Archive for category Biblical archaeology

The Nazareth Inscription and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ crucified from a 19th century engraving © 2013/15 Simon Peter Sutherland

Jesus Christ crucified from a 19th century engraving © 2013/15 Simon Peter Sutherland

During this time frame known as “Holy Week” in which Christians throughout the world of many denominations move toward Easter. In liturgical denominations, Christians remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where He was hailed as Messiah by His people who laid Palm leaves as He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a Donkey.

As the world looks on, our thoughts are on the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ.

It is with this in mind that my construct of conversation is not one which believes the many claims of our present modern scholarship, particularly those which deny the authenticity of the Bible, its claims and accuracy. Amongst the many criticisms, arguments, and speculative claims modern so-called ‘Biblical scholars’ make, I take a direct road that knows fully that the Bible is the Truth and that Jesus Christ truly died for our sins according to the Scriptures. As far as I am concerned, there is no debate: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact. However, one problem for some people is is that many modern secular scholars deny this, and present minds seeds into the unsuspecting public without really showing them the absolute information which is available.

For some reason, the ‘opinions’ of the academic elite appears to be more important to some people than the Truth itself.

One very important archaeological testament not so often presented by the so-called ‘academic elite’ is what is known as ‘The Nazareth Inscription’ or ‘The Nazareth Decree’. The tablet itself dates to the 1st century and was written in Koine Greek (The language of the New Testament) and was acquired in the 19th century from Nazareth, the home town of Jesus. This inscription is made of marble and contains a Greek edict from a Caesar.

This is a transcript of what it says:

“EDICT OF CAESAR

It is my decision [concerning] graves and tombs—whoever has made them for the religious observances of parents, or children, or household members—that these remain undisturbed forever. But if anyone legally charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person, I order that a judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat with honor those who have been entombed. You are absolutely not to allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under the title of tomb-breaker.”

When this edict is linked up with Matthew 28: 12-13, they match up perfectly.

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Visit to Rome: The Mamertine Prison

Simon Peter Sutherland at the Mamertine Prison, Rome © 2014

Simon Peter Sutherland at the Mamertine Prison, Rome © 2014

Visiting ancient Biblical sites in the Mediterranean is always an experience for me and is something I find second to none. Although I like some of the wonders of modernity, I regard our present world as unappealing, noisy and somewhat shallow. Because of that, I prefer history rather than the present

Last month, from 17th November 2014, I travelled to Rome, the ancient and modern city known for being somewhat of an open air museum. Being a history fanatic myself and absolutely intrigued by the Bible, as always I was in inner rapture.

Forum, Rome © 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

Forum, Rome © 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

During the afternoon of the first day of our trip, we visited the ancient area of the Forum leading to a place known as “Mamertinum”or the Mamertine Prison. This ancient prison is within a stones throw of the ancient forum, a Comitium which once felt the feet of the Apostles Peter and Paul and also of Luke and of Aquila and Priscilla.

The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles were written while Luke was at Rome. We also know that Luke was with Paul during his time in prison. This is understood from 2 Timothy 4: 11.

The Mamertine prison, known historically as the “Tullianum”, was probably constructed between 640-616 BC and was likely a cistern. The amazing thing for me was that scripture was written from this damp dark cell.

In 2 Timothy 1: 16 Paul referred to his “chain” this chain now resides at ‘St Paul outside the walls’ which was build on his ancient tomb. Writing from the Mamertine, in 2 Timothy 2: 7-9 Paul wrote: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

On entry down the stairs to the upper level of the complex, ancient Frescos were shown to me. They can be found on the walls and show Christians depicted with the arms and hands held out. Over recent years Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that have connections to St Peter as early as 7th century. The evidence also suggesting the Mamertine was used as a Church by the 8th century.

The claim that St Peter was in Rome goes all the way back to the 1st century from his probable coded use of the word “Babylon” for Rome in 1 Peter 5: 13, 2 Peter 5: 13, and his crucifixion linked to John 21: 18 where Jesus foretold him of his future suffering. The claim of his crucifixion in Rome comes from the 1st or 2nd century “Acts of Peter” which we know was in circulation in the 2nd century. The “Acts of Peter” claims that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome at his own request. This claim is also affirmed by Clement between AD 80-98 in his letter to the Corinthians (chapter 5). An event which probably took place near where St Peter’s Basilica now stands around AD 64 during the reign of Emperor Nero.

Mamertine Prison © 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

Mamertine Prison © 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

There was a time when condemned prisoners were held in this cell before execution. We know for certain that 2 Timothy was written from the Mamertine and it is possible that Philippians was also written here too. If Peter was in fact executed in Rome then he most certainly was held in the Mamertine, as a strong tradition affirms. If that be true which I think it is, 2 Peter may also have been written in this dungeon.

