All posts filed under: Bible

The Mespotamia Valley where Abraham and Sarah lived before God called them on their journey of faith: Credit: Hassan Janall U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wikipedia

Faith through doubt: 4,000 year old marriage contract confirms story of Ishmael

Though the patriarch Abraham and wife Sarah ended up in the ‘Faith Hall of Fame’ (Hebrews 11:8-11), their lives were far from a perfect display of faith. God had promised Abraham and his wife Sarah a son out of which would come a great nation (Genesis 17). Though they clung to this promise, there were times when they doubted God and took matters into their own hands. One of these moments involved Hagar, Sarah’s personal maid: Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16: 1-2 NASV) Sarah told Abraham to impregnate her slave who would serve as a surrogate and have a child that Sarah would claim as her own. The couple went through with this plan with both believing it would fulfill the promise that …

Credit: Val D'Aquila/Flickr/Creative Commons

Noah’s Flood, Atlantis, and the Okotok

People who don’t like the Bible, or believe that it is not true, like to point out the story of Noah’s flood as proof that they are correct. How can any reasonable person believe that the whole world was covered with water and animals marched two by two into a large wooden boat? Where is the scientific evidence for that? You might be surprised. Noah’s flood, in the Bible, is dated at about the same time as other flood stories from almost every ancient culture. Stories about a huge and deadly flood are found in the Australian outback, the mountains of Ecuador in South America, in China, in the stories of Gilgamesh and Noah’s flood from the ancient Middle East, and in the Greek story of Atlantis. Plato and other Greek writers told us about an ancient land of Atlantis that was flooded, and apparently the Atlanteans invaded other places, in desperation. Ancient flood stories are everywhere, from people who did not speak to each other. They made their own versions in isolation. We now …

Tampa Bay filled with water Credit: tarobot/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did hurricane Irma confirm Exodus 14:21?

Tampa Bay’s bay is normally filled with ocean and fish, but on Sunday morning, September 10, 2017, some residents of Tampa were seen walking out into the bay. It was so dry people weren’t even sinking into the mud. It is a result of a rare phenomena called a bulge that can occur in the eye of a hurricane. The low pressure in the center essentially acts as a suction sucking up the water and along with its winds converging into the center, the water begins to pile up at the core of the hurricane. This results in dry land in areas around the storm. And  it didn’t just happen in Tampa Bay, a similar event took place in the Bahamas where water was essentially sucked away exposing miles of beach once covered with water. Bahamas-based Twitter user, @Kaydi_K, reported:  “‘I am in disbelief right now… This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!! That’s as far as they see #HurricaneIrma”. Washington Post meteorologist Angela Fitz explained what happened this way: “In …

Modern day Corinth Credit: Qweasdqwe/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The Aedile: Erastus of Corinth

Though the Apostle Paul mentions him twice and Luke once, we don’t know that much about Erastus. But still we know more about him than most of the associates that ministered with Paul. 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. (Acts 19:22 NASV) 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. (2 Timothy 4:20 NASV) 23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. (Romans 16:23 NASV) It was clear from the passage in Acts that Erastus joined Paul on some of his missionary journeys. The passage in 2 Timothy tells us that he was based in Corinth, but the Romans verse provides the most tantalizing clue when Paul says he was a city treasurer (Greek oikonomos which means administrative supervisor, steward, treasurer or manager). Since Paul wrote the book of Romans while at Corinth, and this along with Luke stating Erastus remained  at …

King David made Mykytiuk’s list. Fresco of King David bring the ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem by Johann Baptist Wenzel-bergl Credit: Wolfgang Sauber/Wikipedia

