All posts filed under: Bible

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: 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 …

Replica of a Viking ship. Photo: valt98/Flickr/Creative Commons

Viking tales and dinosaurs

In the late 1930s, while digging in the remains of an ancient fortress, Sverresborg Castle, located near Bergen, Norway, archaeologist Gerhard Fischer came across the partial skeletal remains of a body in a well filled with rocks. But when World War II broke out the excavation stopped,  the remains buried and the discovery largely forgotten. However according to the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage, in 2014 archaeologists have stumbled across more remains of this body in the well. After dating a bone shard they discovered it was over 800 years old — dating it to 1200 AD. But here the story takes an interesting twist. There are a number of sagas or epic poems written by Vikings and handed down through the generations. Many disregarded them as fanciful tales. But there is one saga entitled the Sverris Saga, dated to the 1200s, that talks about Viking wars, great voyages and clan feuds. In it there is an elaborate story about King Sverre Sigurdsson who led a group called the Baglers. They were so poor they wore shoes made of birch bark. …

Donald Trump Photo: Nathan Congleton/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did Donald Trump become a born-again Christian?

[UPDATED JUNE 29, 2016] If you want to have an interesting, perhaps even heated discussion, bring up Donald Trump with  your friends. People either love him or hate, there is little middle ground. But it looks like he is the Republican’s presumptive nominee for president and will be facing off with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee for the Democrats. Dr. James Dobson, founder of the Christian organization Focus on the Family, recently reported that Donald Trump has become a born-again Christian. Dobson did not lead Trump to Christ but is reporting that he personally knows the person who did, but is not giving his name. In a meeting with several Evangelical Christians, Dobson said, “I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long. I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian.” In reference to Trumps language and rough edges, Dobson added, “You have got to cut him some slack. He didn’t grow up like we did.” Because of the interest in the news about Trump’s conversion, Dobson released …

Antarctic Peninsula, Paradise Bay -- tonykliemann/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Book of Job and the ice age

Theologians consider the Book of Job as one of the oldest books of the Bible. It is generally believed to have been written during the time of the early patriarchs, shortly after Noah’s flood. There is an interesting feature about Job. It refers to ice and snow more than any other book in the Bible. It not only discusses ice and snow, but does it in a much more descriptive way. Out of the South comes the storm. And out of the North comes the cold From the breath of God ice is made And the expanse of the water is frozen. (Job 37:9-10 NASV) The word expanse is translated in another version “broad waters” refers to massive bodies of ice. Job was describing a sea of frozen ice. Considering Job lived in the Middle East, where did he get this idea? Then he throws out another depiction: From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens 30 when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the …

Jesus's wife fragment almost certainly a forgery. Image: Live Science/Harvard Divinity School

Jesus’s wife fragment declared a fake one more time

An article published in the July/August 2016 issue of The Atlantic has concluded that the small business card-sized fragment of papyrus purporting Jesus was married is a modern-day forgery when the author alleges some of the provenance supporting the fragment’s authenticity is probably fake. The provenance tracks the recent ownership history of a piece of antiquity and is part of the process used to determine legitimacy. In 2012, Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King caused a stir in her presentation to the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies about a papyrus fragment that had the words “Jesus said to them, MY WIFE.” Though the sentences were cut off, other lines such as “She is able to be my disciple”; “I dwell with her,” also indicated a marital arrangement. King suggested that this ancient fragment, supposedly dated to the fourth century, was a copy of an earlier document and is evidence that some close to the time Jesus lived believed He was married. The Biblical narrative makes no reference to Jesus being married and since others …

Three of the pottery shards from Arad Fortress revealing troop movement and costs for fort provisions. Photo credit:PNAS, Faigenbaum-Golovin et al

How words written on 16 pottery shards screwed up Liberal theories, again

Throughout the Old Testament, there are many references to people recording historical events as they were happening. Liberals of course have long disagreed with this. They believe writing was not widely in use during Biblical times and people wrote these stories long after they occurred. They then of course go the next step and insist these historical records and the people named in them were simply made up. This meant Biblical books ranging from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings were written centuries after the events cited in them took place, despite the Bible treating them as eye-witness accounts. Those Liberal views just came crashing down after researchers analyzed writing found on pottery shards discovered in a Jewish frontier fort named Arad, dated to 600 BC. Researchers from Tel Aviv University used computer programs, often employed by forensics to compare writing samples and banks to verify signatures, to find out if the same person wrote them. The research team was made up of a diverse group of people including archaeologists, physicists and mathematicians, After they scanned the …

Crucifixion by Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669)

Some say Easter is early this year, one ancient scholar says it’s right on time

I have heard a few comments that Easter is early this year, which leads to the obvious questions why is it early and why do the dates fluctuate so much? Well you can blame the council of Nicea, held in 325 AD, for this. During that meeting the early church leaders laid down the calculation used to determine the date for Easter. At the time, there were two camps with differing opinions as to when Easter should be celebrated. There were those who felt it should be held at the same time as the Jewish Passover when the Romans crucified Christ. Since the Bible describes Jesus as the Paschal lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), this seemed the logical choice. However there was a second group wanting to separate it from the Jewish Passover, since the Jews had rejected Jesus as their Passover lamb. This was only partially true as thousands of Jews did accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. It was this latter group that won the day at Nicea. Easter would be separate from the …

One of Jacob's lambs in England. Photo: Paul Blakeman/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Jacob’s Sheep’ returning home?