Other Biblical texts possibly written from the Mamertine or nearby, include Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians and possibly Galatians. It is one of the most outstanding thoughts and realities of life that the Truth of the Gospel is that suffering produces great things. Persecution never destroys the Church, on the contrary it enhances it. It is truly amazing to think that such a light as Scripture itself could come from such a dark damp cell. That such a light could truly shine from such a dark place.

I love this little prison.

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An Israeli archaeologist discovers King David’s Citadel

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” Psalm 2: 2-4

For quite a while now, some modern archaeologists and scholars have been mocking the historical claims of the Bible and propagating their theories that it is an unreliable source. But their Political agenda stricken claims are repeatedly proven wrong, as recent discoveries consistently prove. There is no doubt to the historical authority of the Scriptures.

Israel belongs to the Jews!

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CNN: Noah’s Ark discovery in the British Museum 2014

In an article on CCN, it is reported that Irving Finkel, a British Scholar has discovered a 4,000-year old tablet from Iraq which contains an account similar to the Mosaic account of Noah’s Ark.

Link to CNN article; http://newday.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/28/noahs-ark-discovery-raises-flood-of-questions/

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Were the four Gospels eye witness testimony?

Ancient handwriting   © 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

Ancient handwriting
© 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

One common notion people are presented with today is the claim that scholars now know the four Gospels of the New Testament were not written by eye witnesses or people who actually knew Jesus of Nazareth.

This type of claim is quite a common place today. We read it in books, hear it on the BBC radio, see and hear it on television and in countless documentaries. Likewise within the world of scholarship I continuously run into a head on collision with this argument by people who, when it is all said and done, know more about this argument than the narratives themselves.

One problem I see is that many of the people who make these claims do not make them off their own back, neither did they originate them. The claims themselves go back quite a while to the dawn of modern scholarship and one can easily find the early church disputing who wrote the Gospels.

In the 19th century, a fine Biblical commentator and Anglican Bishop of Liverpool J. C. Ryle wrote concerning this issue in his exposition of John 5: 2 and said the following;

These words, it is thought, show that Jerusalem was yet standing, and not taken and destroyed by the Romans, when John wrote his Gospel. Otherwise, it is argued, he would have said, “There was at Jerusalem.”. J. C. Ryle. (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. Volume 3. P 269)

At the time when Ryle wrote this there was no evidence for the exact location of this pool, but it was discovered in the 19th century and now sits within the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. Thus, demonstrating that although evidence for this pool had not been found until around nineteen hundred years or so after the text was written, the Bible was correct all along. And today it is widely recognised and visitors to Jerusalem can visit the site.

The text of John 5: 2 reads like so; “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market (or pool) a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Beth-es-da, having five porches”.

In this text John is clearly communicating that, not only was John writing for Gentiles and not Jews, which confirms the position of Eusebius in his ecclesiastical history that John wrote this Gospel from Ephesus to expand on things not previously written by Matthew and Mark, but that he wrote in the way that is communicating that Jerusalem was still standing at the time.

There is ample evidence that John had already read Matthew, Mark and Luke by the time he was to write his Gospel and noticed that there was other points concerning Jesus’ life that the Synoptic writers did not mention. For this reason, John wrote concerning the final year of Jesus’ ministry. This is just one of many reasons to claim historically and textually that the Gospels were written by eye witnesses and based upon eye witness testimonies.

Eusebius claimed Irenaeus wrote in Against Heresies, 111.1.2 that Matthew published his Gospel first in the Hebrew tongue and Mark recorded the words of Peter from his preaching. He connects Luke’s Gospel to Paul, which could be confirmed by Luke’s opening passage in his Gospel. (Eusubius. The History of the Church. 8)

Thus, if Eusebius was correct, then this places the date of authorship for Matthew and Mark to well before AD 50’s and not anywhere the proposed dates that modern academic communities claim.

 Simon Peter Sutherland at Ephesus  © 2013 Simon Peter Sutherland

Simon Peter Sutherland at Ephesus
© 2013 Simon Peter Sutherland

From my own research into the Gospels, I have found them to date no later than this era, even as early as AD 30’s for Matthew and as late as AD 60 for Luke. The problem is that modern scholars claim that Matthew could not have been written prior to the events of AD 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, since they think it not plausible that Jesus could have prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem as He did. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew must have been written after these events. The problem then grows because people would rather believe the negative suggestion rather than think and research for themselves. People are often fooled into thinking that they are researching something when in reality all they are doing is reading other peoples opinions.

