Jesus’ Words Backed by Archaeology: The Stones Are Crying Out

Jesus’ Words Backed by Archaeology: The Stones Are Crying Out

A burial cave in Jerusalem
A burial cave in Jerusalem (YouTube)

A few years ago, people exploring caves outside Jerusalem came across the find of a lifetime: an ancient burial cave containing the remains of a crucified man. This find is only one in a series of finds that overturns a century-old scholarly consensus.

That consensus held that the Gospels are almost entirely proclamation and contain little, if any, real history. The remains belonged to a man who had been executed in the first century A.D., that is, from the time of Jesus.

As Jeffrey Sheler writes in his book Is the Bible True? the skeleton confirms what the evangelists wrote about Jesus’ death and burial in several important ways.

First, location—scholars had long doubted the biblical account of Jesus’ burial. They believed that crucified criminals were tossed in a mass grave and then devoured by wild animals. But this man, a near contemporary of Jesus, was buried in the same way the Bible says Jesus was buried.

Then there’s the physical evidence from the skeleton. The man’s shinbones appeared to have been broken. This confirms what John wrote about the practice of Roman executioners. They would break the legs of the crucified to hasten death, something from which Jesus, already dead, was spared.

This point is particularly noteworthy, since scholars have long dismissed the details of John’s Passion narrative as theologically motivated embellishments. Another part of John’s Gospel that archaeology has recently corroborated is the story of Jesus healing the lame man in John 5.

John describes a five-sided pool just inside the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem where the sick came to be healed. Since no other document of antiquity—including the rest of the Bible—mentions such a place, skeptics have long argued that John simply invented the place. But as Sheler points out, when archaeologists decided to dig where John said that the pool had been located, they found a five-sided pool. What’s more, the pool contained shrines to the Greek gods of healing.

Apparently John didn’t make up the pool after all. The dismissal of biblical texts without bothering to dig points to a dirty little secret about a lot of scholarly opinion: Much of the traditional suspicion of the biblical text can only be called a prejudice.

That is, it’s a conclusion arrived at before one has the facts. Scholars long assumed that the Bible, like other documents of antiquity, was essentially propaganda, what theologian Rudolf Bultmann called “kerygma” or proclamation.

But this prejudice does an injustice to biblical faith. Central to that faith are history and memory.

Christians believe that God has acted, and continues to act, in history. For us, remembering what God has done is an act of worship—something that brings us closer to God.

Thus, while these discoveries in the desert may come as a surprise to some skeptics, they’re no surprise to Christians. While archeology alone cannot bring a person to faith, these finds are an eloquent argument for not dismissing the truth of Scripture before at least examining the evidence, because, as we are learning every day, Jesus meant it when He said, “The very stones will cry out.”

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THE RENOVATION OF YOUR LIFE

By Mario Murillo

We have learned that the vast majority of those who read this blog regularly are concerned about three things: America, your loved ones and your walk with God.  We also know that you are not afraid to speak out against the tyranny of our government.

All of that tells us something else: You are seeking more of God.   Because of this, you are likely to attend a conference, seminar, convention, or retreat this year. 

Let me suggest that you pray seriously about the Living Proof World Convention.   I could promise you a no frills truth centered event that will confront all of the matters that I mentioned but the big reason you should come is something different: An outpouring of the power of God that will root out the things that are holding us back and will imbue us transforming power and fire.

You will meet the growing number of believers who are finished with dead religion and compromise.  Join hearts with those who love America and believe that there is a supernatural solution.  If you are facing the battle of your life maybe this convention is the answer from the Lord that you have prayed for.

Our conviction: The American Church will not be turned around by supermen but by supernatural men. We do not need better equipment, new organizations, novel methods, but vessels that the Holy Ghost can use—vessels who pray with prevailing might.  God does not flow through religious machinery but through human beings, he does not anoint plans, but people—people of prayer.

BOOMTOWN

Do not sit back and watch dark clouds gather.  Sweep away the cobwebs, underbrush and weeds of despair and take action!  It is high time for you to put on the full armor of God’s power.

This prayer of Peter embodies this convention:  Acts 4: 29  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Here are some urgent final statements.  Pray and ask God if you are to be a part of this groundbreaking event.  Act boldly and do not let fear stop you from coming.   God will make a way if you are truly serious about having power in these end times.  Join Mechelle and me for the renovation of your life and ministry.   The Living Proof World Convention has one simple goal:  To restore the roar of the American Church.

The Living Proof World Convention will be held at the Boomtown hotel and Casino in Reno in just a few weeks: March 30 and 31.    There is no registration fee for the convention but you must register.  We are at 65% percent of capacity right now so please act now.   Click on the link below and you can register instantly.   You can also call us at 775 432 1665

Come and be a part of God’s miracle to restore America!

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Archaeologists say they’ve found one of King David’s palaces

 

Archaeologists say they’ve found one of King David’s palaces

Two large structures — one said to be monarch’s palace; the other a royal storeroom — uncovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa site near Jerusalem and dated to Davidic period

By  July 18, 2013, 3:58 pm 12
Khirbet Qeiyafa, where some archaeologists believe King David built his palace (photo credit: courtesy/ Israel Antiquities Authority)

Khirbet Qeiyafa, where some archaeologists believe King David built his palace (photo credit: courtesy/ Israel Antiquities Authority)

Two Israeli archaeologists announced that they have found a palace and royal storehouse that belonged to King David. The two buildings are the largest structures standing during the tenth century BCE to have been found in the territory of the Kingdom of Judah.

