EVIDENCE OF JESUS’ BIRTH, DEATH AND RESURRECTION FROM CHINESE HISTORY (from the time of Christ)
- “And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 8:11
- “During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3
- Noted historian Dr. McCullagh (who wrote extensively on how to find truth in history fairly) writes:
“Christian beliefs are of immense value, both to individuals, to society and to nature. They result in a wisdom and altruism that is of benefit to all. That is why I hope more and more people will accept them.” McCullagh, C. Behan. “Credible Christianity”. www.cbehanmccullagh.com/credible-cristianity/
Many scholars have said that based on academic standards, Jesus and His resurrection are one of the strongest and most proven events of history (I’ve cited some below). Even atheist and agnostic scholars agree that it has incredibly strong evidence that is far better than any other worldview has for their claims. I gave ~20 reasons with references why this is true here, but there is quite a bit of other evidence beyond even that. Former atheist and homicide detective J. Warner Wallace for example has released a book and training curriculum called Forensic Faith which helps people learn how police verify truth and then shows how by those same standards, Jesus resurrection is proven way beyond any reasonable doubt.).
But did you know that Chinese scholars from the time of Jesus also were given evidence that Jesus was born, died and rose again as a perfect sacrifice to bring pardon for man’s sin and a whole new era of human history? Pastor Kong Hee from Singapore found some of this evidence and spoke about it (links to his talk are at the end) and the evidence dates back to the very time that Jesus was living, but it is evidence from China. I also found a little some evidence myself in addition to what pastor Kong Hee found while I was in China.
We already have evidence and proof for Jesus’ resurrection way beyond reasonable about according to many scholars (some cited below) and even non-Christian scholars agree it is far better evidence than exists for any other worldview. But this evidence from China comes in part from cosmological sources which are beyond any human control and ancient Chinese classics which have been verified by the atheist Chinese government as reliable history. It is also from a country far distant from Israel and from the same time Jesus lived. That should be logical enough to help eliminate all remaining doubt as to the fact that Jesus was born, died and rose again and that He cares about nations all over the world throughout history.
Whenever we want to figure out if something is true, we need to use the 3 main methods of truth that God used and that science and academics use when they are objective and not controlled by greed/powerful businesses. I’ve written a brief overview of this here.
But remember one thing for this topic. Roy Davies, former managing editor of history programs at the BBC, talks about how he learned to check truth and credibility. Davies is irreligious. (~6:30).
(~3:30) “One of the most important lessons that I learned at that stage was from a senior reporter who said,
‘From now on, do not accept any story that you are told by less than two people…meaning if one person tells you a story, go out and check it with another person who doesn’t know that person.’ “
# 247. Roy Davies Exposes Charles Darwin’s Plagiarism
So that is a standard practice in journalism and history. If 2 independent people who don’t know each other say the same thing, that’s good enough to publish it as a verified event of history to the best of our knowledge.
This concept of rational thought and proving things by 2-3 witnesses or more to verify accuracy was actually pioneered in the Bible 1000s of years ago (Deuteronomy 19:15, 2 Corinthians 13:1). But it is used in courts all over the world. One reason is that it would require an enormous amount of time, money and resources if we had to go and personally observe everything witnesses claimed happened and it would in many cases be impossible. So for many practical reasons, 2 or more independent witnesses is considered very strong evidence of truth.
WHY IS JESUS’ RESURRECTION IMPORTANT ANYWAY?
Belief in Jesus’ resurrection is extremely important, not just for eternal life, but for this world. Confidence in the resurrection of Jesus is actually one of the most important facts for human life and the stability and peace of nations. This is because as history shows, if this life is all a person thinks they have, then they often think they had better get every experience they possible can out of it without much if any regard for morality. I dialogued with one man who spoke about how this lack of confidence caused him to just throw away belief in God and do whatever he felt like (which is the core principle of Satanism). He said:
“I figured I was going to hell because I couldn’t keep the commandments so I said the hell with it.” Steve S.
You can see a lot more people, some of them quite angry and hateful, with this sentiment among many hard rock singers in the documentary Hells Bells.
A person without confidence in eternal life believes they have only one short life to live and so has a powerful motivation to get all the money, all the power, all the sex, all the fame, all the fun, etc. by any means necessary whether it is moral or not, since death is the complete end and everything they want to experience in life must happen before that time. For a person who believes in eternal life and knows that one of the most valuable things in this life (gold) is considered just pavement in the next, is far more willing to reorder his priorities and sacrifice for others.
