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Historical accuracy of the Bible


No archaeological discovery has ever proven wrong a Biblical reference. On the contrary, the accuracy of the Bible has been substantiated by archaeological discoveries.

Dr. Henry M. Morris concluded his in-depth study of the archeological evidence concerning the Bible with these words. "It must be extremely significant that, in view of the great mass of corroborative evidence regarding the Biblical history of these periods, there exists today not one unquestionable find of archaeology that proves the Bible to be in error at any point" (Henry M. Morris, The Bible and Modern Science, [Chicago:˙Moody Press, 1956]).

Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land

Critics of the Bible have claimed for decades that the Bible's statements in Joshua about the conquest of the Promised Land in the centuries before the monarchy of King David were pure fiction. In light of this new archeological evidence critics will be forced to relinquish their rejection of the Bible's record of Israel's conquest as stated by Joshua. In the book of Joshua (6:5), God told Joshua, “When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." Even this miracle is confirmed by archaeology. Professor John Garstang found and recorded his amazing finding, “there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over the ruins into the city.” The evidence from all other archaeological digs around ancient cities in the Middle East reveal that the walls of cities always fall inwards as invading armies push their way into the city.

Historicity of numerous kings mentioned in the Bible

Only fifty years ago many disbelieving scholars totally rejected the historical accuracy of the Bible because they claimed that the Scriptures talked about numerous kings and individuals that could not be confirmed from any other historical or archeological records. Recent discoveries have proven these critics wrong. Discoveries have been found referring to King David, Solomon, Uzziah, Hezekiah and many others.

Recent archeological investigations have demolished the position of those who rejected the biblical account of Israel's kings such as King David. In 1993, archeologists digging at Tel Dan in the Galilee in northern Israel found a fragment of a stone inscription that clearly refers to the "house of David" and identifies David as the "king of Israel." This is the first inscription outside the Bible that confirms the Bible's statement that David was the king of Israel in the ninth century before Christ.

A stone inscription from Egypt confirms that Israel was established as a nation in Canaan centuries before the reign of King David, just as the Bible claims. The Merneptah Stela is a seven-and-a-half-foot-high stone inscription discovered in the temple of Pharaoh Merneptah at Thebes in Egypt. Scholars determined that Pharaoh Merneptah ruled Egypt from 1213 to 1203 B.C. and confirmed that he launched an invasion into the area of the modern-day West Bank in Canaan, defeating the Jewish inhabitants of the land. The second line from the bottom of this inscriptions boasts, "Israel is laid waste; his seed is not."

In addition to the archeological evidence for King David, we now have confirmation of other kings of Israel. The name of Omri, king of Israel, is recorded on an inscription known as the Stela of King Mesha of Moab. In addition, Omri's name appears on the rock inscriptions of three kings of Assyria, the annals of both Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II, and the Black Obelisk of King Shalmaneser III, who wrote, "I conquered . . . all of the Land of Omri (Israel)." Other Assyrian inscriptions found in Nineveh confirm the Bible's records about these kings of Israel: Ahab, Jehu, Joash, Menehem, Pekah, and Hoshea. In addition, the names of many of the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah are also recorded on inscriptions of the nations that fought against the Jews. The inscriptions found by archeologists also confirm the names of these kings of Judah: Ahaziah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Jehoiachin. Scholars found ration records of the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (606 to 562 B.C.) that state, "ten sila of oil to Jehoiachin, king of Judah. . . ." Obviously, the fact that these foreign nations listed the kings of Israel and Judah provides the strongest evidence confirming the accuracy of the Word of God.

Historicity of other Biblical Personalities

One of the most interesting discoveries in recent years was the finding of two bull', or clay seals, that bear the impression of the actual seal used by Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah the prophet who transcribed the Book of Jeremiah. Both bull' bear the inscription, "Belonging to Berekhyahu, son of Neriyahu, the Scribe." One of these clay seals is on view in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. However, the second bull' was found in Jerusalem earlier in this century and purchased by collector Shlomo Moussaieff of London who owns the greatest private collection of ancient Jewish inscriptions in the world. This second clay seal, bearing the same inscription, also reveals a fingerprint that probably belonged to Baruch.

At the beginning of this century a fascinating seal was discovered in Israel that bore an inscription of a beautiful lion and the words, "Belonging to Shema servant of Jeroboam." This amazing find indicates that it belonged to an official of King Jeroboam of Israel. Other seals have been discovered confirming the biblical records about King Uzziah (777 to 736 B.C.) and King Hezekiah (726 to 697 B.C.).

