Born once, die twice. Born twice, die once.

By Cris D. Putnam

Marian Osher "Tree of Life"

Everyone, believer or non-believer, is naturally born once and will die naturally once. This is apparent to all and is noncontroversial. But the biblical worldview includes a supernatural component which is not seen by the natural man. There are two additional possibilities, one of which will occur, depending on one’s spiritual status relating to Jesus Christ. These two conditional supernatural events are difficult to accept.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.(1 Co 2:14)

It wasn’t always this way. God created man in a state of spiritual communion which entailed an intimate connection to him.  Adam’s fall into disobedience ruined that intimacy and put mankind under a curse (Gen 3:14-19).  But notice neither Adam nor Eve were struck dead instantly when God pronounced the curse upon them and the creation. It seems that the physical nature of death was always a logical possibility because God had put two trees in the garden. One was the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the other was the tree of life. Adam and Eve were not immortal beings; it was the tree of life that sustained them.  This can be deduced from the account that God saw physical death as a merciful release from their fallen state.

“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.(Ge 3:22–24)

In this way, natural death is a blessing but only if you are in the book of life (Phil 1:21). When one is moved on by the Holy Spirit, repents of their sins and convinced by the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, one is “born again” and released from the second death. Jesus explains this to Nicodemus in John 3:

“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”(Jn 3:5–8)

When one believes the good news of Jesus resurrection, one’s name is written in the book of life:

“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”(Re 20:6)

If one rejects this good news and chooses not to accept Jesus resurrection, one gains a second death.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.(Re 20:12–15)

So whether you are believer or an unbeliever you are going gain a supernatural element: a second birth or a second death. If you earnestly seek God, he will reward your faith (Heb 11:6).

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

(Ro 10:9)

Was Jesus a Failed Apocalyptic Prophet?

By Cris D. Putnam

A popular view amongst skeptics is that Jesus was failed apocalyptic prophet.  Their argument centers on the Olivet discourse in Mark 13:30 where Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” They contend that this means Jesus predicted his return in power prior to the death of the disciples and that since this failed to happen, Jesus is proven a false prophet.  Atheist websites galore use this as a proof text. Even a few serious scholars do as well.  For instance, Bart Ehrman argues:

Jesus appears to have anticipated that the coming judgment of God, to be brought by the Son of Man in a cosmic act of destruction and salvation, was imminent. It could happen at any time. But it would certainly happen within his generation.[1]

Albert Schweitzer held a similar position:

At the end of His career Jesus establishes a connection between the Messianic conception, in its final transformation, and the Kingdom, which had retained its eschatological character; He goes to His death for the Messiahship in its new significance, but He goes on believing in His speedy return as the Son of Man.[2]

These are established scholars and we must take them seriously. However, are they really being honest with the data? More so, are they accounting for all of the data or merely pulling a verse from its context because it seems to infer an error on Jesus’ part.

I was listening to Gary Habermas’ lecture on the historical Jesus and an interesting question surfaced concerning Mark 13:32,

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mk 13:32).

Habermas uses this verse to demonstrate that Jesus’ messianic title “Son of Man” (cf. Dan 7:13) was not added later (no one would claim Jesus was God and then add a verse claiming he did not know something).  Theologically, this verse is an embarrassing detail so it has an air of authenticity.[3] But more importantly, this verse appears directly after Jesus’ alleged prediction that he would return in his own generation. Doesn’t it seem odd that Jesus would predict his return within a very narrow time frame (his own generation) and then immediately say that he did not know when it would be? Actually, it seems incoherent for a reason. The skeptics have it wrong.

Jesus did not really teach that his return would be imminent. In fact, he provided hints it would not be. In Jesus’ parable about the ten talents, which is clearly about him leaving and then returning, he includes a pertinent detail, “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them” (Mt 25:19). The parable of the Ten Virgins is another one which is centered on Jesus’ return and it provides a similar clue, “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept” (Mt 25:5). Craig Blomberg asks why Jesus would bother addressing so many worldly matters if he really believed as the critics suggest:

the majority of Jesus’ teaching presupposes a significant interval before the end of the world, because Christ spends much time instructing his disciples on such mundane matters as paying taxes, marriage and divorce, dealing with one’s enemies, stewardship of wealth, and so on.[4]

Jesus also implied an extended period of world evangelization, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”( Mt 24:14). It seems absurd to argue that Jesus and the apostles would have expected world evangelization in their lifetime. This begs the question what did Jesus mean by this generation.

