Does This Shake Your Faith?

Time Magazine, along with many other media outlets, is promoting the heck out of this guy named David Jeselsohn, a Swiss-Israeli collector, who bought this ancient tablet from a Jordanian antiquities dealer. The article states…

The tablet appears to date authentically to the years just before the birth of Jesus and yet — at least according to one Israeli scholar — it announces the raising of a messiah after three days in the grave. If true, this could mean that Jesus’ followers had access to a well-established paradigm when they decreed that Christ himself rose on the third day — and it might even hint that they they could have applied it in their grief after their master was crucified. (CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE).

So my understanding is this guy is saying that this is proof that the early Christians could have used this information to base their account of Jesus’ 3rd day resurrection on.

While many scholars say the interpretation of this tablet is sketchy at best, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if it were true. This doesn’t shake our faith. IF the early Christians had wanted an example that they could use to make up a 3 day resurrection story, they had a lot more than this lame discovery. They had the whole Old Testament.

Over and over again the Old Testament uses the “third day” as a day of deliverance, hope, and new beginnings.
-When Joseph was in prison, he said to Pharaoh’s cupbearer: “…In three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your job … “(Genesis 40: 13)

-When Israel was trapped in slavery, Moses asked Pharaoh: Let us go three days into the wilderness. (Exodus 5: 3)

-When Israel was threatened with being wiped out, a young girl named Esther says that she will fast for three days. Then she will go to the King to seek deliverance for her people.

-When Jonah is swallowed and is in the belly of the big fish … does anybody want to take a guess how many days he’s there? He’s there three days before he’s released.

And there are more examples, but repeatedly, the Bible speaks of this third day.

I say all of this to say, I really don’t think Mr. Jeselsohn’s discovery is actually much of a discovery. Sorry to burst your bubble sir, but I don’t think it really proves anything. There is nothing new here. So like many before you, enjoy your moment in the limelight. This theory, like the ones before it, will be at the top of the Time article list for a few days and then we will never hear anything about it again. Then again, you may land a PBS special and your 15 minutes will be stretched to a whopping 25.

I’m wondering…when stories like this one get released, does it in any way shake your faith? It’s OK, you can be honest.

49 Responses to “Does This Shake Your Faith?”

  1. bradruggles says:

    It seems that every year or so another story like this hits the news and then blows over. For years people have been trying to point to something to discredit the resurrection.

    I’m with you Pete. So what if it is true? I look at it this way. What if Jesus really was just an ordinary man and never rose from the dead? The worst case scenario is that I’ve lived my life trying to love other people and bring heaven to earth with my actions. I’ve followed the teachings of this man from Galilee which has made me a better husband, father and friend.

    That doesn’t seem that bad to me.

  2. Starwoodgal says:

    Nah! This is what my grandfather would call “Tale Twisting”.

  3. jon mckanna says:

    i personally find it amusing…like you stated, this is nothing new…there were numerous prophecies already laid out for followers of Christ…also this is not the first “discovery” that man has used to try and disprove God and His Word…the cool thing is how many of them have actually done what they set out to accomplish…NONE!

  4. ckroboth says:

    Pete,

    Thank you… I have been reading about this for a couple days. My first thought was, “Um ok…There were a lot of people back then claiming to be the messiah also.” So if these false messiah’s knew their scripture they would have used the 3 day passages you talk about here. The problem is when they died, they didn’t come back, to for the final proof they were the true messiah.

    So I can see that “if” the stone translation is true, how the Jewish culture at the time expected a Messiah to die and come back in 3 days. I am just glad that we believe in the actual Christ that did come back…

  5. Tommy Sircy says:

    It doesn’t bother me at all.

    As Paul said to Festus and Agrippa, “This thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

    There will always be those trying to challenge the gospel message but they can’t challenge lives that have been transformed by God’s power.

  6. jalack says:

    Nah Pete, it doesn’t shake my faith. I know the truth.

  7. ryan says:

    I think that it is a prime example of attempting to comprehend Scripture apart from the insight of the Holy Spirit. To do so would be like me reading a doctor’s charts: I might understand some of the terminology (arm, blood, etc), but I won’t rightly understand what it means.
    Anyone can translate or interpret, but it requires the Holy Spirit’s guidance to comprehend.

