112 DID JESUS LIE ABOUT PREACHING IN GALILEE?
A few liberal professors have been quick to point out that although our Bible says Jesus “proclaimed the good news…throughout all Galilee”, archaeology has never found any synagogue in any part of Galilee where Jesus could have preached. Not one town or city ever had a synagogue in Galilee, they said. This meant, some taught, that the New Testament writers simply lied about Jesus preaching in synagogues in Galilee, since synagogues didn’t start springing up in that area until hundreds of years after Jesus lived. The liberals went on to teach that those towns or cities closest to the Temple in Jerusalem would have had no need for a synagogue, since the people were in walking distance of Herod’s temple. Galilee was, thus, within walking distance and had no need for a synagogue. Millions of students in colleges and universities heard this, and other things like it for centuries, causing 80% of all Christian students to lose their faith in schools of higher learning (a statistic confirmed by Focus on The Family, the Assemblies of God, and others). However, it looks like those professors were wrong, again, and the Bible has been proven right again thanks to archaeology. This has been happening a lot in the last twenty years. I wish the Christian church would start teaching students about these things before sending them off to college or a university. I stand amazed at the amount of discoveries taking place in archaeology that are making past professors look like the “fools” spoken of in Romans 1:22. Sadly, it comes too late to save the souls of millions of past students…or church kids who aren’t taught this. A first century synagogue has just been discovered in Magdala (Galilee). This is the very town where one of Jesus’ most ardent supporters came from; Mary Magdalene. This is the woman whom Jesus cast demons out of. We find her mentioned many times in the New Testament. The Israeli Antiquity Authority was doing a dig in Magdala and discovered a wall that eventually turned out to be an elaborate synagogue. There is an amazing story about this discovery in the Jan/Feb issue of Smithsonian Magazine. A carved stone pedestal was found, thought to be used to rest Torah scrolls upon. On one side is a carved image of the menorah (candelabra) used in the main temple in Jerusalem. This menorah could only be accessed by priests, as it sat behind the golden doors to the Holy Place. The rest of the pictorials on the chest-like Torah Scroll rest are in the same order, as you walked around it, as was found when first entering the Temple in Jerusalem and walking further into the holiest parts. One can see the Table of Showbread where 12 loaves of bread sat, indicating each tribe of Israel, a rosette standing between two palm tree columns (which is indicative of the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, and would have been the same curtain or veil that tore when Jesus was crucified). This was followed by column arches, oil lamps, altars and other items used in the holiest parts of the temple. On the last part of the chest-like pedestal was the lower half of chariot wheels (indicating the rising of the Chariot of God) that was said to be coming from the Holy of Holies…a place only accessed by the High Priest. The Magdala synagogue seated about 200 and was very beautiful and exquisitely made. It had a beautiful mosaic floor, frescoes in pleasing reds, yellows and blue, chambers for the reading of the Torah, private studies, storage for the scrolls, and a bowl used for cleaning one’s hands before entering. Smithsonian Magazine said, “The stone is already seen as one of the most important discoveries in biblical archaeology in decades”. In the last fifteen years, I can’t number the times I have heard ‘the most important find for the Bible has been discovered. We need to start paying attention. God is up to something and one should be a part of it. No other item like it has ever been found in any other synagogue. This is absolute proof that Jesus would have had a synagogue to preach in at Magdala and the surrounding Galilee area. Once again, it verifies our Bible in contrast to what the liberals taught as being fictional. If you’d like me to speak to your church or group or have me teach, contact me. Look for us at evidenceforthehope.org. or Evidence for the Hope Ministries. Have a nice day.
111 ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY ANSWERS OLD QUESTION
“Why did Jesus curse Bethsaida?” This question plagued historians and theologians for centuries. Matthew 11:21, Jesus says, “Woe unto thee Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon,” (two nearby un-godly gentile cities), “they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” At least five of Jesus’ Apostles came from Bethsaida: Peter, Andrew, Philip, James and John! Also, many miracles were done in Bethsaida. It was known as an example of Judaism and very religious. So, why the curse if so Jewishly pure that nearly half of Jesus’ Apostles came from there and many miracles happened there? It should have been held up as an example of Judaism, many theologians declared.
