The "Swoon" & "Hallucination" Theories
In addition to the "Stolen Body" and "Wrong Tomb" theories which we discussed in our prior lesson, others believe what is called the "Swoon Theory." Essentially, this theory states that Jesus never actually died on the cross. He merely passed out or swooned on the cross. Although He was in bad shape physically when they buried Him, He was not actually dead. The cool air of the tomb revived Him after a few hours and He was able to sneak out somehow and rejoin His disciples. They tended to His wounds and nursed Him back to health. This theory cannot be true for several reasons. First and foremost, John 19:34 states - "But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out." Blood and water would not have poured out had Jesus still been alive. Besides, the Roman soldiers were professional killers. They knew when someone was dead (and the spear thrust into His side was a guarantee). Even if Jesus hung on to life by a thread, how could He muster the strength to move the stone blocking the only exit from the tomb after He had lost so much blood (due to all the abuse He suffered) and hadn't eaten for a day? This theory is false.

There are still others who support the "Hallucination Theory." They believe that the alleged appearances of the risen Christ were nothing more than hallucinations. This theory is impossible for several reasons: (1) Why would the disciples hallucinate when they really didn't even believe or understand that Jesus was going to be raised in the first place? Hallucinations are very rare; in fact, they almost never happen unless a person is using some sort of mind-altering drug. Clearly, that wasn't the case here. Maybe one could believe that a few of them hallucinated, if they had really believed and were hoping that Jesus was going to be brought back from the dead, but none of the disciples believed this at the time! They were just discouraged and depressed and were in disbelief when they heard the news. (2) How could over 500 people all experience hallucinations of a risen Christ over a period of 40 days (cf. I Cor. 15:1-11)? Did those mentioned in I Corinthians 15:6 all hallucinate simultaneously? Of course not! Hallucinations are personal; that is, even if you get two people in the same room to hallucinate at the same time, what is the chance that they will have the same hallucination? Plus, are we supposed to believe that they hallucinated when they put their hands in His side and their fingers in the holes in His wrists (cf. Luke 24:36ff; John 20:24ff)? Were they hallucinating when He ate with them? (3) Most importantly, if they were only hallucinating, where was the actual body? The hallucination theory can't answer any of these questions. It too is false.

Are there other theories on this subject? Yes, but they all have difficulties that can't be overcome. The final possibility is the only feasible one--Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God! This is the only logical explanation for where the body could have gone!

There is one final point worthy of consideration on this subject. The lives of the early Christians may be the most compelling evidence of all that Jesus was raised. Think about it: What caused the disciples to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ? If there had been some visible benefits or monetary gain for their efforts, then we might be able to account for their actions, their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this "risen Christ." But, there was nothing in it for them physically. There were no benefits of prestige, wealth, increased social status, or material gain. The physical rewards they earned for their efforts on this earth included being beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured, and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking. Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message: Jesus is risen! They believed it with all of their heart even though they were skeptical at first. They didn't steal the body and then die for a lie! They didn't go to the wrong tomb! They didn't all hallucinate! Jesus died and then rose--the thoughts we have considered in this lesson and the prior one are some of the infallible proofs of such (cf. Acts 1:3).