C.S. Lewis wrote along these lines, saying:
“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither. https://www.eighthdayinstitute.org/aiming_for_heaven_with_c_s_lewis
Yuan Zhiming was a dissident and co-leader of the Tiananmen Square protests. He later escaped to America, became a Christian and then began making documentaries about belief in the God of the Bible throughout Chinese history. He made a powerful documentary surveying 5,000 years of Chinese history which shows that belief in the God who revealed Himself to them and who is the same as the God of the Bible leads to equality, peace and thriving, while belief in false religions, secularism and atheism lead to greed, violence, crime and much loss of life.
China’s Confession 神州忏悔录 (Abridged, English subtitle) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh5cBIZscSA
A key section of the documentary says:
“Facts have once again demonstrated to us that as long as the Chinese people worship men instead of God, as long as sinful men act like righteous God, as long as men with limitations hold limitless power, that peace and stability will never last long…Oh China! This is where your misery resides. The one who sits on the central throne is not God, but an earthly man….men who did not know God became gods of men. Is not this the source of all China’s tragedies? Chinese butchered their fellow Chinese and Chinese conspired against their fellow Chinese. They abused each other…until…they became prey for foreign invaders…Oh China, because you firmly believe there is no God, you give full reign to sinful men to carry out their self abuse in hopelessness. Since you firmly believe mankind does not share a common holy nature, you then let human reason negate your God given conscience. Since you believe there is no Savior except yourself, you are left to drown again and again in an ocean of bitterness, a sea of fire and a pool of blood, of your own making”
(***link to highlight coming soon)
Rejection of belief in God and eternal life often leads to enormous amounts of greed and inequality which are the main cause and factor for nearly all evils in the world, according to both the Bible and a vast amount of science. Confidence in Jesus’ resurrection gives a person solid confidence that they can have eternal life. Because that is far more valuable than anything earthly life can give, it inspires people to work and live for justice, equality and the good of all mankind more than anything else in history.
REVIEW OF EVIDENCE FOR JESUS’ RESURRECTION
Before looking at the Chinese evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, let’s first briefly review a very few of the major lines of evidence for Jesus’ resurrection and statements by some of the best western scholars who agree that Jesus’ resurrection is one of the most proven events of history, or at least that it has solid evidence far and above any other supernatural claims.
FACT #1: Jesus strongly believed that He was the Messiah, the Son of God and so did the disciples. A resurrection is a strong proof of that.
Professor Thomas Arnold, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was an expert at judging evidence and verifying historical facts. He said:
“I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
Many other scholars, including many who were atheists when they began researching or still are, have spoken similarly.
The non-Christian scholar Dr. Gerd Ludemann writes:
FACTS #2,3,4, and 5: Dr. William Craig lists 4 more facts that any critic will have to explain logically.
“Any responsible historian, then, who seeks to give an account of the matter, must deal with these four independently established facts: the honorable burial of Jesus, the discovery of his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the very origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection and, hence, of Christianity itself. I want to emphasize that these four facts represent, not the conclusions of conservative scholars, but rather the majority view of New Testament scholarship today. The question is: how do you best explain these facts?”
Craig, W. Jesus’ Resurrection. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/jesus-resurrection
Dr. Bart Ehrman who is agnostic due to accepting the fallacy of methodological naturalism and having difficulty with the problem of God existing while there is also pain (a problem which philosophers agree has been solved) writes:
“That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.”
“Paul’s tradition that 500 people saw Jesus at the same time has led some people to suggest that Jesus’ followers suffered mass hysteria. But mass hysteria does not explain the other traditions.” Ehrman, B. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. p. 230-231.
Another non-Christian scholar says:
FACT #6: The biggest difficulties that atheists simply can’t explain logically is why a whole group of men would claimed to have directly seen Jesus would willingly keep on suffering and sacrificing their lives for that claim if it wasn’t true. All proposed atheist explanations have been debunked as not explaining the evidence well at all.
