I have always been very interested in watching programs that detail how science and archeology agree that the Bible is 100% accurate and is not just another "story" or "traditions" that have been passed down one generation to the next.
When I was flipping through the channels last night and saw on the Discovery Channel that archeologists believe they have found the tomb for the family of Joseph of Arimathea, including Jesus, this naturally caught my attention.
"The archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem has revealed a set of limestone Jewish ossuaries or “bone boxes” that are engraved with a rare Greek inscription and a unique iconographic image that the scholars involved identify as distinctly Christian.
"...the engravings represent—by several centuries—the earliest archaeological record of Christians ever found. The engravings were most likely made by some of Jesus’ earliest followers, within decades of his death. Together, the inscription and the Jonah image testify to early Christian faith in resurrection. The tomb record thus predates the writing of the gospels.
"In the earliest gospel materials the “sign of Jonah,” as mentioned by Jesus, has been interpreted as a symbol of his resurrection. Jonah images in later “early” Christian art, such as images found in the Roman catacombs, are the most common motif found on tombs as a symbol of Christian resurrection hope. In contrast, the story of Jonah is not depicted in any first century Jewish art and iconographic images on ossuaries are extremely rare, given the prohibition within Judaism of making images of people or animals."
"The findings are detailed in a preliminary scientific report by James D. Tabor, professor and chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, posted on bibleinterp.com.
“This Jonah ossuary is most fascinating,” Tabor remarked. “It seems to represent a pictorial story with the fish diving under the water on one end, the bars or gates of death, the bones inside, and the image of the great fish spitting out a man representing, based on the words of Jesus, the ‘sign of Jonah’ – the ‘sign’ that he would escape the bonds of death.”
"Tabor notes that the epitaph’s complete and final translation is uncertain. The first three lines are clear, but the last line, consisting of three Greek letters, is less sure, yielding several possible translations: “O Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up,” or “The Divine Jehovah raises up to the Holy Place,” or “The Divine Jehovah raises up from [the dead].”
Although they have not been permitted to go down inside of the tomb, except with cameras, they were trying to claim that Jesus' bones were still inside of the tomb. They apparently do not know their Bible and have ignored the scriptures:
"Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there." John 19:42.
"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Matthew 28:1 KJB
"The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know you are looking for Jesus who has beens crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where he was lying." Matthew 28:5-6 New American Standard Bible
When Mary Magdalene saw that the body of Jesus was gone from the tomb she ran to get Peter and John saying, "They have taken away the body of the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have taken him." John 20:2
John ran ahead of Peter and upon arriving at the tomb all he saw when he looked inside were the linens lying where Jesus had been lain. John 20:5
When Peter arrived they went inside the tomb and all that remained were the linen wrappings "and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself." John 20:6-7
Verse 7 brings up an interesting question concerning the Shroud of Turin.
Unless the above shroud was stitched back together into one piece, how is it possible that the head appears to be joined to the entire body in the photograph above? The scriptures clearly state that the linen that covered Jesus' head was wrapped separately!
After Peter and John saw that the body was Jesus was gone, they then returned to their homes. Mary stayed behind and was standing outside of tomb crying and she stooped to look inside of the tomb. John 20:10-11
"and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying."
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?
Supposing him to be the gardner, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabonni! (which means Teacher).
John 20:12-16 New American Standard Version
After reading these scriptures it is evident that Jesus and his bones were NOT in the tomb ... why else would Mary be searching for his body? Unless she was the earliest "Ghost Hunter" in recorded history, it is evident that she was looking for his physical body.
We have just read another scripture that may determine that they have yet to discover where Jesus' body was actually first laid after the crucifixion. The Bible says that both John and Mary had to "stoop" to look inside of the tomb.
Unless these disciples of Jesus were very tall individuals, the opening to the tomb must have been very low, so much so that even a woman could not walk normally into the area without having to stoop down. The documentary of the original discovery of this tomb, which is the subject of the Discovery Channel's program, by the construction company showed them walking normally in and out of the tomb's opening before the building project was constructed over the tombs.
It is difficult for me to believe that those who originally discovered the tomb would want to build over one of the most historical archaelogical finds in history! Something must have convinced them that this was not the burial place of Jesus.