Archaeological evidence that supports the historicity of the Bible:
The Code of Hammurabi. From 1750 BC, supports the Semitic laws described in the Old Testament.
The Nuzi Tablets. From 1500 BC, supports the existence of the institutions, practices and customs found in Genesis.
The Hittites. The Old Testament records the existence of a group of people known as Hittites. Up until 1906 the Hittites were completely unknown outside of the Bible. Critics of the Bible claimed this was proof the Bible was wrong since only the Bible spoke of the Hittites. In 1906, however, archaeological excavations proved that the Hitties actually did exist, around 1500 BC
The Merneptah Stele. Dated to about 1205 BC, contains references to the Hebrews living in the land of Israel. This is possibly the earliest non-Biblical reference to the Hebrews living in the area now known as Israel. A new discovery of an Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription which dates to about 1400 BC also contains references to the Hebrews living in what is now Israel.
The Moabite Stone. Also known as the Mesha Stele, has been dated to about 900 B.C., it was discovered in 1993 at an archaeological dig in Galilee. What is important about the Moabite Stone, at least with regard to the subject at hand, is that it mentions the House of David, the King of Israel. This is significant because prior to its discovery, there was no proof outside the Bible that King David ever existed. In fact, many unbelieving archaeologists had, up until that time, insisted that David, the King of Israel, was nothing more than a myth, like King Arthur, with no evidence whatsoever to support his existence. When the Moabite Stone was discovered, they had no choice but to accept Davids existence. Additionally, the Moabite Stone also contains a record of the Moabite battle against the Israelites described in 2 Kings, chapter 3.
The Samaria Ostraca. Dating to about 850 B.C., these inscribed pieces of potsherds contain numerous personal and place names found in the Bible. It is believed that these ostraca are from the court of King Ahab of Israel.
The Siloam Inscription. The Siloam inscription is a passage of inscribed text found in the Hezekiah tunnel which brings water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, located in the City of David in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shiloah or “Silwan”. The inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century B.C., and is among the oldest extant records of its kind written in Hebrew using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, and its association with the tunnel provides evidence for the ancient Biblical narrative.
The Arad Ostraca. The ancient city of Arad, which is mentioned in the Bible, is located northeast of Be'er Shiva. Over the course of several years over 100 ostraca (inscribed pieces of potsherds) dating to between the 10th and 6th centuries B.C. were discovered. Among the ostraca have been discovered the personal names of priests that are mentioned in Jeremiah 20:1 and Ezra 8:33. Also mentioned is the “House of YHWH.”
King David's Palace. In 2005, Eilat Mazar, and Israeli archaeologist, used a copy of the Bible – a modern copy, to help her find the location of King David's palace. She said, “What is amazing about the Bible is that very often we see that it is very accurate and sometimes amazingly accurate.”
Archaeological excavations. Archaeological excavations of Biblical cities such as Jericho, Haran, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Gezer, Beersheba, and others all support the historicity of the Old Testament, as do excavations that show evidence outside of the Bible for the existence of people and groups of people spoken of in the Bible such as the Hittites, the Philistines, Shishak’s Invasion of Judah, Mesha the king of Moab, Ahab the King of Israel, the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, Jehu the king of Israel, King Uzziah, King David, King Hezekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, Cyrus the Great, and more.
In fact, archaeological evidence of Jericho shows that the city walls all fell in the same manner as described in the Bible with the exception of one area of wall which was, as noted in the Bible, spared due to one of the inhabitants who lived there. Archaeological evidence also shows that the city suffered devastation by fire, also just as the Bible records.
These are but a few of the dozens and dozens of archaeological discoveries that prove the Bible to be historically accurate and reliable. No other holy book of any other religion, with the exception of the Jewish Tanakh (which is essentially identical to the Old Testament) can claim this kind of archaeological support. It is not necessary to take my word on this topic, especially when both the Smithsonian Institute and the National Geographic support this as well.
