• Brian O'Kelly

3 - Historical Evidence - Can we trust the Bible (Part 2)

Updated: Apr 23








What is the objective evidence from history to support the Bible?

  1. Is the Bible proved wrong on any historical fact?

  2. Absence of Evidence is not evidence of absence



  1. History

NOAHS FLOOD – A global flood has not been proven

  1. Submersion of the western hemisphere has been proven

  2. Excavations in modern-day Iraq have revealed evidence of severe flooding at Shuruppak around 2900 BC,

  3. Regions of Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf are believed to have experienced significant shifts in sea levels as a result of the last glacial period. Submerging large areas of low-lying land because of rapidly rising water levels

  4. The Black Sea deluge hypothesis proposing a catastrophic tsunami raged across the Mediterranean Sea into the Black Sea in approximately 5600 BC.

  5. So they can prove that the entire western hemisphere was under water and that the middle east was under water but there are places that submersion has not yet been proven

  6. EXODUS

  7. For many years the Exodus was disputed because archeologists had not found any evidence of its existence. Using the idea that if they couldn’t find any relics or artifacts in the area described then the event didn’t happen.

  8. They reasoned that such a large movement of people certainly would have left behind discarded items, evidences of fires for heating, bones of dead people and animals, parts of shelters constructed and more, they declared that since these hadn’t been found, the Exodus didn’t occur.

  9. They were literally looking in the wrong place.

Modern vs Actual Site of Mt. Sinai

  1. For those of you on the audio podcast I apologize for the visual here but you can find the video on Facebook YouTube and rumble.

  2. The mountain that is named Sinai and for which the Sinai Peninsula is named in Egypt is not in fact the Mount Sinai of the Bible.

  3. This mountain is located in the Sinai Peninsula which is named after the Mountain as the location was assumed to be the biblical Mount Sinai

  4. The mountain has considered to be Mount Sinai by the church since it was declared to be so by Constantine in 326 A.D. and subsequently the peninsula was named after this

  5. The problem is that this mountain is in Egypt and this land has always been Egypt. The biblical account however tells us that Moses and the Israelites had left Egypt when they arrived at Mount Sinai which was not in Egypt but in Midian. The Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai after their escape through the Red Sea.

  6. Once archaeologists realized that the location of Midian and Mount Sinai or not where they had considered them to be, they began trying to sort out where Midian really was and consequently where Mount Sinai was.

  7. It is now recognized that mount Horeb in Midian located in modern-day Saudi Arabia is the only mountain in Midian that could be the Mount Sinai of the Bible.

  8. You can see on the map here where the city of pi Ramses is located, where the mountain named Mount Sinai today is, where the Red Sea is located and where mount Horeb is located.

  9. Prior to the time of Constantine there is long the Jewish and Christian tradition of making pilgrimage to mount Horeb in Midian located in Saudi Arabia. This is attested to in the writings of Josephus, in the Septuagint, Philo, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome.

  10. There is no evidence of Christian pilgrimage or Jewish pilgrimage to the Mount Sinai as name today in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt prior to 326 A.D. when Constantine declared it to be the holy site.

  11. This is important because the main claims of Judaism and Christianity are based in many ways on the events described in the biblical Exodus. If the Exodus didn’t occur, it creates real problems for both religions.

  12. At Sinai, Moses first prophesied the coming of Christ: "And the LORD said unto me ... I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee [Moses], and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." (Deut. 18:15-22). In turn, Christ staked His authority and credibility on teachings from the Exodus: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matt. 5:17-18)

  13. Once archaeologists began looking at mount Horeb the discoveries began to come fast and furious

  14. Alphabetic inscriptions at the site date to the time of the Exodus and their content refers to events described in Exodus 17:8.

  15. Footprints are traced there with an alphabetic caption, "wherever the soles of your feet shall tread shall be your territory" as in Deut. 11:24 and Josh. 1:3.

  16. The split rock (of Horeb, Ex. 17:6) is found at the presumed site of Rephidim near Sinai.

  17. An altar to cattle worship (Ex. 32:4, the golden calf) is found at the Midian site.

  18. An altar for burnt offerings (to Yahweh, Ex. 24:4) is found at the base of the mountain.

  19. Alongside that altar are remains of marble columns (to the 12 tribes of Israel, Ex. 24:4).

  20. A cave just below a cleft in the rock at the peak is found there (cave of Elijah, 1 Kings 19:8-9).

  21. None of these things are found at the traditional site in Egypt.

  22. The Writing of God upon the Tablets was the in the Original Alphabet

  23. These inscriptions are brief but telling. They are written in the oldest alphabet of letters (Thamudic) known to historical science. They date to the fifteenth century B.C, the time of the Exodus, according to experts at the Saudi Ministry of Antiquities.