53 Bible personalities make the list, more to come

Purdue University Libraries associate professor Lawrence Mykytiuk recently released a report in Biblical Archaeological Review outlining 53 people mentioned by name in the Bible verified by archaeology. His work is part of a growing trend among academics giving more credence to the historical accuracy of Scripture. Mykytiuk’s interest in the Bible’s historical accuracy started in 1992 as he was doing graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was then he stumbled upon a clay insignia of a servant of King Hezekiah, verifying that Hezekiah was a real King in Israeli history. The proof of Hezekiah’s existence has continued to roll in. In 2015, archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar discovered another seal bearing Hezekiah’s name while excavating in Jerusalem. Though Jewish, Mazar is not religious, but admitted on several occasions that she excavated with a shovel in one hand and a Bible in the other. Mykytiuk also points out that it is not just Jewish archaeological sites that  are providing evidence. Israel’s ancient enemies also confirm many of these people existed. He pointed to an ancient …

Recent archaeological work being done at the West Bank Shiloh site: Credit: Vimeo Video screen capture/Tim Velasco

Hints of Shiloh’s location?

Archaeologists have uncovered some interesting artifacts at what is believed to be the ancient Israeli site of Shiloh located in the West Bank. After entering the Promised Land under Joshua, the Israelis eventually set up the Tabernacle of Moses at Shiloh around 1400 BC (Joshua 18:1). It stood here for 369 years. The site in the West Bank is considered one of four possible locations of Shiloh. Inside the tabernacle, a large colourful tent, was the gold-plated Ark of the Covenant on which the Presence of God sat leading to the Tabernacle being called the “dwelling place of God” (Exodus 25:8-9). A large Jewish community eventually built up around the most important religious site in Israel during this period. The Tabernacle sat within a larger fenced-off compound where the altar stood on which the Jewish priests made sacrifices on behalf of Israel. There are some indications from ancient non-Biblical Jewish writings that the tent and the walls of the compound originally made of cloth and skins for easy transportation around the wilderness were eventually replaced …

Jezreel Valley in Israel. Credit: vad_levin/Flickr/Creative Commons.jpg

Does this find confirm 1 Kings 21:1?

Dr Norma Franklin made a remarkable discovery in the Jezreel Valley. The valley is located in a large, fertile plain in Northern Israel, just south of Nazareth. It has been an important agricultural area in Israel for centuries. In 2012, using a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner that is able to see beneath the surface of the earth, Franklin discovered several ancient wine presses including one that is now considered the largest wine-press ever found in Israel. This one was actually found on a side of a hill carved into the bedrock and was about 12 metres square (36 feet). As well, Franklin’s team discovered several (100) bottle-shaped pits that were probably used to store wine. In addition to discoveries related to the wine industry, the scanner also picked out several olive presses. Though it was difficult to determine the date of these finds, Franklin said the construction style is similar to those built in 300 BC. This would fall into the era of King Ahab and his wicked wife Queen Jezebel. So what Biblical …

Credit: kairoinfo4u/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where did the Egyptians come from: Does the Bible get it right again?

It has always been a bit of a mystery as to the origin of the Egyptians. But based on history and DNA sampling of modern Egyptians most concluded that they came from Northern Africa. However, this contradicts the Bible that declared that Egyptians descended from Mizraim, one of the son’s of Ham. The term Mizraim is actually translated Egypt by some translations (Genesis 10:6): 6 The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 NASV) 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 ESV) It was Ham’s eldest Cush and his descendants who went on to settle what today is modern Africa.  We see a possible reference to their darker skin in the Prophet Jeremiah’s rhetorical question: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23).  The Hebrew word translated Ethiopian is “kusi,” a Cushite. But with the modern Egyptian DNA suggesting an African origin, it left the impression that the Bible was wrong. However, that recently changed when geneticists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of …

It took science 4,500 years to finally realize….

In 2014, while speaking at a legal conference in England, Professor Colin Blakemore told the attendees that he believed 120 was the maximum age people could live too. He described it as the “absolute limit to human lifespans.” A neurobiologist, Blackmore, who has also been knighted for his work in medical research, is the former head of England’s Medical Research Council. Blakemore was reacting to comments by some predicting that people’s life spans could triple. He said though medical research is extending how long people are living, there is a limit. And certainly, recent medical advancements are allowing people to live longer: In 2014, the Global Age Index stated if the trend continues in 2050 21% of earth’s population will be over 60, compared to 12% today and 4% will be over 80, compared the current 2%. Over the past decade, the number of people over the age of 100 in England has increased by 71%. There are 14,000 people over the age 0f 100 in England compared to only 2,500 in the early 1980s. …

