Written By Man
The inquisitiveness posed by unbelievers is not so much about the questions, as it is the narrative behind them. I state this, because there are two kinds of unbelievers, who make inquiries pertaining to the validity of the Christian faith. Group one, contains those who are determined to not be convinced of anything, regardless of the amount of evidence presented to them. These kind of people pose questions more in an attempt to tear down the faith of the believer, rather than to seek what is true.
The second group is comprised of those who are ignorant about scripture, unsure of what they believe, and are seeking evidence for what is true.
This article is written for the later, who are seeking truth and for the believer, who could use some spiritual sharpening.
WRITTEN BY MAN
One of the statements made by unbelievers is that the Bible was written by man, therefore, it is unreliable. When this argument is thought of in a logical sense, you begin to see how ridiculous it is. As the majority of information that man has received, whether written or verbal, has been through man. Even documentaries have scripts that were written by man. Public interviews are the spoken voices of man.
It is hypocritical for anyone to immediately exclude the Bible, solely because the words on the pages were written by man, yet they live their daily lives, and receive their educations off of information that has been obtained through man.
For that reason, we can all agree that the fact that the Bible was written by man, is not a legitimate or a debatable issue on the reliability of the Bible.
TESTING THE OT
Mark Twain was quoted as saying, “The Bible has some noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood drenched history; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”
Is there evidence to prove him wrong? I believe there is.
Many unbelievers will mock and say that there is no historical evidence, whether documented by the Egyptians or archaeological evidence of the Israelites ever having resided in Egypt. They use the idea that the Egyptians never participated in slave trade.
Biblical scriptures tell us that the Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years, but they were not slaves that entire time. They only became slaves when a new Pharaoh, who knew not of Joseph or how he saved the Egyptians from a famine, took the throne. This new Pharaoh became afraid that the Jews would overthrow the Egyptian population because of their high birth rate. He therefore made a degree to make them slaves. (Exodus 1:6-11) Some historians theorize that they were only slaves for around the last 100 years of their captivity.
The biblical scriptures never make a statement or even hint to any Israelites having been traded off as slaves, other than when Joseph was first brought into Egypt. Though there is evidence that the Egyptians were known for taking war slaves or as we would call them today POW (prisoners of war). The Israelites on the other hand, were an ethnic group that were singled out by the Pharaoh in the land where they resided, and were made slaves.
It has further been discovered on papyri in ancient ruins of Egyptian homes, lists of the names of slaves. There are hieroglyphs in ancient Egypt depicting slavery, as well. For anyone to assume or insinuate that the Egyptians did not believe in slavery is ignoring the evidence.
The Brooklyn Papyrus is a list of domestic servants in ancient Egypt of one estate. It is estimated that 70% of the names are Semitic/Hebrew names, including Issachar, Asher, and Zipporah.
HYKSOS EXPULSION VS ISRAELITES
Exodus 1:6-14: Joseph died, as did all his brothers, and all that generation. The children of
Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who didn't know Joseph. He said to his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it happen that when any war breaks out, they also join themselves to our enemies, and fight against us, and escape out of the land. "Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. They built storage cities for Pharaoh: Pithom and Ramses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out. They were grieved because of the children of Israel. The Egyptians ruthlessly made the children of Israel serve, and they made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field, all their service, in which they ruthlessly made them serve. The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah, and he said, "When you perform the duty of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birth stool; if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live." But the midwives feared God, and didn't do what the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the baby boys alive.
While we are unsure of which Pharaoh made the decree to enslave the Israelites, Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II, from the 17th dynasty, is believed to be the one who had ordered the killing of all male Israel infants in Egypt. He died in war during the invasion of the Hyksos.
Scripture tells us of a mother during this King's reign, who had placed her three month old, male child in a basket made of reeds in the river, where Pharaoh's daughter Bithiah (1 Chronicles 4:18) had found him. She called his name Moses. It is said that since she adopted an Israelite, that God adopted her. There are some non-biblical ancient writings that suggest, that she left Egypt and journeyed into Median with Moses, after the sitting Pharaoh sought his life for slaying an Egyptian. Note: The historian, Josephus and another non-biblical source, The Book of Jubilees, has the daughter of Pharaoh's name as being Thermouthis. It has been suggested and is quite possible that when she converted, she was given her Hebrew name of Bithiah, which was used in 1 Chronicles. As it was not uncommon for those, who were adopted into the Israel family from other nations to be given a Hebrew name.
It is interesting to look at the names of this King's sons, who were the biological brothers of Bithiah. They were Kamose (reigned ca. 1591-1586 BCE, died in the beginning of the expulsion of the Hyksos) and Ahmose I (reigned ca. 1586-1561 BCE). Both the names Kamose and Ahmose seem to play off one another, as does the name Moses.
This Hyksos people were eventually driven out by Pharaoh Ahmose I.
The Hyksos (pronounced hick-saws) main capitol, Avaris, was discovered in the 1960s just north of Cairo. Egyptian history states that the Hyksos were Semites/Canaanites, who were run out of Egypt in what became known as the “Hyksos Expulsion”.
There are a few biblical historians, who believe that the Israelites were the Hyksos, which would leave them exiting Egypt under Ahmose I. After looking over all the evidence, I strongly disagree because I feel that the evidence is contradictory to such claims.
The reason why some are adamant about connecting the two are: The Hyksos were from Canaan, and the Israelites had migrated from the area of Canaan, when they moved into Egypt to be closer to Joseph during the famine; there were signets found in the ruins of Avaris with Joseph's seal on it; there are Hebrew writings on the walls in Avaris' caves, citing prayers and calling out to God by His Hebrew name. All this proves is that the children of Israel were in Egypt during the time of the Hyksos.
To touch on a few reasons why I do not believe that the Hyksos and the children of Israel are the same people:
1. Kamose, as the eldest, had the throne first. He began the war against the Hyksos. Kamose died in the war against the Hyksos, and his younger brother, Ahmose I was victorious in winning this war. Biblical and non-biblical scriptures do not speak of the exodus taking place in the midst of two different Pharaohs, but one and the same, from the beginning to the end.
The biblical scriptures are usually pretty good about giving needed details, and would have stated that in the midst of the plagues, one Pharaoh died, and another took his place.
2. The Hyksos were oppressors of the Egyptians, and not oppressed of the Egyptians. The Hyksos had killed the sitting Pharaoh, Seqenenre Tao II, during their invasion. The children of Israel did not invade Egypt, nor did they kill a Pharaoh upon entering the land. Israel had entered Egypt on friendly and welcoming terms. They had been there long before, during, and after the Hyksos invasion.
3. While the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt, they were not then pursued after, in an attempt to capture them; as were the Children of Israel.
4. There are historical writings that tell us the name of the sitting Pharaoh at the time of the exodus, and it was not Kamose, Ahmose I, nor their father, Seqenenre Tao II.
Ignorant unbelievers (those who lack knowledge) often argue that there is no confirmation for the captivity of the children of Israel in Egypt, while ignoring and trying to explain away the evidence that has been found. These skeptics will cite a list of their own demands of what needs to be presented. These demands range from wanting marked grave sites of Israelites, to documents written by the Egyptians themselves, explaining how they were humiliated by the children of Israel, and how they escaped their grip.
We see this same kind of arrogance with Muslim teachers, who insist that Christians show them a Bible verse where Christ stated, “I am God, worship me”. They contend that the passage must be presented word for word to be true. This type of egotism does not seek truth. Fact is, that Christ did make the claim in many passages, but he did not say it in that exact sentence.
This mindset drives people to demand that something can only be true if it is presented in one particular way and no other, and on occasion, when that way is able to be presented, these same skeptics will then ignore that evidence, and request that it is presented in yet, another way.
