DISCRETION OR VALOUR?
Jesus had doubly miscalculated:-
1. Regarding the enthusiasm demonstrated by the disciples in that upper-room. Believing that he would only have to contend with the Jews in a clandestine arrest.
2. The Jews were more wily then he had thought. They brought with them Roman soldiers.
The Christian scholars are no less wily in their translations and manipulations of the Bible. They have changed the words "Roman soldiers" to simply "soldiers" and from the word soldiers to now "band of men" and "the guard".
"Judas then, having received a BAND OF MEN1 and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh there with lanterns and torches and weapons"
(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:3
1."Band of men": here and in verse 12 following, the words in the so-called original manuscripts are speira and chiliarchos respectively. Both Roman military terms, meaning "cohort" and "tribune". "That John is the first Evangelist to mention Roman soldiers among the party which went out to arrest our Lord . . ." See Knox's "A New Testament Commentary", page 260.
The disciples were caught as the Englishman would say with their "pants down".1 Literally they were caught napping. The enemy trod over them roughshod. Only one of the soldiers of Christ had the presence of mind to ask:
". . . Master, shall we smite them with the sword?"
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:49
But before Jesus could attempt a reply, the impetuous Peter struck out with his sword and cut off the right ear of one of the enemy. Jesus had not anticipated Roman soldiers. Realising that the tables were turned against his misconceived strategy, he advises his disciples:
". . . Put up again thy sword into its place; for all they that TAKE THE
SWORD shall PERISH WITH THE SWORD."
1."Pants down": a figure of speech, meaning caught in an unguarded moment; unawares.
CHANGE OF STRATEGY
Did Jesus not know the truth of this statement when he ordered his disciples to sell their garments and buy SWORDS? He surely did! Then why the contradiction now? . There is really no contradiction! The situation changes, so the strategy must also change. He had sense enough to realise that against trained and well-equipped Roman soldiers it would be suicidal for his sleepy warriors to offer even a pretence of resistance.
PRINCE OF PEACE???
Why do not the Christian controversialists give their "Lord and Master" credit for this simple common-sense? Because they have been programmed for a period of two thousand years that Jesus, the "lamb", the "prince of peace", couldn't harm a fly. They overlook the other side of his nature which demanded blood and fire! They forget his instructions to his soldiers regarding those of his enemies who would not like him to rule over them, to bring them forth:
. . . and SLAY1 them before me."
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 19:27
"Think NOT that I am come to send PEACE on earth; I. came NOT to send PEACE, but a SWORD."
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 10:34
"I am come to send FIRE on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Suppose ye that I am come to give PEACE on earth? I tell you, NAY; but rather DIVISION."
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 12:49 & 51
In view of these solemn pronouncements and his repeated vitriolic outbursts against the learned men of his time, if the sword of Peter had prevailed, we would have witnessed a massacre without compunction, equal to that of his ancestor Joshua (meaning Jehova Saviour)2 who utterly destroyed all that was in Jericho:
"both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the SWORD."
(HOLY BIBLE) Joshua 6:21
And the Gospel writers would not have been slow in putting words into the mouth of Jesus, word for word, as fulfilment of prophecies VATICINIUM EX EVENTU (prophecies after the event) as recorded3 of his "father" (?) David.
1.Means to KILL. Breaking the commandment "Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13)
2.Joshua: a type of Christ, says C.I. Scofield, D.D. in his Bible commentary.
3.His "father's" record: 'The conquered Ammonities he treated with even greater ferocity, tearing and hewing some of them in pieces with harrows, axes, and saws; and roasting others in brick-kilns". Maitlands comment on 2 Samuels Chs. 8 to 12 in "Jewish Literature and Modern Education" - (page 21).
FAILURE, AND TRIAL
The march on Jerusalem had fizzled out. The sabre-rattling in the Garden had proved abortive. As there is a reward for success, likewise there is a price for failure. The odds are heavy! Hence the trial, the tribulation, the turmoil and the sweat and blood.
With heavy hands, the Roman soldiers dragged Jesus (pbuh) from Gethsemane to Annas, and from Annas to Caiphas the High Priest, and on to the Sanhedrin as directed by the Jews, for trial and execution.