The Smithsonian Department of Anthropology has said “Much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed. This is not to say that names of all peoples and places mentioned can be identified today, or that every event as reported in the historical books happened exactly as stated.” (you can write the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington DC for the full text.)
And in response to a request for information concerning this topic, the National Geographic said, “I referred your inquiries to our staff archeologist, Dr. George Stuart. He said that archaeologists do indeed find the Bible a valuable reference tool, and use it many times for geographical relationships, old names and relative chronologies. On the enclosed list, you will find many articles concerning discoveries verifying events discussed in the Bible. ~ National Geographic Society, Washington D.C.”
Evidence that supports the uniqueness and accuracy of the Bible:
The Bible was written over a 1,500 year span, by more than 40 writers that included kings, fishermen, statesmen, scholars, peasants, a soldier, a doctor, and more; on three different continents: Asia, Africa and Europe; in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; and contains many different types of literature, including history, poetry, law, biographies, prophecy, personal correspondence, parables and allegory, and more, and yet this entire compilation forms a cohesive unity the likes of which are not seen in any other piece of similar literature, and, with not contradictory mistake in any of the multiple inter-related story lines.
The Bible not only tells the story of the creation of mankind, but also the creation and history of the Jewish people, the interaction of God and the devil with mankind, and more, but the most important of these inter-related themes is God's redemptive love for mankind.
Logically, with such a diverse background and inter-related themes, one would naturally expect such a work to be riddled with errors, but there exists not one. Not one contradictory mistake, and no interruption of thought from one writer to another. There is perfect compatibility between each of the sixty-six books, and together the whole has been proven to be cohesive, consistent, coherent, and trustworthy.
There is no other single piece of similar literature in all of history that can even come close to matching the uniqueness of the Bible. There has never been anything like it. Additionally, the accuracy of the Bible is unparalleled among ancient literature.
There is more manuscript evidence for the Bible's accuracy than any other ancient text.
Although the original writings were done on materials that have long since decayed and perished, the content of those originals are not lost, and have been passed down to us intact throughout the centuries, in such a manner that we can be confident that when we open our Bibles today, we are reading the unvarnished Word of God.
There are currently around 20,000 New Testament manuscripts in existence, the earliest written to within the lifetime of those who witnessed the events recorded in them. In contrast, compare this with Caesar's Gallic Wars. There are only 10 manuscripts in existence, the earliest having been written 1,000 years after the original, and yet no one questions the accuracy of Gallic Wars. Or perhaps the New Testament can be compared to Aristotle's Poetics. There are only 5 manuscripts of this work in existence, with the earliest having been written 1,400 years after the original, and no one questions the accuracy of this work.
With regard to the Old Testament, we have the Masoritic Text from 500 A.D., the Latin Vulgate from 400 A.D., The Dead Sea Scrolls from c.250 B.C. to c.68 A.D., the Greek Septuagint from 280 B.C. and the Samaritan Pentateuch from 400 B.C. and each of them supports the Old Testament text as accurate. Additionally, the New Testament quotes from the Old numerous times, and not only supports the accuracy of the Old Testament, but also supports the supernatural events of the Old Testament. The Old Testament has been more accurately transmitted to us than any other ancient writing of comparable age.
In addition to the huge amount of manuscripts, we also have the writings of the Church Fathers such as Polycarp (69-150), Clement of Rome (?-110), Irenaeus (120?-200), Tertullian (155-220), Julius Africanus (160-240), Origen (185-254), Eusebius (263-339), Athanasius (300?-375), Ambrose (340?-397), Jerome (347 – 420), Chrysostom (349-407), and Augustine (354-430), among others, whose extensive quoting of the Bible never varies or changes from what is found in the extant manuscripts. And in addition to the Church Fathers, we also have the writings of many non-Christians such as the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (A.D. c.37-c.101), Pliny the Younger (A.D. 61-A.D. 112, governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor), Lucian (circa 120-after 180, Greek writer and rhetorician), the Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117), who wrote of the early Christians, “They got their name from Christ, who was executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. That checked the pernicious superstition for a short time, but it broke out afresh-not only in Judea, where the plague first arose, but in Rome itself, where all the horrible and shameful things in the world collect and find a home.” (Annals, xv. 44.) What makes Tacitus' comments so interesting is that he is an unbeliever who is hostile to Christianity, and he is making a mention of Jesus – someone he would have considered as insignificant had Jesus and Christianity not made such an impact on the Roman world.
