Archaeology has fascinated me since childhood. My family was part of the local archaeological society, and during my early teen years we helped excavate a shallow cave where American Indians had lived for many centuries—my first excursion into scientific examination of ancient cultures.
That interest has remained with me, transitioning in more recent decades into study of biblical-era cultures and peoples. On trips to Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey, I’ve tried to visit as many biblical sites as possible—to walk the roads and paths where biblical figures walked and see the world as they saw it to better understand God’s Word and explain it to those with ears to hear.
Visiting these sites has proven to me again and again the proof and accuracy of the biblical record in details large and small. Much of that proof has found its way into the pages of this magazine.
One site in particular, Tall el-Hammam in modern-day Jordan, has fascinated me for years. I’ve visited it twice. It’s impressive for its enormous size—the largest ancient city from the Holy Land—but more so because it’s a perfect match for the Bible’s description for the location of ancient Sodom.
The Bible has more geographic indicators for the location of Sodom than any other city mentioned in Scripture, and hearing a presentation on that subject 16 years ago has led me to follow reports on the excavations at the site over many dig seasons.
The latest news to emerge from these excavations is astounding. After several years of meticulously analyzing the data from the destruction of the city, 21 scientists from widely varied scientific fields collaborated on a 65-page peer-reviewed paper initially published in Nature Scientific Reports.
Their shocking conclusion was that the huge ancient city at Tall el-Hammam had been destroyed by a sudden, violent cataclysm originating outside of this world.
Let that sink in for a moment.
If that sounds familiar, it should. The Bible tells us that Sodom was destroyed by a sudden fiery blast from the sky. The evidence on the ground points to intense temperatures hot enough to melt pottery and bricks and vaporize human bodies—hot enough to turn one of our automobiles today into a bubbling pool of melted steel.
This wasn’t the conclusion from just one area of scientific analysis, but from every area they examined. It all pointed to a specific conclusion—one that agrees remarkably with the biblical account.
It’s not an exaggeration to say this could prove to be the biblical archaeological find of the century—or of several centuries, or perhaps of all time thus far. That’s why we’re covering it in great detail in this issue. You may not see very much of this in mainstream media sources. Most of them are more interested in discrediting the Bible, not informing you when the evidence once more demonstrates the accuracy of the Bible.
Something else you’re not going to see in most other sources is the implications of this remarkable story. And it has major implications for our day.
The Bible holds up Sodom as an example of the consequences of sin. And not just any sin, but a particular kind of sin that became flagrant and led to worse atrocity. This subversion of the natural order has become not just normalized in recent years, but actually praised and honored by cultural leaders and intelligentsia.
It’s another of those cultural Rubicons that we have blindly crossed without regard for the consequences for our society, for our families, for our children and for future generations who will pay the cost. What does God say? “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20 Isaiah 5:20Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
American King James Version×).
The pattern we see again and again in the Bible is that God sends a warning message before destruction. He doesn’t want to see mankind suffer; He wants us to repent of our sins—to change direction and seek Him (2 Peter 3:10 2 Peter 3:10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
American King James Version×; Ezekiel 33:11 Ezekiel 33:11Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×).
Is this discovery of what could prove to be ancient Sodom—and its divine punishment for its sins—another warning call from God to repent while there’s still time? May we have ears to hear!