ARE BIBLE MANUSCRIPTS RELIABLE EVIDENCE TO THE RESURRECTION?
By Ernest O'Neill
Are Bible Manuscripts Reliable Evidence to the Resurrection?
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
These men wrote about Jesus' resurrection as early as 48 A.D. that's the book of Galatians. It was circulating around the ancient world in the year of 48 A.D. Now, do you see what that means? If you had a 30-year-old alive in 30 A.D. who had observed the resurrection, that 30-year-old was only 48 when the letter to the Galatians was circulating, all they had to do was say, "I saw it. It did not happen that way."
There were thousands of people who were still alive when the New Testament was circulating and all they had to do was say, "No, it didn't happen that way. That man really died and He never rose from the dead." Loved Ones, whenever you begin to examine the history of the resurrection, you come up against history that is better than anything else we have. Even if you tackle it along the line of "Well, who knows if this is what they really wrote. After all, it was 1900 years ago. Maybe it's all been changed."
Loved Ones, you know that what you depend on is the manuscripts, the manuscripts, you know. And old Caesar's Gallic wars written in 50 B.C. Ten manuscripts we have. "Some boy could have gone round and changed the ten manuscripts." We don't really know if Cesar wrote, what we say he wrote. There were only ten manuscripts and those are ancient. It was written in 50 B.C. The earliest one is 900 A.D. Some fellow could have re-written the thing 5 or 6 or 7 times. In the New Testament, there are 4000 Greek manuscripts behind the New Testament. The earliest one is 130 A.D.
130 A.D., there's a manuscript in the Manchester Museum of part of John's Gospel. Do you see how impossible it would be for some happy little forger to tour around all the caves of Qumran and all the deserts and not only that but he'd have to do it over a period of thousand years because these 4000 manuscripts are dated from 130 to 1000 A.D. He'd have to have a whole family. He'd have to get his sons to promise to get their sons to send their son around and change all the manuscripts. It's impossible. You couldn't do it.
Loved Ones, really when you deal with the resurrection, it's the best-attested fact in history and that's why I say to you, "This is the most certain day in the whole world's life and this man Jesus is really the Son of your maker. He really is. He is the Son of your maker and if you try to get around it, you're just rejecting reality. And God, your God on the final day will say, "No, no. Don't come with that story that you haven't enough evidence. Don't come with that story that there were so many religious leaders and so many great religions that you couldn't tell which was true. My Son's death and resurrection were clearly different from all of the others. And My Son was obviously My Son. And don't tell me that I didn't give you enough evidence. I gave you black-and-white evidence scattered throughout the world. I gave you a living church that has never failed to celebrate His last supper one evening since it was first celebrated by Him. Don't come and tell me that I didn't give you any certainty or any information."
Loved Ones, truly, I'm thinking of those of you who are sitting here today and saying, "Well, it's good but it's not good enough." Loved Ones, honestly, your God, your God will call your bluff, He will. On the final day, He will say, "Look, you just didn't want to commit yourself to My Son. That was it. You just wanted to be your own God in your own life."