Hey Everybody, for the past two years I’ve been sharing the love of the Messiah Jesus with a dear friend of mine. Many of our spiritual discussions would always come back to the authenticity and reliability of the Scriptures.
Whenever I would begin to quote the Bible, he would immediately consider my argument flawed. See, to my friend the Bible was nothing more than a book of myths conjured up by some ancient men. I knew if I was going to prove to him that God was real and Jesus was the Messiah I had to first prove the Scriptures are real. The Lord laid on my heart to start a discussion about archaeology!
The next time I met with my friend we had a rousing discussion about the numerous archaeological finds coming out of Israel and the impact they’ve had on proving that the Scriptures are authentic and trustworthy. I encouraged my intelligent friend to read a book by Dr. K.A. Kitchens, On the Reliability of the Old Testament. It wasn’t long after our discussion began on archaeology he came to the realize that there is enough factual evidence to prove that the Bible, both Old and New Testament, is real!
Folks, I’ve come to this conclusion… we live in a world that is becoming more and more skeptical about the authenticity and reliability of the Word of God. Documentaries on TV dilute the Scriptures to folklore, professors in colleges and universities teach young adults the Bible is broken beyond repair, and mainstream media mocks any mention of God’s Word as a source of truth. As believers we need to be prepared to prove the Bible is more than simply a mystical tome, but alive and well and applicable today.
For the next three weeks I want to examine three significant archaeological finds that help prove to a skeptical world that the Bible is real! This week we’re going to dig into the Tel Dan Stele. This small stone inscription has had a profound impact on validating the authenticity of the Scriptures.
Tel Dan Stele
Before 1993 many liberal biblical scholars were teaching that King David, from the Old Testament, was merely an imaginary character. According to these scholars, the author of 1 & 2 Samuel did nothing more than fashion together fictitious stories of a hero-like king who could take down giants like Goliath, unify the unruly tribes of Israel, and dream big enough to build a permanent temple for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
These doubting scholars argued that David must not have existed since his name cannot be found in any ancient writing outside of the Bible. According to them, if King David was so influential in making Israel a great nation and establishing Jerusalem as her capital then his name would surely appear somewhere else in the annals of history.
Yet, in God’s divine providence, archaeologists were digging in the northern part of Israel around an area called Tel Dan in 1993/1994. As they were systematically searching this 3000 year old hill they stumbled upon a small rock slab with ancient Aramaic writing on it. As they were translating this 2900 year old inscription they came across a phrase that sent shockwaves all throughout the scholarly world… the ancient inscription had the words “the house of David” chiseled on the front of the slab. These are words you can’t erase! (Highlighted text in picture reads “House of David”)
For decades liberal scholars taught, lectured, and journaled that David wasn’t real because his name only existed in the Bible. This information was taught in seminaries and spoken from the pulpit of liberal churches. But now we have rock solid evidence (no pun intended) that the David of the Scriptures did actually exist.
You know, this is such an important archaeological find because without a real King David the message of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah is incomplete. Ultimately, if David is fake then Jesus is fake. When Paul is describing the fullness of the gospel in Romans, one of the major elements of the good news is that Jesus is both God and man. Paul says, “concerning his Son (Jesus), who was descended from David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3). Jesus’ being a descendent of the real King David, as God promised, is connected to the truth that the “Word became flesh” (John 1:14).
This is important information to have on hand in a world that criticizes and scrutinizes every letter in the Word of God.
Tel Dan Stele (click for more information)