Even the Jewish Rabbinical writings from the period between 70 and 200 A.D. mention Jesus. For example in Sanhedrin 43a, we find, “Jesus was hanged on Passover Eve. Forty days previously the herald had cried, ‘He is being led out for stoning, because he has practiced sorcery and led Israel astray and enticed them into apostasy. Whoever has anything to say in his defense, let him come and declare it.’ As nothing was brought forward in his defense, he was hanged on Passover Eve.”
All of these contain evidence of the historicity and accuracy of the Bible.
The very existence of these manuscripts attests to the survivability of the Bible, which is something Jesus Himself said would happen. Matthew 24:35 records Jesus saying, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” This was something the prophet Isaiah said about 700 years before the birth of Jesus (“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” – Isaiah 40:8), and later reiterated by the Apostle Simon Peter (“The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever” – 1 Peter 1:24b-25a).
And yet, throughout it's existence, the survival of the Bible has been severely threatened. Leaders and rulers and groups and organizations and movements have been trying for centuries to stamp out the Bible, to remove it from existence.
From the earliest days of Christianity, the followers of Jesus suffered terrible persecution. Historian Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Many martyrs are daily burned, crucified, and beheaded before our eyes.” And from the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan (reigned from 98 AD to 117 AD) until the reign of Constantine in about 300 AD, Christianity was by and large outlawed.
Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia, wrote of Trajan's persecution of the Christians, saying that if the accused did not publicly renounce Christ and make sacrifices to the Roman gods, they were executed. This type of wholesale persecution of Christians and Christianity continued on, and occasionally off, until Constantine became emperor in 306 A.D.
During the reign of Diocletian, who immediately proceeded Constantine, it seems as if a particularly savage persecution of Christians began. The historian Eusebius wrote that, “royal edicts were published everywhere, commanding that the churches be leveled to the ground and the Scriptures destroyed by fire” (Church History, Book VIII, Ch. 1). The emperor ordered that anyone not surrendering a copy of the Scriptures was to be killed, as were those who knew but did not report others with copies of the Scriptures. Historian J.H. Newman wrote, “Multitudes . . . hastened to deny the faith and to surrender their copies of the Scriptures; many more bore the most horrible tortures and refused with their latest breath to surrender the Scriptures or in any way to compromise themselves” (Newman, Church History, p. 169). After two years of enforcing his edict, the emperor Diocletian boldly stated that he had completely exterminated the Holy Christian Scriptures from the face of the earth (Rimmer, Seven Wonders of the Wonderful Word, p. 15).
That's over 300 years of targeted persecution by just one government. As Christianity spread, so did the persecution of it, and it continues even today. The Bible is currently banned in dozens of countries, and surprisingly, even in certain areas and venues within the United States. And yet, in spite of this intense and targeted persecution lasting more than 2,000 years, Christianity and the Holy Bible continue to exist, and the Holy Scriptures continue to remain unchanged.
Persecution, however, is not the only trial the Bible has undergone over the years. No single book has been more intensely and thoroughly scrutinized, or more hotly debated for so long and by so many people – including experts, theologians, intellectuals, scholars, etc., each of them intent on discovering the fatal flaw, the “smoking gun” so to speak, that will once and for all disprove the Divine inspiration of the Bible, and relegate it to the ash heap of history to be forgotten as just another piece of religious fiction. And yet, after centuries of scrutiny, by hundreds, if not thousands of experts, not one single expert has been able to find even one fatal flaw. Not one in all that time. Every single argument against the Bible has been debunked and defeated, and despite what it's critics may claim, the Bible remains today the number one best selling non-fiction book in the world.
