Historical Evidence that Yeshua is Messiah
James Scott Trimm
Anti-Missionaries often claim that there is no historical evidence to support the Gospel accounts of Yeshua's death, burial and resurrection. One anti-missionary said:
There were no records of earthquakes or darkness on the day
purported as the day of his crucifixion.
There was no tearing of the temple veil recorded
anywhere in history.
This is simply not true. In fact around 52 CE a secular writer Thallus tried to explain away the darkness at Yeshua's crucifixion saying "this darkness as an eclipse of the sun". This is of course an impossible explanation, because
astronomically a Solar eclipse can never take place at or around Passover.
Passover always occurs around the time of a full moon as it is the 14th day of the lunar month Nissan/Aviv, or fourteen days after the New Moon. A Full Moon only occurs when the earth is between the moon and sun. However a solar eclipse only occurs when the moon is between the earth and sun.
Thanks to Thallus, who wrote only twenty years after the events themselves, we know that just twenty years after the crucifixion, the "darkness" that occured was a historical fact that secular writers felt a need to try to explain away in some way.
Also the fourth century "Church Father" Jerome writes concerning The Gospel According to the Hebrews (a Gospel use by the ancient sect of the Nazarenes along side our familar four):
“But in the Gospel which is written in Hebrew characters we read not that the
veil of the Temple was rent, but that the lintel of the Temple of wondrous size was
broken and even forced asunder.”
(Jerome; Letter 120 to Hedibia; Jerome on Mat. 27:51)
Also in the Historia passionis Domini we read likewise:
“Also in the Gospel of the Nazarenes we read that at the time of Messiah’s death
the lintel of the Temple, of immense size, had split (Josephus says the same and
adds that overhead awful voices were heard which said: ‘Let us depart from this
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Theolog. Sammelhandschrift 14th-15th Century, foll. 65r)
Jerome sees this split of the lintel as having taken place instead of the tearing of the veil. In fact the two events seem to go hand in hand. The lintel was a crossbeam over the doorway to the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The lintel stood
atop pillars eight stories high which formed this doorway. The lintel was some thirty feet across and made of solid stone. It would have weighed about 30 tons! At the death of Yeshua there was an earthquake. This earthquake caused the lintel to split, breaking in the middle. It would have been no small event when the two pieces of this thirty ton lintel came crashing down eight stories! The veil hung from the lintel and the hekel doors were attached to the pillars. When the lintel broke it caused the veil to be rent in two from top to bottom. (In the Jewish culture it is common for a father to morn the death of his son by renting his garment in just such a fashion.) This colapse of the lintel seems to have damaged the hekel doors as well. The Talmud states:
[For] forty years before the Temple was destroyed...
the gates of the Hekel opened by themselves.
until Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai rebuked them
saying "Hekel, Hekel, why alarm you us? We know
that you are destined to be destroyed. For of you
has prophesied Zechariah Ben Iddo (Zech. 11:1):
"Open your doors, O Lebanon and the fire shall
eat your cedars."
Thus we have historical evidences that at the crucifixion of Yeshua the sky was darkened so that the sun gave no light, a great earthquake occurred causing the lintel to collapse, renting the Temple veil and damaging The Hekel gates so
that they fell open by themselves during the last forty years of the Temple (about 30 C.E. to 70 C.E.) just as the Gospels record!
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