History does not conform itself to each individualized idea. History is made through civilizations, tribes, and kingdoms before us, whose ideologies and customs were much different from our own. In most ancient civilizations, graves of slaves were not marked, and slaves were often buried in mass alongside their fellow slaves. These kinds of graves have been found in Egypt, and identified as being the graves of slaves.
PHARAOHS OF EGYPT IN MOSES' TIME
There is quite a lot of evidence that Pharaoh Amenhotep II (approx. reign from 1455-1418 BC), was sitting on the throne during the Israelite exodus from Egypt. This was spoken of by first century AD historian, Flavius Josephus. It is worth noting, that Josephus cites that he was quoting what he had read from an Egyptian historian named Manetho.
The Egyptian city of Heliopolis is where Manetho served as a priest and a Egyptian historian. He left clear records that the exodus of the Children of Israel happened under Pharaoh Amenophis, or as we would call him in modern language, Pharaoh Amenhotep. It is only in the 18th dynasty where we find three Pharaohs by that name. Amenhotep I, Amenhotep II, and Amenhotep III.
The real challenge was figuring out which Amenhotep the exodus happened under. To do this, we turn to biblical scriptures:
1 Kings 6:1, “It happened in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.”
* Many scholars use biblical chronology to guesstimate the year of Solomon's reign, because no evidence of this particular King has yet to be found. But keep in mind that there was a time when no evidence existed for King David, until the Mesha Stele in 1894 and an Aramaic inscription on a basalt stone in 1993.
Exodus 12:40-41, “Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. It happened at the end of four hundred thirty years, even the same day it happened, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”
**There is a footnote in some translations that explain the original text states “They went out of Canaan and Egypt.”
Genesis 15:13, “He said to Abraham, "Know for sure that your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years.”
Galatians 3:17, “Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Messiah, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect.”
It was 430 years between the covenant of Abraham and the commandments given to Moses.
Egypt had conquered and controlled the land of Canaan at the time of the exodus. Canaan included what today are Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, northwestern Jordan, and some western areas of Syria.
1 Kings 6:1 Tells us it was the 480th year that the Children of Israel came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of King Solomon's reign, that the temple of the Lord began to be built.
It has previously been calculated using biblical genealogy, that the beginning of Solomon's reign was around 970 BC. This would make his fourth year around 966 BC. We then take 480+966, and we get the year 1446 BC for the period when the children of Israel came out of Egypt. We then look at which Pharaoh Amenhotep was ruling during that time, and we get Amenhotep II (1455-1418).
Manetho had described a people whose leader was named Moses, and who were captives in Egypt. Manetho stated that when they had left Egypt, they went forth to Judea and built a city called Jerusalem.
Another way that we can use the Bible to narrow down this Pharaoh as the exodus Pharaoh, is in Exodus 2, we are told about the Pharaoh who reigned before the exodus Pharaoh, known as the Pharaoh of oppression. He was the one that sought to kill Moses, after Moses had killed an Egyptian, who was oppressing his fellow brethren. Moses fled to Median, escaping the wrath of the Pharaoh.
Moses married and had two sons, and was living a good life as the son-in-law of a Median priest when God appeared to Moses (Exodus 4:19) and commanded him to return to Egypt because those who sought his life are now dead.
In Acts 7:21, we read a recap of the Israelite journey. He spoke how Moses was adopted by a pharaoh's daughter, and was learned in all the ways of the Egyptians. When he was about 40 years old, he visited the Children of Israel, Moses killed an Egyptian, who he witnessed oppressing his fellow brethren.
After 40 years more, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses to go deliver his people out of the hand of Pharaoh. If we take note, the former Pharaoh before Amenhotep II was his father Thutmose III, who reigned for 54 years. He is the only Pharaoh in the 18th dynasty that had a reign longer than 40 years.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, has what is known as a dream stele tablet between its paws that was commissioned by Thutmose IV, who being the son of Amenhotep II, reigned after his father. This stele or stelae speaks of how Thutmose IV was taking a nap and the gods revealed to him that he would become the next Pharaoh. This was unusual because he had an older brother, who was the crowned prince at the time, but his older brother, shortly after, had mysteriously died.
The estimated date for Amenhotep I reign (ca. 1561-1547). This helped narrow down the subsequent reigns of other pharaohs in the 18th dynasty with relative certainty: Thutmose I (ca. 1547-1534BC), Thutmose II (ca. 1534-1529 BC), Queen Hatshepsut (ca. 1529-1509 BC), Thutmose III (ca.1509-1455 BC), and Amenhotep II (ca. 1455-1418 BC).
*Because the Egyptians did not keep dates of their Pharaohs, these are the most accurate estimates that I could find based on archaeology, writings from Manetho and Josephus, scholars, and Egyptologists.
It has been suggested that Moses never penned the name of the exodus Pharaoh, because coming out of Egypt was not about who the Pharaoh of Egypt was, but about who the God of the exodus was. This needs to be kept in mind as we continue.
BIBLICAL ESTIMATE VS LITERAL
There have people who claim that the 480 years mentioned in 1 Kings 6 is not a literal number, but most would disagree. When scripture says that Christ was “about” 30 years old, or that Moses was “about” 40 years old, then we can assume that those numbers are not literal, but just an estimate. Meaning it could be off 2-10 years, give or take. The wording in 1 Kings 6 is used in a way that presents a fact, not an estimate.
Judges 11:26, we read how Israel had occupied the land east of the Jordan for 300 years.
This writing was dated to “about” 1100 BC. When we do math again, adding the 300 years, plus the 40 years that the Children of Israel wondered in the desert, we get an estimate of 1440 BC for the exodus.
THE CASE AGAINST PHARAOH RAMSES
Many have speculated in times past that Ramses II was the exodus Pharaoh, yet not only is he not spoken of in any ancient historical records as having any connection, but he also does not fit the biblical criteria.
Ramses II started his reign 167 years after the exodus. The Pharaoh Seti I, who reigned before him, reigned only 11 years, not 40+. Ramses II did reign for 66 years, but the Pharaoh after him, Pharaoh Merneptah, only reigned 10 years.
People have thought in times past that the Pharaoh was Ramses II because in Exodus 1:11, where it speaks about how the Pharaoh used slave labor from the Israelites to build the cities of Ramses and Pithom. It was previously thought that this city Ramses was related to Ramses II, and therefore the exodus must date to his time.
Some historical sites state that even though the Egyptian city is attributed to Ramses II, it could have been built by Ramses I. It is also conceivable that the city came first, with Ramses I being named after the city, and Ramses II being named after Ramses I. Over the centuries, there have been people named after cities, just as much as there have been cities created and named after people.
Another matter to factor in, is that biblical writers were known to use the updated names of cities, so that the generation that the records were being kept for would not be geographically lost on the information. We see this in Judges 18, when we are informed how the Danites capture the city of Dan. It was not called Dan before it was captured, though the chapter does inform us that the city used to be called Laish.
Similarly, If an elder person was telling a younger generation about the town they grew up in, and this town had changed their name over the years, they would not refer to it by the previous name when telling a story. Simply because the generation, who did not know of the name change, would be geographically lost in the story.
THE 10 EGYPTIAN PLAGUES
For decades, there had been little evidence of the Israelite presence in Egypt, because it was being searched for in the wrong era, under Pharaoh Ramses II. By this time, they had been gone from Egypt for nearly 200 years. If someone was to look for proof of WWII 500 years from now, and were to search within 1980-2000, they would not find it. Would that mean that the world war never took place? My point is that you cannot disregard history because of research error.
When the evidence is searched for under the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep II, there are records and proof of the ten plagues.
The Ten Plagues were:
Water turning to blood, Frogs, Lice, Flies, Livestock Pestilence/illness, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and the Death of the first born.
The Epuwer Papyrus is an ancient hieratic script. It is known as the admonitions of an Egyptian Sage, and is lamentations for the gods allowing events to happen. What is described within this papyrus is an overwhelming national disaster. This is a non-biblical, historical Egyptian document.
