Interesting Biblical Archaeology Resources

This site has some useful resources to look at when studying the history behind the Bible.

When I was a teenager, I received a beautiful, leather-bound Thompson Chain Reference Bible as a prize at church.  One of the resources it had at the end, just before the concordance and maps, was an “Archaeological Supplement,” written by Dr. G. Frederick Owens.  It was a fascinating, faith-boosting experience to read about the excavation of the very sites I was reading about in the Bible.

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Was Jesus’ Body Stolen from the Tomb?

Jesus Christ was crucified by the Romans, under the reign of the Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of Judea. Shortly thereafter, Joseph of Arimathea acquired permission from Pilate that he would be able to take down the dead body of Jesus from the cross, and bury it. And so Joseph did. Several days later, the tomb of Jesus was discovered to be empty by a group of Jesus’ women followers, including well-known women in the New Testament such as Mary Magdalene, a women whom Jesus cast out seven demons from. Indeed, nowadays, a substantial majority of historians accept the historicity of the empty tomb. Indeed, after conducting an analysis on the recent trends of New Testament scholarship in Resurrection research, the eminent scholar Gary Habermas notes the following;

…while far from being unanimously held by critical scholars, it may surprise some that those who embrace the empty tomb as a historical fact still comprise a fairly strong majority.

This is not surprising, of course. There is overwhelming historical evidence for the empty tomb. So, we shall now go in and refute a rather popular hypothesis, the hypothesis that the body of Jesus was stolen from the its burial tomb, or purposefully removed from its burial place by some person. This claim is put forth in order to explain away the historicity of the empty tomb without invoking the historical Resurrection of Jesus.

Indeed, what can we say about this claim? Aside from there being zero explicit historical evidence to support such a notion, there is strong evidence from history to show that this would not have possibly happened, and that comes from an artifact known as the Nazareth Inscription. It likely dates to either the reign of Julius Caesar, or perhaps Augustus — at about 30 BC – 30 AD. This is what it says:

EDICT OF CAESAR

It is my decision [concerning] graves and tombs—whoever has made them for the religious observances of parents, or children, or household members—that these remain undisturbed forever. But if anyone legally charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person I order that a judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat with honor those who have been entombed. You are absolutely not to allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under the title of tomb-breaker.

Image result for caesar augustus nazareth inscription

According to the Nazareth Inscription, not only did 1) destroying the body in a tomb 2) removing a body from a tomb or 3) moving a body from a tomb to another location become illegal, but if someone is charged with doing such a thing, they would face capital punishment, i.e. execution. Indeed, this means that in the time of the death of Jesus, it was illegal to steal the body of Jesus and doing so would result in a sentencing of death. This highly removes the probability that anyone would even think of intentionally ceasing Jesus’ dead body from its tomb, especially the disciples themselves. The last thing a disciple of Jesus would do after being devastated by Jesus’ crucifixion, is steal His body and risk death.

Secondly, we must also consider that there is also no motivation for any person to actually steal the body in the first place, and so historically speaking, there is absolutely no warrant for suggesting this hypothesis in the first place. Thirdly, no scholar actually thinks that the body of Jesus was stolen from the tomb, and fourthly, the Gospel of Matthew entails that there existed a guard at the tomb of Jesus in the morning after the burial specifically so it would not be stolen (Matthew 27:62). So it seems to me that the historical evidence is quite overall weighty to establish that indeed, the body of Jesus was not stolen from the tomb. Therefore, Christians can be very happy and comfortable in taking up the position that the empty tomb is not due to some tomb-breaker or grave-bandit, but rather due to the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Can Math Prove The Existence of God?

If someone has a history with YouTube, they probably know about the channel ASAPScience. With over 6,000,000 subscribers and many short, well-put together scientific videos explaining simple topics, it’s almost inevitable you’ve come across one of their videos before. Three days ago, they posted a rather very nice video titled Can Math Prove The Existence Of God? that simply must be watched by any theist.

Well-put together, and explains the easy inferiority of atheism, the view that there is no God, to theism, the view that there is a God. Indeed, the argument is very simple and easy to follow:

  1. If God does not exist, humans developing is very unlikely
  2. Humans did develop
  3. Therefore God not existing is very unlikely

Indeed, the premises are correct and thus the conclusion inevitably follows. The only problem with the video, of course, is when the go on about the “illusion/virtual reality” as somehow having a higher probability then the existence of God, however of course, the creation of a virtual reality by humans presupposes humans to begin with, and so we’re right back at the beginning point — No god V.S. God. And of course, God wins. It should be noted, based on specific religions (like Christianity), the probability of humans developing is 1/1. So math seems to show the existence of God.

Bible Proven True By ISIS.

Just when you thought ISIS couldn’t get any wackier.

lachish_relief_sennacherib2

Back when ISIS was going around in Iraq and Syria trying to destroy all archaeological artifacts of pre-Islamic times, they decided to dig a tunnel. By 2016, ISIS was starting to lose numerous villages and cities and was being forced back, and one part of their territory that was lost was where they dug their tunnel. Archaeologists examined this tunnel, and through it they uncovered a palace of two biblical kings.

