OVERWHELMING Evidence that the Bible is TRUE


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OVERWHELMING Evidence that the Bible is TRUE

Overwhelming Evidence that the Bible is TRUE!

On the front cover of a issue of TIME magazine the question was posed: "Is the Bible Fact or Fiction?" The question was re-phrased for the article which appeared inside and headed "Are the Bible’s Stories True?"Archeaological Sites in Jerusalem

This issue—the Truth of the Bible—is of vital importance to all of us, and it is therefore a matter of great concern as to just how the evidence is presented to the public.

This issue is of importance in at least two areas of consideration. First, there is the personal aspect: the Bible places before us matters affecting life and death. Belief and obedience, says Scripture, will bring us life, whereas unbelief and sin will result in death. (Deut. 30:19; Mark 16:15. 16; Romans 6:23; John 5:28, 29). In asking whether or not the Bible is true, we are at the same time asking whether or not its promise of life is trustworthy.

Secondly, there is a social aspect: acceptance or the non-acceptance of Biblical principles and values will necessarily have its impact upon the philosophy and behaviour of a nation or society. This, says the Bible, will have its consequences for people and nations—e.g. Gen. 12:3; Psalm 9:17-20; Jer. 18:7-10. The nation that turns its back upon the word of God and His teaching cannot expect His protection or blessing; that is the essence of the Bible’s message to society in general. There is thus a weighty responsibility resting upon those who present evidence one way or the other to the public.

The question before us also concerns the integrity of those who wrote the Scriptures, as well as of those who later endorsed them. This of course includes the recorded statement of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. His words were: "...had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:46-47). So the question arises as to whether even the words of Christ are to be believed. "Did Moses really exist?" asks Time’s journalist. The question echoes the scepticism and the agnosticism that is both fashionable and respectable with so many leading scholars and academics today. It reflects the unbelief which we see in modern society.

Debating the Evidence

Evidence for the truth of the Bible is overwhelming, but that fact is little known or appreciated by the general public. Alongside this article we have tabled over 40 major archaeological discoveries which endorse Scripture—and this is by no means exhaustive. It is but one line of evidence and should not really be considered in isolation from other fields such as the testimony of historians, of certain scientific disciplines (Medical science for example: see The Bible Magazine Vol. 3 Issue no. 3; and Vol. 6 Issue no. 1); of prophecy and its amazing fulfillment as well as other areas. To do the issue the justice it deserves, there is a need to view the whole forest as well as examining individual trees! Unfortunately this rarely happens.

The article in Time has underscored the fierce debate that surrounds almost every significant find made by archaeologists, "the whole subject is touchy" says the article, "because almost everyone has a stake in Scripture. Jewish and Christian ultraconservatives don’t like hearing that parts of the Bible could be fictional. Atheists can’t wait to prove that the whole thing is a fairy tale..." If anything, this under-states the case. In examining several years issues of the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review one has to note the fact that these debates can get not only lively, but at times downright hostile! Professional careers can be—and have been—made or broken in the heat of battle.

JerusalemAmongst fierce battles in the last decade or so has been one over the discovery in the mid-1970’s of the famous "Ebla tablets". On this controversy an Italian archaeologist, Prof. Giovanni Pettinato was roundly discredited for saying that the Ebla tablets referred to Sodom and Gomorrah and other Biblical cities. Not only were professionals involved, but political pressure from the Syrian Government was brought to bear. This was because anti-Zionist elements did not want to see any evidence brought to light which might support the book of Genesis—and therefore Israel’s early claim to the land of Canaan. As scholars debate about the Ebla tablets, it could be many years before the real truth is known, if ever.

Another fierce controversy has raged over the Dead Sea Scrolls, with awkward questions being asked as to why the Scrolls were not being published—and why even fully qualified experts were not being permitted to see the unpublished material. Considerable evidence was presented to show how that the Vatican was at work in suppressing Scroll material. Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review made a gallant defence of the Vatican (Nov/Dec issue 1991) but failed to grasp the double-dealing methods through which Rome accomplishes her objectives in the modern world. Whether or not Rome was involved in suppressing evidence, and if so for what reasons, is still a matter that is open to question.

