As Archaeologists have spent their life digging up the past, they had never expected that they were discovering evidence to support the Bible’s claim of a divine authorship. Why is this? Bryant Wood explains:

Any one discovery can be explained away as coincidence, or an alternative interpretation can be given to disassociate it from the Bible. It is the weight of a myriad of discoveries that demonstrates the Bible to be the Word of God.

These discoveries fall into three categories:

1. Archaeological evidence demonstrates the historical and cultural accuracy of the Bible.

2. The Bible’s message of a loving Creator God who interacts in the affairs of mankind and has provided a means of salvation stands in sharp contrast to the pagan fertility religions of the ancient world as, revealed by archaeology.

3. Archaeological findings demonstrate that the Biblical prophets accurately predicted events hundreds of years before they occurred—something that lies beyond the capability of mere men.1)Bryant G. Wood, Ph.D., “How does archaeology conclusively demonstrate the Bible to be reliable and unique among all the holy books of world religions? http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aiia/aiia-arch1.html

 

We will not be capable of an exhaustive study in archaeology in this article, but mention only a few significant discoveries as well as the relevance of this line of evidence in general.

One reason archaeology is a particular powerful line of evidence is because it has repeatedly shut the mouths of scoffers as this field of science has advanced. Dave Hunt relates, “Yes, critics have often claimed to have found errors in the Bible based upon what was known at the time…. For example, earlier in the last century, it was claimed that the Hittite peoples, given prominent mention in the Bible (as strong and numerous from the time of Abraham to David), had never existed. Later, the archaeological evidence began to pour in. Today, there is an entire museum in Ankara, Turkey, devoted to the Hittites and filled with proof that what the Bible said about them was accurate.”2)Dave Hunt, Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith, The Berean Call, 2004, p. 73 The Egypto-Hittite Peace Treaty (c. 1258 BC) between Hattusili III and Ramesses II is the best known early written peace treaty and is located today at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum

The Ebla Tablets are another significant discovery that caused great embarrassment for skeptics. Josh McDowell explains why:

The apologetic importance of the Ebla tablets is that they parallel and confirm early chapter of Genesis. Although clouded by subsequent political pressure and denials, the published reports in reputable journals offer several possible lines of support for the biblical record.

Tablets contain the names of the cities Ur, Sodom, and Gomorrah, and such pagan gods mentioned in the Bible as Baal… The Ebla tablets reportedly contain references to names found in the book of Genesis, including Adam, Eve, and Noah…

An additional example of the contribution of the Ebla discovery relates to Genesis 14, which for years has been considered historically unreliable. Abraham’s victory over Chedolaomer and the Mesopotamian kings has been described as fictious, and the five Cities of the Plain (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar) legendary.

Yet the Ebla archives refer to all five Cities of the Plain, and on one tablet the Cities are listed in the exact order as appears in Genesis 14.3)Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Volumes 1 & 2 now together in one volume, Thomas Nelson  Publishers, 1999, p. 376-377

 

He mentions the political controversy over this discovery which revolves around the Israeli/Arab dispute over the land of Israel. This discovery so strongly confirms the Biblical history that the Muslims claim to the land is unsupported by facts and the Jews are proven to be the proper possessors of the small piece of property we know as Israel.

In Jeremiah 36:32 we read “Baruch the scribe, son of Neriah” which is a person also confirmed by archaeology.

One of the most interesting discoveries in recent years was the finding of two bullae, 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 Bullae 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…. This second clay seal, bearing the same inscription, also reveals a fingerprint that probably belonged to Baruch.4)Grant R. Jeffrey, The Signature of God, Inspirational Press, 1996, 1999, p. 76

 

The scribe Baruch was who recorded the words of Jeremiah the prophet. His recording of the inspired words is what preserved them for us today in written form.

Another biblical account that is frequently attacked is the event that revolves around the character of Balaam. This account is recorded in Numbers chapters 22-24, and is also referred to in Deuteronomy 23:4-5; Joshua 13:22, 24:9-10; Nehemiah 13:2; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11; and Revelation 2:14; as well as being alluded to in 1 Corinthians 10:8 compared with Number 25:9. Obviously none of the Biblical authors question the historical validity of this man. Archaeology identified Balaam in the Deir Alla inscription.

The amazing thing is that it is found on the border of ancient Israel, exactly where you would expect to find it given the biblical narrative. The people writing it are Balaam’s people. Meaning, for them he’s a hero, not a villain. So we’re getting the opposition point of view. They refer to him, just as in the Torah, as “Balaam Son of Beor”. Meaning, there is a letter-perfect synchronicity between the archeology and the Bible. But it gets better. According to the Torah, Balaam does have prophetic powers. According to the inscription, he is a prophet. According to the Torah, he gets his visions at night. According to the inscription, he gets his visions at night. According to the Torah, he worships false gods, but also dialogues with the God of Israel. According to the Deir Alla inscription, Balaam speaks to the “gods” and to “El” i.e., the God of Israel. But more than this, Balaam seems to be devoted to a goddess of fertility. Lest anyone think…the Torah is exaggerated, the Deir Alla inscription refers to a “girl” or priestess who is “used” for the purpose of making one “saturated with love” (Combination 2, ii 4)… So here you have a perfect synchronicity between the story in the Bible and the story that archeologists have discovered in a pagan temple in Jordan. But except for a few scholars, very few people have even heard of this discovery. More than this, the inscription has been removed from Deir Alla and put in drawers – I’m not kidding, drawers – in the Archeological Museum of Amman, capital of Jordan. Meaning, you could be standing right next to the greatest archeological match to the Bible and not know it.5)http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3111780/posts?vm=r&s=1

 

It becomes apparent the Balaam’s method of attack against God’s chosen people by enticing them to lust for Moabite women and thereby bringing God’s curse upon the nation was a tactic he had used before.

