This Sunday, March 4, the Discovery Channel will air a so-called documentary produced by Hollywood filmmaker, James Cameron, entitled “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” In it Cameron presents so-called evidence that this tomb, near Jerusalem, holds the bones of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, their son, Judah, and others. Here are 7 reasons why the film is a farce:
1) James Cameron is an unbelieving Hollywood filmmaker whose goal is to produce exciting drama and make money, not to uncover and present historical fact.
2) This same tomb was deemed insignificant by the archaeologists who examined it at the time of its discovery in 1980. The district archeologist of Jerusalem, Amos Kloner, who oversaw the initial dig, says, "I don't accept the claim that this tomb was the burial place for the family of Jesus. They just want to get money for it."
3) The names on the caskets are all common names in 1st century Israel. Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Judah were very common names in 1st century Israel. They were like Michelle, Joyce, William and Robert in modern America. Our Lord was called Jesus of Nazareth to distinguish him from Jesus of Bethany and Jesus of Capernaum, etc. Kloner says of the tomb, "It was an ordinary middle-class Jerusalem burial cave. The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time."
4) All epigraphers admit that the inscription of Jesus (Heb. Yeshua) on one of the caskets is difficult to decipher. Dr. Stephen Phann, of the University of the Holy Land, who has examined the caskets, thinks it is more likely the name "Hanun." Ancient Semitic script, he says, is notoriously difficult to decipher.
5) The so-called statistical probability for this being the tomb of Jesus is based on fallacious facts and reasoning. The so-called statistical experts consulted for the film have said that the chances are 600-1 that the tomb is that of Jesus and His family. Dr. Phann says, “This statement is based upon a number of fallacies and a general misuse of statistics.” He goes on to ask, "What database serves as the basis for establishing the probability of this claim? There are no surviving genealogies or records of family names in Judea and Galilee to make any statement concerning frequency of various personal names in families there. Only Jesus' genealogy appears to have survived, as presented in the Gospels."
6) This film ignores every historical record about Jesus. The 4 gospels, Acts and Paul’s letters have been established as authentic historical documents. They contain eyewitness accounts of Jesus, His life and resurrection. The film ignores this most authentic historical evidence. Jesus is also mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus and by Latin authors, such as Pliny the Younger, and Greek authors, such as Lucian. None of these ancient sources mention Jesus as having a wife or family other than his birth family.
7) Multiplied millions, from Paul to Augustine to Wesley to Moody to many of you and myself, have experienced the life transforming power that comes when one believes the Good News and puts his/her faith in the risen Lord and Savior–Jesus Christ. We can all testify, “Because He Lives!”