All posts tagged: Archaeology

House church found in Laodicean home may explain Revelation 3:15-17

Archaeologists working in the ancient city of Laodicea recently discovered a home in the ruins of the city dated to the first century that also contained a church. This has left some wondering if the Apostle John was addressing the believers who attended this church in his message to the seven churches of Asia found in the first three chapters of Revelation. Laodicea, located in modern Turkey, was the second largest city in Asia during the Roman period second only to Ephesus. It was a very wealthy city as it was part of a major trade route that included Ephesus and Smyrna. In addition, the city was also known for its banking and textile manufacturing. The home was quite large, 2,000 square meters in size, and was located beside a large theatre. The house had 20 rooms, that included the church, baths, a large hall with 18 columns and as well an area from which its owner, who was apparently quite wealthy, operated a business. Though the home was built in the first century, it …

Does a ritual bath confirm the location of the Garden of Gethsemane?

Oddly, the discovery of a ritual bath, also known as a mikveh, at the Church of Gethsemane (officially called The Church of All Nations and the Basilica of the Agony) may confirm that this is the site of the Garden of Gethsemane that was visited often by Jesus and His disciples The church and associated garden, located outside the walls of Old Jerusalem, is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Israel and is typically visited by millions each year. The word Gethsemane means oil press and its location at the base of the Mt of Olives makes sense as the ancient Jews built their oil presses near where the olives were grown to limit handling and transportation. Both Mark (Mark 14:32-42) and Mathew (Matthew 26:36-56) referred to it as Garden of Gethsemane which would suggest the garden contained an oil press. Speaking for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), archaeologist Amit Re’em explains: “Two thousand years ago, it was a field outside the walls of Jerusalem, full [of] olive trees and in the middle of …

Archaeological find in the Czech Republic reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas

A recent announcement of an archaeological discovery in the Czech Republic reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. According to an article in the Daily Mail, archaeologists have been working for several months at the Milevsko Monastery that was constructed in 1187. They recently discovered a previously unknown secret chamber that was part of a narrow passageway beneath the monastery. Inside the secret room, archaeologists found a box with a gold cross on top made of 21-karat gold. The box also had the letters IR on it that traditionally meant “Jesus is King.” The box contained a 6-inch nail that was reportedly from the cross used to crucify Jesus Christ. Relics were a dime a dozen in the Middle Ages, so it is unlikely this is from Christ’s cross. However, a study of the wood used to build the box indicated it may have been constructed between 260 AD and 416 AD, possibly making the nail among the earliest of these type of relics. Archaeologists also discovered other “priceless” Christian relics inside the chamber …

What is Melchizedek’s Temple Zero?

If you haven’t heard yet, you will learn soon about ‘Temple Zero’ in the city of Jerusalem. Long ago, the city of Jerusalem was named ‘Salem’ and it had a king Melchizedek. That king was a priest of the same God that the Jews and Christians worship, and we are told that Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation respected him and gave him some generous gifts. Now, some people claim that ‘Temple Zero’ has been found, in Jerusalem, and tourists can see it. READ: Temple Zero in Zion | Melchizedek’s Anointed Standing Stone in Jerusalem We can be cynical. This discovery may boost the local tourist industry, and someone will probably charge admission, if you want to see an old piece of stone. We can also know that a stone in Jerusalem probably marks a place where the God of the Bible was worshipped, and the people who worshipped there were not Jewish. The Israelite or Jewish people came much later and built a temple on a hill at Jerusalem, and rebuilt it twice. …

Archaeological evidence of Nehemiah and Ezra’s return to Jerusalem

After the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Jewish Temple and hauled off tens of thousands of Jews into captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to Judah after the Persians conquered Babylon. The Persian king, Artaxerxes, gave Nehemiah permission to return and rebuild the city of Jerusalem that lay in ruins. It seems that Nehemiah was essentially building what would serve as an outpost and provincial administrative center for the Persian empire, which explains why the Persian King provided material assistance for the rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:1-20). Over 42,000 Jews initially returned to Jerusalem for this rebuilding (Nehemiah 7:66). However, if this was an administrative center for the Persian Empire, one thing that puzzled archaeologists was the lack of Persian artifacts in Jerusalem from this period. But according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) that all changed over the summer when archaeologists found evidence of two Persian royal seals from this period in a dig in Old Jerusalem. Seals were used to authenticate documents and goods. It involved an instrument on which the seal …

More evidence of the Bible’s accuracy: What the discovery of three capitals tell us?

