Every Time A Shovel Goes in the Ground, A Skeptic is Silenced


In a court of law, you not only have the testimony of witnesses, but circumstantial evidence that has been gathered. In today’s world, the types of evidence that can be gathered is quite elaborate and specific. Unfortunately, proving claims of ancient origin is not as easy to do. But we do have a few items at our disposal.

The first branch of circumstantial evidence that we can discuss is archaeology. There was a time when many things in the Bible had been attested to by archaeology, but not all. Still to this day we cannot cite evidence for every single person, place, item or event found in the Bible, but there is enough in today’s world to silence most critics from going down this route to try and discredit the Bible. There’s a reason for that.

They say, “Every time a shovel goes into the ground, another skeptic is silenced.” I remember the joy I experienced when I read in my college history textbook about the Hittites and Pontius Pilate. There was a day in which that simply wasn’t the case. In fact, these two items, along with the story of Jonah preaching to the Ninevites were the very texts and references skeptics would use to mock the Bible as no evidence of their existence had been found.

In 1876, an archaeologist named Hugo Winckler excavated in Turkey and found a breathtaking number of human artifacts, including five temples, many sculptures, a fortified castle, a huge storeroom filled with over 10,000 clay tablets. After the tablets were deciphered, it was announced to the world that the Hittites had been found. The site had been the Hittite capital city, Hattusha. – Price, Randall (1997), The Stones Cry Out (Eugene, OR: Harvest House)

Despite the fact that Josephus, Philo and Tacitus all refer to Pontius Pilate by name and associate him with the crucifixion of Jesus, skeptics pointed to the lack of archaeological proof for Pilate’s existence as a means of discrediting the Bible as a historical source. In 1961, a group of archaeologists led by Dr. Antonio Frova were excavating a Roman theater near Caesarea Maritime when they found a limestone block with the inscription which read, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.” In a moment, the skeptics, once again, were silenced.

The excavation of Nineveh began in 1761, but only small details had been found before the mind-blowing discovery found in 1987 by British archaeologist and Assyriologist Professor David Stronach found a six-sided prism known as Taylor Prism. In this find Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, described in detail how he came against the cities of Israel and then Judah, and how he held Hezekiah captive in Jerusalem. However, the Taylor prism does not record the defeat of Hezekiah and the fall of Jerusalem as one would expect. Why?

“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand, and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt in Nineveh.” (2 Kings 19:35-36)

In addition to the evidence of Sennacherib’s own account, in 1938 the archaeologist Starkey found a mass grave outside the city of Lachish, in which were found two thousand human skeletons evidently thrown in with great haste.