Not all debates reach such proportions, but they nonetheless show the often bitter arguments between scholars. For example, a heavy debate between Yigael Yadin and Yohannan Aharoni over evidence excavated at Hazor focuses upon the controversial question of whether Joshua conquered Palestine (as the Bible says), or whether Israelites came and settled there peacefully as claimed by Bible sceptics. When experts themselves cannot agree, what are laymen to make of it all? Is it reasonable to believe the Bible or not?

Evidence Tried & Tested

Archaeological discoveries themselves serve to put us in direct contact with the realities of the past—and in a different way to that of the written records that have been copied and handed down to us. When a stone monument or clay tablet is unearthed bearing the name of a person that appears in Scripture, it provides physical evidence of Bible truth. When, as often happens, that evidence is examined, scrutinized and questioned—and yet survives the scholarly critics and sceptics—then we know that it is reliable indeed; far more so than if it had not been subjected to that process.

Let us appreciate this. It is not merely a question of certain discoveries supporting the Bible’s record, but that those discoveries have been subjected to the most rigorous examination possible by men who are often hostile to the concept of Bible truth. This happened in 1993 with a find made in Dan; it was the first inscription ever found bearing the phrase "House of David" and "King of Israel". Critics had claimed that David (like Moses) had never existed—now an inscription had been found which demonstrated that the critics were wrong. A critic soon challenged the claim—Philip R. Davies said that the inscription had been wrongly translated and was "wishful thinking", "bias" and "shameless" (bar jly/aug issue 1994). Davies was later roundly defeated by two other scholars—the reading "House of David" was correct. time commented: "The sceptics’ claim that King David never existed is now hard to defend."

There is now a profusion of evidence that has been accumulated from archaeologists over the years—far more than we can either list or describe here. One or two highlights from the discoveries made a century ago—and which have now survived over 100 years of scrutiny—are thus worth our notice.

The Reality of the Past

Old news is rarely exciting and we get used to even the most amazing things. So it is with discoveries which were made a century ago. Yet, as visitors to the British Museum in London can still witness today, marvels from Bible times are with us as evidence of the reality of those far off days. According to a recent British Museum publication: "In his address in 1870 to the newly formed Society of Biblical Archaeology Dr. Samuel Birch was able to identify the Hebrew kings Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Azariah, Menahem, Pekah, Hoshea, Hezekiah and Manasseh; the Assyrian kings Tiglath-Pileser I and II, Sargon, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal; the Egyptian Tirhaka, and the Syrians Benhadad, Hazael and Rezin."

To those 19 Bible names were soon added that of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Cyrus King of Persia. Outside the British Museum there was confirmation of the reality of other Biblical characters: In 1799 the discovery of an Egyptian relief depicted Pharaoh Shishak who is mentioned in 1 Kings 14:25-26. The discovery of the "Moabite Stone" in 1868 revealed that 2 Kings 3:4-5 was describing a real event involving real people. In the late 19th century Flinders Petrie found (amongst many other things) the actual "brickwork" referred to in Jer. 43:9 (R.V.).

One name that has been known for a long time to archaeologists and museum visitors is that of King Hezekiah of Judah. In about 1850 an Assyrian Prism was discovered which described Sennacherib’s invasion of the kingdom of Judah. The Prism, which refers to King Hezekiah of Jerusalem by name, is the Assyrian version of the story told in 2 Kings chapter 18 (also 2 Chron. 32:1-23 and Isa. 36 & 37). In politically expedient language the Prism merely omits Jerusalem from its list of conquered cities. That is not all. In 1880 a plaque was discovered in a tunnel in Jerusalem and describes the construction of the "conduit" that brought water into the city as is mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chron. 32:30. This is the famous "Hezekiah’s tunnel" which visitors to Jerusalem can see today. In the background to this event was the siege of the city of Lachish mentioned in 2 Chron. 32:9. A relief found at Nineveh in about 1850 depicts this very siege and can be seen today in the British Museum (picture page 14).

