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Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 7, Chapter 3

The Old Testament:
Absolutely Reliable Historically

Back to chapter 2

The first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis through Deuteronomy, also called the Five Books of Moses, are known as the Pentateuch, deriving from the Greek word pentateuchos meaning "five-volumed [books]."32/957 The collection of these five books was first called the Pentateuch by Origen in the third century A.D. in his commentary on the Gospel of John.291/495 Jewish tradition has called these five books the Torah, deriving from the Hebrew word hr;/T (t ra),292 meaning "instruction"; also the Book of the Law, the Law of Moses or simply the Law.

Jesus said concerning the Torah, recorded in the Gospel of John 5:46-47, "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" In this statement Jesus clearly states that Moses and Moses alone is the Author of the Torah. Not only does Jesus affirm Moses’ authorship but makes it plain that if we do not take what Moses wrote in these five books as absolute truth that we will not accept what He taught or His claims about Himself as absolute truth either.

Unfortunately in our day this is exactly what has come about. In the Church as well as outside the Church, Moses’ authorship of the Torah is no longer accepted and the majority of the sayings of Jesus even in the New Testament are no longer accepted as His sayings. This has also led to a denial of Jesus’ deity as well. Deny the literal historical account of Genesis and you no longer accept the literal historical account of Jesus in the New Testament. Deny this and we lose any possibility of salvation. This is because Salvation comes through believing what Jesus said about Himself: that He died on the cross for our sins (1 Cor 15:3-4) and that the Father gave us absolute proof that He accepts His death for our sins through bringing Jesus back from the dead

(Romans 1:2, 4:25, 10:9-10). Deny these truths and we have no means of salvation. Therefore our faith in the Bible as the Word of God is critical if we are to be saved.

How did this all come about and what is this centered in? It started with Darwin’s theory of Evolution which was then followed on this premise with the teaching of a man by the name of Julius Welhausen in 1895 known as the Documentary Hypothesis. By the use of literary criticism, this hypothesis sets forth the idea that the Torah is not written by Moses, as the Bible claims, nor did the events or miracles in the Torah happen as they are stated, but rather they are a made up record of the evolutionary development of the Jewish faith recorded hundreds of years after the death of Moses. One of the main reasons why Welhausen and his associates came to this conclusion was because throughout the book of Genesis and the rest of the Torah several different names for God are used. There are reasons for Moses’ different use of these names in the Old Testament which we will explain later. Understand, however, that Welhausen and his associates did not set forth this hypothesis based on any outside evidence of earlier manuscripts or through findings in archaeology, which in fact do support the Old Testament as it stands, but as a result of a previous belief in evolution and unbelief in God, miracles and His supernatural intervention in the affairs and lives of men. Because of there previous disposition toward the Bible they therefore had to come up with naturalistic explanations for the supernatural accounts given to us in the Torah and the Old Testament. As a result the Documentary Hypothesis was born.

In the more than hundred years that have passed since the putting forth of this hypothesis, not one fact of history or discovery through the science of Archaeology has ever given any support to this hypothesis. Despite this fact, it is still taught as fact in all of our higher educational institutions as well as in most of our Christian higher educational institutions today. The Documentary Hypothesis is taught as fact because it gives governments, scientists, higher institutions of learning and the individual a false reason for stripping away and rejecting the restricting moral laws of God recorded in the Bible (see ch 9)

illustration of Documentary Hypothesis

The Documentary Hypothesis teaches the following: first, that Moses could not have written the Torah because there was no written language in his time and social morals were not highly developed enough to reflect what was recorded in the Torah. Therefore, the Torah had to have been written up to 1,000 years after Moses’ death by primarily four editors known by the initials J, E, P, and D. As has already been explained, their supposed strongest evidence for this is the different divine names used and because of the seeming literary variations in the text. J stands for an author who used primarily the name Yehovah for God. E stands for an Author who used primarily Elohim for the name God. D stands for Deuteronomy supposedly written around 621 BC instead of 1450 BC during the life of Moses. Finally P stands for Priestly.

According to the Documentary Hypo-thesis, J, or Yehovah, was the first writer who supposedly put together Hebrew teachings on legends, myths, poems and well known stories. He supposedly lived about the time of David or Solomon, years after Moses died. He is called the Yahwest author because of his use of the name Yehovah for God. I say supposedly because again there are no historical documents in existence which give any support or confirmation to this interpretation of how the Torah came about.

E, or Elohim, a second author supposedly gathered all the traditions into one history. Without any external evidence archaeologically or otherwise to back it up, it is postulated that he wrote this material about 750 BC (Moses wrote it in 1450 BC), possibly during when the Northern Kingdom, Israel, was threatened by enemies. They give some credit to Moses because they use the name Elohim before the time of Moses because they did believe that the name Yehovah was first revealed to Moses. Because this is true they gave special emphasis to Moses. One might ask how they know this since according to them Moses couldn’t write. After Jerusalem was destroyed, another unknown editor combined J and E’s works around 700 BC

P, Priestly writings were supposedly put together by a group of priests who worked out a code of holiness for the people as to how they were to worship and the laws they were to keep. They included in this work practices of worship, sacrifices, laws and genealogies. Again, supposedly, this collection of writings was done during Israel’s exile to Babylon and eventually worked into the JE documents around 400 B.C. Welhausen believed that they over emphasized the intervention of God and made some actions almost magical. This is because Welhausen and his associates did not believe in the supernatural and is why they had to come up with this hypothesis which was to explain away the supernatural and give a natural evolutionary development of the Jewish religion. Again there are no historical documents or archaeological facts in existence to support this postulation.

