How is it that a person can make statements of fact, about which—they have little or no knowledge?
You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand –Job 42:3
It is a very common tactic by atheists today, to attack the established facts of the historic Jesus—His Crucifixion and Resurrection–without any genuine knowledge of these events.
Although the world’s most proficient experts in archeology, history, Hebrew, Greek, and paleography, have long ago validated the New Testament scriptures as authentic articles of fact, those without knowledge–assert their unreliability.
Today, many who have criticized the Bible for being inaccurate–have eaten their own words. The secular record has been proven inaccurate by discoveries of modern archeology, while the Biblical descriptions of archeological artifacts have been proven true.
Previous claims that certain references in the Bible, such as the depiction of King David, Pontius Pilate, and the ancient Hittites—once claimed by critics of the Old Testament as myths, have been proven by archeological discoveries to be absolutely accurate.
Professor Wilson writes:
“I have come to the conviction that no man knows enough to attack the veracity of the Old Testament. Every time when anyone has been able to get together enough documentary ‘proofs’ to undertake an investigation, the biblical facts in the original text have victoriously met the test”
Today, no credible scholar disputes the accuracy of Biblical accounts describing ancient cities, cultures, and people. The New Testament narrative, recorded by Luke, is today–fully verified by historians, beyond dispute and without impeachment.
Nelson Glueck is considered one of the world’s greatest Archeologists. His work in the discovery of over 1,500 ancient sites, led him to the firm conclusion that every reference in the Old Testament scriptures which refers to an ancient city, civilization, or people, were entirely accurate in every regard.
In the words of Dr. Nelson Glueck:
“It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”
When a person begins any serious inquiry of an event that has established, historical, validity–supported by evidence which has existed for over 2,000 years, we must examine this evidence without prejudice. Anyone who begins with the premise that the evidence for the authenticity of the Gospel accounts cannot be valid–while ignoring the evidence that is available, their conclusions will be without merit and quite disingenuous.
Certainly no intelligent person would give significance to any comments or observations which have been made by a person who has determined in advance, what the results will be.
Many people claim to be experts regarding the person of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Christianity. Upon a thorough interview—it is most often revealed that these persons have only a cursory knowledge in any of these subjects.
When a person makes emphatic statements, with conclusions about someone who they do not know, or a particular subject for which they have no expertise, their deductions will always be fraught with errors.
A large part of these errors are simply due to a lack of education. Many Atheists will claim that they are “highly educated,” while their comments regarding the Bible, or Jesus Christ—leave little doubt that their education of spiritual matters is completely deficient.
A few facts regarding the historical Jesus:
Professor Peter Schäfer, in his book: “Jesus in the Talmud”, records that Talmud Sanhedrin 43a contains the following text regarding Jesus of Nazareth:
“On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover, Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, “Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry. Whoever knows anything in defense may come and state it.” But since they did not find anything in his defense they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover. Ulla said: ‘Do you suppose that Jesus the Nazarene was one for whom a defense could be made? He was a mesit (someone who instigated Israel to idolatry), concerning whom the Merciful [God] says: Show him no compassion and do not shield him (Deut. 13:9). With Jesus the Nazarene it was different. For he was close to the government.”
This statement is not from the New Testament, but from the record of the Jews at the time that Jesus was crucified. There are in fact, many substantial records of Jesus life, death, and resurrection from extra-biblical sources.
Today, the world’s leading scholars agree that the crucifixion of Jesus is a fact of history that is certain and indisputable.
In truth, the events of the scourging and crucifixion are described as ranking so high in certainty that they are considered by experts to be impossible to deny and the very basis for a foundation that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose from the dead, as the New Testament records. These facts are certain by the corroboration of the Bible, as well as secular history. The orders of Pontius Pilate to have Jesus scourged and crucified are documented by one of the greatest Roman historians ever to write on this period, Tacitus.
As early as the second century Tacitus writes in his “Annals” of the Roman Empire, 116 A.D, (Annals 15,44) that under Caesar Nero, Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion.
“Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.”
This record of Jesus execution by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, written by Tacitus, is of immense value for the historicity of Jesus Christ. Being an independent source from both the Roman government and the Biblical text, Tacitus authenticates the narrative of the four gospels that Jesus was scourged and crucified exactly as the Gospels describe. Tacitus further relates the certainty that Christians at this time believed that drinking the blood and eating the body of Jesus of Nazareth would grant them eternal life.
A few prominent atheists claim that the Tacitus account of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, was written at too great a distance from the event to be considered credible.
