The Glenn Beck Program

The Glenn Beck Program

Known for his quick wit, candid opinions and engaging personality, Glenn Beck has attracted millions of viewers and listeners throughout the United...Full Bio


3 Things We Get WRONG About the Death, Burial, & Resurrection of Jesus

Is the modern depiction of Jesus’ death on a cross historically accurate? This Easter Weekend, Liberty University professor Gary Habermas joins Glenn to paint a picture of what the crucifixion of Christ most likely looked like and debunk 3 things we get wrong about it: How tall was the cross? How long did the Roman usually leave bodies on crosses? Was it common to bury the bodies of crucified people? Habermas also lays out the historical evidence that the crucifixion DID happen.

TranscriptBelow is a rush transcript that may contain errors

GLENN: Gary Habermas is with us. Liberty University apologetics and philosophy professor. Gary, welcome to the program.

GARY: Glad to be with you, on such a wonderful day that deserves some celebration, as you already noted.

GLENN: Yeah. I guess today does as well.

Because this is the atonement. Because Sunday is the -- is the real celebratory day. I don't think we take any of time, on good Friday, to really understand, what this man went through.

GARY: Yeah. Absolutely. He was -- you know, the movie, the Passion. People -- it was called all kinds of things. By people who didn't like it.

Pornographic violence was one of the phrases I remember. But there is a reference. In ancient history, to people being beaten, for punishments. And the ancient source says, that they whipped the men until their organs fell out.

And that -- that even surpasses the Passion. But all I'm saying is, that was only the prequel to the crucifixion. So this is a very serious event. And what we portrayed is not overdone.

GLENN: Jeez. And when they -- when they crucified people, they weren't on big, tall crosses like we see.

It was -- there were street level. And almost eye level. So people coming into the town, would know, this is what happens to people, if you do these things. Right?

GARY: Correct. Because the men were talking to each other. And if you remember seeing at the end. Where Jesus is pierced with the spear. Now, he's already dead. And, by the way, I will just add, we have a Roman reference, that says, the same thing.

That the -- that the centurion could allow the family to take the dead body of the crucified person, when they were taken down. They were dead.

And they were given one last blow. And the Latin word that's used, means it's a military term. For using an axe. A spear. Or a sword.

And, anyway, my point is, if you're low enough that a person can stab you with a Roman short spear. Yes. You're closer to the ground than a lot of the depictions.

GLENN: So I thought that it was unusual to take the body and bury it. Because from what I learned about crucifixion, part of it was the dogs would come and eat some of the flesh. And it just made it more grisly for visitors. Hey, come to our town, don't end up like this.

GARY: Yeah! And birds too!

But of course, your point about dogs. That shows you how much closer they are to the ground. By the way, Romans often did leave victims on the cross. Thousands were crucified, outside Jerusalem. And the Jewish war of '66 to '78 AD. However, Josephus, the Jewish historian tells us that Jews had such respect for bodies, that even crucifixion victims. I mean, criminals that they were. Even criminal's bodies were taken down and buried.

So Jewish tradition is an exception to the state of the cross.

GLENN: Do you have any idea when they started crucifixion. How it started. When it started.

GARY: Yeah, it goes way back before the Romans, back to the Syrians, even before that. And it was practiced around the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

But all the way up in Italy.

You remember the story of Spartacus, and the slaves.

And crucifying the people down the -- the Appian Way, you know, Rome.

And they were talking about lighting -- lighting people on fire, and being -- in particular, Nero, lighting them to be torturers in the night.

So that's just kind of how -- how, you know -- you know, not enough to be beaten up. Not enough to be hung and then burned.

So I can't think of a worse way to die.

GLENN: Is there anything in particular, that you read in the Scriptures, about this day, that really -- you can really, truly show the evidence? In the Scriptures, and go, that we know is absolutely true.

Because of X, Y, and Z.

GARY: Yeah, there's actually a couple. I coauthored an article 19 -- 2021, four years ago. Three years ago.

With two other people. One a neurologist, an MD Ph.D, another researcher. And what we did was, we didn't try to prove how Jesus died.

We simply did a head count of medical views. And by far, the most common view, double all the other views put together, was that in -- in the crucifixion, the victims asphyxiate. And what happens is, when you stretch out, in that condition, and, by the way. The closer your hands are to your head, the closer can't arms are brought up. The faster you asphyxiate.

