Is Bible God's Words?

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Old Testament Archaeology New Testament Reliability Biblical Prophecies

The Old Testament
records God's interaction with the nation of Israel for a span of over 1,200 years. This historical record starts with Abraham's  small family about 4,000 years ago. This stage of Biblical history is called the Patriarchal Period.  Direct archaeological findings for the Patriarchal Period are almost impossible, since Abraham and his family were nomads (no fixed location) who lived in portable tents (no fixed buildings) and were comprised of only a small group (not a big nation). However, circumstantial archaeological findings of the same period affirm the historicity of the patriarchal narratives.


Great flood -  Babylonian flood account,  2,000  B.C. 

The story of a great Flood is not only recorded in the Bible. The Babylonian flood account is recorded on a 4,000 year-old clay tablet. It is very similar to Noah's story, but the Babylonian story may be much older, from even before 3,000 B.C. It is often referred to as the Gilgamesh Epic. Together with other ancient records of a great flood from other civilizations, the story of this ancient event may have been passed down orally from generation to generation in several different civilizations.  The Gilgamesh Epic was found in an ancient Assyrian library, and is now located in the British Museum.

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The city of Ur  - in Mesopotamia around 3,000B.C.

Ur was the city where Abraham lived. It's excavation in 1922 revealed that it was a highly civilized city, complete with a complex government, busy trade and traffic. Receipts and contracts were used in commercial  activity. The city's infrastructure includes town drains, streets, two-story houses, and a great temple tower.

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. (Genesis 11:31)

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Cuneiform Tablets : archives of Syrian city Ebla, 2,300B.C.

The 15,000 clay cuneiform tablets from the palace consists of administrative records for the trade and commerce of that time.  There is also a flood story and account of Creation found in the cuneiform tablets. Some of the city names in the Bible are mentioned in these tablets. There are also codes of law in this library, which affirm the existence of a complex law system well before the time of Moses (around 1,300 B.C.). A nineteenth century theory suggests that Mosaic law in the Bible is a product of the 4th century B.C. These tablets refute that theory and add to the reliability of Old Testament.

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Law Codes of Hammurabi of Babylon  : 1792 -1750B.C.

This Babylonian stone stela is engraved with an ancient code of law. This code of law, as well as the Hurrian Nuzi clay tablets (15th century B.C.), bear close resemblance to the customs in the Bible, such as the inheritence of property, adoption of heirs and the purchase of land (Gen 23). These archaeological findings affirm the reliability of Genesis.

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Jacob Scarab:  A seal with the name of Jacob was found in Israel and dating shows it to be from the 18th century B.C.  According to some scholars, the name Jacob was common during the second millennium B.C. but increasingly rare thereafter. This suggests the name used in the Bible was the actually a name from that period. jacob seal.jpg (17762 bytes)

 Amarna Tablet - Egyptian record of “Apiru”  Disturbance in Canaan, 15th - 14th century B.C.

This and many other tablets belonging to the royal archives of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenophis IV, were the letters written by the vassal kings of Canaan. The tablets record conflicting accusations among Canaanite kings and complaints about the lack of support from Egypt regarding a disturbance in the land of Canaan from a group of people, called "Apiru", which sounds like Hebrew. These clay tablets show us clearly that there was a mixed population in Canaan and wars waged among them (as described in Genesis 14). Archaeological findings show that their cities were fortified with great walls as described by the Israelite spies in Numbers, Chapter 13.

"They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large..." (Numbers 13:27-28)

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Semitic clan arriving at Egypt - 19th century B.C. 

A tomb painting in Egypt shows Semitic foreigners arriving in Egypt. In the 18th century B.C., the Egyptian empire was taken over by immigrants who were called Hyksos. It was during this time, the 15th and 16th dynasties, that Joseph, a non-Egyptian, could possibly have a chance to become the prime minister of Egypt.

It was a period in which foreigners, like the patriarchs, were welcomed more than usual into the land. This explains how Joseph could have held high position in the Egyptian government as described in Genesis. Discoveries in Egypt show striking similarities between the details of Joseph's life in Egypt described in Genesis Chapters 40 and 41 and the details of Egyptian daily life, such as official titles and duties, the prison system, magic practices, records of famine and the storage of food.

"So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck." (Genesis 41:41-42)

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Kamose stele from Egypt : struggle against Hyksos - 16th century B.C. 

The stele, found in Karnak, records the native Egyptian leader Kamose driving the Hyksos king out of Egypt. The Hyksos dynasty was ended in 1550 B.C. by Kamose's  brother Amosis I. Egypt then returned to the rule of native Egyptians and once again resumed a hard line position against foreigners. This matches the description of the Israelite experience in the book of Exodus. 

"Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt...So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh." (Exodus 1:8-11)

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Asiatic Slaves at work - 1458 B.C.

A painting found in a tomb in Thebes shows Asiatic slaves at work under a taskmaster making bricks. In the reigns of Rameses and Merneptah, Asiatics were employed in various type of work for the king. It was in the 19th dynasty, 1310-1200 B.C., that the capital cities were located to the north of the Nile. There were massive building projects in the north at this time. The towns recorded in Exodus 1:11 have been identified as Tell el-Retabh, and Ramses as Tanis-Avaris.

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh." (Exodus 1:11)

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Brick of Ramesses - 1279-1212BC 

This type of brick, found in Thebes in 1835, is made of mud and straw. They are 38 cm in length and have hieroglyphics stamping them as the property of Rameses.

"That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw." (Exodus 5:6-7)

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Exodus Inscription: Some archaeologists suggested the ancient sites along the Biblical exodus route did  not exist during the time of the exodus, and they concluded that the Biblical account is fiction, but Egyptian inscriptions suggest otherwise. A combination of inscriptions from three Egyptian Pharaohs (1550-1200 BC) results in a route matching the Exodus route in the Bible (Num 33).

"The Israelites left Rameses and camped at Succoth. They left Succoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the desert. They left Etham, turned back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east of Baal Zephon, and camped near Migdol. They left Pi Hahiroth and passed through the sea into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert of Etham, they camped at Marah. They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. They left Elim and camped by the Red Sea." (Numbers 33:5-10)

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Silver scrolls from Ketef Hinnom

The original scrolls were made of silver, inscribed with the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-25, 'The Lord bless you and keep you . . . ', and are the oldest biblical texts ever discovered. Rolled into a scroll, they were probably carried as an amulet, perhaps worn around the hand or forehead.  They were discovered in a tomb on the southern side of Jerusalem at a site called Ketef Hinnom, and dated from about 625 B.C. This artifact also refutes the theory that the first five books of the Bible are just fourth century B.C. products because of their refined concept of God and  Laws of Moses.

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