God, Science and the Bible: Finds Confirm Scripture, Ancient Jewish History

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God, Science and the Bible

Finds Confirm Scripture, Ancient Jewish History

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God, Science and the Bible: Finds Confirm Scripture, Ancient Jewish History

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We note a few here of recent date but, with space limitations, can only touch on them briefly. We encourage you to look up these discoveries online to learn more.

Roman defeat of the Jews at Jerusalem

The first of these recent finds concerns the Roman destruction of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago in A.D. 70, which had been foretold by the prophet Daniel and Jesus Christ—this being a forerunner of end-time destruction to come.

The Times of Israel reported: “According to the Israel Antiquities Authority [IAA], an account by first century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus on the fall of Jerusalem is being confirmed by objects discovered on an ancient road that used to ascend from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Jewish Temple … Among other finds, archaeologists dug up stone ballista balls flung by Roman catapults and arrowheads used by Jewish rebels behind barricades as the city fell to the Romans in 70 CE [Common Era]” (Sue Surkes, “Ancient War for Jerusalem Echoes as Stones and Arrowheads Uncovered,” May 25, 2017).

Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem

Next, excavations on the eastern slope of the City of David take us six more centuries earlier to the fall of Judah to the Babylonians around 587 B.C., as described in the biblical books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah.

The IAA stated: “Many findings have surfaced, including charred wood, grape seeds, pottery, fish scales and bones, and unique and rare artifacts … These findings depict the affluence and character of Jerusalem, capital of the Judean Kingdom, and are mesmerizing proof of the city’s demise at the hands of the Babylonians” (quoted by Daniel Eisenbud, “Evidence of Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem Unearthed in City of David,” The Jerusalem Post, July 26, 2017).

Judah’s absorption of people from the northern kingdom of Israel

The next find takes us a little earlier, concerning clay seal impressions of important people at the time of Judah’s King Hezekiah, whose reign overlaps that of the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to Assyria around 722 B.C.

“The sealings, from numerous excavations at the City of David, bear witness to the administrative systems and the civil service of the city in the First Temple period … Some of the seals bear biblical names, several of which are still used today, such as Pinchas [Phinehas]. One … mentions a man by the name of Achiav ben Menachem” (quoting IAA, Sept. 4, 2017, “Judean Bureaucracy From the First Temple Period,” Artifax, Autumn 2017). Both parts of his name were used by northern Israelite kings, Achiav being a form of Achav or Ahab.

According to the IAA excavation directors, “These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration” (ibid.). Another possibility is that such refugees may have come shortly before the final fall of the northern kingdom, perhaps corresponding to those of the northern tribes who came to Hezekiah’s great Passover (see 2 Chronicles 30:10-11 2 Chronicles 30:10-11 10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even to Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
, 18).

Proof of a Jerusalem governor at the time, as Scripture attests

Also dating from about this same time is a seal impression discovered in Jerusalem’s Western Wall plaza in December 2017 bearing the inscription “Belonging to the governor of the city”—effectively an ancient mayor. It was presented to current Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who said, “This shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city” (quoted by Amanda Borschel-Dan, “2,700-Year-Old Seal Impression Cements Existence of Biblical Jerusalem Governor,” The Times of Israel, Jan. 1, 2018).

The site excavator stated, “The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2700 years ago” (ibid). The book of 2 Kings names Joshua as the governor of the city at the time of King Hezekiah, and 2 Chronicles refers to Maaseiah as the governor of the city in the days of King Josiah.

A great prophet’s seal and fingerprint?

The big new find, which also dates to the time of Hezekiah, is what appears to be the seal impression of a major biblical figure, the king’s spiritual adviser, the prophet Isaiah, along with a partial fingerprint. It was found in the Ophel excavations on the south side of the Temple Mount. There is some dispute as to the wording on the seal, as part of it is broken off. It definitely bears the name Isaiah (Hebrew Yeshayahu ), and seems to have part of the word for “prophet.”

Robert Cargill, the new editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, which published the find in its May-June 2018 issue, said of excavator Eilat Mazar: “She didn’t rush to conclusively say she had found the seal of Isaiah … In our article she gives the possible alternatives … But if you’re asking me, I think she’s got it. You’re looking at the first archaeological reference of the prophet Isaiah outside of the Bible … It’s amazing” (quoted by Amanda Borschel-Dan, “In Find of Biblical Proportions, Seal of Prophet Isaiah Said Found in Jerusalem,” The Times of Israel, Feb. 22, 2018).

Just scratching the surface

With no room to delve into more, we’ll just note the dating of an ancient mining complex in southern Israel’s Timna Valley to the time of the biblical king Solomon (Michelle Donahue, “Found: Fresh Clues to Mystery of King Solomon’s Mines,” NationalGeographic.com, April 3, 2017) and the discovery of a column capital from Herod’s temple complex (Yori Yalon, “Section of 2nd Temple–Era Column Found at Temple Mount Dig,” Israel Hayom, April 4, 2017). Again, do search for these along with the other finds.

As mentioned, new corroboration with Scripture and the connection of the people of Israel and Judah to the Holy Land is turning up all the time. Be sure to stay tuned.