Tacitus was 7 years old when the Great Fire of Rome took place. He was well aware of this massive inferno, which destroyed most of the city. Tacitus had a great deal of knowledge concerning the accusations of Nero and the reasons why Christianity was spreading so quickly over the known world: the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tacitus never refutes neither the fact that Jesus was crucified–nor that many witnesses had seen Jesus alive after He was put to death. Tacitus was certainly a patriot of Rome, he definately was not sympathetic to Christians–whom he believed were responsible for the destruction of the city he loved. Tacitus simply recorded the facts of Jesus Crucifixion, as they were dictated to him by those who had first hand knowledge of the event.
Scholars today confirm that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is a matter of historical fact, equal to any other event of antiquity. Even those who are regarded as scholars who do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, regard the scourging, and crucifixion as actual events that can be proven from extra-biblical sources.
Honest men wrote the accounts of Jesus resurrection
Men who are of such great diligence, honesty, and posses the historical integrity to report the true and accurate names of cities, people and governmental actions of a particular period of history—must also be men who have told us the truth about Jesus resurrection. All of the cities, peoples, and actions of the government of Rome during the period described by Luke’s gospel and the Book of Acts, have been verified by the world’s greatest and most proficient archeologists. Luke told the truth about every item he placed into his gospel of Jesus Christ—including the certainty that Jesus rose from the dead.
Historian, Dr. William Ramsey, believed at the onset, that the accounts which are described in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were inaccurate. Over 100 years ago, he undertook an expedition to Asia to try and refute the New Testament, only to become so overwhelmed by the evidence that he became a follower of Jesus Christ.
“Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.” –Sir William Ramsey, world famous historian and renowned archeologist.
Archeological accuracy points to literary accuracy
Since Luke’s description of cities, names, places, and customs are perfect in their historical accuracy, it is certain that the accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are also accurate and reliable.
The fact that Luke has been confirmed as a scholarly historian of specific details regarding the history of the first century, it is certain that he also recorded for us, with the same precision, the specific events which transpired concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke’s integrity as a historical scholar demands that we accept–with confidence, his testimony of Jesus’ resurrection, which is the foundation of the entire Christian church.
The evidence presented to us by the archeological record of ancient history demands a conclusion that the Bible is perfect in all its descriptions of the historical events it reports. Dr. Wilson describes the record of Biblical precision, which accurately describes names, cities, and events of history, as a marvel unequalled by any other literature of antiquity.
“That the Hebrew writers should have transliterated these names with such accuracy and conformity to philological principles is a wonderful proof of their thorough care and scholarship and of their access to the original sources. That the names should have been transmitted to us through so many copyings and so many centuries in so complete a state of preservation is a phenomenon unequaled in the history of literature.”
Those who purport to be “experts” or scholarly authorities on the inaccuracies allegedly found in the Bible should go back to school and learn the important study of Paleography and the ancient languages in which the Bible was written.
“Before a man has the right to speak about the history, the language, and the paleography of the Old Testament, the Christian church has the right to demand that such a man should establish his ability to do so.” —R.D. Wilson
In regards to the New Testament and the facts that it reports to us in its narrative: Sir William Ramsey, world famous historian and renowned archeologist, describes the statements of the New Testament regarding the geographical and historical references it makes, as existing without a single error.
“I began with a mind unfavorable to (the accuracy of the New Testament) but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”
One criticism of Luke’s account chronicling Jesus’ life, is found in his description of the census that he says was ordered by Caesar Agustus.
Luke 2:1-3 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Because no archeological discovery had ever previously verified that such a census took place, Luke was regarded in past history as having embellished this story. A later discovery regarding the taxes of the kingdom of the Roman government revealed that the tax payers were enrolled every 14 years by the use of a census. Archeology has uncovered facts which verify that Caesar Agustus did conduct the precise census described, during the period of time Luke specified—near the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
Further, an inscription discovered in Antioch describes Quirinius in 7 B.C., who was the governor of Syria, on two occasions—7 B.C. and 6 A.D.—a fact that is confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus.
An archeological discovery in Egypt, uncovered a Papyrus which specifically describes the details of this census spoken of by Luke, under Caesar Agustus:
“Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their homes should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment and that the tilled lands may retain those belonging to them.”
In his book, “Archeological Confirmation of the New Testament,” Dr. F. F. Bruce describes a problem that was present in Luke’s description of the Tetrarch of Abilene in Luke 3:1.
Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene...
