Is the Bible True?

IN OCTOBER 1999, an article by this title appeared in the “U.S. News and World Report,” which had obtained permission to publish portions of a newly issued book with the same title. The article began as follows:

“The workday was nearly over for the team of archaeologists excavating the ruins of the ancient Israelite city of Dan in upper Galilee. Led by Avraham Biran of Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, the group had been toiling since early morning, sifting debris in a stone-paved plaza outside what had been the city’s main gate.


“Now the fierce afternoon sun was turning the stoneworks into a reflective oven. Gila Cook, the team’s surveyor, was about to take a break when something caught her eye—an unusual shadow in a portion of recently exposed wall along the east side of the plaza. Moving closer, she discovered a flattened basalt stone protruding from the ground with what appeared to be Aramaic letters etched into its smooth surface. She called Biran over for a look. As the veteran archaeologist knelt to examine the stone, his eyes widened, “Oh, my Lord!” he exclaimed. “We have an inscription!”

“In an instant, Biran knew that they had stumbled upon a rare treasure. The basalt stone was quickly identified as part of a shattered monument, or stele, from the ninth century B.C., apparently commemorating a military victory of the king of Damascus over two ancient enemies. One foe the fragment identified as the ‘king of Israel.’ The other was ‘the House of David.’”

The reference to David was a historical bombshell. Never before had the familiar name of Judah’s ancient warrior king, a central figure of the Hebrew Bible and, according to Christian Scripture, an ancestor of Jesus, been found in the records of antiquity outside the pages of the Bible. Skeptics had long seized upon that fact to argue that David was a mere legend, invented by Hebrew scribes during, or shortly after, Israel’s Babylonian exile, roughly 500 years before the birth of Christ. Now, at last, there was material evidence: an inscription written not by Hebrew scribes but by an enemy of the Israelites a little more than a century after David’s presumptive lifetime. It seemed to be a clear corroboration of the existence of King David’s dynasty and, by implication, of David himself.


The article told of other archeological discoveries that shed new light on both Old and New Testaments, corroborating key portions of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus. Among the examples given was the fact that Joseph was sold for twenty silver shekels (Gen. 37:28), which matches exactly the going price of slaves in the region during the 19th and 18th centuries B.C. This was affirmed by documents recovered from the region that is now Syria. By the eighth century B.C., the price of slaves according to Assyrian records had risen steadily to 50 or 60 shekels. At the time of the Persian empire, in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., it reached 90 to 100 shekels.

Skepticism concerning the Bible has been rife in modern times. Higher Critics have assigned incredulity to Biblical records and claimed that certain persons mentioned such as Abraham, Joseph, and David were all imaginary. Hence, tying the Genesis account of 20 shekels as the price of slaves with the period of time when Joseph was young is an important corroboration of the Bible.

There also is another inscription on the Mesha Stele which mentions the house of David, though not as clearly as the inscription found in Dan in 1993. Archeological evidence, likewise, has been found as to the existence of the Philistines and their possible origin. These people appeared to have migrated from the island of Crete, and other islands in the Aegean Sea. Modern archeology has uncovered a wealth of information regarding the Philistines, ‘sea people,’ which is consistent with Biblical records, confirming that they were not the figment of imagination of some priestly scribes.


Why is it necessary to establish that David actually existed? The answer is, because so many prophecies involve David and his offspring. The name, David, appears in the Scriptures 1273 times (either as David or David’s). For example, the genealogy of Jesus is given at the beginning of the Gospel according to Matthew, saying, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matt. 1:1) The Matthew genealogy is that of Joseph, and proceeds through Solomon. Both Joseph and Mary were of the house of David, and Mary’s genealogy is given in Luke 3:23-38 through Nathan, son of David. Since Mary was used by the Father to provide human organism for the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, he could properly be called the Son of David.