We need a history lesson before going on. Bethsaida was ruled by Herod’s son Philip…a Jew. However, Philip was not very Jewish in practice. The Jews never allowed images to be put on coins since their Old Testament writings warned them to not to have “graven images”. Philip was the only known Jew, in power, to ever put his image on a coin. Even Herod didn’t dare do this. This is an “in your face” thing. The first century historian, Josephus, tells us that when Livia, the emperor’s wife, died that Philip wanted to embrace the powers that be and dedicated Bethsaida to her memory in 30 A.D., the same year Jesus started his ministry. This wouldn’t have been enough for Jesus to condemn the place, though, say historians and theologians. Jesus returned to Bethsaida many times before cursing it. Philip dedicated it before Jesus did the miracles there. So, it doesn’t make sense for Jesus to curse it. Something else must have happened to cause the curse…but what?
The mystery lay hidden for nearly two thousand years and Bethsaida was lost over time, and rediscovered in 1987 by archaeologist Rami Arav. However, it took twenty- eight more years before we learned why Jesus said “Woe” to the place. Philip, Herod’s son, did a little more than just verbally dedicate Bethsaida to Livia. Archaeologists found a pagan temple in Bethsaida dedicated to her with figurines of Livia. Romans believed rulers and their wives were divine. Philip depicted Livia as a God. Livia, was the wife of Roman Emperor Augustus and mother of Tiberius. History records that Herod and his sons had been very sensitive to the Jews by not building pagan temples or putting their faces on coins, in order to keep peace. However, it appears that Philip made another “in your face” move when he built his temple in one of the most devout of all Jewish cities. The people of Bethsaida could have protested to Pontius Pilate to prevent this blasphemous temple from being built. Wanting to keep the peace, Pontius Pilate would have probably concurred, but the rulers of Bethsaida obviously didn’t protest, allowing its construction. This would be like allowing a Mosque being built in Vatican Square.
It’s amazing how many new discoveries are bringing light to, and proving, our Scriptures. This temple is the obvious reason why Jesus cursed Bethsaida. It must have broken the hearts of Peter, Andrew, Philip, James and John to know their hometown was where a pagan temple was built. I’m sure that Philip, Herod’s son, was aware that Bethsaida was where these five Apostles were from and wanted to punish them, along with gaining points with the Emperor. Look for us at evidenceforthehope.org or Evidence for the Hope Ministries. Have a nice day
287 DEAD SEA SCROLLS JOURNEY #2
In a recent broadcast, I spoke of the amazing journey the first four Dead Sea Scrolls had taken before coming to public attention. Many times they were nearly destroyed by people ignorant of their importance, nearly destroyed by a fierce war in Jerusalem that threatened the building they were housed in, and other dangers. Had the first four scrolls been destroyed before being deciphered it would mean the other 4,000 documents found in Qumran caves later may never have been discovered. Most Christians have no idea how important these scrolls are to confirm the Old Testament. Many scholars, Bible antagonists, and others long contended the Old Testament was fiction created by Jews and Christians 500 years after Jesus’ birth. Finding every copy of the Old Testament (except Esther), some written 500 years before Jesus’ birth, not only verified the Old Testament, but also the Messianic prophecies concerning the birth, life, and death of Jesus were written long before He died. God protected these very important scrolls in eleven caves in the Qumran wilderness. Satan had tried to destroy the scrolls before mankind knew of them. He knew millions would come to Christ once they realized what their discovery would mean to many gaining faith. The first scrolls were found in 1947 by two Bedouins whose tossed rock accidentally went into the first cave, hitting a jug containing four scrolls. They remained in Bedouin possession until 1948, then landed in the hands of student John Trevor who was recently awarded a fellowship to study at the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. Jerusalem became a war zone immediately after he arrived, threatening him and the scrolls. His adventure with the scrolls began in February 1948. It wasn’t until the importance of the scrolls was realized that an attempt was made to get them to safety. The cave was rediscovered on January 29th, 1949 and the rest is history. Eleven caves, packed with thousands of pieces of texts, and full copies of books of the Old Testament, were discovered. It’s no less than miraculous that the Bedouins hadn’t returned, discovered the rest of the scrolls, and sold them to private collectors. The likelihood that we’d have ever been made privy to them is