Does archeology prove the Bible is true?


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NEW ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG LENDS CREDENCE TO ISAIAH AND HEZEKIAH

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I’d like to take you to a story by Eric Metaxas. About two years ago, archeologists digging at the foot of the southern part of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City found an ancient refuse dump dating back to the 8th century before Christ. At this dump, they found 33 imprints or seals. One of these bore the inscription belonging to Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, king of Judah.

Among the other clay seals was one inscribed with the name “Yesha’yah,” in English, that name is rendered “As Isaiah.” The obvious question, Harry, did this seal belong to Isaiah?

DR. REEDER: Well, let me say this: His name was certainly on the seal. By the way, I’ve been there. I take people every other year on a tour called “Learning the Bible in the Land of the Bible” and, if any of our listeners are interested and, God willing, if we’re able to go two years from now, we’d love to have you.

DOUBT HAS BEEN PLANTED BY HISTORIANS BUT IS NOW BEING CORRECTED

We actually visit the very place where this archeological dig found these “seals” from hundreds of years before the life of Christ. If our listeners would like to go read in 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles — particularly, 2 Chronicles — they will find five revivals and one of them, of course, was in the life and ministry of Hezekiah, which all of the historians said was a fabricated king who never existed.
They even questioned the existence of King David so they said this Hezekiah didn’t exist and, certainly, this “prophet” with this extensive book in the Old Testament that is so focused prophetically on the coming of the Messiah and Christ, that’s all a post-Babylonian captivity mythological creation of Isaiah in order to write the things that the people returned from Babylon and wanted to write about a coming liberator called the “Messiah.”

Well, the reality is there was an Isaiah, there was a Hezekiah and, if the Bible affirms it, then it’s just a matter of time until history confirms it. And now we have this discipline that began in the 19th century called archeology and it increasingly and continually keeps affirming what we already know — that the Bible is telling us the truth.

And so, here’s a seal that they found that affirms the historicity of Hezekiah as a king. The prophet Isaiah ministered in the midst of a number of regimes of various kings, but notably in the life and ministry of King Hezekiah as the Lord delivered him from death and put him in place to serve Him and gave him these productive years of revival in the life of Israel as a bottom-up revival from a top-down leadership exemplary commitment that Hezekiah had to prayer, fasting, and the proclamation of the Word through prophets like Isaiah.

NEW DISCOVERIES KEEP PROVING BIBLE TRUE

So, again, the Bible affirms what we already know, which is that the Word of God is true. Every time I go to Israel, I’m constantly pointing this out: A prominent figure at Easter, Tom, is Pontius Pilate and yet historians tell us there is no Pontius Pilate and he didn’t really exist because they didn’t have enough extra-Biblical evidence beyond one or two mentionings of someone that might have been Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea appointed by Roman rule.

Well, the fact is they all of a sudden found the stone at Caesarea by the Sea which is the headquarters of the governor. The governor of Israel at the time of Jesus was not in Jerusalem — he was at Caesarea by the Sea — but he used the old Hasmonean Palace as his point of headquarters in Jerusalem. His state home was at Caesarea by the Sea so he had access out of that port back to Rome.

Guess what? They uncovered not only a stone that affirmed Pontius Pilate in the first century, but also uncovered the palace that was built by Herod whereby his protégé would later come, Herod Agrippa, and where not only Pontius Pilate resided but other governors after him would reside such as Felix and Festus who appear in the life and ministry of the apostle Paul who came to that same palace and spoke to kings even as God in His conversion told him that he would speak to Jews, Gentiles, and kings and those in authority.

And so, again, we find the affirmation of archeology and it’s constantly all around us whenever you go to a place and you patiently do the digging. The Bible only mentions one time in Jesus’ life and ministry — now, I actually think He did it a number of times — where He left the east coast of the Sea of Galilee and went to the west coast of the Sea of Galilee and landed at a place called Magdala and, of course, that’s where Mary Magdalene was converted.

There is a stone wharf that dates to the time of Jesus. Just footsteps away is a synagogue that dates to the time of Jesus so you are in a synagogue where, undoubtedly, Jesus taught and you are actually standing on a 50-foot wharf where, undoubtedly, Jesus when he got out of the boat that came from Bethsaida over to Magdala and probably at other times as well, actually walked on that.

Now, we don’t get excited about that because, all of a sudden, that’s more holy because Jesus walked there — no, we get excited about it because it keeps affirming to us the reality that the Bible does not contain a theoretical religion, philosophical derivation, but it contains a revelation of truth from God that God has actually come into time, space, history and reality and accomplished what He alone could do and that is save sinners through His Son. And the verification of the historicity, — not only scriptural veracity, but the historicity of Christianity — this veracity factor is of great encouragement.

