“LIVING AND SHARING THE GOSPEL”
January 28, 2018
“ANCIENT OF DAYS”
“JESUS WHAT A BEAUTIFUL NAME”
Prayers of Intercession
SERMON – Pastor David Perry
“I HAVE A HOPE“
Worship God in Spirit and Truth
Grow in His Grace and Knowledge
Share the Love and Hope we have in Christ.
I enjoy reading about archaeology—it’s an important and fascinating field of study that helps us understand how ancient people lived and how their civilizations developed. Though archaeology adds greatly to our understanding of the ancient world (including the world of the Bible), it is not accurate to say that archaeology “proves” the Bible. Though the Bible contains history, it is not primarily a book of history. Its main purpose is to share the story of God’s love and faithfulness, pointing us to Jesus. That information is primarily theological and thus cannot be “proved” from the artifacts of history. Such truths must be revealed to us by God himself, and he has used Holy Scripture as his tool.
That being said, archaeology does add to our understanding of the Bible. With the unearthing of ancient artifacts in the Near East, many archaeologists have seen the need to take a fresh look at the biblical account. The reality is that no archaeological discovery has ever contradicted those aspects of the biblical record that can be corroborated by archeological means. Steven Ortiz, professor of archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Charles D. Tandy Institute for Archaeology, teaches that when irregularities occur, or conflicts arise between the findings of archaeology and the Bible, it has turned out that it is our interpretation of scripture that needed correcting. That’s a lesson worth remembering.
Jerusalem Archaeological Park
There are many reputable books and magazine articles that show how archaeology confirms the historicity of the biblical record. A 2014 article in Biblical Archaeology Review summarizes the archaeological evidence for the existence of 53 biblical characters. An article in the archaeology journal Bible and Spade provides the following list of archaeological findings that verify the historical and cultural accuracy of the Bible:
- The palace at Jericho where Eglon, king of Moab, was assassinated by Ehud (Judges 3:15-30).
- The east gate of Shechem where Gaal and Zebul watched the forces of Abimelech approach the city (Judges 9:34-38).
- The Temple of Baal/El-Berith in Shechem, where funds were obtained to finance Abimelech’s kingship, and where the citizens of Shechem took refuge when Abimelech attacked the city (Judges 9:4, 46-49).
- The pool of Gibeon where the forces of David and Ishbosheth fought during the struggle for the kingship of Israel (2 Sam. 2:12-32).
- The Pool of Heshbon, likened to the eyes of the Shulammite woman (Song of Songs 7:4).
- The royal palace at Samaria where the kings of Israel lived (1 Kings 20:43; 21:1; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:2; 15:25).
- The Pool of Samaria where King Ahab’s chariot was washed after his death (1 Kings 22:29-38).
- The water tunnel beneath Jerusalem dug by King Hezekiah to provide water during the Assyrian siege (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chron. 32:30).
- The royal palace in Babylon where King Belshazzar held the feast and Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5).
- The royal palace in Susa where Esther was queen of the Persian king Xerxes (Esther 1:2; 2:3, 5, 9, 16).
- The royal gate at Susa where Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, sat (Esther 2:19, 21; 3:2, 3; 4:2; 5:9, 13; 6:10, 12).
- The square in front of the royal gate at Susa where Mordecai met with Halthach, Xerxes’ eunuch (Esther 4:6).
- The foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus cured a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28) and delivered the sermon on the bread of life (John 6:25-59).
- The house of Peter at Capernaum where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and others (Matt. 8:14-16).
- Jacob’s well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (John 4).
- The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a crippled man (John 5:1-14).
- The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-4).
- The tribunal at Corinth where Paul was tried (Acts 18:12-17).
- The theater at Ephesus where the riot of silversmiths occurred (Acts 19:29).
- Herod’s palace at Caesarea where Paul was kept under guard (Acts 23:33-35).
The biblical record has been confirmed through many archaeological excavations, including these three:
Excavation at Bagazkoy, Turkey
Lion Gate, Hattusa
Though mentioned 50 times in the Old Testament, the Hittites were once thought to be nothing more than a biblical legend, casting doubt on the validity of people mentioned in the Old Testament such as Ahimelech the Hittite (1 Sam. 26:6) and Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam. 23:39). The first mention of Hittites in Scripture is with the story of Abraham, who bought a field from Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 15:20; 23:3-18). Later, Esau took two wives from amongst the Hittites (Gen. 26:34; 36:2). Archaeologists excavated the ancient Hittite capital city of Hattusa (modern day Bogazkoy, Turkey) in the late 19th and early 20th century. They found many records, which were corroborated by other extra-biblical references of the Hittite civilization.
Excavation at Ebla, Syria
At right is a picture of one of the 1800 clay tablets (dated from around 2300 B.C.) discovered in the 1970s in Ebla, Syria. Critics and skeptics said that the name Canaan was not in use at such an early date and the word tehom (“the deep” used in Gen. 1:2) was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. When archaeologists failed to find widespread destruction of Canaanite cities, they at first dismissed the Bible’s account of Joshua’s conquest. But when they looked at the book of Joshua more closely, they realized that only three cities were destroyed: Jericho, Ai and Hazor. This Ebla tablet demonstrates that the word tehom was in use at Ebla about 800 years before Moses, and it included the term Canaan. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from other archeological sites including Nuzi and Mari.
