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Choose Life That You Might Live

Part 4: God and His Bible. The Reliability of The Old Testament
What is truly interesting is that most people seem to be prejudiced against the Bible, but well disposed towards other 'scriptures'.This is a rather illogical situation, because there is far more evidence in favor of the Bible being true, than there is for any of the other 'holy books'

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

List of Chapters
For a slightly longer description of each chapter, please go to the Main Index

Part 1: Spiritual not Religious. The question is how do you know that the spiritual path you are on will lead somewhere you want to be? What does it offer you in the long run... beyond this life?
Part 2: Religious Pluralism. It is tragically true that few of those who believe that all spiritual beliefs are valid paths to God seem to have made an in depth study of various religions to see if their claims are based on fact, or fairy dust.
Part 3: Faith and The Bible. Christianity is perhaps the only religion that does not demand 'blind faith' from its followers.
YOU ARE HERE 001orange Part 4: God And His Bible. There is far more evidence in favor of the Bible being true, than there is for any of the other 'holy books which usually consist of endless streams of often mind numbing philosophy, with little or no framework or context. The evidence includes the Bible’s humanly impossible authorship, its archaeological and scientific accuracy and  fulfilled prophecy.
Part 5: Alleged Old Testament Discrepancies. The charges are usually careless, overconfident and unsubstantiated.
Part 6: Why Jesus Is Without Equal.  Many so called holy men claim to to be divine or divinely inspired - to have had mystical visions or experiences. So what?
Part 7: The Reliability of The New Testament. If we applied whatever criteria liberal scholars use to dismiss the Gospels, to the evidence for other historical people and events, we would have to dismiss as myth everything we think we think we know about the ancient past.
Part 8: New Testament Differences and Discrepancies  Most alleged 'mistakes' arise from understanding too little about the Bible.
Part 8 b:The Resurrection Accounts The so-called contradictions are trotted out without a single reference to the possible solutions that can very plausibly and naturally explain them.
Part 9: The Bible, Then And Now. People commonly reject the Bible because they believe the original text has been changed significantly since it was first written, and therefore, it is a corrupted book. But is there any truth to the charge?
Part 10: Historical Corroboration. Were any of the Gospel accounts substantiated by non-Christian sources?
Part 11: Archaeology and The Bible. Does archaeology confirm, or undermine, the New Testament accounts?
Part 12: Is The Evidence Insufficient or Too Obscure? A far more sensible way to look at it is... the more severe the consequences, the fewer risks we should take.
Part 13: The Message of The Bible. The Heaven Jesus was sent to tell us about is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there. In fact, the Bible's description of the coming kingdom is far more practical than that of our theologians. '
Part 14: The Warning of The Bible. We are all under the death penalty. If dying once sounds terrible to you, how does doing it twice sound? -  which is exactly what the Bible says will happen if...
Part 15: Who Is and Isn't a Christian. Since the word originated with the Bible, only the Bible has the right to define what a "Christian" is.
Part 16: Myths and Misconceptions that stem from knowing too little about Biblical Christianity.

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ON THIS PAGE

The Bible... A History Book With A Difference
Most other 'holy books', at least the ones I have encountered, are endless streams of often mind numbing philosophy, with little or no framework or context. In complete contrast, Christianity is based on something that was said or done, at a specific time and in a specific place. Which means it is historically provable or disprovable.

The Bible... Totally Deceptive, Totally Deranged, Or Totally Divine
When it comes to a book that repeatedly claims to be the "word of God", there are only three possible conclusions we can reach. Either the authors were deranged, deliberately trying to delude, or the book really was Divinely inspired.

How Can We Know The Bible is Divinely Inspired?
The obvious question being what distinguishes the Bible from the many 'holy' books that exist today.

Authorship
The only possible reason for the absolute unity of the Bible is simply because there were not forty authors, only one.

The Bible's Candor About The Faults and Failings of Its Main Characters.
does not prove the Bible to be true, but it certainly reinforces the case that it is an honest book

Fulfilled Prophecy
Neither men nor false gods can make infallible and accurate prophecies about the future. Only a Supreme Being can consistently and precisely predict the future in detail.

The Bible's Archaeological Accuracy
It is certainly true that archaeological accuracy does not prove the truth claims of the Scriptures. However, if the Bible is inaccurate in areas we can test, then we would rightly hesitate to trust it in the areas we cannot test.

Archaeological Inaccuracy of The Book of Mormon
Comparing the Bible's archaeological accuracy with the archaeological inaccuracy of the Book of Mormon.

The Bible's Scientific Accuracy
The scientific accuracy of the Bible definitively shows that there was a greater source of intelligence at work in the writings of men who could not possibly have had known the first things about the solar system, the universe, the ocean floor, or germs. Also note some of the scientific errors and absurdities in the Qur'an

 



The Bible... A History Book With A Difference

The only reason there are so many religions in the world, is because the vast majority of men know or, at least sense that God exists. However, most religions are man's effort to find or reach this God. Christianity is crucially different; inasmuch as it is the account of God reaching down to man which, if you think about it, makes a heck of a lot more sense. After all, the search for a Supreme Being is not exactly like looking for mushrooms. How would you know where to look and how to look. And, how could you possibly know, beyond all doubt, that what you have encountered is indeed Deity and not some other being that, wishing to be seen as benevolent, is wearing a mask?

Don't tell me! You feel right. Your spirit tells you all is well.

But we have already gone into how deceptive feelings can be, haven't we?

The Bible teaches that when God revealed Himself to man, He did so by establishing a unique relationship with one small nation, then giving certain hand picked men, whom He knew would obey Him faithfully, the authority to speak on His behalf.

  • Note: In the Bible, "prophets" did necessarily or exclusively foretell the future, but were spokes persons for the Lord. Prophets were not chosen by men, could not inherit the post and were not specially trained for it.

The result was the 66 books of the Bible... an ancient book written in everyday language, by everyday people who wrote what they saw, what they heard, and what they were told. It is not a book of mysteries, a spiritual handbook, a series of divine utterances, systematic discourses, a list of moral laws, or a dry list of religious do's and don'ts. These men recorded not only ongoing historical events, but revealed God's character and nature and what  standard He expects humankind to live up to. It also warns people what the consequences of sin would be and, most importantly, it outlines God's plan by which men could be forgiven of sin, thus escape His judgment and have everlasting life instead of being condemned to death.

Most other 'holy books', at least the ones I have encountered, are endless streams of often mind numbing philosophy, with little or no framework or context. In complete contrast, Christianity is based on something that was said or done at a specific time and in a specific place. Which means it is historically provable or disprovable.

However, although the Bible is a history book, history is not its primary purpose. Besides which, it a history book with a difference - it records God's dealings with men from the first day of man's existence but, stretching across the centuries, it reaches into the future and tells about the end of this world as we know it, when God will bring His kingdom to earth. [See Jesus’ Kingdom Message in chapter The Message of The Bible]


The Bible... Totally Deceptive, Totally Deranged, Or Totally Divine
Virtually everything we know about God and the spiritual world comes from the pages of the Bible, a book that is unique in many ways. To begin with, as Glenn Miller says, it...

    claims hundreds and hundreds of times to be the "Word of God." It doesn't soft- pedal this bizarre claim at all. It never claims to be 'a consensus of humanity's most noble and sublime thoughts.' It never claims to be the 'insights' of a religiously privileged character or race". [01]

(Note: Only the Bible, Islam, and the various offshoots of Christianity (Mormonism for example), have ever claimed to be a revelation from God. Since eastern religions believe that their 'gods' are impersonal, not beings who can communicate their thoughts, their holy books only claim to be human teachings).

    It agrees, of course, with most other literature on basic tenets of good living (Ten Commandments and Golden Rule kind of stuff), but takes an unique position on the central problem -- our moral failures and their consequences. Other religious classics assert that the basic method of overcoming our moral failures and their consequences in our relationships (with ourselves, other people, the universe, and this 'Person') is by living better lives, doing good deeds, "walking the religious way", keeping some set of rules, doing your best, thinking positively etc. The main message of the Judeo-Christian Scripture is diametrically opposed to this solution (but not opposed to doing those good things, of course.)

    It does not 'coddle' us--it calls us to accept responsibility for our personal failures. But it does not overwhelm us with them either. It communicates care and concern for our plight (without being overly melodramatic or compromising its ethical standards), and documents both its provisions for this plight and the steps necessary to 'repair' the situation...

