All posts filed under: Archaeology

Model of Herod's Temple at the Israel Museum. Photo: Berthold Werner/Wikipedia

Has the third Jewish temple already been constructed?

In early September, Dr. Ghassan Weshah, an archaeological professor from the Islamic University of Gaza in Palestine told the media that the Biblical references to the Jewish Temple existing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem are all a complete lie. He made these claims despite the fact the Muslim Koran refers to the temple at least twice, and even refers to King Solomon building the temple (34:13). Another Koranic verse describes the Muslims praying towards Mecca and the Jews towards their temple (Sura 2:145). However, a handful of Islamic scholars try to get around this problem by insisting that Solomon actually built a mosque, even though Islam did not appear on the scene until 1,600 years later. According to the Biblical record, Solomon built the first temple around 1000 BC and it was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians who them promptly hauled thousands of Jews into captivity. Ezra constructed what is called the second Temple around 520 BC when the Persians who had defeated the Babylonians allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. …

The discovery of the oldest mention of the ‘Hebrews’ outside the Bible hints of spiritual warfare

Archaeologists working at Atarot, located in Jordan, recently uncovered a large cylinder shaped altar dated to the 9/8 the century BC. It was created by an ancient king of Moab, one of the dreaded enemies of Israel mentioned several times in the Old Testament. Archaeologists believe the altar, found inside an ancient shrine, was used for burning incense. But as they deciphered the seven lines of script written on the altar, they discovered the oldest reference to the “Hebrews” outside the Bible. The inscription is linked to a Biblical battle mentioned in 2 Kings 3. According to the Biblical record, Israel had conquered Moab and were forcing the country to pay an annual tribute to Israel. However, when the Israeli King died (Ahab), the Moabite King decided to take advantage of the political instability to break free from Israel’s control by refusing to make the annual payment. When that happened, the new Israeli King, Jehoram, contacted Judah’s King Jehoshaphat and an unnamed King of Edom to bring Moab to heel. If the King of Moab …

24 | The mysterious disappearance of the Ark of the Covenant

Follow our podcasts on: Itunes Stitcher Spotify Google Play IHeartRadio TuneIn Podchaser PODCAST NOTES: I made an unusual purchase the other day. I bought the Ark of the Covenant. Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast I want to talk about the mysterious disappearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the ancient conspiracy theories that swirled around at the time because of its disappearance. The Ark was a gold-plated box with two winged cherubim that sat inside the Tabernacle of Moses, the Tabernacle of David and lastly the Temple in Jerusalem. Between the two Cherubim rested the very presence of God and because of this, the Ark is referred to as God’s throne on earth. Of course, what I bought was a miniature replica about 4” x 2.5” in size proportional to the original which was 4’ by 2.5’. But the similarity stops there, because I am pretty sure for $21.77 Canadian, my replica is not gold-plated like the original, but other than that it looks kind of neat. The top …

Evidence of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem reopens an ancient mystery

Archaeologists working on the site of the Temple Mount in Old Jerusalem discovered evidence of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 587/586 BC when both the city and the Temple were basically destroyed. The siege recorded in several books of Bible tells how King Nebuchadnezzar also took tens of thousands of Jews into captivity. According to the team, made up of archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC) and Israel’s Haifa University, they discovered several evidences of the attack including a layer of ash indicating a massive burning and more importantly Scythian arrowheads that were used by Babylonian soldiers. Since the Babylonian arrowheads were mixed in with the ash it is strong evidence the burning was associated with Babylon’s attack on Jerusalem. They also found evidence of houses being left in shambles which again would be expected after the city was taken. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, UNC professor Shimon Gibson stated: “They (Scythian arrowheads) were fairly commonplace in this period and are known to be used by the Babylonian …

Apostle Peter’s house in Bethaisda discovered?

