The Bible and History

In places, the Bible is Astonishingly Accurate with regard to History. And Jesus’ Existence, and that of Many personages and events, are Proved by Evidence, in the form of Writings and even Rock Etchings, Totally Unconnected to the Bible.

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This article is the seventh in the series on Bible Study.

  1. On Bible study
  2. The Problem of Suffering
  3. My Journey on the Road to Peace
  4. The Answer to the Problem of Suffering!
  5. Understanding the Bible
  6. Ezekiel’s vision of God
  7. The Bible and History

The last three pertain to Bible Study, per se. The Others deal with the Use and the Advantages of Studying the Bible.

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The Historicity of Persons and Events in the Bible are found to be Particularly Accurate from the ‘The Era of Kings,’ which began in the history of Israel from the time of King Saul. David and Solomon, who followed Saul, are more known, of course.

A site that accuses Israel of demolishing Palestinian houses, apjp.org, neither Pro-Christian nor Pro-Israeli, gives the following photograph:

City of David

In this, the City of David is shown in Red. By the site. What it boils down to is this: Nobody contests that the City of David has existed. Nor is anybody contesting the existence of King David. These are Accepted as History. And David, and his city, Jerusalem, are Central to the Bible.

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‘The massive destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians is apparent both in the layers of charred remains and in the thick layer of rubble from collapsed buildings found on the eastern slope of the City of David. This vivid archeological evidence sheds light on the biblical description of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587-6 BCE. (2 Kings 25:8-10; Jeremiah 39:8; 2 Chronicles 36:18-19)’

The above passage is from: jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Archaeology/jerdavid.html

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If I say that my Great-Great-Greatest Grandfather had built this enormous palace on the banks of the river Amazon, and bring You two bricks and piece of pottery, I wonder if You would accept that as Historical evidence. The Archaeology of the Bible is one that is the Greatest studied, and having the Richest Findings.

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It should be Extremely Difficult to Prove the existence of Persons who were said to have lived Hundreds of years ago. But I shall show You the Proof of two such persons.

Jehu, of 1 Kings 19:16-17, and 2 Kings 9, becomes colourful and notorious as he is the One king of Israel whose picture We have today! The proof for the existence of Jehu is found in what is called the ‘Black Obelisk,’ at present in the British museum. This is an Assyrian artefact, originally from the present Iran-Iraq area.

The Black Obelisk

This has 20 panels in all, all describing the tributes that Shalmaneser III of Assyria had collected. In what is known as the Jehu panel, a Bearded king, in his royal dresses, is seen kneeling in front of the Assyrian king. Behind the Israelite king are Hebrews bearing gifts.

The writings above the etchings describe the events.

2 panels of Black Obelisk

Here is a larger graphic of the same:

Jehu at feet of Shalmaneser

I was able to get a much clearer picture of the above! And here it is:

Jehu and Shalmaneser III

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The Bible does mention Jehu’s defeat at the hands of Hazael, king of Syria, but does Not mention Jehu paying tribute to Shalmaneser. But Assyrian history records it. Shalmaneser had defeated Hazael, and collected tribute from the kings of Tyre and Sidon.

Shalmaneser III tyre sidon

The map above shows the South Eastern part of the Assyrian empire touching the Lake of Galilee, which is in Israel! Jehu would have found it Prudent to pay tribute to Shalmaneser.

Assyrian methods of history, referring to not only to the events in the life of the monarch, but also cross referring them to the Solar Year, Solar Eclipses, etc, make them one of the very Best. Below is a clearer view of Jehu at the feet of Shalmaneser.

Finally, in the usual manner of Archaeological finds, though it is disputed that Jehu was the king alluded to in the Obelisk, in the end they all come to agree that he was the one. Jehu had reigned for 28 long years, between 841 and 814 BCE, and Shalmaneser III between 858 and 824 BCE. They all dovetail.

Thus, when the Bible speaks of Jehu and his actions, the Bible is recording History. Though there is Much in General History that proves the existence and deeds of other kings of Israel, none is as clear nor as interesting as Jehu’s.

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For Proof of the second personage, I shall take The Existence of Christ Jesus Himself. I have already shown that His Crucifixion was recorded by Two, Non Biblical writers, namely, Tacitus, and Flavius Josephus.

The former mentions Tiberius, and they Both name (Pontius) Pilate. Already We have Cross References! No source comes forth to deny the existence of the Roman emperor Tiberius. Nor is Pontius Pilate being the Procurator/Governor of Judaea ever questioned.

To have been Crucified under these (Roman) authorities, as recorded by the above named Non-Biblical authors, Jesus Christ must have existed. And Thus, Not just the Bible, but what is General History Attests to the fact that Jesus Christ Existed on Earth at the time stated in the Bible.

If somebody would like to state that these historians refer to Some other person named Christ, then We give them Tacitus’ quote: “Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin…”

It would be Too Much to say that Another person named Christ, (who was not the Christ of the Bible), who had a following called Christians, was Crucified under Pontius Pilate, at precisely same time, would it not? 🙂

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Further, One of the MOST Historical and Interesting passages in the whole of the Bible occurs in the Gospel of Luke, 3:1-2. In just 2 verses Luke packs 24 Details, as I shall show! Let us see what he has written:

“It was the Fifteenth year of the rule of the Emperor Tiberius; Pontius Pilate was the Governor of Judaea, Herod was the ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip was ruler of the territory of Iturea and Trachonitis; Lysanias was ruler of Abilene, and Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. At that time the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah in the desert.”

The Underlined words are the details. They shall further be classified as:

  • Names of Persons: Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanias, Annas, Caiaphas, John, Zechariah. (Nine).
  • What they were: Emperor, Governor, ruler (3), high priests. Governor is called governor, and king is called that. No Mixups. …And, This was the Only time the Jews had Two High priests at the same time. The Jewish list of high priests agrees with this, the time period included, namely: 18-36 CE. Christ’s Crucifixion is conventionally placed at 33 CE.
  • Names of Places: Judaea, Galilee, Iturea and Trachonitis, Abilene, (and the desert). (Five Important ones). This is Important. For example, at one time, the Iran Iraq area was known as Assyria, then Babylon, and then, after some time, Assyria again. Dynasties changed and so did the name of the place. Luke has used the correct names.
  • And Relationships: brother, son.

All the people stated above, Existed At the Time stated by Luke, and In the Manner presented by him. Would it have been possible that a bunch of people who were mostly Simple Fishermen had had the Intelligence, Know how, and Whatever else was required to put All these facts together, in the Exact Sequence and Order?

And the Bible has Many More Provable, and thus Historical Instances, like these. The Archaeology of the Bible is a Fascinating Subject, and even the Net offers Quite a lot indeed for those who are interested!

8 comments

  1. Not too sure how to comment on this one. Jesus may well have existed. Yet, his followers would have attributed many powers to him.
    Krishna was said to have been a Yadav chieftain, and after he was defeated in one battle, he fled to Dwarka. As the stories about him grew, he became a God.
    Hard to say.

    Liked by 1 person

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