report of death by the centurion. Jesus was probably still alive and Pilate did not know this.

    RT2-Your account (as expressed in your last paragraph) has too many holes in it, too many `may haves’, nothing but speculation on top of speculation.

    GW2: I disagree. The resurrection hypothesis is pure speculation with too many holes in it. There is no first-hand report of any witness who saw Jesus come back to life. Correct? There is no first-hand report of any witness who carefully examined Jesus when he was removed from the cross and who noted the signs of death. Correct? Only the centurion gave a cursory report to Pilate that Jesus was dead, and he could have been mistaken or bribed. Correct?

    RT2: Yes, by natural means resurrection is impossible. “What is impossible for people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27 NLT).

    GW2: No, resurrection is super-improbable, based on no well-documented case of it EVER happening in 100 billion cases! There is no good evidence for anything supernatural – any being, event, or realm. God doesn’t exist. We now know this already.

    1. RT3—John, who authored the Gospel bearing his name and Revelation (1:9), says he was an “eyewitness” to the crucifixion, including Jesus’ death and the spear thrust (John 19:35). John’s account was never disputed by contemporary eyewitness.
      RT3—It is a well known fact that dead bodies become cold and discolored.
      RT3—The facts about the head cloth prove Jesus’ miraculous resurrection. “Then Simon Peter came along behind him [John} and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen” (John 20:6,7 NIV). Jesus’ was “made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 NASB), and since his “body” was sacrificed (Hebrews 10:10), it vanished. The head cloth was still in the shape of Jesus’ head, with none of the usual signs of removal.
      RT3—In order to counteract the otherwise unexplainable miraculous resurrection of Jesus, “They gave the soldiers a large sum of money . . . to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him while we were asleep . . . This story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matthew 28:12-15 NIV) Matthew reported. The problem with this “widely circulated” story, however, is that if the soldier guards had actually failed in their duties, they would have been executed, instead of being paid hush money.
      RT3—Jesus’ death on the stake after only a few hours was “on the low end”, which is why “Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead” (Mark 15:44 NIV). We have extremely strong first hand evidence that Jesus was dead while still on the cross. “When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not not break his legs” (John 19:33 NIV). Had there been even the least doubt in their minds, these professional soldier-executioners would have broken Jesus’ legs, but they didn’t. Why? They had a job to do—to make sure those executed that day were dead by the end of the day, “Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath” (John 19:31 NIV). In Jesus’ case, the job was done—- he was dead! From a front row seat, just a few feet away, “The centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died” (Mark 15:39 NIV). There was no doubt in this professional executioner’s mind, who had already seen many other men die this in just this way. There is no way he could be mistaken. And he definitely was not bribed, as you speculate. “Many women were there, watching from a distance” (Matthew 27:55 NIV). Not a single one of these numerous eyewitnesses had even the slightest doubt as to whether Jesus was alive or dead.
      RT3—If Jesus’ allies removed him from the tomb, then why didn’t so many know anything about it?—Such as, the guards (Matthew 28:11-15), “the Eleven” apostles, and “all the others”, that is disciples (Luke 24:9-11 NIV)?

  4. RT3-John, who authored the Gospel bearing his name and Revelation (1:9), says he was an “eyewitness” to the crucifixion, including Jesus’ death and the spear thrust (John 19:35). John’s account was never disputed by contemporary eyewitness.

    GW3: The authors of the Gospel of John and Revelation were probably not the same person. A careful and interpretation of Revelation 1:9 shows that this verse does not support your claim that the author of Revelation was an eyewitness. Also, any eyewitness to the crucifixion would very probably have died before 95 CE, the date attributed to the writing of Revelation. For example, if the writer were 30 years of age at the time of the crucifixion (roughly the age of Jesus), then he would have been 95 years of age when he wrote Revelation. Most men lived only 40 years in those days. So, a 95 year old man writing a story is unlikely.

    RT3-It is a well known fact that dead bodies become cold and discolored.

    GW3: That is true, but you are missing my point. We have no first-hand eyewitness report that Jesus was in fact “cold and discolored” when removed from the cross. In fact there is no eyewitness report of any of these signs of death, available for assessment at the time:
    1. No gross movement.
    2. Generally unresponsive to rousing.
    3. No breathing.
    4. Cold clammy skin.
    5. Pale or blueish skin.
    6. No heart beat.
    7. Pupils fixed and unreactive.
    8. Blood pooling.
    9. Rigor mortis.