Archaeologists working with Nyack College’s Center for the Study of Ancient Judaism and Christianity and Israel’s Kinnert College recently announced they had discovered what was thought to be the Apostle Peter’s home in Bethsaida. What the archaeologists actually discovered was the remains of an ancient Byzantium church that they believe was originally built over top of the birth home of Peter and Andrew, disciples of Christ. Though Peter eventually moved to nearby Capernaum, the Gospel of John reports that he his brother were originally from Bethsaida: 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. (John 1:44 NASV) The archaeological team led by Mordechai Aviam is referring to the Church of the Apostle referenced by a man named Willibald in 725 AD. He was the Bishop of Eichstaett located in Bavaria. During a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he wrote of visiting the Church of the Apostle in Bethsaida while sailing from Capernaum to Kuris on the Sea of Galilee. He noted specifically the church was built over the original home of Peter and …

Bulla mentioning ancient Bethlehem found

In 2012, archaeologists working with the Israel Antiquities Authority made a remarkable discovery in old Jerusalem. They found a bulla that mentioned the name of Bethlehem (House of Bread). This is the first mention of the famous town found outside the Biblical record. Bullas worked much like our signatures do today and were used to verify documents. Governmental and wealthy people used bullas to seal documents to verify that it was coming from them. They typically wore signet rings that pressed their confirming insignia into wax or clay, sealing the document. The Bulla in this instance was estimated to be 2,700 years old placing it from the first Temple period (1000 BC to 586 BC) referring to the first temple built by King Solomon. The Second Temple period refers to the temple rebuilt by Ezra and Nehemiah (upgraded by King Herod) and destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. In this instance, the bulla was used to verify the shipment of taxes collected in Bethlehem being sent to Jerusalem. Referred to as a fiscal bulla, …

Has an altar of Melchizedek, the man of mystery, been discovered in Jerusalem?

El Shukron is an archaeologist working with Israel Antiquities Authority and over the years he has made some significant discoveries. Working with fellow archaeologist Ronny Reich, the two discovered the pool of Siloam in 2004 that is mentioned in the New Testament as the spot where Christ healed a blind man (John 9:11). He has also had a hand in discovering the Jerusalem Pilgrim Road and a bulla that referenced Bethlehem which at the time of its discovery in 2012 was the only mention of Bethlehem found outside the Bible. But recently in an interview with CBN, Shukron shared what he considered to be his greatest discovery found while working in the old Jerusalem that includes the Temple Mount. Shukron found a stone pillar that he believes was part of an altar used by Melchizedek. It included a channel used to funnel off the blood during sacrifices. He believes it was similar to the altar that Jacob set up after having a dream where he saw angels descending and ascending to heaven on a ladder. …

King David moving the Ark of the Covenant from Gibeon to the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem. Painter unknown

Discovery of Ziklag confirms Biblical record

According to Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), archaeologists have uncovered the small, yet significant town of Ziklag that was located near ancient Judah’s southern border with the Philistines. Archaeologists working at the site are 90% certain that they have found the remains of the ancient town. They discovered evidence that both Israelis and Philistines inhabited the site which confirms the Biblical record. These included the distinctive idols, lamps and pottery similar to finds in other known Philistine cities. They also discovered nearly 100 complete pots with a design associated with Israel during King David’s reign. The were used to hold oil or wine and in at least one instance beer. Though mentioned several times in the Bible, Ziklag was a small rural town and archaeologists said it measured about 1,000 square meters (10,764 sq ft) in size. Some believe the name Ziklag could be loosely translated as liquid metal and may be a reference to smelting. When Israel entered the Promised Land under Joshua, the city was given to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:1-5). However, …

Maybe it’s more than a coincidence? Israeli paratroopers discover ancient watchtower

It was more than a bit ironic when soldiers with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) discovered an ancient watchtower associated with the days of King Hezekiah during the 8th century BCE. The IDF paratroopers had set up a base on a hilltop in Southern Israel when they accidentally discovered the tower. After making the discovery, the soldiers actually participated in the dig. The remains of the tower were about 6 feet (1.83 m) in height and archaeologists estimate that it was originally 15 feet (4.57 m) high with a diameter of 10.5 feet (3.2 m). This was a significant structure as the foundation stones weighed about 8 tons. According to the archaeologists this tower, built on top of a hill, would have provided ancient Israeli military commanders an excellent view on activities taking place in the Philistine nation, particularly one of its major cities Ashkelon. Israel built a series of towers and fortresses along the border that were within view of each other, so it would allow a tower to send up a warning using …