Another important seal found in Jerusalem dates from the seventh century before Christ and is inscribed as follows: "Belonging to Abdi Servant of Hoshea." This seal made of orange chalcedony, used to authenticate royal documents for security, belonged to Abdi, a high official of King Hosea, the last king of the northern kingdom of Israel before it was conquered by the Assyrian Empire in 721 B.C. Another large seal on red limestone was found bearing the inscription "Belonging to Asayahu, servant of the king"˙together with a galloping horse. The name "Asaiah" is a short form of the name "Asayahu."˙This name occurs twice in the Old Testament in connection with the title "servant of the king." In 2 Chronicles 34:20 we find the name, "Asaiah a servant of the king's" and again in 2 Kings 22:12, "Asahiah a servant of the king's." It is possible that this seal was owned by "Asaiah, the servant of the king" a high court official who was sent by King Josiah to carefully examine the scroll of the lost Book of Deuteronomy that was found in the Temple by the High Priest Hilkiah in approximately 622 B.C.

Explorers in Iraq in the last century found the ancient inscribed clay cylinder bearing the actual decree of King Cyrus of Persia allowing the various captured natives of many different nations to return freely to their ancient homelands. It was the government policy of the preceding Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar to displace whole peoples such as the Jews and resettle them in the far reaches of their empire. However, King Cyrus of Persia, a moderate and God-fearing monarch, reversed the cruel Babylonian policy. Immediately after conquering the Babylonian Empire, King Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to freely return to their homeland in Israel ending the seventy-year-long captivity. The decree of King Cyrus began with these words, "I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king." After describing his conquests and deeds, the cylinder inscription reads, "I gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations." In this incredible discovery we find the confirmation of one of the most astonishing events in the pages of Scripture. "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, he is the God, which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:1-3).

The Archeological Evidence of the New Testament

The English scholar, William Ramsay, traveled as a young man to Asia Minor over a century ago for the sole purpose of disproving the Bible's history as described by Luke in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts. Ramsay and his professors were convinced that the New Testament record must be terribly inaccurate. He believed that Luke could not be correct in his history of Christ or in his account about the growth of the Church during the first decades following Christ. Dr. Ramsay began to dig in the ancient ruins of sites throughout Greece and Asia Minor, searching for ancient names, boundary markers, and other archeological finds that would conclusively prove that Luke had invented his history of Christ and His Church. To his amazement and dismay, William Ramsay discovered that the statements of the New Testament Scriptures were accurate in the smallest detail. Finally, Dr. Ramsay was convinced by the overwhelming evidence proving the Bible's accuracy. As a result, he accepted Jesus Christ as His personal Savior. He became both a Christian and a great biblical scholar. As a result of his conversion to belief in Jesus Christ, Sir William Ramsay's books became classics in the study of the history of the New Testament. Another great scholar, A. N. Sherwin-White, was a great classical historical scholar at Oxford University who studied the extensive evidence for and against the historical accuracy of the Book of Acts. Sherwin-White wrote his conclusion after studying the evidence, "For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming . . . any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd" (Quoted by Rubel Shelley, Prepare To Answer [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990]).

Dr. William F. Albright was unquestionably one of the world's most brilliant biblical archeologists. In 1955 he wrote: "We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after circa A.D. 80." However, additional discoveries over the next decade convinced him that all the books in the New Testament were written "probably sometime between circa A.D. 50 and 75." Significantly, Albright concluded that the writing of the New Testament within a few years of the events it described made it almost impossible that errors or exaggeration could have entered the text. He wrote that the duration between the events of Christ's life and the writing was "too slight to permit any appreciable corruption of the essential center and even of the specific wording of the sayings of Jesus." In other words, Professor Albright, one of the greatest minds in the field of archeology and ancient texts, concluded that the New Testament records the truth about Jesus Christ and his statements.

Dr. John A. T. Robinson was a distinguished lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge and developed a reputation as a great scholar. Naturally, he accepted the academic consensus universally held since 1900, that denied the disciples and Paul wrote the New Testament and concluded that it was written up to a hundred years after Christ. However, an article in Time magazine, March 21, 1977, reported that Robinson decided to personally investigate for himself the arguments behind this scholarly consensus against the New Testament's reliability because he realized that very little original research had been completed in this field in this century. He was shocked to discover that much of past scholarship against the New Testament was untenable because it was based on a "tyranny of unexamined assumptions" and what he felt must have been an "almost willful blindness." To the amazement of his university colleagues, Robinson concluded that the apostles must have been the genuine writers of the New Testament books in the years prior to A.D. 64. He challenged other scholars to complete original research necessary to truly examine the question fairly. As a result of such a new analysis Robinson believed that it would necessitate "the rewriting of many introductions to-and ultimately, theologies of-the New Testament." Robinson's book, Redating the New Testament, published in 1976, suggests that Matthew's Gospel was written as early as A.D. 40, within eight years of Christ.

Archeology has been continually proving the New Testament to be a reliable source of history. Many people, places and customs spoken of in the New Testament has now been confirmed to be true.

For example, the pool of Bethesda described in John 5:2 has been located in the north­east quarter of the old city of Jerusalem called Betheza.

The fact that Gallio was proconsul of Archaia as stated in Acts 18:12 has been proven correct through inscriptions found.

In 1968 the first physical evidence of crucifixion as a form of punishment was found when archeologist discovered heel bones still tranfixed by an iron nail.

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