Towards the end of the 8th century BC, and early 7th century BC, to Assyrian kings to rule and interact with the holy land were named Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. These were mighty Assyrian kings, and all thanks to ISIS, we have uncovered the palace of these biblical kings. The Bible documents these two kings and their empire (Assyria was no less than an enormous empire during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, especially with the expansion during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III) in 2 Kings 18:13-19:37, 2 Chronicles 32:1-23, Isaiah 36:1-37:38. In the newfound palace, an inscription was found written in cuneiform speaking of Sennacherib (whom built the castle), and this same palace was where his son (Esarhaddon) later lived as well during his reign.

Aside from this newfound inscription, though, there’s also a ton more evidence for the veracity of this biblical account. There are numerous inscriptions of the Assyrian ruler Sennacherib. The Bible tells us Sennacherib conquered and invaded Judah (but failed to capture Jerusalem), and Assyrian inscriptions at Ninevah confirm this. Esarhaddon had his own vassal treaty (if you know anything about the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon, otherwise known as the Esarhaddon Succession Treaty). But, these are not the only Assyrian kings in the Bible that have been historically confirmed. In fact, all six biblical Assyrian kings have been historically confirmed. We’ve spoken about two of them (Sennacherib and Esarhaddon), but what about Tiglath Pileser III (2 Kings 15:19), Shalmaneser V (2 Kings 17:2), Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1), and Adramelech (2 Kings 19:37)? It’s hard to go through all the data on Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, let alone all six Assyrian kings. Nevertheless, I don’t need to, because someone else already has. See items 35-40, and have a blessed day.

[Jeremiah 29:13] And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Earliest Life Ever Found On Earth and God

The complexity of biological information is beyond the comprehension of man. The secrets of life are being scratched at their surface, and the colossal amount of information we have acquired so far is only the beginning of what is to come. Ever since the dawn of man, God was considered the source of all that exists in the universe, and the last century of biological research has propelled this fact into levels of confirmation beyond that which could have been predicted. Indeed, with every coming year, it seems as if the certainty of God as the Creator of all life on Earth is multiplied, with abiogenesis seeming more like another fiction in which has more to account for with virtually every other lab experiment that goes by. For those who do not know, abiogenesis is the idea that life naturally arose on Earth. Despite the fact that after centuries of attempt, and with scores of experiments involving world renowned scientists utilizing the uppermost technology of the day, these experiments have not only utterly failed to yield a single, self-replicating cell, they have failed to yield anything that could even be considered a failure of an attempt for a cell!

Over the past year, from the beginning of September 2016 until now, the nonsensical man-made theorem of abiogenesis has taken significant damage in yet another way. Usually, abiogenesis can be dismissed because there is too much complexity in biological information to account for, but what we have here is an entirely new type of debunking that wasn’t exactly very easy to see coming, but gladly welcomed nonetheless. But, it is here now, and it gives us another reason to savor every last moment when hysterically laughing at some unfortunate souls who are actually convinced that life arose naturally on Earth.

One year ago, the earliest known confirmed life on Earth was about published in a 1980 study, being 3.48 billion years old. This gave the advocates of biogenesis a nice cushion of 1.1 billion years for life to begin, for the Earth is some 4.55 billion years old. Indeed, they believed they had more then enough time. That finding was made nearly three decades ago. Then, in 2016, the month of September (less than a year ago from this day), the new oldest life on Earth was found. Indeed, published by several scientists named llen P. Nutman, Vickie C. Bennett, Clark R.L. Friend, Martin J. Van Kranendonk & Allan R. Chivas, a study was published to the journal Nature, detailing the discovery of the newest oldest life ever found on Earth, about 3.7 billion years old. This pushed back the oldest signs of life an astonishing 220,000,000 years, and therefore shaved away 220,000,000 years from the cushion that the advocates of abiogenesis had to account for the origins of life. But it gets even better.

On January 9th of this year, another study was published to Nature, pushing back the origins of life even further. Indeed, this study found potential microfossils that are, at the lastest about 3.77 billion years old, and at the earliest 4.28 billion years old. The abstract of this study states;

Here we describe putative fossilized microorganisms that are at least 3,770 million and possibly 4,280 million years old in ferruginous sedimentary rocks, interpreted as seafloor-hydrothermal vent-related precipitates, from the Nuvvuagittuq belt in Quebec, Canada.

In other words, life is known to have originated at least 3.8 billion years ago, and at best about 4.3 billion years ago. This means abiogenesis has lost it’s 1.1 billion year cushion, and now has is sitting on a rather uncomfortable 300-800 million years. These scientific findings came in under a single year, and have given another blow to the hypothesis of abiogenesis, making it even more difficult to explain. Anyways, God created all life on Earth, if that makes things a little more clear for everybody.

The Hittites and the Hittite Kingdom

Reading through the Old Testament and again a number of times, you’ll find yourself familiar with a group called the Hittites. Remember when one of God’s prophets confronted David for murdering a man named Uriah the Hittite? Remember when the Israelite’s sometimes went to war with the Hittites? Don’t believe me yet? See for yourself:

[Joshua 1:4] From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

There you have it! The Hittites existed!.. Or did they?