The evidence for the historicity of both the Old and New Testaments is greater than for any other historically reliable ancient document (and certainly far more than any other “holy” book), and the science of textual criticism proves that these manuscripts are accurate copies of the originals. This is irrefutable evidence to the uniqueness, the accuracy, the inerrancy, and the infallibility of the Christian Bible.
Fulfilled Biblical prophecy is evidence of the Bibles supernaturalism:
Approximately 2,500 prophecies appear in the Bible. To date 2,000 of them have been fulfilled, and fulfilled without error. No other text, religious or otherwise, contains the number of accurately fulfilled prophecies as does the Bible. Not the “prophetic” texts of the Bahá'ís, or the Buddhists, or Muslims, or the Chinese Chen; and not even the so-called prophecies of Michel de Nostredame, popularly known as Nostradamus (who, incidentally, never claimed his writings were prophetic). In fact, the vast majority of these non-Biblical “prophecies” are written in such a way as to accommodate any number of interpretations, and they still cannot legitimately claim to be as accurate as the Bible.
Biblical prophecies, understood in the strictest sense of the word as the foreknowledge of future events, were uttered many years, in some cases hundreds of years, before they were accurately fulfilled. The examples listed here are obviously not all of the prophecies listed in the Bible, but more than enough to substantiate the supernatural nature of the Bible.
The examples of fulfilled Biblical prophecies will be shown in two groups. The first being those prophecies that were not specifically related to Jesus, and the second to those prophecies that were.
Biblical prophecies not specifically related to Jesus.
1) Isaiah's prophecy concerning Cyrus and the building of Jerusalem and the temple.
In about 700 B.C., the prophet Isaiah anounced that a king by the name of Cyrus will order the building of the city of Jerusalem and also the temple (Isaiah 44:28; 54:1). The primary problem when Isaiah made this prophecy, was that both the city of Jerusalem and the temple were both standing. There was nothing to be built, especially be a king named Cyrus. Not only was there no king Cyrus at the time, by Cyrus isn't even a Hebrew name.
More than 100 years later, in about 586 B.C., the city of Jerusalem, and the temple, were destroyed by a Babylonian king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar. In 539 B.C., almost 80 years after the destruction of the city and the temple, the Persians conquered the area and soon after that a Persian king named Cyrus ordered the city of Jerusalem and the temple a well, to be rebuilt, and thus Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled, accurately, 160 years after Isaiah made his prediction.
2. Herod would murder the children in and around Bethlehem.
In about 600 B.C., the prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord: A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15 NKJV)
This prophecy was fulfilled in about 4 B.C., with what has become known as “The Slaughter of the Innocents” and spoken of in Matthew 2:16-18, “16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
This prophecy has caused much discussion due to the fact that Josephus did not record the deaths of the baby boys aged two and younger, when it is generally thought that if anyone would have recorded it, it would have been Josephus. However, not only would committing these horrific murders be well within the character of Herod (as he committed many other atrocities that were far worse), but there actually is evidence that Herod did have the children killed.
Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, who lived in the early 5th century, wrote in his book, “Saturnalia,” “When it was heard tht, as part of the slaughter of boys up to two years old, Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered his own son to be killed, he [the Emperor Augustus] remarked, 'It is better to be Herod's pig than his son.'” Not only does Macrobius mention the murder of the innocent boys, but also Herod's murder of his own son, Antipater. Antipater was killed in about 4 B.C., and we know that Jesus was born about 6 B.C., which, combined with the visit of the Wise Men and their report to Herod, and Jesus and his family leaving to Egypt, would but the date at 4 B.C. and it all comes together. Jeremiah's prophecy is fulfilled completely and without error.
For more on this prophecy, I would recommend visiting the following websites:
3) The prophecy of Ezekiel 26, foretelling the total and permanent destruction of Tyre.