This wealth of evidence for the truth of the Bible wasn’t enough however. It was still asked: "Is the Bible Fact or Fiction?"

Negative Evidence

The real strong-hold of so-called sceptics (really unbelievers) today, is the period of Biblical history termed "pre-monarchal". This is the part of the Bible which describes events before the time of King David and includes Genesis, Exodus, the Law, Joshua and Judges. Scholars say that there is no proof whatsoever that the Exodus took place.time magazine refers to the opinion of a scholar at the Ecole Biblique, Jerusalem (the same Vatican controlled organization that was accused of suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls); "A massive exodus that led to the drowning of Pharaoh’s army, says Father Anthony Axe, a Bible lecturer at Jerusalem’s Ecole Biblique, would have reverberated politically and economically through the entire region." William Dever, a University of Arizona archaeologist, "flatly calls Moses a mythical figure" says time.

In all these cases it is evident that those scholars who disbelieve the Bible record are thrown back onto the dubious ground of having to argue from silence—that is from the absence of archaeological evidence. There is just no tangible evidence from archaeology that can be produced to show that the Bible record is a constructed fiction. In every case where such an attempt has been made, it cannot be sustained as proven. For example, the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon says she found no evidence whatsoever of Joshua’s conquest of the city of Jericho. Another scholar claimed that the city was deserted during the time of Joshua—and still others argue that the Israelites settled the land of Canaan peacefully and not by conquest. This evidence has been contested however by the Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin who says he found positive evidence of conquest (including a level of soot) and re-settlement at the time of Joshua in excavations at Hazor (See Joshua 11:10-11). Another archaeologist (Bryant Wood) insists that he did find evidence of Joshua’s assault on Jericho and that Kenyon was either biased or just got it wrong. Nor is it strictly true that there is absolutely no evidence of the Exodus—an ancient Egyptian account of a series of disasters suspiciously like the famous ten plagues came to light several years ago. This evidence was quickly buried again however—in an argument about the dating of the Exodus, Egyptian chronology and date of the Egyptian account concerned. As to the Sinai journey of Israel under Moses—no one really knows just where to look in order to find the evidence. The real historical location of Sinai is still largely guesswork. The same problem concerns other locations where it has been said that there is a lack of archaeological evidence to support Scripture—for example, Ai. Scholars just aren’t sure if they have the right spot!

The Book of Genesis

When the enquiries of modern men delve back into this remote period of history, it is reasonable to ask just what we can expect from archaeologists. Do we seriously expect them to unearth the core of Adam’s apple, or Abraham’s tent-pole? Clearly there is a limit to what we can reasonably expect.

Yet, among the first cities mentioned in the Bible as representing the develop-ment of human civilization are those mentioned in Genesis 10:10-12, and as we know, most if not all of these have been discovered. Also, Ur of the Chaldees—the native city of Abraham (Genesis 11:31) has been identified. So also, the fact of early civilization in Egypt (Genesis 12:10) is well known. What reason is there then, to doubt that a man called Abram travelled from Ur, to Haran, and from there to Canaan—including in his itinerary a fairly brief visit to Egypt? Is it reasonable to claim that the Bible account of this is a fable, merely because we have not found any external evidence to confirm it? To reject the Bible on such grounds must, perforce, require pre-conceived anti-Bible prejudice.

As to the very early chapters of Genesis themselves, few would expect any evidence whatsoever—and yet, in a way, there is. The creation of man, the role of the serpent, the fruit of the tree, the fall into disgrace and the expulsion from paradise, are themes which are found in various forms and in most cultures throughout the world—and those themes are found to be as old as the cultures themselves. We have not the space to detail the mass of evidence which can be assembled to demonstrate this here, but the point is that this phenomena clearly points to there having been one original source for it—and that all world cultures are derived from a common beginning (compare Genesis 9:19; 10:32).

The Bible account is well enough known. If this is the original (as this writer believes), then other versions must be corruptions that have evolved from that source. In discussing Assyro-Babylonian mythology Larousse refers to a series of seven tablets from the library of Ashurbanipal found in Nineveh: "Tablets date from the seventh century B.C., whilst there are some pieces from Ashur going back to 1000 B.C. The work as we have it must be based on much older original texts."

