Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Archaeology Supports the Bible Today

In my recent posts, I have addressed fairly prominent Christian pastors and Christian movements in their public attempts to mislead people to some degree away from the Bible on grounds of lack of its veracity. Veracity means habitually conforming to truth, fact and accuracy. It is only fitting this week that yet another major archaeological find has been unearthed that yet again supports the claims of the Bible. This is fitting because while some of God’s servants have responded, now the stones have cried out in echo. God just weighed in.

In January of this year, archaeologists began an archaeological excavation in Tel Lachish National Park, which is located in central Israel about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The park marks the site of the ancient city of Lachish, which is mentioned nearly two dozen times in the Bible and played a role in several biblical accounts. The Assyrians destroyed it around 700 B.C. Several decades ago, researchers partially uncovered the remains of an ancient gate at Lachish that is believed to be nearly 3,000 years old, dating back to Lachish’s prime during the First Temple period (1000-600 B.C.). By completely uncovering the gate of Lachish, the research team found evidence of pagan worship within the gate. “Steps to the gate-shrine in the form of a staircase ascended to a large room where there was a bench upon which offerings were placed,” explained Sa’ar Ganor, director of the excavation, in a statement. “An opening was exposed in the corner of the room that led to the holy of holies; to our great excitement, we found two four-horned altars and scores of ceramic finds consisting of lamps, bowls and stands in this room.” However, the archaeologists noticed an intriguing detail: the altar’s horns had been intentionally cut off by someone. Does this support the Bible’s record of this time?

2 Kings 18:4 records this, “[King Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).” Even Ganor noted, “It is most interesting that the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated! That is probably evidence of the religious reform attributed to King Hezekiah, whereby religious worship was centralized in Jerusalem and the cultic high places that were built outside the capital were destroyed.” The archaeologists also uncovered a stone toilet in one of the gate’s chambers. It was likely placed there to desecrate the altar, much like Jehu desecrated a house of Baal by converting it to a latrine (2 Kings 10:27).

Up to this point, there existed no tangible confirming evidence to support the Biblical account of 2 Kings 18. In fact, doubters and skeptics have unfairly used this as yet another example of an unsupported claim. But, archaeology is an always incomplete science. But, as it marches onward, it has yet to discredit the Bible. Even the archaeologists in this case noted, “The fascinating new discovery at Tel Lachish is a typical example whereby excavations and further research of heritage sites show us time and time again how biblical tales that are known to us become historical and archaeological stories.” As I noted in my book “Reason If You Will,” chapter 9, “There have been more than 25,000 archaeological sites and digs related to facts in the Bible. All without exception support the Biblical narrative. Not one has conclusively proven the bible false. Based upon that record who should be more confident – the critic or the believer?”

In conclusion, archaeology has never found the Bible to be in error. In fact, no other book has been subjected to more archaeological scrutiny than the Bible. And, the Bible remains standing strong. The Dead Sea scrolls support the authenticity of the manuscripts. And, history proves the prophecies found in those manuscripts to be fulfilled. If there is any book that exudes veracity, it is the Bible – and in a category by itself. Maybe instead of publicly doubting without evidence, our public statements should be evidence-ridden. Maybe more pastors need to spend less time feeding doubt about the Bible’s veracity and get educated about the evidence. Maybe Christians need to be more industrious in their study of the available evidence. Maybe we should be doubting our doubts instead of vaulting them. In the face of the ever growing body of evidence that supports the Bible, those few who herald the Bible’s veracity should be encouraged. Evidence stands behind you and not behind the doubters. Keep the Faith!

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