What Really Happened at the Crucifiction — Talmud & Josephus

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bismarck, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Bismarck

    Bismarck
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    Talmud:

    According to the Jewish Talmud, some 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, the massive metal doors to Herod's temple miraculously opened of their own accord*. Since the destruction of Jerusalem happened in 70 AD, this miracle happened around 30 AD — precisely at the time of the Crucifiction.


    Josephus:

    Josephus (Jewish War, VI, 5, 3) elaborates on this, linking it to a series of other miracles, and explicitly dating that series to the period from Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Pentecost (!). First, one (1) week before Passover and the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Herod's Temple began glowing for a half hour. This happened at the ninth hourclearly echoing the time at which the Messiah cried out "Eloi!, Eloi!, lama sabachthani?" meaning "My God!, My God!, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mark 15:33-35; cf. Ps 22):

    when the people were come in great crowds to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the eighth [8th] day of the month [Nisan] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it.

    A week or so later, during the actual Feast of Unleavened Bread, a heifer spontaneously brought forth a lamb in the midst of the Temple (!):

    At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple.

    It is at this point that the miracle recorded in the Jewish Talmud happened:

    Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them.

    Then, exactly one (1) month after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a heavenly host of warriors was seen in the sky — just like the "twelve (12) legions of angels" the Messiah could call upon (Matt 26:53):

    Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month [Jyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding cities.

    Finally, a month later, at Pentecost, a heavenly voice was heard coming from the Holy of Holies and saying "let Us remove hence" — just as the Holy Spirit was descending on the Apostles and giving them the ability to speak in (foreign) tongues (Acts 2:1-4):

    Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "let Us remove hence."


    Conclusion:

    (1) The Talmud's description of these miracles points us to c. 30 ADprecisely the time of the Crucifiction.

    (2) Josephus further ties these miracles to the period from Passover to Pentecostprecisely the time-frame of the Crucifiction and birth of the Church.

    (3) Other Classical writers link the Crucifiction to other miracles. For example, Thallus describes a miraculous dimming of the Sun during the Crucifiction.

    Therefore, we can confidently assign these miracles to the Crucifiction as well — not only because other miracles happened at the same time, but also because the time-frame given by Josephus clearly echoes that of the Gospels and Acts.

    Q.E.D.
     
  2. Bismarck

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    Josephus (ibid.) goes on to say that, in the Fall of 62 AD, at the Feast of Boothes (Sukkot), Yeshua ben Hananiah ("Jesus son of Ananus") began prophesizing the doom of Jerusalem:

    But, what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city.

    Now, only six (6) months earlier, at Passover of 62 AD, the High Priest (another Ananus, but the very same who oversaw the crucifiction of the Messiah nearly 30 years before [John 18:12-14]) had orchestrated the murder of James the Righteous, brother of the Lord Jesus. Thus, not only did the High Priesthood of the Temple of Jerusalem martyr the Messiah, but now they had also martyred the Messiah's brotherand the head of the Jerusalem Church (cf. Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:17-18; Gal 1:19, 2:9-12).

    Straight away, the Holy Spirit entered Jesus b. Ananus, who began foretelling the coming doom of Jerusalem.

    This correlation seems to be further indication that Josephus is tacitly referring to the history of the Messiah and his family and followers.

    Q.E.D.
     
    #2 Bismarck, Aug 29, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2007
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Interestings thoughts.
     
  4. standingfirminChrist

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    Should we focus on the external facets of the crucifixion rather than the internal?

    Christ's agony, His passion, His forgiveness should be more prevalent in our thoughts, I would think.
     
  5. lbaker

    lbaker
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    Yes, that is interesting. Do you have the book, chapter, verse, etc. for the Josephus references? I'd like to look them up.

    Thanks,

    Les
     
  6. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Christians do that.

    Reading new extra Biblical sources about events in the Scripture is quite enjoyable to me, especially when the thoughts seem to be in harmony with what is recorded in the Bible. Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. Grasshopper

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    If you want really interesting reading, read Josephus' account of the destruction of Jerusalem and the things he records as happening.
     
  8. Bismarck

    Bismarck
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    Josephus (Jewish War, VI, 5, 3) — Jewish War, Book 6, Chapter 5, Paragraph 3
     
  9. Bismarck

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    According to the Talmud in Sanhedrin 18a, 40 years before the destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin lost its right to try capital cases. Cf. John 18:31, The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death."

    Again, we have a specific reference linked to the Crucifiction, dated to the same time as miracles also so linked.
     
  10. grahame

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    It is strange reading these things again from Josephus. I had an old copy of his history of the Jews and the Jewish wars many years ago and as I was reading this I could recall very clearly that I had read the same things back then.
    I didn't realise that the same accounts were in the Talmud though. Very interesting to read of these external accounts and very tragic to learn of how that salvation was let go by the Jewish nation as a whole and that even the means of sacrifice was taken away from them, as if to direct them to that true sacrifice which was accomplished by their Messiah, the Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God. And they failed to see the signs in the heaven and in the earth. I wonder why these signs were not recorded in any of the gospels? Could it be that that this is one more proof that the gospels were written very early after our Lords crucifixion? Praise God for His unspeakable gift.
     