PROOF DOESN’T MAKE FAITH, BUT IT CAN AFFIRM IT

Now, I believe the Bible because the Bible tells me it’s the Word of God. I don’t believe the Bible because they found a seal with Isaiah’s name on it — I just love that the Bible keeps being affirmed in its claims of a historical reality by historical discoveries. I love Bible history and, to some degree world history, but I really love American history and, when I take people to historical sites, I tell them, “One of the reasons I like to take you here is, as I tell you what happens, you’re standing where it happened and it’s amazing how you can get insight when you’re on-site.”

It’s amazing, when you get to Israel, I take the short little trip from Nazareth to Seborah and you get there to this place where the Roman stimulus package rebuilt and you realize over there in Nazareth was a couple hundred people living of which one was a techni — that is, a technician, that is, a carpenter, that is, a stonemason — who had some boys. How many times did they walk from Nazareth, the 45-minute walk, and then did their work on that Roman reclamation of that Greek city and its amphitheater? How many times did Jesus hear the word “hippocretus,” meaning a hypocrite, meaning an actor, that he would use later?

HISTORICAL SITE CAN STRENGTHEN FAITH ROOTED IN BIBLE

I love to get insight while you’re on-site, but the greatest insight is what the Bible says. It is not discovered by observation, but it is discovered by divine revelation but the observation bears it out. I’m a sinner and I can’t change myself — I can’t change myself any more than a leopard can change his spots — but there is a Savior whom God has sent. God has diagnosed my problem — “You’re a sinner and you’re under my judgement” — and God has provided a solution — “I’ve sent my Son who took My judgement and, if you come to Him and repent of your sins and receive Him, you can have the gift of eternal life.

And now we can not only walk where history was made and the Word of God affirmed — your walk can affirm to the world that Jesus saves sinners — forgives them, changes them and then uses us. Oh, my goodness, He even takes conspirators to murderers and those engaged in manslaughter and religious terrorists — like Moses, like David, like Paul — even can take a traitor like Peter.

He can take someone who is ready to flee in fear even though they’ve known the power of God like Elijah, the one whose name was discovered on the seal, and use him to thwart the priests of Baal and to proclaim the Good News that God will send His Son born of a virgin through whom sinners will be saved throughout all the nations.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

11 hours ago

A victory in court for school choice

The U.S. Supreme Court recently delivered a “big win” for school choice and religious freedom. School choice enables competition, which economists find generally improves the quality of goods and services. I believe that this result will apply to education, and specifically public schools.

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue involved 2015 legislation allowing tax-deductible contributions for scholarships to private, non-profit schools. The Montana Supreme Court struck down the act in 2018 as an unconstitutional use of public funds for religious purposes, including any school or college controlled by a church. Montana’s constitutional provision is a “Blaine Amendment” dating to the 19th century to prohibit state aid to parochial schools; 37 states, including Alabama, have Blaine Amendments.

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The constitutional issues involved were the First Amendment’s separation of church and state and religious discrimination in government policy. Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion found the Blaine Amendment discriminatory: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

The Montana Supreme Court struck down the entire school choice program based on the Blaine Amendment. Although Montana’s legislature could have enacted a scholarship program applying to only non-church private schools, this would have significantly restricted parents’ choice. According to the Institute for Justice, which litigated Espinoza, Blaine Amendments are often used to block school choice. Only a narrow interpretation of Alabama’s provision allowed the Alabama Accountability Act to withstand challenge.

Separation of church and state is wise constitutional doctrine. Still, I do not see the scholarships as violating separation of church and state. The public “dollars” involved are taxes foregone. Church-affiliated schools often operate at a loss, so tuition scholarships will not yield profits to support other activities and presumably provide enough education to qualify as schools.

George Mason law professor Ilya Somin offers an illustrative comparison. No one worries that tax exemptions for religious charities or police and fire protection for churches constitute state support for religion. Tax deductions for scholarships do not establish a state religion.

Church-affiliated schools provide a variety of education consistent with their doctrine and moral teachings. The goal of school reform should be, as economist John Merrifield emphasizes, a diverse menu of options to suit students’ varied learning styles and parents’ values. Church-affiliated schools accomplish this.

School choice policies will make Americans more equal. Affluent Americans, who can afford private school tuition, have long enjoyed school choice.

