Christian Apologetics Study

BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY

Mar
24

Today, the science of archaeology has shown that nothing has been found to disprove the historical accuracy of the Holy Bible when it describes events, places, and people.

Biblical archeologyinvolve studies in human cultures through the recovery, documentation, and analysis of material remains and environmental data decorating the Middle East and elsewhere. It explains the origins and evolution of biblical civilizations and cultures for societies of the past throughout the biblical world. Researchers have discovered ancient stone, tablets, and manuscripts confirming the Biblical text because their systematic study of the biblical past through its physical remains began seriously in the early 1800’s. For many years skeptics have worked very hard striving to discover mistake within God’s Holy Scriptures. However, their relentless efforts have only managed to build stronger proof with more convincing evidence demonstrating the exact opposite of their agenda. Today archaeology and history show that the Bible is completely accurate and factual in many details. Reliable evidence for Biblical accuracy comes from archaeology and secular history where modern science researchers have uncovered solid evidence for the people, places, and events mentioned in the God’s Holy Bible.

Many people and places mentioned in God’s Holy Scriptures are known to have existed through evidence provided by archaeological science. Archaeologists have found King Solomon’s palace remains with its stables at Megiddo. The Biblical description for the Bethesda pool in Jerusalem has been found. The Holy Land contains historical treasures in abundance that supports the Biblical historical accounts. Today, no archaeological dig has ever contradicted any major biblical accounts describe in the Holy Bible, according to biblical scholar Dr. Lawrence Schiffman.

KING HEROD

The Holy Bible mentions a King named Herod. Recent archaeological excavations have proven that such a king did exist. He lived right where and when the Bible says. For years historical scholars questioned King Herod’s existence before coins bearing Herod’s name were discovered verifying the Holy Scriptures. Archaeological excavations at Samaria, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Jericho and Masada all have found items confirming the existence of this king. Herod’s palace at Caesarea where Paul was kept under guard has also been discovered by archeologists, according to Dr. Grant Jeffrey.

KING DAVID

A major historical figure whose very existence was questioned was the charismatic Biblical King David. For years, there appeared to be no real physical evidence for King David’s historic existence. However, at Tel Dan in Israel, a rock was discovered with the inscription “House of David” and “King of Israel” in 1993. This writing, dated to the 9th century BC, only a century following David’s reign, described a victory by a neighboring King over the Israelites, according to Dr. Randall Price. A few skeptics argued that the inscription might have been misread, but many archaeological experts believe Dr. Avraham Biran and Dr. Nivah (the archaeologists who discovered the basalt chunk at Tel Dan) found evidence for King David’s existence. The false arguments made by critics about King David non-existences in history can no longer be defended rationally. The evidence for David’s existence is significant to believers because Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) was prophetically required to be King David’s descendant through the bloodlines leading up to Mary who birth Yeshua.

MESSIAH YESHUA

Today, a few skeptics question Messiah Yeshua’s historic existence because they are ignorant about the historic evidence showing that Messiah did live in real time and real space around 2000 years ago. Archaeologists have discovered 1st century artifacts which bear His name (YESHUA, YASHUA, or YESHU), confirming that at least some person of that name existed and lived around the time the Holy Bible says that Messiah lived. Furthermore, because modern time has been recorded with reference to BC and AD, it seems rational to conclude that a prominent personality by this name existed.

The famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who was not a believer in Messiah Yeshua’s divinity, mentions Yeshua and His brother James. Flavius Josephus wrote about Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection. Josephus described Yeshua as miracle worker and healer of the sick, according to his work on Jewish Antiquites book 18. Skeptics make the false charge that this was a forgery inserted into Josephus writings without providing any evidence to support their bogus claims.

Furthermore, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Army in 70 AD, the supreme Sanhedrin court collapsed along with it. A Pharisaical group compiled a religious code known as the Mishnah to sustain Jewish spirituality. Over the years several commentaries, the Gemaras, were developed around the Mishnah. Together they are known as the Talmud. While there is little reference to Christianity in the Talmud, it say there did exist Yeshu of Nazareth (Jesus of Nazareth) who was described as a transgressor in Israel because, among other things, he practiced magic. For his transgressions he was executed on Passover Eve, according to early Talmudic commentaries, according to Dr. Grant Jeffrey. Therefore, there are non-Christian historical sources verifying that Yeshua did perform miracles, although these sources describe them to sorcery.