  24. As different as they all look today, there has only been one original alphabet from which all others have been derived and it appears to be ancient Thamudic the very language of tie writings found at Mt Horeb.

  25. That Thamudic is the oldest alphabet was the controversial conclusion of Hubert Grimme, one of the most renowned Hebrew scholars and historical linguists of all time, who went to the Middle East to study the earliest alphabetic inscriptions. Grimme stated that ancient Thamudic script was the original alphabet of letters (1896) and the writing of the Israelites of the Exodus (1923).

  26. “The determination that around 1500 B.C. Hebrew was spoken-and even written-on the Sinai Peninsula, revolutionizes completely the present view of the history of the Hebrew language ... Neither the Egyptian hieroglyphs nor the cuneiform writing would have been suitable for the written version in this language; only a writing system based on alphabetic characters, namely the Semitic script, could have been considered for the written version, and there is no doubt that the authors of the Bible kept in mind this Semitic writing system as the original written form of (the tablets of) the law.” (Grimme, 1923)

  27. Although Grimme received some support from scholars, he was mostly alone in this opinion until 1936 when the archaeologist Stephen Caiger came to the same conclusion from sources independent of Grimme.

  28. In the light of recent research, far from questioning the ability of Moses to write, we may even conjecture that he had progressed beyond clumsy syllabic scripts to an alphabetical style of writing not dissimilar from the Hebrew of a later age. (Caiger, 1936)

  29. Although Caiger misidentified the Thamudic script as "Minaen," today it is well accepted that ancient Thamudic is the oldest alphabet of letters, and the precursor of Minaen/Sabean, dated by many epigraphers as early as the fifteenth century B.C. A clear statement to that effect can be found on the joint website of the Smithsonian and the Saudi Ministry of Antiquities & Museums along with many examples of ancient Thamudic inscriptions (http://www.mnh.si.edu/epigraphy/e_pre-islamic/thamudic.htm).

  30. More recently, another expert in the development of the alphabet, Leonard Schlain10 (1998), theorized that the transforming event of Sinai was the invention of the alphabet.

  31. It is not mere coincidence that the first book written in an alphabet is the Old Testament. There is none earlier ... Previously, Akhenaton and Hammurabi each took tentative steps toward introducing monotheism and the Law to their people. These abstract concepts initially failed to take hold because both monarchs ruled over barely literate societies. The mystery of why not one but both these incredible ideas should appear shimmering together in a mirage in the middle of the desert, to a group of escaped slaves teetering on the edge of survival far from centers of learning, is one of the great puzzles of all time. Perhaps the transforming event that transpired so long ago at the foot of Mount Sinai was the invention of the alphabet.

  32. Yet another expert on the alphabet, Robert Logan, concurs,

  33. "The occurrence of monotheism, codified law, and the alphabet all at the same moment in history cannot have been coincidental ... The abstractness of all three innovations were mutually reinforcing." Or, as Schlain puts it, "A monotheistic God not tied to a concrete image is a highly abstract concept. Abstraction is a crucial component of logical reasoning and its use can set people free from superstition."

  34. In the James Cameron film, Exodus Decoded (2006), researched and presented by Simcha Jacobovici, he concludes the Hebrews did not write in hieroglyphs but in an early alphabet. Of late, the prominent archaeologist David Rohl (2009) postulates

  35. "the Ten Commandments-were carved in the world's most ancient alphabet." Anyone who studies early writing with an open mind eventually comes to the inevitable reality that the earliest alphabet appeared at the same time and place as the earliest body of literature written in alphabetic writing, the Old Testament. The conclusion of all these prominent researchers, both past and present, is impressive support indeed, yet none of these experts was aware of the inscriptional evidence from the Sinai site in Midian.