Perhaps one of the most contentious prophecy in the Bible concerns the ancient city of Tyre. In Ezekiel 26, the prophet speaks for the Lord by foretelling the permanent destruction of the city. Unbelieving skeptics proudly point at the modern city of Tyre and believe that since the city exists the prophecy has failed and the Bible is wrong. What they do not realize is that the existence of modern day Tyre actually helps the accuracy of Ezekiel's prophecy. Perhaps the reason unbelievers are not able to fully understand Ezekiel's prophecy (nor the rest of the Bible) is because, as the Bible itself says, “But the man who isn’t a Christian can’t understand and can’t accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can’t take it in.” (TLB)
That being said, however, the prophecy against ancient Tyre as found in Ezekiel 26 is one of the most profound prophecies in the Bible, and as you will see, every one of the multiple points of the prophecy came to pass.
There are 6 specific aspects in this prophecy that are important. They are:
1. Many nations would come against the city of Tyre. (verse 3)
2. The inhabitants of the villages and fields of Tyre would be slain. (verse 8)
3. Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city. (verses 7-9)
4. Tyre would be broken down and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in the sea. (verse 12)
5. Tyre would become “a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea.” (verse 5)
6. Tyre “shall never be rebuilt.” (verse 14)
7. The sea will cover Tyre (verse 19)
Ezekiel spoke this prophecy in about 590 B.C., and over the course of several centuries, it was completely and totally fulfilled.
1. Many nations would come against the city of Tyre.
Tyre was attacked and under siege by Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans from 585-573 B.C.; and then by Alexander the Great and the Macedonians in 332 B.C.; and then by Antigonus I Monophthalmus and the Macedonians from 315-314 B.C.; And then the Muslims armies of Caliph Umar, The corps of Shurhabil in 635 A.D.; The Abbasids in early 750; Tulunids between 878 and 904 and Ikhshidids between 945 and 969, both were Turkic dynasties; the Fatimid Caliphate from 996-998 A.D. who then lost it to Seljuks in 1071, but recaptured it in 1089, and maintained control of it until Crusader occupation under Baldwin I of Jerusalem from 1111-1112 A.D. The Venetians took over in 1124 A.D.; the Ayyubids under Saladin in 1187 A.D.; then the crusaders and finally the Mamluks in about 1308. I think you get the picture by now. This aspect of the prophecy was completely fulfilled.
2. The inhabitants of the villages and fields of Tyre would be slain.
3. Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city.
When King Nebuchadnezzar began his siege of the fortified city of Tyre in 585 B.C., the city managed to withstand his attacks, and they did so until 573 B.C., an eight year siege! Nebuchadnezzar slaughtered everyone in the vicinity of Tyre. Those in the small villages abutting the city and those in the fields, but the city held. Eventually, the king built a siege mound, which is essentially a large mound constructed of earth and rubble. Nebuchadnezzar would have likely used the rubble of the villages he destroyed, mixed with earth. When the inhabitants of Tyre realized that eventually their enemies would be able to enter their city, and what would happen to them when that happened, the majority of them abandoned Tyre, and moved to a small island approximately one-half mile off shore. When Nebuchadnezzar finally entered the city in 573 B.C., he found it to be almost deserted, and no way to reach the island. The king, probably in great anger, killed the remaining inhabitants and completely destroyed the mainland city of Tyre. Thus, two more aspects of the prophecy were fulfilled.
4. Tyre would be broken down and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in the sea.
5. Tyre would become “a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea.”
The mainland city of Tyre was not rebuilt following Nebuchadnezzar's siege, but the island portion of the ancient city of Tyre continued to flourish. At least until it met up with Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. When Alexander demanded the city of Tyre acquiesce to him, and they refused, Alexander was furious. Apparently, the people of Tyre assumed they were safe on their island with Alexander and his armies stuck on the mainland. But they hadn't counted on Alexander's ingenuity. Alexander ordered his armies to build a causeway from the mainland to the island. Using the remains of the original mainland city, he built the causeway. He took the stones, the timbers and the soil and literally threw them into the sea. As they built up and provided Alexander and his armies a way to the island, they not only caused great concern in the island city, but they used each and every piece of rubble from the original mainland city of Tyre, right down to taking even the dirt foundations of the city – and thus fulfilling verse four of Ezekiel 26 which says, “And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.”
