Archaeology news: ‘One-of-a-kind’ discovery proves Old Testament prophet was right – claim

Christianity ‘turned to archaeology to promote bible’ says expert

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Most people pick up the Holy Bible when in need of divine inspiration and spiritual comfort. There are, however, those who study the Bible’s books and chapters to learn more about the history of the Holy Land and its people. Paired with the numerous archaeological discoveries made since the dawn of the 20th century, experts like Tom Meyer of Shasta Bible College in the US, are convinced the Bible stands up to historical scrutiny.

One notable event that is described on the pages of the Bible is the Babylonian conquest of ancient Judah.

The conquest led to the downfall of Jerusalem, which is believed to have been besieged in the sixth century BC by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

The attack followed the bloody Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, where the armies of Egypt and allies clashed with the Babylonians.

According to some estimates, the siege of Jerusalem began in 589 BC and ended when the city and its temple were destroyed in 587 or 586 BC.

The siege is described in 2 Kings 25:3, which reads: “And the city was kept under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year.

“By the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine in the city was so severe that the people of the land had no food.”

But before Jerusalem fell prey to the Babylonians, the ruthless armies marched through the Philistine city of Ekron possibly in 603 or 604 BC.

According to Professor Meyer, the city’s destruction was prophesied some 40 years earlier by the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah – and he believes evidence of the city’s destruction prove the prophet was right.

The Bible expert said: “A one-of-a-kind archaeological discovery has been made that validates the prediction of an Old Testament prophet.

“Zephaniah was a court prophet who ministered in Jerusalem during the time of King Josiah (640 to 610 BC).

“Zephaniah predicted the catastrophic results of the coming Babylon invasion upon the surrounding nations of Judah and upon Judah itself.”

Zephaniah singled out the Philistines among Judah’s neighbours as one of the target’s of the Babylonian invasion.

His prophecies, in particular, pointed to the city of Ekron being destroyed by the invaders.

Zephaniah 2:4 reads: “For Gaza will be abandoned, and Ashkelon left in ruins.

“Ashdod will be driven out at noon, and Ekron will be uprooted.

“Woe to the dwellers of the seacoast, O nation of the Cherethites!

“The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines: ‘I will destroy you, and no one will be left.'”

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Professor Meyer said: “In 1996 Israeli archaeologist Trude Dothan was excavating what she thought to be the famous Philistine city of Ekron but still couldn’t prove it.

“Then, after 14 seasons of excavation, the archaeologists stumbled upon something unexpected, for the first time ever in archaeological history, they discovered a monumental inscription that names a biblical city and its kings in situ (in its original position) and in a destruction layer that can be dated.

“Dating to around 690 BC, the Ekron Inscription itself is complete and contains five lines of 71 letters written with a Phoenician influence.”

The inscription commemorated the dedication of a Philistine sanctuary at a temple complex.

Five kings of Ekron are named in the inscription as well as a dedication to the goddess that commemorated the temple.

Professor Meyer said: “But the destruction layer the archaeologists found the Ekron Inscription in is from 87 years later, dating to around 603 BC which is when the city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon as Zephaniah predicted some 40 years beforehand.

“Though it took around 2,600 years to correctly identify the Philistine city of Ekron and prove that the city was indeed destroyed by the Babylonians around 603 BC as Zephaniah the prophet predicted, this one-of-a-kind discovery once again validates the Bible’s historical accuracy.”

Whether the inscription proves the Old Testament prophet right or simply proves the city was destroyed might be a matter of personal belief, but Professor Meyer is certain the Bible’s pages shed light on the Holy Land’s ancient history.

He added: “In every case where the historicity of the Biblical account can be tested, the Bible has demonstrated again and again to be historically accurate.”

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