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

Evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD discovered

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have come across evidence of the Roman destruction of the city and the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) made the announcement on Jerusalem Day held annually in Israel on May 23.  Also called Yom Yerushalayim, it is a national holiday celebrating the day that the Jews regained control of Jerusalem. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the event and IAA chose this auspicious occasion to make their announcement. The road itself is located 20 feet below the surface. So far they have uncovered a piece 100 meters (328 feet) long and 7.5 meters wide. It was part of the main street of Jerusalem that extended from the main gates to the Pool of Siloam, that some believe served as a ritual bath (John 9:6-11), to the Temple itself. The Romans constructed the road with large stone slabs. But evidence shows that it was not built during Herod’s day, the man who built the second Jewish Temple, but probably by Pontius Pilate who played a major role in …

Curiously temples in Mexico are patterned off the same design as the Tower of Babel. Credit: Brian Hoffsis/Flcikr/Creative Commons

Does an ancient tablet mention the Tower of Babel?

Shortly after the flood, the Bible says the people gathered in the Mesopotamia valley and started building a large tower to heaven. 4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4 NASV) Called the Tower of Babel, the Bible relates how God stopped its construction by creating different languages among this group forcing them apart and eventually causing them to scatter around the world:  7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.  (Genesis 11: 7-8 NASV). Though many have called this account a myth, Dr. Andrew George, a professor at the University of London who specializes in Babylonian history, recently translated an ancient stone tablet held by a private Norwegian …

Herdodium complex Credit: Eitan Yaaran/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Tomb of Herod the Great discovered

In 2007, Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced the discovery of the tomb of Herod the Great, including his sarcophagus and mausoleum, on the Northeast slope of Mount Herodium. This confirmed the existence of a major player in early New Testament history. Herod was part of a larger clan who ruled Palestine during its Roman occupation — his grandfather and father had ruled before him. Herod, who was declared “King of the Jews” in 40 BC by the Roman Senate, died in 4 AD. Most Christians are familiar with Herod the Great and his role embedded in the Christmas story. Herod was the king that the Magi consulted when they came to Judea looking for the “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1). This news troubled Herod (v 2) and he asked the Magi to report back when they had found the new King. When the Magi – warned in a dream – took a different route home, Herod was enraged (v 16). After consulting his advisors, Herod determined where the Jewish Messiah had been born and brutally ordered …

Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio (1571 - 1610): Wikipedia

Proof of the resurrection

Like today, the early church had its doubters and haters. After Christ rose from the dead the Jewish Sanhedrin purposefully spread rumors that it was all one big scam and the disciples had stolen Christ’s body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15). Year’s later this rumor still had legs and was widely circulated among the Jews. And at times, the Apostle Paul felt  a need to point at the evidence of the resurrection, listing the people (such as Peter, the 12 disciples) the crowds (many who were still alive) and others who saw the Lord after His death (1 Corinthians 15:1-11). But these eye-witness testimonies were not the primary evidence for the early church of Christ’s resurrection. They had something else. During the early days of the church they were under siege from the Jewish authorities and the believers asked for courage and power: 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take …

Balaam's donkey could count. Credit: JohnBWilson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Can horses count and does it matter?

I have always wondered what is going on in my dog’s mind other than the obvious – did I leave the cupboard door open to the garbage can? In 2008, Dr Claudia Uller from the University of Essex in Essex, England was speaking at the British Psychological Society conference in Dublin, Ireland when she announced that horses can count. She came to this conclusion based on a study she conducted along with Jennifer Lewis on 13 horses from Colchester, England. In the study, they had several buckets in which they placed either three apples or two apples. They only used plastic apples to eliminate the possibility that smell affected the results. They found in their testing that 11 of the 13 horses consistently chose the buckets with the most apples. In a second test they had buckets containing either two equally sized small apples or one large apple that was double the size of the two smaller apples, making them equal in amount. Ten of the 12 horses consistently chose the two apple containers over …