    RT3-The facts about the head cloth prove Jesus’ miraculous resurrection.

    GW3: No, they don’t.

    RT3: “Then Simon Peter came along behind him [John} and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen” (John 20:6,7 NIV).

    GW3: Neither Peter nor John would have known that a cloth had been wrapped around Jesus’ head, if it had been, since they were not part of the persons who took Jesus to the tomb. Since the cloth was lying separate from the linen “in its place,” it is likely that it was never used! If it had been used, it would likely be lying with the rest of the linen.

    RT3: Jesus’ was “made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 NASB), and since his “body” was sacrificed (Hebrews 10:10), it vanished.

    GW3: Neither the author of Peter nor the author of Hebrews was an eyewitness to Jesus’ crucifixion or its aftermath. They know nothing. They are just speculating. Also, there is no good evidence that spirits even exist.

    RT3: The head cloth was still in the shape of Jesus’ head, with none of the usual signs of removal.

    GW3: The verse doesn’t say this. You are making this up. You don’t know. If Jesus just vanished, disappeared into thin air, then the linen and the head wrap would not be in two separate places. They would both be lying on the slab where Jesus had been placed.

    RT3: In order to counteract the otherwise unexplainable miraculous resurrection of Jesus,

    GW3: You are begging the question. An “unexplainable miraculous resurrection” is the least probable of all the hypotheses which have been presented. Other hypotheses actually fit the corroborated basic facts (alleged) and are events we know to actually happen in the real world!

    RT3: “They gave the soldiers a large sum of money . . . to say, `His disciples came during the night and stole him while we were asleep . . . This story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matthew 28:12-15 NIV) Matthew reported.

    GW3: Once again, this story is uncorroborated. We should not believe that any major detail occurred, UNLESS it is reported in three or four of the Gospels.

    RT3: The problem with this “widely circulated” story, however, is that if the soldier guards had actually failed in their duties, they would have been executed, instead of being paid hush money.

    GW3: Not necessarily. If they were paid enough hush money and agreed to and kept a nondisclosure agreement, then they would not have been executed. In my opinion, the entire guard story was fabricated. It is uncorroborated.

    RT3: Jesus’ death on the stake after only a few hours was “on the low end”, which is why “Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead” (Mark 15:44 NIV).

    GW3: If it were “only for a few hours,” then this is good reason to doubt that he was dead when removed.

    RT3: We have extremely strong first hand evidence that Jesus was dead while still on the cross.

    GW3: That is totally false. We have no first-hand eyewitness report of the crucifixion or its aftermath. We just have some stories. We must assess the credibility of the stories, and reject details reported by only one or two Gospel writers. Where is the first-hand eyewitness report of the centurion? There is none.

    RT3: “When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not not break his legs” (John 19:33 NIV). Had there been even the least doubt in their minds, these professional soldier-executioners would have broken Jesus’ legs, but they didn’t.

    GW3: I agree only that the centurion reported that Jesus was dead to Pilate who was surprised by the report. There is no good evidence that the soldiers broke Jesus’s legs or thrust him with a spear. And so, if the centurion was mistaken or bribed, then Jesus was probably in a coma and alive when removed from the cross.

    RT3: Why? They had a job to do-to make sure those executed that day were dead by the end of the day, “Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath” (John 19:31 NIV).

    GW3: The centurion might have been confident that all three men were dead when he ordered their removal from the cross. Jesus would have been the least likely of the three to be dead since his legs weren’t broken (and he was not thrust with a spear). If the centurion were mistaken about Jesus or if he were bribed, then Jesus would probably have been still alive when removed. He had not been on the cross long enough to be certainly dead.

    RT3: In Jesus’ case, the job was done– he was dead!

    GW3: The centurion reported to Pilate that Jesus was dead, but he could have been mistaken or bribed. Either of these is more likely than the hypothesis that Jesus died and came back to life. There is not a single well documented case that anybody came back to life in 100 billion cases! It is too far fetched to be credible.

    RT3: From a front row seat, just a few feet away, “The centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died” (Mark 15:39 NIV). There was no doubt in this professional executioner’s mind, who had already seen many other men die this in just this way.

    GW3: Where is the first-hand eyewitness report of the centurion? There isn’t any! You can’t know “there was no doubt in…[his] mind.” That is just speculation on your part. You can’t know the mental states of the centurion from 2000 years ago.

