Five years after the discovery of the controversial Jesus Family Tomb in Jerusalem, documentary film producer Simcha Jacobovici has used 21st-century technology to unearth new findings on Jesus’ earliest followers.

Together with Professor James Tabor of the University of North Carolina and Professor Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska, Jacobovici and his team commissioned a state-of-the-art robotic arm and camera to probe deep beneath a Jerusalem apartment building and explore never before seen first-century artifacts.

Walter Klassen engineered and operated the robotic arm camera used in the filming.

Simcha Jacobovici and Walter Klassen with the robotic arm used to explore the tomb.

In their documentary, The Resurrection Tomb, the team explores what has been dubbed the “Patio Tomb” containing several ossuaries [carved stone bone boxes].

They captured images of early Christian art including a depiction of Jonah being spat out of the whale. The team found the earliest testimony of faith in the resurrection of Jesus pre-dating any New Testament Gospels and the earliest Christian symbols ever discovered.

This depiction of Jonah and the whale is considered the earliest representation in Jewish art of a Biblical story.

“The discovery effectively pushes back the date on early Christian archaeological evidence by two hundred years. More significantly, it takes us back into the lifetime of Jesus Himself providing incredible insight into strong, early beliefs in the Resurrection,” said award-winning producer Jacobovici.

The Discovery Channel will broadcast The Resurrection Tomb in the U.S. and Canada on April 12.

Editor’s word to the wise: Enjoy the program, but remember that until the findings are authenticated by the scientific community, they are entertainment and speculation. When they are properly verified, they will serve as further evidence of what we know by faith. But even if these artifacts prove inauthentic, our faith will remain steadfast because it is not based on physical evidence.

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