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Day 3: Living Daily in Reality: Credibility of History

by Ernest O'Neill

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Living daily in reality – not in the world of soap-opera on TV, not in the disasters happening on the other side of the world – but living in actual reality!!! But what is reality i.e. what reality really lies behind this world that we see around us? To know that you’d have to get off this world and look at it from the outside. And this is what a unique human being was able to do! He lived in the first century and was known and acknowledged by thousands of ordinary people who heard and saw him. But – more than that – he was written about and talked about in Greek, Latin, and Syriac books – and in the highest circles of government. Here’s what Tertullian, a Roman juris-consult, wrote in 145 A.D.. – about this man – “there was an old decree that no god should be consecrated by the emperor till first approved by the senate. Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians. Consult your histories!” says Tertullian.

This Jesus was born in Bethlehem in 6 B.C., talked about our Creator as an only son would, demonstrated power to heal sickness and raise the dead, was executed and came back from the dead for over thirty days, and explained that he was returning to his Father, the Creator, with whom he existed outside time and space. But above all of this, he made it plain that he was not just a local figure to be used as an example by religions – he explained that you – and I – were made by his Father, our Creator, inside him so that he could live through us the life he had planned before we were born! This is reality.

In fact, he explained what Einstein and modern physics teach us – that time is relative – depending on where you are in the universe. If you could get far enough away out in space and returned fifty years later, you’d be younger than the rest of us on earth. This Jesus explained “before Abraham was, I am” – and he said “I am in you and you in me”; one of his associates wrote that “all things were created though him and for him; he is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. A milli-second after our God had his only Son he created humanity – all of us individually inside that Son so that we would share his life.

So we now have the opportunity to accept and enjoy our position or to deny and miss our privileged relationship to our Maker! This obviously changes the way we all think of our little lives. So, it is important for us to study the historicity of this man’s life and especially his resurrection! We need to realize that non-religious historians like Tacitus acknowledged the existence and character of this Jesus of Nazareth, that the facts and history of his actions and words are so well-documented that expert British scholars have said there is no question about any of the New Testament except about a thousandth part – and that only concerning punctuation and spelling. It’s important to know that the original accounts were written by men who were actual eye-witnesses who suffered torture and death for what they knew was true. It’s also significant that the transmission of those accounts down through the centuries is established not simply by the twenty ancient manuscripts on which we depend for Plato’s Republic BUT in more than 4,000 Greek manuscripts from as early as 100 to 1100 A.D. None of them differ from one another on matters of fact.

Let’s look at some of this evidence again.

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