Alexander eventually made it to the island city, and completely destroyed it. That portion of the original mainland city of Tyre that had been scraped down to bedrock in order to create the causeway for Alexander, has been used off and on over the centuries by fisherman in the area, to dry their nets.
And two more aspects of the prophecy are completely fulfilled. This brings us up to the last two main aspects of the prophecy.
6. Tyre “shall never be rebuilt.”
7. The sea will cover Tyre
These are the two aspects of the Ezekiel 26 prophecy that unbelievers tend to focus on in their attempts to disprove the prophetic and supernatural nature of the Bible. They point to the modern city of Tyre, which sits almost completely on top of the location of the original city that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great. “The city is still there!” they proclaim. “It is not underwater, and has not disappeared! The Bible is wrong!”
But is the Bible truly wrong? Did Ezekiel get the prophecy wrong? Let's take a look at the reality of the facts. “Tyre will never be rebuilt.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of “rebuild” is “to make extensive repairs to; to restore to a previous state.” Therefore, in order to rebuild or restore something, there must first be some part or portion of the original left to rebuild on. For example, if I have a 1932 Ford Coupe that is almost completely destroyed (ie: needs new body, new interior, new tires, a completely rebuilt engine and transmission), and I want to rebuild or restore it, then I start with what remains of the original car that is worth keeping and build up from there. If I simply buy all new parts and build an entirely new 1932 Ford Coupe, using nothing from the original car, then I have not rebuilt my car, I have built a new car that has no connection to my original car other than the name, and it's location (in my possession).
The same is true with the city of Tyre. First Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city of Tyre, and then Alexander the Great removed every single piece of of the mainland city, put it in the Mediterranean Sea and used it to build a causeway out to the island city of Tyre, which he completely destroyed when he finally made it inside the city.
The current city of Tyre, that was built on the site of the original city of Tyre, was built with completely new materials. It had to be as not one piece of the original materials was left. There may be a city named Tyre on the site of the old city of Tyre, but, just as with my new 1932 Ford Coupe, it has no connection to the old city other than its name and location. The aspect of Ezekiel's prophecy which states that Tyre would not be rebuilt stands completely true and fulfilled.
I would now like to turn your attention to an ancient world traveler, Benjamin of Tudela (1130-1173). He is a major figure in medieval geography and history, and he is considered by historians to be a reliable and trustworthy source of information regarding medieval geography and Jewish history. During his lifetime, Benjamin embarked on a lengthy journey throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Being a very intelligent and educated man, with a vast knowledge of languages, Benjamin kept a journal of these travels, that were later translated and published. There are currently several editions of this extremely informative book available today. In his book, Benjamin wrote the following:
“One days journey to New Tsour [note: Tsour, or Sur, is the Arabic name of modern day Tyre], a very beautiful city, the port of which is in the very town. This port is guarded by two towers, within which the vessels ride at anchor. The Officers of the customs draw an iron chain from tower to tower every night, thereby effectually preventing any thieves or robbers to escape by boats or by other means. A port equal to this is met with nowhere upon earth. About four hundred Jews reside in this excellent place, the principal of which are the Judge R. Ephraim Mitsri, R. Meier of Carcasson, and R. Abraham, the elder of the community. The Jews of Tsour are shipowners and manufacturers of the far-renowned tyrian glass, the purple dye is also found in this vicinity.
If you mount the walls of New Tsour, you may see the remains of 'Tyre the crowned' which was inundated by the sea, it is about the distance of a stones – throw from the new town; and whoever embarks may observe the towers, the markets, the streets and the halls on the bottom of the sea. The city of New Tsour is very commercial, and one to which traders resort from all parts. (The Itinerary of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela translated and edited by A. Asher. Volume 1, Text, Bibliography and Translation. PP62-23)
The prophecy of Tyre says that the sea will cover the city. Not only was this fulfilled when Alexander the Great removed every single piece and speck of the original mainland city of Tyre, and put it in the sea, but even the original island city of Tyre is underwater; and as can be clearly seen, the final aspect of the Ezekiel 26 prophecy of Tyre is completely fulfilled. And, in case you were wondering, the answer is no. Even excavations of the location of the original city of Tyre are impossible due to the encroachment of new settlements. It will not be uncovered.