When Jesus began his ministry, many in Israel called him “Son of David.” For example two blind men followed him saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us.” (Matt. 9:27) Jesus had just raised Jairus’ daughter from death (Matt. 9:23-26), and his “fame hereof went abroad into all that land.” (vs. 26) When he performed more miracles, again they asked, “Is not this the Son of David?” (Matt. 12:23) Even a Gentile, a woman of Canaan, called him “Son of David.” (Matt. 15:22) The angel who was sent to tell Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus said of him, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.”—Luke 1:32


It is noteworthy that Jesus is referred to as ‘Son of the Highest,’ while also stating that his father was David. This matter came up when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and asked them, “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.”—Matt. 22:41-46

Bible students understand that Mary gave birth to Jesus, she being of the house of David; therefore, Jesus, indeed, was the Son of David through Mary’s side of the family. However, his begettal was by God, the Heavenly Father (Jehovah), and this is why he was the Son of the Highest. After laying down his life as a ransom sacrifice, Jesus, in essence, purchased all of the human family of Adam (including David); therefore, David, when resurrected, will call him Lord. Also, after his resurrection Jesus was highly exalted as it is written: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”—Phil. 2:9

The link between David and the Messiah included the man Jesus’ birthplace. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth in Galilee. When it was time for Mary to deliver the child, Caesar Augustus passed a taxation decree, forcing many people to go to their home territory for registration. Even though it was a difficult time for Mary to travel, she and Joseph had to go to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.—Luke 2:1-7

The nation of Israel was unaware of this great event, and it was told to none except some poor shepherds watching their flocks at night. The message brought by an angel of the Lord, said to them, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:8-14) These shepherds were used of the Lord to tell others what they had seen. Later, when the three wise men, traveling from the east following a star, went to Herod asking where they might find the King of the Jews so that they could worship him, Herod was troubled. When he sought the advice of the chief priests and scribes they told him unhesitatingly the prophecy in Micah 5:2.

“Thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” (Matt. 2:1-6) Few Israelites were able to put together the events reported by the shepherds with Micah’s prophecy to conclude that the Messiah had been born in the city of David.


Saul was Israel’s first king, but he fell into disfavor with God, and David was anointed to take his place. The only ones that knew David had been anointed king over Israel were his own immediate family. David did not become a ruling king until after Saul had died. Instead, he became a fugitive fleeing from Saul’s relentless pursuit to kill him. With his small band of loyal followers, David had to remain in hiding during this time. This is an excellent picture of the delay in setting up God’s kingdom under the rightful king until his band of faithful followers is complete.

David was a man of many accomplishments, but he had some glaring faults. These faults and wrongdoings were not hidden from the people and the Bible record does not gloss over his shortcomings even though David was “a man after his [God’s] own heart.”—I Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22

David’s major sin took place after he reigned as king following Saul’s death, and is recorded in II Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. The account tells in detail of his sin, and the punishment he had to endure because of it after he was fully repentant. Is the Bible true? Most assuredly, because none of the shortcomings of its heroes were ever hidden deliberately. It is important to know that David was a real living person, to substantiate the many promises woven around him and his progeny. Probably the most important is one we call ‘the sure mercies of David,’ a covenant made with David by God.

Reference is made in the 89th Psalm to God’s covenant with David. Verses 2-4 read: “I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.” Verses 28 and 29 read: “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.”


The full understanding of this covenant with David is possible only through recognition of the fact that David’s throne was typical of the Messianic kingdom throne, on which Jesus sits as King. However, God’s providences in protecting the typical throne in the hands of David’s natural descendants are remarkable, as will be seen by a study of the Davidic kings down to the overthrow of the last one, Zedekiah, when the nation was taken captive to Babylon in the year 606 B.C.

Then the Prophet Ezekiel wrote concerning Zedekiah: “Thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”—Ezek. 21:25-27

Here the typical kingdom of David ceased, but God’s covenant was not broken. Ezekiel did not say merely that the kingdom should be ‘no more,’ for this would have implied a broken covenant. Instead he explained that it would be no more ‘until he come whose right it is.’ The active operation of the covenant was merely suspended until the rightful King appeared.

That rightful King was Jesus. Yet when he came at his First Advent, it was to provide the ransom sacrifice so necessary for all mankind, but now he has returned to take over his kingdom. However, he awaits the completion of his church—the bride—before he asks the Father to give him the nations for his inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.

As proof that the Bible is true, the archeological discoveries concerning David will fade into insignificance when the righteous rule of earth begins with David’s son, our Lord Jesus. It is then that Paul’s prophecy will be fulfilled: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:10,11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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