Previously, there was no record of anyone called “Lysanius” as the tetrarch of Abilene during the time that Luke specified that he was there. In recent history, an archeological discovery made in Damascus, Syria, describes a person called “Freedman of Lysanias the Tetrarch.” Scholars date this inscription at between 14 A.D and 29 A.D. This is the same period of time in which Luke had written of Lysanias.
Again, we see the detailed accuracy in all the accounts which Luke records
An interesting discovery in 1910, by Sir William Ramsey, debunked the secular record of Cicero of the Romans who described Iconium as being in Lycaonia. Gospel writer, Luke, describes Lystra and Derbe as being in Lycaonia.
Acts 14:6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.
The secular record was wrong–while Luke’s account was correct. Secular historians have consistently been found in error, while the records of the New Testament are consistently confirmed as accurate. As Dr. Nelson Glueck has stated repeatedly: “It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference…”
Why then, do atheists continually assert that the Bible is not reliable?
This is a revealing piece of evidence. The reason that atheists make this declaration is due to their complete lack of education in matters of historical archeology and New Testament history. What determines whether any document or publication is an authentic and reliable representation of true historical events, is their documentation of accuracy that is validated by archeological discoveries. In this regard, the New Testament is unequalled by any other ancient publication.
The facts continue to be a common source of error for critics of the Bible, today. The facts bearing witness—the Bible is always right in matters of history and the secular record is consistently wrong. This truth has been confirmed by archeological discoveries over the entire course of human history—all over the world.
Other noted scholars such as Dr. Adrian Nicholas Sherwin-White, a British historian and scholar—regarding Ancient Rome, wrote his doctoral thesis on the treatment of the New Testament from the view of Roman law and society.
Dr. Sherwin-White said this regarding the work of Dr. Ramsey’s conclusions on the book of Acts:
“Any attempt to reject its (the New Testament’s) basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.”
Dr. Sherwin-White examined the records of Rome and concluded that their own history proved the narrative of the New Testament scriptures regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Evidence of the Resurrection from the early church
A substantial record from the Roman orator Julius Africanus and the Christian theologian Origen describes a Greek historian by the name of Phlegon, who described the three hours of darkness over Jerusalem during the time of Tiberius Caesar, when Jesus was crucified. According to this record, a Lunar eclipse took place during the Sabbath of that year.
“This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise…. first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in A.D. 33) with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth’s shadow …. The eclipse finished some thirty minutes later at 6:50pm.”
The Apostle Luke describes an event which sounds like a Solar Eclipse, taking place between 12-3 pm, on the day that Jesus was crucified.
Luke 23:44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
Julius Africanus writes that Roman historian, Thallus, commented that this darkness could not have been caused by a solar eclipse. The feast of Passover is always observed on the 14th day of Nissan, during a full moon. An eclipse can only occur when the moon is new and under the sun. It is astronomically impossible for a total eclipse of the sun to take place concurrent with a full moon.
Tertullian, an early Christian church defender of the faith, described the darkness surrounding the crucifixion as occurring exactly at the time of day that Jesus was upon the cross.
“In the same hour (as the crucifixion), too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have an account of the world portent still in your archives (Phlegon’s account).”
These secular accounts of phenomena which occurred during the time of Jesus crucifixion—add the the existing mountain of Biblical text which states that darkness covered the earth during a period of three hours, when Jesus was bearing the sins of the world.
This is empirical evidence from astronomy, secular history, and the early writings of the Christian church.
How God imparts knowledge
In order to understand the facts of the Bible, a person must be much more than a scholar or an expert in ancient languages—he must be led by the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The “natural man,” is the person who has yet to receive the Spirit of God, upon a sincere reception of Jesus Christ in the heart. Jesus described this event as being: “Born Again.” This is not a physical birth, but a new and second birth which occurs at the moment of salvation. According to the word of God, no person can genuinely understand the depth of the Bible, until they are Born Again.
Those without the Spirit of God can gain only a surface level of the Bible. This is why many people who do not believe in God, find it impossible to understand what the Bible is saying. I can confirm that from the moment I received Jesus as my Savior in 1975, the words of the Bible came alive to me. Each time I open the scriptures today, I understand a new concept or a previously learned idea, with greater clarity.
Jesus described those who do not have the Spirit of God within them yet as being unable to recognize fully, who He is. Even to the Jews, His own people, Jesus was unknown, rejected and crucified when He came into the world.
John 1:9-13 9 Jesus is the true light, who gives light (revelation of God) to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 Jesus came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
According to John’s gospel, the Lord does not reveal the mysteries of the Bible to those who are not seeking Him. He reveals facts and great revelations of wisdom to those who have received Jesus as their Savior and are Born Again by the Spirit of God.