Wall discovered at Lachish confirms 2 Chronicles 11:5-11

The remains of Lachish an ancient Jewish city is  a two-day walk from Jerusalem. Recent discovering at the city have caused major problems for secularist because it is not going along with their preconceived ideas. Secularists basically don’t believe the Bible is true treating it as little more than a collection of myths. It is taken awhile but most secularists finally acknowledged that King David and King Solomon did exist, which is a big step forward because for years they didn’t even believe that. But after repeated archaeological discoveries proved them wrong, they have finally allowed the facts to speak for themselves. So they changed their tune slightly and decided the two existed, but were little more than small village warlords and not the leaders of a formidable kingdom portrayed in the Bible. But a recent discovery at Lachish is putting that notion of a tribal war lord to route. According the Biblical record, Lachish was a major fortified city in Israel during the reign of King Rehoboam. Rehoboam was Solomon’s son (grandson of King …

Catholic relics of Christ’s crucifixion saved from Notre Dame fire

The world was captivated by the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday, April 15, 2019.  It is unquestionably one of the world’s most famous Christian landmarks and it was not lost on many that it burned during the start of the Roman Catholic Holy week leading up to Easter. It is now believed that the fire was accidental, caused by the extensive renovations taking place in the Cathedral. But there was room for doubt because there have been dozens of attacks on churches in France in recent months including the setting of fires. In mid-March, 2019, a fire was purposely set at the Saint-Sulpice church shortly after morning mass. It is one of the largest churches in Paris, and the fire caused damage estimated at several million Euros. RELATED: Twelve French Churches Attacked, Vandalized in One Week: Breitbart Last year, nearly 875 churches were vandalized and it is continuing unabated in 2019. Perhaps the most vile, was the smearing of a cross made of excrement inside Saint-Alain Cathedral in Nimes on February 6th, …

Natan-Melech’s rise from obscurity: Archaeologist discover his bulla

It was a remarkable find, mostly because of its obscurity. Archaeologists working in Old Jerusalem found a small, burnt, clay bulla with the name “Natan-Melech, servant of the king” estimated to be 2,600 years old. Signet rings or seals were used to impress the owner’s official stamp in clay or wax to seal a document. It not only spoke of the person’s status, but verified the item’s authencity. Archaeologists discovered it beneath a parking lot in an ancient administrative center of Jerusalem. The building that they were working on was two stories high and had suffered extensive damage due to fire probably during Babylon’s attack on Jerusalem in 586 BC. What is particularly amazing about this bulla is that it refers to a man mentioned only once in the Old Testament.It was like finding a needle in the haystack. Incredibly archaeology is verifying the existence of the most obscure people in the Bible. Though they are not absolutely certain that this is the same man, archaeologists working on the site are convinced it is. Even …

Balaam confronted by Angel of God by Gustav Jager (1808-1871): Wikipedia

Archaeology confirms the existence of Balaam

ESPAÑOL: La arqueología confirma la existencia de Balaam Despite the best efforts by secularists to discredit the Bible, archaeology continues to confirm that it is in fact an accurate record of historical events that took place in ancient Israel. Perhaps the most curious involves an archaeological dig that took place in 1967, when Dutch archaeologists discovered an ancient text on a wall in the Jordanian town Deir Alla confirming the existence of a seer called Balaam. For those unfamiliar with the story, Balaam, a pagan seer, was hired by King Balak of Moab to curse Israel as the nation sat on the other side of the Jordan river preparing to make its first unsuccessful attempt to enter the Promised Land under Moses (Numbers 22 – 24). However, when Balaam went to curse Israel, he instead blessed them saying he could only deliver the message he was given. Though unwilling to curse Israel, Balaam eventually gave the Moabite king the necessary information to defeat Israel. He told Balak to send women to entice the Israeli men …

Some of the damage from the massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit off the coast of Chile on February 27, 2010. Credit: Claudio Saavedra/Flickr/Creative Commons