The mythology of India provides an example in the Nagas which, says The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology "usually appear in the form of ordinary snakes". Statues of these "are always placed under a tree". In the Buddhism of India we find "the tree of wisdom" (also known as "the tree of enlightenment"). Such echoes of Genesis are too close to be missed!

In reading about Chinese mythology we read of "peaches of immortality" and "the drug of immortality". Not only so but that "Father-Heaven made human beings by modelling them in clay". Then, in the mythology of Mozambique: "In the beginning Muluku (the god) made two holes in the earth, from one came a man, from the other a woman", but again the pair fell into disgrace. India, China, Africa—almost wherever we go, there we find traces of the same themes.

Likewise the story of a great flood is found among Eskimos in Alaska and the Arctic. It is found among the Indians of California, the Aztecs, in ancient Greek mythology—it is in fact world-wide.

Such evidence is open to various interpretations it is true, yet it seems clear that there must have been one original story, and that such a story could not be that dissimilar to Genesis, for this is the only text containing all the elements.

Testimony to an Unbelieving World

In 1895, the Dean of Canterbury (England), Dr. F.W. Farrar—a highly respected scholar—wrote The Book of Daniel as part of The Expositors Bible. In this work he stated: "there is no Belshazzar". Such a character never existed, claimed Farrar along with other critics of the time. This was said whilst a clay cylinder found in 1854 awaited decipherment. When it was deciphered, the name of "Belshazzar" (Daniel chapter 5) was clear and unmistakable, and yet another scholastic assertion bit the dust. Since then several other references have been found to Belshazzar, so that once more it has been seen just how vulnerable are these arguments which are based upon the lack of external evidence. The unexpected sometimes shows up!

Among the many interesting and even startling finds that have been made in this century (some of which are noted in our accompanying table of highlights), one particular group is very well worth our notice. These are a number of discoveries which date from the time of Jeremiah and give us virtually first hand evidence of the situation prior to the Babylonian invasion and siege of Jerusalem, and of the fall of the city.

First, there was the discovery of the Lachish letters in the 1930’s. The city of Lachish was one of the few remaining cities prior to the complete collapse of the kingdom of Judea (see Jer. 34:7). The letters mention by name Gemariah (Jer. 36:10), Jaazaniah (probably Jer. 35:3). Neriah and Baruch (Jer. 36:4), Mattaniah (who is King Zedekiah, 2 Kings 24:17). These letters also refer to a "prophet" who was seen to be demoralizing the people and instigating a policy of non-resistance to the Babylonians—this suggests Jer. 38:1-4, or possibly Jer. 26:20-21. The reality of these people and of the situation as described in the Bible is thus confirmed for us.

As if this were not enough, a number of seals were identified in 1986 which dated to this same time (approx. B.C. 586). One of these seals read "Belonging to Baruch son of Neriah". Without any doubt this is the man who was Jeremiah’s scribe (Jer. 36; also chapter 45). A finger print on the seal is probably his. This amazing discovery has a particular relevance for us today if we are willing to consider it. As Jeremiah 36 describes it, this Baruch wrote the words of Jeremiah (verse 17, 18); but King Jehoiakim treated the message with scorn when it was read to him and burnt Baruch’s scroll in the fire (verses 21-24). The word of God which He spake by the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet could not so easily be destroyed however—Baruch wrote it all again as the prophet dictated it to him (verse 32). There are those today who would, so-to-speak, burn the Bible—but now, as then, this word is indestructible. It will be fulfilled in our time as it was in ancient times—its judgements are irresistible.

Another seal-bullae found in excavations in Jerusalem (1982-1983) reads "belonging to Gemariah son of Shaphan". This man was among the first audience ever to hear the prophecy (see Jer. 36:12-13) and he tried to dissuade the king from burning the scroll, "but he would not hear them" (verse 25). Let us note what happened to this individual that rejected the evidence of Baruch and burnt his work; that refused the remonstrances of Gemariah and would not listen to him. That unfaithful king Jehoiakim was bound in chains and taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chron. 36:6); his inglorious end may be seen from Jer. 22:18-19. So also the society over which he presided was finally erased because it refused to heed the prophets that were sent. Surely the prophecy of Jeremiah was a testimony to that unbelieving world—and it is a testimony to the unbelieving world of today, likewise. Can we not learn something from all this?