Credit: Rob Fransdad/Flickr/Creative Commons

A donkey speaks again, this time about King Solomon’s copper mines

Liberals have tried to picture King David and King Solomon as little more than tribal chieftains instead of how the Bible portrays them as leaders of a nation numbering millions of people. Unfortunately, a donkey seems to have upset the Liberal apple cart. Archaeologists working at the site of an ancient copper mine in Israel’s Timma Valley made an unusual discovery — they found donkey dung. It wasn’t just any kind of donkey dung, when they carbon dated it, they discovered it was 3,000 years old. This made the site older than archaeologists initially thought and the donkey’s appearance dated the mines to King David’s and King Solomon’s day. The area being excavated not only contained numerous mines, but also several areas where it was smelted including furnaces and piles of slag. This was a major production center. The mines explain several verses in the Old Testament that spoke of Solomon’s incredible wealth. When King David charged his son with building the temple, he listed bronze as part of the kingdom’s resources: 16 Of the gold, …

The Wadi-Qumran Credit: Otto_Friedrich45/Flickr/Creative Commons

Does an ancient copper scroll hold clues to the secret location of the Ark of the Covenant?

According to Breaking Israel News (BIN), a copper scroll discovered in 1952 in caves along with the infamous Dead Sea Scrolls may actually be an ancient treasure map. The two thousand-year old scroll, made of thin sheets of copper, sticks out from its fellow Dead Sea Scrolls made of papyrus discovered in caves found in cliffs below a large plateau a mile away from the northwestern edge of the Dead Sea. The scroll also differs in one other significant way — while the Dead Sea Scrolls contain Biblical texts and other religious writings — the copper scroll is a map with 64 different locations marked out on it. It also lists quantities of gold and silver associated with each site along with clues and descriptions of the secret locations. Archaeologists believe the map probably outlines where Jews hid money during the Jewish revolt that led to the Romans destroying the Jewish temple in 70 AD. But one of the sites also mentions something else — Jewish vestments — suggesting the Jews may have hidden some …

Credit: matt kornatz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Seth, stem cells, teeth and the Bible

As I reported in my previous article, I am going for stem cell therapy on my knees. I have found the numerous news reports on stem cells very interesting but an article in early January from the British newspaper, The Telegraph, provided an insight into stem cells from a Biblical perspective. Now let’s be clear, no where does the Bible directly discuss stem cells other than references to how God formed us in the womb (Psalm 139:13) in which stem cells play a critical role. But the story about work being done by researchers at London’s King College provided another clue for me. They were testing the Alzheimer drug — Tideglusib — and discovered that the drug can cause teeth with cavities to repair themselves. It does this by stimulating the ‘stem cells’ in the pulp of the tooth. Teeth already have a limited ability to repair the dentine and enamel but the layer is so thin that it is not heavy enough to repair larger cavities. Researchers found that by inserting a small sponge …

Mosul, Iraq Credit: Kawa Somar/US Government/Voice of America/Wikipeidia

What ISIS intended as evil ends up as a confirmation of the Biblical record

One ancient tradition states the tomb of the prophet Jonah is located near the remains of the city of Nineveh. This particular site has been considered Jonah’s tomb since the 4th century and resulted in the construction of a Christian church and monastery at the site. God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and call the city to repent of its sins. Fearing the city would escape God’s judgement if it responded, Jonah refused and sailed off to Tarshish located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. However, God stirred up a storm that eventually resulted in Jonah being tossed overboard and swallowed by a large fish. Stuck in it’s stomach for three days, Jonah repented and was coughed up on land. He went back to Nineveh who then responded to Jonah’s message. If this tradition is right, Jonah must have stayed on in Nineveh.  However, this is not universally accepted. Other traditions state that Jonah returned to his home town of Gath-Hepher where he died. The Assyrian church initially built at the shrine located just …

Credit: Michal Strzelecki/Wojteck Strzelecki/Jerzy strzelecki/Wikipedia

Jonah and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge?