Geologists confirm Amos 1:1

Though secularist love to castigate the Bible as being little more that a book filled with myths and fairy tales, according to the Israeli news site Haaretz, geologists working in Israel have found paleo-geological signals that confirms earthquake recorded in Amos and Zechariah. There has also been significant archaeological evidence confirming the earthquake mentioned by these Old Testament prophets that hit northern Israel around 760 BC. This included collapsed buildings indicated by the dozens of artifacts found beneath ceilings that had smashed onto the floor. They have also found standing walls that were leaning. As well, the massive stones in the walls that surrounded the city of Gezer were actually cracked and while the large carved stones on the lower part of the wall had shifted outward off the foundation by several inches, the upper part of the wall had fallen inside the city. Based on their study, scientists estimate the earthquake that hit Israel at that time was around 8 in magnitude, making it a major earthquake. Josephus (37 to 100 AD), an early …

Fira the largest town on the Island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Se. The Island, formerly called Thera, was site of the largest volcanic explosion in history. Credit: Edal Anton Lefterov/Wickipedia/Creative Commons

The Minoan eruption: The Ninth plague of Egypt?

It is considered one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in recorded history. Known as the Minoan eruption, it took place on the Island of Thera (known today as Santorini), in the Aegean sea off the coast of Greece. They estimate the ash plume was 19 to 22 miles high (30 to 35 km) and on the island of Santorini, the ash is over 200′ thick and the layered ash indicates there were multiple explosions in a short-range of time. And since no human remains were found on the island, the volcanoes early and smaller explosions were enough of a warning for people to flee. It is believed the volcano erupted sometime between 1642 BC and 1500 BC. suggesting it could have erupted during the reigns of two Egyptian pharaohs Ahmose and his son Amenhotep. Traditionally many believe that Ramses (1279 -1213 BC) was the Pharaoh of the Exodus but archaeological and Biblical evidence says Israel’s exit from Egypt took place earlier than Ramses. Many now believe Joseph arrived in Egypt around 1800 BC coinciding with …

An image from the Morgan Bible (1240AD) of King David bringing the Ark of the Covenant where he set up the Tabernacle of David. Credit: Wikipedia

Have archaeologists found the site where the Ark of the Covenant once sat at Kiriath-Jearim?

The Times of Israel is reporting archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and College de Franc may have found the site where Israel’s Ark of the Covenant once sat at Kiriath-Jearim. Located on a hill near the Israeli-Arab town of Abu Ghosh in central Israel, Kiriath-Jearim was the site where the Ark of the Covenant sat before King David transported it to Jerusalem and set up in what is was referred to as the Tabernacle of David (1 Chronicles 13:5-8, Amos 9:11, Acts 15:16). The Ark of the Covenant initially sat inside the Tabernacle of Moses set up at Shiloh. However, it was lost when the priests carried the ark into battle against the Philistines, who then captured the Ark. After a series of mishaps, the Philistines returned the Ark to Israel allowing it to be carried on a cart pulled by oxen. Unguided, the oxen brought the Ark to Beth Shemesh. However, when 70 residents of the town were killed after opening the chest to look inside, the residents of the town sent a message …

Pontius Pilate presenting Christ to the crowd by Antonio Ciseri (1821-1891)/Wikipedia

2,000-year-old ring discovered belonging to Pontius Pilate?

A copper alloy ring discovered 50 years ago during a dig at Herod’s burial tomb and palace between 1968-69 may have belonged to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who ruled Judea between 26 and 36 AD (CE). The ring was part of hundreds of artifacts discovered at the dig. After being in storage for several decades, the Israeli Antiquities Authority had the ring cleaned and analyzed. Using a special camera, they discovered the words “of Pilate ” (Pilatus) engraved on the center of the ring around the image of a large wine vessel called a Krater. Because of its discovery in the Herod excavation, there is speculation the ring belonged to Pontius Pilate, the man who ordered Christ’s crucifixion. The down side is the ring is not of great quality which caused some to question whether it would be a ring Pontius Pilate would have worn. However, the best evidence that it belonged to Pontius Pilate is due to the name. While Pontius is common enough, the name Pilate was “extremely rare.” In fact, there …

The Dead Sea Credit: Daniel Goodwin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Evidence found supporting the Biblical description of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction?

