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Bible Archaeology 2015
In Defense of the Faith
Thursday, January 07, 2016
J.L. Robb

“Old Testament archeology has rediscovered whole nations, resurrected important peoples, and in a most astonishing manner filled in historical gaps, adding immeasurably to the knowledge of Biblical backgrounds.” ~ Merrill Unger

Year 2015 was a banner year for Bible archeology. It seems the deeper we dig, the more we find. I guess that is the way it is about a lot of subject matter. Take science in general.


As a kid in the 1950s, if one was fortunate enough to have a television, there were only two or three channels. One of my favorite shows was Walt Disney’s science programs. The program on nuclear power started off with a large area of Ping-Pong balls, each sitting on a lock-and-loaded mousetrap.

To demonstrate the principle of nuclear fission, a single Ping-Pong ball is thrown in the mix; and when it hits, another mousetrap goes off and before long, almost instantaneously, the reaction is over. The principle behind an atomic bomb.

Later in the show, there were demonstrations about the atom and its three components (sometimes only two), the electron, the proton and the neutron. These “subatomic” particles were described as the smallest particles in the universe.

Only that was not true. As microscopes became bigger, better and magnetic and the magnification power became much greater, we found that the subatomic particles also had particles.


The Big Bang theory started gaining popularity about 1970 after research by Stephen Hawking and others indicated that at one time, everything wasn’t out there. All the stuff we now see out there in space was once all congealed into a single, round sphere that was near microscopic in size. This tiny sphere contained ALL matter in the universe. There is no explanation of what was outside the nearly invisible ball. By the way, the small ball was spinning at gazillions of miles per hour and generated intense heat.

One day the sphere exploded (too much gas maybe?) and voila, we now have all that stuff out there in space, really big things like gas clouds and stars and galaxies. We are to believe that all that was once in a tiny, little ball.

During that time, we were taught that the universe was about 8 billion years old and all the expansion of the universe was stopping. Soon it would all come flying back, compress in a tiny ball and the cycle would start over.

Did not happen.

When the Hubble Space Telescope came along, astronomers discovered that, not only was the universe still expanding, it was expanding at speeds greater than the speed of light, which is impossible according to Einstein’s physics. Only it was. The age of the universe is now 13.8 billion years.

Like the microscope seeing smaller and smaller, the telescope has seen larger and larger. There seems to be no end in either direction.

And so it goes in the world of archeology.

In 1970 an archeological find was shelved for later examination. It appeared to be a scroll that did not quite survive a fire and the technology of the day could not decipher the writing. The scroll was discovered at an ancient settlement along the banks of the Dead Sea.

Fast forward forty-five years to 2015 and the world of digital technology; and one finds the greatest archeological discovery of the year, the Ein Gedi Scroll.

CT scans and other technology lifted the words right off the scorched parchment without unrolling the scroll. It turns out the scroll is 1,500 years old and contains the Book of Leviticus, the Law of Moses. Except for the Dead Sea Scrolls, this was the oldest find of a Leviticus scroll.

The beauty of biblical archeology is the proof it offers for those who need proof of some kind. When I began my journey from unbelief to belief at age 30, I was skeptical and needed some sort of proof. Archeology offered that proof.

There may have been another significant find in 2015, concerning Jesus. Another archeology project was shelved, this one in 1936, only to be reanalyzed in 2015. The discovery beneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent may be the first-century home of Jesus. Whether this can be proved with uncertainty is questionable; but in 300 A.D. this site was considered to be the home of Jesus.

There were other significant finds:

At Lachish in Southern Israel, a clay jar covered with inscriptions translated in 2015 offers proof of the development of the alphabet by the Canaanites (Modern-day Arabs are descendants of the Canaanites) during the late Bronze Age and the evolution of the Semitic alphabet. Without this, Moses could not have written the Bible.

At Tel es-Safi, large Iron Age gates were found, leading to what archeologists believe was the town of Gath. Gath was a large metropolis in its day and was mentioned as the home of Goliath, the giant. Though the site has been examined since 1899, only recently have archeologists realized how large the Iron Age fortifications were.

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. ~ 1 Samuel 17:4-7 NIV

Excavations at the southern wall of the Temple Mount have led to the discovery of the seal of King Hezekiah who lived from 727-698 B.C.  Though seal impressions of Hezekiah had been unearthed before, this find was significant because it is the first time a seal of Hezekiah has been discovered in a scientific archeological dig.

Mom used to always tell me that no one should look for proof that the Bible is true, that we should just believe through faith. I think this is difficult for the curious, those with inquisitive and skeptical minds. The Bible also instructs us to investigate.

So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:25 NIV

Archeological digs in the Israeli arena are turning up more proof each day of the validity and historical accuracy of the Bible.

God is talking to us if we would only listen.

About J.L. Robb

Last week: Auld Lang Syne


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