You have probably seen a documentary or even a movie highlighting the massive mountain ranges that exist at the bottom of the earth’s oceans. Since they are located thousands of feet below the surface, no one knew of their existence until the 1800s. One of the first hints appeared in 1875, when scientists on board the HMS Challenger were plotting a route for a telegraph cable across the Atlantic. But at that point, they had no idea of the size or extent of these under-ocean mountain ranges. It wasn’t until the 1950s, when American-based Columbia University using a research vessel discovered a massive mountain range that extended up the middle of the Atlantic ocean. At first they thought this mountain range – called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – was unique to the Atlantic. But as they surveyed the bottoms of the earth’s other oceans they discovered other ranges as well. Though these underwater mountains are only a recent discovery, the Bible actually spoke of them several times, thousands of year before scientists actually discovered them. Perhaps …

Remains of the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq as seen from Saddam Hussein's former summer palace: Credit US Navy Arlo K Abrahamson/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Cuneiform tablet confirms the gruesome story of Jeremiah 39

Jeremiah chapter 39 paints the gruesome fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586BC/587BC. King Zedekiah had previously been installed by the Babylonians as Judah’s puppet king after Babylon defeated Jerusalem in 597 BC. Jerusalem remained largely intact, and Judah was forced to pay an annual tribute to Babylon. However, Zedekiah, who was 21 years only when he was set up as a vassal king, eventually tired of the arrangement and rebelled against Babylon by forming an alliance with Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah who initially served as one of Zedekiah’s counselors warned against the move, but Zedekiah was by this stage doing evil in the sight of the Lord (Jeremiah 52:1-3) setting the stage for God’s devastating judgement. When King Nebuchadnezzar returned a second time to bring Jerusalem back into submission, he was in a foul mood. The battle predictably turned against Judah and with Jerusalem on the brink of falling, King Zedekiah, along with his family and personal guards, fled with the Babylonian army in pursuit. After the invaders caught up with …

The Strait of Gilbralter near the location of the fabled City of Atlantis Credit: joko facile/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the Biblical city of Tarshish the fabled city of Atlantis?

Some believe the mythical city of Atlantis is just that — a fable. The city was only mentioned once in ancient writings by fourth century Greek philosopher Plato (428 BC to 348 BC) who wrote of a traveler Solon who had visited the sea-faring city and described it as an advanced and wealthy civilization. But others are not convinced it is a myth. In a documentary, Atlantis Rising, produced for National Geographic, famed film-maker James Cameron (the movie Titanic) and journalist/archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici claim they have unraveled the mystery surrounding the ancient city. Plato said Atlantis was covered with mud and water and sank, leading the duo to conclude it was probably hit by a tsunami. But the philosopher also provided a clue to the city’s site describing it as being past the “Pillars of Hercules.” Cameron and Jacobovici believed these pillars referred to the Straits of Gibraltar. In an interview with Breaking Israel News (BIN), Jacobovici said this would put it along the coast of Spain, Portugal or the Iberian Peninsula. Though Atlantis is …

Muslim quarter of Old Jerusalem. Credit: meghamama/Flickr/Creative Commons

2,700 year-old reference to Jerusalem discovered on a piece of papyri

On October 26, 2016, archaeologists announced they uncovered the earliest non-Biblical reference to Jerusalem. This proves once again that the indisputable Jewish connection to Jerusalem predates the Muslim arrival by thousands of years. They discovered the name Jerusalem on an ancient piece of papyri radio carbon dated to 7 BC that antiquity robbers had pillaged from Judean desert caves in the West Bank. This is the oldest extra-Biblical reference to Jerusalem found so far. The 2,700 year-old papyri was uncovered in an operation undertaken by Israel Antiquities Authority who became aware of the theft and mounted an operation to seize back the stolen antiquities before the robbers sold it on the black market. The small piece of papyri written in Hebrew reads “From the king’s maid servant, from Na’arat, jars of wine to Jerusalem.” Because the writer specifically calls herself a servant of the king, archaeologists suspect the document — referring to the transfer of two jars of wine to Jerusalem — was part of a tax payment. It was made during the reign of …

Tel Lachish from inside the city. Credit: Wikipedia/Liadmalone

Does an ancient toilet confirm 2 Kings 10:27?