Finally, the D, or Deuteromic document, which supposedly had as its purpose reform in religious practices. Supposedly J, E and P were not yet united into a single work when D was composed around the dark days of Manasseh or during the brighter years of Josiah. Again, this assumption was made without any historical or archaeological evidence to back it up. The supposed purpose of this work was a spiritual rallying point around which the disorganized forces of the national religion could bring unity among themselves. It reaffirmed the fundamental principles which Moses had long ago insisted on which was loyalty to Yehovah and the removal and rejection of all false gods. It was an effort to realize in practice the ideals of the prophets, especially of Hosea and Isaiah, to transform demoralized Judah by Manasseh into the "holy nation" pictured in Isaiah’s vision, and to renew and awaken in Israel devotion to Yehovah and love for man which Hosea had taught was man’s first priorities.35/29-32

What are these assumptions and this hypothesis based on? Nothing. There where no JEPD documents in existence that Welhausen and his associates based this on and in the hundred years that have passed no archaeologist has ever found one document to support the Documentary Hypothesis. As we will reveal in this Chapter, there are however many historical documents and archaeological discoveries that give complete support to the Torah having been written in the second millennium BC and through Moses’ authorship. There are also many historical documents and archeological facts which support the Old and New Testament’s historical accounts as they stand as well, which is the discussion of this and the following Chapters.

WHO IS GOD?

Who is God according to the Judeo-Christian Bible? In Chapter 3 of Section 3 we go into great depth about the Old and New Testament teaching on the Trinity. Moses, who wrote the Torah, gives us several names for God which describe different aspects of His character. Some of them are the following: El, lae, the simple universal term for God that comes from a root meaning "strength," "might," or "power."293 Moses first uses this in Genesis 14:18. El occurs some 200 times in the Old Testament.295

Which El is Moses talking about? El-Shaddai, yD;v'-la,, meaning: God Almighty or God is Sufficient, or Omnipotent-El.294 God first reveals himself as El-Shaddai to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 "And when Abram was a son of ninety-nine years, Yehovah appeared to Abram and said to him, I am El-Shaddai." El is still the Hebrew term for God here but Shaddai describes something about His character. Shaddai means almighty, all-sufficient, omnipotent. The El of Abraham is El-Almighty.

Another name of God derived from the root El which is the most common word used for God in the Hebrew Old Testament is the word Elohim, !yhiloa>.251 As we shared in Chapter 3 of Section 3 this is a compound word of lae meaning God and !yhi meaning These. Together Elohim means These-are-God. Moses first uses this in Genesis 1:1 where he wrote "In-the-beginning Elohim created the heavens and the-earth." We know it is a singular plural meaning These-are-God because it is followed with the singular verb barah, ar;b; meaning He-created which is third masculine singular, thus indicating that Elohim is a singular plural. A singular verb always follows a singular noun in Hebrew. Moses reveals to us right in the first verse of Genesis the God he talks about is the One Triune God taught throughout the Old and New Testament: the God who is of one essence but manifested in three Persons: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The clear evidence for this in Scripture and in the Hebrew text is explained in Chapter 3 of Section 3 in this textbook. This is why Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4 uses the word for God: Elohim, when He says "Hear Israel! Yehovah our-Elohim, Yehovah is one!" Not three God’s in one but One God of one essence manifested in three Persons.

The Hebrew term for God, Elohim, is the universal name for God found in other ancient cultures whenever talking about God in a universal sense. Moses uses Elohim exclusively in the first Chapter of Genesis because what He has to say about the creation of the earth, man and the universe relates to all men in general, thus he uses the general name for God recognized by all men.

In Genesis 2:2 Moses wrote: "This is the birth of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Yehovah Elohim made the earth and the heavens" (Genesis 2:4). Now Moses reveals to us which Elohim he is referring to, not the els of the Egyptians or the other surrounding nations, but Yehovah Elohim.250 He reveals this to us now to emphasize and reveal the character of Yehovah involved in creating man of which he goes into great detail in this Chapter and of which I expound on in detail in Chapters 7 and 8 of Section 1 of this Textbook.

The book of Exodus in the Bible is the story of God delivering the Israelites out of bondage to Egypt. When God called Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask him to release the Israelites out of slavery, Moses asked God what His name was so he could tell the Israelites who the God was that sent him for their deliverance: Exodus 3:14-15,

"Then Moses said to Elohim, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, "The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you." Now they may say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?’ And Elohim said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM;’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, "Yehovah has sent me to you."’" (Exodus 3:13-14)

The name of God, Yehovah, is the personal name of the Hebrew God describing his person and character. It is a form of the Hebrew verb to be and means I Am that I Am and describes His eternal self sustaining existence. While man previously knew God by the name Yehovah, God tells Moses in Exodus 6:3 that He had not revealed Himself to man by this name until He delivered the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt.