Dr. Simon Greenlead, long time professor of law at Harvard and author of a textbook on law which was used in many universities for decades and also a former skeptic of the resurrection, explains why scholars are so certain that Jesus’ resurrection is factual:
- “The great truths which the apostles declared, were, that Christ had risen from the dead, and that only through repentance from sin, and faith in him, could men hope for salvation. This doctrine they asserted with one voice, everywhere, not only under the greatest discouragements, but in the face of the most appalling terrors that can be presented to the mind of man.Their master had recently perished as a malefactor, by the sentence of a public tribunal.His religion sought to overthrow the religions of the whole world. The laws of every country were against the teachings of his disciples. The interests and passions of all the rulers and great men the world were against them. Propagating this new faith, even in the most inoffensive and peaceful manner, they could expect nothing but contempt, opposition, revilings, bitter persecutions, stripes, imprisonments, torments and cruel deaths. Yet this faith they zealously did propagate ; and all these miseries they endured undismayed, nay, rejoicing.As one after another was put to a miserable death, the survivors only prosecuted their work with increased vigor and resolution.The annals of military warfare afford scarcely an example of the like heroic constancy, patience and unflinching courage. They had every possible motive to review carefully the grounds of their faith, and the evidences of the great facts and truths which they asserted…
It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.”
Simon Greenleaf, “
An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice”, p.52-53.
- Agnostic scholar Bart Ehrman writes:
“Finally we know that after his death his followers experienced what they described as the ‘resurrection’: the appearance of a living but transformed person who had actually died. They believed this, they lived it, and they died for it.” Ehrman, B. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. p. 230-231.
Atheist scholar Gerd Ludeman writes:
“After Jesus’ death, the disciples endured persecution, and a number of them experienced martyrdom. The strength of their conviction indicates that they were not just claiming Jesus had appeared to them after rising from the dead. They really believed it. They willingly endangered themselves by publicly proclaiming the risen Christ.” Ludemann, G. 1996. What Really Happened? p. 80.
FACT #7: Whenever people believe and follow God’s principles, nations become peaceful, stable and thrive, but whenever people disregard belief in God, nations over time lose equality, human rights are eroded or degraded and eventually, tyrants take control or revolutions happen or both. See the “China’s Confession” documentary above or the research of Dr. Woodberry and Dr. John Warwick Montgomery here.
So, Christian scholars are very justified when they say things like this:
You can read the conclusions of many other scholars, both Christian and non-Christian here.
By far the simplest and most logical conclusion of the evidence is that Jesus really rose from the grave just as the Bible predicted and 100s of people testified. Any critics who want to reject this have to explain many difficult facts and none have been able to do so rationally so far.
4 of the best presentations/sites that summarize some of the evidence/proof for Jesus’ resurrection are here:
1) The Resurrection of Jesus by Inspiring Philosophy (shows some of the lines of evidence and also shows in detail why all skeptic arguments badly fail to explain the evidence and how the only view that can explain all the evidence is a real resurrection of Jesus).
2) This 47 minute documentary interviews many leading scholars from the most elite universities in the world who review some of the best logical reasons why they and 1000s of other scholars believe the resurrection of Jesus. Many scholars agree that there is more evidence for Jesus’ and His resurrection than pretty much any other figure in history. The documentary also reviews the arguments of skeptic scholars and shows how they are absolutely unable to explain the available evidence that we have, which means that their excuses can’t be true.
Who is this Jesus and Did He Rise from the Dead?
3) A Biblical Defense of the Resurrection of Christ – Voddie Baucham
4) A summary of ~20 reasons for the resurrection is at my site here (but I will be updating it more soon)
CHINESE HISTORICAL RECORDS CORROBORATE JESUS’ LIFE
Now on to the Chinese evidence for Jesus. The Bible records many events of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection in the gospels as all Christians and many others well know. But what is amazing is that at almost the same time that these things were happening in Israel, the Chinese were well aware of them by completely different means.
This of course was long before telegrams, telephones and all other high speed communication devices. So this information could not have reached them in any of those ways. Far more important, they understood that events of enormous importance that would bring a whole new epoch to world history had transpired in the world based on both cosmological events that were far beyond the ability of the Chinese, or any other human for that matter, along with Chinese astronomical names that gave importance to these events long before anything about Israel and its prophecies of the Messiah was known. This understanding could only have been given to them by a power that had the ability to control and order events in the cosmos to happen at just the right place and at just the right time.
It is very important to understand that what you will read is from ancient Chinese historical works. The current published versions of these ancient Chinese classics have been studied and compared very rigorously with the most ancient manuscripts by Chinese scholars from 9 disciplines. They found that the versions we have are very accurate and almost identical to the ancient versions. See ~ minute 12 in this documentary.
The Sacred Meaning of China’s Altar of Heaven
Here is an overview of what Chinese pastors and scholars discovered about events in the life of Jesus that have transformed their world and ours.
!!SYMBOLS OF JESUS BIRTH!!