A few translations from the papyrus:
Blood Plague -
Papyrus: “Plague is throughout the land, blood is everywhere. The river is blood. Men shrink from tasting “-” human beings and thirst after water. That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin.”
Bible: Exodus 7:20-24, speaks of how all the water that is in the river was turned to blood. All the fish died. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. The Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water.
Livestock Plague -
Papyrus: “All animals, their hearts weep, cattle moan. “-” Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together.”
Bible: Exodus 9:3-19, The hand of the Lord is upon the cattle in the field, upon your horses, and your asses; Upon the camels, the oxen, and the sheep, there shall be a very grievous murrain (infectious disease). Gather your cattle, and all that you have in the field; for upon every man and beast that shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, hail shall come down on them and they will die.
Hail Plague -
Papyrus: “Forsooth, gates, columns, and walls are consumed by fire. Lower Egypt weeps. The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong (by right) wheat and barley, geese, and fish. Forsooth, grain has perished on every side. Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is leftover to its weariness like the cutting of a flax.”
Bible: Exodus 9:23-10:15, The fire ran along the ground. There was hail, and fire mingled with hail. The hail smote every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. The flax and the barley were smitten. There remained not any green thing in the trees or any herb of the field, throughout all of Egypt.
Plague of Darkness -
Papyrus: “The land is without light.”
Bible: Exodus 10:22, There was a thick darkness in the land of Egypt for three days.
Death of First Born -
Papyrus: “Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls. Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out into the streets. The prison is ruined. He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere. It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations.”
Bible: Exodus 12:29-30, And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord smote all the first born in the land of Egypt, from the first born of Pharaoh that sat on the throne unto the first born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first born of cattle. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
Other similarities in this Papyri that match the biblical account is that the Egyptians gave the Israelite slaves goods before they left the land and that the Children of Israel were led by a pillar of fire.
WHY THESE TEN SPECIFIC PLAGUES
Exodus 5:2: The Pharaoh had said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.”
Egypt at this time in history worshiped many different gods, and they attributed most of their daily life to their many gods. The ten plagues was a war against the Egyptian gods and their followers. Each plague represented a god that Egypt worshiped. God was displaying his power and authority to show the people of Egypt that no other god could stand before him, because there is no other God but him.
1. Water turning to blood – The god Khnum was a ram headed god, who was considered to be the guardian of the Nile. This god was the reason for the fertile waters in the river and the life that flourished on its banks. They also worshiped another god of the Nile, Hapi, who was a water bearer. The plague killed everything in the waters and made the water undrinkable. God told Pharaoh that “by this you shall know that I am the Lord.” -Exodus 7:17
2. Frogs – The god Heqet (Heket), was a frog headed god of birth and fertility. Frogs were seen as sacred and were not to be killed. God had the frogs invade every home in Egypt and when the frogs died, their bodies were piled up in an offensive smelling heap. Moses told Pharaoh Amenhotep II, “And he said, Tomorrow. And he said, Be it according to your word: that you may know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.” -Exodus 8:10
3. Lice – This plague was against the god of the desert, Set; and the god of the dust Heb. Pharaoh's magicians had been duplicating the first two plagues, but notice, that they could not remove the plagues. When it came to the plague of lice that arose from the dust and infected every man, woman, child, and beast, Pharaoh's magician's could not copy it. Instead they proclaimed to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God”. - Exodus 8:19
4. Flies – The fly god, who bore the head of a fly called Khepri. God said, “And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.” - Exodus 8:22
5. Livestock Pestilence/illness – This plague was against the goddess of love and protection, Hathor, and the god Apis. Both are depicted as having the head of cattle. Again none of the cattle of the Israelites died, only that of the Egyptians were struck with this plague. God was showing Pharaoh Amenhotep II and the land of Egypt that only he bore the power that they attributed to other gods, and only he had the power to protect those who obeyed his commands. “And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.” - Exodus 9:7
6. Boils - Known in Pharaoh Amenhotep II time as Aset, but today by Greeks as Isis. She was worshiped for her ability to heal and to bring health. The boils were so bad on all the Egyptians that even Pharaoh's magicians could not stand before Moses. Before the last four plagues, God warned Pharaoh Amenhotep II, “I will at this time send all my plagues upon you heart, and upon your servants, and upon your people, that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.” Exodus 9:14 … God continued by telling Pharaoh Amenhotep II that, “for this cause have I raised you up, for to show in you my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Exodus 9:16 … Further, God warned Pharaoh to gather all his crops and his cattle that yet lived and shelter them from the coming storm. Some of those who served Pharaoh heeded the warning, and brought their servants and cattle into the houses. There were others who did not heed the warning of God and left their servants and cattle in the field - Exodus 9:20-21
7. Hail – This was against the sky goddess, Nut, and the crop god Osiris. Hail rained down like nothing Egypt had ever seen, and fire ran along the ground burning everything in its path. Everything and everyone that was left out in the open were destroyed. Again, the children of Israel were excluded from this plague, as nothing of theirs was damaged. Moses said to Pharaoh, “I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know how that the earth is the LORD'S.” - Exodus 9:29
8. Locusts – The wheat and barely had not been hurt by the hail because it had not was not fully grown up. The god Neper was over the grains of the field. God sent locusts that covered the fields and were inside the homes. They ate everything that remained that the hail did not destroy. “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.” Exodus 10:16 … But when Moses entreated the Lord and the locusts were removed from Egypt, Pharaoh once again hardened his heart.
9. Darkness – This plague was aimed at the sun god Ra. This god has been reincarnated many times and therefore goes by different names. The whole land of Egypt for three days was covered with pitch black darkness, but the homes of the Israelites had light. “They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:23
10. Death of all firstborn – For the Egyptians, this was against their goddess Bastet. She had the head of a cat, and was said that she protected both women and children from evil and disease. For the Israelites, this was a prophecy of the redemption to come through Christ.
The children of Israel were ordered to mark their door posts with the blood of a lamb in it's first year. They were then commanded to eat the flesh of the lamb roasted over fire with unleavened bread. “The LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” - Exodus 12:23
“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” Exodus 12:30
Some question why the Pharaoh of the Exodus did not die, since it was usually the first born son who took the throne. One theory is that the sitting Pharaoh at the time was not the eldest, but I think Exodus 12:29 is more conclusive, “And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.”
The true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob resides outside of creation, and all the lesser gods reside inside creation. This is understood when studying scripture.
Deuteronomy 32:17, “They sacrificed to demons, which were no God, To gods that they didn't know, To new gods that came up of late, Which your fathers didn't dread.”
1 Corinthians 10:20-22, “But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God, and I don't desire that you would have communion with demons. You can't both drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You can't both partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons.”
Once you understand that all of these lesser gods are real entities, everything begins to make sense.
The nature and beginning of these gods becomes clear. They are in fact demons. This knowledge opens the door of understanding, when we read verses like Jeremiah 16:20, “Shall a man make to himself gods, which yet are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will cause them to know, this once will I cause them to know my hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is the LORD.”
People overlook that many times in scripture, we are told that these false deities are real, but they are no gods. There is only one God, who was not created, who did not have a beginning, who resides outside of space, time, and matter. He is above all and more powerful than all his creation. His name is Adonai, Yahweh, I Am, and Jehovah. He is breath and life, besides him, there is no other.
RED SEA EVIDENCE
Archaeologists have found skeleton remains of horses, men, and Egyptian chariots in the only known area where the crossing of the Red Sea would have been probable. There are videos, photos, x-rays, dozens of documentaries, and professional opinions from people in both the archaeological and scientific field, who have affirmed this find.
The wheels of the chariots found in the Red Sea are indicative of those used on Egyptian chariots of the 18th dynasty or 1500-1400 BC. Radio Carbon dating has also confirmed this time period.