"Elohim spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am Yehovah; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as El-Shaddai, but by My name, Yehovah, I did not make Myself known to them.’" (Exodus 6:2-3)

God did not mean here that He had not made His name, Yehovah, known before, but that He had not made known his character and power by that name manifested through His deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage to Egypt. Before they only knew Him in character by the name El-Shaddai, a compound word meaning "God Almighty". They knew him in character as God-Almighty. However, because of the exodus and His providing them all that they needed during their forty years in the wilderness, now they know Him in character as the all sufficient God: Yehovah, "I am that I am."

Throughout the Old Testament, the names of the Prophets also describe aspects of God’s character. The following are examples of this: Isaiah, Why:[]v'y], meaning: "The salvation of Yehovah."296 Jeremiah, hy:m]r]yI, meaning: "whom Yehovah appoints."297 Jeremiah wrote,

"Now the word of Yehovah came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’" (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Another example of a person in the Bible which describes the character of Yehovah is Joshua, ['vu/hy, who took over the leadership of Moses when he died and led the Israelites into the promised land. His name means: "Yehovah is Salvation."298 Finally their is Jesus’ name. When Joseph found Mary, his wife to be, pregnant, he planned to put her away secretly because he had not had sexual relations with her, so he knew the child was not his. As he was contemplating this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him the following:

"And as he was thinking on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord was seen by him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name JESUS, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’" (Matthew 1:20-21)

What is the significance of the name Jesus? The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yeshua, ['Wvwhoy,286 translated Yesoo, jIhsou',286 in the Greek and Jesus in English. It means "Yehovah is Savior". The angel is telling us that Jesus is to be named Jesus because He will save us from our sins. God speaking through Isaiah in Isaiah 43:10-13 tells us about Himself,

"‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Yehovah, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was NO EL formed 220 and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am Yehovah; and there is NO SAVIOR besides Me. . . . So you are My witnesses,’ declares Yehovah, ‘And I am El. Even from eternity I am He.’"

Yehovah God tells us several things about Himself in this passage:

  1. Before Him there was no God formed.

  2. Two, there will be no God formed after Him.

  3. Three, that there is no Savior besides Him.

  4. Four, that His existence is from eternity past.

This passage forever dispels the myth that a created man can become God as is taught by some religions. Yehovah God tells us through Isaiah that He is the Only God, that there was no God formed before Him and that there will be no God formed after Him. Yehovah God tells us that He is the only God that exists, that He is the only God who has ever existed and that He is the only God who will ever exist.

Yehovah tells us something else about Himself. He states, "...there is no Savior besides Me." Yehovah God tells us that He also is the only Savior that exists.

The Angel of the Lord tells Joseph to name the child Jesus because He, the child, will Save man from his sins. Matthew and the angel of the Lord tell us that Jesus is Yehovah God who will save us from our sins. Jesus is God and Jesus is Savior. Jesus is Yehovah God of the Old Testament who became man to save us from our sins. Yehovah God tells us that He is from eternity and Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Jesus is the Father of eternity,

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful,299 Counselor300, Mighty-El301, Father-of-Eternity302, Prince-of-Peace303." (Isaiah 9:6)

Why so many different names of Jesus? Because each of these names describes a different aspect of His attributes and character.

Jesus is Yehovah God because only Yehovah God is Savior and Jesus is our Savior. Yehovah God of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ of the New Testament are one and the same person. Jesus is Yehovah God our Creator and Savior. That is the meaning and significance of the name Jesus, it tells us about Jesus’ character and who He is. This is what Jesus was talking about in John 5:46-47 when he said, "For if you believed Moses you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me." Who was Moses writing about? Yehovah Elohim. Jesus tells us in this passage that Moses was writing about Him. This is what the Apostle John wrote in the beginning of the Gospel of John:

Illustration of Jesus

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. . . . All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1, 3, 14)

John tells us that Jesus is the one through whom all things that exist were created. Jesus is our Creator. Jeremiah the prophet records about Yehovah, "Ah Lord Yehovah! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You." Yehovah God later states in Response, "... Yehovah who made the earth, Yehovah who formed it to establish it, Yehovah is His name." (Jer 32:17, 33:2). Isaiah the prophet records Yehovah God as saying, "But now, thus says Yehovah, your Creator. . . . I am Yehovah your Elohim, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (Isaiah 43:1, 3). Jeremiah and Isaiah tell us that Yehovah God is the Creator and the Savior and since Yehovah God tells us that He alone is God and Savior, for Jesus to claim to be the Creator and Savior of man is for Jesus to claim to be Yehovah God, the Creator and Savior, in the flesh.

What the
Historical Documents &
Archaeological
Discoveries
Show us

We see now that the fact that the Bible has many names for God is because each of these different names describe another aspect of His character. One should note that each of these names are not different names, but compound words composed of one or the other of God’s primary titles: Yah, short for Yehovah; or El, short for Elohim, with an adjective attached describing something about His attributes and character. In my book titled, The Literal Historical Reliability of Genesis,34 I go into much greater detail about the many names of God in the Bible and their significance. Also in my book, Understanding Your Salvation in Jesus,304 I go into great detail about the Old and New Testament’s claim of Jesus as being the God: Yehovah Elohim.

Do historical documents and archaeological discoveries support this? Yes they do! One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the second half of the twentieth century is the ancient civilization of Ebla.179/735 The significance of this find is that this civilization existed more than 1,000 years before Moses’ time and thus can be used to test the historical accuracy of the first five books of the Bible, especially Genesis.