Whilst Jesus was being manhandled and buffeted towards his doom, where were his heroes who were beating their breasts with the war-cry: "Master, we are prepared to die for you. Master, we are prepared to go to prison for you!" ? St. Mark, the first of the Gospel writers, un-ashamedly and without any apology reveals:
"AND THEY ALL FORSOOK HIM, AND FLED."
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:50
The authors of the 27 books of the New Testament could not find a similar dastardly desertion in the Jewish Bible1 to fulfil prophecy. If there was, they would have been quick to exploit it.
1.The Old Testament
GLOATING OVER DEFEAT
In a debate between Islam and Christianity, on SABC T.V. one of the participants, claiming to be "reborn", gloated over the word DESERTION. He articulated the word with such relish D-E-S-E-R-T-I-O-N which must have left a taste of triumph in the mouth of the cultists, instead of the bitterness of shame and defeat. The Bible-thumpers have developed a new sickness of glamorising despicability and ignominy. Everyone, male or female, of these cultists, will not fail to relate their peccadillos, their adulteries and bestialities, their drinkings and druggings. It appears that one must have been part of the dregs of humanity to become a candidate for this "born again" cult.
TRIALS OF JESUS
GONE IN HIS HOUR OF NEED
In the history of the world, there is no parallel of such a contemptible betrayal. From the beginning to the end, Jesus (pbuh) received the most shabby response from his chosen ones. Professor Momerie succinctly sums up the "Disciples" and their response to the Master:
"HIS IMMEDIATE DISCIPLES WERE ALWAYS MISUNDERSTANDING HIM AND HIS WORKS. WANTING HIM TO DECLARE HIMSELF KING OF THE JEWS: WANTING HIM TO CALL DOWN FIRE FROM HEAVEN, WANTING TO SIT ON HIS RIGHT HAND AND ON HIS LEFT HAND IN HIS KINGDOM; WANTING HIM TO SHOW THEM THE FATHER, TO MAKE GOD VISIBLE TO THEIR BODILY EYES: WANTING HIM TO DO, AND WANTING TO DO THEMSELVES, ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT WAS INCOMPATIBLE WITH HIS GREAT PLAN. THIS WAS HOW THEY TREATED HIM UNTIL THE END. AND WHEN THAT CAME, THEY ALL FORSOOK HIM. AND FLED."
If Muhummed (pbuh) was the "Most Influential Man in History" - Michael M. Hart;
If Muhummed (pbuh) was the "Most Successful of all Religious Personalties" - Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Ed;
If Muhummed (pbuh) was the "Greatest Leader of all Times" - Jules Masserman in the "TIME" Magazine;
If Muhummed (pbuh) was the "Greatest Man that ever Lived" - Lamartine in his "History of the Turks";
THEN IT CAN BE CLAIMED WITH JUSTIFICATION THAT Jesus Christ (pbuh) was the "Most unfortunate of all of Gods Messengers".
The disciples of Jesus always misunderstood him. His nation, the Jews, always misrepresented his utterances, AND his so-called followers are always misinterpreting his teachings, even to this day. If Jesus were a Japanese instead of being a Jew, he would most assuredly have committed honourable "HARA-KIRI" (suicide) rather than endure the fickleness and infidelity of his followers.
The fate of Jesus (pbuh) was already sealed. Caiphas the High Priest, at the head of the Sanhedrin (a Religious Board of Jewish Deputies), was a man who would have recused himself in any civilised Court-of-Law, because of his prejudice against the defendant. He had already condemned Jesus to death without any hearing. He had recommended to his Council, even before the case that:-
" it is expedient for us that one man die for the people, and the whole nation perish not."
(HOLY BIBLE) John 11:50
Jesus had to be liquidated! There was no question of right or wrong; Justice or injustice; it was "EXPEDIENT"! The trial was a farce. By hook or by crook they would have Jesus convicted and done away with. In the middle of the night, what we might call at 2 o'clock in the morning, the Jews had mustered up false witnesses to testify against Jesus. A trial, past midnight was against Jewish practice; but who cares? Despite sympathetic and encouraging prosecutors and jurors, the false witnesses could not tally in their evidences.
It was too much for Jesus. He could not hold his peace. He had to remonstrate. He made a telling plea in his own defence, saying:
"... I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always gather; and in secret have 1 said nothing."