The Lord calls people to serve Him who do not believe that they posses any power or ability of themselves. God calls the foolish, the weak, and the least likely—to know Him through the revelation of His word. This knowledge is only imparted to those who are His sons and daughters. A person becomes a part of the family of God by receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior and repenting of their sins. Those who humble themselves under the mighty hand of God are lifted to the heights of wisdom and knowledge.
Proverbs 1:7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…
It is by the base, the simple, and the foolish that the Lord accomplishes His will. He has no use for the person who thinks highly of themselves. He cannot use anyone who believes that they are wise and have abilities that God could utilize. It is often a fact that the knowledgable and highly educated of this world cannot find God. He makes no sense to the world’s wise because their hypothesis of life does not include God, nor are they willing to submit their lives to Him. Therefore, He precludes these individuals from knowing Him. He has blinded the eyes of the learned so that they cannot find God.
A truly wise man will also be a truly humble man, who acknowledges, recognizes, and honors God in all that he says and does.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
It is by a personal relationship with God and through a diligent searching of His word that a person becomes truly knowledgeable—with the wisdom to know how to exercise that knowledge.
Do you really believe that something is not true, just because you can’t see it, believe it, or understand it? If this were the basis for believing something is valid, no one would believe that the universe exists. No one has seen the entire universe. Even with sophisticated instruments, very few learned men and women have observed–even a very small part of the Cosmos. Those who believe that the universe exists, do so because of the testimony of more learned people who have told them that the universe exists. Why does this work in matters of science, but not of God?
Honest men, who were present when Jesus came into the world, lived with Him for 3 ½ years–recorded these events for us. They heard Jesus with their ears, they saw what He had done with their eyes, and they recorded these extraordinary and supernatural events for us. Would we expect anything greater than the eye witness testimony of those who saw Jesus alive after He had been viciously put to death? Even the disciples of Jesus, did not believe in Him–until after He had risen from the dead. When they saw Jesus alive, after laying dead in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea for three days, they began to search the Hebrew scriptures. These men discovered that everything that Jesus had said and done, was predicted by over 400 prophecies of the Old Testament. By evidence and faith, they believed upon Jesus for their salvation.
 An interesting discovery in 1910 by Sir William Ramsey, debunked the secular record of Cicero of the Romans who described Iconium as being in Lycaonia. Luke describes Lystra and Derbe as being in Lycaonia. Acts 14:6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.
 Quoted in R. Pache, The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture
 Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, 1960, pageg 31
 1.Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud, Princeton University Press, 2007. p 64-65.
2.Bernhard Pick, The Talmud: What It Is and What It Knows of Jesus and His Followers, 1887 (reprint Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007. p 115) Talmud Sanhedrin 43a
 Talmud Sanhedrin 43a
 1.Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
2. Jesus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39
 Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
 1.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42.
2.Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 116.
3.A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136.
 1.Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83.
2.Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. p. 168. ISBN 0-8028-2315-7.
 1.Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 33.
2.Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42. 2.Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293.
3.Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi.
4.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42.
5.Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127.
 This of course is not true and not at all what Jesus said. It is important that Tacitus recorded that the followers of Jesus believed this—substantiating His existence as a real person who promised eternal life to those who believed in Him. Tacitus’ characterization of “Christian abominations” may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485.
 Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 page 30.
 Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus…agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”
 Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127.
 William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915, page 222.
 Ibid. William M. Ramsay.
 “A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament,” by R. D. Wilson
 Paleography is the study of ancient writing systems and the deciphering and dating of historical manuscripts
 William M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, 1982, page 8
 William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915, page 222
 1.John Elder, “Prophets, Idols and Diggers.” Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960. Pages 159, 160
2.Joseph Free,. “Archaeology and Bible History.” Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, Page 285
 Elder, John. Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960, Page 160
 1.Elder, John. Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960, Pages 159, 160
2.Free, Joseph. Archaeology and Bible History. Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, page 285
 F. F. Bruce, “Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament.” Revelation and the Bible. Edited by Carl Henry. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969. Page 321
 Adrian Nicholas Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, 1963, page 189
 Tacitus’ characterization of “Christian abominations” may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485
 Origen. “Contra Celsum (Against Celsus), Book 2, XXXIII”
 Donaldson, Coxe (1888). The ante-Nicene fathers. 6. New York: The Christian Literature Publishing Co.. p. 136.
 Tertullian. “Apologeticum”