In many of the discussions I have had with those who claim to be an atheist or agnostic, they repeatedly state that “there is no evidence for God.” The type of evidence they are implying is scientific, empirical, testable, and observable.
In recent years, there has been a great attempt to discredit the New Testament narrative of Jesus altogether. There are claims made that Jesus never existed and that His life, death, and resurrection are fabrications. Assertions are made that there is no other evidence for the existence of Jesus other than the accounts written in the New Testament Bible.
This premise ignores the vast evidence that exists from the Jewish Talmud and the records of the Roman Senate. The ancient scribes of Israel, who chronicled Jesus in their writings, had no interest in preserving any historical information about Him nor Christianity. The Jews who recorded their commentary about Jesus in the Talmud regarded Him and His followers as the latest of many cult religions of their day. These leaders of Israel had no desire to document the existence of Jesus, His crucifixion, nor those who followed Him; yet this is precisely what they accomplished by their adversarial comments regarding His arrest and execution. These records were written during the period of history in which Jesus is reported to have been in Israel, as described by the narrative of the New Testament scriptures.1
In the ancient records of the Roman Senate, Jesus was known as Chrestus, as described by the writings of Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. For more than 30 years, Suetonius had access to the Imperial and Senatorial archives, and many other contemporary memoirs and public documents.2 According to historical experts of that period, much of the information that is left to us from Suetonius about the Roman Caesars came from eyewitness accounts. Unlike Tacitus, Suetonius fact-checked the material that was contained within the Roman archives for accuracy. According to Suetonius, Jesus was well known to the Roman government. He was known as Chrestus, the one responsible for the disturbances reported by Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. In “The Twelve Caesars,” by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, he says:
“Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he expelled them from the City.”3
This is a direct corroboration of the text by an impartial, uninterested leader of the Roman government who received his information from the Roman archives. For in-depth information regarding the historical Jesus and the proof of His existence from antiquity, see the book, “Yeshu, The Historical Jesus,” by Robert Clifton Robinson.
Both the Jews and the Romans would rather that Jesus had not existed, yet they found themselves recording many of the events of His life and death in their preserved records of history. The evidence that is extant of antiquity demands that Jesus existed as a real person in Israel during the period of history in which the New Testament describes Him.
No credible Biblical scholar today believes that Jesus was not a real person of history. The evidence for His existence is so overwhelming, that to deny Jesus lived in Galilee at the time depicted by the New Testament would place any writer in a classification of incompetency.4
All opposition to the existence of Jesus has now been refuted, and the fact that He lived and conducted Himself in the events described by the four Gospels of the New Testament is incontrovertible.
Since we know for certain that the historical record of Jesus is verified by secular as well as Biblical texts, we must now consider what Jesus stated about Himself. Jesus claimed to be the True and Living God, presented to us in the body of a man. As we examine Jesus’ claims, we find that there is no mistake, no misunderstanding what Jesus said; He believed Himself to be God. Then Jesus supported His claim to be God by doing things only God could do: heal the sick, make the blind see, cause the disabled to walk, heal the leper, cast out demons, and raise the dead. The people, who observed Jesus, said that He was without sin and that they believed He is Jehovah/God—the Creator of the universe (Colossians 1:1, Hebrews 1:1, John 1:1).
If this claim is true, and this book validates these facts, then God has proven His existence by empirical evidence.
According to the United States Library of Congress, we have just over 20,000 documents written by Abraham Lincoln from 1833-1916.5 The documents that describe the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which have survived time and decay, are 24,593. We know more about Jesus of Nazareth and the events surrounding His life than we do the 16th president of the United States of America.
The Man, Jesus Christ, is a real person from history, whose life has been recorded for us by honest men who documented the amazing things He has said and done. There is more historical evidence for the Man called Jesus than practically any other person in the chronology of the world.6
“I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer.” —Dr. Thomas Arnold, Oxford history professor
“The evidence for the resurrection alone is better than for claimed miracles of all other religions. There leaders are buried and still in their graves. Jesus tomb was found empty!” —Anthony Flew, former atheist
The prophet Isaiah wrote that the Messiah will come to us and be called “Mighty God.”