During the 18th and 19th century, the scholars thought apparently not! Indeed, two hundred years ago historians, archaeologists and scholars knew not a trace of the existence of the Hittites. So, they thought to themselves, “if we haven’t found them yet, the only conclusion is that they never existed and the Bible is wrong”. This was no joke, it was considered a serious accusation against the Bible, a serious error in which necessitated explanation. So explaining these very imaginative scholars did.

One of them was named Julius Wellhausen. This guy had an (absurd) idea. He decided to create a theory (that did not particularly originate entirely with him) known as the documentary hypothesis — according to this hypothesis, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), attributed to Moses, weren’t actually written by Moses.  Rather, these four books have five different authors (known as J, E, P and D), and they were written several centuries after Moses lived, and the theory only takes off into insanity from there. I will not address this nonsense theory here (rather later posts), however one of the evidences that Wellhausen found for his theory was the supposedly fictional Hittites. There non-existence was supposedly confirmation of his idea. And his theory took off (at the time).

Until we found them.

We ended up finding the Hittites. But we didn’t just find a tribal group that called themselves Hittites. We found an empire. The Hittites were the first civilization to ever work with iron, and they destroyed Babylon in 1600 BC. They even had their own language. The Bible was right.

Again.

So, why is this important? Apart from me writing a post that names another one of the evidences and confirmation of the Bible, and remarking about another one of the crashing explosions for the “skeptics” like Wellhausen, this is important because it outlines a very, very important pattern that has been happening consistently for the last three hundred years. A scholar would note something in the Bible, point out that it was unknown to them at their time, claim the Bible as wrong, and half of academia was on his boat. Then, some discovery happens and it turns out the Bible is right. Whether it’s the Hittite peoples, the existence of Hebrews in Egypt before the exodus, domestication of camels in the time of Abraham, the mines of Solomon, or the fulfillment of a prophecy that says Israel would revive as a nation. It continues happening, the Bible continues getting proven right when everyone thinks it is wrong. How can we explain this?

[Proverbs 25:2] It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out the matter.

God hides things for us to find, and when we find them, we continue getting shocked and shocked every time. “Who would’ve known, God was right!” But the skeptics do not learn. It’s a 300-year pattern that they’re not aware of. But the believers of God are the ones who predict these things. Men like Steven Collins are ones who predict the Bible is right before it is figured out. I don’t know when, but one of these days I’m going to tell you about Steven Collins. And Albright as well. But all you need to know now is that God is right, and your next objection, if yet unanswered, will be revealed for its error one day. That is why we must trust in God — He proves to us yet and yet again He is right everytime, the evidence piles on one side but we pretend it is not there. Yes, the Hittites existed, and yes, we must put our faith into God.

….Even more historical confirmation of the Bible

Every now and then I report on another round of historical discoveries pretty much proving and establishing the Bible and several of its narratives. So, here’s yet another one! Even better, all the references I will give here are discoveries that came in the last two years alone.

Up until a few months ago, archaeologists considered the Bible’s narrative on Solomon’s enormous wealth completely exaggerated, and the amount of possessions he had. This was a major historical controversy, and considered a great challenge to the known historicity of the narrative of Solomon’s wealth found in the Bible. This was because that, although there is abundant evidence of mining, copper smelting and metalwork in the 5th century BC, there was hardly any before this, let alone as early as the 10th century BC, the reign of Solomon. This claim came to a halting crash just last month, in January of 2017.

A paper reported the newfound discovery of extensive copper smelting, metalwork and mining exactly in the 10th century BC, in the Timna Valley of Israel. Indeed, these mines were likely Solomon’s mines himself. And indeed, upon their discovery it showed that the wealth of Solomon was something that was not at all being exaggerated. Indeed, the biblical narrative had been established.

In Luke 1:63, we are told that people wrote on tablets. Then, a few months ago, in June of 2016, hundreds of ancient tablets were found, many dating to the first century — confirming Luke 1:63 does in fact reflect an accurate historical representation of the culture of the time, and the ‘technology’ available.

Another ground-breaking discovery made last year (2016). Skeptics use to claim that Galilean synagogues didn’t exist in Israel (and Jerusalem) before the Roman-Jewish War of 70 AD, and so when the Gospels keep telling us Jesus would be preaching in Galilean synagogues (synagogues in Galilee), it was obviously reflecting later writing and a historical error! I have in fact come across one of these myself in a conversation. That is, until a ground-breaking discovery was made last year, discovering a first century Galilean synagogue that dates to about 64 AD, confirming the existence of Galilean synagogues before the Roman-Jewish War of 70 AD, and confirming the very synagogues that Jesus stood and taught in before the Jews.

All of this goes to crushing lengths to establishing the grandeur historicity of the Bible, time and time again heavily defeating the accusations of the unbelievers. It’s rather sad to see them running out of accusations at such a stunning pace, all three of these discoveries were made in a span of less than one year throughout! PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY, FOR HIS WORDS ARE HOLY!!!

2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.