The truth is that if one examines the claims made by the Bible and the evidence for the truth of these claims one is forced to the conclusion that, as Glenn Miller also says, the Bible is

    "totally deceptive, totally deranged, or totally divine--there is no fourth option like 'a very good and insightful book'!" [02]


How Can We Know The Bible is Divinely Inspired?
The obvious question being what distinguishes the Bible from the many 'holy' books that exist today. All too many people believe that the Bible has no significant historical, textual, or archaeological support. That its miraculous claims cannot be reconciled with the laws of nature as we understand them. That all the evil and suffering in our world contradicts the Biblical portrayal of an caring and all-powerful God.

What is truly interesting is that most people seem to be prejudiced against the Bible, but well disposed towards other 'scriptures'. In fact, if you quote the Bible, it is quite likely that you will hear something like "everyone knows the Bible is full of errors and contradictions". However if you were to appeal to... say... the writings of Buddha, you would probably be viewed as a wise, or even enlightened, person.

This is a rather illogical situation, because there is far more evidence in favor of the Bible being true, than there is for any of the other 'holy books' like the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita, the writings of Confucius, or the Book of Mormon.

However, since when we pick up a copy of the Bible, it does not levitate or otherwise give us some supernatural indication that it is the word of God, why should we accept it as the only book that is divinely inspired, as opposed to other sacred writings?

The answer is multifold.

However, I think it is hugely important to point out that, when it comes to logic, there is a considerable difference between what is called 'deductive' and 'inductive' logic or reasoning.

Deductive Vs. Inductive Logic
Deductive reasoning, also called a priori (prior to examining the facts), starts with the cause and reasons to the effect. For example, if someone has an a priori commitment to naturalism (the idea that nothing exists beyond the natural world) they will not believe miracles or prophecy are possible, since neither can be a result of natural, or physical laws. Thus, they will endeavor to explain away anything that smacks of the supernatural as a 'coincidence' or 'misinterpretation' etc.

Inductive reasoning, called a posteriori (after seeing the evidence), works the opposite way. It starts with the effects and attempts to find the cause. In contrast to deductive reasoning, a person will look at a miracle or fulfilled prophecy and attempt to find who or what could have accomplished such a thing.

Although it is entirely possible to reach the wrong conclusion via inductive arguments, there are some things that it would be very difficult to find more than one answer to. An outstanding example are the facts surrounding the authorship of the Bible.


Authorship
The Bible has one message from Genesis to Revelation, which most people would not consider particularly noteworthy. After all, most books have one theme, or story line. However, the Bible's uniformity is extremely remarkable if you consider the following facts....

    a) The Bible has a cast of almost three thousand characters and covers a very large number of different subjects... Isaiah wrote to warn Israel of God's coming judgment on their sin, Nehemiah wrote of how the returning captives rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. The 'weeping prophet' Jeremiah wrote to warn that  the Chaldeans would take Judah captive. Daniel, who had earned a place of honor and respect among the Gentiles, wrote of the prophetic visions he had while in exile in Babylon. Matthew wrote to prove to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah, and Paul wrote addressing problems and encouraging believers in different churches.

    b) It was written under many different circumstances... Joshua wrote at the time the Israelites invaded Canaan, David wrote during a time of war, Jeremiah wrote at the terrible time of Israel's downfall, Peter wrote while Israel was under Roman domination. But that is not all...

    c) Unlike the Qur'an, which was the collection of the words of the one man who was the acknowledged leader, and sole prophet, of Islam, forty independent writers were used in the compilation of the Bible. These writers not only wrote over a 1,500 year time span, but had some twenty vastly different backgrounds, levels of education and occupations. Included in their numbers were a couple of kings, a general, at least two fishermen, a musician, a priest, a tax collector, a physician etc.

    d) Additionally, they wrote in three different languages on three different continents... Asia, Africa and Europe. Moses wrote in the desert of Sinai, Ezra in the ruined city of Jerusalem, Daniel from exile in Babylon, and Paul from a prison in Rome.

    e) Finally they wrote in every literary forms you can think of, including history (Kings and Chronicles), wisdom literature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), apocalyptic literature (Revelation and parts of Daniel), poetry (The Psalms), parables, letters etc.

Yet, although they could not have possibly colluded or conspired with each other, the 40 authors of the Bible were united around one theme, i.e. God's redemption of man and how it was to be accomplished. Even more amazingly, they produced a book in which many controversial subjects are addressed... yet they never ever contradicted each other.


Could We Write The Bible?
To truly understand how impossible this is, perhaps we should try, or at least imagine, writing a book, approximating the conditions under which the Bible was written.

We would need 40 different writers from two or three countries... some highly educated, some not so much. We would need farmers, a fisherman or two, at least one doctor, one musician and, if possible, someone brought up in the home of a ruling family in a foreign land. The authors would need to speak at least two different languages between them, and have no possible means of communication between themselves.  No e-mail, phone, letters, or text messages. Oh yes! And did I mention that they need to live over a span of 1,500 years.

We have assembled our would be authors?

Good!

Now the next step is to ask them to write on all of the following topics ... God and His relationship with man, the creation of the universe and where they think it is going. Also morality, ethics, a little bit of science, and a light sprinkling of philosophy for good measure.

I wonder what you think we would have when, after the fifteen hundred years are up, we compile all their work into one book. Perhaps the only thing we can be certain of is that it would be one hodgepodge of world views, with contradictions galore. This simply because even two people rarely agree on every topic. Expand the number of authors to 40, throw in some supernatural and metaphysical subjects, and ... well I am sure you get the picture.

Perhaps we can now appreciate that the Bible is impossible to account for on purely human principles. The reason for the absolute unity of the Bible is simply because it had only one author, not forty.

Another rarely considered facto is...


The Bible's Candor About The Faults and Failings of Its Main Characters
The fact that the Bible does not attempt to hide or gloss over the misdeeds of its central characters, nor attempt to portray them in a favorable light, does not prove the Bible to be true, but it certainly reinforces the case that it is an honest book that tells of people who, in spite of their great faith, were just as human as any of us.

Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible which not only tell the story of Noah getting drunk shortly after he got off the ark (Genesis 9:21), and Abraham's lies about Sarah being his sister (Genesis 12:13, 20:2), but his own sins. His apparent outburst of anger in the wilderness (Numbers 20:10-12), the fact that he murdered a man in Egypt, and was very reluctant to go approach the Pharaoh, as the Lord commanded.

The Old Testament, which was written by Jews, makes no bones about the nation’s frequent lapses into apostasy.... the numerous times they turned away from God to worship idols. In fact, the beloved king David was documented as an adulterer who had his lover's husband murdered (2 Samuel 11). It also does not gloss over the fact that when God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh with a warning to the people there, he fled in the opposite direction which, if you think about it.... is perfectly understandable.

    (What God told Jonah to do could be compared with Him telling a mid 20th century Jew to go preach to the Gestapo. Jonah knew that God 's response was (and is) always favorable when people repent. The Ninevites were infamous for their cruelty and, judging from Jonah's own words (Jonah 4:2), he did not want them forgiven, since many of his countrymen had already experienced the carnage they could, and did, wreak).

In the New Testament, not only did the disciples rather childishly argue about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24), fall asleep on the crucial night before Jesus' trial even though He had asked them to watch and pray (Mark 14:32-41), but also ran away when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50). Additionally, when confronted, Peter denied that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:72).

Later on, Peter stopped eating with the Gentiles for fear of the Jews (Galatians 2:11-12), Paul and Barnabas argued about whether Mark should accompany them on one of their missionary journeys (Acts 15:37-39), and Paul's confessed that he was "foremost" of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).


Fulfilled Prophecy
The Bible is also unique in that it makes literally hundreds of predictions of future events, some of which were general, while others were so specific that they gave places and dates. Whether discussing the rise and fall of empires that had not even come to power when the prophecy was written, or making prophecies about specific individuals who would not be born for many years to come (most important of whom was the Messiah), the Bible is the only 'religious' book that speaks of future events with the same certainty that it speaks of past and present events. To the best of knowledge, not a single one of these has failed to come true.