  36. PLAGUES OF EGYPT – The Plagues of Egypt comprised ten calamities inflicted upon the Egyptians by God to compel the Pharaoh to allow the enslaved Israelites to depart Some historians argue these events merely serve as an exaggeration archaeological evidence and natural science have provided evidence that these events likely did occur. Believed to have affected the ancient city of Pi-Rameses, situated in the Nile Delta and which served as the capital of Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II, archaeological evidence helps corroborate natural explanations for the disasters. Rising temperatures or a drought naturally change the color of the Nile, affecting the spread of bacteria and algae. The change triggered a blight, forcing frog populations to abandon the river before dying. The absence of frogs led to a dramatic increase in insects. These insects brought disease, infecting livestock. The thunderstorm of fire, unrelated to the symbiotic inter-connectivity of the first six plagues, is believed to refer to the eruption of Thera in 1628 BC. One of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, ash deposits dating from this event have been found in the Nile region.

  37. PARTING OF THE RED SEA - Although whether the Exodus indeed occurred, the Parting of the Red Sea can be supported by natural science and alternative historical events

  38. A natural rationale offers some support in favor of the event. Winds more than sixty miles-per-hour in coastal regions have been observed parting waves and, consequently, the opening might have been temporarily created by atypically strong gusts.

  39. Equally, an alternative and historically feasible theory revolve, like the ten plagues, around the eruption of Thera in the 16th century BC. The colossal eruption might have triggered atypical weather and oceanic patterns throughout the region.

  40. EDOM - The Bible says that Edom was an ancient kingdom neighboring the Kingdom of Judah. The Edomites were defeated by King Saul, before being subjugated by King David into vassalage. The consensus was that the Edomites, were a pastoral civilization, too small to assemble an army as described. However, discoveries at the Khirbat en-Nahas archaeological site have concluded that the Kingdom of Edom was one chiefly focused on copper mining. Slag heaps, pottery, and even an Iron Age fortress, dated to around the 10th century BC, show the existence of a far more advanced and militarized civilization.

  41. KING DAVID - Although appearing as one of the more prominent figures of the Old Testament, famed for slaying Goliath, becoming ruler of the Kingdom of Israel, and fathering Solomon, the historicity of King David was disputed. Lacking any direct evidence of his existence outside of the Bible, opinion coalesced that he was an apocryphal figure. That is until, in 1993, the Tel Dan Stele – a broken stone slab bearing an inscription – was discovered by archaeologists in northern Israel carrying the earliest known reference to the Judaic monarch.

  42. SPRING CITADEL - The city of Jerusalem was built around the Gihon Spring, cities need a water source. The “Spring Citadel” was a giant 18th-century BC fortress that protected the city of Jerusalem from prospective invaders. Allowing access to the Gihon Spring only from inside the city, its 7 meter thick walls were overcome by the armies of David during his conquest of the city against the Jebusites. After almost twenty years of searching evidence of the ancient fortification was eventually identified. Remnants of stacked five-ton stones reaching approximately 6 thick, the largest walls to date stemming from the pre-Herod era of the region, the archaeological find is situated close to the ancient city’s water source.

  43. GATH -

Ruins of Gath

The hometown of Goliath, archaeological excavations have corroborated the existence, culture, and eventual destruction of the ancient Philistine civilization. Gradually conquered by the Israelites, the greatest and last to fall was the city of Gath, the hometown of Goliath. Believed to have been apocryphal, during the late-19th-century archaeologists finally identified the lost city. Discovered by Edward Robinson, excavations of the ancient Philistine town have offered corroboration for parts of the biblical narrative. Included among these findings is a 3,000-year-old horned stone altar, bearing striking similarities to one described in the Books of Kings and Exodus. Furthermore, the remains of an enormous structure and two supporting pillars akin to those detailed in the story of Samson have been uncovered, suggesting the accuracy of the contextual setting. Perhaps most importantly, excavations have revealed evidence of a large-scale siege and subsequent destruction of the ancient city around the late-9th century BC, in line with the biblical assertion of its capture by Hazael of Aram Damascus.

  1. SOLOMONS WALLS -

Solomon's Walls

According to the First Book of Kings, Solomon, the son of David and King of Judah, at some time after marrying the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh ordered the construction of a great wall around the ancient city of Jerusalem. The historical consensus was that it did not exist and was merely allegorical. Modern archaeological excavations led by Eilat Mazar proved otherwise. Measuring approximately 70 meters in length and 6 meters high, these ancient remains situate the wall’s location and precisely encompasses the best estimates of the city of Jerusalem during this time. Including a gatehouse and guard tower, the purpose of the structure as one for military defense is indisputable. Helping to date the remains of the ancient wall, remnants of pottery from the late-10th century BC, the reign of Solomon, help corroborate the contextuality of the structure. Providing the first evidence of Solomon’s great building works, the discovery of the wall has renewed speculation regarding other attributed projects including the First Temple.

