I’ve seen this covered by several news agencies and am absolutely baffled by it. The headline from Foxnews.com says, “Pre-Christian Stone Tablet Foretells Resurrection”. It goes on to say, “The three-foot stone tablet appears to refer to a Messiah who rises from the grave three days after his death â€” even though it was written decades before the birth of Jesus.” To which my response is a resounding, “DUH!”
Now, I’m not saying the actual find and all the speculation surrounding it is anything to get worried about. What really baffles me is the idea that “a Messiah who rises from the grave three days after his death â€” even though it was written decades before the birth of Jesus.” is news, or new, or unheard of by anyone who knows anything about the subject. The world has had the New Testament for almost 2,000 years and it in, it is carefully pointed out over and over again that the death and resurrection of the Messiah, of Jesus, was “according to the scriptures.” This means that the idea of a three-day death and resurrection scenario was not just around decades before Jesus was even born, but centuries, if not millennia.
The areticle goes on to say,
Professor Knohl contends that the tablet proves that messianic followers possessed the paradigm of their leader rising from the grave before Jesus was born.
He said that the text “could be the missing link between Judaism and Christianity in so far as it roots the Christian belief in the resurrection of the Messiah in Jewish tradition.”
Again, duh! I am speechless. I am without speech. Do people who study these things not use the Bible as a reference at least? It’s like claiming to be an expert in plant biology without ever having seen or touched and actual plant, and suddenly discovering that plants are green. Duh. Jesus Himself points to Jonah being an example of the three days and three nights. The Gospel of Matthew is full of “according to the scripture” and “so that what was written might be fulfilled.” There has never been a missing link between Christianity and Judaism. The link may have been ignored or at best obscured, but never missing.
The first Christians were Jews that were steeped in Jewish tradition. The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee for crying out loud. If the world doesn’t understand that Christianity is a fulfillment of the Jewish faith then we have done a horrible job of communicating our message. Granted that much antisemitism has come from “Christian” circles. But those people were/are idiots.
Perhaps this is yet another fruit of Christians ignoring the Old Testament. Have we forgotten that everything we believe has its roots, its foundation in the OT? What “scriptures” did Christians have in the first century? What we call the Old Testament. That was their Bible. That’s what they studied. It was those words that turned the world upside down. It was that history, those prophets, those writings that were used to make the case for Jesus as the Messiah. That’s what Stephen used in Acts 6 and what Paul used as he traveled from city to city, demonstrating from the scriptures (the OT) that Jesus was the Messiah.
I guess this is why this whole thing seems to stupid to me. If this idea comes as a shock to anyone, they need to turn in their degree and go back to Sunday School. Scratch that, they need to read their Bible.