Ebla was first discovered by Dr. Paolo Matthiae of the University of Rome in 1968.

Illustration of Ebla

In 1975 while digging up the ruins of a palace he came across the greatest third millennium archive ever unearthed, up to 17,000 cuneiform tablets.179/731 These 4,300 year old tablets found in north western Syria show that Ebla rivaled Egypt and Mesopotamia as a major power of the ancient world.

By ancient standards Ebla was a megalopolis with a population of more than 260,000 people. Ebla had a democratic form of government. Though Ebla had walls around the city up to 150 feet tall, the palace had no walls around it. A king became king not because of lineage but by election. The king was responsible for the welfare of widows, the orphaned and the poor. If a king became derelict, a king could be ousted by a group of elders.179/741, 744 It was destroyed in 2250 BC by Naram-Sin, grandson of Sargan the Great.34/68

What did they discover in this find? They found that the tablets list more than 5,000 place names and picture Ebla as an economic giant that traded with Byblos, Mari, Assur, Kish, Khamazi, and other ancient cities. Ebla’s tablets record commercial records, treaties, chronicles and the history of a Semitic empire with Ebla as its center that once dominated much of the Middle East.179/731, 734-735 Howard La Fay, in a December 1978 National Geographic magazine, explains why these tablets survived in such good condition over 4,300 years of time.

"I looked down into the palace archive. The sockets of the wooden shelves that had held the incredible collection of clay tablets still pierced the plastered walls; the shelves themselves had burned, and collapsed around 2250 B.C. Ironically, the flames of destruction had baked the clay, preserving the texts for posterity." 179/731, 734-740

*Sodom and Gomorrah’s
Existence Confirmed:

Biblical cities mentioned in these tablets as related to The Book of Genesis are Sodom and Gomorrah and the five cities of the plains mentioned in Genesis Chapter 14 spelled exactly the same way as they are in Genesis. Previous to this find these cities and Sodom and Gomorrah were thought to be mythical only. 179/25-25

*Noah’s Existence Confirmed:

A second aspect of the Ebla Tablets which show the literal-historical reliability of Genesis are names mentioned such as Abraham, Esau, and Saul. Present as well is a name never found in ancient literature, except in the Old Testament: David. Further, the name of a king Ebrium, who reigned about 2200 BC, bears resemblance to Eber of The Book of Genesis, who was the great-great-grandson of Noah and the great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of Abraham, the Biblical progenitor of the Hebrews.179/736

*Moses Had The Knowledge to Write The First Five Books of The Bible:

Julius Welhausen made a major assumption that the reason Moses could not have been the author of the Torah was because there was no existing alphabet in the Middle East in his life time. The discovery of Ebla, however, not only reveals an alphabet 750 years before Moses’ lifetime, but three distinct alphabets: Akkadian, Sumarian and Eblaite.181/393 Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic are derived from Akkadian.385\79

Another critical presupposition made about Israel was that they could not possibly have developed in their day the moral legal system the Torah reveals. It was claimed that this moral legal system in Israel did not reach this stage of development until 800 to 1,000 years after Moses’ death. The tablets, however, found at Tell Mardikh, reveal that Ebla had comparable laws 700 years before Moses.180/25 One should also consider that Moses was raised a prince of Egypt in all of the learning and sciences of Egypt. Knowing this fact, to say that Moses did not know how to write is ridiculous.

As we have already dealt with, Biblical scholars have for years claimed that the Torah had several authors, not just the one, Moses, because several names are used for God like Elohim and Yehovah. Reverend Mitchell Dahood, Dean of the Pontifical Biblical Institute’s oriental Faculty and a renowned authority on the languages of the ancient Middle East shares that they discovered in the Ebla Tablets the names "Il" (El short for Elohim) and "Yah" (short for Yehovah) combined with Northwest Semitic personal names showing clearly that the name Yehovah was known 1,000 years before Moses. Some of the compound names discovered were Mi-ka-il, our modern "Michael", meaning "who is like El?"; and "Mi-ka-ya", meaning "who is like Yah?".179/737-738

There are many other examples in Archaeology which provides an answer for the use of the compound name Yehovah-Elohim. Cyrus Gordon found at Ugarit (1400-1350 BC) deities with compound names. For example: Qadish-Amrar is the name of one and Ibb-Nikkal another. Thus it was discovered that it was common in ancient civilizations to use compound names for a god.269/132-133

Amon-Re, the most famous god with a compound name, was a deity that resulted from the Egyptian conquest under the 18th dynasty. Amon was the god of the city of Thebes where the political power existed, while Re was the universal sun god. These two gods were combined because of the political leadership in Thebes and the universalism of Re. But Amon-Re is one god. This sheds light on the combination of Yehovah-Elohim. Yehovah refers to the specifics of the deity, while Elohim is more of a general or universal designation of the deity. This consolidation of Yehovah-Elohim demonstrates that Yehovah equals Elohim, which can be restated "Yehovah is God." Yet the documentarians tell us that Yehovah-Elohim is the result of combining the two documents J and E. This is as unfounded as using an A document and R document to explain the compound deity Amon-Re.