For many Christians, the greatest miracle mentioned in the Holy Bible is Messiah Yeshua’s resurrection from physical death. This miraculous historical event forms, builds, and shapes Christian foundation. Skeptics have tried to explain away the resurrection. A theory employed to explain away the empty tomb following Yeshua’s resurrection is the possibility that either religious or secular authorities secretly removed the body themselves. This dubious argument means that the Roman authorities made an agreement with Yeshua’s followers to promote their new religion, which was based upon his resurrection. Bear in mind, it was Yeshua’s resurrection that was the foundation for this new religious sect’s formation and Rome’s religious and secular authorities would have preferred to destroy this new faith immediately. If the Roman government and religious leaders had evidence that the resurrection was a deception, the leadership would have come forward with Yeshua’s dead body. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, according to Sir Isaac Newton. This means that Christianity would never have begun with the Yeshua’s resurrection.

PONTIUS PILATE

Pontius Pilate was another prominent Biblical figure whose existence was question by many historians before archaeological evidence verified his existence in history. The famous roman historian, Cornelius Tacitus, mentions Pilate in his writings when he wrote accounts of Christian persecution by the Roman Emperors, according to his Annals of history. Additionally, archaeological digs at a Roman theater in Caesarea, Israel, found a stone used for theater seats. The inscription on the stone reveals Pontius Pilate’s name.

THE CITY OF JERICHO

The Holy Bible says in Josh. 6:20 that “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”

Dr. John Garstang excavated Jericho in the 1930’s. He found the walls of Jericho as they had fallen in Joshua’s time. However, British archaeologist Dr. Kathleen Kenyon conclude that Jericho could not have existed after 1550 BC, clearly contradicting the work of Dr. John Garstang and the Biblical chronology of its destruction by Joshua and the Israelites. Nevertheless, years later other archaeologists found evidence that showed Dr. Kenyon’s date was incorrect and that Jericho’s existence did fit with the Bible’s chronology, which confirmed Dr. Garstang’s earlier work on Jericho, according to Dr. Bryant Wood.

The city of Jericho’s remains reveal that its demise appeared to line up with the Biblical account, which says the walls of Jericho fell suddenly. The evidence indicates that the city was strongly fortified and it was attacked following the spring harvest and there was not enough time for Jericho’s inhabitants to flee from the city with their food and supplies. The siege of Jericho did not take long because the city’s walls were leveled in a manner that provided easy access for the siege to take place. The invaders did not loot the city. The city was burned following the collapse of its walls. These findings line up perfectly with the account given in Joshua chapters two and six, according to Dr. Bryant Wood.

During excavations in the early 1930s, it was determined from the walls of Jericho remains that they were not pushed inward by an attacking army with battering rams. Rather, the walls seem to have fallen straight down, as if the Earth had disappeared beneath them. The Biblical account tells readers that they were knocked down supernaturally. When the walls of Jericho collapsed, they fell straight down because God caused an earthquake to occur in that region, according to Dr. Amos Nur and Dr. Bryant Wood.

KING BELSHAZZAR

The Bible says in Daniel 5:1, 30 that “Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords…that very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.” Belshazzar was mentioned as a ruler in Dan. 5:1-30. Many historians scoffed at the Bible for listing Belshazzar as the last king of Babylon. Many scholars believe that Nabonidus was the last king. In the mid 1800’s archaeologists unearthed tablets in Babylon ruins that listed Belshazzar, son of Nabonidus, as co-ruler in Babylon, during the mid-1800s. Nabonidus, who ruled the empire of Babylon from 555-538 BC, mentions his firstborn son Belshazzar on an inscription found in the city of Ur in 1853. The inscription reads: “May it be that I, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, never fail you. And may my firstborn, Belshazzar, worship you with all his heart,” according to Dr. Grant Jeffrey.

Additional piece of evidence for Belshazzar’s reign in the city of Babylon comes from an inscription where he is referred to as the son of Nabonidus and is given authority to rule. The inscription reads: “Putting the camp under the rule of his oldest son . . . His hands were now free; He entrusted the authority of the royal throne to him.” Belshazzer was the second-in-command at the time of Nabonidus. This is why Daniel was promised a position as the third highest ruler, not the second highest ruler. This archaeological fact again confirms the Biblical record, according to Dr. Randall Price.