The seal of Gemariah, together with other seals and bullae, were discovered in "a thick level of soot" reported The Jerusalem Post (confirming what we read in 2 Kings 25:8-9 and Jer 52:13). Also found in "the burnt remains of a home" (said by the archaeologists to have been burned by the Babylonians) were pig bones and other non-Kosher items as well as evidence of idolatry and wickedness. Some false weights were also discovered, hollowed out to give less than true value. It all brings to life the picture described for us in Jeremiah 9:2-6. Again we pause and consider the force of the lesson contained in all this. Can we not hear the Truth speaking to us in these things?

The unhappy picture is brought into even sharper focus yet. Also discovered in Jerusalem was a toilet, and when this was examined with the help of modern medical science, it became clear that the people had been eating under-cooked pork and were infested with tape worms and other parasites. Evidence of the Babylonian siege was seen in the absence of grain foods and the presence of pollens. The burnt remains and soot finally speak of the disaster which came when the city fell. Here was the stark reality of those events described in Jer. 52:3-7, and what a lesson they contain!

Clay tablets found in Babylon include an account of the fall of Jerusalem. One of them refers to Judah’s King Jehoiachin who had surrendered to the Babylonians earlier. Even his rations are mentioned—confirming Jer. 52:31-34.

This evidence—which to any reasonable man would be considered overwhelming—still isn’t enough!

A False Weight

This evidence for Bible truth is before the unbelieving world of today. We have referred to just some of it in this article. Add to this testimony the witness of the Jewish people themselves all down the long centuries; the destinies of empires and nations (noted over a century ago in Alexander Keith’s "Evidences") which fulfilled the Bible’s prophecies. Then there are other archaeological discoveries...and so on.

One cannot help coming to the conclusion that when the evidence is placed before the public today, they are given a false balance—and consequently they are deceived into believing that the Bible has nothing to offer them. The Truth is however, that Holy Scripture offers to men and women something which no scholar, no archaeologist and no scientist can offer them: salvation! (2 Tim. 3:15-16).

Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? Are the accounts of the Bible true? Our answer is a matter of life and death.

By Paul Billington




GENESIS 10:10-12

These cities, the earliest that are mentioned in the Bible were uncovered by archaeologists over a century ago and have been positively identified. So also the ancient Canaanite and Egyptian civilizations are known. Thus the setting for the Genesis narrative, the call of Abraham and his journey of faith has a historical basis to it that cannot be denied.

NUMBERS 6:22-27

A Silver Scroll dating to 600 B.C. quotes this passage, showing that this Scripture existed before the date admitted by critics.


An inscription found in 1967 and published in 1976 refers to "Balaam Son of Beor" and records a prophecy similar to that found in Scripture.


Egyptian maps found at Karnakconfirm the geography of the exodus route taken by the children of Israel as recorded in the Bible.

JUDGES 10:6-9

The earliest known reference to Israelites says that they were "laid waste". It appears on the MerneptahStele dating to 1209 B.C.


An inscription discovered by archaeologists refers to "the House of Yahweh"—i.e. Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem

1 KINGS 12:19,20

An inscription found at Tel Dan in 1993, refers to "The House of David" and thus shows that David is a real historical character.

1 KINGS 12:20

A seal bearing the inscription "Shema servant of Jereboam" is but one confirmation of this king's existence in history.

1 KINGS 12:28-31

Jereboam's"High Place" was discovered at Dan in 1979.

1 KINGS 14:25,26 & 2 CHRONICLES 12:2-9

Victory relief of Shishak discovered at Karnak in 1799 shows him with prisoners from Palestine.

1 KINGS 16:23-24 & 1 KINGS 22:39

The Royal buildings of Omri and Ahab were found by archaeologists in 1933.