In an article published in Science News, archaeologists working at Tall el-Hammam located in Jordan, a site that many believe is the remains of the ancient city of Sodom, have found evidence corroborating its massive destruction recorded in the Bible that spoke of brimstone and fire falling from the sky: 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25 NASV) Archaeologists have found evidence of the area being hit with a massive explosion that turned glaze on potsherds into glass. They also found stone fragments stuck in the glaze that supports the idea that something poured down upon cities from the sky. According to lead archaeologist Philip J. Silvia, the heat was “perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun.” They also discovered that the bricks used in the buildings were totally obliterated leaving only the stone foundations. The Bible records that …

A main street in Jerusalem Credit: lab604/Flickr/Creative Commons

Archaeologists find earliest full Hebrew spelling of Jerusalem

Archaeologists have discovered the earliest full inscription of the name Jerusalem dating from the first century BC. Typically most inscriptions use the abbreviated form of Jerusalem “Yerushalem or Shalem” instead of its full name “Yerushalayim.” The shortened versions of Jerusalem are clearly the most popular spellings. Even the Bible prefers abbreviated forms over the full name. Jerusalem is mentioned 660 times in the Old Testament, but only five are the full spelling including 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 32:9, 2 Chronicles 25:1, Esther 2:6, 1 Chronicles 3:5 and Jeremiah 26:18: 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus the Lord of hosts has said, “Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.”’ The inscription discovered during a road construction project was found carved on the foundation support for a column of a Roman building in a village on the outskirts of ancient Jerusalem. …

Israel captive in Egypt by Edward Poynter (1836-1919) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Did archaeologists discover ‘more’ evidence of the Exodus along the Jordan River?

Ancient ruins discovered along the Jordan River is the latest evidence that the Biblical account of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt under Moses is true. For decades, Liberal theologians and others have tried to throw doubt on the account that resulted in the birthing of Israel as Moses and Joshua resettled the Hebrews in the Promised Land of Canaan. A group of archaeologists led by David Ben-Shlomo and Ralph K. Hawkins have found evidence of an ancient camp site along the Jordan River near Khirbet el-Mastarah that may be the remains of one of Israel’s early sites before entering the Promised Land. In an interview with the British newspaper, The Express, Ben-Shlomo said: “If they are, this might fit the Biblical story of the Israelites coming from the east of the Jordan River, then crossing the Jordan and entering into the hill country of Israel later.” The ruins were found near Khirbet el-Mastarah generally believed to be the ancient city of Ataroth-addar mentioned in Joshua 16:5. The Archaeologists further stated they found fragments of pottery …

Vineyard in Soragna, Italy Credit: Andreas Metz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have archaeologists discovered the place where Jesus turned water into wine?

The Apostle John records that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding in Cana. When the bridegroom of wedding that Christ and the disciples were attending ran out of wine, Jesus changed six pots of water into wine. According to an article in the Daily Mail, archaeologists are convinced that they have found the location where this miracle took place and it’s five miles north of the spot traditionally considered the most likely site of the Cana miracle. The new location is called Khirbet Qana and includes a series of tunnels inside a hill and with its addition, there are now four possible Cana sites. So what makes Khirbet Qana special? According to archaeologists, evidence found in the tunnels at Khirbet Qana suggest early pilgrims believed this was the original site of the Cana miracle. Inside the tunnels there are Christian markings that include crosses and the name Lord Jesus carved into the wall indicating early Christians venerated this site. They also found an old stone vessel typically used to store wine and it …

The Siege of Jerusalem by David Roberts (1764-1864) Source: Wikipedia

Bulla confirms existence of Jerusalem’s false prophet Ben Pashur

In 2008, Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced a remarkable discovery. While working near a guard tower from the remains of King David’s ancient palace, her team discovered a bulla with the name Ben Pashur inscribed on it. People of importance had seals which they imprinted either on wet clay or wax that would seal an official document verifying its authorship and authenticity. In this case, the seal with Pashur’s name on it had been imprinted in clay. But Mazar was amazed it had survived. The bulla should have dissolved in damp ground surrounding it, but it didn’t. This was because it had been hardened in a fire that undoubtedly destroyed the document that it was sealing, but preserved the bulla. But there was more to this story. In 2006, at this very same location, Mazur’s team had discovered another bulla with the name Yehuchal ben Shelemayahu on it. Similar to Pashur’s bulla it had been fired and preserved as well. Both bullas are in pristine condition and there is no doubt who they belong too …

The modern Upper Room in Jerusalem Credit: Catholic Church England and Wales/© Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where was the Upper Room?