So how does this show that God is behind these prophecies? Only because neither men nor false gods can make infallible and accurate prophecies about the future. Only a Supreme Being can consistently and precisely predict the future in detail. In the book of Isaiah, the Lord says He is the first and the last, and there is no God besides Him. He asks (Emphasis Added)

    "Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place. (Isaiah 44:6-7)

He also challenges the idol gods to "Declare the things that are going to come afterward, that we may know that you are gods". And since this is impossible for them, He then goes on to say "Behold, you are of no account, And your work amounts to nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination." (Isaiah 41:3-4. Emphasis Added)

And why is the God of the Bible able to successfully predict the future with pin point accuracy? Simply because He controls the future

    "Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; (Isaiah 46:8-10 NASB)

All of which means that if the prophecies made by the authors of the Bible came true, it would confirm their claims that God was working through them. In fact, several passages in Scripture unambiguously state that the test of a true prophet was that his words come to pass. If they did not, then the people could be sure that the Lord had not sent him. (See for example, Deuteronomy 18:21-22 and Jeremiah 28:9). And exactly the same principle applies to so called modern prophets.

So let's take a look at just some of the prophecies made in the Old Testament apart from those made about the Messiah. (Not only did Jesus Himself make a number of prophecies, but virtually all facets of His life was foretold hundreds of years in advance, including His birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. See Chapter Why Jesus is Without Equal).


Daniel's Prophecies
Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
One night Nebuchadnezzar, who was king of Babylon from approximately 605 BC to 562 BC, had a dream which greatly disturbed him. However, he apparently could not remember the details of this dream, and called for the sorcerers and magicians of the land, demanding that they tell him what he had dreamed and what it meant. If they could not, he said, they would be executed.

Quite obviously, this was completely beyond the 'wise men' of the court, who told the king that only the gods could do what he asked. At which Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to destroy all of them, including Daniel and his friends who had been taken captive when the Babylonians ransacked Judah and who had, since then, gained the king's trust. Daniel requested time to fulfill the king's order, which was granted him. To cut a long story short, having found favor with God, the mystery was revealed to Daniel in what the Bible called a 'night vision', and he was able to tell the king the content and significance of his dream.

In summary, the king had dreamt of an enormous statue that had a head of fine gold. Its chest and arms were made of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, and the legs of iron. The feet were a mix of iron and clay. But then, as King Nebuchadnezzar watched, a stone cut "without hands" out of a mountain, struck the image on its feet and crushed them, along with the rest of the statue. In Daniel's words...

    Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.  (Daniel 2:35 NASB)

The interpretation of the dream, as given Daniel, was this... Babylon itself was represented by the statue's golden head. However, three more kingdoms would arise in turn after Babylon. The second kingdom would be inferior to Babylon, and it would be followed by a third kingdom of bronze, which would rule over all the earth. The fourth kingdom would be as strong as iron... crushing the others.

History has shown that

    Babylon was overthrown by the Medes and the Persians, which parallels the statue's two arms.

    The Greeks under Alexander the Great, represented by the bronze torso and thighs, conquered the Medo/Persian Empire...

    Finally, the Roman Empire represented by the two iron legs of the statue, overthrew the Grecian kingdom. (Note: many years later that the Emperor Diocletian [284-305] split the empire in half, creating what would become the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire, i.e. the two legs of the statue.

    The ten toes have a symbolism which has been discussed on another page. [See A Dragon and Two Beasts]

Suffice to say, the stone that grew into a mountain and filled the entire earth is representative of God's kingdom, which starts out small, but expands until it fills the earth, destroying all man made kingdoms in the process. [See The Three Stage Emergence of The Kingdom and  Heaven]


Daniel's Vision

Daniel's second vision (recorded in Daniel 8) was equally remarkable. It involved a two horned ram vanquished by a male goat that had a conspicuous horn between his eyes and magnified himself exceedingly. Daniel was told that the ram represented the Medo-Persian empire, and the goat the Greeks. However, "as soon as he was mighty", the goat's horn was broken, replaced by four other horns. Additionally Daniel saw that "little horn," that arose from one of the four horns would go on to bitterly persecute the Jews.

In the light of hindsight, we know that, in 331 B.C., Alexander the Great (the goat) decisively defeated the Persian king King Darius III (the ram) in the battle of Gaugamela. By the time he was about thirty years old, he had conquered much of the known world, creating one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan. However, at the very height of his power, he suddenly contracted a fever and died ten days later. He was just 32.

After his death, four of his generals (the four horns) divided the empire between them. One of them, Seleucus I Nicator who served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, founded the Seleucid dynasty.

Judea was eventually incorporated into this Seleucid Kingdom ruled at the time by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC). At first, relations between the Seleucids and the Jews were cordial but, later on, as the relations between the hellenized Jews and the religious Jews deteriorated, Antiochus IV attempted to ban Jewish religious rites and traditions. According to the book of Maccabees...

    Not long after this the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon the customs of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God; also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and that on Mount Gerizim to Zeus the Hospitable, as the inhabitants of the place requested...They also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws. A man could not keep the sabbath or celebrate the traditional feasts, nor even admit that he was a Jew. At the suggestion of the citizens of Ptolemais, a decree was issued ordering the neighboring Greek cities to act in the same way against the Jews: oblige them to partake of the sacrifices, and put to death those who would not consent to adopt the customs of the Greeks. It was obvious, therefore, that disaster impended. Thus, two women who were arrested for having circumcised their children were publicly paraded about the city with their babies hanging at their breasts and then thrown down from the top of the city wall. Others, who had assembled in nearby caves to observe the sabbath in secret, were betrayed to Philip and all burned to death. ” [2 Maccabees 6:1–11]

This sparked a national rebellion led by Judas Maccabeus, whose victory and the rededication of the second Jerusalem Temple, is celebrated on the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

Also See Daniel's very precise prophecy about when the Messiah would make His appearance. HERE

Daniel... Prophet or Historian?
Many will argue that Daniel wrote around 170 B.C. and therefore, was a historian not a prophet. However, there is considerable evidence that Daniel lived in the time of king Nebuchadnezzar.  For example, we know that the prophet Ezekiel who lived in the 6th century B.C. mentioned Daniel three times in his book Ezekiel 14:14,20, and 28:3. Obviously Daniel lived just prior to Ezekiel or was a contemporary of his. Unfortunately, space prohibits listing all the evidence here.  [For Details See Daniel’s Amazing Prophecies]

It is also crucially important to note the date of Daniel's prophecy. Daniel 8:1 says it came "in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king". According to an ancient Babylonian text called the Nabonidus Chronicle, beginning in year seven (549/8 B.C.), Nabonidus was away from Babylon for ten years, which means Belshazzar must have been regent. [03]

The third year of his reign was therefore in 546/5 B.C., when no one would have dreamt that the mighty Babylonian empire would fall in the next half a dozen or so years (The Persian king, Cyrus the Great, conquered Babylon In 539 BC). Nor would anyone have imagined that the Greeks, followed by the Romans would, in turn, become dominant world powers.


The Golden Gate
The Golden Gate is one of several gates built into Jerusalem’s old city walls. Located on the eastern side of the city, it looks across the Kidron valley at the Mount of Olives. It was built anywhere from the 5th to the 7th century A.D. atop the ruins of a much older gate, which dated back to about the 6th century B.C. [04]

However, for reasons completely unknown to us, this gate, and only this gate, was sealed off in 1541 by Suleiman the Magnificent, the tenth and longest-reigning 16th century Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, a great patron of culture who oversaw the artistic, literary and architectural development of the Ottoman Empire. Whatever Suleiman's reasons might have been, we are taken back to the words of the prophet Ezekiel, who was told by the Lord that

    This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. (Ezekiel 44:2 NASB)

Suleiman had no idea he was fulfilling prophecy, and the gate remains sealed to this day. But why... why should this gate remain shut? But why... why should this gate remain shut? The answer is both awesome and, at the same time, enough to give anyone chills.

Just prior to his trial and crucifixion Matthew 21 records that Jesus and His disciples were on the Mount of Olives, and that He entered Jerusalem on the ass brought to Him by the disciples. In all likelihood, Jesus astride said donkey, entered the city though the Golden Gate, which was the closest gate to the Mount. As He did so the crowds...

    took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, "Hosanna! (oh save) blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel."  (John 12:13 NASB)

This not only fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9...

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9 NASB)

... but was a foreshadowing of His second coming. Zechariah also tells us...

    In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.  (Zechariah 14:4 NASB)

The phrase "in that day" refers to the second coming of the Lord. Which leads to the obvious conclusion... in the not so distant future, Christ will return to the same place He left from.... the mount of Olives (See Acts 1:9-12) from which He will enter Jerusalem. In other words the Golden Gate is sealed until Christ once again enters Jerusalem through it.

