Time Magazine, along with many other media outlets, is promoting the heck out of this guy named David Jeselsohn, a Swiss-Israeli collector, who bought this ancient tablet from a Jordanian antiquities dealer. The article states…
The tablet appears to date authentically to the years just before the birth of Jesus and yet — at least according to one Israeli scholar — it announces the raising of a messiah after three days in the grave. If true, this could mean that Jesus’ followers had access to a well-established paradigm when they decreed that Christ himself rose on the third day — and it might even hint that they they could have applied it in their grief after their master was crucified. (CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE).
So my understanding is this guy is saying that this is proof that the early Christians could have used this information to base their account of Jesus’ 3rd day resurrection on.
While many scholars say the interpretation of this tablet is sketchy at best, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if it were true. This doesn’t shake our faith. IF the early Christians had wanted an example that they could use to make up a 3 day resurrection story, they had a lot more than this lame discovery. They had the whole Old Testament.
Over and over again the Old Testament uses the “third day” as a day of deliverance, hope, and new beginnings.
-When Joseph was in prison, he said to Pharaoh’s cupbearer: “…In three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your job … “(Genesis 40: 13)
-When Israel was trapped in slavery, Moses asked Pharaoh: Let us go three days into the wilderness. (Exodus 5: 3)
-When Israel was threatened with being wiped out, a young girl named Esther says that she will fast for three days. Then she will go to the King to seek deliverance for her people.
-When Jonah is swallowed and is in the belly of the big fish … does anybody want to take a guess how many days he’s there? He’s there three days before he’s released.
And there are more examples, but repeatedly, the Bible speaks of this third day.
I say all of this to say, I really don’t think Mr. Jeselsohn’s discovery is actually much of a discovery. Sorry to burst your bubble sir, but I don’t think it really proves anything. There is nothing new here. So like many before you, enjoy your moment in the limelight. This theory, like the ones before it, will be at the top of the Time article list for a few days and then we will never hear anything about it again. Then again, you may land a PBS special and your 15 minutes will be stretched to a whopping 25.
I’m wondering…when stories like this one get released, does it in any way shake your faith? It’s OK, you can be honest.