ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE: HOUSE OF ABRAHAM
The LORD spoke to him (Abraham), “I am the LORD, who brought you from UR of the CHALDEANS, to give you this land as an inheritance.” – Genesis 15:7
The house of Abraham in Ur in southern Iraq is mentioned in the Bible Genesis 11:28: “and Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldeans”. The house dates to 3000 BC. It was discovered by British Archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley in 1929.
Ur Kaśdim, commonly translated as Ur of the Chaldeans, is a city mentioned in the Bible as the birthplace of the patriarch Abraham father of Isacc and Ishmael. In 1862, Henry Rawlinson first identified Ur Kaśdim with Tell el-Muqayyar, near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. It wasn’t excavated until the 1900’s.
Sinan Salaheddin (4 April 2013). “Home of Abraham, Ur, unearthed by archaeologists in Iraq”.
McLerran, Dan (2011-06-23). “Birthplace of Abraham Gets a
New Lease on Life | Popular Archaeology – exploring the past”. Popular Archaeology. Archived from the original
“Journey of Faith – National Geographic Magazine”. Ngm
“City of Biblical Abraham Brimmed With Trade and Riches”. 11 March 2016.
“Ancient site unearthed in Iraqi home of Abraham”.
David, Ariel (22 March 2018). “Archaeologists Glance Into Fox Burrow in Iraq, Find 4,000-year-old Sumerian Port” –
A. T. Clay, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1915: “kal’-dez (‘ur kasdim; he chora (ton) Chaldaion)
Research by Archaeologist Esther Lovado
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE – THE PILATE STONE
“Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”
In 1961, archaeologists discovered a plaque fragment at Caesarea Maritima, an ancient Roman city along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. The plaque was written in Latin and imbedded in a section of steps leading to Caesarea’s Theater.
The “Pilate Stone” is historically significant because it dates to Pilate’s own lifetime. It is contemporary evidence. Yet — powerfully illustrating the distinctly random nature of archaeological discovery — the excavators could easily have missed it, simply discarding it as rubble. By the fourth century, it had been incorporated into a set of stairs in Caesarea’s Herodian theater. There, the inscription faced downward — fortunately, because that position preserved it from being worn away!
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE – KING HEROD’S TEMPLE
A simple coin gives us the image of King Herod’s Jerusalem Temple that we read of in the Gospels. The sela or tetradrachm features what may be the most accurate representation of the Jerusalem Temple that was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. The Coin depicts the entrance of the Temple in Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant inside , surmounted by a star with inscription in Paleo-Hebrew.
This coin was issued when part of the Jewish population in Judea revolted against Roman rule, in AD 132, under the leadership of a man named Simon ben Kosiba. He was thought by Jews of the time to be the promised ‘Messiah of Israel’, and was given the surname Bar Kokhba, ‘Son of a Star’, as fulfilment of a prophecy: ‘there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel’ (Numbers 24:17). In AD 135 Bar Kokhba was defeated, and the Roman emperor Hadrian expelled Jews from Jerusalem.
The tetradrachm was made by overstriking a Roman coin. It is possible to see traces of the portrait of the Roman emperor Trajan (r. AD 98–117) on the reverse. The legends on the coin are in Hebrew. The coin depicts the Temple of Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt in AD 70. The reverse represents the palm branches (lulav) and a citrus (etrog) used for the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), during which the Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple (following Leviticus 23:40).
Thanks to Archeologist Esther Lovato for this research.
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE – DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE
As Jesus left the temple and was walking away, His disciples came up to Him to point out its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” He replied. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:1-2
Perhaps one of the most famous passages in which Jesus addresses the Temple is Matthew 24. Here Jesus prophesies the complete destruction of the Herod’s Temple.
Herod began construction on the Temple and its surrounding buildings in A.D. 20, the eighteenth year of his reign. John 2:20 states that the temple took 46 years to build – a time span longer than Herod’s reign. He never lived to see the entire structure completed. Indeed, Josephus tells us (Antiquities 20.219) that final embellishments and repairs on components of the Temple were just being completed at the time of the Jewish revolt in A.D. 70. It was at that time that Titus came into Jerusalem with the 10th Roman Legion and razed the Temple to the ground, burning it, dismantling it, and plowing the entire Temple Mount to the ground, exactly fulfilling the words of Jesus in Matthew 24.
(Thanks to the ancient Historian Josephus and to the amazing researchers at Epic Archaeology for this research)
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE-
THE POOL OF BETHESDA
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. – John 5:1–9
The Apostle John wrote about the existence of a pool of Bethesda (John 5:1–9) and said that it was located in the region of Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, surrounded by five colonnades. For many years, some have argued that no such place exists outside of John’s gospel. This might support an argument that John’s gospel was written late in history by someone who was unfamiliar with the features of the city. In 1888, however, archaeologists began excavating the area near St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem and discovered the remains of the pool, complete with steps leading down from one side and five shallow porticoes on another side. In addition, the twentieth-century discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls also provided us with ancient confirmation of the pool’s existence. The COPPER SCROLL (written between AD 25 and AD 68) described a list of locations in Jerusalem that included a pool called “Beth Eshdathayin” located near a porch. The claims of a first-century gospel writer are corroborated by archaeology!
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE – CAESAR AUGUSTUS
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” – Luke 2:1
This bronze coin was issued in Ephesus to celebrate Caesar Augustus (27 BC-14 AD) and bears his image. Caesar Augustus unknowingly fulfilled Bible prophecy when he made the decree that everyone in the empire should be enrolled in a census,
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child” – Luke 1:4-5
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” – Micah 5:2
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE – ISAIAH’S SIGNATURE SEAL
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way;and the LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53
The signature seal of the Prophet Isaiah has been discovered at the Ophel excavation site, just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, about 3 meters away from where King Hezekiah’s royal seal was found. In the Bible, Isaiah is described as an advisor to King Hezekiah in 2nd Kings.
Friends, Jesus said of those proclaiming Him Lord, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:40