infinitesimally small. Every book of the Old Testament (except Esther), and more, were eventually discovered and transcribed. God protected these documents, allowed us to find them, and put the right people in the right place at the right time to see their importance, transcribe them, and keep them safe. Many Christians have no idea of their importance. If the Bible antagonists had continued discrediting the Old Testament, stating it was fiction, they could have continued destroying the faith of billions around the world. For nearly 150 years professors in colleges and universities taught students the Bible was unprovable. If you’re a regular listener, you know that archaeology has now provided 6,500 discoveries proving people, places, events, stories, battles, and more for our Bible; like the story of Jonah, Goliath being a giant, and the raising of Lazarus from the dead. If we get this information into the hands of the church, we can save countless souls of those who’ll face ignorant antagonists, professors, and others when they enter college or university. Teaching kids about the Bible and the stories is extremely important; proving them to be real with forensic evidence from archaeology, ancient records, and other sources is even more important. There will be those who demand proof of them and us. God’s providing information, but most churches don’t understand why we must give evidence for the Bible. Statistics show eight out of ten Christian kids will lose their faith in the first semester of a school of higher learning, according to many denominations. Obviously teaching the Bible the same way we have always done is no longer enough. We need to prove it to our kids, skeptics, and professors. This is easy with all the new discoveries in the last fifty years. It’s no coincidence Israel became a nation again in 1948, the scrolls were discovered in 1948, and for the last seventy years archaeology has made thousands of discoveries proving the Bible. Look for us at evidenceforthehope.org or Evidence for the Hope Ministries, Inc. Have a nice day.
286 DEAD SEA SCROLLS JOURNEY (#1)
Having spent countless thousands of hours studying the evidences for the Bible, I’ve concluded God can take care of Himself. I’m utterly fascinated and delighted when antagonists attack something in the Bible and God lets us find something proving them fools (Romans 1:20-22). I recently read a book written by the man who deciphered the first scrolls found in Qumran (the Dead Sea Scrolls). I was utterly entrenched to finish the book. It reads like a mystery, drama, historical record, crime scene novel, adventure novel, war story, and more. It was loaned to me by someone who reads my newspaper articles, seeking me out by way of the paper. I’ll get a copy for my library. It’s “The Dead Sea Scrolls a personal account” by author John C. Trevor; published in 1979. He was the man who deciphered the first four scrolls found; thinking these were the only ones. Nearly four thousand more documents would be discovered later in the eleven different Qumran Caves. They had lain hidden for nearly two thousand years, carefully wrapped and protected in giant jugs. The first scroll found was the Messianic book of Isaiah. The Scrolls eventually produced every book of the Old Testament except Esther, some written 500 years before Jesus was born. This is important since Bible antagonists contended the only copies we had of the Old Testament were written 500 years after Jesus’s birth, and the the Old Testament were fake narratives to make Jesus appear as the Messiah; the prophecies about Him written long after His death. The Scroll’s proved the antagonists wrong. The Scrolls were the same as the ones written 500 years after Jesus’s birth. However, mankind nearly missed out on the Scrolls ever being seen at all. Two Bedouins were in the desert. One threw a rock, for no reason, at the desert cliffs. It approached skyward and then dropped into a tiny opening made by a recent earthquake. The original opening had been covered by an earthquake shortly after the scrolls had been deposited. It dropped into a cave opening smaller than a man could squeeze through, and managed to hit the only pottery object. Curious as to what they hit, they cautiously climbed the very dangerous cliff. They could barely make out a broken pottery jug. A smaller cousin was later convinced to squeeze in the opening and retrieve the contents. The first four scrolls were taken to an antiquity dealer who thought them worthless. Another dealer eventually tried to get a few dollars for them, trying to sell them for months with no luck. They ended up in the hands of an orthodox priest who couldn’t read them, and sat in his library until a man was discovered, our author, who possibly could; a student who had just recently been asked to come to war-torn Jerusalem for study, and nearly did not. The scrolls were shown to other scholars who felt they were worthless. The author believed they were genuine and