15 May 2014

Uncommon Commentary #404: Acts 5, Secularists 0

I've paid more than one visit to an history-and-archaeology w.w.w. site called Livius.org.  Since (the old version of) said site follows the egregious practice of using "BCE" and "CE" instead of BC and AD, I can't give it my wholehearted recommendation, but it does provide an interesting list of messianic claimants during antiquity.  What interests me the most about the list is the fact that, of the 19 entries, just one was ever acclaimed as messiah even after he died.  If the man in whom you had placed your hopes had just been executed, don't you think that you would give up on him?  What would you gain (unless you are a masochist who wants to be persecuted and ultimately put to death) by proclaiming that he had risen from the tomb, if you didn't really believe that he had done so?  Either Christ's disciples repeatedly experienced the mass hallucination that He appeared to them, or He did actually appear; if you're a secular fanatic you'll prefer the former explanation, but, if you're like me, you'll prefer the correct one.  (You may also want to read the similar opinion expressed by Gamaliel in Acts 5:34-39, which passage mentions two of the false messiahs.)