Most of the Red Sea has very deep canyons underground, but where the Children of Israel would have crossed, the land forms almost like a bridge from one side to the other, thus why it would have been possible.
At this Red Sea crossing where the artifacts were discovered, the children of Israel would have had a good eye's view on Mount Sinai, after having made it across the Red Sea. Mount Sinai is where Moses spoke with God and was given the two tablets, containing the ten commandments. All of this is in line with the biblical exodus account.
WALLS OF JERICHO
In 1930, a British archaeologist, named John Garstang, found the destroyed walls of Jericho and stated there was evidence that there had been a fire in the city. Because of his unbelief in a higher power, Garstang concluded that this destruction had been caused by an earthquake. He had estimated this event to have taken place around 1400 BC.
Another British archaeologist re-examined the site in 1952-1959. Her name was Kathleen Kenyon, and she too being an unbeliever, went there to disprove the findings of Garstang. Her excavation was more thorough than the first archaeologist. She not only concluded Garstang's findings, but also found pottery with burned grain in it.
Her conclusive report went further to state that the walls had fallen down first, and then the city was destroyed.
When we make discoveries today, we can only conclude that they happened and estimate within a time frame; but historical records, like the biblical scriptures can tell us who, why, and how.
This archaeological discovery only adds to the accuracy of the biblical scriptures, who all ready had informed us of these events. Modern society is becoming more able to confirm with physical evidence, that the historical wars, kingdoms, and places existed, and that events happened at the exact location that was given in the Bible.
SODDOM & GOMORRAH
Before the Children of Israel were taken captive in Egypt, a man named Lot, along with his family, was led out of Sodom by angels. Lot was the beloved nephew of Abraham, who God had made his covenant with for future generations.
Genesis 19:15, “When the morning arose, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, "Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city. "But he lingered; and the men laid hold on his hand, and on the hand of his wife, and on the hand of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him; and they took him out, and set him outside of the city. It came to pass, when they had taken them out, that he said, "Escape for your life! Don't look behind you, neither stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed!"
It is said that the people in this city were exceedingly wicked. We witness part of the severity of this depravity from a few verses earlier, when Lot had the angels in his home, who had taken the form of man. Genesis 19:4-9, “But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. They called to Lot, and said to him, "Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them. "Lot went out to them to the door, and shut the door after him. He said, "Please, my brothers, don't act so wickedly. See now, I have two virgin daughters. Please let me bring them out to you, and do you to them as is good in your eyes. Only don't do anything to these men, because they have come under the shadow of my roof. "They said, "Stand back!" They said, "This one fellow came in to live as a foreigner, and he appoints himself a judge. Now will we deal worse with you, than with them!" They pressed hard on the man, even Lot, and drew near to break the door.” It was at this point that the angels struck the evil men with blindness.
In Sodom and Gomorrah's glory days, the wicked men condemned those who did not want to participate in their sinful ways, as being judgmental. We see that exact same mentality at work today, because it is the exact same evil spirit.
Luke 17:29, “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” If you look up brimstone, it is sulfur.
In this account, the divine judgment of God fell from heaven and consumed the inhabitants with fire and brimstone, but Lot's wife disobeyed the command of the angels to not look back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
2 Peter 2:6, “turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly;”
The Bible tells us that the location of Sodom and Gomorrah were in the plain of Jordan, around the Dead Sea. They were two of five cities that were spread out, forming a line along the Canaanite border in what was once a lush and vibrant area. According to historian, Flavius Josephus, the ruins of those cities could still be seen in his day.
Ezekiel 16:49-50, “Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. They were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
Even though there had been some archaeologists over the centuries, and even maps that pointed to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah being towards the north end, and on the Jordan side of the Dead Sea; many stubbornly followed their own speculations south of the specified location. It wasn't until Dr. Steven Collins took a closer look at the scriptures, and let them paint him a road map to Sodom's location, that he was able to uncover evidence of this historical event, and ruins of the once vibrant cities.
Genesis 13, we read about how Abram took his wife, his nephew, Lot, and all that he had into another land. Genesis 13:3, “He went on his journeys from the South even to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai.”
It soon began that Lot's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Abram started to fight and chaos was brewing. Genesis 13:8-10, “Abram said to Lot, "Please, let there be no strife between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are relatives. Isn't the whole land before you? Please separate yourself from me. If you go to the left hand, then I will go to the right. Or if you go to the right hand, then I will go to the left. "Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw all the plain of the Jordan Valley, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar.”
Genesis 13:11, “Lot traveled east, and they separated themselves the one from the other.”
According to the description in scripture, people have been looking for the destroyed cities too far south. It seems that scripture is pointing us across dead sea from the cities of Bethel and Ai, at the northern end.
Genesis 14:10, “The valley of Sodom was full of tar pits.” - These are found at the north end of dead sea.
When speaking of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 16:46, “Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells at your left hand, she and her daughters; and your younger sister, who dwells at your right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.”
Dr. Steven Collins humble perseverance lead him to an ancient site called “Tall el-Hammam”. While excavating this area, they found vast amounts of ash and pottery shards that had been melted into glass. Mud-brick structures that had been blown off their foundations, and scorched foundation stones. All these pointed to a massive catastrophic fiery event that burned in the city at temperatures of 6,000ºC.
Within the soot, ash, and sulfur, they also found melted zircon crystals. It takes temperatures above 1600 ºC or nearly 3000ºF to melt zircon. To help put this fiery event into a perspective that most can relate to, consider the heat index of lava from a volcano, it has temperatures of around 2,200ºF.
Underneath the centuries of dirt were the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two cities covered in sulfur golf sized balls and layers of ash. It contained a graveyard of burned human and animal bone fragments, half burned skulls, and melted pottery.
The scientists and archaeologists involved in this find have found ash and soot nearly 2 meters or over six feet deep. The force of this explosive meteoric event was more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. There was no chance for anyone who had not made it outside of the city beforehand, to escape. This high thermal event, estimated to have taken place around 2000-1900 BC, is consistent with Cosmic air bursts, or fire falling from heaven, as described in biblical texts.
This historical knowledge of these two cities makes what Christ said in Matthew 10, concerning those who hear the gospel and refuse it, much more clearer. Matthew 10:15, “Most assuredly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.”
JONAH & THE WHALE
Another biblical account that has been argued and debated as being impossible over the decades is the story of Jonah. This tale has intrigued scientist and marine biologists for decades. They had formerly concluded that the acids in the stomachs of the known big fish of the seas, would consume any man that was unfortunate enough to end up swallowed whole by one of these creatures.
Seeking an answer that would seem more logical to man and less miraculous or supernatural, they then turned to astrology. They found that in the region that Jonah lived, in his time during the winter, that the constellation Cetus was seen in the sky. It is said that sailing the seas during the appearance of this constellation was called, “being in the whale's belly.”
This scenario makes no sense in the context of what the scriptures testify to. The events in the book of Jonah speak with certainty of the whale being a real life marine mammal. Jonah 2:10. “The LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.” I do not know about the majority of people, but I would need a lot more faith to believe that a constellation picked Jonah up and vomited him on dry land, than to believe that it was an actual whale.
Revisiting Jonah's account:
Jonah was told by God to go tell the people of Nineveh to repent and turn from their ways or God was going to destroy them. Jonah rebelled against God because he did not like the people of Nineveh, and wanted to see destruction come upon them.
Jonah boarded a ship that God tossed about in a violent turbulence on the seas. Even the men, who worshiped other gods, recognized this situation that had come upon them as being supernatural.
Jonah 1:7, “They all said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.”
Jonah explained to the men that he was fleeing the presence of the Lord. He told the men to throw him overboard and the waves would calm, but they refused and tried to row to shore, but could not. They eventually did as Jonah had suggested and threw him overboard. Immediately, the seas became calm, and these men believed on the God of Jonah, and worshiped him.