  1. JEZEBEL - The daughter of the Phoenician ruler Ithobaal I, Jezebel, according to the Book of Kings, married Ahab, King of Israel. Encouraging her new husband to abandon his religious convictions in favor of her own polytheistic worship of Baal and Asherah, in addition to converting his nation-at-large, Jezebel allegedly ordered a campaign of religious persecution. The truth of the story of the “most wicked woman in the Bible” was questioned. In 1964 an ancient seal from the 9th century BC suddenly emerged on the antique market bearing a partial inscription: “Yzbl”. The intricacy of the seal strongly suggests royalty.

  2. ISAIAH - Isaiah, an 8th-century BC prophet, was a disputed figure. Isaiah had no corroborating reference in any alternative historical sources. However, in an archaeological excavation in Jerusalem, a small clay seal dating to the 8th-century BC was discovered. The ancient artifact is inscribed the name Isaiah in Hebrew – and is followed by the ancient Hebrew word for prophet: The conclusion from this find is that an individual in a position of religious significance bearing his name almost certainly did exist around this time.

  3. WALLS OF NEHEMIAH - following the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah by Babylon in 598 BC, the Jews were forced into exile until they were given permission to return to Jerusalem by the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great. Upon their return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah bemoaned that the walls “had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire”. Ordering his people to rebuild the wall “so that we may no longer suffer disgrace”, the building works were completed in just fifty-two days whereafter “when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid”. The archaeological remains of Jerusalem have long been held as a litmus test for biblical historicity and, with no evidence of these walls found, the account written in the Book of Nehemiah was regarded dubiously. That was until Eilat Mazar and her team, who while excavating a stone tower unintentionally weakened its foundations, discovered a five-meter-wide wall whilst attempting to repair the damage. Accompanied by pottery dating from the sixth and fifth centuries BC, including biblical names concurrent with the timing of the story, the discovery single-handedly affirmed the core narrative of an entire section of the Bible.

  4. NAZARETH - The existence of the city of Nazareth has not always been an accepted fact. Although a Nazareth exists today, located in the Northern District of modern-day Israel, no evidence supporting the concurrent survival of Nazareth during the years of biblical relevance had been uncovered. Historians believed at some point around 720 BC, Nazareth was destroyed by the Assyrians. However recently Israeli archaeologists successfully excavated remains at the presumed location of Nazareth dating from the early Roman period and the time of Jesus’ birth.

  5. JAMES OSSUARY -

The James Ossuary

James the Just, an early leader of the Jerusalem Church of the Apostolic Age who died in martyrdom in approximately 69 CE, has remained the focus of sustained speculation regarding his relationship with Jesus. Described in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark as the “brother of Jesus who is called Christ”, among other siblings, traditional Catholic doctrine teaches that Mary remained a perpetual virgin and thus did not bear any other children than Jesus. The argument remained inconclusive until the discovery of the James Ossuary. Unearthed southeast of the Temple Mount, in the Kidron Valley region, the James Ossuary is a limestone box that once housed the bones of a highly respected individual. Dating from the 1st century of the Common Era, it bears the inscription: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. The authenticity of this inscription, but not the box itself, has been challenged. The refusal of the State of Israel to permit the international archaeological community to perform their own independent assessment has intensified speculation concerning the relic, with historical opinion divided regarding the veracity of the ossuary.

  1. POOL OF SILOAM -

The Pool of Siloam

One of the many miracles described in the Book of John, the disciple tells the story of Jesus restoring the sight of a blind man at the Pool of Siloam. Placing clay onto the man’s eyes, after washing it off the man delights in finding his vision returned to him. Known to have existed during the reign of Hezekiah (r. 715-866 BC), it was believed by historians that the ancient reservoir system had been destroyed after an invasion by the Assyrian ruler Sennacherib centuries before the birth of Jesus. Despite claims by biblical adherents that it must have been rebuilt later this claim was widely rejected. However, during repairs on a damaged sewer line in Jerusalem, a team of workmen inadvertently stumbled upon an amazing discovery: two steps leading to the remains of a pool. Measuring almost seventy meters in length, buried within plaster foundations of the stone facade were four coins bearing the face of Alexander Jannaeus. Ruling Jerusalem from 103 to 76 BC, in conjunction with pottery shards corroborating this timeline, it has been determined that this successor pool was created less than one hundred years prior to the birth of Jesus and was likely still in use throughout his lifetime.