  8. janowen says:

    It doesn’t shake my faith because I know Christ. I don’t know how to explain it but my relationship with God is very real. This kind of stuff just isn’t on my radar. The reality of walking with Christ is. I’m explaining poorly…..but can’t find the words.

  9. not in the least Pete. Great response by the way

    Andrew Magrath

  10. candidchatter says:

    Not. One. Iota.

    Heidi Reed.

  11. Doug Rutter says:

    My favorite was last year when we had the divinci code movie and then the “jesus” ossuary discovery. “Mary moved to France…no, wait, she was buried in Jerusalem.”

    I don’t get too worked up about these things…although it’s interesting to note the number of stories of historians and archeologists who have started out to disprove the Bible and found it confirmed time and again.

  12. Jad says:

    Honestly, sometimes these things do bother me in a real “sensationalistic” way…if that makes sense. It seems like new discoveries are made all the time and 60 minutes or discovery is right there to proclaim it as the “truth.”

    It never “shakes” my faith but it sometimes makes me question things a little bit.

    Then, almost immediately, God provides something (not necessarially physically) either an image or a thought that is reassuring that He is real.

  13. These things will continue to “pop up”, IMO. The scriptures elude to “signs and wonders” and this could surely be one. Hopefully none negate our faith. I’m waiting for Noah’s Ark to officiallly be discovered or even The ark of the Covenant, and that will be huge news.

  14. pollyh says:

    Being a newer christian, things like this make me sit back and go humm! But when I get down to brass tacks, ask the questions, and seek the answers I find that I am right back to believing in a God that saved me, loves me and my faith remains solid.

  15. mpt says:

    Well, since I just ate a cheerio that looked exactly like Jesus, I believe he’s real. AND lowers my cholesterol. My faith isn’t shaken, just yummy.

  16. mpt says:

    oh, and I’ve been on Noah’s ark! It’s in Florida. Rainbow and everything.

  17. Heather says:

    Well, it certainly doesn’t ‘shake my faith’. Just because that stone existed before Jesus, doesn’t mean the Disciples knew about it. AND….to me….it’s another prophecy that Jesus fulfilled.

  18. Kristi O says:

    I didn’t even really give much merit to his “discovery” but the nugget I am taking away today is what you said here… “Over and over again the Old Testament uses the “third day” as a day of deliverance, hope, and new beginnings.” This is so interesting. I am going to have to meditate on this and maybe do some searching in the word. My family needs a “third day” experience this week as my husband is once again in a mental hospital.

  19. ncarnes says:

    No it does not shake my faith.
    In fact it continues to strengthen it as I see people tirelessly try to disprove it and discredit it with no success. If what we believe were to be false then why would they even bother? Its a continual attack on creation and Jesus’ death, burial, & resurrection and to me…it only proves there is a Satan who is threatened by our faith and uses goons like this one to try to confuse people.

  20. Great peace have they who love your law, and NOTHING can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165.

    All you have to do is read a bible and see that we took the third day story from Jesus history which was actually prophecy! Maybe whoever wrote that tablet stole it from us. Did they ever think of that?

  21. Andy says:

    Does it shake me?
    No. Jesus is my only hope. And the only hope for the world.
    Does it worry me?
    Yes. There seems to be an attack on Christianity like never before..
    Or maybe I haven’t lived long enough.

    But hey. Nobodies has been able to find the ten commandments or anything from Biblical times and this guy just happens to find this? Right…..

  22. Andy says:

    Nobody*

  23. Kelli says:

    Amen to Dave!!!!

  24. Bill Renfrew says:

    It strengthens my faith. When’s the last time some big story broke about Scientology being suspect? Nobody cares. Nobody’s threatened, but most of all, nobody, other the misled, thinks it affects them personally. Therefore nobody writes about it. I think the fact that we MUST take a stand on Christ makes Christ very threatening to the non believer. That skeptics and athiests world wide are excited about this ‘new finding’, AND, are at this very moment in time, engaged in their own efforts to prove that Christ is a lie, is a better statement toward His credibility than most believers could come up with.