The Upper Room is probably most famous as the spot where the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples recorded in Acts 2. From there, they spread out into the streets of Jerusalem and lit the place on fire. But it served as more than that. Some believe that the disciples may have actually used the Upper Room as living quarters while they were in Jerusalem: 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. (Acts 1:13 NASV) The Greek word “katameno” means to abide, live and remain which is how the Apostle Paul used the word when he told the Corinthians that he is thinking of living in Corinth for the winter (1 Corinthians 16:6). When the Holy Spirit fell, it is said that the sound of rushing wind filled the “whole house” (Acts 2:1-2). The Greek …

Gibraltar Crossing near the city of Tarshis Credit: Cubanito, Wikipedia

Did an ancient Babylonian priest refer to Jonah?

Though known primarily for his confrontation with a whale, Jonah was a well-known prophet in Israel and is referenced several times (Judges 16:23-24; 1 Samuel 5:1-7; 1 Chronicles 10:8-12; 2 Kings 14:25). But of course it’s his story of calling the city of Nineveh to repentance that he is most known for. When Jonah refused to obey God’s call and took passage on a ship heading towards Tarshish near the Strait of Gibraltar on the coast of Spain, God stirred up a storm to get Jonah’s attention. After the sailors threw Jonah overboard, he was swallowed by a Grey whale (my vote but far from certain) and after a three days was coughed up on a beach undoubtedly along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From there Jonah headed far inland to Nineveh that was then part of the nation of Assyria and delivered a message of repentance. Led by the king, the city responded and repented. Some have suggested, the king may have been impacted by Jonah’s whale story, because one of the …

I vote Grey whale: The story of Jonah

A group of archaeologists digging at a Roman fish factory plant located near the Straights of Gibraltar made a discovery that may answer the question on what swallowed Jonah. The salting factories first showed up around 400 BC. Many are familiar with the story of the disobedient prophet who God wanted to send to Nineveh to call the city to repentance. Jonah, who obviously hated this enemy, refused to go fearing they would repent and God would spare them judgement. So to escape his calling, Jonah booked a boat to Tarshish, that oddly enough most Biblical scholars believe was located on the coast of Spain near the Straights of Gibraltar. In an effort to catch Jonah’s attention, God stirred up a large storm that the sailors believed was divine in origin. After Jonah fessed up, the sailors threw him overboard and the prophet was swallowed up by a large fish or sea creature that eventually vomited up the prophet along the shore near Nineveh, where he successfully called the city to repentance. So what did …

Where is Mt. Sinai?

We don’t know for sure where Mt Sinai is located. The mountain, also called Horeb (Deuteronomy 4:10), was the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It’s traditionally believed that Mt. Sinai is Jebel Musa located in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula. Jews held this belief as early as 100 AD and people were making pilgrimages to the site. Christians accepted this and several monasteries were later built near the mountain. However, in an interview with WND, Pastor Joel Richardson is bucking the trend by suggesting Mt Sinai is actually located in Saudi Arabia. He believes a mountain called Jabal al-Lawz is actually Mt Sinai. In fact, the Apostle Paul describes Mt Sinai as being in Arabia, but it is uncertain what he meant by Arabia. At that time, this vague description could have easily included the Sinai Peninsula: 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (Galatians 4:25 NASV) After personally visiting Jabal al-Lawz, Richardson gave several reasons why he …

The Temple Mount Credit: Ben and Ash/Flickr/Creative Commons

Discovery of three small coins confirms the Jews ancient connection to the Temple Mount