Excavation at Tel Dan, Israel
In 1993, a broken fragment of basalt stone was discovered at Tel Dan (at the foot of Mt. Hermon) in the north of Israel. The fragment came from a large stone about 12.5 inches high and 8.7 inches wide. Apparently, the stone had been purposely broken in antiquity. The fragment mentions King David’s dynasty, “the House of David.” Two additional fragments were recovered in two separate locations in 1994. According to pottery fragments recovered in probes beneath the flagstone pavement where the fragments were found, they were laid at the end of the 9th or beginning of the 8th century B.C. This discovery provided an archaeological connection to the biblical references of the ruling dynasty established by King David approximately two centuries before the events mentioned in the inscription. Not only is this the first mention of King David, it is also the earliest mention of a biblical figure outside of the Bible.
These and many other archaeological discoveries have confirmed the historicity of the biblical account. That does not surprise me, though it does fascinate me! If you’d like to read about more such discoveries, I recommend the e-book, Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries.
Appreciating how archaeology confirms the Bible,
CHINESE GOVERNMENT BLOWS UP CHRISTIAN MEGACHURCH–A WARNING TO LOCAL CHURCHES
Systematic persecution continues for Chinese Christians
As many as 50,000 Christians in China lifted their voices to the heavens at the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, China. Now, that seems like a long, long time ago.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 9, the well-known megachurch, which reportedly was built with nearly $3 million in contributions from local worshippers in one of China’s poorest regions, was a pile of dust and rubble after Chinese paramilitary forces reportedly used excavators and dynamite to destroy the church, and with it, the hopes and dreams of many believers in the area.
According to ChinaAid, a watchdog organization that keeps track of religious freedom in China, the police faction that destroyed the church reports to some of the country’s highest officials. China’s military police has been under the direct control of the central government since the head of the public security bureau, which previously commanded it, was arrested last year–indicating that the order to destroy the church came from China’s top officials instead of the less-powerful local authorities.
A WARNING TO LOCAL CONGREGATIONS
The attack underscores rising tensions between Chinese officials and Christians. In November, Open Doors reported on three troubling developments facing Christians in China and last month reported that in several areas of the country, Christmas celebrations were banned or highly discouraged. The destruction of the megachurch undoubtedly serves as a warning to local churches, as revised religious regulation will be implemented very soon.
†† Pastor’s Corner ††
Pastor David Perry & Jonnie
Here we are in the midst of the winter doldrums. Weather, sickness and darkness take their toll on us – don’t they? We are all waiting for Spring, with warmer temperatures and the beautiful flowers that will bloom. However, this time of year has some benefits too! If you are like me, I have more time inside due to not having to do all the outside activities such as gardening, mowing, taking care of flower beds, etc. It is a good time to catch up on reading what you have been meaning to read for months, writing or emailing “thinking of you” or “hope you feeling better” notes to others, and spending a little more time reading and studying that which feeds your spirit. I really found interesting Joe Tkach’s article in this bulletin concerning archaeology and the Bible. Spend some time reading it, as well as the article on Persecution in China.
Our denominational home office sent this out as a devotional. Greg Williams response if excellent.
Grace Communion International – GCI – Jan. 15, 2018
United as the body of Christ, nothing can separate what God has joined together. The hope of Ephesians 4:4-6 is its affirmation that God’s fingerprints cover all of history and are all over our lives. His glory is in and among us! Cling to this truth today, the Spirit is making his home in our hearts: helping, healing, and making us holy. He is always on the move rescuing and redeeming us. Our transformation is both individual and corporate. Today, let us seek to see how Jesus is transforming each of us and calling us to work together. Ask the Spirit to reveal, in what practical ways can I keep in step with the unity of the Spirit?
Greg Williams The phrase “His glory is in us and among us” strikes me. We tend to see the outward aspects of God’s glory in the beauty and grandeur of creation. But what about seeing His Glory in the people around us? And even more so in ourselves? All of our good thoughts, all of our kind actions, and all of the joy we experience is an expression of His presence. He indwells us. He has us on this amazing ride of taking us from glory to glory. The track star of Chariots of Fire said this “When I run I feel His good pleasure.” I pray that you feel his good pleasure today!
Our lives are to be lived out in the power of the Spirit, as a grateful & loving response to what Jesus has done, is doing and will do through us. What a Great God we have! – Pastor David
Prayers for our Country and Pres. Trump
Prayers for the Body of Christ World Wide
Our Persecuted Christian Brothers & Sisters Around The World
Local Prayer Requests
JW Holmes-(friend of Vicki Auxier) has leukemia Dr’s say two years to live.
Mary Coffey, prayers for healing, strength & encouragement.
Jerry Hudson, PRAISE new med. is helping him. Pray for complete healing
Anita – (niece of Barb Hudson) – very serious illness needs treatment & healing
Other Prayer Requests
Jim Dunbar – Recovery from bacterial infection
Donna Dunar – CT scan Feb. 1
John – (Anita Franz sister Irene’s husband) cancerous tumor on his pancreas
Essie (Anita Franz’s sister) Recovery from a fall
Doug Whitlock – Prayers for recovery from and answers to his health issues. Prayers for his wife Connie and her family.
Al Talison (GCI Indy) His first cataract surgery, on his left eye, went well. He has cataract surgery on his right eye Feb 2
Peggy Perry She has completed here chemo, and now will most likely begin radiation in February. She thanks all her family for your prayers.
Joseph & Georgette Franklin, Our Haiti Church & School– Prayers for safety & blessing & provision.
Joe & Tammy Tkach – Protection, safety, wisdom & encouragement
Our Persecuted Christian Brothers and Sisters Around The World
For Divine Appointments To Touch Others With Jesus’ Life & Love