Sheep have played an important role in Israel’s economy and religious life for centuries. However, the sheep that cover  Israel’s fields today are not the same sheep that existed in Old Testament times. Today’s white and brown-faced sheep are part of  a breed known as Awassi that originated in Syria. However, the ancient breed of sheep that the Patriarch Jacob developed and cared for still exist today and a family from British Columbia, Canada has one of the world’s few remaining flocks of this rare breed. And over the past few years, they along with a non-profit society have been working to send this flock to Israel. Going by their name Jacob’s Sheep, they are on the endangered list and are considered one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world. They are officially listed as an ‘heirloom” breed meaning there is stock alive today that is basically unaltered from the time it first existed in the Middle East. They still have the same characteristics mentioned in the Bible: Speckles and spots (Genesis 30:32); Horns …

Cappadoina home of the fairy chimneys. Photo: Benh Lieu Song/Wikipedia

Preaching the gospel among the fairy chimneys

When writing his first epistle, the Apostle Peter addresses it to the elect living in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1 Peter 1:1). The Apostle’s second letter was also written to these same groups of people (2 Peter 3:1). But in this list, there is one very strange place — Cappadocia, home of the fairy chimneys. Located in modern Turkey, the area is composed of a unique landscape made up of a thick layer of tufa, a soft stone made of volcanic ash from nearby volcanoes that mixed with mud and lava. Because the rock is soft, it is easily sculpted by wind, rain and water run-off forming a bizarre landscape more at home in a science fiction movie than on earth. With a landscape filled with an estimated 50,000 spires, turrets, cones and pyramids, Cappadocia is Turkey’s most famous tourist attraction. Some, because of their unique caps, have been given the name fairy chimneys. (At the end of the article there is a small slide show of the area.) Over the centuries people …

The site of Abraham's tomb in Hebron. Photo Ooman/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Ancient tombs dating to the time of Abraham found near Bethlehem

Livescience is reporting that archaeologists working near the city of Bethlehem have discovered an old burial site or necropolis with nearly 100 tombs — some estimated to be 4000 years old, dating to the time of Abraham. The tombs were dug into the side of a hill and consisted of large caves some with multiple chambers. It appears that the workers creating this necropolis used pre-existing caves. They believe this burial site, called Khalet al-Jam’a, was for a yet to be discovered larger town located nearby. Because of the variety of artifacts inside, it is believed the town was a major trading center. Tombs in the site range from 2200 BC — the time of Abraham, to about 650 BC when they abruptly ended. This coincides with Israel’s invasion by Babylon and Assyria, when many of the Israelis were taken off into captivity. Though the tombs were ransacked over the centuries, they still include a family — a man, wife and child dating to about 3,500 BC and another tomb containing an earlier single man …

Mt Gerazim on the left and Mt Ebal on the right. Photo: Tom Miller/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where did Israel’s giant footprints come from?

In Israel’s Jordan valley, archaeologists have discovered a curious phenomena — six huge man-made footprints. These structures, where the low outer stone wall is distinctively foot shaped, are quite large. One referred to as el-‘Unuq is 228 feet wide and 816 feet long — about two football fields in size. Perhaps the most famous of these sandal-shaped sites is one found on Mt. Ebal. Discovered in 1980, its most unique feature is a massive altar found in the center measuring about 23′ by 30′ feet in size. It is also a story high — 10’. Of course, such an altar, created of unhewn stone, required a huge ramp to get on top, which this one had. They also found charred animal bones and ash in and around the altar. It was apparently a religious site where the people made animal sacrifices. This is where it gets interesting. Adam Zertal, the archaeologist who discovered this site, believes this is the altar Joshua created when Israel first entered the Promised Land. 30 Then Joshua built an altar to …

Map of the area of the Red Sea showing the region where God parted the waters.

And God sent a wind — the parting of the Red Sea

England’s BBC recently posted a video to its YouTube Channel about the impact of storms hitting their country. Because of the high cliffs along the coast there are many waterfalls cascading over the edge into the ocean. When a massive storm or hurricane hits at the right angle, they can actually reverse a waterfall and push the water back over the top of the cliff. In the video below, you will see this happening to a waterfall on the Isle of Mull off Scotland when Storm Henry hit on Monday, February 1, 2016. Wind can move water. This is relevant because when Israel was trapped between the Red Sea and an approaching Egyptian army, God used a wind to part the Red Sea allowing Israel to escape over land. As the Egyptians entered the land passage way, the waters collapsed drowning the soldiers. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters …

Mayan Temple Photo: Brian Hoffsis/Flickr

A nugget from the begats

When we encounter a genealogy chapter in the Bible, where the King James version quaintly drones on about how “Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber,” our eyes quickly glaze over and bounce down to the next chapter. But now and then, there is a nugget in these lists, such as one we find in Genesis chapter ten: 25 Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. (Genesis 10:25 NASV) The verse inserts a small note about something significant that happened in the days of Peleg. It says the earth (our terra firma) was divided. The Hebrew word means to cleave apart or divide and the tense suggests it was a continual act, that it started and continued to do so. It was such a historic event, that Peleg was even named after what happened. According to Barnes commentary, as a noun Peleg refers to a brook or canal and because that is a natural divide in …

Eye for eye, tooth for Photo: Laurence Vagner/Flickr

Is the Bible different from the Qur’an?