27 They also broke down the sacred pillar of Baal and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day. (2 Kings 10:27 NASV) This verse tells the story of King Jehu eradicating Baal out Israel. After destroying the idols in one particular temple, Jehu ordered his men to set up a toilet in the Baal sanctuary. This transformation to an outhouse was the kings way of desecrating the temple and recent archaeological excavations suggest it was a common practice. Archaeologists working at the Tel-Lachish site in central Israel have made an amazing discovery. They found a toilet in an ancient Baal shrine. The site is dated to the reign of King Hezekiah (715BC to 686BC). This is the remains of the ancient city of Lachish mentioned several times in the Bible (2 Kings 14:17-19). Many consider it Judah’s second most important city behind Jerusalem. King Sennacherib of Assyria destroyed Lachish in 701AD during the reign of  Judah’s King Hezekiah. Hezekiah, one of Israel’s most prominent reforming kings, is listed in …

Ein Gedi Leviticus scroll. Credit: Dr. Brent Seales

Ancient Leviticus text reveals the accuracy of the Bible

Using a process called ‘virtual unwrapping,’ scientists were able to read the the text on a parchment destroyed in an ancient synagogue that burned down in 600 AD. The parchment was inside a box called the Holy Ark used by Synagogues to store Biblical scrolls. The scrolled parchment made up of five layers was found in 1970 in a synagogue discovered in the archaeological remains of a small Jewish community referred to as Ein Gedi on the coast of the Dead Sea. The whole town apparently burned down at the same time. Archaeologists stopped working on the scroll when it disintegrated at touch. It sat unstudied until University of Kentucky computer scientists scanned the charred parchment using a mico-CT scanner at the request of the Israeli Antiquity Authority. They basically used this to create digital images of the scroll and then flattened the sheets. Because the Jews used an ink with metal properties the scanners were able to easily pick out the Hebrew lettering. According to Breaking Israel News (BIN), the scroll contained text from …

Elijah confronting King Ahab and jezebel Credit: Painting by Sir Francis Dicksee (1853-1928)/Wikipedia

Dutch scholar convinced ancient seal belonged to Queen Jezebel

Dr. Marjo Korpel who now teaches Old Testament studies at Amsterdam and Groningen Universities in Holland has concluded an ancient seal discovered in Israel in 1964 actually belonged to Israel’s notorious, evil-Queen – Jezebel. Many consider Korpel to be a careful and respected researcher and her conclusions garnered a huge reaction in the archaeological community. The account — recorded in 1 and 2 Kings — tells the story of King Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel — a Phoenician princess. When Jezebel arrived to take her place at Ahab’s side, she brought a wedding present for her husband — 400 prophets of Asherah and 450 prophets of Baal. Almost immediately, two centers of idol worship popped up — one at each of Israel’s capital cities. A Baal temple was built in Samaria and at the main palace in Jezreel, Jezebel set up the temple of Asherah where the 400 prophets of Asherah served this deity and ate at the table of Jezebel (1 Kings 16:32, 33; 1 Kings 18:19). In the end, she dominated her husband and effectively …

The Magdala Stone: Credit: Hanay/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Does the Magdala Stone provide a clue to why Jesus was crucified?

The discovery of a small coin dated to 29 AD was tantalizing enough, but its discovery in an ancient synagogue found in Northern Israel along the Sea of Galilee has provided new understanding of ancient Judaism and even the Gospels. The site was uncovered during construction of a christian retreat center and spa for a Catholic order called the Legionnaries of Christ. The organization which trains men for the priesthood has a controversial reputation. Some accused the order of  being cult-like due to its regimented structure that during its early years forbid adherents from contacting their families. This policy has since been completely reversed. The coin confirms the synagogue’s existence during the time Jesus ministered in Galilee. He undoubtedly taught at this synagogue as the Lord regularly spoke at synagogues throughout Israel  (Luke 4:15). The town where the synagogue was discovered is the hometown of Mary Magdalene. She was a close follower, who Christ delivered of evil spirits. 2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, …

Do the earliest references to Yahweh in Egypt confirm the Exodus? Credit: clubmed.co.uk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Egypt meets Yahweh: Another confirmation of the Exodus?

