110 WERE THERE ISRAELITES IN THE WILDERNESS?
There’s a wonderful article in the March/April ‘Biblical Archaeology Review’ magazine. For nearly two centuries, some liberal professors have shared with students that the story of the Exodus and the Israelites being in the wilderness of Canaan was fictional. Much has been found to prove them wrong in the last ten years. The article adds to that proof. In the Eighth Chapter of Joshua, God commanded an altar be built on Mt. Ebal for animal sacrifices. This came shortly after Joshua and the Israelites had miraculously crossed the Jordan River. The altar had to be big enough to accommodate nearly a million Israelites. One would think that something that size would be easy to find. Not finding any altar, many liberal scholars opted for this being a fictitious story. Their beliefs were shared with students, causing many to lose their faith. They should have considered this was several thousand years ago, and much can get covered over by time. Archaeologists just found Mt. Ebal. They discovered an extremely large, Israelite, animal sacrificial altar. Artifacts within date it to the days of Joshua crossing the Jordan River. They know it’s an Israelite altar because of the following; (1) A four-room house was found (a typical Israelite structure uncommon to other nations). This was probably used by the priests stationed at the altar. (2) An Israelite altar chalice used in sacrificial ceremonies. (3) Scattered hearths with excessive amounts of ash. (4) Lots of animal bones (no Israeli ceremonially unclean bones, such as pigs, were within). This eliminates others in the area that used pig bones. (5) Israelite potsherds. (6) An animal ramp leading to the fire pits. (7) the structure had been made with uncut field stones, which is what God commanded them to use according to the Bible. Archaeologist Adam Zertal truly feels he has found Joshua’s altar at Mt. Ebal. I agree. God told the Israelites that wherever they put their footprint, the land would belong to them. This site is in the shape of a giant footprint, covering four acres. This can be related to Joshua 8: 30-31, “At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mt. Ebal, as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded”. There are the nay-sayers. It seems that no matter how convincing the evidence is, there are always those who oppose anything to do with corroborating the Bible. These hold to their beliefs until they are presented with so much evidence that they’re led kicking and screaming to the truth. There are no remnants to be found relating to the time of kings in Israel, which means this probably had to have been built before Israel had kings. That period correlates perfectly with the time of Joshua. The Israelites had yet to conquer the “promised land”. If this were the only “sandal shaped” Israelite sacrificial sight discovered, one could argue against this being Joshua’s Mt. Ebal altar. However, archaeologists have now found at least six more sights like this in the early Canaan area that fit the descriptions of our Bible. All are being dated to the same period. How does one handle that? Do we ignore sights simply because our Bible mentions them? Some would say yes because they believe the Bible to be a fairy tale and not trustworthy. The discoveries are making them appear foolish. Archaeological finds are proving the Bible right in nearly every aspect, now. I can hardly go to any chapter without saying “We found that”. Archaeologists recently found a bullae impression belonging to King Hezekiah. A bulla is a device used to seal letters with the owner’s signet. This was the earliest bullae belonging to him. Over two hundred items were discovered in 2015 that validated our Bible! One has to ask what is going on? God is certainly supplying us with knowledge of Himself and His Word. The Bible states that in the last days, “The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the Earth as the waters cover the sea.” The sad thing is that most Christians are unaware of these amazing discoveries. Add this to what’s been happening in science to prove the Bible over other theories and it is staggering. Look for us at evidenceforthehope.org or Evidence for the Hope Ministries. Have a nice day.