Great Archaeological Discoveries in Israel
October 4, 2018
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143,
fbns@wayoflife.org
The following is excerpted from Jews in Fighter Jets: Israel Past, Present, Future, available from www.wayoflife.org.
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The return of the Jews to the land of Israel and the establishment of the modern state has been a huge boost to apologetics.

Since the twentieth century, archaeologists have discovered site after site and artifact after artifact pertaining to and confirming biblical history.

Following are some prominent examples:

Dead Sea Scrolls - discovered in the 1940s, the biblical scrolls, such as the Great Isaiah Scroll, are the oldest Hebrew Scriptures extant and prove that the Hebrew Bible has been preserved in great detail. The Great Isaiah Scroll was discovered in 1947, one year before the founding of modern Israel. It is preserved at the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book.

Temple Mount Excavations. The excavations on the southern end of the Temple Mount since 1967 have unearthed the Titus Stones, the Trumpeting Place stone, the Southern Steps, and the ancient Pilgrim’s Way from the City of David to the Temple, among many other things dating to the Second Temple era.

Roman Siege of Jerusalem. In 2016, a portion of a “third wall” mentioned by Josephus was found, and outside the wall the ground is still littered with ballista and sling stones from the battle of AD 70.

Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This 1,750-foot tunnel from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam was built by King Hezekiah to supply water to Jerusalem during the Assyrian siege and is mentioned in 2 Ki. 20:20 and 2 Ch. 32:30.

Hezekiah’s Wall. In 1970, a remnant of the wall built by Hezekiah in preparation for the siege of Assyria was discovered. It is about 23 feet thick and still stands up to 10 feet tall. It is mentioned in 2 Ch. 32:5.

Hezekiah’s Seal. In 2009, a seal (bulla) bearing the name of King Hezekiah was discovered in the Ophel area between the Temple Mount and the City of David. It was discovered in the area of the ancient royal bakery. The inscription says, “Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah.” Dr. Eilat Mazar called this the most important individual discovery of her career, which is saying a lot, since she discovered David’s palace.

Pool of Siloam. The ancient Pool of Siloam was discovered in 2004 and has been partially excavated. This pool is mentioned three times in the Bible (Ne. 3:15; Isa. 8:6; Joh. 9:7).

Solomon’s Gates. The Bible says Solomon built Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer into royal military cities (1 Ki. 9:15), and the ruins of the massive six-chambered gates built by Solomon have been found at each of these places.

David’s Palace. In 2005, Dr. Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of Benjamin Mazar and a prominent authority on Jerusalem’s ancient archaeology in her own right, discovered the ruins of what is believed to be David’s palace. It is located in the right place in the ancient City of David, and she found evidence that the building was occupied up until the destruction of Solomon’s temple by the Babylonians. The palace was built above a massive stepped-stone structure that is still partly intact. This is probably the “Millo” mentioned seven times in Scripture (2 Sa. 5:9; 1 Ki. 9:15, 24; 11:27; 12:20; 1 Ch. 11:8; 2 Ch. 32:5). The building discovered by Mazar is a large, complicated structure of engineering excellence and its date is confirmed by pottery shards, storage jars bearing the royal seal of the king of Judah, and an Proto-Aeolic capital, among other things.

Bullae. Discovered in the area of David’s Palace are bullae (clay document seals) bearing the names of people mentioned in the Bible who lived or worked in the palace just before it was burned by Nebuchadnezzar. These include Jehucal the son of Shelemiah (Jer. 37:3), Gedaliah, son of Pashur (Jer. 38:1), Gemariah the son of Shaphan (Jer. 36:10), and Azariah the son of Hilkiah (1 Ch. 9:11).

Hazor. Evidence of the destruction of Hazor by Joshua as recorded in Jos. 11:11-13 was found in the 1990s. The heat of the burning was so great that it cracked heavy stone slabs. A one-meter thick layer of ash was found. Also found at Hazor are idols, olive and wine presses, city walls, ruins of houses, and a cuneiform tablet addressed to the pagan king of Hazor who lived in the 18th century BC, the time of Abraham.

The Mesha Stele (also called the Moabite Stone). In 1993 the phrase “the House of David” was found inscribed on the Mesha Stele that describes the exploits of Mesha, a ninth-century BC Moabite king who is mentioned in 2 Ki. 3:6-27. The stele also mentions many other names and places found in the Bible, including Omri, Ahab, the tribe of Gad, Chemosh, Nebo, Ataroth, Jahaz, Dibon, Kirjathaim, Kerioth, Aroer and Arnon, Bezer, and Diblathai.