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place (Mk 13:28-30).

The “these things” of v. 30 must be the same as the “these things” of v. 29, which clearly refer to signs preceding Christ’s second coming. Jesus was teaching that the generation who witnessed the signs he had previously outlined in chapter 13 would see his return. There has been no other generation in history prior to our own that has seen these signs in such abundance.

Get a signed copy of Pandemonium’s Engine here for $10.00

[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 1999),160.

[2] Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (Joseph Kreifels).

[3] If you are interested in how Jesus can be God and not know something, the solution lies in his two natures human and divine. Look into the two minds view here.

[4] Craig Blomberg, in Michael J. Wilkins, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1996), 31.

Earthquake Data Confirms Holy Friday As A Very Supernatural Day

The events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ have puzzled scholars for millennia. Is there evidence to corroborate the supernatural events described in the Gospels?  This presentation will demonstrate that indeed there are multiple lines of corroborating evidence. The first task of determining the exact date for the death of Jesus is problematic. There are good arguments for both 30 and 33 AD. Luke places the beginning of Jesus’ ministry shortly following John the Baptists’ during “the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius” (Lk 3:1). Augustus died in AD 14 and was succeeded by Tiberius.[1] A straight forward reckoning would place Jesus’ baptism in AD 29. However, many scholars believe that Luke may have Tiberius’s reign from the time when Augustus raised Tiberius to be coregent in AD 11.[2] Thus, we arrive at a date of AD 26-27 for Jesus Baptism.

To determine the length of Jesus’ ministry John’s gospel is the most useful. John mentions at least three Passovers during Jesus’ ministry (John 2:23; 6:4; 12:1).[3] This infers a bare minimum of two years. There is an unnamed feast in Jerusalem which many commentators believe to be a fourth Passover (Jn. 5:1).[4] This appears plausible because the Passover in John 2:23 occurred in the spring, hence the soon harvest in John 4:35 indicates 9 months had passed. John also mentions events in Galilee preceding the Passover mentioned in John 6:4.[5]This leads us to postulate a three year ministry.

Thus we can infer a date of AD 30 or 33 depending on how one reckons Tiberius’ fifteenth year.  This is supported by Luke’s assertion that Jesus was about thirty years of age when he began his ministry (Lk. 3:23) given a 5-4 BC birth. Still yet, because his death was on the Friday day of Preparation (Mk 15:42) and the month of Nisan was based on the New Moon, we can derive two possible dates Nisan 14 or 15. Those days possibly fall on Friday in either AD 30 or 33. Hence, the two most probable dates are Nisan 14 (April 3), AD 33, and Nisan 14-15 (April 6- 7), A.D. 30.[6] Perhaps we can find other evidence which will favor one date over the other.

With the dramatic events described one wonders if there is any extrabiblical evidence in the historical record. There is more than you might expect. Phlegon of Tralles was a Greek writer and freedman of the emperor Hadrian, born about A.D. 80 and wrote in the 2nd century AD. The ancient Greeks calculated dates based on their Olympic games every four years. His chief work was the Olympiads, an historical compendium in sixteen books, from the 1st down to the 229th Olympiad (776 BC to AD 137), of which several chapters are preserved in the historian Eusebius’ Chronicle. The early church fathers were well aware of Phlegon’s writings and used his history in their apologetics.