When we look at Biblical accounts there are many mentions of Egypt with the most prominent being Israel’s exodus out of that country under Moses. It was  a dramatic encounter that brought the full force of Yahweh against Egypt and its pharaoh who refused to let Israel leave. Similarly, there are several references to Israel in Egyptian records — from mentions on wall carvings and steles to papyris. According to Charles Aling the oldest reference is found on the Merneptah Stele dated to around 1208 BC that refers to a group of people called the Shasu. Aling who specializes in Egyptology is chairman of the History department at Northwestern College. The Egyptians referred to the Shasu several times through the centuries. The word is used to describe a semi-nomadic people who lived in Canaan. It is generally believed that Shasu incorporated all the Semitic people – descendants of Abraham — such as the Edomites, Ishmaelites, Moabites and Israelis. From the Egyptian records the Shasu were generally looked upon as enemies of Egypt and in one …

Workers sifting through the 400 truckloads of dirt hauled out of the Temple Mount as part of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Photo: Zachi Dvira Pikiwiki Israel

Ancient flooring from Herod’s Temple discovered?

Archaeologists with the Temple Mount Sifting Project believe they have discovered the floor that made up the court-yard of Herod’s temple. This was the floor Jesus walked on when He visited the temple in the Gospels. They made the announcement at a news conference today. The first Jewish Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC, who then sent most of the Jews into captivity. After Persia’s King Cyrus conquered Babylon, he allowed the Jews under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah to return to Israel and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. The construction of the smaller second temple started around 538 BC and was eventually completed in 515 BC (Ezra 6). Though it survived near destruction in 332 BC, after quelling a Jewish rebellion Antiochus IV Epiphanes (215 BC – 164 BC) desecrated this second temple by setting us an idol of Zeus inside it and sacrificing a pig. But the temple continued and it was this version that King Herod restored and expanded in 20 BC.  The transformation was …

Galilean Sunset. You can see the Sea of Galilee in the distance. Photo: Dan Zelazo/Flickr/Creative commons

Matthew 9:35 receives its verification

A verse in the Gospel of Matthew has caused lots of problems. I don’t think Matthew gave it a second thought when he added it. He wrote: 35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. (Matthew 9:35 NASV) But those opposed to Christianity have used this verse and other similar ones to discredit and even question Jesus’ ministry. Why? Because Matthew said Jesus had preached in the synagogues in the villages of Galilee and since no synagogues had been found in rural Galilee, it is argued they did not exist and the verse was a complete fabrication. And since it also talked about Jesus healing every type of sickness and disease, this called into question Christ’s ministry. But on August 9, 2016, the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology discovered a small rural synagogue dated to the second temple period confirming they did exist. This is the temple, built by King Herod, that …

Photo: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

Evidence of Noah’s flood found in China?

In nearly every culture in the world, there are a stories from their ancient past of a massive flood that wiped out the world — from Eskimos in the Northern Arctic to aborigines in Australia. According to an article in the Washington Post, the Chinese have a story of a flood that covered their mountains and hills. Ancient Chinese emperor Yao wrote: “The flood is pouring forth destruction. Boundless and overwhelming, it over tops hills and mountains. Rising and ever rising, it threatens the very heavens.” Compare his account to how Genesis describes Noah’s flood: 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. (Genesis 7:18-19 NASV) Recently archaeologists uncovered evidence of a massive flood that hit China about 4,000 years ago. This included the remains of small children trapped by the waters. Their dating would put it in the time frame of the …

When it isn't eating nuts and berries, this Finch transforms into a vampire. Photo: Vampire Finch/Peter Wilton/Wikipedia

Why animals became carnivores: Vampire finches

In my earlier post, I wrote on Dr. Joel Berger’s study that showed a prey’s natural fear of predators is not instinctive but rather a learned behaviour. If there are no carnivores around, the animals had little fear of predators compared to those existing in areas with many natural enemies. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a day when the lion would lie with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6-9). The lamb would have no fear of the lion because it eats vegetation. Since Isaiah saw this as part of the new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65: 17, 25), many have concluded that at creation, animals were not created as carnivores.  It was also a learned behaviour. So what happened to change the natural order of life as God intended it? The Apostle Paul explains it this way: “For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, 
but because of Him who subjected it in hope
That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that …