American higher education features school choice. Alabamians can attend any of the state’s 14 four-year universities or more than 30 two-year colleges at in-state tuition rates. These institutions offer diverse educational options. Two-year colleges offer vocational programs and inexpensive core classes. Four-year universities include one modeled after a liberal arts school, large and small campuses, and numerous online degrees. Federal student aid and loans help make private colleges affordable.

By contrast, K-12 public schools require students to attend their assigned school. After paying taxes to support government schools, many families cannot afford private school tuition. The economic case for public education stresses ensuring all students can afford schooling, which school choice accomplishes.

Choices unleash quality-enhancing competition. Some of America’s best public schools are in affluent suburbs where districts must compete for students because parents can afford private schools. It is tempting to attribute suburban districts’ quality spending, but statistics show otherwise. In 2018, Baltimore city schools spent $250 less per pupil than Montgomery County (Maryland) and $1,000 more than Fairfax County (Virginia) in suburban Washington, two of America’s most affluent counties.

In time school choice will force beneficial changes in public school curriculum. Currently, the curriculum is a political football which both parties seek to control. Teachers educate children in classrooms; politicians in Montgomery or Washington shape learning only through bureaucratic controls forcing a curriculum on local schools. School choice will empower parents to find schools that help their children learn. To successfully compete for students, control will need to be devolved to schools and teachers, which I see as a very good thing.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: More municipalities opt for mandatory masks, schools head towards in-class instruction, Sessions/Tuberville race nears the end and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Governor Kay Ivey consider a statewide mask ordinance as more municipalities adopt ordinances and pressure continues to mount?

— Are parents going to feel safe sending their kids to school in the Fall?

— Who will win the Republican runoff between former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville?

Jackson and Handback are joined by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss the runoff election for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

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Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at people who think the government can’t put in more restrictions when they have shown they can, and probably will, do more if the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t get under control.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

14 hours ago

Alabama sisters continue their family’s farming legacy

Sisters Allie Corcoran and Cassie Young loved growing up on a farm in Eufaula, but once they left home and earned their degrees at Auburn University, they realized their hearts were still at the family farm.

“I always knew I wanted to come home and be part of the farm, but I didn’t know where I would fit in,” Young said. “The only things I have ever felt close to, or had a desire to be a part of, were farming and working with people. At Auburn, I considered a career in family and adolescent counseling, but I knew it would be difficult to find work in this field near home and I was unwilling to move.”

When the sisters were growing up, their family raised crops such as cotton, peanuts, soybeans, corn, grain sorghum and wheat, along with cattle. The family managed a peach orchard.

Their childhood experiences and love of farming pushed them to find their eventual calling, and they opened Backyard Orchards near Eufaula in 2010.

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“Our father had the idea to start a u-pick operation,” Young said. “We had an exciting concept for a new family venture and found the perfect location, so we decided to become entrepreneurs.”

Backyard Orchards gave the sisters the path they longed for in fitting into the family business. They offer u-pick and freshly packed produce.

Fruits currently ripe for picking are peaches and blueberries. There is a variety of fresh vegetables available, including potatoes, onions, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, field corn, sweet corn, peppers, peas and okra.

There is an onsite cafe that serves homemade pies, fudge and ice cream – the perfect end to a day on the farm. The barn, pavilion and grounds can be rented for weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and more.

Under COVID-19 safety measures, visitors are not required to have a reservation, but should follow these guidelines:

  • Stay with your group and remember to social distance while in the fields and store.
  • When the store is busy and social distance is challenged, send one group representative into the store to pay for and/or order food and ice cream.
  • There are sinks for handwashing located in the restrooms. Hand sanitizer is located throughout the store.
  • Pick up café orders from the window located outside on the front porch.

The orchards allowed the sisters to carry on the traditions from childhood that they always dreamed of passing on to their own children.

“Some of my fondest memories are the simplest ones involving our whole family: playing in the cottonseed and corn, jumping on hay bales and cotton modules, riding around with my dad to check on pivots or crops and playing in the irrigation with my sisters and cousins,” Young said. “Farming is a difficult life, but the family experiences have made it a wonderful life.”

Young and her husband have three children: Gardner, 10, Sterling, 7, and Cade, 4.

“Gardner has been picking squash with me since he was a baby,” Young said. “He now helps his dad pick and sell watermelons. Sterling wants to start helping me at the local farmers market. Cade is still too young to help on the farm, but he loves to eat the ice cream.”

Young sees them creating memories and experiences like she had with her sister as a child.

“I hope they all want to play a role in either the orchard or the family farm one day, but only if that is where their hearts lead them,” she said. “Right now, they are growing up the same way I did and enjoying the simple joys of childhood on the farm.”

