This week on 'The Hal Lindsey Report'
Several recent archaeological discoveries in Israel have confirmed the veracity of the Scriptures.
This summer, "International Geology Review" reported on an investigation of earthquake activity around the Dead Sea, just a few miles east of Jerusalem. Geophysicists studied three core samples taken from the shores of the Dead Sea that offered evidence of at least two sizable earthquakes. Their investigation narrowed the dates of those earthquakes to 31 B.C. and sometime between 26 and 36 A.D., during the time when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea.
Scientists from California-based Super Sonic Geophysical believe the second quake probably occurred around 33 A.D. When considered with other data, both historical and astronomical, the best estimate is that it occurred sometime in April of 33 A.D. This would concur with the Jewish month of Nisan, which indicates it may confirm the earthquake described in Matthew 27:51. That scripture describes the quake that happened when Jesus, from the cross, cried out in a loud voice and gave up His Spirit.
Last year, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University announced the discovery of a limestone ossuary. An ossuary is a box used for the burial of human bones. This burial box bore an unusual and detailed inscription. In short, it was positively identified as the ossuary of Miriam, the granddaughter of Caiaphas, the High Priest who presided over the trial of Jesus.
And in June, a professor from Hebrew University uncovered evidence confirming the existence of an Israelite kingdom centered in Jerusalem around the time of Kings David and Solomon. The same archaeologist also reported discovering the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found. On a shard of pottery, the inscription confirms the existence of a centralized, literate Hebrew kingdom more than 3,000 years ago. The professor announced that these discoveries prove that David was not a mythological figure or just the leader of a small tribe.
I think it's always exciting when archaeological and scientific discoveries confirm the historical record contained in the Bible. You see, Christianity is different from other world religions. Most of them can survive their sacred texts being found to contain conflicting details. What's most important to them are the broad generalities they teach, not the particulars of their founders' lives. But Christianity holds itself to such a high standard -- 100% accuracy (a standard established by God Himself) -- that the details of the life and death of Jesus Christ are critical to the validity of Christianity's entire message. In fact, if a single historical fact regarding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not true, the entire structure of Christianity collapses.
But the sheer fact that the people who were eyewitnesses to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were happily willing to sacrifice their lives rather than deny even the tiniest detail, speaks volumes. And it still serves to encourage those of us who follow Him 2,000 years later.
But we don't have to depend on the miracles of modern scientific discovery to affirm our faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most powerful confirmation of all comes from the Scriptures themselves. It is absolutely amazing to me how many ways the Bible confirms its own veracity. From the New Testament writers' indirect confirmations of each other, to the accuracy of the multiple, parallel accounts of events, to the eyewitness testimony, to the deathbed testimony, to the miraculous, exact fulfillment of centuries-old prophecies concerning Christ's crucifixion, to the lack of denials from leaders of the day, to the willingness of the witnesses to die for their testimony, the Bible is its own best witness.
No body of literature in all history has been as thoroughly studied, vetted, picked apart, and argued and debated over as the Bible. Religions have sprung up to disprove it. Entire doctrines depend on there being a Bible to reject. Most atheists, rationalists, and humanists can find at least some common ground with most of the other world religions, but it's the Bible alone that raises their hackles and fires up their evangelistic fervor.
Given the weight of all the evidence pointing to both the historical accuracy and Divine inspiration of the Scriptures, it seems to me that it would be much more amazing if it WEREN'T all true. The Bible has been under constant attack by the smartest guys in every generation since it was compiled. If a single thing in the Scripture were conclusively disproved -- a named person who didn't live, a place that never existed, an event that didn't take place -- then the Word of God is broken. Of all the thinkers and philosophers who have lived during the last two thousand years, not one has been able to claim the title of the man who proved the Bible wrong. Because it isn't.
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