    RT3: There is no way he could be mistaken.

    GW3: That is a false statement. The centurion was a fallible human being. He could be mistaken. Even if the probability of this were low, it would still be higher than the probability that Jesus died and came back to life.

    RT3: And he definitely was not bribed, as you speculate.

    GW3: This is another false statement. You don’t know that he wasn’t bribed. You are just speculating, as I am. He might have been bribed by Joseph of Arimathea who was known to be a wealthy man and a Jesus sympathizer. If the centurion already thought Jesus were dead and if he were offered a large sum of money to make the report to Pilate, then that’s probably what happened. Although just being mistaken is another possibility.

    RT3: “Many women were there, watching from a distance” (Matthew 27:55 NIV). Not a single one of these numerous eyewitnesses had even the slightest doubt as to whether Jesus was alive or dead.

    GW3: Where are the first-hand eyewitness reports of these women? There are none. Besides, if the women were watching from “afar,” then they probably would be unable to see any bribe.

    RT3: If Jesus’ allies removed him from the tomb, then why didn’t so many know anything about it?

    GW3: Because these allies were few in number and would have kept their mouths shut.

    RT3: Such as, the guards (Matthew 28:11-15),

    GW3: As already discussed, the guard story is uncorroborated and probably a fabrication.

    RT3: “the Eleven” apostles,

    GW3: Jesus just didn’t tell the apostles how he was rescued from the tomb by other allies, or he might not even have known how it happened.

    RT3: and “all the others”, that is disciples (Luke 24:9-11 NIV)?

    GW3: Again, Jesus just didn’t tell them or didn’t know how he was rescued. The people who rescued Jesus from the tomb wouldn’t say anything to anybody about it! They would fear punishment of some kind. It is even possible that Jesus thought he had been resurrected when he had not!

    GW3: The bottom line is that the resurrection hypothesis is the least likely of all the competing hypotheses to explain the aftermath of the crucifixion. For more details, read Chapter 14 of my book: God Wants You to be an Atheist.

    1. Regarding the authorship of the 4th Gospel—-Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen, all of the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries testify to the Apostle John’s authorship of the 4th Gospel. Internal evidence shows that the writer was a Jew who was well acquainted with Jewish customs and the land area (John 2:6; 4:5; 5:2; 10:22,23). The intimacy of the account show the writer wasn’t only an Apostle, but was one of Jesus’ inner circle of 3–Peter, James & John (Matt 17:1; Mk 5:37; 14:33). Of these, James is eliminated because he was executed in 44 CE (Acts 12:2). Peter is eliminated because he was mentioned with the writer in John 21:20-24. In these closing verses, the writer is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (NIV), and this expression is used several times in this gospel, whereas the Apostle John is never mentioned by name. Each time it is used, it describes the Apostle John. Jesus is quoted as saying about this Apostle, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (Jn 21:23 NIV), in effect, suggesting that John would live long after Peter and the other Apostles had died. This all fits what is known about the Apostle John, both Biblically and from external sources, such as those above. Fittingly, John concludes Revelation with “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20 NIV).

    2. Regarding the authorship of Revelation—-“The revelation from Jesus Christ . . . He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John” (Revelation 1:1 NIV), identifies John as the writer. This John is identified as a “servant” of “Jesus Christ”, who is a Christian “brother and companion in the suffering . . . that are ours in Jesus”. “John” says he “was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9 NIV). John was so well known to his 1st century hearers that no further explanation was necessary. In fact, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origin all testified to John’s writership. According to early testimony, John wrote about a quarter century after Jerusalem’s destruction, toward the close of Emperor’s reign, which brings to year 96 CE approximately.

  5. Regarding absolute, undeniable proof of Jesus’ death—-“One of the soldiers suddenly pierced Jesus’ side bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:34 NIV). This piercing causing the “sudden flow of blood and water” resulted in the piercing of the pericardium, which is the sac that surrounds the heart, and the heart itself. This phenomenon is solid proof of that Jesus was dead at this point.

  6. GW4: I will respond to all three of your successive responses made on March 22, 2020.

    RT4: Regarding the authorship of the 4th Gospel–Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen, all of the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries testify to the Apostle John’s authorship of the 4th Gospel.

    GW4: First, for this to be a credible claim you would have to start with a quote, citation, and link for all four of these alleged sources. And you have not done this. Secondly, I suspect that these authors are doing the same thing you are – just speculating on the author of the 4th Gospel. But what is their source of information? Did they interview the author of the 4th Gospel? If so, where is the transcript of the interview? Using the tool of reason means assessing the QUALITY, QUANTITY, and SUFFICIENCY of evidence.