    #10 grahame, Sep 6, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2007
  11. Bismarck

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    According to the Historian Thallus, writing around 50 AD, at the time of the Crucifiction:

    on the whole world there pressed a fearful darkness
    and the rocks were rent by an earthquake
    and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down

    quoted by Julius Africanus, Chronologies


    This quote is, in turn, mentioned in Fischer and Fischer, The Distortion: 2000 years of misrepresenting the relationship between Jesus the Messiah and the Jewish people, pg 16.
     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    Bismark,

    I posted this in the other thread you began, and was hoping you could answer briefly:

    1. Do you confess that Jesus is LORD, that is God come in the flesh?
    2. Do you confess that Christ was crucified, according to the Scriptures?
    3. Do you confess that Christ was risen from the dead, according to the Scriptures?
    4. Do you confess that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the infallible, inerrant, Word of God? That they are God-breathed with no mixture or adulteration of human thought and wisdom?
     
  13. Bismarck

    Bismarck
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    TALMUD:

    In Tractate Yoma of the Talmud it says:

    Why was the first Holy Temple destroyed? Because of three wicked things: idol worship, adultery, and murder. But in the second Temple in which time the Jewish people were occupied studying the Torah and doing good deeds and acts of charity why was it then destroyed?

    The answer is: It was because of hatred without a cause to teach you, that hate without a cause is equal to these sins and that it is as serious a crime as the three great transgressions of idol worship, adultery, and murder. [Yoma 9]


    NEW TESTAMENT:

    Compare this with the Gospel of John. Yeshua refers to the High Priests' death plot (quoting from Psalm 35:19) in John 15:25:

    But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in the law, “They hated me without a cause.”
     
  14. LeBuick

    LeBuick
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    How did those who witnessed these things doubt Christ being the Son of God?

    That is something I will never understand?
     
  15. Bismarck

    Bismarck
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    According, admittedly, to an Apocryphal document, the Teachings of the Apostles:

    The disciples, moreover, after they had appointed these Ordinances and Laws, ceased not from the preaching of the Gospel, or from the wonderful mighty-works which our Lord did by their hands. For much people was gathered about them every day, who believed in Christ; and they came to them from other cities, and heard their words and received them. Nicodemus also, and Gamaliel, chiefs of the synagogue of the Jews, used to come to the apostles in secret, agreeing with their teaching. Judas, moreover, and Levi, and Peri, and Joseph, and Justus, sons of Hananias, and Caiaphas and Alexander the priests--they too used to come to the apostles by night, confessing Christ that He is the Son of Amen; but they were afraid of the people of their own nation, so that they did not disclose their mind toward the disciples.

    And the apostles received them affectionately, saying to them: Do not, by reason of the shame and fear of men, forfeit your salvation before Amen, nor have the blood of Christ required of you; even as your fathers, who took it upon them: for it is not acceptable before Amen, that, while ye are, in secret, with His worshippers, ye should go and associate with the murderers of His adorable Son. How do ye expect that your faith should be accepted with those that are true, whilst ye are with those that are false? But it becomes you, as men who believe in Christ, to confess openly this faith which we preach.

    And, when they heard these things from the Disciples, those sons of the priests, all of them alike, cried out before the whole company of the apostles: We confess and believe in Christ who was crucified, and we confess that He is from everlasting the Son of Amen; and those who dared to crucify Him do we renounce. For even the priests of the people in secret confess Christ; but, for the sake of the headship among the people which they love, they are not willing to confess openly; and they have forgotten that which is written: "Of knowledge is He the Lord, and before Him avail not crafty devices."

    And, when their fathers heard these things from their sons, they became exceedingly hostile to them: not indeed because they had believed in Christ, but because they had declared and spoken openly of the mind of their fathers before the sons of their people.


    http://www.essene.com/History&Essenes/didac.htm



    For example, please consider this. The Messiah seems to have said, when you infer the actual Hebrew words he spoke from the Greek words recorded in the NT, "Call no man Rabbi, for one is your Rabbi, the Messiah" (Matt 23:10). For example, "Rabbi" in Hebrew means "Teacher", and you usually read "Call no man 'teacher'".

    Now this is rough. But, think of this. Imagine that the Messiah really said, in effect, "Call no man Rabbi but the Messiah, your only legitimate Rabbi teacher".

    Do you think the Pharisees, who loved to be called Rabbi (Matt 23:7), would like this??

    Do you think the Rabbis today, who are the direct successors of the Pharisees, would like this?? Every time you call them Rabbi, you deny the Messiah, by denying his commands.

    "Vested interests", loving Mammon more than YHWH-God (Matt 6:24).
     

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