God On The Net

CSI: Jerusalem
A Lawyer Examines The Swoon Theory


Email the Webmaster

"C'mon.  Jesus didn't really die on the Cross.  He just passed out or went into a coma from loss of blood, stress, etc.  Later on He came to and made the appearances."

This is referred to as the "swoon" theory.  Many people believe it because on its face it sounds plausible—more plausible than believing someone came back from the dead.  However, under close examination the swoon theory falls apart.

Roman executioners knew how to tell when their victims were dead!

Consider this: Roman soldiers were among the most ruthless, cruel and knowledgeable military men of the ancient world.  When it came to knowing how to kill people they were experts. Can you really believe that an entire squad of Roman executioners couldn't tell whether a prisoner really was dead???  They would be a laughingstock among their peers if something like that happened!

Jesus was stabbed in the side, which would ensure His death.

John 19:31-35 "[31] Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. [32] The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. [33] But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. [35] The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

Roman custom required stabbing under Jesus' circumstances.  It wasn't a coincidence.

Most people, even most theologians and historians, believe it was pure coincidence that a Roman soldier stabbed Jesus.  Most people believe the soldier stabbed Jesus to make sure He was dead.  Usual Roman practice was to leave the corpses of crucified victims on the cross to be eaten by wild animals or to rot in public view—after all, crucifixion was intended to be the ultimate degradation and humiliation ... and a warning to others!  Interestingly, there was an exception.  According to Quintilian, a first-century author, a victim's relatives were permitted to take down the body and bury it if the victim was first pierced by the executioners. In his Commentary on Matthew, Origen, one of the early Church Fathers, says the lance thrust to Jesus was administered "according to Roman custom, below the armpit."  (See Humber, Thomas.  The Sacred Shroud. New York, Pocket Books, 1977)

If you seriously examine what the swoon theory requires, you'd have to be an absolute idiot to still consider it possible.

  1. Jesus gets beaten by members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council.

  2. Jesus gets flogged ("scourged") with a Roman flagrum, similar to a "cat-o-nine tails".  It had three "tails", each with a little metal dumbbell-shaped attachment that digs into the flesh.  It was considered so cruel that it was illegal to flog a Roman citizen.

  3. Jesus is beaten with wooden reeds (like "caning").

  4. Jesus gets slapped and punched by a group of Roman soldiers.

  5. Jesus has a cap or thorns pressed onto His head.  Middle Eastern crowns of the period were not little circles like a British or French crown.  They were like the mitre worn by Roman Catholic bishops.

  6. Jesus is tied to the crossbeam that will be attached to the vertical post.  Crossbeams typically weighed about 40 pounds (20 kg).

  7. Jesus has to walk up a hill to the crucifixion site.  He falls several times and the soldiers have to force a bypasser, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the beam.

  8. At the hilltop Jesus is untied.  He is then nailed to the Cross.  The nails are put through His wrists not His palms, as commonly depicted by artists.  One foot is put on top of the other and a nail is driven through both of them.

  9. Jesus is left on the Cross for hours and dies.

  10. Soldiers come to break the legs of the victims, to bring on death.

  11. The body of Jesus is stabbed in the side with a Roman lancia.

  12. The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross, and wrapped in grave clothes.  Scholars disagree as to whether Jesus was wound in strips like a mummy or covered with a burial shroud, e.g., the Shroud of Turin.  The text does not resolve this issue.  For discussion we will assume a long shroud, which is easy to unwrap.

  13. The body of Jesus is laid in a stone tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea.

  14. A large stone door is placed in front of the tomb.  The stone is so heavy that three women didn't think they could move it together.

  15. A wax seal is put on the outside of the door and a group of guards are stationed.

Let's play detective and "reconstruct" the swoon theory's next sequence of events:

  1. "Jesus didn't die, He just passed out from stress, fatigue, shock, or exhaustion."

    See Forensic Pathology Report on Jesus.

    Problem:  Once Jesus passed out, He would have hung in a "Y" position, with knees bent. Experiments with volunteers have proved that in that position lung muscles become paralyzed from strain in just a few minutes.  Within 6-12 minutes a person stops breathing and will die of asphyxiation if the strain is not removed.  This isn't speculation, it's scientific fact established by direct observation.

    Problem:  With the blood loss from the flogging and the further loss from the stab wound, Jesus would have gone into hypovolemic shock (shock from extremely low blood pressure caused by bleeding).  Without a transfusion and with nothing to stop the internal hemorrhaging He would have died within minutes. Prior to the stab wound, the blood loss alone would have killed him in a few hours.

    Calculate: Maximum Allowable Blood Loss
    Kilograms = pounds ÷ 2.2
    Hct = Hematocrit—the percentage by volume of red blood cells in a sample of blood that has been spun in a centrifuge.
    ml = milliliter (about 1/1000 of a quart). 1 pint = 473 ml

    Problem:  With the internal bleeding and build-up of fluids Jesus would have died from congestive heart failure.  Pathologists generally agree that this was a contributing cause of Jesus' death.