The sisters continue looking for ways to enhance the orchards and develop the business. Plans are in place for planting blackberries, expanding the peach orchard and increasing the strawberries plants.

To learn more about Backyard Orchards and plan a family outing, visit the website or follow them on Facebook.

(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)

19 hours ago

Alabama native Rachel Baribeau is Changing the Narrative and expanding her own

Sportscasting is a tough business for anyone, but has been traditionally even more difficult for women. That’s why the change in direction for Rachel Baribeau won’t make sense … until you hear her explain it.

“I am always evolving – as a woman, as a queen, as a daughter and a friend and as a fiancee and a future wife – I am always trying to be better. I’m a lifelong learner.”

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Rachel Baribeau is Changing the Narrative in college sports and beyond from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The Auburn graduate and former Pell City resident had a career many would consider perfect: covering SEC football and other sports, from the sidelines and from her college football talk show on Sirius/XM (where she was the network’s first female college sports host).

Baribeau was well-respected enough among her peers to be granted a Heisman Trophy ballot. But it was her work away from the microphone that made the most noise.

“The idea that there is royalty inside of all of us; that there is legacy and purpose and greatness.” Baribeau beams as she describes the impact of the conversations she had been having with college athletes.

Changing the Narrative” was Baribeau’s passion project – a movement that promotes positive mental health and inspiring people to build a positive legacy for others. She took her “Purpose – Passion – Platform” message on a nationwide tour of college football programs, filled with candid heart-to-heart conversations.

After spending four years on this consulting journey, Baribeau announced last October that she would be walking away from sports to concentrate on Changing the Narrative full time.

“I started with this desire and belief that athletes could trend for something other than bad news,” Baribeau said.

Now a nonprofit, Changing the Narrative has expanded further. Baribeau is now in demand in locker rooms, board rooms, law enforcement agencies and entire athletic conferences. “We already have the Big Ten on board; how great would it be to be in all of the Power Five conferences?”

Baribeau is scaling the program in several ways. First, the pandemic has forced a shift to more online training and modules. Second, the material is being tweaked to skew younger for high school audiences. Finally, Baribeau is training a network of other speakers including former athletes who can bring their own experiences of Changing the Narrative to even more audiences.

(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)

19 hours ago

Alabama entrepreneurs can apply now for Walmart’s Open Call for products

Walmart’s seventh annual Open Call is underway for entrepreneurs dreaming of landing U.S.-manufactured products on Walmart shelves by successfully pitching their wares to company officials during online meetings.

“Walmart’s Annual Open Call event gives us a unique occasion to identify new suppliers who can meet our customers’ needs with unique and innovative products manufactured or produced in the U.S.,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for Global Sourcing and U.S. Manufacturing.

“During this year of unprecedented challenges for U.S. businesses, Walmart remains committed to sourcing products made, grown or assembled in the U.S.,” Phillips said.

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In 2013, Walmart announced a 10-year commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs. Walmart’s Open Call is one way the company continues to invest in the commitment.

“By Investing in products that support American jobs, we are able to bring new exciting products to our customers, support new jobs in our local communities and invest in small business across the country,” Phillips said.

The Open Call, scheduled for Oct. 1, kicks off Walmart’s celebration of U.S. Manufacturing Month and will include programming similar to previous years. In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart buyers, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives and learn from company leaders during small breakout sessions designed to inform, empower and encourage suppliers.

“For the first time, this year’s Open Call event will be virtual, enabling even broader participation from potential new suppliers,” Phillips said. “We know how important this opportunity is for many small businesses, especially this year, and we are looking forward to seeing the new product submissions and meeting potential new suppliers.”

This year’s Open Call attendees could secure deals ranging from a handful of stores in local markets to supplying hundreds, or even thousands, of stores, Sam’s Clubs and on Walmart.com.

Gwen Hurt, owner of Shoe Crazy wine, participated in Walmart’s 2018 Open Call, where a Walmart buyer decided to test her product in 66 stores.

“We were walking into an entirely new and welcoming world,” said Hurt. “Everyone was so professional and kind throughout the process.”

“We’ve been thrilled to work with Walmart and are excited about the continual growth of our product,” Hurt continued. “Thanks to this relationship, we’ve been able to expand our operations to 15 employees while reinvesting in our community through the purchase of a once-abandoned warehouse and additional resources.”

“It’s a dream come true for our family,” Hurt said. Walmart is expanding Shoe Crazy Wine to 118 stores across Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.

The deadline to apply to participate in this year’s Open Call for U.S.-manufactured products is Aug. 10. The application and information about the event are at Walmart-jump.com.

Information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.