Michael Brown on How the Death of a 20th-Century Rabbi Helps Demonstrate the Reality of the Resurrection of Jesus

(Facebook/Chabad Lubavtich HQ)

For many years, scholars and skeptics and psychologists and sociologists have told us that the disciples experienced a form of cognitive dissonance after Jesus died. It so rocked their world and crushed their expectations that they went into deep denial to the point of believing that Jesus really rose from the dead.

To be sure, other scholars have attacked this theory from a number of powerful and persuasive angles, but my book Resurrection tackles it from a different angle. Specifically, I focus on a modern-day, parallel test case that completely demolishes this argument.

To give the relevant background, in 1994, a leading rabbi, one of the most influential Jews of the 20th century, died at the age of 92. His name was Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and he was known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe. But this rabbi had become so influential that, before his death, his followers began to proclaim that he was the long-awaited Messiah. Redemption had come for Israel!

Toward the end of his life, however, he suffered two serious strokes and was no longer able to communicate, making it impossible for him to quiet those who were convinced he was the Messiah. They were sure that, at any moment, he would be glorified, and around the world, they eagerly awaited the announcement. Instead, to their absolute shock, he died. Yes, the Rebbe, their revered leader, was dead.

But some refused to believe it. “He will soon rise!” they proclaimed. Others said, “He’s not really dead. This is just a test for our physical eyes.” Some even camped out near his gravesite, waiting for his resurrection, but it never happened. And yet this Jewish movement not only continued after the Rebbe’s death, it actually grew, with many of his followers to this day claiming that he is the Messiah.

In the eyes of some Jewish scholars, this paralleled the early Christian movement. Both movements centered around a charismatic Jewish rabbi. Both movements believed their rabbi was the Messiah. Both claimed that their rabbi somehow lived after death. And both movements survived their leader’s death and continued to grow and flourish. Cognitive dissonance explains what happened with Yeshua and with the Rebbe.

What I demonstrate in Resurrection is that the exact opposite is true on several levels. In fact, we now have a parallel test case in which we can examine the cognitive dissonance theory in depth.

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SOURCE: Charisma News