Thus, John 5: 2 is just one of many Biblical texts which leave me wondering what on earth so many of these modern scholars are thinking when they date the gospels? What are they up to? I suspect it is a legal game like those in a court of law who look for contradictions in eye witness accounts, thus if they find them, they argue the texts as void.

But I have not found contradictions in the Gospels, the only contradictions I find are the interpretations of those passages by Western thinkers. The Gospels and the entire Bible was written by Jewish people, and when it is all said and done, the critics for the most part, know very little of ancient Judaism.

But concerning John 5: 2, the problem with the academic communities dating methods for the Gospels is that they are not consistent when one understands that John was here stating the sheep gate or market was still standing at the time of his composition. But the problem is, if this text was written when these scholars claim it was then to anyone who knows what the text claims, it is impossible to believe them. The reason being that the sheep gate or market in Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 by prince Titus. Thus, internal evidence from John’s Gospel gives us a composition date of AD 50’s at the very latest. And examples like this can be found throughout the Gospels and the New Testament.

Thus, concerning John’s Gospel, J. C. Ryle was certainly correct and he was not afraid or fooled into believing that because scholars say so, it must be true. He had the character and strength enough to disagree with what scholars and critics of his day claimed. Ryle let the text speak for itself and then explored it, that is what makes his expository thoughts on the Gospels so good. But the problem which happens today is that scholars such as Francesca Stravrakopoulou often make wild assumptions concerning the Bible and then publishes what she thinks the text is saying and then judges it according to that thinking. But Francesca Stravrakopoulou is not original in her thinking and neither is she convincing, in fact she in a long line of scholars who often leave both myself and others baffled at their claims.

People are swift to believe the documentary hypothesis of modern scholars, yet they are not so swift to research the actual text for themselves. If they were, the world would be full of people who do not agree with the speculative claims of the academic communities.

In this, I never fail to tire at hearing them, especially when the single minded media barons give those people all the air time. not singularly as an issue of truth or the quest for truth, but something far more earthly and possessive. We are living in a time where all but the sinful depraved nature of man is uncertain. Our age lacks identity and absolutes. Scientists are single minded in presenting their ideas alongside Theology and history, as though everything should be judged scientifically. Regardless of the fact that science merely means ‘knowledge’ people think of science as some kind of test tube analysis, which when it is all said and done is not a method used to judge history.

A person cannot put a historical document in a test tube and measure it according the that method, you have to find some other way of testing things. Each method is an interpretation only and not factual.

The Gospel of John in Greek  © 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

The Gospel of John in Greek
© 2014 Simon Peter Sutherland

For example, if I were to measure the Gospels, I would look at them internally and measure their claims. I would never go along with what state education claims, but would measure the claims according to what I know. For this reason, I absolutely disagree with many claims made by modern scholars who take a text, a verse, a claim, a science, a majority vote and so one and measure the texts through those eyes. Thus, whatever one makes of that, it is certainly not the method used by the early church through to the reformation and beyond, where devotion and Theological insight must first be established in order to see the text clearly. In other words, a person cannot measure a text and judge it if they have failed to understand what the text is saying.

Let us take Biblical archaeology for example; if I go to Jerusalem, I can find plenty of evidence for the Bible there, the reason being, because that is the central location for the majority of Biblical events. So if I go and search for evidence of King Solomon’s temple in Babylon, I’m not going to find very much, but if I first look at what the text says, interpret it correctly, then see where the Biblical narrative is leading me, I will find it. I suppose what I am saying is that people should first find out what the Bible is saying before they critique it.

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Archaeology: A secret history – BBC four

Simon Peter SutherlandWell, here we go again. More subtle anti-Creationist, anti-Biblical, evolutionary propaganda from the prejudice BBC.

It seems that every week, more or less, the BBC attempt to brainwash us Brits with more fairy tales about ‘Macro-Eveolution’ in the on going quest to corrupt the foundations of true Christianity in her fundamental reading of the Bible and make all religions equal in error and in truth?

As is said: If Britain does it first, the rest of the world might follow?

The latest quest by the BBC is entitled “Archaeology: A secret history” in which Dr Richard Miles offers us a version of history and archaeology which as it is said, began to prove Biblical truth starting in the 4th century AD with the founder of archaeology, Helena, the 1st Christian Archaeologist. The history soon moves forwards and the quest to prove the Bible got archaeologists into dangerous waters?

Permit me to say as one who has studied these matters, knows the Biblical narrative in its original languages and visited some lands of the Bible, that when the Archeology of the Bible lands is handled correctly, there is no contradition whatsoever between Archaeology and the Biblical narrative. That is unless the evindence is in the hands of the BBC or Israel Finkelstein, Bart Erhman or some other polemic or church conspiracy theorist.