(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:20
In essence, he said that he expounded no secret or esoteric doctrines. He did not teach anything in private which he would not be prepared to proclaim in public. In which case, the Jews would have been able to line up an army of witnesses to testify against him. But what a farce! The Jews could not get even two to agree1 in their allegations! "But neither did their witness agree together" - (Mark 14:59). His argument was so potent that an officer standing by was provoked to strike him in silence. Did that intimidate Jesus? No! Instead, he protested further:
"... if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil. But if well, why smitest thou me?"
(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:23
The victim was slipping out from between their fingers. It was now or never. Legally they could not incriminate him. Direct intervention was necessary. The High Priest interjects with a side thrust. Tell us then:
" Art thou the Christ, the son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am . . . "
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:61-62
1.It reminds one of the 5000 (so-called original) Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament of which "NO TWO ARE PERFECT DUPLICATES", say the Jehovah's Witnesses. The "cultists" are now claiming the discovery of a staggering 24 thousand Manuscripts; to which of course the same stricture will apply. See "Is the Bible God's Word?" for further information.
"SON OF GOD" NO BLASPHEMY
There was nothing blasphemous or treasonable in the simple avowal of Jesus (pbuh). "Christ" is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word "Messiah," which meant the ANOINTED ONE or the APOINTED ONE. 1 Nowhere was the word Christ equated with God. We must divorce this notion from the paganised Christian doctrine of the incarnation, wherein God becomes man. The Jewish expectation of a Messiah, did not identify the Messiah with God. Indeed, the nature of Jewish monotheism wholely excludes such pagan connotations. "Son of God" is also another harmless expression in Jewish theology. God seems to have sons by the tons in the Jewish Bible. But if you are looking for trouble, you do not have to go far. You will find it round the corner. The High Priest was exultant. He felt that his rapier thrust had ripped open the defence of Jesus. To dramatise his contrived victory, he began renting his clothes.
"What need have we for any further witnesses? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death."
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:63-64
1."Christ': For further references, see "Christ in Islam" in which you will get Biblical quotations of "priests" and "pots" and "pans" and "pagans" who are called CHRISTS!
GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY "JESUS MUST DIE!"
The Jews falsely charged that Jesus had blasphemed, which is like treason in the spiritual realm. The Christians are "ONE" with the Jews regarding this "blasphemy" of Jesus, but contend that he was not guilty, because as God, he was entitled to "blaspheme" it was no blasphemy. Between the two (Jews and Christians) they want poor Jesus to die. One for "GOOD RIDDANCE" and the other for "GOOD REDEMPTION".
The verdict was quick and unanimous. It was cut and dried! But without the Roman consent, they could not hang him. In the morning they took their victim to Pontius Pilate, because, as they said:
"It is not lawful for us (Jews) to put any man to death".
(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:31.
PILATE "PASSES THE BUCK"
On discovering that Jesus was a Galilaean, the most troublesome of his subjects, Pilate felt it advisable to "pass the buck" to Herod. 1 You remember, the oldest game in the world. It started in the Garden of Eden according to the Christian Scriptures. But it did not work. After a fruitless attempt to elicit co-operation from Jesus, Herod sends him back to Pilate.
The Jews had condemned Jesus for blasphemy. A man claiming to be God, they alleged. This would not hold water before Pilate. He had his man-gods beyond counting. His Jupiter and Pluto, his Vulcan and Eros, his Mars and Neptune, his Appollo and Zeus, to name just a few out of his Pantheon. One more, or one less, would not make any difference to him. This the Jews very well knew. So they changed their charge from blasphemy to treason. They began accusing:
". . . We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a king."
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 23:2
SECOND FALSE CHARGE
The charge was absolutely false. Contrary to what they are alleging, he had said, on the subject of taxation:
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's"
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 22:21.
What is subversive about this? Like the Christians,1 the Jews too, before them had invented a new meaning for the word "Christy," viz. "A KING!" So that he could be more easily presented as a challenge to their Roman overlords. Pilate got the message. But this poor man, meek and passive, seemed to be no threat. He did not look like a Zealot, a political agitator, a subversive person, a terrorist!
1. The Christians equate the word "Christ" to "A GOD!"
A MASTERFUL DEFENCE - AND A JUST VERDICT
Incredulously he asks Jesus:
" Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, "MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD, if my kingdom was of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. "
(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:33-36
A masterful defence! No Q.C. 1 could have done a better job. As a man of God, he could not disavow his religious status. His was a spiritual kingdom, a ruler to rescue his nation from sin and formalism. This was all nonsense to the Roman Governor. The man may be deluded, mad; but of no danger to the State. He was on no collision course with Rome. Pilate goes to the waiting Jews and delivers an unequivocal verdict
"... I FIND IN HIM NO FAULT AT ALL!"