Note that Zechariah was a prophet in Judah after they returned from their seventy years of exile in Babylon. He lived during the reign of Darius I (c. 550–486 BC), the third king of the Persian Empire


Various Prophecies
Space precludes a detailed description of other prophecies and their fulfillment, which include...

The Return of Israel to the Land.
This was prophesied by Isaiah...

    "Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west. "I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, (Isaiah 43:5-6 NASB)

After the partition of Palestine, the establishment of a Jewish state, and the Israeli victory in the six-day war, waves of Jews from all over the world immigrated, or simply fled, to Israel. More than interestingly, the direction the immigrants came from roughly coincided with the words of the prophet Isaiah.... "I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west. "I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not hold them back." [DETAILS]

The Flourishing of The Desert In Palestine
Israel is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, but only 20% of the land is arable... much of which has to be irrigated. More than half of Israel is arid or semi-arid, and the rest of the country is dominated by steep hillsides and forests. Yet, Israelis are finding unique ways to make the desert bloom and prosper. Previously barren desert was, and continues to be, transformed into fertile land on which fruits, vegetables, other crops and even flowers grow. [DETAILS]

The Destruction of Tyre
Tyre was one of the most important cities in the ancient Near East... the seat of enormous wealth and power. Built on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, it possessed a large fleet of ships, and controlled the trade of the Mediterranean. However, as the prophet Ezekiel said, because of the abundance of its trade, the city was "filled with violence" and sinned. Its heart was lifted up because of its beauty, and its wisdom was corrupted by it's splendor.

This led to several prophecies that Tyre would be destroyed. In summary, Ezekiel predicted that 1) many nations would come against Tyre (2) and slay the inhabitants of the villages and fields. (3) Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city, (4) which would be broken down, the stones, timber, and soil thrown in "the midst of the water." (5) The city would become a "place for spreading nets" (6) and would never be rebuilt.

History bears eloquent testimony to the fact that this is precisely what happened. Many nations did come up against Tyre, including the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Muslims, and the Crusaders. However, regarding points 5 and 6, Ezekiel also predicted that Tyre would never be rebuilt, which is where most people run into a problem. Skeptics are quick to point out that Tyre existed at the time of Jesus and still does. [DETAILS]


The Bible's Archaeological and Scientific Accuracy

Archaeology And The Bible
The Bible is unique in that its religious claims are rooted in history. However, before about the 19th century it was almost impossible to confirm or disprove the Bible's historical record... you either believed it, or you didn't. Fortunately, in recent years the vast strides made in archaeology have not only given us tremendous insight into the life and culture of ancient civilizations but has, over and over again, given us substantial evidence of the reliability of the Bible's historical accounts.

Please note: While it is certainly true that archaeological accuracy does not prove the truth claims of the Scriptures. However, if the Bible is inaccurate in areas we can test, then we would rightly hesitate to trust it in the areas we cannot test. On the other hand, if the Bible has proven itself to be trustworthy in verifiable areas, there is a basis for taking its spiritual claims seriously.

Many events in the Bible which previously passed as 'pious tales' were proved by archaeological excavations to be historical. "In Palestine, places and towns, frequently mentioned in the Bible are being brought into the light of day and look exactly as the Bible describes them and are located exactly where the Bible says they were". [05]. Scholars encounter more and more inscriptions and monuments with the names of people mentioned in the Old and New Testament.

For example... "the Bible refers to the Hittites more than 40 times. Critics were certain no such people existed, however, in 1906, archaeological excavations begun at Bogazkoy (90 miles east of Ankara, Turkey) unearthed the capital of the Hittite empire thus proving the existence of the Hittites". [06]

Yet, although there are plenty of outstanding examples of the Bible's historical accuracy, people will yet often dismiss other events described in the Scriptures, simply because there is no corroborating archaeological evidence. This, I am afraid, is ridiculous. Considering we are talking about events that happened thousands of years ago, it would be unrealistic to expect solid confirmation for every single detail. In any case, not every element of secular history has been confirmed either. For example, history professor, Jona Lendering's web site tells us that "Julius Caesar claims to have subjected the Belgians, but this has so far not been confirmed archaeologically".

He also says "When we are dealing with the history of the Jews, there is, after the sixth or fifth century BCE, no real contradiction between the main written source (the Bible) and the archaeological record". While the evidence before king David is fragmentary, "there is in fact only one major issue: the existence of the united kingdom of David and Solomon".

    Minimalists stress that this state can never have been the centralized organization we read about in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings, because the necessary archaeological evidence to prove the existence of a state organization is missing. There are no administrative documents, and something resembling a state architecture does not appear in the archaeological record until the ninth century, when almost identical stables and six-chambered gates were built on several places...This is not unique. The kingdom of the Medes, which is mentioned in several sources as the forerunner of the Achaemenid Empire, is missing too. This is not to deny that the Medes existed - sites like Tepe Nush-e Jan can safely be attributed to them - but the evidence that they lived in a well-organized state with a central administration, as described by Herodotus of Halicarnassus, is absent: no archives, nothing that may be labeled "state architecture". [07]

There are numerous, and I mean numerous, examples of the Bible's solid historical foundation, a few of which are listed below.

Daniel and Belshazzar
One striking example is Daniel's record that Belshazzar was reigning when Babylon fell to the Medo-Persians in 539 B.C.

(Anyone who has read the book of Daniel knows the story of Belshazzar (Ch. 5), who threw a feast for his nobles, who drank wine from the vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem. During the festivities, he and his friends saw a disembodied hand writing something on the wall. When Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing, he told Belshazzar that it meant that the king had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Belshazzar was killed that very night when the Medes and the Persians attacked and conquered Babylon).

Because, outside of the Bible, Belshazzar was nowhere listed as a king of Babylon (as I understand it, even the Greek historian, Herodotus said nothing about him), critics considered this account to be an enormous fabrication.

However, the Nabonidus Chronicle, a single clay tablet now kept at the British Museum in London, summarizes the principal events of the reign of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It begins with his accession to the throne in 556 B.C. and ends after the Persian conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. What is relevant to the subject is the fact that the chronicle tells us that after he conquered Edom, Nabonidus spent the next ten years in the oasis of Temâ in the Arabian desert (Teiman in Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls fragment 4Q242), apparently leaving Babylonia to be administered by his son, Bel-shar-usur (Belshazzar in the Book of Daniel). [08]

In other words, Belshazzar was only the acting monarch, reigning in place of his absent father, which explains why Daniel was given the "authority as the third ruler in the kingdom" (Daniel 5:29. Also See 5:7). Belshazzar himself was only the second ruler.


Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar

Daniel knew that Nebuchadnezzar was responsible for the splendor of Babylon (Daniel 4:30). This was unknown to modern historians until it was confirmed by the German professor Koldewey, who excavated Babylon approximately 100 years ago. [09]


The Hittites
For years historians said the Bible was in error because they could find no traces of the "Hittite" civilization mentioned many times in the Bible. However, the discovery of Hattusa, the ancient Hittite capital in Bogazkale districy in modern Turkey shows quite an advanced civilization that once vied with Assyria and Egypt for power, flourishing in the mid-second millennium BC. The city covered nearly two square km, was surrounded by massive walls, and contained temples, palaces, homes, and large buried granaries and artificial water ponds.


Sargon
Isaiah 20:1 reads "In the year that the commander came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him and he fought against Ashdod and captured it (Isaiah 20:1 NASB). This was challenged by critics because...

    they knew of no king named Sargon in lists of Assyrian kings. Now Sargon's palace has been recovered at Khorsabad, including a wall inscription and a library record endorsing the battle against the Philistine city of Ashdod (mentioned in Isaiah 20:1). [10]

In addition, discoveries made at Sargon's palace helped to verify and supplement the Biblical account of the fall of Samaria. One example is a quote from Sargon which states, "The town I rebuilt better than it was before and settled therein people from countries which I myself had conquered." This ties in with II Kings 17:24, which lists the nations Sargon brought people from to settle in Samaria.

    The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sephar-vaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. (2 Kings 17:24 NASB)

In fact, Sargon was not the only name that the Hebrew Bible got right...


The Names of The Kings
All the information in this section is from Scott Jones' 1997 article, The Veracity of the Old Testament: A Scientific Validation. It was originally compiled from "A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament," by R.D. Wilson who was fluent in numerous ancient languages and dialects including the Biblical and cognate languages, i.e., Hebrew, Aramaic, the Sumerian/Babylonian dialects, Phoenician, Assyrian and Ethiopic dialects among others.

