I have three questions.   1. The New Testament says that non believing Jewish leaders were accused of handing Jesus over to be killed by the Romans. The first century Jews did not deny this historical fact, as they knew that they played a role in killing Jesus by handing him to the Romans soldiers. If it is just a legendary tales, surely they will surely “What are you guys talking about. We never knew or even  heard of a person named Jesus Christ of Nazareth…” during the 1st century.  Here is my proposal.  Maybe those the New Testament was only known to the church in the early centuries. Those  documents may not have been accessible to non-believing Jews. Maybe the New Testament was only compiled in the 4th century unanimously and made know to the public later in the 4th century…. This might explain why the Jews did not defend themselves against killing Jesus, because they did not know the New Testament said they did. In short, my questions is this: Were those documents about Jesus Christ of Nazareth (the New Testament) not accessible to the non believing Jews and non Christian during the 1st century? Is it possible they did not know that Christians said the Jews had Jesus killed?
2. If the prophesies of the Old Testament about Jesus of Nazareth came true–for example Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Micah 5 (born in Bethlehem), Zechariah 11 (30 pieces of silver) etcetera…  Then surely hardened critics who were well versed in the Old Testament scriptures like Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes would know about this and accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the son of God and Messiah. Plus he performed lots of miracles and was resurrected too….  But it did not happen.  Why did they not believe?
3. In AD 70, at the end of the Jewish war with the Romans, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and this meant that Jewish priests and their families had to be redeployed. An inscription was discovered in 1962 in Caesarea Maritima that documents that the priests of the order of Eleazar came to live in Nazareth. This has only been confirmed by later discoveries. For example, in 2009, the first Nazarene home to date from Jesus’ era was excavated by archaeologists. The house was a simple structure, consisting of two small rooms and a courtyard. Also they found an inscription in 1962 in Caesarea Maritima about Nazareth written during 1 st century by a non Christian writer.  Could they be wrong and could this have been written in the 3rd or 4th century? Atheists like Frank Zindler and others still say that there is no solid evidence of Nazareth existing in the 1st century.  They say it did not exist then.  How do you respond?


1. All of the books in the New Testament were completed by the 80s or at the absolute latest the 90s AD.  The churches across the Roman empire and even outside of Rome were is possession of these books and were using them in their worship.  There is plenty of evidence from the early church fathers for this fact.  Even if there was some limited question about the exact content of the canon as late as AD 150, what we can say for sure is that the books of the New Testament were generally available and read in the churches.  How much people outside the church actually read the New Testament books is unclear, but we can assume that non-Christians probably did not generally read the New Testament.  They were “accessible” to non-Christians, but it is not likely that many of them read the New Testament.  You say that “it was made known to the public later in the 4th century.”  I do not know what you are referring to here.  There was no significant change in the fourth century that I know of.  This was when Christianity was made legal, of course, but this did not change the accessibility of the New Testament.  Anyone who wanted to could have read it before this time.  Non-believing Jews who wanted to read the New Testament surely could have if they wanted to.  There were many copies circulating in the churches.  Were they aware of the events in the first century?  Of course they were.  They certainly were aware that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, and that Christians claimed he had been resurrected.  There is plenty of evidence that the Jews were well aware of this, as they took the time to deny his resurrection. I assume the Jews did not deny that they played a role in having Jesus arrested because it was common knowledge that they did.
2. As for why some Jews did not accept the evidence from the prophecies that Jesus is the Messiah, it is worth remembering that many Jews did accept Jesus as the Messiah.  Tens of thousands of Jews became Christians in the first century.  However, not all became Christians.  You ask how, in view of the clear evidence of the prophecies, some did not come to believe.  My answer is that the same evidence is in existence today, and still many do not believe.  Why do Jews of Muslims or atheists not accept the really obvious evidence for Jesus found in the fulfilled prophecies?  My answer is that it is for the same reason they did not believe in the first few centuries.  It is a combination of people who willfully choose not to believe, some who chose to not even consider the data, and those who listened to lies about the reality of the data.  This is exactly the situation today.  In the modern context, most people are not sufficiently interested to even look at the evidence for Jesus as Messiah.  Others have heard and for reasons having to do with their stubbornness or sinfulness, refuse to accept the implications, and there are those who spend more time reading misinformation about the prophecies and choose to listen to this.  I believe that little has changed over the years.  God wants all to be saved, but he does not force people to believe or to repent of their sins.
3. There is some evidence for the existence of Nazareth in the first century as you say.  However, the evidence is relatively limited.  It is apparent that the village grew in the following centuries, so there is more evidence from these later centuries. This makes a lot of sense.  Because of the life of Jesus, obviously, Nazareth became a more well-known city, and it is not surprising that it grew.  There are some who used to say, based on the lack of clear physical evidence for the existence of Nazareth that it literally did not even exist in the first century.  This is clear evidence of bias.  Lack of evidence for something does not prove that it did not exist.  This is clearly bad thinking and evidence of bias on the part of certain atheists and unbelievers.  Surely they ought to know that not finding physical evidence does not prove Nazareth did not exist.  Now that physical evidence has emerged that there was indeed a small village at the site of Nazareth in the first century, we can hope that these people will stop making this bogus claim.  The fact is that Jesus was known as “the Nazarene” all the way back in the first century.  The Christians were known as “Nazarenes” in the first century.  That Nazareth was an actual village in the first century is obvious!  Why would New Testament writers make up this town?  This is a ridiculous proposal.  Obviously, John knew where Jesus lived.  Obviously Luke, a careful historian, knew where Jesus was raised.  Thankfully, now that physical evidence has been unearthed, this highly biased criticism of the reality of Nazareth in the first centurywill come to an end.  Zindler does not prove the lack of existence of Nazareth. He proves his bias by his continued unfounded claim that Nazareth did not exist in the first century.  In my opinion he makes his atheist position look foolish.
John Oakes

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