Isaiah 9:6f For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God…
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…”
John 10:30-33 (Jesus said of Himself) “I and My Father are one.” Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
The true identity of Jesus
The Hebrew word used here for Mighty God is Gibbowr: One who is strong, powerful, the chief, a champion, and Almighty. The literal translation of Gibbowr is Mighty, Almighty, or All-Conquering God.7
John describes Jesus as the Logos (the Word, John 1:1)—the literal and eternal Word of God—who expresses the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit.8 When Jesus spoke, the universe formed. As Jesus lives, the universe is held together and sustained. This eternal Word of God came to earth in human flesh and became one of us, but the world He made did not recognize Him when He arrived.
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Isaiah’s prophecy describes the Messiah as the Mighty God who created all things. Jesus claimed to be this Mighty God; and the Jews hated Him for His declaration, “I and My Father are One.”
Jesus used the term My Father 51 times in the four gospels, to describe His unique relationship to God. When Jesus spoke of His special relationship with God as His Father, He does not describe Himself in the same terms a normal human being would speak of God.
Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.”
John 14:11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me.”
From the moment Jesus was announced as the Messiah, He taught us to refer to God as our Father. This is different from how Jesus refers to God as, My Father. Observe how Jesus distinguishes between His relationship to God and ours, as He speaks to Mary Magdalene.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, … “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Jesus did not say that He was ascending to our Father; He said your Father. Then He said that He was ascending to My God and your God. In this distinction, we can see that Jesus believed His relationship with God was that of a Son, equal to God.
Many critics claim that Jesus never stated He was God. Clearly, texts such as John Chapter 10 (above) impeach this criticism, I and My Father are one. It was because Jesus claimed to be God that the Jews took up stones to kill Him. In their view, Jesus was just a man; but by His constant statements that He and the Father were one (and the same), He was claiming to be God.
For other supporting evidence that confirm the Messiah will be God, see the chapters: God, Son of God, A Trinity, and Coming as God.
See also the predictions of Jesus, which have all been fulfilled precisely as He described. This is conclusive evidence that Jesus has knowledge that came to Him from outside the domain of time. Jesus knew precisely what was going to happen during the final three years of His life—how He would be arrested, condemned to die, and be raised to life three days later.
Notice the words of Jesus in the statements He made regarding events that were predicted of the Messiah, but had not yet taken place. Jesus was positioning Himself to be in the right place at the right time in order to fulfill all that had been written about the Messiah.
Jesus speaking in the first four verses:
I have told you these things before they happen, so that when they do happen, you will believe. John 14:29
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:12
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” John 19:28
Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful. Matthew 17:22-23
Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die. John 18:31-32
Because Jesus is the Creator God who came to earth and took the body of a man to become one of us, He is able to understand our lives in a way that no one else could. Whatever it is that we need, since Jesus created our mind, body, and spirit, He knows how to help us. There is no problem or difficulty that Jesus cannot overcome, if we will call upon Him and trust Him.
His name means Salvation.
The actual name of Jesus was originally written as “Lesous.”9 When the Bible was translated into Greek, there was no Greek word for Lesous. In each subsequent translation of the Greek text from the Hebrew, the name Lesous became Jesus in the New Testament.10
Jesus (Lesous) is His Greek name. His Hebrew name is Yeshua. The term Yeshua means Salvation, Deliverance, Victory, Help, or Welfare.11
The literal meaning of the name Jesus is: The LORD is my Salvation. This is interesting because the angel who came to Joseph told him that his Son should be called Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.
When Phillip asked Jesus, “Show us the Father,” Jesus told him that if we have seen Jesus, we have also seen the Father; for Jesus is God, even as the Father is God.
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.”
Jesus is claiming that He is God, even as the Father is also God. If we want to know what God is like, all we have to do is look at Jesus. The words He speaks and the things He does are the words and actions of the Eternal God.
The Messiah will have God as His Father.
This means that the prophecies of the Old Testament predict that the Messiah will be God. The New Testament Book of Hebrews establishes the fact that Jesus is God and He is the Son of God.
Hebrews 1:3 (Jesus), who being the 1. brightness of His glory and 2. the express image of His person, and 3. upholding all things by the word of His power, when 4. He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…
1. Jesus is the Brightness of His Glory.
From the Greek words, Apaugasma tees Doxees—“The Outshining of the Glory of God.”12 This is the same expression that would be used to describe the shining of the sun. Jesus is the literal Glory of God Himself, in all of His outshining Glory.
1 Timothy 6:15-16 …the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.
2. Jesus is the Express Image of God.
In Greek, The Hupostaseoos—“The Character of God’s Substance,” that which makes God who He is.13 Jesus represents the exact character, nature, and image of God. Jesus is a perfect likeness of what God is. The idea behind, Hupostaseoos, comes from the imprint that a seal would leave after being pressed into wax. Jesus is a precise imprint of God. He is the exact image and essence of what the Father is. Yet, Jesus is a totally separate and distinct person.
