Updated: Aug 7
Day 13 promised to be no less impactful than day 12. It all started very early again. We headed back to the dig site and needed to be there for a 6:30am start. There was still plenty of pottery that needed to be washed and since today was the final day of the excavation season, we wanted to be there to help.
Two Friar's on the way through the Old City for the final time on this trip.
A final pic of the progress we contributed to this season.
Given our very tight schedule this morning - as we needed to be back to the hostel and checked out by 11am, we only had a short window in which to help. At 9am Brent Nagtegall, the onsite leader of the Armstrong Institute, offered to provide some deeper insight to the significance of our efforts and the efforts of those before us on this dig site. As an aside the Armstrong Institute is the primary funder of Ophel Hill excavation.
Part of what was so intriguing and exciting about this specific trip, is that Faith found the opportunity through a google search several months ago. Faith is the one that chose this journey which combined participating on an archaeological dig and tying artifacts to the history of the bible. The practice is called biblical archaeology.
This effort would theoretically give her a great archeological learning experience but perhaps would also start to answer some of her questions about Christianity.
Whenever someone asked, Faith and I would always share our purpose for this trip. Brent asked why we were there early on in the trip. He seemed interested in our goal and continued to share his experiences throughout our time together. His insights were learned and invaluable. His knowledge was shared objectively with factual references that tied the historical accounts of the bible to period artifacts of a specific location, person, or event. Ultimately, there are multitudes of specific evidence that proves the accuracy of the bible, of which this example came directly out of our dig site:
Hezekiah was a king of Judah. He reigned at a time when the Assyrian empire was consolidating its control of Palestine and Syria approximately 750 to 650 BC. Hezekiah ruled for 40 years, was a descendant of King David who ruled to 962 BC. The city of David was no more than 1200 feet from Hezekiah’s Palace and Gate House which was initially built by King Solomon 250 years earlier.
This gate is partially uncovered, with plans to uncover the entire site in the coming years.
The profound significance is the team found Hezekiah’s clay stamp. A stamp he would use to confirm the authenticity of his identity on writings or artifacts. The actual size of this stamp was about the size of your thumb. It was found at a depth consistent with his time as King of Judah, and dating of the actual stamp is consistent with his time period of approximately 650 BC.
This is only one example of the multitudes of findings that validate the bible’s historical accounts.
We what learned very clearly on this trip is so clear and undisputable. The bible is factual historical account. But what about all the miracles? This was a key question that Faith wanted to explore.
Here is a good frame of reference that was shared by different biblical researchers and scholars on this trip.
The Bible discusses biblical dates, people and locations;
Archaeology confirms dates, people, and locations;
David and Goliath are both confirmed as real people in the same timeframe,
Artifacts are found of the sling shot used by David to slay Goliath;
Many people witnessed and told of the actual events at the time,
The bible writings memorialized the events.
Where is Faith in her journey? She recognizes that perhaps if there was a better way to share what we have learned in just two weeks during church services on any community street corner, perhaps people would resonate more with what is true. She has a stronger foundation in which to grow her faith.
What is next? This provides for a wonderful opportunity to specifically research each miracle and document what is known of each. (but first see if it such research exists) Such a piece of work could be an opening for so many hungry hearts. Though as God intended, faith will always be an important component of His will. God is not Dead – Jesus Lives and archaeology can help prove it.