Did you know that the Bible was once mocked by historians for its references to a people called The Hittites as no other literature spoke of such a civilization? Critics used to say this was evidence that the Bible is fiction. However, archaeological excavations in the 1950's found the remains of the Hittite empire in the area where the Bible said it was (Turkey/Syria), and Carbon-14 dating tests prove that it existed at the time stated in the Bible (1375-1200 B.C.). Since then, an abundance of further evidence on the Hittites has been unearthed.
|Sargon's Winged Bulls.|
Sargon King of Assyria
It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon's palace was discovered in Dur-Sharrukin, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded in the palace walls! Even more, fragments of a stela (a poetic eulogy) memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself. The palace was adorned with wall reliefs, and the gates were flanked with winged bulls shedu statues, which can now be seen in many western museums, including the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum. As Sargon was killed during a battle in 705 BC, his son and successor Sennacherib abandoned the project, and relocated the capital to Nineveh, leading to the eventual complete abandonment of Dur-Sharrukin. The site was rediscovered in 1843 by Paul-Émile Botta, the French consul at Mosul, although he believed he had found the biblical Nineveh. The artefacts from the excavations were taken to the Louvre museum in Paris.
Is there any physical evidence for the Exodus described in the Bible? If you were to read the popular press, you would come to the conclusion that not only was there no evidence, but the evidence actually contradicted known archaeology. One such article recently appeared in Time Magazine...However, extremely strong evidence for the validity of the Exodus has been published in the scientific journals and never make it to the popular press. One of these studies examined the demise of Jericho (after the Exodus). Drs. Hendrik J. Bruins and Johannes van der Plicht reported in the prestigious British journal, Nature, that the destruction of Jericho was dated to 1580 B.C. (using 14C dating). This date is significant, since several archaeologists have insisted that Jericho was destroyed by the Egyptians between 1550 and 1300 B.C. The recent study discredits the Egyptian theory, since the date is much too old.
|Third Century Roman Mosaic.|
Dan Brown's book, and movie adaptation, The Da Vinci Code, makes the claim that Christianity as we know it today was not invented until the fourth century, after the council of Nicaea. Sceptics often claim that …the worship of Jesus was not "invented" until that time. Now, the discovery of a third century church in Megiddo, Israel discredits that claim.
While digging to expand the Israeli prison at Megiddo, Israel, prisoners found a large tile floor. Further excavation revealed the remnants of the walls of the church, within a larger Roman villa. In addition to beautiful fish mosaics, a number of inlaid inscriptions were found in the tile. The site was dated to the third century through pottery remnants (first half of the third century) and the style of Greek writing in the inscriptions. One inscription indicated that Gaianus, a Roman military officer, helped pay for the mosaic. A second inscription was in remembrance of four Christian women (maybe martyrs?) - three with Greek names, and the fourth with a Roman name. However, the most compelling inscription is the one that was a tribute to Jesus, "Akeptous, the God-loving, offered this table for (the) god Jesus Christ, as a remembrance." Obviously, the discovery of a third century inscription calling Jesus God discredits the idea that Jesus Christ was not worshipped until the fourth century. The discovery of a 3rd century Christian church at Megiddo, Israel, along with an inscription to the "god Jesus Christ" confirms that Christians worshipped Jesus Christ as God before the council of Nicaea.
(Thanks to Vincent McCann and Rich Deem and others for much of the content.)