4. The Israelites will be scattered, and then later restored to their promised land
One of the greatest Biblical prophecies made, outside those concerning the Messiah, is the prophecy foretelling the creation of the nation of Israel. Although the Israelites were God's chosen people, their continued rebellion against God, gave God little choice but to pass judgment upon them. Moses had warned them, “Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone.” (Deut 28:64), and as foretold, they were dispersed throughout the world for almost 1900 years.
Approximately 600 years later, however, the prophet Jeremiah foretold that Israel would be regathered and placed back into the land that God had given them. He said, “For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’” (Jeremiah 30:3) and “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child And the one who labors with child, together; A great throng shall return there. They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’” (Jeremiah 31:8-10)
And approximately 100 years later, the prophet Ezekiel also foretold of Israel's homecoming: “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ “‘Thus says the Lord God: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob.” (Ezekiel 11:17; 28:25)
Those prophecies were fulfilled on May 14, 1948, when Israel returned to their homeland, the land God gave them, and they became an independent nation. Since that time, virtually all of their Arab neighbors have done everything in their power to destroy Israel, in spite of all that Israel has done to help them and the rest of the world. And yet, in spite of the wars, and intifadas, and terrorist attacks launched against the tiny nations of Israel, the Arabs, the sons of Ishmael, have failed. That the world cannot see that God is still protecting them is somewhat amazing to me. Especially in light of the Hamas terrorists who are currently (2014) waging war against Israel have said that the God of Israel, the very same God of the Bible, is protecting His people Israel.
Rather than list all 333 Messianic prophecies here, I have chosen only sixteen. These sixteen prophecies would have been impossible to have been manipulated by one man to fit his life, and therefore truly show the supernaturalism of the Bible.
The sixteen prophecies concerning the Messiah, followed by their fulfillments, are:
1. That the Messiah would be descended from Abraham (Genesis 22:18)
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1)
“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)
2. That the Messiah would be specifically from the line of Isaac and not Ishmael (Genesis 21:12)
“Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, … the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor” (Luke 3:23,34; see also Matthew 1:1-16)
3. That the Messiah would be specifically from the line of Jacob and not Esau (Number 24:17; Genesis 35:10-12)
Fulfilled in Jesus, see the passages above. (Luke 3:23,34; see also Matthew 1:1-16)
4. That the Messiah would be specifically from the line of Judah, and not from one of his 11 brothers (Genesis 49:10; Micah 5:2)
Fulfilled in Jesus, see the passages above. (Luke 3:23,33; see also Matthew 1:2; Hebrews 7:14)
5. That the Messiah would be specifically from the line of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1,10)
Fulfilled in Jesus, see the passages above. (Luke 3:23,32; see also Matthew 1:6)
6. That the Messiah would be specifically from the line of David, and not one of his 7 brothers (Jeremiah 23:5; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 132:11)
Fulfilled in Jesus, see the passages above. (Luke 3:23,31; see also Matthew 1:1; 9:27; 15:22; 20:30,31; 21:9,15; 22:41-46; Mark 9:10; 10:47,48; Luke 18:38,39; Acts 13:22,23; Revelation 22:16)
7. That the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25; see also Luke 1:26-35)
8. That the Messiah would be born specifically in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1; see also John 7:42; Matthew 2:4-8; Luke 2:4-7)
9. That the Messiah would be filled with the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 42;1;61:1,2)
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:16-17; see also Matthew 12:17-21; Mark 1:10,11; Luke 4:15-21,43; John 1:32)
10. That the Messiah would be rejected by his own people (Isaiah 53:3)
“For even His brothers did not believe in Him. … Then the Pharisees answered them, 'Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.'”(John 7:5,47-49)
11. That the Messiah would be betrayed by a companion for 30 pieces of silver (Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; Zechariah 11:12)
“Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.” “and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.” (Matthew 10:4; Matthew 26:15; see also Matthew 26:49-50; Matthew 27:3; John 13:21)
12. That the Messiah would be forsaken by his disciples (Zechariah 1:7)
“Then they [the disciples] all forsook Him and fled.” (Mark 14:50; see also Matthew 26:31)
13. That the Messiah would be crucified with criminals (Isaiah 53:12)
“Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.” (Matthew 27:38)
14. That the Messiah's side would be pierced (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10)
“Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. … But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. … And again another Scripture says, 'They shall look on Him whom they pierced.'” (Mark 15:25; John 19:34,37; see also John 20:25-27)
15. That the Messiah would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9)
“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” (Matthew 27:57-60)
16. That the Messiah would be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10)
“And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” (Matthew 28:2-8)
Of the hundreds of prophecies concerning the Messiah (there are 333 prophecies in total), these are only a few, and no one – not one person in all of history, other than Jesus of Nazareth, fulfills these prophecies.