Jonah 1:17, “The LORD prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
We see Yeshua of Nazareth confirm this account in Matthew 12:40, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
To determine the validity of this story, we must know if it is possible for a whale to swallow a person whole, and for that person to survive. The surprising answer is not only yes, but is followed by evidence of people who were swallowed by whales and lived to tell about it.
Case one: Michael Packard
Packard, a commercial fisherman, was diving off of the shores of Cape Cod, when he felt a sudden hard thump, and then he said he was in total darkness. It took him a bit to realize that he had been swallowed by a huge fish. He said that he thought to himself as waves of the sea were taken in by the whale, that there is no getting out of this fish, unless the fish decides to let him out.
Lucky for Packard the whale did not like him either, and swam up to the surface of the water and spit him out. The culprit, a humpback whale.
Case Two: Rainer Schimpf
In 2019, nature photographer was capturing underwater photographs off the coast of South Africa. Suddenly everything went black and he felt pressure around his waist. He got caught inside the mouth of a Bryde's Whale. Lucky for Schimpf, the throat of these whales are not wide enough to swallow a human, but there was still the concern that the whale would dive deep fast, which the sudden pressure change of such an act, would have killed the nature photographer. Thankfully, the whale came to the surface and spit him out.
Those who study fish and their habitats point out how there is no breathable air inside of a fish and thus, surviving for any length of time would be nearly impossible. However, remember that these same people also told us in times past, that people being swallowed by whales was impossible.
When examining the story of Jonah, we need to keep in mind that there are depths of the sea that contain creatures that we have yet to discover; and lastly, scriptures say that “God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah”. There are incidents that happen around the world daily that science and well educated people cannot explain. Did God send a big fish that we have never seen because it resides in the deepest parts of the cold waters, where man has not gone before? Are there undiscovered marine mammals, who circulate oxygen inside their bellies, and whose throats are wide enough to swallow a man whole?
When scripture informs us how God had prepared the whale, God could have prepared it at its conception. Meaning it could have had some defects, making it possible to swallow a man and circulate oxygen, without acids burning or consuming Jonah. I am unsure exactly how this happened or what kind of “big fish” that it was, but I have no doubt that it is possible, and therefore probable that it happened.
Jonah 2:1-3, “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, out of the fish's belly. He said, "I called because of my affliction to the LORD. He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried. You heard my voice. For you threw me into the depths, In the heart of the seas. The flood was all around me. All your waves and your billows passed over me.”
Sheol is the abode of the dead.
There have been several stories of people for over millennia that have been swallowed by whales, but I only listed the ones that I could verify. It does not mean that they are all tall tales, it just means that I could not find eye witnesses or other evidence to verify the stories. However, if it happened twice in this decade, its not unreasonable to imagine that it has probably happened hundreds of times throughout history.
THE POOL OF SILOAM/HEZEKIAH'S TUNNEL
Hezekiah's tunnel was discovered in 1838 by Bible scholar Edward Robinson. This tunnel was dug during King Hezekiah's reign to prepare Jerusalem for the imminent attack of the Assyrian King Sennacherib.
Jerusalem had one fresh water source that was from the Gihon Spring. In order to keep their water source hidden, King Hezekiah decreed to have a tunnel built that would hide Judah's water supply, as it poured into the fortified walls of the City of David. He also had the pool of Siloam constructed to provide water for all of Judea during the siege of the Assyrians.
2 Chronicles 32:2-4, “When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, he took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the springs which were outside of the city; and they helped him. So there was gathered much people together, and they stopped all the springs, and the brook that flowed through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?”
2 Kings 20:20, “And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
Isaiah 22:9-10, mentions the pool of Siloam and that it was built by Hezekiah, King of Judah.
An inscription was found at the end of the tunnel known as the Siloam Inscription. The inscription was removed and taken for translation. It was later placed inside a museum, where it was damaged in a failed attempt to steal it. The fragments are now in the museum at Constantinople.
It mentions the encounter of the two teams of workers who dug the Hezekiah tunnel from each end, one from the Gihon Spring and the other from the pool that was to become the Siloam Pool.
The City of David was discovered in 1867 at the other end of Hezekiah's tunnel.
The City of David is owned by Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Ir David Foundation. This organization has spent years gathering funds to buy up the surrounding properties, so that they can continue to uncover more of the remains of the City of David. In 2005, They uncovered the Pool of Siloam that is mentioned in scripture.
These sites are recognized from the many artifacts, including inscriptions, and coins that identify these places as being the historical locations of biblical events.
Efforts are under way to restore as much of the city as they can, and the site is currently open to the public for guided tours.
John9:6-7, “He (Yeshua) spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man's eyes with the mud, and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means "Sent"). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.”
There are over 200 stories of a world wide flood throughout history. Every civilization and every continent has their story of a time when the whole entirety of land was under water.
Based on analysis that have been compiled by the experts, the similarities in the stories of a flood throughout history are:
95% , a favored family is saved.
70%, use a boat.
67% save animals.
57%, the boats ends up on top of a mountain.
Geologists and scientists have long noticed how all the continents that are now spread apart, fit together like a puzzle piece, suggesting that all of the continents were once one large land mass. Ruins of once vibrant cities have been found underneath the oceans. There have been claims that this is from global warming. The theory put forth is that ice caps melted, and oceans rose, flooding these cities. However, I think the scriptures make the most logical sense when explaining what happened to the land masses and how the ancient metros ended up as cities for the fish.
Genesis 7:11, “All the fountains of the great deep were burst open, and the sky's windows were opened.”
Fountains bursting open from underneath the earth, would have caused an earthquake and depending on the power that it burst forth with, could have caused a separation of land mass.
Genesis 7:6, Noah was 600 years old when the flood came upon the earth.
Genesis 7:17-20, the waters were so high that the mountains were covered, and everything that had the spirit of life in its nostrils, and that lived on the dry land, died.
When you have water bursting from underneath the ground and falling from the sky, it is not unthinkable that the earth could fill with water quickly.
We still have those cracks (platonic plates) where the fountains of the deep broke through. They are known today as fault lines, some are still moving and when they do, it usually causes land disturbances, aka earthquakes. Sometimes these earthquakes will cause sinkholes, create canyons, or even cause caves to collapse.
Verse 11, further informs us, “the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month.” On God's calendar this would be Iyar 17 (April-May). To figure out the year, we must go back to the genealogy records in Genesis 5. Adam begat Seth at 130 yrs. Seth begat Enosh at 105yrs. Enosh begat Kenan at 90. Kenan begat Mahalalel at 70yrs. Mahalalel begat Jared at 65yrs. Jared begat Enoch at 162yrs. Enoch begat Methuselah at 65yrs. Methuselah begat Lamech at 187yrs. Lamech begot Noah at 182yrs.
Next we add up these ages: 130+105+90+70+65+162+65+187+182= 1056yrs from creation to Noah's birth. Then we add Noah's age at the time of the flood, 1056+600= 1656 AM (Anno Mundi – “year of the world”) or If we take the “estimated” date of creation, which is 4004 BC – 1656 = 2348 BC. Since the BC starting date of creation is an estimation, a more accurate date would be Iyar 17, 1656 AM.
The archaeological and geological evidence confirms that there was indeed a catastrophic world wide flood, and we know that people survived, because the earth is populated with our species.
There are layers of dirt, rock, and sand that were created by flood waters, and between these layers are fossils of man, beast, and plants that were buried suddenly and quickly. There are fossils of sea life far inland, and high up on mountains, where sea life should not be found.
There have been fish fossils found that died while eating another fish, which likely happened during a mud slide with the receding of the waters. Other marine fossils were found while giving birth. There have been fossils of insects found that are perfectly in tact with their wings. All of this would be impossible, if these creatures died over a long period of time, as evolution suggests.
If evolution were true, then we should find fossils where one creature was evolving into another creature. This has never been found, but rather than admit that the theory of evolution lacks evidence, believers in this idea will instead stand behind the lack of evidence as a phenomenon they have deemed, “missing links”.