(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:38
Though Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are supposed to be writing independent records on the life of Jesus, it is astonishing that the Synoptists 2, the first three had never heard the words "My kingdom is not of this world" at all. If God dictated these words exclusively to John, or if he had been informed by some witness, then these words must have escaped the lips of Jesus. A most telling defence against the false allegation of the Jews. How did these words reach any ear, without Jesus opening his mouth?
1.Q.C. means Queen's Counsellor, previously K.C. (King's Counsellor) The highest legal representative in English Court-of-Law.
2.Synoptists: meaning one-eyed; looking from one angle.
SPEAKING WITH CLOSED MOUTH?
The hot-gospellers are getting hoarse in the throat, singing and shouting, that Jesus was led
"to the slaughter like a lamb, like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth" - (Isaiah 53:7).
Poor deluded souls, they hymn songs:
"Hy het sy monde nie oop gemaak nie! Hy het sy monde nie oop gemaak nie!" (And he opened not his mouth).
Now, an Attorney-at-Law, claiming to be "re-born" has joined the chorus of Bible-thumpers with the same senseless repetition. Let me quote, word for word from his Book, to enable you to diagnose this new sickness of cultism to which even people having undergone a dicipline of Law are not immune. He says;
"Isaiah predicts about Jesus Christ:- "
1. He would not defend himself at his trial
(Jesus did not): "He opened not his mouth"
When you meet these cultists in the flesh, please ask them, "Did Jesus speak with his mouth closed?" How did the following utterances which are attributed to Jesus, escape his lips without him opening his mouth -
(a). Before Pontius Pilate:
"My kingdom is not of this world"
(b). Before the Sanhedrin:
"If I have spoken evil, bear
witness of the evil, but if well, why smitest thou me?"
(c). Before God in the Garden: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away . .
We Muslims believe in the many, many miracles of Jesus, but we would be reluctant to believe that he dabbled in ventriloquism. 1 Again and again, whenever the need arose, during his trials and tribulations, Jesus opened his mouth with telling effect, "according to the Scriptures". But for those who refuse to see or hear, we can only seek solace in the words of the Master:
". . . they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they
1.Ventriloquism: The art of speaking, or uttering sounds in such a manner that the voice appears to come from some other source than the speaker, like Charlie McCarthy and his doll.
In the case under discussion, Pilate finds Jesus NOT GUILTY! His implacable enemies, blackmail Pilate, saying:
". . . If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh agaist Caesar"
(HOLY BIBLE) John 19:12
While the trial was under way, Pilate's wife sends him a message: "Have thou nothing to do with that just man (Jesus); for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 27:19.
As reluctant as Pilate was to condemn an innocent and harmless subject, and despite the pleadings of his dear wife based on supernatural visions, he could not prevail against Jewish pressure. He was forced to give in to the Jewish clamour of "Crucify him, crucify him!". "Pilate took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man." (Matthew 27:24). You are culpable for this unjust crime. And he handed Jesus over to be crucified.
METHODS OF CRUCIFIXION
ORIGINS OF CRUCIFIXION
Crucifixion was the common mode of eliminating political prisoners, murderers and insurgents. Long before the birth of Jesus, the Phoenecians had experimented with various methods to get rid of their anti-social characters. They had tried hanging, impaling, stoning, drowning, etc. But all these were too quick in their effects; the culprits expired too soon for their liking. So they invented the crucifixion, a system which produced a slow L-I-N-G-E-R-I-N-G death.
TWO METHODS OF CRUCIFIXION
The Romans borrowed and perfected the system. They developed a crucifixion for fast death and disposal, and another for a slow death and disposal.
The Christian Masters1 are confused in their paintings of the gruesome scene. They portray the two robbers2 who were simultaneously crucified with Jesus, his "crossmates", one on his right hand and the other on his left hand, as undergoing the FAST method, whereas Jesus himself is painted as undergoing a S-L-O-W process.