It never ceases to amaze me of how prejudice and narrow minded documentaries can progress, as they work their angled agendas against something by opening rather fairly and then move rather swiftly on to debunking their opponent with a mere majority system of thought. Facts have little to do with it. Opinion more like. Majority opinion.

It so-often starts with creation does it not? With Genesis and so forth. Suddenly the archaeology slips on its own vomit and then dumps on its own dinner by confusing ‘Archaeology’ with ‘Geology’. Which are not the same thing. Similar though they are.

It seems that the misleading title “Archaeology” has now stepped onto new territory and entered into the geological field. A geological field which is often stated as a fact, but is in reality little more than a philosophy. Thats right, a philosophy. An idea. A theory. Not modern at all, but an 18th century philosophy called ‘Uniformitarianism’. In other worlds, an assumption which is believed to have started with James Huttton (1726-1797) and made popular by Darwins apostle, Charles Lyell (1797-1875). Lyells publication “Principles of Geology” (1830) was read by Darwin and thus, the rest is history.

Suddenly the Bible, ancient history, Judaism and so-forth are now proven wrong because a philosophical theory takes centre stage? For Darwinians, Creationism (their enemy) has been the support act while ‘Uniformitarianism’ is the headliner, though under a deceptive new name.

For those who are still in evolutionary ignorance and do not know, permit me to mention what Uniformitarianism is. Uniformitrianism is a philosophical concept which evolutionary science uses to claim that what the earth is doing now it has always done. That is merely an idea, a philosophy, not a fact.

The idea of Uniformitrianism is that the earth was shaped by a series of sudden and violent events is an idea which is not the only conclusion to the evidences we see before us. But it is the more common notion which people tend to follow because ‘Science’ says so. The rest of the world must bow the knee because ‘Science’ says it is a fact. The earth is billions of years old? Those who think otherwise are either uneducated or bias due to religious persuasion and fundamentalism. Wishful thinking.

It seems to me that the only facts which present themselves with documentaries such as “Archaeology: A secret history” and those commonly broadcast by the BCC these days is that they are prejudice towards the Bible and Biblical archaeology are basically uniformitarian in their concepts and believe that the present is the key to the past. How so?

It is for this very reason why the BBC have in the past laid the foundation-stone in this anti-Biblical quest by attacking the historical claims of a worldwide flood. A flood not only written about in Genesis and compiled in the Bible, but written about in Africa, Babylon, China, India, Australia, America, North America, South America and even Greece. These historical accounts cannot be ignored, neither are they going to go away. And the catastrophic consequences of the flood would mean that the present cannot be the key to the past, since the earth’s crust would have changed when the flood resided.

But clearly Dr Richard Miles has concluded otherwise and we sheeple must bow the knee to what the scholars say, because scholarship is always right, right?

Clearly by his employment of ‘Neanderthal’ in his documentary thesis, Dr Miles has concluded that Genus Homo (Neanderthal) is evidence of a common ancestor rather than a common designer. That an ancient and incomplete set of bones which have been reconstructed accordingly is evidence for macro-eveolution?

I think not. If ‘Neanderthal’ is evidence for macro-evolution then I am Jack Benny reborn.

But what does it matter what I think, I’m just some deluded religious nut case with an over literal reading and knowledge of history. I clearly have some issues with the way the world is these days. But if believing that history is history and that there was indeed an ancient flood makes me a fundamentalist nut case, then I am indeed content to be a fundamentalist nutter. But I’ll be damned before I believe in some fairy tale theories about some ancient extinct creatures being our common ancestors. And I would rather lick the dirt than believe the present is the key to understanding the past.

Thus, when history is what we know and have in writing by ancient eye witnesses, with evidence to back them up, are we really going to deny written history and vast amounts of geological evidences because of Charles Lyell’s 19th century agenda to ‘Free science from Moses?’. Are we really going to take the word of orthodox evolutionary scientists without thinking for ourselves?

I don’t know about you folks but I have never believed in fairy tales and I am not into scientific totalitarianism. Neither am I willing to put my trust in evolutionary scientists who present theories as fact, and philosophies as geology when I know they are not speaking the truth.

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“The Apostles at Paphos” aired on Revelation TV

The Apostles at Paphos by Simon Peter SutherlandGreat news!

Thanks to the folks at Revelation TV my first documentary “The Apostles at Paphos” has been aired on Revelation TV, Sky 581, Freesat 692, Freeview HD 228 on Friday 1st March at 8pm and Sunday 3rd March at 3pm and Wednesday 27th March at 10 am.

Keep posted with the Revelation TV listing for further schedule.

Revelation TV play some interesting stuff, so pass it on.

For more information on Revelation TV, visit http://www.revelationtv.com/

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