What has been found are fossils of one species becoming more evolved within their own species. Examples of such changes are a longer/shorter beak, more/less hairy, etc., but there is absolutely zero provable occurrences of one species becoming an entirely different species.
Some evolutionists will claim that fossil remains are millions or even billions of years old, yet we can look at the same species of fossils and see little to no change in their ancestry, which would be expected over that time period, if the evolution theory was true.
Hundreds of petrified trees standing upright through the layers of dirt and rock have also been discovered. These trees are called poly strata fossils. Evolution scientists will tell you that each layer represents millions of years. This is impossible when you acknowledge the indication that some of these trees were young. Creation scientists have proven that layers of dirt can form quickly during a flood. When we consider how quickly life forms perished and became perfectly preserved in layers of mud, a flood makes the most sense with the evidence provided.
All the data supports a world wide flood.
Biblical passages tell us that Noah's Ark came to rest on Mt Ararat on Tishrei 17 (September-October) or the seventh month. Mount Ararat resides inside the Turkish territory. In 1957, an aerial view of the mountain that was taken during the Cold War, showed the remains of a large vessel on Mount Ararat. In late 1978, after an earthquake in the area, dirt had sunk off of the sides of the large shaped vessel. When measurements were taken, the vessel's length was 515 feet or exactly 300 Royal Egyptian cubits long. A Royal Egyptian cubit was 20.62 inches or 524 millimeters. In the time of Moses, the Hebrew cubit measurement had not yet been created.
Acts 7:22, “Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was mighty in his words and works.”
Metal detectors detected metal in distinct and organized patterns beneath the surface. Four in tact metal rods were discovered at this archaeological site by the Turkish government, measuring 4 feet in length. The ground around it was dug up by the Turkish government and pieces were analyzed and found to be petrified wood. They have found rivets and iron nails that were still in the wood. Genesis 4:22 tells us that some were skilled in the making of bronze and iron.
All of this points to it being a large and very old shipwreck, which fits the biblical historical records. This ship is in ruins, but it would be nearly impossible to find a fully intact boat after a few hundred years, let alone after 4,000 years.
At the top of the ridge of the mountain where this ship ruin was unearthed, was an ancient Stele that depicted a mountain range, two birds atop, and a ship with 8 people. This appears to have been a historical marker put there by an ancient civilization, who were aware of the significance of the event.
Genesis 8:7-12, Noah had sent out a raven and then a dove to see if the earth was dry. This is why the birds depicted in the stele hold significance.
It has been pointed out how many animals Noah would have had to take inside the Ark. I do not think it was that many. Just as Noah, his wife, his sons, and daughter in laws all had the genetic codes to repopulate the earth with nations of people, I believe that Noah only needed species that carried genetic codes for every breed within that species. The number was probably in the thousands, but not the millions, as some believe.
Another issue that some unbelievers have with the biblical account of Noah is that Genesis 5:32 tells us that Noah was 500yrs old when his sons were born. They wonder why Noah waited 500yrs to procreate. We do not know how old Noah was when he married, perhaps he spent the majority of his life single and devoted to God. The filthy desires of men with hardened hearts in modern society cannot fathom such an ideal, but its not impossible.
The last issue that people have is with the age that Noah lived to, which in a world where there was no pollution, no additives or chemicals added to food, in an oxygen rich environment, no modern equipment – so there was lots of exercise, I have no problem believing it. If our modern world still had that kind of environment, I think people would still be living to at least 200 yrs, if not more.
TESTING THE NT
The New Testament contains four gospels, three that claim to have eye witness accounts of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ, and one who wrote of the eye witness accounts that were told to him. When examining these texts for their validity, there are a few examinations that we can make. Such as whether or not the writings were early enough to have been first hand accounts by eyewitnesses and for those who would have known better to have called them out as lies?
When dating the writing of the scriptures, we can look at the context of what was written using the historical knowledge that has all ready been validated. We see in the new testament that Christ predicted the destruction of the third temple in Mark chapter 13. Yet, by the time that Paul is writing his letters, there is no mention of this event having taken place.
We know from historical records that the destruction of the third temple happened in 70 AD.
It is important to take a moment and learn the history of our dating system for the centuries. Before there was BC and AD, we had BCE (before common era) and CE (common era) as the symbols for dating.
AD (after death) and BC (before Christ) was created by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century. When he created the system, he relied on his own estimation, using year 1 to represent the birth of Christ.
Dionysius estimation was off slightly, as history confirms that King Herod The Great died around 4 BC. This time was given based on coins from the kings reign with his inscription and dates from historical records. From scripture, we know that Christ was born a few years before King Herod The Great's death, as Herod was the one who had all the male children 2 years of age and younger killed in hopes of killing our Messiah. This event was known as “the massacre of the innocents”. This would put the birth of Christ around 7-5 BC or as it was known at the time BCE.
Being informed through scripture, we know that Christ was crucified on Nissan 14/15 (this is when the beginning of Passover falls). Having more resources at our hands, and given that the day of the week was a Friday, today's scholars and historians have estimated that year being either April 7, 30 AD. Or April 3, 33 AD. Taking into consideration the historical death of King Herod The Great, both dates would make Christ older than the rumored 33 years at the time of his crucifixion. Though to be fair, scripture never tells us how old Christ was when his ministry ended. We only know from Luke's gospel that Christ's ministry began when he was “about 30 years old”, (Luke 3:23).
Using these estimates, we know that there were at least 40 years or less between the death and resurrection of Christ and the destruction of the temple. This means that Paul was writing his letters in between these times, which is also early enough for many eye witnesses to have still been alive.
Luke is the only gospel writer, who was not an eye witness himself, but we do know that he worked alongside Paul spreading the gospel, Colossians 4:14. The NT writings are clear that Paul had interactions with some of the disciples of Christ, such as Peter, so it is likely that Luke had heard stories first hand from many of the eyewitnesses.
The earliest death of an eye witness was about a decade after the death of Christ.
We see this recorded in Acts 12:2 that King Herod Agrippa killed James, the brother of John, and the King had also sought to kill Peter, who had been an apostle of Christ. Jewish historical records has the death of James by King Herod Agrippa occurring in 44 AD.
When we take all of this into consideration, we know that these writings must have happened within a decade of Christ resurrecting. The majority of scholars place some of the writings such as the book of Mark, as early as within 7 years of the resurrection. This is confirmation that the scriptures were written within the time frame for first hand accounts to have been testified to and for those who were witnesses to deny the events.
REASONS TO LIE
When we look to see if there were any biases with the writers of the new testament, we look for motive. What cause would they have for lying? We know from those who have created false ideologies, or from modern day criminals; it all comes down to greed, lust, or power. We can examine the lives of the writers based on these motivations. Did they ever attain great wealth or have many lovers? Did they become men with great power?
Every historical record that speaks of these men, even those that denies that Christ is the Messiah, never paints the NT writers in the light of having any of these incentives. Fact is, that the majority of these men all died a martyr's death in some way, because they refused to denounce what they had witnessed.
It is historical records outside of scriptures, where we find that Paul and Peter were arrested together under Nero's reign between 64-67 AD, and were given the death penalty for their their faith. Because Paul was a Roman citizen, the law did not permit his death by crucifixion, therefore, he was beheaded; but Peter was crucified upside down on a cross.
This historical event was later mentioned by later church elders like Tertullian and Eusebius. It has been well documented that Nero also killed Christians by feeding them to lions and by burning them alive. Given the proximity of the dates of the crucifixion and resurrection to Nero's reign of terror on the Christian believers, it is more than likely that a majority of those, who were martyred under Nero were eyewitnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Paul had an encounter with Christ that shook him to the very core of his being on the road to Damascus. It was so powerful that it changed him from a murderer of Christians to a follower of Christ. It is important to note that as a high ranking Roman soldier, Paul lost power and prestige by following Christ. His earthly position in the world took a hard hit and knocked him low.