2 KINGS 3:4-5

The black basalt "Moabite Stone" discovered in 1868 describes the battle between MeshaKing of Moab and Ahab son of Omri.

2 KINGS 10:31,32

An Assyrian "Black Obelisk" discovered in 1846 depicts king Jehu

2 KINGS 10:35

A Hebrew seal found bearing the inscription: "belonging to JEHOAHAZ son of the king"

2 KINGS 15:29-30; 16:7-9

Cuniform text discovered in approx. 1850 are the records of Tiglath Pilesar and mentions kings Pekah and

2 KINGS 17:3

An inscription of Shalmanezer 11, known as "the Kurkh Monolith" mentions "Ahab the Israelite"

2 KINGS 18:13-16; ISAIAH 36:1

Taylor's Prism, also known as the Sennacherib Prism discovered about 1850 records Sennacherib's invasion of Judah, and mentions king Hezekiah.

2 KINGS 20:20; 2 CHRONICLES 32:3-4, 30

An inscription discovered in 1880 describes the construction of "Hezekiah's tunnel".

2 KINGS 24:10, 15, 17

In 1955 a tablet was deciphered which records the captivity of king Jehoiachinand the appointment of Zedekiah.

2 KINGS 24:10-17; 2 CHRONICLES 36:9-10

A Babylonian tablet describes the capture of Jerusalem by king Nebuchadnezzar.

2 KINGS 24:17

The "Lachish Letters" discovered in the 1930's mention several Biblical characters, including Mattaniah (Zedekiah).

2 KINGS 25:27-30

The "Yaukin Tablet" found at Babylon (1932/3) mentions king Jehoiachin and the rations allowed to him.


A Relief discovered at Sennacherib's palace in Nineveh (about 1850) depicts the seigeof Lachish—a contemporary snapshot of a Bible event!

EZRA 1:1-4

The famous "Cyrus Cylinder"—a clay cylinder of king Cyrus describes the return of captives after the "liberation" of Babylon


A reference to SANBALLAT, the governor of Jerusalem has been found.


In about 1850, the records of Sargon were discovered.


In 1947 the now famous DEAD SEA SCROLLS were discovered in caves. They demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of the Biblical text.

JEREMIAH 35:3; 36:10; and 38:1-4

The Lachish Letters also mention GEMARIAH the scribe, JAAZENIAH and speak of a "prophet" who demoralized the people and urged surrender to the Babylonians


In 1986 a seal was found dating to 587 B.C. It was inscribed: "Belonging to Baruch the son of Neriah" This is without doubt Jeremiah's scribe.

JEREMIAH 36:9-12

Bullae found at Jerusalem (1982/3) bears the inscription "Belonging to Gemariah son of Shaphan"

JEREMIAH 43:9-11; 44:13

Excavations in 1881-1891 by Flinders Petrie uncovered the actual pavement mentioned in this Scripture.


Bricks discovered at Babylon (1880) bearing the name Nebuchadnezzar.


Clay Cylinder found at Babylon in 1854 refers to BELSHAZZAR.

AMOS 1:1

Evidence of the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah found at Gezer and other locations.

NAHUM 3:7, 15

Reliefs found at Nineveh in the 1850's, and which can be viewed in the British Museum are burnt black by the fires of destruction.

MATTHEW 26:5, 7

The tomb of the Caiaphas family was discovered in Jerusalem in 1990. Scholars believe that the tomb of Caiaphas himself is among them.


Two separate inscriptions have been found mentioning the name of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

MARK 1:21

The foundations of Jesus' synagogue at Capernaum were identified in 1983, it lay underneath a later construction built by Jews around the third century.

LUKE 21:5

The huge platform upon which the temple was built in the time of Herod is there for all to see in Jerusalem today. Archaeologists have also uncovered amazing evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus in this chapter.

JOHN 18:38

A small piece of papyrus known as the "John Ryland Fragment" was discovered in 1934. This fragment is the earliest known New Testament document and has demonstrated that it was in curculation by A.D. 100. The words on the fragment are significant. They are from John 18 including the question "What is Truth?".


Many sites where events took place are known to us incl. amphitheatres, roads etc.