Presentation on theme: "Evidence of Biblical Truths It is easy to claim that you are telling the truth. It is quite a challenge to show that you are indeed telling the true story."— Presentation transcript:
Evidence of Biblical Truths It is easy to claim that you are telling the truth. It is quite a challenge to show that you are indeed telling the true story. So now we present historical and archeological evidence that the accounts in the Bible are true
Corroboration My basic philosophy: Never trust anything that you hear from one single source In any (reasonable) court of law, testimony from the victim alone cannot be used to convict. You need at least: –Other corroborative testimonies from eyewitnesses –Or physical or circumstantial evidence The Bible – if true – must be able to withstand the corroboration test: –Does other unbiased historical documents and archeology support the accounts in the Bible ?
Famous (non-Christian) Historian Roman Historians –Suetonius (c. 70 A.D.) wrote (under emperor Hadrian) about the lives of the Roman Caesars –Plutarch (c. 70 A.D.) – Roman-Greek historian that wrote on almost everyone (From Alexander the Great to Augustus) –Tacitus (c. 100 A.D.) wrote Annals (Roman history from Lucius Brutus till around 100 A.D.) –Pliny the Younger (c. 110 A.D.) Roman governor who write many letters to his emperor Trajan Jewish Historians –Josephus (c. 100 A.D.) wrote about Jewish antiquities and the Roman-Jewish war
Josephus on James, brother of Jesus In Antiquities, Book 20, Chapter 9: –Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned... Clearly, Jesephus does not accept that Jesus is the Christ ( who was called Christ) Josephus does confirm that: –Jesus existed –Jesus had a brother called James (see Galatians 1:18-19) –James died for a religious cause !
Josephus on Pontius Pilate In Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 3 –But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. A procurator is a person who manages the affairs of another by virtue of a charge received from him (in this case, from the Roman Emperor) Luke 3:1 says: –Pilate was the governor of Judea –Governor takes care of a place on behalf of the Emperor !
Josephus on Jesus death In Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 3 –Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. Note: verses in cyan were probably added later by some overly zealous (but stupid) Christian scribe
Tacitus on the Christian persecution In Annals, Book XV: –Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name (Christians) had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome (see Acts !!!), where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. – Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
Importance of Tacitus testimony Tacitus was a Roman Historian – he is neutral (not Jew, not Christian). His testimony is as unbiased as you can get Tacitus testified that a multitude of Christians would die a cruel death for their faith – these Christians included Peter, Paul and other disciples of Jesus Tacitus hinted at the miracle of Jesus resurrection: –He called it a most mischievous superstition…
Pliny the Younger on the Christians Pliny the Younger wrote many letters to his friend Emperor Tarjan to ask advice In one of Plinys letter: –Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your (i.e., Emperor Trajan) image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ -- none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do -- these I thought should be discharged. Pliny basically said that real Christians cannot be forced into worshiping any other god
Pliny on how he identify a Christian In a letter to Emperor Trajan, Pliny wrote: –Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed.... All you need to do to save your neck was to denounce Jesus as your savior ! –Yet, real Christians rather chose death –Why ? They saw Jesus die and came back to life...
Pliny was puzzled about the Christians Pliny was clearly puzzled about these Christian criminals, he wrote in a letter: –They (Christians) asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you... Clearly, these cant be crimes punishable by death...
Suetonius on the expulsion of Jews Roman Historian Suetonius wrote in Life of Claudius: –As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ?), he (Claudius) expelled them (Jews) from Rome. There is one other historian that wrote about the expulsion of Jews from Rome: –Acts 18:2 --- There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had been expelled from Italy as a result of Claudius Caesar's order to deport all Jews from Rome. –This Historian was Luke !
Bible and Archeology Unlike many other religious books, the Bible is a narrative in a historical setting –It talks about historical places and historical persons Many of the historical places and people mentioned in the Bible have been checked out by archeology –The places and the people in the Bible are just as real as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and other well known historical things –In fact, we have more accurate historical information on Jesus life and deeds than on Julius Caesar !
The Pool of Bethesda John 5:1-15 mentions that Jesus heals a man at the Pool of Bethesda. John gave the precise location and a description of the pool as having 5 porticoes (pillars): –John 5:1 --- After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is a pool at the Sheep Gate at Jerusalem, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches. For a long time, skeptics cited this as an example that Johns Gospel was inaccurate because no such place had been found.... Notice that John did not need to describe the details of the pool (with its 5 pillars) in his gospel…
The Pool of Bethesda Found In the 19 th century, archaeologists discovered the remains of a pool exactly matching the description in John's Gospel
The Pool of Siloam John 9:7 mentions another long disputed site: the Pool of Siloam near the Temple in Jerusalem This pool was also discovered in 1897
Pontius Pilate In 1961, an Italian archaeologist named Antonio Frova uncovered a fragment of a plaque that was used as a section of steps leading to the Caesarea Theater It reads: –TIBERIEUM –(PON)TIUS PILATUS –(PRAEF)ECTUS IUDA(EAE)
Rolling Stone burial tombs The Bible said that Jesus was buried in a tomb that had a circular stone as door They found many of these rolling stone tomb just outside Jerusalem...
Crucifixion Skeptics once had doubted that crucifixion was ever used – they deemed it too cruel They found these remains in a ossuary (Jewish burial box) dated around 100 A.D.: The nail was stuck and cant be pull away – they saw away the wood of the cross to take the body down
Strange way of taking a census Skeptics has criticized Luke 2:1-3 for a long time: –And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be registered, each to his own city. Skeptics pointed out that moving the whole population to his own city would cause major economic upheaval and Luke was probably making this up (i.e., fantasy…)
Strange census confirmed ! Around 1905, a papyrus containing a census edict by Gaius Vibius Maximus (Prefect of Egypt) dated around 104 A.D., saying: –The census by household having begun, it is essential that all those who are away from their nomes be summoned to return to their own hearths so that they may perform the customary business of registration and apply themselves to the cultivation which concerns them. nomes A nome was an Egyptian administrative district This ancient document supports the fact that the census account in the New Testament is indeed truthful !
Summary The Bible is written as a historical narrative Many of the people, events and places mentioned in the Bible have been proven to be historically accurate Some of the things in the Bible have not been (and will probably never be) confirmed, BUT: none of the people, events and places have even been proven to be untrue ! I believe that the authors of the Bible put the accounts in historical perspective to give us the assurance they have really happened – its not legend nor fairy tale ! If the things that we can check really happened, shouldnt we also consider about the possibility that the things in the Bible that we cant check (God) are also truthful ?