We are constantly paraded to a vast domain of revisionism. The hairs of Napoleon have been reexamined to see if they can find traces of arsenic. If quantities of arsenic are found, then there will be new theories as to how Napoleon died. The sleuths are still publishing books about the real facts behind the assassination of JFK. While many commissions have closed their inquiries, other individuals are still not satisfied. Some of the Turks are denying the Armenian genocide and some Neo-Nazi and their ilk deny the historicity of the holocaust.
Probably one of the most authenticated and one of the most denied facts in human history is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I grew up in the communist regime where we were required to go to school on Christmas just to enforce the party line that Jesus was not born. Recently I have seen that most of the publications in the Western world no longer use the nomenclature BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini - or the year of our Lord). In fact, even some Christian publications have given in and use BCE and CE (the Common Era).
The Apostle Paul, in one of the most extensive chapters in the New Testament about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ wrote: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.” (1 Cor. 15:17) He continues to list all the people who have seen the risen Christ - Peter, the Twelve apostles (minus Judas), and a group of over 500 people.
Already in the day of Paul the news circulated that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. Already in the day of the resurrection, money was given to the Roman soldiers to spread the news that the disciples came in the night and stole the body.
Paul is making the central defense of his gospel the resurrection of Jesus Christ, so that when he is fighting for his life before King Agrippa he states “I am stating nothing beyond what Moses and the prophets said would happen - that the Christ would suffer, and as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to His people and the Gentiles” It is as Paul is trying to persuade King Agrippa of Christ’s resurrection, that Festus interjects, “You are out of your mind, Paul. Your great learning is driving you insane.”
The risen Christ has been the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without the risen Christ, Christianity is just another religious fad. Not only is Christ presented as the risen Lord, but it is because of His resurrection and ascension that we have received the Holy Spirit and we believe that Jesus is coming back again. The Bible tells us that when He comes every eye will see Him, even those who have speared Him.
Yet, we must confess that all the Biblical data has not kept hundreds of authors from publishing articles and books denying that Christ rose from the dead. Some, like Frank Morison’s “Who Moved the Stone?” have been meticulously researched and he concluded that Christ’s resurrection is true. Others, like encyclopedist Diderot’s comment, “Even though the whole city of Paris would be convinced of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I will still not believe it” demonstrates that the Enlightenment motto “I think, therefore, I am” has subjected everything to our minds, and if our minds cannot accept it, it does not exist or it did not happen.
And thus with all the evidence that Apostle Paul has amassed, he wrote “This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” (Rom 2:16). In that day we will know the motives behind all the denials, and the truth will shine glorious in all its splendor.