The New Testament strangely enough does say that Jesus rose from the dead but it does not say his body was in the tomb when raised.  It could have been stolen and still have been raised.  A missing body could be used by the disciples to manipulate others to put out stories that Jesus was appearing alive to them.

Did the apostles steal Jesus?

The apostles could have felt that taking the body of Jesus in secret from its resting place was not theft.  The law would think differently!

The Matthew gospel says the Jews had guards put at the tomb to prevent anybody stealing Jesus' body to put out a fraudulent resurrection report. Matthew lies about the reason the guards were posted at the tomb. He says it was because the Jews interpreted Jesus as saying he would rise again. How could they when the gospels say that those closest to him did not understand him when he said he would rise? The Jews supposedly said that if Jesus was stolen to make it look like he rose from the dead this would be the last deception and worse than the first. We are not told what the first deception was. The context is about fake miracles so it must have been a miracle attributed to Jesus. Moreover, if somebody stealing a body and saying it rose is a good deception - it is not - that shows how unconvincing and lame the first deception must have been! The lies indicate that the Christians were trying to fake evidence that the apostles could not have stolen the body.
The Matthew gospel says there were soldiers at the tomb guarding it. It claims they went unconscious there because the angel that opened the tomb scared them so much that they fainted! So the guards were asleep at the tomb and so somebody could have stolen the body as they slept. It is not even said that the body was already gone at the time they fell asleep or fainted. The body could have been lying in an open tomb surrounded by guards who were in dreamland.
No real angel would scare the guards that much or even allow itself to be seen by them. The angel would know you can’t have unconscious guards at a tomb. People would say that Jesus could have been taken when they were unconscious. Christianity says that there are huge difficulties if all the evidence we have for the resurrection is visions for the world is full of similar visions (for example Medjugorje and Garabandal which contradict the gospel of Jesus and are judged to be unreliable as revelations by the Catholic Church) which are considered well-attested by many. So they need to prove that the body was in the tomb but wasn’t stolen and that they cannot do.

The Matthew gospel alone mentions the guard and it says the Jews bribed the guards to say that the disciples of Jesus took the body away to create a resurrection hoax. Matthew gave no evidence that the bribe took place. How could he know? The Jews and the soldiers weren’t going to tell. He didn’t say how he came across this information leaving us free to surmise that it was gossip and speculation.

The Jews and Romans were saying that the body was stolen by the apostles, Matthew says.  So what can we do but wonder if they were telling the truth after all? The soldiers were allegedly unconscious at the tomb due to an angel having being such a frightening sight that they fainted. The soldiers were told to say that the apostles stole the body while they slept which would mean they couldn’t blame them after all. They didn’t need to say they slept – it would have sounded better had they said they turned their backs on the tomb and weren’t watching or were distracted by some activity away from the tomb or were attacked and rendered unconscious. If they had to admit to being unconscious anything was better than claiming to have slept on duty. They would never have said they slept. Matthew is determined to make the Jewish objection to the resurrection that the apostles stole the body look silly. This lie of his makes us suspect the apostles did possibly steal the body.

Also if the soldiers ran off as Matthew says after the stone came back and other strange things happened then how did they know the body was gone? The body could have been still inside and stolen after they left. The apostles acting like they didn’t care about Jesus any more (there is no evidence in the gospels that they did this – it is just a Christian assumption) and saying they were surprised the body vanished and acting dumb proves nothing.

The gospels give no indication that the apostles couldn’t have done it. The apostles could never admit it because it would mean they would be guaranteed death for grave robbing at the hands of the Romans if not the Jews. Also their Church would have lynched them. Men die for pious frauds and if the apostles were martyred (and it is hotly and convincingly contended that they were not) that would explain their deaths. There is no evidence that they died for their alleged belief in the resurrection. The resurrection is supposedly the one miracle Jesus did that Satan couldn’t duplicate for God is the master of life and death not him. And the problem is that the tomb was left wide open for anybody to steal the body so there is no evidence that Jesus came back bodily to life apart from visions that Satan could duplicate and Christianity admits that visions are unreliable for it rejects most claimed religious visions. Religion holds that most miracles are satanic for though they heal and do good their purpose is to promote error for most religion is wrong. Moses encountered such miracles in Egypt when he had to combat the magicians of Egypt.
Consider this, the opinion of some, “The guards might have been posted at the entrance of the garden that the tomb was in. Some of them might have slept and others been awake. Within reason that should have been fine with Roman law. But they didn’t see the tomb being robbed. Magdalene, we must recall, in John said that some “they” took the body from the tomb so she didn’t deny that theft or removal was possible.”

Nothing tells us how the apostles knew where the tomb was.  If the Jews feared a fake resurrection they could have got Roman soldiers to take the body within the law for its own protection.  Posting guards at the tomb was too much.

The story is full of plot holes.  The return of Jesus is the biggest plot hole of all time.


Christianity for the Tough-Minded, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000
Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
The First Easter, What Really Happened? HJ Richards, Collins/Fount Glasgow, 1980
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Event, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montifiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing, Cumbria, 1997


Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till,

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier

A Naturalistic Account of the Resurrection, Brian Marston
This site argues that somebody unknown stole the body to stop the apostles stealing it or venerating it and lost it and argues that the witnesses of the risen Jesus were lying because no effort was made by them to preserve first hand reports of what was seen and how and when. It argues that since the apostles had followed Jesus at great personal sacrifice and now he was dead they invented the resurrection to save face. Also the inclination of people at the time to believe in dying and rising gods may have overwhelmed them and made them lie to themselves that Jesus had risen. He answers the objection that a lie like that would need a large-scale conspiracy for lots of lies start off with a small group of people and if the lies are attractive other people will believe them. Plus he says that Jesus could have rigged events to make sure he would fulfil Old Testament prophecy so the Christians should not be saying the gospel story is true for it fits old prophecy. When a story fits something like a prophecy or another story, the story is made up. End of. And especially when it fits prophecy that isn’t prophecy at all. I would add that owing to the total absence of evidence that Jesus was nailed to the cross and the fact that the gospels never say any of his friends were close to the cross that Jesus might have been tied to it and the Christians later assumed he was nailed because the psalm seemed to say so.
The Case For Christianity Examined: Truth or Lies?

Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story, A Reply to William Lane Craig by Jeffrey Jay Lowder

The Resurrection, Steven Carr

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker versus Mike Horner
Craig’s Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

Did a Rolling Stone Close Jesus’ Tomb by Amos Kloner

Who Moved the Stone? Review by Steven Carr, This tells us that if you assume that two contradictory books are true in all they say and try to make them fit you will manage it but the result will be contrived. You are really still assuming they are true and have no proof for it. This observation should be a warning to the fundamentalist Christians who say there are no contradictions in the Bible. They have no faith in the Bible at all for they are only assuming it is right. If they really believed, they would not need to work out and produce laughable far-fetched ways of reconciling Bible contradictions. They wouldn’t do that with anything else but the Bible.

Morison claims that Peter’s clever and unbiased mind was behind the first Gospel, that of Mark. But Morison only assumes this for there is no evidence that the gospel is clever and unbiased or that Peter had much if anything at all to do with it. Morison then tries to make out that the claim of Luke that the apostles waited seven weeks before saying Jesus had risen from the dead is too detrimental to the evidence for the resurrection to be true. In other words, the evidence for the resurrection is right and any evidence against it is wrong! That is bias if I ever seen it. He then makes out that these things which undermine the pro-resurrection evidence prove it happened. So the evidence against the resurrection makes the evidence for it stronger! How ridiculous.

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