Documentarians assume that the evolution of moral laws was not high enough in Moses day for him to have written the moral laws in the Torah. Our modern day witnesses to the fact that when man does not have God’s revealed moral law as given in the Bible, he does not progress to higher moral law, but does away with it all together. However, concerning this argument of Moses’ time, Millar Burrows in his book, What Mean These Stones?, documents that the standards in ancient law codes of the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Hittites, as well as the high ideals found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the early Wisdom Literature of the Egyptians, completely refute these arguments.305/46 It was not Israel’s moral standards that were raised by the surrounding cultures, but rather Israel who when they entered Canaan and encountered their pagan worship replaced it with their One God, Yehovah, and with Yehovah’s severe codes of ethics.

Concerning "The Priestly code," of the Torah the Documentarian Pfeiffer postulates: "Like all legislation, notwithstanding its deliberate timelessness and fictitious Mosaic background, bears the earmarks of its age, the first half of the Persian period (538-331 BC)."306/257 The science of Archaeology, however, again completely refutes this argument. Archaeology has shown that there is no valid reason for dating the Levitical sacrificial laws late. Many of these laws appear in the Ugaritic material from the fourteenth century BC307/33 The Israelites before the Exodus lived amongst the most advanced civilization in the world at that time: Egypt. Therefore they would naturally show forth more advanced concepts of jurisprudence than tribes they encountered in the desert.

The Code of Hammurabi, that was written between 2000-1700 BC, was found by a French archaeological expedition (1901-1902) under M. Jacques de Morgans direction at an ancient Susa site to the east of the region of Mesopotamia This code was written on a piece of black diorite. It stood eight feet high and contained two hundred and eighty two paragraphs. This was written several hundred years before Moses (1450 BC) yet contains some laws which are similar to those recorded by Moses.308/121 This completely refutes the Documentarians hypothesis that the laws of the Torah were too advanced for Moses to have written them.

Some try to argue that because their are similar laws in the Code of Hammurabi to the laws in the Torah that Moses did not receive them from Yehovah but actually borrowed them from this code. Concerning this, J.P. Free in his book, Archaeology and Bible History, states the following:

"No real connection between the Mosaic laws and the Code of Hammurabi. Such an acknowledgment was made by G.A. Barton, liberal professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who said, ‘a comparison of the Code of Hammurabi as a whole with the Torah laws as a whole, while it reveals certain similarities, convinces the student that the laws of the Old Testament are in no essential way dependent upon the Babylonian laws. . . .’ The Code contains many laws peculiar to itself, including those relating to soldiers, tax-collectors, and wine-merchants."308/121

The Ugarit, another archaeological find dating back to 1400 BC, also shows several similarities in their laws to the book of Leviticus. These tablets came from Ras Shamra a Canaanite city located on the Syro-Palestinian coast just opposite of the tip of Cyprus.305/234, 308/112

Another archaeological discovery is the Lipit-Ishtar Code which date back to 1850 BC which extends the history of codified law by more than three centuries.309/164 It also antedates the Hammurabi Code by more than a century and a half.310/1

The same can be said of the Eshnunna Law Code of the Old Babylon period (1830-1550 BC). Hammurabi apparently incorporated some of this code into his own system. Two tablets found in 1945 and 1947 near Baghdad contain these ancient laws. Reunen Yaron points out that archaeology confirms that these tablets could not be dated after the reign of King Dadusha. The last year of Dadusha’s reign is set in the seventh year of Hammurabi. However, archaeology cannot set the date of its composition. The usual date given to the Eshnunna Law Codes is about 200 years before Hammurabi.311/1-2

The kingdom of Eshnunna was a victim to expansionist policies that were also pursued with success by Hammurabi of Babylon during the fourth decade of his reign.311/1 The discovery of the above two tablets adds additional evidence that the Hammurabi Codes were not the only source of an early codified law. The Laws of Eshnunna, written during the twentieth century BC in the Akkadian language, contains sixty paragraphs of law dealing with topics like the price of commodities, the hire of wagons and boats, the wages of laborers, marriage, divorce and adultery, assault and battery, and the placing of responsibility for the ox that gores a man and the mad dog that bites a man.310/1

Then there is the Egyptian Execration Texts which date back to 2,000 BC These documents are statuettes and vases inscribed in Egyptian hieratic script with the names of potential enemies of the Pharaoh. If Pharaoh felt threatened by a rebellion, he would break the vase or statuette with the names of those involved in the rebellion written on it with a magical ceremony and as a result would somehow bring grief upon them. The group of vases from Berlin, published by Kurt Sethe (1926), date from the end of the twentieth century BC, while the collection of statuettes from Brussels, published by G. Posener (1940), date from the late nineteenth century.312/127

Next there is the Nuzi Tablets dating back to 1500 BC In Nuzi, located in the northeastern part of Iraq and southeast of Nineveh. These tablets contained a whole archive of legal and social texts. What they found in these texts showed that the recorded details of the social and legal background of the patriarchs in the Old Testament was reflected accurately to the times in which they lived.313/14 The Nuzians were formerly thought to be Hurrians, Biblical Horites, cave dwellers; but are now understood as Armenoid, non-Indo-Europeans of North Mesopotamia who prospered in the 1500-1400's BC. Though the patriarchs were not Nuzians, both cultures had many similarities due to the fact that they were contemporary and located in the same area geographically. for this reason the Nuzi Tablets help us to understand Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.314/2 The Nuzi Tablets clarified many customs typical of the patriarchal age in the second millennium, but not of the Israelites in the first millennium BC.315/87 These facts confirm to us the historical accuracy and authenticity of the Torah written in 1450 BC, not the social customs of 700 BC.314/9