Archaeologists working on the remains from the Temple Mount have discovered five small coins that speak of an incredible time of religious freedom in Israel’s history. Though only three of the coins are legible, they are dated to the fourth century. This puts them at the time when King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return their homeland from their Babylonian captivity and rebuild Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 538 BC. The archaeologists believe the other two similarly sized undecipherable coins are from the same set. Seven millimeters wide, the coins have an image of a barn owl on one side. The Jews basically copied the Athenian Abol, a Greek coin used in ancient times. It is curious that they used the owl because it was considered unclean under Jewish law and it also represented the goddess Athena to the Greeks. Instead of having the Greek letters ΑΘΕ used to signify Athens, the three legible coins had the Aramaic word YHD. According to an article on ynetnews, this is the shortened version of …

Raising of the cross by Peter Paul Ruben (1577-1640) Credit: Wikipedia

A 2,000 year old skeleton discovered showing evidence of crucifixion

Though the Bible and several other ancient historical documents talk about crucifixion as a brutal form of Roman execution, there has been very little archaeological evidence found of this ancient practice. However, a group of Italian researchers discovered that a skeleton of man uncovered in Northern Italy in 2007 was probably crucified. If this proves correct, it will be only the second example found revealing the brutal form of punishment used by the Romans to execute criminals. The first one was found in 1968 while excavating a Jerusalem cemetery connected  with the second Jewish temple (2 BC t0 70 Ad). In an ossuary used to store the bones of the deceased, they discovered a man with a nail in his heel. There was also a fragment from the olive tree used for the cross attached to the nail. Because the metal nails were so valuable, the Roman typically pulled them out after the person had died. This is part of the reason, it is difficult to determine if a person was crucified. In this case, …

An Israeli sunset Credit: Israel Nature Photographers/Flickr/Creative Commons

Does an ancient archaeological discovery tell us something about ‘spiritual warfare’?

There is a strange story in the Old Testament talking about a battle that took place between Israel and Moab. Found in 2 Kings 3, we are told that Israel had the kingdom of Moab in subjection. As a vassal, the Moabites paid an annual tax to Israel of 100,000 lambs and the wool from 100,000 sheep. The reason was obvious, we are told that Mesha, the King of Moab, was a breeder of sheep (verse 3) and had obviously developed a unique breed that was in demand. By this time, Israel had split apart into two nations, Samaria (Israel) and Judah. King Ahab of Israel had just died and King Mesha decided this was an opportune time to break free from Israel’s domination. Undoubtedly, Israel became aware of the problem when Mesha refused to pay the tribute. So Jehoram, the new King of Israel contacted King Jehoshaphat of Judah and an unnamed King of Edom to help Jehoram bring Moab back into submission. Obviously, it was in everyone’s best interest to keep Moab under …

Blind burrowing mole rats find evidence of King David’s reign

With the help of burrowing mole rats, archaeologists have found more evidence of King David’s reign. When the moles dig into the ground, they deposit the unearthed dirt around their hole and archaeologists will sift through this dirt to see what lies deeper down. It was just such mounds that led to the discovery of the ancient city of Eglon, 30 miles south of Jerusalem, by Dr. Faust Yair Sapir of Bar-Ilan University. Mentioned in Joshua, it was one of five Amorite cities that formed a league to resist Israel. The cities were defeated and Eglon was incorporated into the Tribe of Judah. As they began their archaeological dig of the 15 acre site, they discovered evidence of its original Canaanite roots including a pottery bowl the Canaanites offered to their gods to protect their buildings. This along with radio carbon dating of coal and olive pits dated the original building to the 12th century BC. Then they noticed the building was later rebuilt into a design unique to ancient Jews consisting of a courtyard …

Peter Ruben's (1577-1640) painting of the women at the tomb. Perhaps fitting of her reputation as a prostitute, Ruben's had Mary of Magdalene wearing a red dress.