The historian Eusebius quoted Phlegon directly in his chronicles:

Indeed Phlegon, who is an excellent calculator of olympiads, also writes about this, in his 13th book writing thus:

However in the fourth year of the 202nd olympiad, an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicaea.[7]

The fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad ran from summer of 32 to summer of 33 AD because the first Olympiad occurred in 776 BC.  Hence, Phlegon’s history favors the 33 AD date. Furthermore, Origen confirms the existence of this data in his debate with the skeptic Celsus:

He [Celsus] imagines also that both the earthquake and the darkness were an invention; but regarding these, we have in the preceding pages, made our defense, according to our ability, adducing the testimony of Phlegon, who relates that these events took place at the time when our Savior suffered.[8]

Julius Africanus further refers to the writings of historian Thallus who wrote concerning the possibility of a solar eclipse:

This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let that opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye.  Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Cæsar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. But it was a darkness induced by God, because the Lord happened then to suffer.[9]

As Africanus realized, a solar eclipse concurrent with a full moon is a scientific impossibility. In response to this, the christian apologist Tertullian understood this as how those ignorant of Christ explained the mysterious darkness:

In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives.[10]

Tertullian was confident that the reports were available in the archives, yet he does not think it necessary to view the darkness as an eclipse. Indeed an eclipse was simply the first century skeptics attempt to explain away the supernatural events surrounding Jesus death. While it is nice to have these ancient confirmations I wondered if there was anything modern science might reveal. Indeed there are surprising confirmations.

The Israel Exploration Journal published by the institute of archeology at the Hebrew University published an article “Earthquakes in Israel and Adjacent Areas: Macrosismic Observations since 100 BCE.” On page 265 they list a slight earthquake in Jerusalem in AD 30 and one in AD 33 which affected Judea, Jerusalem including damage to the temple![11]

Indeed it appears scientific analysis has corroborated the Biblical account. There was indeed an earthquake in Jerusalem, one which even damaged the temple. Does this prove the account in the Gospels? Well to claim proof might be too strong… but given the evidence it sure does make putting your trust in Jesus seem like a reasonable proposition. The Bible tells us that all have fallen short of God’s righteous standard. But, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”” (Ro 10:9-11)



Earthquake Data Reference Key:
S A. Sieberg: Untersuchungen uber Erdbeden und Bruchschollenbau im ostlichen Mittelmeergebiet, Denkschruften der medizinisch-naturwissenschafilichen Gesellschaft zu Jena 18 (1932), pp 159-273. 

R G.L. Araniakis: Essai sur le climat de Jersalem, Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte ser. 4,t. 4, 1903, pp. 178-189. 

W B. Willis: Earthquakes in the Holy Land, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 18 (1928), pp.73-103. Amendment in Science, Vol. 77, No. 1997, 7 April 1933, p. 351.


[1] Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament : Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 96.

[2] Lea, The New Testament,  97.

[3] Lea, The New Testament, 96.

[4] Elmer Towns, The Gospel of John Believe and Live, (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2002),43.

[5]Lea, The New Testament, 96.

[6] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 126.

[7] Phlegon, 13th book 202 Olympiad in Chronicle (English Translation by Tertullian Project), Jerome

[8] Origen, Contra Celsus Book II Chap. LIX

[9] Julius Africanus. The Extant Fragments of the Chronography, XVIII

[11] D.H.K. Amiran; E. Arieh; Turcotte, “Earthquakes in Israel and Adjacent Areas: Macrosismic Observations since 100 BCE,” Israel Exploration Journal 44 (1994):260-305.


That Amazing Creed in 1 Corinthians 15

I will allow the video to speak for itself. This project represents quite a bit of research into textual critical theories and I hope I made it understandable to a lay person. We really do have eye witness testimony to the risen Jesus!

The Resurrection Challenge

If you do not believe in the resurrection then the challenge is to provide an alternate explanation that accounts for all 5 facts. If you are a believer, the challenge is to submit arguments and evidence that support the 5 facts or additional facts you feel support the historicity of the resurrection. Submit your video responses via YouTube and let’s see where the evidence leads. Now pay attention to my channel as I will be releasing videos that support my 5 lines of evidence.  The first one, History 101, is just a brief overview of some general principles historians use in evaluating evidence. I will post a video supporting each point. I will do my best to respond personally to the most challenging alternate explanations. I will not respond to videos are overly vulgar or disrespectful. 

I will make a decision at the end of September and mail prizes, (2 new hard backs, The Case for the Real Jesus by Strobel and prodigious atheist turned deist Anthony Flew’s, There is not/a God) to the winners. I will be posting videos all through the month with my research supporting the resurrection. I hope you will follow the evidence where it leads! So how do you explain the evidence?