An example of how the Nuzi Tablets help us to understand Genesis are like the account in Genesis 16 where Sarah, Abraham’s wife, because she was seemingly unable to have children, gave Hagar her servant to Abraham to have children through. Later Jacob’s two wives, Rachel and Leah, did the same. Because of finds like the Nuzi Tablets, we now realize this was a common practice of that time and is mentioned in the laws and marriage contracts of that time. This custom is not found practiced in any other time other than the patriarchal period.313/14

These many Historical documents and Archaeological facts show that the social institutions of the patriarchs are not made up but are genuine and definitely before Moses time, not after. They cannot possibly have taken place after Moses time because historical documents and archaeological discoveries after Moses time show completely different laws and customs. Also historical documents after Moses time do not support in any way the presuppositions of the Documentary Hypothesis.

More Evidence in Support
Of the
Historical
Reliability
of the
Old Testament as it Stands

*The Tower of Babel

Archaeologists have found and verified the remains of the Tower of Babel.189 A Professor by the name of Oppert was sent by the French Government to study the inscriptions discovered in the ruins of ancient Babylon. In one of the inscriptions that was recorded by King Nebuchadnezzar, in which he calls the Tower of Babel Barzippa meaning "tongue-tower", he describes the ruins of the Tower of Babel and the king’s intent to rebuild the tower originally built by Nimrod sixteen centuries earlier. He describes that the original tower had been reduced from its original height until only a huge base of the tower, 460 ft. by 690 ft., standing some two hundred and seventy-five feet high remained. Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the city of Babylon with gold and silver. He also resurfaced the base of the Tower of Babel with gold, silver, cedar, and fir on top of a hard surface of baked clay bricks. These bricks were engraved with the seal of Nebuchadnezzar and an inscription in Nebuchadnezzar’s words which, translated by Professor Oppert, stated the following:

". . . the most ancient monument of Babylon; I built and finished it. . . . The former king [Nimrod] built it, but he did not complete its head. Since a remote time, people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words. . . . Merodach, the great god, excited my mind to repair this building."288/40-41

*Joseph and the Seven Years of Famine

In the Nineteenth century an inscription was discovered on a marble tablet in a ruined fortress on the seashore of Hadramaut in present-day Democratic Yemen which confirmed the reign of Jospeh and the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (Genesis 41). It was written around the eighteenth century BC which was the time the Biblical account took place. The inscription was translated into Arabic by Professor Schultens and later translated into English by Rev. Charles Forster. A part of the inscription stated the following:

"We dwelt in this castle seven years of good life—how difficult for memory its description! Then came years barren and burnt up: when one evil year had passed away, then came another to succeed it. And we became as though we had never seen a glimpse of good."288/42-43

Further evidence was found in Yemen in a rich woman’s tomb. It was discovered in 1850 after being exposed due to a flood. it was later shown to a Mr. Cruttenden by Ebn Hesham, an Arab from Yemen.

In the tomb was contained a woman’s corpse that was covered in jewels and a coffer filled with treasure. Also found was an engraved stone tablet confirming the seven years of famine in Egypt and Joseph’s supervision over the graineries of Egypt. The inscription said some of the following:

"In your name O God, the God of Hamyar, I Tajah, the daughter of Dzu Shefar, sent my steward to Joseph, and he delaying to return to me, I sent my hand maid with a measure of silver, to bring me back a measure of flour: and not being able to procure it, I sent her with a measure of gold: and not being able to procure it, I sent her with a measure of pearls: And not being able to procure it, I commanded them to be ground: and finding no profit in them, I am shut up here."318/44-45

*Egyptian Priest-Scholars Confirm Joseph’s & Moses’ Leadership
of the Jewish Race

Josephus in Josephus Against Apion. I, 26, 27, 32 mentions two Egyptian priest-scholars: Manetho and Cheremon who in their histories of Egypt specifically named Joseph and Moses as leaders of the Jewish race. Josephus states that Manetho and Cheremon stated that the Jews rejected Egypt’s customs and gods. They noted that the Jews practiced animal sacrifices which they witnessed on the first Passover. These historians also confirmed that the Israelites migrated to "southern Syria" which was the Egyptian name for Palestine. They also mentioned that Israel’s exodus occured during the reign of Amenophis who was the son of Rameses and the father of Sethos who reigned toward the close of the 18th dynasty which places the Israelites exodus between 1500 and 1400 BC. This confirms the Old Testament’s chronology for the exodus occuring in 1491 BC.

*Historical Confirmation of the Exodus of Israel Out of Egypt

The Greek historian Herodotus discussed the Exodus in his book Polymnia, section c. 89:

"This people [the Israelites], by their own account, inhabited the coasts of the Red Sea, but migrated thence to the maritime parts of Syria, all which district, as far as Egypt, is denominated Palestine."288/36

Strabo, a pagan historian and geographer born in 54 BC also confirmed the history of the Jews and their escape from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. He wrote,

"Among many things believed respecting the temple and inhabitants of Jerusalem, the report most credited is that the Egyptians were the ancestors of the present Jews. An Egyptian priest named Moses, who possessed a portion of the country called lower Egypt, being dissatisfied with the institutions there, left it and came to Judea with a large body of people who worshiped the Divinity"322

*Ancient Sinai Inscriptions
Concerning The Exodus

Discovered in the Wadi Mukatteb (the Valley of the Writing) in the Sinai Peninsula was a set of inscriptions which describe and confirm Moses’ leadership in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and the miraculous events that followed.288/48 It is believed that these inscriptions were made by Jews who took part in the exodus or by people alive in the time of the exodus.

