Reasons to Believe the Bible From History

Historical Evidence
Archaeology confirms scriptural accounts of history over and over again. In fact, archaeologists used to deny the existence of the Hittites, Horites, Edomites, and other peoples and places mentioned in the Old Testament. Evidence of all these groups has since been uncovered. The names of some 40 kings have been found in documents taken from locations associated with their Old Testament references.

Hezekiah’s tunnel described in 2 Chronicles 32 was a viaduct constructed to supply water to the city of Jerusalem while it was under siege by King Sennacherib of Assyria in 701 B.C. This tunnel still cuts an 1800 foot ‘S’ shaped curve under the streets of Jerusalem. In 1880, two boys swimming in the tunnel discovered an inscription that described in detail how the tunnel had been built. That description agrees with the account of the building of the tunnel in 2 Chronicles 32. (1)

Here are some other archaeological finds that corroborate biblical accounts of ancient history:

Exodus
According to the book of Exodus, Pharoah’s army was drowned when they tried to pursue the Israelites into the Red Sea along the path that God had opened up through the water (Ex 14:8-30). Up until just a few years ago, no one had been able to find any evidence of this event. Then in the year 2000, Dr. Lennart Möller, a medical research scientist and marine biologist from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, conducted a search in the Gulf of Aqaba along a delta that matched biblical description of the place where the crossing took place. The sea floor rises thousands of feet at this point to create a broad plateau that extends across the entire width of the gulf. The floor of the ocean along this natural pathway is littered with coral formations shaped like overturned chariots. Metal detectors picked up traces of bronze in these formations. The crew even filmed one perfectly preserved chariot wheel that was coated with an alloy that had prevented it from being encrusted with coral. (2)

Ebla Tablets
The Ebla Tablets are 2500 clay tablets found in the archive at the ancient palace of Ebla. These tablets date from 2400–2300 B.C. They contain a list of places and names from the patriarchal books of the Bible. Prior to their discovery, Bible critics contended that the stories in these books were fiction. An account of creation from these tablets closely parallels the Genesis version written some 800 years later. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Haran, Abraham’s ancestral home are also mentioned. (3)

Hittites
Confirmed by archaeological digs in Bogazkoy, Turkey. (4)

Saragon’s Palace
Described in the book of Isaiah chapter 20. Discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. (5)

Capture of Ashdod
Described in the book of Isaiah chapter 20 and recorded on the walls of Saragon’s Palace. (6)

Daniel 5
King Belshazzar offered to make Daniel third highest ruler in Babylon. Recently discovered tablets show that Belshazzar was co-regent with his father, Nabonidus. Daniel would have been third in line after father and son. (7)

Nebo Sarsekim
Accompanied King Nebuchadnezzar at the siege of Jerusalem. His name was found on a 2500 year–old Assyrian cuneiform tablet as the chief eunuch of Nebuchadnezzar. His name is mentioned in Jeremiah chapter 39. (8)

Temech
One of the names on Nehemiah’s list of exiles in Nehemiah chapter 7. It was found engraved on a stone outside the old city walls near the Dung Gate. (9)

Nehemiah’s Wall
Remnants of the wall described in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah were discovered in an archaeological excavation in Jerusalem’s ancient City of David in 2007. (10)

Biblical Flood
Also recorded in the Sumerian King List, Eleventh tablet of Gilgamesh Epic, and folklore from 270 other cultures. (11)

Garden of Eden
Also recorded in the Story of Adapa in Mesopotamian mythology. (12)

Tower of Babel
Described in Genesis 11 and also recorded in Sumerian Tablets. (13)

Taylor Prism
A six–sided clay artifact about fifteen inches tall found at the site of the ancient city of Nineveh in 1830. It has six columns containing over five hundred lines of writing. It details the attack on the fortified cities of Judah by King Sennacherib of Assyria described in 2 Chronicles 32. It makes no mention of booty taken from the capital city in keeping with the biblical account that says God spared Jerusalem in answer to the prayer of Hezekiah, King of Judah. (14)

Assyrian Palace Walls
Assyrian King Sennacherib dedicated an entire wall of his palace in Nineveh to a relief of his victory over Lachish, one of the fortified cities of Judah. Such details as the huge sloping siege ramp south of  the city gate, the double walls of the city, the iron–clad battering rams, the counter ramp inside the city, and huge boulders from the city wall blackened by fire and strewn about the battlefield all confirm the biblical account of that same battle in the book of 2 Kings 18-19. (15)

Bullae
Bullae are clay seals affixed to papyrus scrolls and imprinted with the insignia of the writer. Yigal Shiloh, an Israeli archaeologist, found a cache of fifty-one bullae during his excavation of a building in Jerusalem in 1982. One scroll bore the seal of “Baruch son of Neriah” who was the prophet Jeremiah’s personal scribe (Jer 36:4). Another bore the seal of “Gemaryahu the son of Shaphan” who was King Jehoiakim’s scribe (Jer 36:11). A third scroll bore the name of Elishama. His name is mentioned in Jeremiah 36:20. (16)