    "Wilson discovered that of the 29 kings having an archaeological corroboration, every single name is transliterated in the Hebrew Masoretic text exactly as it appears on the archaeological artifact -- syllable for syllable, consonant for consonant, 29 kings, every single name. Additionally, we find that the chronological order of these kings is precise. In other words, every name in the Hebrew Masoretic text, some of which go back to the book of Genesis and before the time of Hammurabi, appears in its correct order, with the correct spelling, in the correct time, as attested by the archaeological artifacts and period literature".

This is far from the case with other ancient documents. For example the librarian of Alexandria, considered by most to be the greatest scholar of his era, lists 38 Egyptian kings, of which only three or four names are even close to the inscription on the respective artifacts. In the case of the list of the kings of Assyria, drawn up by the same person, only one name resembles the name on the artifact, and even that is incorrectly spelled.

Not one name is spelled correctly in Ptolemy's list of 18 kings. In fact they are so badly misspelled that, without cross-referencing, no one would know who they were. As Scott Jones goes on to say...

    "In short, we find this same pattern in every other piece of literature extant. The scribe of Assurbanipal misspelled his names. The Pseudo-Callisthenes, in their list of the companions of Alexander, have every name written so as to be unrecognizable. Abulfeda, the author of the Arab ante-Islamic history, misspells his names. The same is true of the lists of Manetho, Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Africanus, Castor, et. al."  [See Scott Jones. The Veracity of the Old Testament: A Scientific Validation Details]

And, what do you know?.... the Bible even got the name of one its own kings right.


King David
Most skeptics claimed that the Biblical King David never existed. That is, until 1993, when a team of archaeologists uncovered an ancient stele (An upright stone or slab with an inscribed or sculptured surface) during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel. On display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the stele dates back to the 9th century B.C., which is about a century after David's reign. The inscription describes a victory by an unnamed king over the "House of David" and the "King of Israel." According to the Biblical Archaeology Society, because ancient Aramaic has no vowels, some have

    argued that the Hebrew term bytdwd referred to a specific place (akin to bytlhm for Bethlehem) rather than the ancestral dynasty of David. Such skepticism aside, however, most Biblical scholars and archaeologists readily accepted that the Tel Dan stela had supplied the first concrete proof of a historical King David from the Bible, making it one of the top Biblical archaeology discoveries reported in BAR. [11]

I guess, as a 1995 article in Time magazine seems to grudgingly admit, the skeptics claim that King David never existed became a little hard to defend. The same article in Time magazine also describes the discovery of ancient Bible texts...

    In 1986, archaeologists found the earliest known text of the Bible, dated to about 600 B.C. It suggests that at least part of the Old Testament was written soon after some of the events it describes. Also in 1986, scholars identified an ancient seal that had belonged to Baruch, son of Neriah, a scribe who recorded the prophecies of Jeremiah in 587 B.C. [12]

Yet, believe it or not, many scholars still believe that

    "much of what is recorded in the Bible is at best distorted, and some characters and events are probably totally fictional. Most scholars suspect that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Judaism's traditional founders, never existed". [13]

I am afraid I have to ask how they know that much of what is recorded in the Bible is distorted or fictional. In fact, is there any basis at all for making such allegations? Although the Bible has been proved historically accurate time and time again, cynics will settle for nothing less than archaeological evidence for every single person named in the Bible, and every single event described therein. A guilty until proven innocent scenario.

That an ancient inscription exists that mentions David is hardly a surprise. He was, after all, king of Israel. On the other hand, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were ordinary everyday nomads and tent dwellers. Yet, modern skeptics, abandoning even the pretense of common sense, will not accept that they existed unless a bit of pottery or an inscription actually names them.

Considering the mindset, I would be willing to bet good money that even if the ancient equivalent of the Taj Mahal dedicated to Abraham were found, they would still deny that he had a son called Isaac.


The Mesha Stele

The 1.15 meters high Mesha Stele (also known as the "Moabite Stone") was found in 1868, in Dhiban (modern Jordan) on the left bank of the Dead Sea.

The stele is not only one of the very important accounts of the history of the world, but also serves to corroborate a number of details related in the Bible. Its  35 odd lines of writing pays tribute to the Moabite king Mesha, but documents his various over the kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab, son of Omri. (Omri is briefly and unfavorably mentioned in the 16th chapter of I Kings 16, and in Micah 6:16).

Most importantly the stele not only has the earliest extra-biblical reference to Yahweh, the primary Hebrew name of the God of the Bible , but it also ontains the earliest known extra-biblical written occurrence of "Israel". [14]

By the way, if French scholar André Lemaire's reconstruction of a portion of line 31 is correct, the stele may also be the oldest reference to the "House of David", or Judah... dating back even further than the Tel Dan Stele (above).


Baruch's Seal
Baruch the son of Neriah is mentioned several times in the book of Jeremiah. On one occasion, when Jeremiah bought a field in Anathoth he gave both the sealed and unsealed copies to Baruch for safe keeping (Jeremiah 32)


Later on, in the fourth year of king Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the Lord instructed Jeremiah to write on a scroll all that He had told the prophet regarding Israel and Judah with the hope that the house of Judah would pay attention to the calamity God intended to bring on them and turn from their evil ways so that God could forgive them (Jeremiah 36:1-3). The next verse tells us that

    Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord which He had spoken to him.  (Jeremiah 36:4 NASB)

In this period, writing was done on papyrus scrolls that were commonly tied with string. These documents were then sealed with a lump of clay, called a bulla. The small clay disc was impressed with the scribe's seal and affixed to the knot in the string used to tie up the document. Two bullae, one of which is in a private London collection, was discovered with three lines of ancient Hebrew text. The formal cursive style of the Hebrew script dates to the late 7th century B.C., the time of Jeremiah. Both bear the inscription...

    "Belonging to Berekhyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe."

Baruch is almost certainly the shortened form of the name Berekhyahu just as Neriah is the shortened version of Neriyahu. On the official seal both names incorporate the suffix yahu - a shortened form of Yahweh that often appears attached to the names of the Jews of this period. While the longer version of the two names was used on the official seal, the abbreviated versions were used in the Bible.

In fact, although space disallows any details, a number of clay seals have been found that confirm the existence of several Biblical figures.

See The Authenticity of the Bullae of Berekhyahu Son of Neriyahu the Scribe HERE

The Cyrus Cylinder
Cyrus the Great, who founded the vast Persian Empire by uniting the Medes and the Persian controlled, at one point, one of the greatest Empires that ever existed.

The Bible mentions Cyrus by name some 23 times and alludes to him several times more because he was the monarch under whom the Babylonian captivity ended. The first chapter of the Old Testament book of Ezra and 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 tell us the Lord moved the king to issue a decree allowing the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. Cyrus was also said to have sent back all the vessels of the temple that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had carried away from Jerusalem and put in the house of his gods (Ezra 1:6-11, 5:13-15)

In 1879, a clay cylinder dated to between 539 and 530 B.C and inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform, was unearthed from the foundations of the Esagila (a temple of Babylon devoted to Marduk) which records Cyrus' conquest of Babylon and the capture of Nabonidus, the last of the Babylonian kings in 539 BC. See The Esagila and Nebuchadnezzar II on THIS page

Although it doesn't specifically mention the Jews, part of the cylinder confirms that Cyrus allowed the return of exiles, restored temples and returned statues of deities to their places. After their deportation by Nebuchadnezzar II, the Jews return to Palestine would have been part of this policy.

    I returned the images of the gods, who had resided there [i.e., in Babylon], to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes. I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings. In addition, at the command of Marduk, the great lord, I settled in their habitations, in pleasing abodes, the gods of Sumer and Akkad, whom Nabonidus, to the anger of the lord of the gods, had brought into Babylon. [15]

The cylinder is housed in the British Museum in London.


The Assyrian king Sennacherib's Invasion of Judah.

The Azekah Inscription
The Azekah Inscription is a fragment of a clay tablet with 18 lines of inscription, now housed in the British Museum. It dates back to the reign of Sennacherib (705 to 681 BC) and was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century in the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, that was the largest city in the world for close to half a century. Although the date seems uncertain, the inscription describes a campaign by either the Assyrian king Sennacherib against Hezekiah, King of Judah.

This is corroborated by ...