Dan. Many things have been unearthed at the ancient site of the city of Dan to confirm biblical history, including a triple-arch gate dating to 1750 BC, near the time of Abraham, images of Baal, the place of the worship of the golden calf (1 Ki. 12:28-29), and a portion of a monument with the words “Beit David” (“House of David”). The Tel Dan Stele, which dates to the ninth century BC, also mentions Israel’s kings Jehoram, Ahab, Ahaziah, and Jehoram.

Jezreel. Archaeological excavations in ancient Jezreel, the summer palace of the kings of northern Israel, have unearthed a large rock-cut wine press that could be Naboth’s, the casemate wall and four towers of a fortress that enclosed almost 11 acres, a 20-foot deep moat, and remnants of the city gate.

Lachish. The ruins at Lachish confirm the existence of the ancient Israeli city here and its siege and destruction by the Assyrians as mentioned in Scripture (2 Ch. 32:9).

Herod’s palaces and tomb. Palaces built by Herod have been unearthed in Caesarea Maritima, Masada, Jericho, and Herodium, and what is possibly his tomb was found on the side of the Herodium in 2009.

Pilate Inscription - In 1961, a limestone block was found at Caesarea Maritima proving that Pilate was the governor of Judea as the Bible says. Written in Latin, the inscription reads “Pontius Pilatus prefect of Judea erected the Tiberium to the august gods.” This agrees with Luke’s statement that Pilate ruled during the lifetime of Tiberius (Luke 3:1).

Caesarea Maritima. Built by Herod, this was one of the foremost cities of the Roman Empire. It is mentioned many times in Scripture. Excavations have discovered the 100-acre man-made harbor, one of the wonders of the ancient world, the hippodrome, the gymnasium with its baths and sophisticated hypocaust heating system, the cardo, the aqueduct, the 4,000-seat theater, fountains, mosaic floors, and temples.

Samaria. Found in the ruins of ancient Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, are remnants of Ahab’s ivory palace, the city gate mentioned in 1 Ki. 22:10, and Herod’s Roman city. Ivories from Samaria are in the British Museum, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and elsewhere.

Caesarea Philippi. Excavations of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, mentioned in Matthew 16:13, have unearthed pagan temples (to Pan and other gods) and the palace of Philip the Tetrarch, Herod’s son, mentioned in Luke 3:1.

Elah Valley. The valley where David fought Goliath has been discovered and the layout fits the biblical account perfectly, including the Philistine town of Shaaraim in the hills on the north side of the valley. The town, mentioned in 1 Sa. 17:52, means “two gates,” and archaeologists have found both gates.

Gath. In 2005, a piece of pottery was found during excavation of Gath inscribed with a name similar to Goliath. It was written in early Hebrew script and has been dated to the 10th-9th BC, which is David’s time. This proves that such names were in use by the Philistines in that era. In 2015, the ruins of Gath’s ancient gate was unearthed. The gate is the largest ever found in Israel. It is mentioned in 1 Sa. 21:13.

Philistine temples. The ruins of ancient Philistine temples have been found at Gath, Ekron, and Tel Qasile. The roof was supported by two central pillars made of wood standing on stone bases. The pillars were close enough so that a large man could push against them as the Bible says Samson did (Judges 16:29-30).

Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazin. The ruins of these cities on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee remain as mute witnesses to the woe that Christ spoke against them 2,000 years ago (Matthew 11:21-24).

Ancient Synagogues. Ancient Jewish synagogues have been discovered at Beit Alfa, Magdala, Chorazin, Capernaum, Ein Gedi, Migdal, and many other places. The synagogue at Magdala, discovered in 2009, is first century, meaning that Jesus spoke there. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues…” (Mt. 4:23). In one room of the synagogue was found a coin dating to AD 29, which was at or near the time of Jesus’ public ministry. Also found in the synagogue was a carved stone that appears to be a depiction of the temple in Jerusalem. On the front is the image of a seven-branched menorah. Since this is a first century synagogue, some of the priests who attended would have seen the actual menorahs in Herod’s Temple. This the oldest menorah so far discovered in Israel.The Magdala Stone is considered by many experts to be “one of the most outstanding discoveries of the last 50 years.”

These are only a few of the astonishing archaeological discoveries in the land of Israel pertaining to biblical history, and the presence of the Jewish state has encouraged and hastened this work. The state of Israel sponsors, oversees, and protects the archaeology. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem contains a wealth of artifacts unearthed from the digs.

Never has there been so much evidence of the divine inspiration of Scripture. Thousands of archaeological discoveries have confirmed the accuracy of biblical history. In His grace, God has allowed these discoveries to be made for those who have eyes to see. Man has no excuse for not believing in the Bible and in the Christ of the Bible.



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