Taking a second look at Mary Magdalene’s tattered reputation

Español: Mirando por segunda vez la reputación de Mary Magdalene It was during a sermon preached by Pope Gregory 1, in 591 AD, that Mary Magdalene’s reputation was publicly scandalized for the first time and she never full recovered. In his homily, Pope Gregory said that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute. And it is a view that stuck. He based this conclusion on a couple of things. First according to the Gospels, Mary had seven demons cast out of her (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2). Pope Gregory suggested these seven demons involved seven capital sins that included lust. Gregory then added the unnamed sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50, who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, was none other than Mary of Magdalene. It was generally believed by everyone’s reaction that the immoral woman was probably a prostitute, but even that can’t be certain. But nevertheless, Gregory concluded: She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. What did these …

The pool of Siloam constructed by King Hezekiah. Since Jerusalem did not have a water source, its original inhabitants the Jebusites had constructed an access to the springs below the city. King David used this access to take the city. This led King Hezekian to construct a new access and pool to provide water that was much less vulnerable. Source: Wikipedia

Did archaeologists uncover Isaiah’s signature?

  Archaeologists working in the old part of Jerusalem uncovered what some believe might be the seal (bulla) impression of the prophet Isaiah. A person pressed their bulla into soft clay or wax leaving an image that verified a document was from them. In one sense it was a confirming signature of authenticity. Due to damage (top half missing, left side worn), they can’t be absolutely certain it belongs to the Prophet Isaiah. But here is what they do know. The small seal contains an image of  a doe found in the top third and largely missing portion. A grazing doe was a traditional sign of blessing. The middle part of the round clay impression contains the Hebrew name for Isaiah “Yesha’yah(u), missing the “u” due to damage. Then beneath that but on the worn left side is the word “nvy.” If the letter “aleph” was added at the end of “nvy” it would read “navi” translated “prophet” and essentially would say the bulla belonged to the Prophet Isaiah. However, if there was no “aleph” …

There are no racial barriers in God’s church

I don’t think we fully appreciate the significance of what happened when the Holy Spirit fell upon a group of gentiles as Peter was preaching in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48). It took a vision for Peter, where God declared a number of animals clean, and an angelic visit for Cornelius to get these two groups together. After the Holy Spirit fell, it caused such a controversy in the early church they called a meeting to figure out what do to with the hundreds of gentiles becoming Christians. But a few Bible verses and even archaeology provide a hint of what a radical change this was for the early church that was initially made up of solely Jews. In 1871 a stone slab from the Jewish Temple that existed in Jesus day was discovered by archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. On the slab written in Greek was: “No foreigner is allowed to enter the courtyard and enclosure surrounding the temple. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue.” Greek was …

Wailing wall in Jerusalem Credit: Neil Howard/Flickr/Creative Commons

Small, 2,700-year-old clay seal punches above its weight in Jerusalem

A small artifact has made a huge impact on the history of Jerusalem. While working in an area referred to as the Western Wall Plaza in Old Jerusalem, archaeologists discovered a small clay seal that belonged to a former governor of the city. The seal, the size of a small coin, is 2,700 years old and depicts two men wearing striped robes facing each other. Its inscription reads “Belonging to the Governor of the City.” According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the seal was either distributed by the governor of Jerusalem as a souvenir or it was included with a shipment of goods. Whatever the case, it establishes that Jerusalem as Israel’s capital well into the First Temple period and reveals a strong administrative center that was already producing what was essentially a souvenir item. Speaking on behalf of IAA, Dr. Shlomit Wekler-Bdolah director of the dig said: “This is the first time that such an impression was found in an authorized excavation. It supports the Biblical rendering of the existence of a governor …

Palm Trees in Israel Credit: fabcom/flickr/Creative Commons

Ancient gates of Solomon discovered at Biblical Tamar Park?

According to Breaking Israel News, a group working in Biblical Tamar Park have found what they believe are the gates to an ancient fortress built by King Solomon. The 55-acre, Biblical Tamar Park in Southern Israel is considered one of the most unusual archaeological sites in Israel. Because of its fresh spring waters, it was a popular spot in this desert climate. The word “Tamar” means “Palm Trees” that grew in the area because of the springs. It was also an important stop for camel caravans along the major trading route known as the Silk Road as they journeyed into the far east. They have found evidence of Phoenicians, Canaanite and Arabs who also inhabited the area at various times through the centuries. But most importantly, the site has an archaeological record of the Hebrews through all their historical periods dating back to Abraham, through the Mosaic era, into the formation of Israel and then through the Roman and Christian periods to modern times. In Numbers, we read that Israelis camped at a placed called …