    My question is, if skeptics REALLY don’t believe why do they think about it so much? Why do they care at all?

    What’s facinating is the same people who dismiss the bible outright, in all it’s pervasivness, will assume a finding like this is worthy of note before they’ve even seen the actual data. They’re so hoping we’re wrong…or that they’re not. I guess they keep up the fight knowing they have a LOT more to lose if they’re wrong. Guess I can’t blame em.

    Bring it on baby…prove it to me again that Christ endures all things!!!!

  25. Melissa says:

    No, doesn’t shake my faith. Once I accepted Christ and he began the transformation in me…..I’m a believer pure and simple. If tragedy can’t shake my faith, then the outside opinion of a man isn’t likely to shake it for me.

  26. Bill Renfrew says:

    @Melissa…wow. Your statement has truly captured the powerlessness of those who would seek to question God’s truth. What better arguement is there than, “I believe because He changed my heart”?

    @ncarnes…I read every post yet somehow missed yours…I see we agree but it took you fewer words. :>)

  27. To say whether these things shake my faith is a curious question.

    To say that nothing can make us doubt is to virtually say that we were lobotomized at conversion. Our flesh is not always satisfied by faith. Our flesh is satisfied – most times – by sight. Since the thoughts of my mind are influenced by the natural, human part of me, yes, I always question when I hear of these things.

    I know God. I don’t claim to know Him nearly as well as I should. But I’m pursuing Him. Strongly, insistently, and deeply. I trust Jesus Christ for my salvation. There is no other hope for salvation.

    But this really comes back to “do we believe the Bible”, and most of us have to admit that we believe it because the preacher says it’s true and because faith in its teachings has changed our lives. We don’t have proof. We can’t prove something that Jesus Himself told us to believe by faith. We have testimonials. Do we believe them? If so, that’s faith. We don’t have photos. We don’t have video. We don’t have computer files. We have translations of texts that were copies of writings from thousands of years ago. Our belief in the Jesus Christ that is presented by those writings must be totally “faith”. Even scientific “evidence” is not proof. We can only stand on FAITH.

    The experience of the grace of God is received only by faith.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. If He is not the Son of God, I believe that the rest of the Bible is useless, because it all points to Him.

    So, basically, yes and no. This doesn’t SHAKE my faith, but it threatens it, and I continually must turn to God for a renewal of my faith. If I naively think that the faith that I found at the time of salvation is enough to last for eternity and I’ll never need to face doubt again, I think I make a terrible mistake. I must continually fall to my knees, even my face, at the feet of the King of Kings and plead with Him to grant me the grace to continue to believe, even in the face of unbelief. “I believe, help mine unbelief!”

  28. Jenni Catron says:

    Doesn’t shake my faith, but does make me think. I’m also challenged to be certain that I can explain what I believe and why.

  29. your blog is awesome! Hope to get the chance to meet you this Friday…I talked with Anne about possibly meeting up with you guys as part of the Catalyst Road Trip. Thanks for all you do!

    LV
    http://www.catalystroadtrip.com

  30. Becca Clark says:

    okay, wordpress ate my reply so I’ll try in pieces.

    Only once.

    When I was 19 and in undergrad, I read a portion of _Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography_ by John Dominic Crossan. In it, he proposes that Jesus’ body was taken from the cross and thrown to the dogs, literally. There was no tomb, there was no empty tomb, there was no body to resurrect. I now have lots of tools and historical knowledge and so on to combat this claim and debate about its merits (biggest one: why would the Romans then claim that the disciples stole the body, when they could have easily said, nah, we disposed of the body ourselves?). At the time, I had none.

    It took me about four months.

    During that time, I doubted everything. I asked myself over and over and over if it mattered. After about four months, though, I was able to ask: if they found tomorrow the body of Jesus and were able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his body never revived, would that matter? If they could somehow show that the disciples had all suffered from mass hysteria, would that matter? And the answer, finally, was no. I know there is something real about Jesus, as he was experienced then and as I experience him now. I know he is of God. And I know that more strongly having been forced to question it, so I am grateful.