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Skeptics argue that the Old Testament Hebrew prophetic books, were first written following the events the prophets prophesied by an unknown scribe. In Isaiah 44:28, the prophet predicted in 700 BC that Cyrus would declare that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt and the foundation of the temple was to be laid. When Isaiah wrote this prophecy, Solomon’s temple was standing and Jerusalem was a bustling city. How then could Isaiah have known that the Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem, devastate the temple, and that a military commander named Cyrus would give the order that their temple and Jerusalem should be rebuilt? Eschatologists believe that Isaiah and many other prophets were shown the future by God, while skeptics argue that that the Book of Isaiah along with other prophetic books were altered later to fit the events that took place in the future.

This argument by skeptics collapsed like a house of cards when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the caves at Qumran in 1947. Analysis of the scrolls confirmed conclusively that Isaiah and other books of the prophets were not significantly altered at later dates to fit the future events prophesied. Approximately 40,000 scroll fragments were found in jars in different caves. Roughly 35,000 scroll fragments from 400 manuscripts were found in cave number four. Many scrolls were produced prior to 70 AD. The scrolls represent the literary remains of a community that lived at Qumran from roughly 170 BC to 70 AD. The scrolls contain writing samples from all Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures except for the Book of Esther, according to Dr. Craig Evans.

The scrolls significantly increased many Biblical scholars knowledge about the Hebrew Scriptures from 1000 to 800 BC, from which time Biblical Scholars trace the present Hebrew Bible. The scrolls show the Hebrew text has undergone much less change than previously thought. The scrolls have caused the Hebrew Biblical text to be treated with greater respect by scholars today than it has been for some time. The scrolls brought to light much knowledge about the Jewish Essene community, according to Dr. Randall Price.

THE EBLA TABLETS AND WRITINGS

Skeptics argue that Moses could not have written the first five books in the Holy Scriptures (the Pentateuch) because writing simply did not exist during Moses’ time. However, when the Ebla tablets were found at the site of Tell Mardikh in modern Syria in 1964, this discovery destroyed many arguments by critics. These tablets contain writings on law codes, judicial procedures, and case law. Because the Ebla tablets are about 1000 years older than the Mosaic Law, we know that the written language already been developed before Moses’ time; therefore, he could have written the Pentateuch.

The Ebla tablets revealed the names of over 5000 cities. The tablets include names of many Biblical cities such as Salem, Gaza, Lachish, Ashdod, and others. Archaeological excavations found many thousands of tablets from the Ebla Kingdom era. The digs in northern Syria have verified that people had writing skills since ancient times, even during the time of the patriarchs around 2000 BC.

The Ebla discovery shows evidence for writing 1000 years before the time of Moses. Many customs and events were recorded in writing in the same area of the world where Moses and the patriarchs lived. Genesis chapter 14 refers to the five cities of the Plain (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Zoar), which have been confirmed by Ebla archives. The area flourished before the catastrophe recorded in Genesis chapter 14. We now know about early writing systems such as Egyptian hieroglyphics, Ugartic cunieform script, proto-Siniatic hieroglyphic script, and Hittite hieroglyphic system.

SUMMARY OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Today, nothing has been found to disprove the historical accuracy of the Holy Bible when it describes events, places, and people. Many archaeology experts believe categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever invalidated a biblical reference, according to Dr. Nelson Glueck. Discoveries have established the accuracy of innumerable details of the Bible, according Dr. William F Albright. Many archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline and exact detail historical statements in the Holy Bible, according to Dr. Nelson Glueck.

The Holy Bible offers special revelation. The Holy Scriptures contain natural and supernatural revelations. This masterpiece of Hebr

ew literature was written by 40 different authors, while its primary author is God the Holy Spirit. The Bible was first written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, it has 39 books in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures and it has 27 books making up the New Testament Scriptures. This inspirational work was written over roughly 1600 years. The Bible has been unchanged for 2000 years and it has remained accurate in all of its historic, geographic, and scientific details, according to Dr. Grant Jeffrey.

RELATED SOURCES:

  • Biblical Mysteries; Dr. Donald Ryan;2000.
  • Halley’s Bible Handbook; Henry Halley; 1965.
  • In Search of Temple Treasures; Dr. Randall Price; 1995.
  • The Life of Christ; Pastor William R. Grimbol; 2001.
  • The Signature of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2010.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls; Dr. Craig Evans;2005.
  • The Bible; Dr. Jeffrey Geoghegan; 2003.
  • Unveiling Mysteries of the Bible; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2000.
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