The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks (1780-1849)

Study reveals the nature of animals as God created them

A report released by Dr. Joel Berger of the Wildlife Conversation Society says the fear of predators is not a natural instinct in animals. It is a learned behavior. This revelation is a bit of a shock for many evolutionists who believe the fear of predators is a naturally evolving instinct that enabled species to survive. Berger came to this conclusion after studying the relationship between prey and predator in 19 ecosystems in Russia, Greenland, Canada and the US. He focused specifically on elk, moose, bison and caribou and their natural predators wolves, tigers and bears. He compared systems where predators existed with those where they didn’t. He noticed that prey-animals only feared predators, if they regularly encountered them.  Once the predators were removed, prey animals lost a fear of their natural enemies. In his study, Berger played sound recordings of predators around test animals that had no predators in their area and compared their reactions to similar species that regularly encountered predators in their surroundings. Berger said “elk in the mountains of Siberia — who …

Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time by Jean Leon Gerome (1897) Wikipedia

Is Jesus Real? Philo and the Christ Myth

There is a popular argument going around these days “Jesus never existed and we can prove it.” At the time of Jesus, a Jewish writer named Philo lived in Alexandria, a large city on the coast of Egypt. Philo tried to integrate the Jewish religion with Greek philosophy, to make the Jews more Greek and Roman. Historically, he was not popular with his fellow Jews. We know about him now because Christians liked his writings. It is interesting that Philo never once mentioned Jesus in his writings. This man lived when the New Testament tells us Jesus preached and did miracles, and Philo is silent about Jesus. Today, some critics are saying Christians believe in a made up character, the “Christ Myth.” You can search for “Philo” and the other terms on the Internet, but I don’t want to give links because most of the discussions are aggressive and offensive. Today, Philo’s silence encourages some people to believe that Jesus never existed. So what should we do with Philo? The argument of silence is always …

Another media report of Muslims turning to Christ in significant numbers, this time in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Photo: Stoke-on-Trent, Futurilla/Flickr/Creative Commons

Media reports Muslims turning to Christianity in England

I have written several articles on Muslims converting to Christianity in unprecedented numbers. Stories tell of Muslims turning to Christ after Jesus appeared to them in dreams, a fulfillment of Joel 2:28. In Iran, thousands are becoming Christians despite the fear of persecution when they make that decision. And now with the recent influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslims into Europe, several secular media report that thousands of Muslims — many fed up with the violence of the extremists — are becoming Christians across Europe. Now we can add England to this list. A prominent English newspaper, The Guardian wrote a curious article on what is happening at Church of St. Mark in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The story stated that one recent Saturday morning, 15 Muslim refugees were baptized in the church. Rev Sally Smith who serves as the church’s vicar, says that three to four Muslims turn to Christianity weekly. According to the article, part of the reason for the growth is that the church is supplying the refugees assistance in the form of …

Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem Photo: jordan Pickett/Flickr/Creative Commons

UNESCO to vote if Jews have any connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

This week the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced it is postponing a vote that would put Jerusalem’s Temple Mount firmly in the hands of the Muslim. Whether Israel would actually implement UNESCO’s recommendations is anther issue. But if the motion passed it undoubtedly would embolden the Muslims in their attempts to control the site. The vote is part of a Palestinian-Jordanian initiative that would declare the Temple Mount  a “Muslim-only” site. The vote would see the Temple Mount returned to its status before the 1967 Six Day war. Prior to the Israel Arab conflict, the Jordan Waqf that operates the two Muslim buildings on the site — the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock — controlled every aspect of the Temple Mount including who could visit the site. But perhaps the most disturbing part of the motion is that it would deny any historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. The original motion also referred to Israel as an “occupying force.” When Israel protested the motion later revisions tried to …