There is a video circulating on the internet produced by two men, Alexander Spoor and Sacha Harland from Holland, who seemed to compare the violent actions of Islamic extremists to Christianity. What they did was take a Dutch Bible and enclosed it in a paper cover that made it look like a Qur’an. They then took this book into the streets of Holland and had people read selected verses from the Bible thinking they were reading the Qur’an. Explaining their YouTube video, entitled The Holy Quran Experiment, the two said: [Islam] has been under huge scrutiny lately and is often [criticized] for being an aggressive religion… but what about Christianity? In this video we disguised a Bible as a Quran and read some of it’s most gruesome verses to the people. This is what they had to say. Though people read from a few passages, what seemed to catch everyone’s attention were the verses in the Old Testament: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,” Moses (Exodus 21:24 NASV) The “eye for …

Photo of Atlantic ocean off of Brazil by Tiago Fioreze/Wikipedia

Where did all the water come from?

For years, scientists have struggled to explain waters existence on earth. Their best theory is that it was alien — that comets laden with ice hit the earth filling our oceans. However, there is a new theory gaining ground that confirms the Biblical account. Geologists last year found a diamond that suggested deep beneath the earth’s surface there are massive oceans of water. This is exactly what the Bible says. We are told in Genesis 1, that when God formed the earth he created waters above and below (Genesis 1:7). In fact, the water below was a major source of the water used to fill the earth during Noah’s flood when the fountains of the deep exploded gushing water to the earth’s surface. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. (Genesis 7:11 NASV) In 2014, scientists from the University of Alberta were …

Photo m_shipp22/Foter/CC BY

Was this the Star of Bethlehem?

On June 30, 2015, those familiar with astronomy saw the rare conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter — basically these two planets cross paths and for a few days align together giving the appearance of a new brilliant star. The Venus-Jupiter convergence is the most spectacular of the planetary conjunctions. The one at the end of June was 0.33 degrees apart. Some have referred to it as the “Star of Bethlehem” because astronomers have calculated this same conjunction took place in 2 AD and may have been the star that marked the birth of Jesus recorded in Matthew 2:2, 9. “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. “After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was.” (Matthew 2:2, 9 NASV) Perhaps as mysterious as the star itself is the Old Testament …

Gideon and the strange story of Sergeant Leo Major

[by Dean Smith] Sergeant Leo Major (1921 – 2008) served in the Canadian army during World War II and Korea. He served in the Regiment de la Chaudiere during World War II. Oddly, he accomplished something that in many ways resembles Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites in Judges 6 and 7. In that account, God called Gideon to lead an army and drive the Midianites out of Israel. Gideon who was more coward than warrior, raised up an army of 22,000 men. But God said that was too many, so Gideon gave permission for any who were fearful to leave. Twelve thousand men left that same day.

Did you know that at one time, there were two Jewish Temples: The Elephantine Temple

[by Dean Smith] Even though there is no Jewish Temple today, at one point there were actually two temples in operation at the same time and it caused some conflict. In the late 1800s, ancient papyri showed up in Middle East antiquity markets that intrigued archaeologists. Written in Aramaic, the Jewish documents referred to a temple, but incredibly not the temple in Jerusalem, but a second one built hundreds of miles away in Egypt. Archaeologists finally tracked it down to Elephantine Island on the Nile River. Egypt’s dry climate slows papyri deterioration and further work at the temple site uncovered dozens more papyri including divorce documents, legal documents and letters.

Rendering of Noah's ark Creation museum. Photo: Elmada/Foter/CC BY-NC_SA

Yet another flood account uncovered — and they entered an ark two by two

[by Dean Smith] Irvin Finkel works at the British Museum based in London. He is also an expert on the ancient scripts used by the Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians. While exploring the cuneiform texts of the Ancient Sumerians, he came across one that describes a great flood. In some significant ways it is very similar to the Biblical flood account, but in other ways different. The account holds to the same basic theme. God destroyed the world with a massive flood, but a handful of humans and a representative of all the animals were saved by an ark that rode out the flood. According to the Finkel the text is old dating to about 1750 BC.

Egypt's Nile River Photo: sdhaddow/Foter/CC BY-NC-SA

Was a Pharaoh’s violent death curiously connected to Joseph?

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a little known pharaoh who may have had a connection to Joseph. According to what was written on the tomb’s wall, his name was Senebkay. He had looted a nearby tomb of Pharaoh Sobekhotep I, stealing a cedar chest, suggesting Senebkay was not financially well off. The tomb found in Abydos had been ransacked by grave robbers. They even ripped apart Senebkay’s coffin, including his mummy, which was buried under a pile of debris. His body was found in January 2014.