Acts 1:2-3, “Until the day in which he (Christ) was received up, after he had given commandments through the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen. To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God's Kingdom.”
It is a well known theory that the disciples of Christ were accused of having stolen the body of Yeshua to make it appear as though there had been a resurrection. This is spoken of not only in scripture, but also in several non-Christian and pagan accounts. It was not just the disciples who were claiming that the tomb was empty, but it was also the enemies of Christ that were saying that the tomb was empty. In this we see, that all historical accounts agree that the body of Christ was not where he had been laid to rest.
Matthew 28:12-15, we read how the Roman guards were paid money to say that the disciples came and took the body of Christ while they were fast asleep. This fails to make sense on many different levels, because historically, if a Roman guard fell asleep on watch, he not only risked his life but sometimes the life of his family. Secondly, if they were sleeping, then they would not have been awake to see who it was that took the body.
We also see the death of many followers of Christ in both Jewish and Roman historical records. These deaths include the ones spoken of in scripture and states that they were killed for believing in Christ. Despite the evidence, many believe against all logic, that these witnesses gave up everything in life, were tortured and hated, and eventually martyred for not backing down from their fabricated stories.
It makes more sense that these witnesses had an extraordinary experience that made them believers. Remember, Paul was a murderer of Christians before he had an experience with Christ that left him blind on the road to Damascus. Paul was headed there to kill more Christians. After the encounter, he had to be led to by the hand to Damascus, where a believer named Ananias was given a vision by God to go meet Paul, and to place his hands upon him that he may receive his sight again.
HE WAS NOT DEAD
After being confronted with the evidence against a stolen body, another theory arose, one that insinuated that Christ was never really dead when he was put in the tomb. Anyone with any historical knowledge of how brutal the Romans were with their crucifixions know that when they set their minds on killing someone, they got the job done.
To further examine this idea, I am going to take you through the physical recorded history of the crucifixion of Christ. We know that Christ was an early riser, and got up early to pray. He did not sleep at all the night of his trial.
It is documented in scripture that Christ was sweating blood during his prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane before his capture. This is a known medical condition called Hemathidrosis and is brought on by extreme stress and agony.
Yeshua walked quite a ways in between Caesar's Palace and the King's Palace for his trial. He was then scourged. This was such a horrible punishment that Roman citizens were excluded from it. The victims were usually stripped naked and tied to a whipping post by the wrists, where they were beaten by two Roman guards.
Christ was given 39 lashes with a wooden handled whip that had 9 leather thongs. The thongs were about 6-7 feet long, and had lead shots on the end, similar to what you would use to go fishing with; on the end of those lead shots were pieces of sheep and cattle bone. Each thong was designed to rip and tear the skin and muscle tissue from the victim. These tears were about two inches long and about three quarters to one inch deep. In medical terms, a wound this size would take about 20 stitches to close. With one blow, it would take around 180 stitches to close the wounds.
Christ was nearly unrecognizable from the beating because he had been whipped on his head, face, neck, back, chest, buttocks, and legs. This helps you think about the amount of physical trauma that was inflicted upon Yeshua before ever getting to the cross.
The cold air during this season in Israel would have kept Christ from bleeding out. As we know medically speaking that cold air restricts blood vessels and coagulates blood, which minimizes bleeding.
After the beating, they had placed a crown of thorns upon his head. These thorns measured about an inch to two inches long, and are very sharp. They used a reed to push the crown of thorns into his skull. There were an estimated 300-400 thorns on this crown.
The crossbar of the cross was tied to the victims arm, and he was forced to carry it through the streets as a form of humiliation. The nails were hammered through the wrist of the hands into the transverse carpal ligament, which is strong enough to hold the body without tearing. This is also right where the median nerve is. A doctor described this as feeling like a constant electrical shock is shooting through your hand. This causes the fingers to claw.
A spike was hammered through both feet between the first and second metatarsal bones. This in turn, hit the plantar nerves, causing the same horrible shock sensation shooting up through the lower limbs. This method of where to put the nails was perfected by the Romans in order to cause the most amount of torture without the intended victim instantly bleeding to death, as the nail placements missed the main arteries.
The tough part for people hanging on the cross was not breathing in, but it was breathing out. This is because the diaphragm drops when someone is hanging by the arms. In order to exhale, the victim of a crucifixion would have to push up against the spikes with their feet.
This means that every time Christ would have exhaled, not only was there pain from him pushing against his feet, but there was pain from his badly lacerated back rubbing against the splinters of the wooden cross. Every time he uttered a word or breathed out, he would have to pull up with his arms and push up with his legs. Since we exhale and not inhale while talking, Yeshua had to push up for the few words that he did speak.
We know as the cross was tilted upright, Christ said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He told the thief on the right, who accepted him as the Messiah, “this night you will be with me in paradise”. He was aware enough to recognize John and his mother, Mary. He said to Mary concerning John, “woman, behold your son.” And to John, “Behold your mother”. To God, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” To all, he said, “I thirst”. The last things he said before dying were, “it is finished” and “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”
A person would usually hang on the cross until people got bored with watching them suffer. Then a guard would break their legs where they couldn't push up to exhale. This is what happened to the two thieves that Christ was hung between. But just as prophesied in the old testament, not a bone in Christ was broken. He had died before the two thieves. A Roman guard had come over and thrusted a spear into the right side of Christ to make certain he was dead, this was also prophesied in the old testament. It has been suggested by some medical experts, that this act could have punctured the heart.
Christ went through all of this torment, yet many followers of Christ will contend that it was neither the scourging or the crucifixion that killed Christ, but it was because he was able to do what nobody else could do, lay down his own life.
John 10:17-18, Christ said, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”
Mark 15:44-45, “Pilate marveled if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead long. When he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.” (Joseph of Arimathaea)
There is another theory that someone else took the place of Christ on the cross. Again, lets think logically about this and ask ourselves, when could this have happened?
Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ and brought the Roman soldiers to him, he kissed Christ identifying him as the one who they sought. Christ was a public figure, and the religious leaders had attended several of his teachings, and often left fueled with anger, so they knew what he looked like.
These religious leaders testified against him several times throughout his trial, yet none of them questioned who this man was, asked where was the real Yeshua, neither did they ever claim that the one on trial was an imposture.
After his trial he was lead straight away to be beaten/flogged, as I had described earlier. He had the crown of thorns placed on his head and had a scarlet/purple robe placed on him. They mocked him by bowing to him and calling him the King of Judah.
He was taken to before Pilate again, and kept heavily under watch by Roman Guards. No one could have easily got past to swap places with him. Yet, some will claim that the swap happened between the flogging and the cross.
I have a hard time believing that those who sought his death were so blinded with rage, that they would not have noticed that a new and unbattered bloody body was carrying the cross to Calvary. After his beating, he looked so bad that no one could look like him.
While he hung on the cross, he spoke. The people who heard him have been the same ones listening to him for the past three years. It was not only his family, friends, and followers, who would have recognized that it was not his voice, but also his enemies.
I am just asking for someone to make this scenario make sense.
CHRIST OUTSIDE THE BIBLE
1. A secular writer, Thallus (52 AD) had mentioned Yeshua in his writings. His original writings have not yet, been found, but his work was quoted by Julius Africanas. Africanas was an unbeliever, who was trying to explain away the darkness and earthquake that happened at the crucifixion of Christ, claiming that it was nothing more than an eclipse of the sun. He quoted Thallus' recording, “On the whole world, there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.”
Matthew 27:47, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.” Matthew 27:51, “Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split.”
2. Cornelius Tacitus (56-126 AD), a well known ancient historian of his time. He explained in his writing how Yeshua lived in Judea and was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He also explained how he had followers persecuted for their faith in him. He included how Nero blamed the Christians for the fire in Rome.