    Problem:  The Gospel of John says that when Jesus was stabbed blood and water came out of His side. A number of forensic pathologists have examined the descriptions (and, in some cases, information on the Shroud of Turin).  They all agree that there is no way water could have come out.  But, they agree that the heart is surrounded by the pericardium, which contains a watery fluid and a lance thrust would have extracted this fluid, which would look like water.  The thrust would also have pierced the heart, drawing accumulated blood.

    Problem: Even if Jesus didn't die of asphyxiation and even if He didn't die of congestive heart failure and even if He didn't die of hypovolemic shock and even if He didn't die from the internal hemorrhaging itself, He had a large, deep, open chest wound through at least one lung and probably the heart, with internal bleeding. This would have caused internal infection and in a few days He would have died of sepsis, i.e., infection. The Bible says Jesus appeared to hundreds over a period of forty days after the Crucifixion.

  2. After Jesus "passes out" He is left on the Cross unconscious for an unknown length of time.

  3. Then Jesus is stabbed.  John 19:34

  4. John 19:38a  "Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus."

    Problem:  This wasn't done with a phone call from the Crucifixion site!  Joseph or a servant has to walk or ride by donkey to Governor Pilate's office, wait to get permission to speak to the Governor, wait to be taken to an audience with the Governor.

  5. Mark 15:44 [44] Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. [45] When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave [permission to take] the body to Joseph.

  6. Mark 15:46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, ...

  7. All this time, Jesus is still hanging on the Cross!!!  (Allegedly ... unconscious, but still alive!)

  8. The Roman soldiers and various spectators are still standing around watching. And nobody realizes that Jesus is still breathing and still alive!

  9. John 19:38c "With Pilate's permission, he [Joseph of Arimathea] came and took the body away."

  10. Even as they are taking Jesus down from the Cross nobody realizes He is still breathing and still alive!

  11. Nobody checks for a heartbeat. If they do check for a heartbeat, they don't find one.  (If they did find one they would have known He was still alive.)  Even though there's no heartbeat and He's not breathing, somehow He's still alive.

  12. Nobody thinks it odd that a body that has been hanging on a cross allegedly dead for several hours, is still warm.

  13. Even as they are wrapping Jesus in burial clothes nobody realizes He is still breathing and still alive!

  14. They lay Jesus in a tomb and roll a heavy stone in front of the only entrance.

  15. Guards are posted outside the tomb and the tomb is sealed with a wax seal.  (The exact number that constituted "your guard" is unknown but most scholars believe it was at least four soldiers, probably more.)

  16. Despite being beaten and stabbed, despite internal hemorrhaging, despite having had no food or water, Jesus somehow recovers from His coma by natural means, not by a miracle!

  17. Jesus wakes up in a completely dark, completely enclosed tomb, His entire body wracked with pain.

  18. Jesus feels His way around the tomb and finds the stone door.

  19. Jesus manages to push the heavy stone door to the side even though there is nothing to grab onto on the inside surface of the stone.  (The stone was slid into a groove.  Hence, it has to be moved sideways, not simply out.)

  20. Even in His weakened condition, in a quiet private cemetery, Jesus manages to push back the stone door without any of the guards noticing!

  21. Why go half-way?  Jesus has been whipped, beaten and stabbed, is hemorrhaging, and hasn't had any food or drink for at least three days.  Does He just push the stone open enough to squeeze through?  No, He pushes the stone door COMPLETELY out of the way!!!

  22. Of course, at this point, the logical thing to do is get naked!  Before leaving the tomb, Jesus strips off the burial garments.

  23. Just because He has been whipped, beaten and stabbed, is hemorrhaging, and hasn't had any food or drink for at least three days is no reason to be sloppy!  So He neatly folds the garments before leaving.

  24. Amazingly, while He is doing all this, the guards still don't notice anything!

  25. This whipped, beaten, stabbed, bleeding, half-starved, naked, revived crucifixion victim then blithely walks away from the sealed tomb, right past a group of heavily armed guards.

  26. Miraculously, ... I'm sorry, according to the swoon theory there are no miracles ... none of the guards directly appointed by the Governor even notices this whipped, beaten, stabbed, bleeding, half-starved, naked, revived crucifixion victim walking away from the sealed tomb!

    I guess we just have to assume that it was a pretty common occurrence for those guards to see whipped, beaten, stabbed, bleeding, half-starved, naked, revived crucifixion victims walking away from sealed tombs ...

  27. Whipped, beaten, stabbed, half-starved, naked, and still bleeding, Jesus then walks several miles.

  28. No one notices the whipped, beaten, stabbed, bleeding, half-starved, naked, revived crucifixion victim walking along the road.

  29. And still, not even one of the guards has noticed anything suspicious like, oh ... say, ... the fully opened tomb!

    And now we come to the part that's a little hard to believe about the swoon theory ...

  30. Jesus does all of this on feet that had been run through by nails!!!



This site and page written by Texas attorney Joseph "Rick" Reinckens.

Email the Webmaster

WhatTheBibleTeaches.com  HubbleSpacePhotos.com  RomanCatholicTeachings.com
DidGodLie.com  MessianicPassover.com  MessianicWorship.com  MessianicOutreach.com