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The discovery was made at Khirbet Qeiyafa near Beit Shemesh southwest of Jerusalem, said Professor Yossi Garfinkel of the Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority on Thursday. Over the past year, the researchers uncovered the two buildings at the site, which is believed by some to be the fortified Judean city of Shaarayim. According to the biblical record, after David smote Goliath, the Philistines were slaughtered on the road to Shaarayim as they fled. Shaarayim means “two gates,” and Khirbet Qeiyafa has two gates in its walls.

The two archaeologists identified one building as David’s palace and the other as a massive royal storeroom. The excavation of the site as a whole has stretched on for seven years.

When David would visit this important regional center, “he definitely didn’t live in a simple home,” Ganor told The Times of Israel.

“Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David,” read a statement released by the researchers. “The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of c. 1,000 sq m was revealed at the top of the city. The wall enclosing the palace is c. 30 m long and an impressive entrance is fixed it through which one descended to the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah. Around the palace’s perimeter were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt.”

“This is the only site in which organic material was found — including olive seeds — that can be carbon-14 dated” to the period of King David’s reign, Israel Antiquities Authority spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz told The Times of Israel.

The remains of what Israeli archaeologists believe is King David's palace at Khirbet Qeiyafa (photo credit: Courtesy/ Israel Antiquities Authority)

In addition, the location of the buildings fit the requirements of an Iron Age palace. “The palace is located in the center of the site and controls all of the houses lower than it in the city. From here one has an excellent vantage looking out into the distance, from as far as the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east. This is an ideal location from which to send messages by means of fire signals.”

Garfinkel and Ganor believe that the pillared building, 15 meters (49 feet) long by 6 meters wide in the north of the city, was used as a royal storeroom. “It was in this building the kingdom stored taxes it received in the form of agricultural produce collected from the residents of the different villages in the Judean Shephelah,” they said. “Hundreds of large store jars were found at the site whose handles were stamped with an official seal as was customary in the Kingdom of Judah for centuries.”

They see the finds as evidence of centralized construction and royal administrative organization during King David’s rule. “This is unequivocal evidence of a kingdom’s existence, which knew to establish administrative centers at strategic points,” they argued. “To date no palaces have been found that can clearly be ascribed to the early tenth century BCE as we can do now. Khirbet Qeiyafa was probably destroyed in one of the battles that were fought against the Philistines circa 980 BCE. The palace that is now being revealed and the fortified city that was uncovered in recent years are another tier in understanding the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah.”

In light of the find, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Nature and Parks Authority are working with local planning bodies to cancel the impending construction of a neighborhood nearby, and hope to reserve the area around the site as a national park.

In 2008, a pottery sherd with five lines of text was discovered at the site. Many scholars believe it to be early Hebrew writing, possibly referring to the ascent of King Saul to the throne. Others argue it features Israelite social rules, while some dispute the idea that it is written in Hebrew at all. The sherd currently sits in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum.

Garfinkel and Ganor believe that what remained of the palace was further damaged during the Byzantine period when a fortified farmhouse was built on the site.

Another prominent Israeli archaeologist has long claimed to have uncovered David’s Jerusalem palace, mentioned in II Samuel: “Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David.” In 2005, Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of the “dean” of biblical archaeology, Benjamin Mazar, began digging in the oldest portion of Jerusalem, the City of David. She focused on Area H, above the Stepped Stone Structure, a massive Jebusite Iron Age fortified building.

She believed that the spot on the northern edge of the City of David was a prime candidate for the site of David’s palace. II Samuel states that after David heard that the Philistines were gathering to make war against him, he “went down to the stronghold” from his palace. She decided to dig in  Area H, the only part of the city higher than the fortress, from which King David would have gone down.

Her hypothesis was also supported by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon’s discovery of elegant masonry in the same area.

“When I told my grandfather of my idea about the possible location of David’s palace,” Mazar wrote in Biblical Archaeology Review, “he was enthusiastic about it. ‘Where, exactly,’ he asked me, ‘did Kenyon find the piles of ashlars [nicely hewn rectangular stones] together with the proto-Aeolic (sometimes called proto-Ionic) capital? Wasn’t it right next to the place you’re talking about?’ Indeed, it was. When I ran to check Kenyon’s reports, I confirmed that ashlar stones and an elegant proto-Aeolic capital had been found literally at the foot of the scarp at the southeastern edge of the structure in Area H. And this was just the kind of impressive remains that one would expect to come from a tenth-century B.C.E. king’s palace.”

Mazar found a massive public building there that she called the Large Stone Structure. In addition to Kenyon’s earlier discoveries there, Mazar uncovered pottery sherds from the very end of the Iron Age I period, about 1000 BCE, when David is believed to have captured Jerusalem.

However, Mazar’s conclusion is controversial. Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University contend that her overly literal reading of the biblical text skews her analysis of the archaeological record.