According to Peter Stoner (June 16, 1888 – March 21, 1980; Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College, 1953–57; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College), the probability of one person fulfilling 8 of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus is 1 in 1017. That's 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. Prof. Stoner illustrated this by saying, “if we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mess thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say it is the right one. Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”
Prof. Stoner went on to say that the probability of one person fulfilling 48 of the prophecies to be 1 in 10157. Jesus has fulfilled all of the fulfilled to date prophecies.
One last thing regarding the prophecies concerning the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. There are those who still refuse to believe the obvious, and they often will say, “Jesus didn't really fulfill all those prophecies. The guys who wrote the Bible just said he did, so that he would look like the Messiah.” At first glance this sounds like a reasonable argument. The problem with this argument, however, is that there were still eyewitnesses alive when these prophecies were written and distributed to the population. And when the first of the manuscripts now extant were written, there were still eyewitnesses alive, and yet as remarkable and as important as the implications are, there has been not one refutation ever been made by any eyewitness. Not one. Not even from those who did not believe. Not one refutation.
Interpretations and Contradictions:
Many people believe that there are many different interpretations of the Biblical text, and they point to the various translations, the different Christian denominations and the different explanations for some of the passages in the Bible. In actuality, however, among Christians and Christian Denominations, there is no real difference in the teaching or believing of the basic Christian doctrines. The problems that exist come about when people attempt to change the meaning of Scripture to fit or justify their own personal beliefs, rather than changing their beliefs to be in line with what Scripture teaches. The same holds true with denominations. Remember, just because an individual or a denomination says they are Christian doesn't necessarily mean their claim is true, especially if their beliefs and or teachings are at odds with God's clear teaching.
The various translations of the Bible also are not indicative of different interpretations, as each translation is based on the existing manuscripts. The only real difference is in the language used in the translation, whether from one country or another, or whether geared toward on aspect of society or another. They may seem different, but in reality they are essentially the same. This is not, however, necessarily true when it comes to Biblical paraphrases which are based more on that the paraphraser is attempting to communicate than on what the manuscripts say. Paraphrases are noted as such.
There is also the issue of Biblical contradictions, which some claim to show the Bible, or God, or both as faulty. The problem with this claim, however, is that these people who make these claims are cherry picking and taking passages out of context. When taken in context as a whole, there are no actual contradictions found in the Bible.
For more information:
Listing every bit of evidence that supports the Bible, in detail, would result in dozens of pages. Therefore, only some of those pieces of evidence are included here. For more examples of evidence that supports the Bible and Christianity, I would recommend “Evidence That Demands A Verdict,” “More Evidence That Demands A Verdict,” “A Ready Defense” (all by Josh McDowell), “When Skeptics Ask” by Norman Geisler and Ron Brooks, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, and “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis. Or, one can peruse the following websites:
Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry at http://carm.org/
The Christian Research Institute at http://www.equip.org/
Probe Ministries at http://www.probe.org