Sennacherib's (or Taylor) Prism
This six-sided hexagonal clay cylinder, that dates back to about 689 BC, stands about 15 inches tall and was discovered in 1919 by British colonel R. Taylor (hence the alternate name) in the Assyrian capital Nineveh in northern Iraq. It was purchased from a Baghdad antiquities dealer for the Oriental Institute in Chicago. The prism has a total of about 500 lines of writing on all six sides, which document and preserve Sennacherib's achievements, i.e. his first eight war campaigns and the spread of the Assyrian empire, including the siege of Jerusalem during the reign of king Hezekiah. 

Column 3 says, in part, that because Hezekiah did not submit to his authority, Sennacherib demolished forty-six of his cities and took 200,150 people along with horses, cattle etc as spoil. He further adds that he shut Hezekiah himself n Jerusalem like a caged bird and gave some of the captured towns to the kings of Ashod, Ekron, and Gaza.

    As for Hezekiah the Judahite, who did not submit to my yoke: forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as the small towns in their area, which were without number, by levelling with battering-rams 22and by bringing up seige-engines, and by attacking and storming on foot, 23by mines, tunnels, and breeches, I besieged and took them. 24200,150 people, great and small, male and female, 25horses, mules, asses, camels, 26cattle and sheep without number, I brought away from them 27and counted as spoil.  (Hezekiah) himself, like a caged bird I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. I threw up earthworks against him— the one coming out of the city-gate, I turned back to his misery [16]

2 Chronicles 32:1 clearly agrees with these facts, saying"... Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself".

What is hugely important is the fact that although Sennacherib begins his description of the invasion boastfully proclaiming his defeat of forty-six strong, walled cities and the spoils he carried away, he never once says he captured Jerusalem. Although he besieged the city, all Sennacherib could brag about, concerning Jerusalem itself, was that Hezekiah paid tribute money.

The most noteworthy city that the Assryian king captured was Lachish, one of the heavily fortified town that protected the approaches to Jerusalem. This must have been seen as a significant military victory, since the scene was portrayed in some detail in a relief on Sennacherib's palace walls in his capital, Nineveh. Details

As Apologetics Press says,

    The Assyrian monarch considered his victory at Lachish of such import that he dedicated an entire wall (nearly seventy linear feet) of his palace in Nineveh to carved reliefs depicting the event.. one would think that if the city of Lachish deserved so much attention from the Assyrian dictator, then the capital city of Judah would deserve even more... Sennacherib could not boast of his victory over the city of Jerusalem - because there was no victory! [17]

Which is why the fall of Jerusalem did not have place of pride on his palace wall. Instead Sennacherib had to make do with second best and feature the defeat of  Lachish as his most outstanding victory

The Assyrians did not capture Jerusalem for two reasons...1) the siege failed because Jerusalem had an ample supply of fresh water, but eventually the food would have run out. However, 2) The Lord Himself defended the city


1) Hezekiah's Tunnel
The Bible states that when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded Judah, king Hezekiah "stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David..."  (2 Chronicles 32:30 NASB)

Jerusalem was particularly vulnerable because the Gihon spring, its only permanent water supply which had sustained the city's existence for thousands of years, was located outside the city walls. All that a marauding army had to do was to control the Gihon spring until the inhabitants surrendered from thirst. Recognizing the need to preserve the city's only source of fresh water, the citizens of Jerusalem undertook an incredibly ambitious project... A tunnel, more than a third of a mile long, was dug through solid rock under the city, which channeled the waters of the Gihon Spring into a pool within Jerusalem's walls. What is truly amazing is that the tunnel was simultaneously dug from both ends, the workers meeting in the middle.

Scholars initially doubted the truth of the story, since no traces of such a tunnel had ever been found. However, details of Hezekiah's defense strategy as outlined in the Bible have been confirmed by the 19th century discovery of his tunnel that winds in an S-shape from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, an important New Testament site (in the New Testament, a blind man was told by Jesus to go wash his eyes in this pool (John 9:1–12).

The builders of the tunnel left their own description of the work engraved in the rock wall near the tunnel outlet into the Pool of Siloam. The inscription (called the Siloam Inscription) was found in 1880 and is now in Archaeological Museum, Istanbul, Turkey.

[See Further Details about The Tunnel HERE Or WATCH.

2) The Lord Himself Defended The City
2 Kings 19:34 says the Lord defended the city for His own sake and for His servant David's sake

    "By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,"' declares the Lord. 'For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'" Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. (2 Kings 19:33-35 NASB)

Considering how these ancient rulers boasted of their exploits, it is extremely unlikely that an event such as the Assyrian army being decimated by an unseen enemy, would have found its way into recorded history.

Please note that although the Bible says an angel of the Lord struck down the Assryian soldiers, it does not tell us exactly what happened. While I am sure that these words immediately conjure up images of an angle decimating the camp with a large and very sharp sword, the answer might be a lot more understandable. Josephus, the well-known Jewish historian of the first century explained that Sennacherib's army was drastically reduced by the plague. 

    Now when Sennacherib was returning from his Egyptian war to Jerusalem, he found his army under Rabshakeh his general in danger [by a plague], for God had sent a pestilential distemper upon his army; and on the very first night of the siege, a hundred fourscore and five thousand, with their captains and generals, were destroyed. So the king was in a great dread and in a terrible agony at this calamity; and being in great fear for his whole army, he fled with the rest of his forces to his own kingdom, and to his city Nineveh; [18]

This may have been corroborated by the Greek historian Herodotus who stated that when king Sanacharib1 came against Egypt, a priest was given a vision in which he was "told him to take heart, that he would come to no harm". Apparently, during the night the Assryians were overrun by a horde of field mice "that gnawed quivers and bows and the handles of shields, with the result that many were killed fleeing unarmed the next day". [19]

Could these mice have carried a deadly plague into the Assyrian camp?
 

How Much Tribute?
The Old Testament books of 2 Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 36-37 do not quite agree with all the details of the prism. 2 Kings 18:14-16 says the king of Assyria required three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold from the Judean king and that Hezekiah gave him all the silver in the house of the Lord, and in his own treasuries along with the gold from the doors of the temple etc.

Because the Bible records the tribute as only 300 talents of silver, while Sennacherib mentioned 800 talents of silver it is assumed that the Biblical accounts are fabricated.

Considering how the siege in Jerusalem turned out, it would not be surprising if Sennacherib inflated how much tribute he was paid. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that the number 300 in the Bible was incorrectly copied. See Scribal Error

The very next verse in the book of 2 Kings (19:37) recounts the death of Sennacherib


Sennacherib Murdered By His Own Sons.
The book of Kings tells us that after Sennacherib returned to Nineveh, he was murdered by two of his sons, one of whom (Esarhaddon) became king in his place.

    It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place. (2 Kings 19:37 NASB)
     

Babylonian Clay tablets confirm the assassination, but only mention one son.

    On the 20th day of the month Tebet (December), Sennacherib king of Assyria by his own son was murdered in an insurrection. For [24] years Sennacherib reigned over Assyria.... On the 8th day of the month Sivan (May) Assur-akhi-iddina (Esar-haddon) his son sat on the throne in Assyria" [20]

Josephus also wrote that when Sennacherib returned to Nineveh, he

    abode there a little while, he was treacherously assaulted, and died by the hands of his elder sons, (4) Adrammelech and Seraser, and was slain in his own temple, which was called Araske. Now these sons of his were driven away on account of the murder of their father by the citizens, and went into Armenia, while Assarachoddas took the kingdom of Sennacherib." And this proved to be the conclusion of this Assyrian expedition against the people of Jerusalem. [21]


The Walls of Jericho

A 1999 article by Bryant Wood entitled The Walls of Jericho Archaeology Confirms: They Really Did Come A-tumblin’ Down, on the answersingenesis.org site says

    The name 'Jericho' brings to mind Israelites marching, trumpets sounding and walls falling down. It is a wonderful story of faith and victory, but did it really happen? The skeptic would say no, it is merely a folk tale to explain the ruins at Jericho. [22]

     However, this is one of the most controversial issues, with some saying that a careful examination of the archaeological evidence leads to the conclusion that the walls really did collapse, Other, however, dispute this, so my best advise is to check the evidence for yourself. A possible starting point is The Walls of Jericho]. Also an article on bibleplaces.com which also has some interesting photographs HERE

Also See
Does Archaeology Support the Bible? And Archaeology, the Bible, and the Leap of Faith

Let's compare the archaeological accuracy of the Bible with the accuracy of the only other religious book (that I know of) which claims actual history as a backdrop...