Other important find have given us confirming evidence for the book of Daniel, one of the most attacked book in the Bible. Critics hate the fact that it is full of very detailed prophecies of significant events of world history that proved to have been fulfilled precisely as Daniel predicted. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck identify the reason skeptics attack this book:

According to the contents of the Book of Daniel, it was written in the sixth century B.C. by Daniel who lived during its events….

Critics reject an early date for the writing of Daniel mainly because they reject predictive prophecy. The book unfolds details concerning the history of Babylon, Medo-Presia, Greece, and Rome. Details recorded in Daniel 11:5-35 were fulfilled in the fourth to the second centuries B.C. Skeptics insist that Daniel could not have foreknown those details but must have written them after  the events transpired and cast them in the form of prophecy to give credence to his writing.6)John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, 1987, p. 1324-1325

Isaac Asimov is just one example of men who have rejected the book for this line of reasoning. “In fact, the Book of Daniel is probably among the last written of the Jewish canon and may date from as late as 165 B.C.”7)Isaac Asimov, Asimovs Guide to the Bible,  Vol. 1-The Old Testament, Garden City, New York: Doubleday , 1968, p. 596 This can be easily refuted from various lines of evidence but we are limiting our discussion to archaeology here. The Istanbul Prism of Nebchadezzer contains the name of Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) from Daniel chapter 3—these names are attested as high court officials on a clay prism found in Babylon listing the names of Nebuchadnezzar’s government c. 593 B.C. Prior to this discovery, skeptics denied these men ever existed because they had found no historical or archaeological support for them. Another discovery attesting for Daniel chapter 5 is the The Nabonidus Cylinder which has the inscription “…and as for BELSHAZZAR, MY ELDEST SON–MY OFFSPRING–instill reverence for your great godhead…” proving the skeptics wrong who claim that the Bible was in error in this chapter for recording  Belshazzar as the ruler in Babylon at this time when history tells us Nabonidus was the king. Their claims was based on the lack of archaeological evidence which now gives us an abundance of evidence it confirm this portion of Scripture. Merrill Unger identifies that Belshazzar, “now well-known from modern archaeology, was the son of, and coregent with, Nabonidus. What is unique in cuneiform literature is that Belshazzar is so recognized as coregent. Two legal documents dated to the twelfth and thirteenth years of Nabonidus record oaths sworn by the life of the king and of Bel-shar-usur, the crown prince. Nabonidus (Nabunaid Akkadian Nabu-na’id, “Nabu is inspiring”) was the king of Babylon, 556-539 B.C. In the Persian Verse Account it is stated that in the third year Nabonidus entrusted the kingship to his son Belshazzar, and he himself took up residence at Tema (in Arabia).”8)Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook, Moody Press (Chicago Il: 1966, 1977) p. 387-388

All this evidence (and there is much, much more9)see http://truthwatchers.com/tower-of-babel-part-5-archaeological-evidence/) shows the accuracy of the Biblical accounts can be trusted and that it has proven foolishness for the skeptics who have doubted it because they had not found the evidence in their day. The pathetic thing is that skeptic continue to propagate the same arguments that have been refuted by solid evidence depending on the ignorance of the people listening to them. Furthermore, modern scoffers have not learned from the repeated embarrassments of their predecessors in claiming there is no evidence for specific Biblical events or individuals before archaeology has discovered all the facts. Just consider the precision of the Biblical records as it is compared to other ancient sources. “The Bible deals accurately with the history, location, and geography of many nations, countries, and cities. For example, 29 of the ancient kings mentioned in the Bible are also named on monuments of their time, some dating back 4,000 years. Of the 195 consonants in their names, there are only two or three that could be questioned as to whether they are written in the Bible exactly as on the monuments. By comparison, the greatest scholar of his day, the librarian at Alexandria, Egypt, in 200 B.C., refers to 38 Egyptian kings, of which only three or four are recognizable. Of the Assyrian kings he lists, only one is identifiable and it isn’t spelled correctly. In the list Ptolemy made of 18 Babylonian kings, not one is spelled properly and none could be identified without help from other sources. Yet, in the Bible, each of the 29 kings from 10 countries has his complex name spelled correctly, and each is given his right place and time in history, as verified by ancient monuments discovered by archaeologist.10)Dave Hunt, Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith, The Berean Call, 2004, p. 72 Consider also the inerrancy of the Bible which indicates the true God can only reveal truth as it pertains to historical facts as well as spiritual matters in contrast to other religious text that are obviously filled with lies and cannot be trust for what they speak of on spiritual things.

In comparison, consider the Book of Mormon. For decades, at the cost of millions of dollars, the Mormon Church has maintained as aggressive archaeological program literally scouring North, Central, and South America in search of evidence to support the Book of Mormon. To date they have not found so much as a pin or coin or stone or inscription. There is no evidence whatsoever that any of the cities described in the Book of Mormon ever existed. Even the geography can’t be verified….

Similar scientific errors, superstitious nonsense, and make-believe “history” are found in the Bhagavad-Gita and other Hindu writings, as in the legends of various indigenous peoples around the world. Israeli students, however, study the history of their country and ancestors from the Bible, and archaeologists use the Bible as a guide for locating the buried ruins of ancient cities.11)Dave Hunt, Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith, The Berean Call, 2004, p. 74

In conclusion, we should always trust what the Bible says on all matter it speaks of and expect the natural sciences, such as archaeology, will eventually advance in the future to the point that they will validate what the Bible has said all along. However, the most important thing the Bible speaks of is how you can know you can have forgiveness of your sin, receive salvation as a free gift and become a child of God.12)see http://truthwatchers.com/the-gospel/

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Heath Henning
Heath's Testimony Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and eight children.