The Romans never combined these two different methods. They were never confused, as the Christian artists were, with the fast and the slow methods. The Old Masters have painted hybrid crosses (mixture) of the "fast" and "slow" methods in their drawings of Jesus' bodily supports on the cross i.e. with Sadile or without sadile 3 either nails or leather thongs to bind the arms to the crossbar; and, either platforms to support the feet, or spikes.
1.Meaning great artists like Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc.
2.Mark 15:27 - "lestes" in the original. Alternatively translated as "thieves" or "brigandas" is actually a derogatory term for "Zealot." These "crossmates" of Jesus were not common thieves or crooks. They were the terrorists of their day, heroes of their nation.
3.Sadile: Obviously a SADDLE, or "horn" which was fitted in the middle of the upright piece of the cross, so that it projected between victim's legs at the crotch to support his body-weight, but for aesthetic reasons the Christian fathers have eliminated the "horn" from the cross. See illustrations further down.
"THE GOSPEL UNTRUTH"
Contrary to common belief, Jesus was not nailed to the cross, but bound, if at all, like the other two. In the light of the knowledge available, we must regard the "Doubting Thomas" episode as a flagrant "gospel fabrication", similar to the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. See below for a reproduction of the Bible page and note that John chapter 8, begins with verse 12. Can you imagine any chapter in any religious Book beginning with verse 12 as the first verse? Verses 1 to 11 are expunged as a fabrication by the 32 Christian Scholars of the highest eminence, backed by 50 co-operating denominations in their "Most up-to-date Version of the Bible" the R.S.V. 11. R.S.V. stands for Revised Standard Version, first published in 1952. The translators claimed to have had access to the "Most Ancient Manuscripts" from which they learnt that the story about the adulteress was a fabrication. See "Is the Bible God's Word?" for further information on the R.S.V.
THIS IS A FOOTNOTE, REPRODUCED AS IS FROM THE BIBLE.
THEIR HURRY A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
The Jews were in extreme haste to have Jesus done away with. Remember the midnight trial? Early in the morning, they dragged him to Pilate. From Pilate to Herod. From Herod back to Pilate. According to a boisterous American (another "born-again") there were "SIX" trials within twelve hours. At the busiest time in Jerusalem, around the Feast of the Passover, it appears from the Gospel narratives that people of worth had nothing else to do but twiddle their thumbs in great expectation of interviewing Jesus. Exactly as things happen on the "set", for the shooting of films. Hurry! hurry! hurry!
According to the Gospel writers, the Jews and the Romans managed to have Jesus on the cross by the 6th hour, that is by 12 noon; and by the 9th hour1, that is, by 3 o'clock he had given up the ghost he had died (?). Strange people, these Jews! As much as they were in a hurry to mount Jesus on the cross, no sooner had they succeeded, they were once more agitated to bring him down. Can you imagine why? Their religious scruples -the Sabbath! They were warned in the "fifth Book of Moses":
"His body (any crucified person) shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shah in any wise bury him that day, (for he that is hanged is accursed of God), that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance."
(HOLY BIBLE) Deuteronomy 21:23
To appease the religious scruples of the Jews (or for any other reason) if it became necessary to expedite death on the cross, the executioners resorted to the "cruri-fragium", a club like horror with which the legs were broken. The victim expired by suffocation within the hour. This was the fast method.
1. Matthew 27:46. 32
This drawing is an attempt at a more accurate representation of the "execution" of Jesus. To check his ideas the artist Charles Pickard, actually manoeuvred himself into this position.
GOD'S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS
Was the prayer of Jesus (pbuh) being answered? He had cried (o the loving father in heaven for help, with strong crying and tears:
"And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly;
and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground"
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:44
What can be expected from such heart-felt prayer and importuning? One of the four brothers1 of Jesus reminds us that:
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
(HOLY BIBLE) James 5:16
Such heartfelt prayers! Such blood-curdling cries! Such sorrow and sobs! A cynic remarked that it would even bring God down from His Throne.2
1.The Christians give brothers and sisters to Jesus, through a union of Mary with Joseph the Carpenter. (Matthew 13:55-56).
2.God Almighty does not go up or down He is Omnipresent. All-Prevading. Present everywhere!
GOD ACCEPTED JESUS' PRAYERS
Paul confirms that his supplications did not fall on deaf ears:
"Who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was HEARD in that he feared."