predated anything ever found. His diligence saved the scrolls and led to the discovery of the other 4,000. When the scrolls were being bought from the orthodox priest, their value was published and nearly a dozen men said they were involved in the discovery, owned rights to them, and held up the sale while a war raged around them. The fighting in Jerusalem had escalated terribly by this time between the Arabs and the Jews and the scrolls were in danger of being destroyed in the battles, being in a library near the battle front. The court case over ownership finally was resolved over the next year! However, the author felt the residence they were in could be destroyed along with the scrolls at any time, so he moved them. That building was bombed just after the scrolls were moved. I’ve left out dozens of things that happened that should have brought the destruction of these scrolls, but didn’t. God took care of them, including allowing us to find them in these last days. They have given faith to believers, and have brought many skeptics to Christ due to their Messianic prophecies being true. They’ve shown that the Bible was not corrupted by man, as believed by Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses (the reason they felt a new Bible was necessary); bibles that read much differently than ours). God allowed us to find the scrolls by “accident” and kept them safe for our benefit. Look for us at evidenceforthehope.org or Evidence for the Hope Ministries.
283 THE ISRAELITES IN JORDAN
Denying the Bible story of where the Israelites came from, many believed they were just a bunch of disgruntled Canaanites fleeing overlords to the Jordan Valley. There they supposedly met up with believers in Jehovah and joined forces to become Israel. Of course, this is completely contrary to the Bible. Some contended the land was not Israel’s nor given to them by God. Joshua 3:16 tells us the Israelites followed Joshua through the parted waters of the Jordan River and found themselves “across from Jericho”. This tells us the Israelites came from the East (from slavery in Egypt) after wandering 40 years in the wilderness and headed west into the Jordan Valley. We know the Jordan Valley was once lush and green due to discoveries. This matches what the Bible said was a land “flowing with milk and honey”; in other words very lush and, due to the abundance of vegetation, capable of feeding sheep, cows, and having plenty of bees. This stands in stark contrast to what had been once believed and taught. So, is the Bible wrong? There seemed to be no record of any early Israelite presence in that area, according to archaeologists. Here’s the problem. This area is one of the hottest known to man. It’s extremely difficult to access and lies below sea level. Very few archaeological digs had ever been attempted, especially with the desire of proving the Israelites were ever there. In the last 15 years, nearly 70 sites have been discovered showing the presence of a people group ‘suddenly’ arriving at the same time our Bible says Joshua brought the Israelites there. There seems to be no archaeological record of any preceding people groups under the ruins of where the Israelites first lived. There is an oddity about many of the sights; they contain areas laid out as a large one to five-acre footprint. In Joshua 1:3 God tells Joshua that every place he places his foot shall be theirs. God reminded Joshua that He had promised this to Moses. So many sights are now being found that it appears the Israelites marked their new territory by building their living areas in the shape of a footprint, a sign of ownership. These sights date to the time of Joshua; a time when antagonists said no Israelite nation even existed. The other oddity is that many of the sights don’t have houses, though four-room Israelite type structures are being found in some. These four-room houses are typical Israelite design and not typical for other nations. At first, Archaeologists were perplexed that these seemed to be extremely tiny homes; some as small as 4’X6’. Others are a bit larger and rounded. As archaeologists studied the customs of the Bedouins of that area, they realized these were not homes but pens for animals. It dawned on them that if the early Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years before arriving in the Jordan area, they’d have been living in tents and keeping their animals in small pens. There was no reason for them to stop this practice if they had yet to conquer the land. Permanent homes wouldn’t have been practical. The land was yet to be divided among the twelve tribes. I must point out when antagonists are wrong and the Bible is correct. I’ve recently joined Calvary Assembly of God in Ft. Ashby, W.Va., and will be teaching at intervals. Please join us for those evening classes. You need not be a member. Call the church for times. Look for us at evidenceforthehope.org. or at Evidence for the Hope Ministries, Inc. Have a nice day.