Matthew 27:1-2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor.”
3. Syrian philosopher, Mara Bar-Serapion (70 AD) wrote a comparison for his son of the persecution of Christ versus that of modern philosophers for their ideas. He referred to Yeshua as the “wise king”. He described how the Jews had killed their wise king, and afterwards, their kingdom was abolished. We see this in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
Jewish authorities in Roman Judea charged Jesus with blasphemy and sought his execution, but lacked the authority to have Jesus put to death (John 18:31), so they brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province, who authorized Jesus' execution (John 19:16).
4. Phlegon (80-140 AD) was a historian, who wrote about the darkness that had surrounded the crucifixion of Yeshua, and how he had the ability to predict the future accurately. He also stated how after the resurrection of Yeshua, he showed his wounds to those he had come into contact with.
John 20:24-28, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn't with them when Yeshua came.The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Yeshua came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, "Shalom be to you." Then he said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
5. Pliny The Younger (61-113 AD) in a letter to the Roman Emperor Trajan, described the lifestyles of early Christians. He explained how the Christians took an oath to refrain from all evil deeds, and sung songs to Yeshua, as a God.
Romans 6:12, “Therefore don't let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” 1 John 3:4, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
6. Celsus (175 AD), He was an antagonistic, who affirmed Christ as a real person, who possessed “magical healing powers”, and whose earthly father was a carpenter. He also asserted that Yeshua Christ claimed to be God.
Matthew 8:16, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.” Matthew 14:14, “When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” Matthew 15:30, “And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.” & many more.
Matthew 13:55, speaking of Christ, “Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judah?”
John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made.” John 1:14, “The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 10:30, Christ says, “I and the Father are one.” Matthew 1:22-23, “Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, And shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Emmanuel;" Which is, being interpreted, "God with us." (Word=God, Word=became flesh, The Word that became Flesh=Christ)
Exodus 13:13-14, “Moses said to God, "Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you;' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' What should I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM," and he said, "You shall tell the children of Israel this: "I AM has sent me to you." John 8:24, “For unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” John 8:58, “Yeshua said to them, "Most assuredly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM."
7. Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (37-101 AD) wrote in detail about Yeshua in his Antiquities of the Jews. He wrote about Yeshua as a wise man and one who many claimed was the Messiah. He also confirms that he was a teacher, who did miraculous healings, he was accused by the Jews, and crucified under the Roman Emperor, Pontius Pilate. He further stated that the followers of Yeshua were called Christians.
8. Jewish Talmud (400-700 AD) is a source against Yeshua being the Messiah. It states that he practiced magic and sorcery, led Israel astray through blasphemy, and was hanged on a cross the day before Passover. They referred to Yeshua as Balaam and as a certain one. These are the same accounts of the Bible, but from the perspective of those who hated him and testified against him at his mocked trial.
John 19:31, confirms the day that it was.
Matthew 12:24-29, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. Knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and plunder his goods, unless he first bind the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.”
I have previously listed verses where Yeshua had healed people.
The religious leaders, who hated Christ, hated him because his teachings offended them. It was offense that fueled their rage. This is why I say that those, who say that Christ would never offend anyone, and would accept all behaviors, don't know Christ. He offended with the truth. It was because these religious leaders were so offended with rage, that they did not understand what Christ was saying, they took everything he did say out of context, and they lied on him.
CREATION VS EVOLUTION
Every scientist and physicist, even hardcore atheist, like Stephen Hawkins, believe that space, time, and matter all had a beginning. All also agree that if there had been any imperfections during the design of the universe, the earth would not be able to sustain life. The disagreement appears with the question of what caused the beginning.
This “fine tuning” of the earth relies on the distance of the sun, moon, stars, and the changes in the seasons; for all life to be sustainable. Everything has to be in perfect harmony or everything dies. This means that even if the expansion rate was off by a small margin, everything would have imploded or exploded. It is reasonable to assume that whatever was the cause, has to be outside of space, time, and matter.
This leads to another question that unbelievers ask, if God created the universe, then who created God? The question of where did God come from speaks of a God, who is limited in the same ways that mankind is limited.
Many read how we were created in the image of God, and assume that we are the same species as God; we are not. He has powers and attributes that we do not possess. The God that created the earth and everything in it, is not affected by the same restrictions that his creation is affected by. Everything on earth needs to procreate to keep their species flourishing upon the earth, we therefore assume that this needs to be the same with our creator. I cannot stress enough that those who have this line of thinking about God, are thinking of a God that is so small, that he is not worth worshiping.
Still some spend too much time trying to place the same physical restrictions posed on mankind, to God. Those who create machinery or electronics, do not live inside their creation. They may have placed parts of their personality, morals, or ideas inside their creation, but they are not limited in the same ways that their creation is. A game creator could create an avatar of themselves, and attach their personality to the character, but their powers and abilities still reside outside of the game.
The God of creation is not limited by time, space, and matter, because he resides outside of all three.
Some ask if there is a God, then why is there evil in the world. This question could be flipped and asked, if there is no God, then why is torturing babies wrong? Why is killing people for fun wrong? Because if there is no God, then everything is just a matter of opinion. The only right and wrong is whatever each individual man decides that it is.
For there to be a universal right and wrong, then there has to be a universal standard of righteousness and justice, and any deviation from that standard, is what would be called evil. That universal law of righteousness or of moral right behavior, is what God had inscribed on every human's heart.
Romans 2:14-16, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 3:3, “being revealed that you are a letter of Messiah, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh.”
Evolution is a belief that through unintelligent guidance, everything that we are, and all that we see, came into existence from nothing. The bad thing is that many in the world believe this without putting any thought into the improbability of such an event. There are things among us that are less complicated than the genetic structure of living organisms on this earth, yet, this belief insists that those lesser things need an intelligent designer, while the more complicated things, such as DNA, do not.
This nothingness has no power to create a building, write a book, or even create a spaceship; however, this vast darkness of nothingness can create man and equip him with an immune system. A immunity so intelligent, that it can recognize foreign invaders, like viruses, and will work to expel them. It can recognize the DNA of all kinds of viral entities and put up barriers to protect humans from reinfection. It truly is an intelligent design by itself.
When we look at all the creatures in the world, they are imputed with defenses against predators, while also having abilities of being a predator. Some shoot ink, some shoot or spit venomous poison, some kick, some bite, some are large, and others have the ability to air themselves up, like the blow-fish. Amazing attributes are found in every living creature that makes it possible for their species to continue amongst predators, upon the earth.
Everything around us screams intelligent design. The only place where nothing can create something is in the belief of evolution. It is a belief, which can not be replicated because it is so far fetched and impossible that it's ridiculous.
When Darwin first brought to the public, his atheistic theory of no divine intervention, things like DNA was not even known of. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is an abstract coding system that carries in it all kinds of information. This information carries information from your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, and so forth. This is how it is possible for a couple to have a child that looks more like someone in the ancestry line, than either parent; or to have two kids with the exact same parents and those siblings to look different from one another. DNA tells what color your hair will be, your eyes, your skin color, even your gender.
If one man's genome was printed letter by letter, it would take 175 books, or 262,000 pages to print it off. This is how long and complicated that the genetic makeup of human beings are. It is mere foolishness and willful denial of evidence to even consider that this kind of intelligence could have come from absolutely nothing.
We know that the old testament writers and new testament writers were hundreds of years, if not thousands of years apart. This means that those writing in the new testament, never met or spoken to those in the old testament, yet the books are in perfect harmony with one another. A lot of what is spoken of in the old testament has been fulfilled in the new testament.
We have seen historical evidence that proves written biblical events are accurate, and that there is enough evidence to conclude that Christ lived, taught, healed the sick, and was crucified.
Our next topic brings us to the dispute of biblical errors.
I am going to review a few here:
2 Kings 24:8, “Jehoiachin was