The discovery of three intricately carved capitals have been called a “once in a lifetime discovery” by archaeologists who found them recently during an archaeological dig in Old Jerusalem. The capitals were installed on top of columns and used to hold up roofs. Since, these three are not particularly large, it suggests that they weren’t intended for a roof of a building but perhaps a smaller covering in a courtyard. They also discovered a toilet at the site and since these were only used by the rich, it suggests that the building was owned by a rich, probably politically connected family. The three intricately decorated capitals were carved on both sides with symbols associated with King David’s dynasty and particularly the first Temple constructed by King David’s son, Solomon. According to the archaeologists this decoration style was reserved for either palaces or important government buildings. Based on other dateable items at the site, archaeologists believe the 2,700-year-old capitals are connected to the reign of King Hezekiah and/or his son Manasseh. However, the building was located …

Archaeological discovery reveals ‘when’ the Apostle Paul visited Corinth

It was an incredible archaeological find in 1905 and because of it, we know that the Apostle Paul arrived in the city of Corinth some time between May 1st, 51 AD and April 30, 52 AD and he stayed in the city for about a year and a half. In Acts 18:12-17, Luke describes Paul’s visit to Corinth and his encounter with several Jews who were outraged by Paul’s arrival. Luke writes that the Jewish leaders dragged Paul before Gallio who Luke describes as the proconsul of Achaia, covering a region that included Corinth, Delphi and Athens. The Jewish leaders accused Paul of “enticing people to worship God contrary to the law.” Luke writes that this case actually annoyed Gallio who told the Jews that his job was to adjudicate matters of crime, and he was not interested in settling disputes of theology and names (obviously a reference to Paul’s claim that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah). But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a …

A study of names confirms Jeremiah

A study of names has confirmed the historicity of the Book of Jeremiah. The Book of Jeremiah was written 2,600 years ago between 628 BC to 586 BC (the year, Babylon sacked Jerusalem). Through a series of prophecies, Jeremiah repeatedly warned Judah that God was sending Babylon to judge the nation and haul the Jews into captivity. He also prophesied that the Jews would be restored to the promised land in 70 years and Babylon destroyed (Jeremiah 25:11-12). Skeptics typically dispute the book, because basically they don’t believe in prophecy and therefore conclude Jeremiah must have been written well after the incidents recorded in the Biblical book. However, according to an article in Biblical Archaeological Review, Hebrew University’s Mitka Golub says a study of names cited in the Book of Jeremiah proves it was written at the time the incidents took place. Like today, Golub says that names are a reflection of their time. There were popular styles of Hebrew names that were in vogue at certain times and not as much in other periods. …

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, …

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 …

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 …

Controversial Bethesda pool discovered exactly where John said it was

There is a story in the Gospel of John that proved problematic for liberals who don’t believe the Bible. I am talking about Jesus healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15). In the account, Jesus came across a lame man lying by the pool. According to tradition, when an angel stirred the waters, the first sick person to enter the pool was healed. When Jesus asked the man, who had been lame for 38 years, how he was doing, the man said because he did not have anyone to help him, when the waters stirred someone always stepped in before him. Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk” (v 8) and the man was instantly healed. In the account, the apostle John provides some detail about the pool. First he said it was near the “sheep’s gate” and secondly it had “five porticoes” (verse 2). A portico, similar to a porch, is a covered entrance way. It was a five-sided pool. However, because the healing …