(HOLY BIBLE) Hebrews 5:7
What does it mean "God heard" his prayers! It means that God accepted his prayers. God Almighty is not deaf at any time. He is the All-Hearing God. He heard (accepted) the supplication of Jesus in the same way that He had heard (accepted) the prayer of father Abraham. Abraham, in his old-age had prayed for a son, and Ishmael was born. The words of Abraham had become flesh. Ishmael literally means "GOD HEARD", in Hebrew. Zakariah also in his old-age prayed for a son, and God heard (accepted) his prayers, and John the Baptist was born. Now Jesus cried for help, and God heard (accepted) his prayers:
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:43
Strengthening him in the faith, in the hope that God will save him. This is actually what he was beseeching God to do for him. When and how rests alone in the Hands of God. His ways are not our ways. Count the blessings so far:
(a) An assurance from Heaven.
(b) Pilate finds him, not guilty!
(c) His wife shown a dream in which she is told that no harm should come to Jesus.
(d) Legs not broken!
(e) In a hurry to bring him down from the cross.
WHAT USE "THE BONES" . . .
The fourth above: "and they brake not his legs", we are told was in fulfilment of a prophecy:
"He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken."
(HOLY BIBLE) Psalm 34:20
If the bones of a victim were to be protected from harm, then they could only be of benefit if the person was ALIVE! For a person, already dead, intact bones mean nothing. Whether they are sawed into pieces, or smashed into smithereens, it will not make any difference to the resurrected body, the spirit or the ghost. But for living persons on the cross (like the "crossmates" of Jesus), the breaking of the legs made all the difference between life and death. The pagan Romans were not hell-bound to fulfil any prophecy. Their reason was that they "SAW that he was dead already, they brake not his legs". (HOLY BIBLE) John 19:33
"SAW" is a very simple word. We may yet ask, what did they see? Could it be the fulfilment of the words of Christ: "seeing, ye shall see and shall not preceive" (Matthew 13:14). When John says that the soldiers "saw", he means that they surmised. For no modern-day stethoscope was used to verify death; nor did anyone touch his body or feel his pulse before concluding that "he was dead already". I see in the word "saw" another step in God's plan of rescue.
STRANGER THAN FICTION
With all the advancements in the Medical field since Christ; with all the modern, scientific instruments at our disposal; hundreds of people are being certified "dead", every day all over the world. Whilst busy writing this, my attention is being drawn to the near murder of a Mr. Barnabas who was being carried to the mortuary after being "declared clinically dead". Not by inexperienced ancient Roman soldiers, but by highly-qualified Medical men. The news item is reproduced on the side, as is, as a New Year '84 shock!1 This with another shocker from Ripley's: "BELIEVE IT OR NOT!" is also reproduced at the end of this book, with a suggestion that some young journalist keep his eyes open for people who have come back from the "dead", and write an anthology, which might well-nigh become a best-seller. Here is a list for a start: What would you say?
RESURRECTED OR RESUSCITATED?
1. LITTLE GIRL WHO "DIED" TELLS HOW SHE CAME BACK TO LIFE (After 4 Days) ("Daily News" 15/11/55).
2. MAN DIED FOR TWO HOURS: STILL LIVES "Miracle" amazes doctors ("Sunday Tribune" 27/3/60).
3. HE DIED FOR 4 MINUTES Man's heart stops but he lives on ("Sunday Express" 23/7/61).
4. HE DOES NOT KNOW THAT HE DIED FOR 90 SECONDS ("Cape Argus" 16/3/61).
5. DR. HITGE RETURNED FROM THE DEAD ("Cape Argus" 4/5/61).
6. THE COFFIN MOVED Young man narrowly escaped being buried alive ("Sunday Tribune" 13/5/62).
7. BACK FROM THE DEAD After being thought dead for 2 days ("Post" 25/7/65).
8. "CORPSE" WINKS AT UNDERTAKER Doctor wrote out a death certificate ("Daily News" 25/3/75).
9. "CLINICALLY DEAD" Toddler alive after hour-long revival battle ("Natal Mercury" 5/12/82).
10. WAS HE DEAD OR ALIVE? The dilemma facing transplant Doctors
("Sunday Tribune" 17/7/83).
This sombre list would be incomplete without the picture of an exclusive club, the only qualification of whose membership is TO HAVE DIED AND LIVED AGAIN! If everything happened to Jesus "according to the Scriptures", then, he could easily become its doyen (Senior member of a body).