Archaeological Accuracy of The Book of Mormon
According to Mormonism, when Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was 21 years old, an angel named Moroni directed him to some Gold Plates buried on Hill Cumorah. Although Joseph was unfamiliar with the ancient language called 'reformed Egyptian', a language that no one has ever heard of, he was able to translate them. The result was what is today, collectively known as the Book of Mormon which, supposedly, contains the history and God's dealings with the people who lived in the Americas.

In other words, the Book of Mormon also claims to record actual historical events. However, in the final analysis, it very clearly shows that the author was quite ignorant about provable history. In other words, unless God happened to miss a couple of history classes, it is not possible that the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired. While it is impossible to list here the sheer number of factual errors in every book, a few examples follow, starting with the most irrefutable evidence of all... DNA.


DNA Evidence:

Keith Gibson, director of The Apologetics Resource Center points out that

    "DNA research has conclusively proven the Book of Mormon to be false. Remember that according to the Book of Mormon, the primary ancestry of the American Indian is Jewish. Mitochondrial DNA research has demonstrated that the American Indians are related to the inhabitants of Asia who probably crossed over into this continent across the Bering Strait into Alaska. DNA research, conducted on over 150 tribes to date, has found absolutely no link between the American Indians and Israelites. The results of the study show that 99.4% of the DNA is from Asian sources and .6% is from European and African sources. None of the DNA correlates to Jewish or Semitic origins. Additionally, methods have been developed to extract DNA from skeletons which enable scientists to test the ancient inhabitants of America. Once again, the results are the same. The inhabitants of the American continents came from Asia." [Read Evaluating the Book of Mormon By Rev. Keith Gibson.


The Battle on the Hill Cumorah"
At the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni tells about a great battle that supposedly took place on the Hill Cumorah in New York State's Finger Lakes region. Over two hundred thousand people, armed to their teeth with breast plates, helmets, swords, etc. were killed on that hill. Yet, even before the LDS Church purchased the Hill Cumorah, nothing has was found of the weapons which, made of metal, would not have disappeared in a mere 1400 years.

Additionally, a cave in the hill also supposedly contained wagon loads of gold plates, none of which, needless to say, have ever been found. According to Brigham Young, Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith were instructed to carry the gold plates to the hill Cumorah. When they got there, they entered a spacious lit cave in which was a large table. Under this table there were plates piled up to two feet, with "many wagon loads of other plates "piled up in the corners and along the walls". [23]

For those that deny that Joseph Smith's Hill Cumorah is the same one that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon

    "The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, pg. 331)


Steel:

Chapter 7 (vs. 8-9) of the Book of Ether speaks of "swords of steel" that one "Shule" armed his people with. Since the book of Ether is the story of the descendants of Jared and his companions who were led by God to the Americas shortly after the confusion of tongues and the destruction of the Tower of Babel, the context puts steel swords back in the time of Abraham, or thereabouts. 

No trace of anything of steel has ever been found from this date on the American or any other continent. The methods used for producing steel were not discovered until hundreds of years later and were unknown in the Americas until the country was discovered by the Europeans. Besides which, no traces of the permanent geological scars left by iron mining have ever been found in the Americas from before the time of Columbus.

The earliest known production of steel is a piece of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehoyuk) which is about 4,000 years old [24]. Before this, iron formed the material basis of human civilization in Europe, Asia, and Africa.


The Temple
II Nephi says

    "And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. [II Nephi 5:15, 16]

This passage is rather hard to swallow because this small band of Nephi's family (possibly 20 people) are supposed to have built a temple "like unto Solomon's". According to 1 Kings 5:13-18 Solomon employed 30,000 laborers, 70,000 carriers, 80,000 stone cutters and 3,300 foremen, a total of 183,300 workers, to build the temple, which took them approximately seven years. Besides which, the author cannot seem to make up his mind... "Were the precious ores in great abundance or were they not to be found upon the land?"

Fictitious Rivers: 1 Nephi 2:8 speaks of a river that empties into the Red Sea. No such river has ever been found which is a mistake that someone from the very small land of Israel would not have made.


Pigs and Other "Useful" Domesticated Animals
Ether 9: 1719 says... 

    "Having all manner of fruit, and of grain, and of silks, and of fine linen, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things; And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man. And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man...."

There are numerous problems with this short paragraph. A) There are simply no archaeological traces of a pre-Columbian civilization, especially one with domestic animals. B) The Jews considered the pig to be an unclean animal, and since they were forbidden from eating pork in any form, would not have considered swine to be "useful for the food of man". C) Horses, asses, and elephants did not exist on the American continent at the time. Anthropologists unanimously agree that these animals came to America after the time of Columbus. D) Silk came to America with the Europeans.


Timing:
I Nephi 13:26 says "they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious", which is really odd considering that Nephi was written some 600 years before Christ was born.

Similarly, Alma 46:15 states that believers were called "Christians" back in 73 B.C. The word "Christian" means a follower of Christ, which makes it impossible that the word could have been used some seventy years before Jesus was even born. In any case the Bible is very clear. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:23-26) in the first century AD.


Plagiarism
The book of Mormon contains literally thousands of verses that are copied directly from the King James version of the Bible. As Rev. Keith Gibson points out...(Emphasis Added)

    The most dramatic examples are found in 2 Nephi 12-24. This entire section is copied from Isaiah 2-14. The author of this section, Jacob, informs us that he is including the words of Isaiah. What is most amazing is that the translation is nearly word for word from the KJV Bible including the italicized words and the chapter and verse breaks. This is vital because the italicized words were added by the King James translators for clarity but are not in the original language. Chapter and verse divisions were also added much later than the original writing.

See Of Cities And Swords: The Impossible Task of Mormon Apologetics


Scientific Facts In The Bible
A statement I recently ran across on a skeptic's web site has me scratching my head. It said the ancient Biblical writings

    ".... show no evidence of a divine assist to help them see their universe more accurately than any of their pagan neighbors". [25]

The author P. Wesley Edwards has woefully chosen to overlook numerous examples of the Bible's scientific accuracy.

While archaeology does not 'prove' the truth claims of the Bible, but simply lends credence to its message, the scientific accuracy of the Bible definitively shows that there was a greater source of intelligence at work in the writings of men who could not possibly have had known the first things about the solar system, the universe, the ocean floor, or germs. As said by David Pyles...

    "When studying the science of the ancient world, one is more apt to be impressed with its ignorance than to admire its accuracy. However, the Bible offers a definite exception to this rule. The Scriptures are replete with statements suggesting scientific knowledge which predates the corresponding discoveries of secular science. Given that Bible writers were not scientists, and given that the scientific information at their disposal was generally misleading, the accuracy of the Bible can only be attributed to the inspiration of God." [26]


Atoms
: All matter is made up of atoms. Only in recent years has science discovered that everything we see is composed of things that we cannot see- tiny invisible particles called atoms, made up of electrons and protons, which are really not solids, but positive and negative charges of electricity. Whether he specifically understood it or not, the author of the books of Hebrews wrote about atomic structure, nearly 2000 years before it was discovered by scientists. In his words "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible". (Hebrews 11:3. Emphasis Added)  In other words, what is seen is made from what is invisible.


Space is Empty and That Hole In The North
: In what is probably the oldest book of the Bible (1500 B.C.), Job, living in an ancient culture that knew nothing about space or planets, asserted that God hung the earth on nothing or, in other words, the earth free floats in space. In Job's words... "He stretches out the north over empty space; he hangs the earth on nothing [Job 26:7].  Scientists initially believed space consisted of a hypothetical substance called Ether. It wasn't until 1887 that it was discovered there was no such thing as ether. Added to this is the recent discovery of a huge hole in space, in the direction of the northern hemisphere. This "hole in space", a 300 million light year gap in the distribution of galaxies, has taken cosmologists by surprise, not because it exists, but because it is so big. Indeed, He stretches out the north over the empty place.


Air Has Weight:
Job also spoke about God imparting "weight to the wind" and meting out the waters by measure" (Job 28:25) The fact that air has weight was proven scientifically only about 300 years ago. The relative weights of air and water are needed for the efficient functioning of the world's hydrologic cycle which, in turn, sustains life on the earth. 