    RT4: Internal evidence shows that the writer was a Jew who was well acquainted with Jewish customs and the land area (John 2:6; 4:5; 5:2; 10:22,23).

    GW4: Even if this were true, it is not dispositive evidence. It does not mean that the writer observed the crucifixion and its aftermath.

    RT4: The intimacy of the account show the writer wasn’t only an Apostle, but was one of Jesus’ inner circle of 3-Peter, James & John (Matt 17:1; Mk 5:37; 14:33). Of these, James is eliminated because he was executed in 44 CE (Acts 12:2). Peter is eliminated because he was mentioned with the writer in John 21:20-24.

    GW4: You have not provided the exact quotes for your first claim here. Please provide the quotes for Matt 17:1; Mk 5:37; 14:33 so that we may evaluate them with respect to your claim.

    RT4: In these closing verses, the writer is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (NIV), and this expression is used several times in this gospel, whereas the Apostle John is never mentioned by name.

    GW4: Again, you fail to provide specific quotes, citations, and links to support your claim. Also, the Beloved Disciple or “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is not corroborated in any of the other three Gospels, and thus we cannot trust it.

    RT4: Each time it is used, it describes the Apostle John. Jesus is quoted as saying about this Apostle, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (Jn 21:23 NIV), in effect, suggesting that John would live long after Peter and the other Apostles had died. This all fits what is known about the Apostle John, both Biblically and from external sources, such as those above. Fittingly, John concludes Revelation with “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20 NIV).

    GW4: Where does it say that the Beloved Disciple is certainly the Apostle John? Why wouldn’t the author just say “the Apostle John” in the text? It appears that the author of the Gospel of John is just creating a new character in a story or showing favoritism to a character created in an earlier story.

    RT4: Regarding the authorship of Revelation–“The revelation from Jesus Christ . . . He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John” (Revelation 1:1 NIV), identifies John as the writer. This John is identified as a “servant” of “Jesus Christ”, who is a Christian “brother and companion in the suffering . . . that are ours in Jesus”. “John” says he “was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9 NIV).

    GW4: “John” was a common name back then; still is. Just because the John here might have been a “servant, brother, or companion” doesn’t mean that he was one of the 12 disciples also called “John.” This just means that the John here was a Christian.

    RT4: John was so well known to his 1st century hearers that no further explanation was necessary.

    GW4: You are begging the question. Also, the writer of Revelation may have been well known to his contemporaries without being one of the 12.

    RT4: In fact, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origin all testified to John’s writership.

    GW4: Where’s the evidence? You are just listing names. Please present just one quote of any of these persons in which it says that the writer of Revelation OR the Gospel of John was the John of the 12.

    RT4: According to early testimony, John wrote about a quarter century after Jerusalem’s destruction, toward the close of Emperor’s reign, which brings to year 96 CE approximately.

    GW4: Which John? You’ve got to be specific when you are talking about Johns. The disciple John was very probably dead long before 96 CE. A best estimate for his death would have been about 45 CE.

    RT4: Regarding absolute, undeniable proof of Jesus’ death–“One of the soldiers suddenly pierced Jesus’ side bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:34 NIV). This piercing causing the “sudden flow of blood and water” resulted in the piercing of the pericardium, which is the sac that surrounds the heart, and the heart itself. This phenomenon is solid proof of that Jesus was dead at this point.

    GW4: We’ve been over this. The alleged spear thrusting is not corroborated by any of the other Gospels, and so it was probably fabricated by the author of the 4th Gospel. It is not credible. It doesn’t even make any sense in the context of the story. If the soldiers wanted to hasten the death of Jesus, then they would have broken his legs just like they did with the other two prisoners on crosses on either side of Jesus. And yet, there is no report at all that the soldiers broke the legs of Jesus.

    GW4: The claim that Jesus was brought back to life by God is outlandish to the extreme. It is an extraordinary claim, and as Carl Sagan reminded us “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” You have not provided us with that evidence.

    GW4: Also, if Jesus came back to life after dying on the cross, he would be alive right now. If he is alive right now, then you should be able to arrange a meeting of him with you and me and a bunch of our friends. You can’t or won’t do that. So, the assumption that Jesus was resurrected and still lives is false.

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