Did Jesus Truly Die? Death Before Resurrection -- By: René A. López

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 16:47 (Apr 2012)
Article: Did Jesus Truly Die? Death Before Resurrection
Author: René A. López

Did Jesus Truly Die?
Death Before Resurrection

René A. López

René A. López, Th.M., Ph.D., founder, Scripture Unlocked Ministries; pastor, Iglesia Biblica Nuestra Fe, Dallas, Texas; and, adjunct professor of Greek and New Testament and Spanish biblical studies at Criswell College, Dallas, Texas

Schonfield wrote, “If the Gospels afforded us no assistance we would have to imagine how Jesus contrived to give the impression of death, and suggest a way in which his body could have been secured by his friends. It is by no means a novel theory that Jesus was not dead when taken from the cross, and some will have it that he subsequently recovered. . . . There is no cause to doubt the crucifixion of Jesus, or that he had an assistant to aid him in his bid for survival.”1 The Jesus Family Tomb2 and The Lost Tomb of Jesus3 claim that Jesus was resurrected spiritually. However, since they claim to possess the ossuary that contained Jesus’ bones, why did no one provide the corpse when the disciples preached His physical resurrection?4

That Jesus really died on the cross needs to be established for various reasons. If Jesus did not die—which is a necessary prelude to rising physically—there can be no forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who believe in Him (Rom 6:1–23; 1 Cor 15:12–23). Furthermore, the Old Testament Law illustrated the necessary shedding of blood in order to forgive sins as seen in its sacrificial Levitical system. If Jesus faked His death, the Christian message is void and worthless, since John testified of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, 32; see also Gen 3:15; Ps 22; and, Isa 53:1–12).

One of the best-known books denying that Jesus rose bodily from the grave is The Passover Plot, by Hugh J. Schonfield, which has sold over a million copies throughout the years.5 He argued that Jesus did all He could to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies but that He did not intend to die. Instead He plotted to survive the crucifixion. Though Schonfield’s fictional Pa...

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