  1. EXISTENCE OF JESUS - The existence of Jesus, if not his divinity, can be confirmed via concurrent non-Christian historical sources. Non-Christian sources, viewed as more impartial than early Christian writings, serve to provide independent certification of at least the core elements of the biblical narrative. Corroborating many of the most important moments, including Josephus’ recollection of Jesus serving as a priest and Tacitus’ account of the execution of Jesus by crucifixion at the orders of Pontius Pilate, these writings provide independent Roman concurrence to Jesus’ existence. Today, the question of whether Jesus existed has become settled, with attention focusing on details concerning his life.

  2. CAIAPHAS - Joseph Caiaphas, commonly known by his last name was the Jewish high priest responsible for the plot to kill Jesus. Beyond the Bible, a few historical references corroborate the narrative offered, with Romano-Jewish historian Josephus providing the only legitimate written source. Claiming that Caiaphas was appointed as a member of the high priesthood by the Roman prefect Valerius Gratus in 18 CE, this conclusion was uncertain until the accidental discovery of the Caiaphas ossuary in the Peace Forest, Jerusalem, in 1990. Found after a tomb’s roof was unintentionally opened by a bulldozer during construction works, the discovered necropolis bore similarities to other Second Temple period burial sites in Jerusalem. Contained within were twelve ossuaries, including two bearing the name “Caiaphas”, one of which was inscribed in a highly ornate fashion: “Joseph, son of Caiaphas” and held the remains of a sixty-year-old male dating from the 1st century of the Common Era. The find validates that such an individual did exist around the time described and was of high status.

  3. HEROD - Herod I, also known as Herod the Great, reigned as the Roman client king of Judea and acts as a key antagonist in the New Testament narrative of the life of Jesus. A controversial ruler, Herod did unquestionably exist and was possessed of murderous proclivities. Responsible for the deaths of his wife, brother-in-law, and three of his sons, in addition to hundreds of others, Matthew’s depiction of Herod as a cruel and authoritarian ruler was not without merit. Dying in 4 BC, the estimated year of Jesus’ birth, Herod was buried in a gigantic mausoleum complete with a pool more than twice the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

  4. PONTIUS PILATE - Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judea under the reign of Emperor Tiberius, is upheld by a number of independent historical sources, among them the “Pilate Stone”. Discovered in 1961, the Pilate Stone is a limestone block bearing a Latin inscription situated behind the stage house of the Roman theatre at Caesarea: the administrative center of the Roman governors of Judea. Detailing that Pilate was indeed a prefect of Judea, this archaeological find offers support to his overall role in Jesus’ involvement with the authorities. In addition to the Pilate Stone, the Roman official was recorded by several contemporary historical writers, including Tacitus, Philo, and Josephus, who highlight his harsh suppression of religious dissent and eventual removal in or around 37 CE for these oppressive tactics.

  5. JUDAS ISCARIOT - Among the most important figures in the Christian canon, the existence of Judas Iscariot was not widely accepted by the historical community for many years. Relying instead on logical argumentation rather than actual earthly discoveries, historians have coalesced around the firm conclusion that such a person did indeed exist. Bart Ehrman, a prominent Atheist, contends that Judas’ betrayal “is about as historically certain as anything else in the tradition”, the inclusion of an Apostle turning on Jesus would not have been made up for its negative aspersions cast upon Jesus by connotation. As a result, the prevailing historical opinion has concluded that Judas handed over Jesus to the Jerusalem authorities.

  6. Questions from the Facebook Page

  7. Jeff wants to know: Does the bible speak of WW3? And do you believe this is the beginning?

  8. I don’t believe that the Bible speaks of a third world war. However, I do believe this may be the beginning of one.

  9. David asks if the story of the good Samaritan means that everyone in the world is your neighbor even people you haven’t met.

  10. Yes Galatians 6:9-10 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith

  11. David also asks if we should abandon all borders because they are man-made and the whole world is the kingdom of Christ.

  12. God believes in nations and borders. We know because he made Israel into a nation and commanded its borders.

  13. Darrell wants to know – What about the end times and all of the signs coming together?

  14. I don’t see the end times the way that many modern prophecy teachers see it. As near as I can tell, Jesus comes back on the last day. That’s the day after which there are no more days. Further, Jesus himself said:

  15. Matthew 24: 35-37 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of [a]heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

  16. Mark 13:31-33 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. 32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.