Category: resurrection

Apologetics Interview Questions Part 3: Intellectual State of the church and favorite Christian apologist

4. What is your opinion on the current intellectual state of the modern church? Some apologists have begun to heavily criticize it. I think there is no question that there are vast stretches of ignorance in the modern church, but I doubt the ‘modern’ part of that phrase is relevant. I’m not very impressed with […]

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How Many Guards at the Tomb? A series of essays and ebook.

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My post “How many guards at Jesus’ tomb?” has drawn thousands of visitors. The bulk of these come during the Easter season. I suspect that there are a lot of churches putting on Passion plays and they’re looking for some guidance on this topic. This year I have written essays that corroborate various claims made within that post. Hopefully, in time for the Easter 2013 season.

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Guards at the Tomb: Were they Roman Guards or Jewish Guards?

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In some regards, it doesn’t matter whether the guards were Roman or Temple guards. The mere fact that there were guards represents a real problem for those who wish to dismiss the resurrection. Clearly, though, the more trained these soldiers are, the less likely we can consider other scenarios, such as incompetence.

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Guards at the Tomb: The Discipline of the Roman Soldier

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The Jews were not inclined to be sympathetic to the Romans. The idea of dead Roman soldiers must have been, in the main, a very pleasant one to turn about in one’s mind. However, what if balanced against this highly desirable prospect was a very undesirable prospect, that Jesus’ followers would begin announcing to all that Jesus had risen from the dead?

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Guards at the Tomb: The Romans and Jews: So (un)Happy Together

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Little is known about Pilate’s fate, but it is against his brutal pattern of behavior and disregard and contempt for the Jews that we must now consider the story of Jesus’ trial and the guarding of the tomb.

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Guards at the Tomb: Pilate puts Jesus on Trial, the Jews put Pilate on Trial

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The Jews, by ensuring that Roman guards are present at the tomb in sizable numbers, when the body of Jesus does actually go missing, their explanation that the disciples stole the body seems weak and pathetic.

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How many guards at Jesus’ tomb?

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If I were to ask you how many guards were at Jesus’ tomb after he was placed there after he was crucified, you would instinctively say ‘Two.’ When I was teaching New Testament that was in fact the common answer. And who can blame anyone? Look at the art and presentation of the Easter story.

Now, the text definitely makes it clear that there were more than two guards. This is clear enough from a reading of Matthew 28 which says that ‘some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests [what] had happened.’ Clearly, ‘some’ of the guards means that others remained while others- not “one of the guards'” but “some of the guards” went into the city. For this to work it seems to me you’d need at least four guards. If these are in fact Roman guards, then four is in fact the minimum that protocol would dictate, with each man taking three hours out of the night.

If pressed, I personally suspect that thirty to fifty guards were present but even if there were only sixteen it is virtually impossible that they all fell asleep and they all failed to notice a bunch of disciples slinking about, clawing at a honking big tombstone, and then extracting the body. We are talking about Roman soldiers here, after all.

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