The Orbit of The Sun:
Scientists have long believed that the earth revolved around the sun, which was stationary. This caused them to scoff at the following verses which stated the opposite... "In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His [the sun's] going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." (Psalm 19:4-6). However, it was later discovered that the sun has a "circuit" through the heavens, just as the Bible says. The sun - in fact, our whole solar system - orbits around the center of the Milky Way. The Galaxy is so huge that the sun requires 230 million years to complete one orbit, although it is moving through space at approximately 600,000 miles per hour.


Mountains Under The Seas
: When Jonah, who lived some 2,800 years ago, was in the depths of the ocean, he spoke of going down to the "bottoms of the mountains". In his words... "I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet have you brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God." (Jonah 2:6) Only in recent history has man discovered that there are mountains on the ocean floor. The tropical Revillagigedos Islands are the visible peaks of a underwater mountain chain-known as the Eastern Pacific Rise, that stretches all the way to Antarctica [27] The deepest part of Mariana's Trench, east of the  Mariana Islands, has been measured at 35,798 feet below sea level. Mount Everest is only 29,035 feet high.


The Second Coming Takes Place in The Day AND Night:

In Luke 17:34–3 Jesus, speaking of His return to earth, makes the following statement. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left." This demonstrates a knowledge of an earth that revolves around the sun, which causes day on one side of the planet, but night on the other.


Sanitary Practices in Moses' Time

For centuries doctors denied the possibility that disease could be transmitted by invisible agents. However, in the late 19th century Louis Pasteur demonstrated in his Germ Theory of Disease that most infectious diseases were caused by microorganisms originating from outside the body. This new understanding of germs and their means of transmission led to improved sanitary standards that resulted in an enormous drop in the mortality rate. Yet these core principles of sanitation were being practiced by the Israelites thousands of years earlier.

The Israelites were instructed to wash themselves and their clothes in running water if they had a bodily discharge, if they came in contact with another person's discharge, or if they had touched a dead human or animal carcass. They were also instructed to wash any uncovered vessels that were in the vicinity of a dead body, and if a dead carcass touched a vessel it was to be destroyed. Items recovered during war were also to be purified through either fire or running water. In addition, the Israelites were instructed to bury their human waste outside of camp, and to burn the waste of their animals. (See Numbers 19, Leviticus 11 and 15, Deuteronomy 23:12) [28].

Until recent years, doctors washed their hands in a bowl of water, leaving invisible germs on their hands. However, the Bible says specifically to wash hands under "running water."

    "And when he that has an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself even days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean" (Leviticus 15:13). .


Waste Disposal

It is true that ruins show that in the 1st century, the Romans had water closets. However, they did not understand how and why food and waste should be separated. In Pompeii, archaeologists found that

    The kitchen's brick oven sat four feet from the privy. To the efficient Romans who had no inkling of germs, the proximity allowed the easy disposal of both scraps and excrete." [29]

The Israelites, had a better system in which their excrement was kept far away from their food, in spite of the fact that they did not even live in towns (much less palaces), but in tents in the desert.

And there is more, much more... See Scientific Facts In The Bible


Scientific Errors and Absurdities in The Qur'an
Compare the above information with, for example, Sura 86:5-7 of the Qur'an which states that semen originates from between the backbone and the ribs.

     So let man observe from what he was created. He was created from a fluid, ejected, Emerging from between the backbone and the ribs. [Sura 86:5-7 Surat At-Tariq]

Sura 16:66 says milk comes from the bellies of cows "between excretion and blood", while Sura 18:86 says they found the sun "setting in a spring of dark mud"

For more errors and absurdities in the Qur'an, See The Qur'an.  Part III and

Problems, Contradictions and Odd Statements in The Qur'an.


Conclusion
Is the Bible the Word of God? Those who take the question seriously, gather the available evidence, and examine the difficulties, will discover that the accumulated evidence falls very heavily on the side of the reliability and credibility of the Bible... There is more than enough compelling reason to embrace the Bible for what it claims to be... God's Word.

 


Pl Note: Continue on to Part 5: Differences and Discrepancies in the Old Testament
Skeptics are often unfamiliar with the languages used in the Scriptures, particularly how certain Hebrew and Greek words and phrases were used. Few are familiar with the cultural influences of the time. They do not always seem to recognize the variety of literary genres used, nor that the historical portions of the Bible were never meant to be precise chronological records. But, perhaps most of all, skeptics seem to have an abysmal lack of knowledge about Christianity itself. Additionally critics often forget that the books of the Old Testament are some of the oldest in our possession, hand copied countless times over many centuries, which makes it impossible to expect that human error never crept in, especially when it came to numerals. What is however, important to remember is that none of the variations alter a single teaching or doctrine of the Bible... most being very minor. CLICK HEREl

 

Endnotes (Chapter 4)

[01] Glenn Miller. Next Seat. http://christianthinktank.com/nextseat.html

[02] ibid.

[03] Cyrus takes Babylon: the Nabonidus chronicle. http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/babylon02.html

[04] The Gates of Jerusalem Golden Gate - Sha'ar Harahamim - Gate of Mercy - Eastern Gate.
http://www.jerusalemonmymind.com/Jerusalem%20gates%202.html

[05] Werner Keller. The Bible As History. 2nd Revised Edition. William Morrow Paperbacks; 2 Revised edition (August 25, 2015). Pg. 22. http://ancientbiblestudy.com/BibleAsHist/BHist.1.htm

[06] Dick Sztanyo. Answering Alleged Contradictions in the Bible.
http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/resources/articles/the-bible/answering-alleged-contradictions-in-the-bible.html

[07] Jona Lendering. Livius.org. Articles on ancient history. Maximalists and Minimalists.
http://www.livius.org/theory/maximalists-and-minimalists/

[08] http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/cuneiform_fall_of_a_dynasty.aspx. Unfortunately on the British Museum site. Unfortunately, The Explore section of the British Museum website has been removed and this page no longer exists

[09] Clifford Wilson. Does Archaeology Support the Bible? January 24, 2008. Answers in Genesis.
https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/does-archaeology-support-the-bible/

[10] ibid.

[11] Biblical Archaeology Society Staff. 10/22/2013. The Tel Dan Inscription: The First Historical Evidence of King David from the Bible. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/the-tel-dan-inscription-the-first-historical-evidence-of-the-king-david-bible-story/

[12] Michael D. Lemonick, "Are the Bible's Stories True? Archaeology's Evidence,” Time magazine, December 18, 1995

[13] ibid.

[14] The Mesha Stele a.k.a. The Moabite Stone. http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/westsem/mesha.html

[15] Jona Lendering. Livius.Org. Cyrus Cylinder (2). http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/cyrus_cylinder2.html

[16] Sennacherib Prism. From the website of K. C. Hanson Ph.D. in Religion: Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies.
http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/meso/sennprism3.html

[17] Kyle Butt, M.Div. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Apologetics Press.
https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=1347&topic=100

[18] Josephus Antiquities of the Jews - Book X. CHAPTER 1. Christian Classics Ethereal Library http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-10.htm

[19] Herodotus, The Histories. Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920.  A. D. Godley, Ed. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0126:book=2:chapter=141

[20] http://www.cristoraul.com/ENGLISH/BIBLIOGRAPHICA/HTML-Library/ANCIENT-HISTORY/Records-of-the-Past/VOLUME-1.htm OR http://masseiana.org/RP/rpns01.htm

[21] Josephus Antiquities of the Jews - Book X. CHAPTER 1. Christian Classics Ethereal Library
http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-10.htm

[22] Bryant Wood. The Walls of Jericho Archaeology Confirms: They Really Did Come A-tumblin’ Down
https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/the-walls-of-jericho/

[23] Sermon by Brigham Young, June 17, 1877, Journal of Discourses 19:38-39. As quoted by the Utah Lighthouse™ Ministry. Book of Mormon Plates: Artifact, Vision or Hoax? http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no105.htm

[24] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel#History_of_steelmaking

[25] P. Wesley Edwards. Bible Errors and Contradictions. http://www.freethoughtdebater.org/2011/12/30/bible-errors-and-contradictions/

[26] David Pyles, Examples of Scientific Accuracy in the Bible. http://www.pb.org/pbdocs/bibleac.html

[27] http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Animals/Archives/2000/Mountains-Under-the-Sea.aspx

[28] Fred Williams. Advanced Medical Knowledge.. http://www.bibleevidences.com/medical.htm

[29] The History of Plumbing - Pompeii & Herculaneum http://www.plumbingsupply.com/pmpompeii.htmll

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