The Moabite Stone
This is a black basalt stone measuring about three–and–a–half feet high and two feet in width. It wadiscovered by a missionary named F.A. Klein in1868 and subsequently broken into pieces by the Arabs, but not before a French scholar named Clermont Ganneau was able to make an impression of the inscription. It tells the story of the conquest of Omri, King of Israel, by Mesha, King of Moab, after years of Moabite subjugation by Israel. This version of events is corroborated in 1 Kings 16, and 2 Kings 3. The Moabite stone also makes mention of the “House of David,” King of Israel. (17)

The Cyrus Cylinder
This is a small clay cylinder about nine inches long inscribed with the account of the victory of King Cyrus of the Medo–Persian Empire over Babylon in 539 B.C. It makes references to his humanitarian resettlement policies. This description coincides with biblical accounts of the return of the Babylonian captives from Jerusalem to their homeland and King Cyrus’ provision for the rebuilding of the walls under Nehemiah (Neh 2:1-8). (18)

The Weld Blundell Prism
A list of Sumerian kings who ruled between 3200 and 1800 B.C. inscribed on a baked clay prism. This would have dated from slightly before the time of Abraham to about 700 years before the flood. Ten of these kings ruled before the flood and lived for hundreds of years like Adam’s descendants (Gen 5:1-32). Herbert Weld Blundell, an English archaeologist, discovered it in Larsa, Iraq in 1922. (19)

Roman Records of Jesus
Several Roman historians make mention of the life and times of Jesus dating back as far as just two decades after his crucifixion. In 64 A.D. Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman historian and governor of Asia, confirmed that Jesus was executed as a criminal under Pontius Pilate in his Annals. He made reference to the rapid growth of Christ’s followers  and the threat they posed to emperor worship. (20)

Caius Suetonius was the official historian of Rome during the reign of the emperors Trajan and Adrian. He chronicled the lives of the first twelve Caesars. In the section on Claudius, who ruled from 41 to 54 AD, he mentions how the followers of Christ were banished from Rome for refusing to acknowledge the emperor’s deity. He also describes how Nero blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians. (21)

The historian Pliny the Younger, a contemporary of Suetonius, recorded how the deep
devotion of Christians for Jesus Christ forbade them from worshipping the emperor at the cost of their very lives. (22)

In the century following Christ’s death, a government official named Lucian wrote an
account of the travels of Proteus, a well-known Greek fugitive. Proteus encountered some
followers of one Jesus Christ who was crucified in Palestine. This man, according to Proteus, was a lawgiver whom they worshiped as God. (23) There is a letter in the British Museum listed as Syriac Manuscript 14,658. It was written by a Syrian prisoner named Mara Bar-Serapion in the first century. In this letter he urges his son to follow the instruction of various great teachers. One of them he calls the King of the Jews, a religious leader who was executed by the Romans under pressure from his own people. He tells his son that the teachings of this wise king lived on after his people were exiled for killing him, a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. (24)

Finally, Julius Africanus, a North African Christian teacher, explained an unusual event
reported by a pagan historian named Thallus in 52A.D. Thallus describes a three-hour period of darkness that enveloped Judaea in 32 A.D. in the middle of the day. He attributed this darkness to a solar eclipse. But according to his account, the sky was so dark that the stars appeared as though it were the middle of the night. Africanus makes the point that this event, a reference to the biblical account of Christ’s crucifixion, occurred during the Jewish Passover which always coincided with a full moon. Solar eclipses never occur during this phase of the moon. Therefore it had to be a supernatural act of judgment as God poured out his wrath on his own son for the sins of the world. (25).

END NOTES

1. Butt, Kyle M.A. “Archaeology and the Old Testament.”
Apologetics Press.
http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2502
2. “The Exodus Revealed: Search for the Red Sea
Crossing.” Discovery Media Productions.
3. “The Old Testament Has Been Archaeologically
Verified.” Please Convince Me. July 2011.
http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/index/The_Old_Te
stament_Is_Verified_Archeologically.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Ibid.
19. Wood, Dr. Bryant, “Ancient Replicas-Weld Prism.”
1995.http://www.ancientreplicas.com/weld-prism.html.
20. Jeffrey, Grant R. “Historical Evidence About Jesus.”Prophecy On Line. http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/historicalev.htm.
21. Ibid.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid
24. Ibid.
26. Ibid.

 

About craigolson001

Follower of Jesus Christ. Devoted husband. Avid student of the Bible. Former missionary to northern Japan for eight years. Retired. Author of The Lukewarm Church. Pickleball enthusiast. Biker, golfer. Member of Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, IL.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Creation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s