3. Jesus is upholding all things by the Word of His Power…
Jesus spoke, “In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth…,” and all things came into being from nothing. Jesus speaks, and everything in the universe is sustained and held together by His Words. (Can He not also hold all of your life together?)
4. Jesus had, by Himself, purged our sins…
Purged comes from the Greek words, Di Autou.14 In the Old Testament, when an animal was brought as a sacrifice for sins, those sins were only covered or kofar in the Hebrew language. When Jesus made His one sacrifice for the sins of every person, He purged those sins. Jesus’ sacrifice causes those who believe in His sacrifice to exist, as if they had never sinned, forever.
There is only one God.
In the Hebrew, Shema, God is proclaimed as one: Hear O’ Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.15
For Jesus to announce that He and the Father are One is the same as saying that He is God. By saying, “I and the Father,” Jesus was establishing a basis for the Trinity. Jesus is seen as a separate and distinct person whom the Bible repeatedly describes as God. It was because Jesus claimed to be God that the Jews picked up stones to kill Him. They understood that although He appeared to be just a man, Jesus was claiming to be God.
In the New Testament, there are several occurrences where the Greek word for God, Theos, is used. Most often, this word is used only in describing the Father. However, there are several places in the New Testament where Theos is also used to describe Jesus Christ.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Theos).16
Romans 9:5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God (Theos). Amen.
Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son (Jesus) He says: “Your throne, O God (Theos), is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”
- In the Old Testament, the term LORD in Hebrew is Yahweh.17
- In the New Testament, the word Lord in Greek is Kyrios.18
The writers of the New Testament were attributing the title of Jehovah-God to Jesus Christ unmistakably. It was well understood, at the writing of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ is Yahweh or God Himself. This is why it is a mystery why the Jehovah’s Witness church has claimed that Jesus Christ is not Jehovah-God. They did not come to this conclusion by the evidence of the Old and New Testament scriptures. The translators of the New Testament understood that Jehovah-God and Jesus were one and the same person. Further, it is clear that those who lived with Jesus for three and one-half years understood and believed that He is the eternal Jehovah-God or Yahweh of the Old Testament.
1 The following are specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the Talmud under passages on execution in Sanhedrin 43 a-b.1
Herzog 1: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 130: He went and brought up Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 140: He went and brought up Jesus.
Munich 95: On the eve of the Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
Firenze 11.1.8-9: On the Sabbath eve and the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Karisruhe 2: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Barco: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
1 English translations of the Talmud from Peter Schäfer, pp 133–140
2 Graves, Robert (2014-03-05). The Twelve Caesars (Kindle Locations 30-34). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.
3 Graves, Robert (2014-03-05). The Twelve Caesars (Kindle Locations 3343-3345). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.
4 Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: “biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted”
James D. G. Dunn “Paul’s understanding of the death of Jesus” in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are “a thoroughly dead thesis”
The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.
6 1.Grant, M., Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels New York: Scribner’s, 1977, Page 176
2.Van Daalen, D. H., The Real Resurrection, London: Collins, 1972, Page 41
3.Kremer, Jakob, Die Osterevangelien — Geschichten um Geschichte, Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1977, Pages 49-50
7 Strong’s Concordance of Hebrew words #1368 and 410, Englishman’s Concordance of the Old Testament
8 Strong’s Greek word # 3056 “Logos.”
9 Liddell and Scott. A Greek–English Lexicon, p. 824
10 Strong’s Concordance of Greek words #2424 and Englishman’s Greek Concordance.
12 Strong’s Concordance of Greek words #541 and and Englishman’s Concordance of Greek Words.
13 Strong’s Concordance of Greek words #5287 and Englishman’s Concordance of Greek Words.
14 Strong’s Concordance of Greek words #846 and Englishman’s Concordance of Greek Words.
15 Deuteronomy 6:4
16 Strong’s Concordance of Greek words #2316 and and Englishman’s Concordance of Greek Words.
17 Strong’s Hebrew Concordance # 3068
18 Strong’s Greek Concordance # 2962
Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, Atheists uneducated observations, Empirical Evidence for God, Jesus is God, Tacitus as a credible witness, The Historical Jesus, Why Jesus Is God And Others Are Not