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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus

Don Stewart :: Was There a Twin Brother of Jesus Who Appeared to Jesus' Disciples?

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Was There a Twin Brother of Jesus Who Appeared to Jesus’ Disciples?

Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus – Question 12

One way to explain the appearances of Jesus Christ was the “twin brother theory.” This hypothesis states that the disciples actually did see someone after Jesus’ death on the cross who looked exactly like Jesus—His identical twin brother. Like magicians who often have twins for assistants, Jesus had a twin brother that no one knew about.

After Jesus’ death on the cross, the twin brother appeared causing people to believe that Jesus had risen. Since he was an identical twin, no one could tell the difference between the two. This twin brother appeared to Jesus’ disciples for a short time but then was no longer seen. Therefore, the resurrection appearances can be attributed to an exact look-alike of Jesus which caused His distraught disciples to sincerely believe that He had risen.

Response to the Twin Brother Theory

The following things may be said in response to the twin brother theory.

1. There Is No Twin Brother Known

There is no evidence whatsoever that Jesus had a twin brother. The birth accounts in Matthew and Luke make it clear that only one child was born to Joseph and Mary—not identical twins. No record exists anywhere of Jesus having a twin brother.

If such a twin brother of Jesus existed, then why didn’t the religious leader seek him out? Why didn’t they attempt to explain the appearances of Jesus by saying it was a case of mistaken identity? Certainly they would have known about him.

2. His Step Brothers Would Have Known about the Imposter

Scripture says that at the first, Jesus own brothers “did not believe in Him.” John wrote,

For not even his own brothers believed in him. (John 7:5 NET)

His family did not accept His claims as the Messiah.

However after His resurrection they became believers. The Book of Acts says,

The apostles often met together and prayed with a single purpose in mind. The women and Mary the mother of Jesus would meet with them, and so would his brothers. (Acts 1:14 CEV)

Certainly something caused them to believe. It would not be the appearance of one of their twin brothers (had the twins even existed). They certainly would have known the difference!

3. It Does Not Explain the Empty Tomb

If it was only a look-alike of Jesus that appeared then the tomb would have remained occupied. How is the missing body explained? The fact that the body was missing is clear. Are we to assume that the twin brother removed it? How was he able to do this?

4. How Was He Able to Appear and Reappear?

There are other problems. How would any imposter be able to appear and reappear at will? The risen Christ appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room through locked doors. He also disappeared in front of the eyes of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. How could anyone do such a thing?

5. How Did He Have the Marks of Crucifixion?

We are told that when Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas He offered to show Thomas the nail prints in His hand and the scar of the spear thrust into His side. Scripture tells us that on the day of His resurrection He showed them to the other disciples. How was an imposter able to match these wounds?

6. There Were Other Miracles Connected with Jesus’ Death

The Bible says that a number of miracles were connected with Jesus’ death. For example, how was the veil of the Temple torn in half upon the death of Jesus Christ? The Bible says this is what took place:

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart... (Matthew 27:50-51 NLT)

This was a miracle. Who performed it?

In addition, who let certain people out of the graves and gave them the ability to appear to people in Jerusalem. Matthew writes about this miracle:

The tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints who had gone to their were raised. And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52-53 HCSB)

These miracles which were connected with the death of Jesus have to be explained. The idea of a twin brother certainly does not explain them.

7. Who Ascended into Heaven?

Are we to assume the twin brother ascended into heaven in front of all the disciples? How was he able to arrange that? The Book of Acts tells us this occurred in full view of the disciples:

It was not long after he said this that he was taken up into the sky while they were watching, and he disappeared into a cloud. As they were straining their eyes to see him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!” (Acts 1:9-11 NLT)

How was some imposter able to do this? This does not make sense.

8. Where Would He Go?

The imposter would have to keep out of sight after the ascension, since the Scripture is adamant that Jesus never appeared to His disciples again. Where did He hide? Where did He go? Why didn’t the religious authorities attempt to find Him and expose the fraud?

9. How Was Saul Converted?

Are we to assume that some imposter arranged for Saul of Tarsus to be struck down by a blinding light and then convince him it was Jesus of Nazareth? How could he arrange that?

Furthermore, how was He able to continue to appear to Saul and instruct him in the faith as well as fooling him into thinking he was Jesus risen from the dead? Again, this makes no sense whatsoever.

10. Who Gave Disciples Power to Work Miracles?

How were the disciples, and later the Apostle Paul, able to work miracles? They attributed the power to Jesus. How could He give them any power if He were dead? The simple answer is, “He could not.”

Therefore, the fact that His disciples were able to perform miracles after His ascension shows that their power was given from the risen Christ. It was not from an identical twin brother who suddenly came upon the scene.

As can be readily seen, the idea that Jesus had a twin brother makes no sense whatsoever. It does not explain any of the facts but actually creates more questions than it solves.

Summary – Question 12
Was There a Twin Brother of Jesus Who Appeared to Jesus’ Disciples?

The twin-brother theory holds that it was not Jesus Christ who appeared to people after His death, but it was actually His twin brother. This theory assumes, without any evidence whatsoever, that Jesus actually had a twin brother.

Building from this unproven assumption, it wants us to believe a number of unlikely, if not impossible, events took place. The twin brother, whose identity had been previously unrevealed, now appeared as Jesus.

As is true with many of the other theories, once it is looked at in detail it makes no sense at all.

For example, no one in the ancient world ever suggested that Jesus had a twin brother. If He had a twin, His step-brothers would have certainly known about it. This being the case, His brothers certainly would have not believed in Him after His resurrection. Yet they did.

The religious leaders would have found about the existence of such a person. They would have then used him to explain the appearances of Jesus. Yet they never tried to explain His resurrection in this manner. Why not?

The twin brother theory does not explain how the tomb of Jesus Christ became empty. Since His body was not there that first Easter some explanation has to be given as to what happened. Who removed His body?

Scripture speaks of the various miracles that were connected with Jesus’ death. Indeed, the veil of the temple, the curtain which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, was split into two pieces the moment Jesus died. In addition, Scripture says certain dead people got out of their graves at this time. How was a twin brother able to do this?

The Bible also says that for a forty day period Jesus was able to appear and reappear after His resurrection. How could a twin brother merely disappear from their sight?

The one who appeared to the disciples as the risen Christ had the marks of crucifixion; something an imposter would not have had.

Add to this the fact that Jesus ascended into heaven in front of His disciples. This is something an imposter could not have done.

In addition, this so-called imposter never appeared again. Where did he go? Why didn’t anyone know of his existence or whereabouts?

There is also the problem that all natural theories have in attempting to explain the evidence. How can Saul’s conversion to the Apostle Paul be explained? The miracles that Jesus’ disciples were able to perform after His ascension need to have some sort of explanation. How were they able to do these things?

All of these facts make it clear that the twin-brother theory, who pretended to be the risen Christ, cannot really explain anything.

Did the Gardener Remove the Body of Jesus? ← Prior Section
Was Someone Else Crucified Instead of Jesus? Next Section →
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