And, of course, when someone starts asphyxiating, you say, well, then, how soon is it over?

Well, believe it or not, medical doctors, even in Nazi Germany. In the Middle East. Crucifixion is still performed.

And they did experiments where they didn't hurt the person. They didn't use nails. But they did it.

The men on one experiment, lost consciousness in a maximum of 12 minutes.

They lost consciousness.

So then they say, how do you explain the three hours?

It would be over fast. Well, the issue is, you could push down on the nails in your feet, and when you push up, antigravity, but you push up to breathe. And that allows to you unfreeze the muscles. The intercostal pectoral deltoid muscles that you work out in the gym, the ones around your lungs. You can free them.

And so you can stay alive, on the cross. For more than a day, by pushing up sinking down. Pushing up, sinking down.

And that relieves the asphyxiation process.

GLENN: That really why they break their legs, right? When they want them to die, they break their legs.

GARY: Now you're exactly right. And that's not the only blow. By the way, not just the gospels. I just wrote a huge, almost 1100-page work on crucifixion and resurrection.

And I assembled a number of secular examples of people all the way up into Rome and Italy, where ankles were broken. Now, there's almost no reason to break an ankle. If you beat the guy up, hit him with the board -- shoot -- one guy was threatened with an arrow, one guy had a skull crushed with the mallet. All kinds of things happened.

But why break ankles? And of course, it causes shock. But it seems to me, and the reason is to -- to make the person to go -- we want to go back to the barracks and play cards or something.

And they break the ankles and it's over. Now it's over quickly, if the person can't push up.

And, by the way, the other reason is the spear wound in the side. As I already said. Where the Romans said, this guy is already dead.

We took him down, laid him on the ground. His family wanted the body. So we pierced him one more time.

And you go, where? In the thigh? No. Roman soldiers didn't have anatomy lessons, but they knew where to stab a person to drop them the quickest in battle. And it makes sense, they would stab them in the chest.

You don't stab the skull. So where will you go? Probably the heart. Lung region would be normal. And that's stabbing the chest. So that's one way of dying. So you got the broken ankles. Asphyxiation of being a possible way of dying. You have it backed up in archaeological. And you have the spur wound. There's three right there to make sure that Jesus was dead.

GLENN: So there's also something else, the -- the humiliation of it all.

I mean, this is why I had a guest earlier this week. That said, you know, if this is all made up. They were really bad at making this up.

Because in the ancient world, the worst thing that could happen, to somebody, and certainly not the messiah if you're telling a story and making it up. Is to nail them to a tree.

That is the most humiliating thing you can do.

And then they mocked him. Now, I'm sure the mocking was usual, but the crown of thorns was unique to him. Right?

GARY: Yes. Yes. Believed to be a criminal. He was crucified to be a criminal. And I will add this. This is not always try.

But crucifixion victims were often crucified nude. So if you want to add to the humiliation, the point you're making there, that wasn't always done.

But that's -- that's -- that's a common way to do it.

GLENN: Do we think that that's the way he was? Crucified?

GARY: We have no idea.

There's an in between view, you know. And that's what's often in the paintings.

They would have a garment put around their waist. Almost like -- almost like when you go to play football or something, you have too many clothes on.

You take the sweatshirt off, and you tie it around your waist.

Jesus could have had one of those deals, where they just tied a modesty cloth. We don't really know, if that portion was done or not done. He wasn't clothed totally. I mean, he was either clothed with a modesty cloth or not clothed at all most likely.

GLENN: When he was crucified, you know, we always see him up on Golgotha, and he's up at the top of a hill. And it's just the three of them.

Is that likely to be that way? Or was he with a whole bunch of other crosses all around him?

GARY: No. It seems like the three is historical. I've done so much reading on this. And studied it for decades.

And I don't even see, let's put it this way. I don't think scholars even bring it up.

I don't remember if I've ever seen the question of whether there were the three crosses. And I think they generally think, the gospel says, it makes sense, that two guys were thieves. Jesus was in the middle. And they talked to each other.

And one of them says, remember me, when you come into my kingdom. And Jesus said, today you're with me in paradise. That -- that is historical material.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content