These inscriptions were first described by a historian by the name of Diodorus Siculus, who lived before the birth of Christ (10 BC), in his Library of History.318 So ancient were the writings that no one in Christ’s day could translate them.

In 518 A.D. Cosmas Indicopleustes, a Byzantine Christian writer, also mentions the ancient inscriptions. Concerning them he stated that they appeared "at all halting places, all the stones in that region which were broken off from the mountains, written with carved Hebrew characters."288/49 Cosmos came to the conclusion that they were made by the Israelites fleeing Egypt.

Other explorers which confirmed these inscriptions were Bishop Robert Clayton of Ireland (1753) and Rev. Charles Forster who published these findings in a book in 1862. He came to the conclusion that these inscriptions were a combination of both Hebrew and Egyptian alphabets describing Israel’s exodus out of Egypt.

One of the reasons it is believed that these inscriptions were made by Israelites at the time of the exodus, rather than a copy of the book of Exodus from the Torah, is because they appear to be an original account of the exodus. These inscriptions in rock give account of many of the miracles talked about in the Book of Exodus but have no familiarity with the description accounts given in the book of Exodus.

Rev. Forster found that five out of every six words used in the inscriptions are related to the Hamyarite (ancient Arabic) language which was the vernacular language of Egypt and Yemen. The writings are of two kinds: enchorial or common writing and hieroglyphic style of Egypt that was used by the priests and royalty. The significance of this and why it is believed that whoever wrote these inscriptions were probably Hebrew is, one, because they had to have lived in Egypt to have this kind of knowledge of these two alphabets and, two, because there is no historical records indicating that any Egyptians ever lived in the Sinai. The Bible however tells us that the Israelites lived in the Sinai for forty years.

Mentioned in the inscriptians are the following events of the exodus: the dividing of the red sea and the Israelites passing through safely while the Egyptian army was drowned; Yehovah’s (the name of the Hebrew God) miraculous provision of the quails to feed the israelites; The murmuring of the Jews against Moses; Yehovah’s miraculous provision of water out of a rock; His punishment of Israel for their gluttony and even the name Moses gave to the place where it occurred, Kibroth-hattaavah, which is mentioned in Numbers 11:34; and Exodus 32:6's account of the Israelites sitting down to eat, drink and play.

In 1761 a German explorer Barthold Niebuhr found an extensive ruined cemetery grave site of Jews which was discovered in the Sinai with inscriptions confirming they died as a result of Yehovah’s supernatural plague mentioned in Numbers 11:34-35.319/113-114

Also mentioned in the Sinai Inscriptions were Miriam’s rebellion against Moses, Numbers 12:1-3, and the plague of the fiery serpents mentioned in Numbers 21.

Unfortunately the skeptics said they would not accept these Sinai Incriptions as being genuine unless someone discovered a bilingual inscription with the Sinai inscriptions on one side and another language on the other side for comparison, similar to the Rosetta Stone. Astoundingly a Sinai explorer by the name of Pierce Butler in 1860 discovered not a bilingual inscription, but a trilingual inscription in a cave on the Djebel Maghara mountain. This inscription contained three alphabets describing the same event, one of which was the same language used in the Sinai Inscriptions.288/66-67

Three independent scholars have translated these Sinai inscriptions: Professor de Laval, Niebuhr and Rev. Forster. All three agree that these inscriptions were made by the ancient Israelites during the Exodus. Those who have criticized these conclusions have never done a translation of their own or given any historical or archaeological evidence to show otherwise.

The significance of this find is that it completely refutes and destroys the assumptions of the higher critics assertions that Exodus was not written by Moses and that the miraculous events recorded by Moses did not take place. They cannot say these inscriptions were made later to refute these discoveries because, as we have already documented, they were discovered centuries before the higher critics came along. It should also be noted that the higher critics of the Old Testament have never in the past 100 years ever come up with one shred of evidence historically or archaeologically to give support or credence to anything they have spoken against the authorship of Moses or the historical reliability of his writings, not one!

*The Nation of Israel Confirmed
in 1200 BC

The fact that Israel was established as a nation in Canaan territory long before David’s reign is confirmed on an Egyptian stone inscription dated 1213 to 1203 BC called the Merneptah Stela Stone. This stone stands seven-and-a-half-feet high. It was discovered in the temple of Pharaoh Merneptah at Thebes in Egypt. Pharaoh Merneptah ruled Egypt at this time and on this stone stated that he had invaded the West Bank of Canaan and defeated the Jewish inhabitants of the land.288/73

Most ancient historian’s writings are nothing more than fiction and hearsay without careful reseach and checking of facts. The Bible, however, shows just the opposite: the writers were careful and very accurate to the events of the day, chronology, sequence and concerning personalities involved.