The Chinese were very interested in the heavens. The royal courts hired many astronomers to study the cosmos and write down important events there. The Chinese astronomers recorded an incredible event in 5 BC.
“ 二年二月，彗星出牽牛七十餘日。傳曰: ‘彗所以除舊佈 新也. 牽牛，日、月、 五星所從起， 歷數之元， 三正之始。 彗而出之，改更之象也。其出 久者，爲其事大也.”
(漢書, 卷二十六, 天文志第六) Book of Han 《漢書》 卷二十六 天文志 Volume 26: Treatise on Astronomy
http://chinesenotes.com/hanshu/hanshu030.html (starts at 2nd to last paragraph)
In English, it said:
“In the second month of the second year [of Jian Ping, emperor of that time], the comet was out of Altair for more than 70 days…It is said, ‘Comets appear to signify the old being replaced by the new.’ Altair, the sun, the moon and the five stars are in movement to signify the beginning of a new epoch; The beginning of a new year, a new month and a new day…The appearance of this comet undoubtedly symbolizes change. The extended appearance of this comet indicates that this is of great importance.”
Astronomy Records of the Book of the Han Dynasty
Jian Ping was the emperor of China at this time & it his second month & second year. So this means it was from ~ March 9th to April the 6th, 5 B.C.
Most Christian scholars think Jesus was born between 5-6 B.C.
“the most likely time of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem is 6-5 B.C. “
[The evidence] “would suggest Jesus was born in either 5 or 6 B.C.” http://biblelight.net/year.htm
The astronomers saw the comet for ~70 days. Interestingly, the Bible tells us that wise men from the east saw a star that to them signified the birth of a Great King and traveled to give Him gifts. Could this have been wisemen from China? In ancient times, 70 days was about the time needed to travel from China to Jerusalem. So it’s a distinct possibility. But let’s continue.
Altair is one of the 15 brightest stars in the night sky in China, from the constellation of Aquila. According to Chinese classic historical records,
“正義牽牛爲犠牲, 亦爲關樑.” (史記 卷 27 天官書)
“The primary meaning of Altair, the key supporting pillar of the heavens, is the Perfect Sacrifice.” Historical records, Vol. 27, Book of Astronomy
http://www.sidneyluo.net/a/a01/027.htm (near the middle)
https://ctext.org/shiji/tian-guan-shu/zh (line #24 but characters are a little modified)
Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice!
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14
with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:19
Where does the comet Altair come from? The constellation of Aquila. What does Aquila mean?
Chinese is 天鷹座 (tiān yīng zuò), meaning “the heaven eagle constellation”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquila_in_Chinese_astronomy
Altair, or Alpha Aquilae, is the brightest star in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle.
Eagles are also said to represent the rise towards Heaven:
“In Christian iconography the eagle is often seen to symbolize John the Evangelist, the ascension of the prophet Elijah, and the ascension of Jesus Christ” constellationsofwords.com/Constellations/Aquila.htm
What does the symbol of Eagle mean in the Bible?
Because it soars upward, the eagle is a symbol of the resurrection or ascension of Christ.
God’s care over his people is likened to that of the eagle in training its young to fly (Exodus 19:4 ; Deuteronomy 32:11 Deuteronomy 32:12 ).
As eagles fly high and are sharp-sighted, they signify rational things…The eagle first mentioned denotes the rational enlightened by the Divine;
!! SYMBOLS OF JESUS’ DEATH !!
Chinese records say:
“癸亥晦, 日有食之, 避正殿, 寑兵,不聽事五日.詔曰:「吾德薄致災, 謫見日月, 戰慄恐懼, 夫何言哉！… 其上書者, 不得言聖.” (後漢書 光武帝第七年)
“In the day of Gui Hai, the last day of the month, there was a solar eclipse. [The emperor] avoided the Throne Room, suspended all military activities and did not handle official business for five days.” History of Latter Han Dynasty, Vol. 1, Chronicles of Emperor Guang Wu, 7th year”
http://chinesenotes.com/houhanshu/houhanshu003.html (~paragraph 29)
Gui Hai was last day of the 3rd month in the spring in the 7th year of Guang Wu. You can pinpoint this to A.D. 31.