  31. Becca Clark says:

    (part II)

    Now, these findings and things are interesting to me. I like studying them, and don’t find them threatening. There are lots of stories in lots of religions about Gods who die and resurrect. Doesn’t make Jesus less true and less unique at all. In fact, it means that his story resonates with a deep human experience in being mystified by life and death and the meanings of each.

    And I’m with bradruggles. Worst case scenario, I’ve tried to live my life with love and compassion and justice. Nothing wrong with that.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!
    Becca

  32. Signifier says:

    I always find this kind of discovery very encouraging to my faith. I firmly believe that archeology will continue to confirm people and events in the Bible. I only question whether we will ever have direct first person confirmation of the historicity of Jesus because that might make it too easy for some to believe. On the other hand, something like that might be just the thing to bring revival to Israel.

  33. givemejesus says:

    It makes me think but it doesn’t shake my faith.

  34. Ollie says:

    i like that you said thier 15 min of fame, because the fame of the rising of Jesus has been famous for more than 2,ooo years. and no, my faith is rooted in a whole lot more.

  35. Joe Louthan says:

    Uh, I still don’t get how this is suppose to shake my faith.

    Something like freakin’ Genesis 5, Numbers 6, Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 or like the entire Old Testament tells of our Messiah.

    Some stone tablet that says that Messiah will rise after 3 days dead?

    What the disciples knew about that writing? Go back and read the Gospels. The disciples didn’t believe until Jesus was back right in front of them.

  36. carrie-anne says:

    doesn’t shake me one bit. like becca clark said earlier-it doesn’t make Jesus less true. in fact it makes me want to seek more. thanks for posting:)

  37. Candi says:

    Nice piece! I’m still good!

  38. So, they think they’ve found a piece of stone that may say something, but can’t be certain because our system of dating things sucks.

    My faith…it’s good :)

  39. gofocus says:

    It strengthens my FAITH.

    Have you read ‘Blink’? We really fool ourselves, alot! God has told me that I have to have faith to grow in Him. Naturally it’s not real faith if there is nothing to challenge it. If it was easy, everybody would do it and it wouldn’t be challenging…

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  41. minnowspeaks says:

    Didn’t read the comments but will tonight when I have more time
    Shake my faith? Not a chance! It bolsters it! The spin is trying to cast doubt but the discovery itself is just one more “See, it could happen.” We have to quit looking through 21st Century culture. The disciples were not learned men. There was no internet access so everybody could know everything with the click of a buttom. The likelihood any one of them had heard the prophacy is slim to none. And the likelihood any of them believed it/remembered it if they had heard about it before they saw it is even less than that.

  42. A few years ago, I think this discovery would have really gotten to me.

    However, the Time article is a little confusing. At first it appears they are trying to push forward the Jewish origins of the Christian faith…but then it launches into the adaptation of this story by Christians for use in their faith…as if Christianity just “poof” appeared with no connections to Judaism and had to rip stories to create a claim for existence.

    I thought the first “Christians” were considered a small sect of Judaism? Why is it such a shock that they would exhibit Jewish tendencies and beliefs? And I agree with you that third day symbolism is found in so many pieces of scripture that it cannot be considered some brand new idea birthed after the crucifixion…this article in all is a little ridiculous.

    I think the people most affected by this “discovery” will be those who have not investigated the past narratives of their faith or wealth of scripture available. So it is cool to find a post like this willing to provide a gentle but informative rebuttal. Awesome!

  43. tsfgodguy says:

    I’m with you…well written and were my thoughts exactly. The only surprise is the timing. They usualy try to bust these out right before Easter like DaVinci Code and the “gosple” of Judas. I actualy thought this one was pretty weak in comparission to past years. Oh well =) Great Post! I’ll start checking in more. http://www.tomhypes.com

  44. […] You can read Pete’s post on whether or not this article shook his faith here. […]

  45. Saul Goode says:

    Additionally; lots of other artifacts have been disqualified that came from the Antiquities markets in Jerusalem. For example the Ossuary of James and the Staff crown for the priests at the temple in Jerusalem.

    This may be another hoax. I’ll render judgment once the experts have their say.

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