*David’s Existence Confirmed

In the past century one of the areas of the Bible that has been hard to confirm archaeologically has been the life of David the King of Israel until recently. Between 1993 and 1994 some archaeologists discovered several stone fragments while digging at Tel Dan in Galilee in Northern Israel which confirmed not only David’s existence but the fact that he was King over Israel in the tenth century BC.265

*Confirmation of Other Kings of Israel

On an Inscription known as the Stela of King Mesha of Moab is inscribed the name of Omri King of Israel. His name also appears on the rock inscriptions of three kings of Assyria, the annals of both Tiglath-Phileser III and Sargon II, and the Black Obelisk of King Shalmaneser III.

Other Assyrian inscriptions found in Nineveh confirm other kings of Israel: Ahab, Jehu, Joash, Menehem, Pekah, and Hoshea. Other inscriptions found by archaeologists confirm Kings of Judah: Ahaziah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Jehoiachin. Scholars also found records of the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon 606 to 562 BC that mentioned Jehoiachin a king of Judah.

In 1846 an explorer by the name of Austen Henry Layard discovered a six-and-a-half-feet-high Black Obelisk in the ruins of Nimrud, present day Iraq. The Obelisk was a for-sided stone inscription that recorded the conquest of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser II over several kingdoms including King Jehu of Israel about 841 to 814 B.C. The Obelisk also refers to Omri, the son of Jehu which confirms the record of the Book of Kings in the Bible.288/74

Archaeologist Nahman Avigad of Hebrew University with other scholars discovered the remains of the wall of King Hezekiah built when the Assyrian army attacked Israel in 701 BC. The Bible tells us that King Hezekiah built this wall in Jerusalem to resist the Assyrian armies (2 Chronicles 32:2-5). So urgent was the building of this wall that they cut through portions of homes to build it (Isaiah 22:10). This is exactly what the archaeologists found to be the case concerning this wall.

*Ancient Seals

On view in an Israeli Museum are one of two clay seals in existence called bullae which bear the impression of the actual seal used by Baruch who was Jeremiah the Prophet’s personal scribe. The other seal is owned by Shlomo Moussaieff of London.

Another seal at the beginning of this century was found with the inscription, "Belonging to Shema servant of Jeroboam." This indicates that this belonged to an official of King Jeroboam of Israel. Other seals have been found confirming the Biblical records about King Uzziah (777 to 736 BC) and King Hezekiah (726 to 697 BC).288/76

Another seal was discovered in Jerusalem which dates from the seventh century BC. On it was the inscription: "Belonging to Abdi Servant of Hoshea." It belonged to Abdi who was a high official of King Hosea who was the last king of northern Israel before the Assyrian army conquered it in 721 BC.288/76-77

*King Cyrus of Persia

King Nebuchadnezzar had a policy of displacing peoples that he conquered and resettling them in distant parts of his empire. Israel was one of these people. However Ezra in Ezra 1:1-3 tells us that after King Cyrus of Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire he immediately reversed this policy and made a decree allowing all captive peoples to go back to their homelands. This included the people of Israel. Some explorers in the last century found an ancient clay cylinder which had this decree by King Cyrus inscribed on it.288/77-78

CONCLUSION

These findings completely refute the arguments of the Documentary Hypothesis that Israel’s laws evolved over several hundreds of years and that the Torah had several editors rather than the one Jesus Himself confirmed: Moses. The historical and archaeological evidence do not support the Documentary Hypothesis but instead expose the complete lack of historical research and scholarship it is based on.316/185 M.J. Lagrange, a man who was involved in biblical and archaeological endeavors in Jerusalem for nearly 40 years, wrote:

"It is a fact that the historical work of Welhausen is more than compromised. The

evolution which starts from fetishism to rise to monolatry and then to monotheism, or from a very rudimentary rustic worship to complicated social and sacerdotal institutions, cannot be maintained in face of the evidence of the facts revealed by the recent discoveries."317/312-313

Josh McDowell sums up the value of these historical and archaeological finds:

"Its significance for the Bible-based Christian lies in the fact that it disproves three main presuppositions of liberal scholars: that there was no alphabet in Moses’ day; that society’s moral level was not high enough to have given rise to the laws of Deuteronomy; and that the different names of God within the Torah show that there were several writers of these books." 180/25

Dr. Nelson Glueck, the most outstanding Jewish archeologist of this century, wrote in his book, Rivers in the Desert, this fascinating statement.

"It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries."320/31

The Old Testament: ABSOLUTELY Reliable HISTORICALLY!

Suggested Further Reading:

  1. Albright W.F. The Archacology of Palestine. Baltimore: Penguin Books, revised 1960.

  2. Glueck, Nelson. Rivers in the Desert. New York, Grove, 1960.

  3. Free, Joseph P. & Vos, Howard F. Archaeology and Bible History. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992.

  4. Jeffrey, Grant R. Armageddon:  Earth's Last Days. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Frontier Research Publications, © 1997 by Grant R. Jeffrey.

  5. McDowell, Josh. Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Vol. 2. San Bernardino: Here’s Life Publishers, 1981.

  6. McDowell, Josh. Evidence For Faith Series on tape.

  7. Price, Randall. The Stones Cry Out. Eugene, Organ: Harvest House Publishers, Copyright © 1997 by World of the Bible Ministries, Inc.

  8. Unger, Merrill F. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954.

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