Another document says:
“夏四月壬午,詔曰: ‘比陰陽錯謬,日月薄食. 百姓有過,在予一人,大赦天下’.” (後漢書 光武帝第七年)
“Summer, fourth month [of the year], on the day of Ren Wu, the imperial edict reads, “Yin and Yang have mistakenly switched, and the sun and moon were eclipsed. The sins of all the people are now on one man. Pardon is proclaimed to all under heaven.” History of Latter Han Dynasty, Volume 1, Chronicles of Emperor Guang Wu, 7th year
http://chinesenotes.com/houhanshu/houhanshu003.html (~paragraph 30)
“癸亥日蚀, 天人崩.” (後漢書 志第十八)
“Eclipse on the day of Gui Hai, Man from Heaven died”. History of Latter Han, Annals, No. 18, Gui Hai.
www.readtcm.com/book_GuoXue/3_118.thtml (~5th paragraph from the beginning)
Who is the one man that all sin was laid on? Whose life brought pardon for sin to all?
Who is the man from heaven that died?
There is only one answer. Jesus Christ. And the Chinese knew about him at the same time He lived on earth.
45 From noon until three o’clock it was dark over all the land. 50 Then Jesus gave another loud cry and gave up His spirit and died.” Matthew 27:45,50
45 从正午一直到下午三点，黑暗笼罩着整个大地。50 耶稣又大喊了一声，就断了气。马太福音 27:45,50
!! SYMBOLS OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION !!
Chinese astronomers saw something else miraculous. They wrote,
“光武建武七年四月丙寅, 日有晕抱, 白虹贯晕.” (後漢書 志第十八)
“During the reign of Emperor Guang Wu, on the day of Bing Yin of the fourth month of Jian Wu, a halo (rainbow) encircled the sun.” (History of Latter Han, Annals No. 18, Gui Hai)
www.readtcm.com/book_GuoXue/3_118.thtml (~10th paragraph from the end)
This was 3 days after Jesus death. What was it? Jesus resurrection! He resurrected! He’s alive! And the Chinese knew it too!
Chinese astronomers saw something else miraculous. They wrote,
“During the reign of Emperor Guang Wu, on the day of Bing Yin of the fourth month of Jian Wu, a halo–a rainbow–encircled the sun.” History of Latter Han, Annals No. 18, Gui Hai. This was 3 days after Jesus death. What was it? Jesus resurrection! He resurrected! He’s alive! And the Chinese knew it too!
A) When Jesus was born, there was a sign in heaven and the Chinese saw it and wrote it down.
B) When He died, there was a sign in heaven and the Chinese recorded it too.
C) When He resurrected, there was also a sign in heaven and the Chinese recorded that too.
God is amazing. He gives evidence and proof of His love and grace all over history and in all cultures!
These are 2 sermons by Pastor Kong Hee from City Harvest church in Singapore where I heard some of the above interesting evidences for Jesus from China. I found a little bit more on my own (especially the part about the heavenly eagle constellation and it’s meaning) and then with a Chinese friend found the links to the Chinese classic works online.
God in Ancient China 古代中國人的神 – Part 1 (English & Chinese) 第1部分 (中文 / 英文) (In this section pastor Kong Hee shows how Chinese characters align with Bible history and also convey the gospel of salvation extremely well).
God in Ancient China 古代中國人的神 – Part 2 (English & Chinese) 第2部分 (中文 / 英文) (in this part, pastor Kong Hee, talks about the influence of Christian missionaries on Chinese culture throughout history and how it influenced some, such as Kangxi, to become Christian, but also some of the mistakes of Catholic missionaries. It also has the incredible section on Jesus’ resurrection.)
If you would like to learn more about this Jesus and how to trust and believe in Him and have surety that you can have eternal life and live forever, these are some links that can help you with more information about that.
A) A good site explaining the 3 major parts of salvation with many Bible verses quoted to prove each (confession, justification and sanctification).
B) A helpful article from a pastor on salvation.
C) A good article from a Christian site.
D) Probably the best in depth overview for non-Ph.Ds. is this series.
Pastor Jerry Arnold is a wonderful, grace based SDA pastors who preached a brilliant series of sermons on how we can know for certain that we are saved. This is one of the best, most insightful sermon series you’ll hear on the topic from any pastor in any denominations. Crucially it has an ideal and biblical balance of grace that saves us and obedience that prevents us from experiencing and doing harm to the lives of others such as you see in the Bible (James 2, 1 John 1:8,9, 1 John 2:1-9, etc.).
Jerry Arnold-Can I Know I’m Saved series
Another good one is:
How Perfect Should a Christian Be?- (Doug Batchelor)
0~15, 22~27, Prov 28:13, 1 John 1:9. SC 64
I really hope to see you in heaven and get to know you better along with many believers in God from China and nations around the world!
“And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 8:11