Camels and the Veracity of the Bible

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A recent article appeared in the National Geographic magazine claiming that there were no domesticated camels at the time of the biblical patriarchs (Abraham, Job), therefore, the Bible has to be in error.
John Noble Wlford calls the mention of camels in Abraham’s day (Gen. 12:16) an anachronism. An anachronism is a statement that represents a person, event, or thing in a historical context in which it could not have occurred or existed. It is a chronological inconsistency. Wilford writing in the New York Times, states, “These anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history” (, 2/13/2014). Research was published recently by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, archeologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel based on radioactive-carbon dating techniques which they claim shows that camels were not domesticated until hundreds of years after the events documented in the book of Genesis. The authors suggest the domestication of camels in the eastern Mediterranean until 1000 B.C. ( article by Mike Krumboltz, 2/13/2014).
Archeologits have known for quite some time that camels were domesticated in China/Mongolia around 3500 B.C. and that they were domesticated in the Middle East somewhere around 2500 to 3000 B.C. (see the chart on domestication provided at There are two references that should be consulted on this matter that are very helpful to the Bible student.
The first is The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas, organizing editor (1962) p. 181-183. The article on camels was written by K. A. Kitchen. Kitchen cites the archeological evidence for the domestication of camels in the partricarchal period. First and foremost, he mentions a reference to the domestication of the camel in a cuneiform tablet from Alalah in North Syria (18th century BC) as GAM.MAL; see Wiseman, JCS XIII, 1959, p. 29 and Goetze, ibid., p. 37…). Next, he mentions the kneeling camel-figure from Byblos of similar date, Montet, Byblos et l”Egypte, 1928, p. 91 and plate 53, No. 179. A camel’s jaw was found in a Middle Bronze Age tomb at Tell el-Fara’ by Nablus (c. 1900-1550 B.C.), de Vaux, op.cit., p. 9, note 8. In the Etyptian Fayum province was found a camel-skull dated to the “Pottery A” state, i. e. within the period c. 2000-1400 BC, the period from the patriarchs to Moses (see O. H. Little, Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte, XVIII, 1935-6, p. 215). From the Memphis region comes a figure of a camel with two waterjars (clear evidence of its domestication in Egypt) datable by associated archaeological material to about the 13th century BC, Petrie, Gizeh and Rifeh, 1907, p. 23 and plate 27.
A second resource is Approaches to faunal Analysis in the Middle East, edited by Richard H. Meadow and Melinda A. Zeder (Peabody Museum Bulletin 2) 1978, pp. 93-103. The article is titled, “The Camel: Its Distribution and State of Domestication in the Middle East During the Third Millennium B.C. in Light of the finds from Shahr-i Sokhta, pp. 93-103. (Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, New Haven, CT). The Peabody Museum is associated with Harvard University. The authors date the domestication of the camel before 2500 BC.
These resources help to establish the veracity of the Scriptures. Camels are mentioned in Gen. 12:16 and Job 1:3. The time of Abraham and Job is given as around 2100 to 2200 BC. The archeological evidence proves the truthfulness of the statements in God’s Word. Let God be true and every man a liar! (Rom. 3:4).

Time Will Tell?

apologetics, Truth, unbelief No Comments

In Acts 5:33-40, the Sanhedrin convenes to attempt to stop the apostles from preaching in the name of Jesus.  Earlier, they had imprisoned the apostels and forbade them from teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:3,18).  However, the apostles were let go and continued their work and ministry.  The apostles were imprisoned again (Acts 5:18), but, they were miraculously delivered by an angel of the Lord (Acts 5:19).  They went to the temple and continued preaching the gospel.
The Sanhedrin met and sent for the apostles to appear before them.  They found out that the apostles had been freed from prison (Acts 5:25) and were teaching in the temple.  The captain of the temple with his officers went to the temple and brought the apostles to the council (Acts 5:27).  An exchange of words occurred between Peter and the high priest.  Peter resisted the authority of the council and boldly declared that the apostles would obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  The council was infuritated and took counsel to kill the apostles (Acts 5:28-32).
At this time, Gamaliel stood up to give his advice to the council.  Gamaliel was a Pharisee.  The Pharisees were a Jewish sect that insisted on the strictest observance of legal regulations and, also, the traditions that added a mass of regulations to the Mosaic Law.  Gamaliel was a teacher of the law of  Moses and was held in honor by all the people.  Saul (Paul) studied under him in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3).  Gamaliel was a member of the Sanhedrin.  The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish court comprised of 70 members who belonged to the Sadducees (another Jewish sect that denied the existence of angels and  the resurrection) and Pharisees.
Gamaliel addressed the court without the apostles being present.  First, he related two historical incidents of uprisings and, then, he made an application to the present situation.
The two historical cases of uprisings that Gamaliel mentioned involved men by the name of Theudas and Judas.  Theudas was a man of self-proclaimed importance.  He had a following of 400 men.  But, they were all dispersed and came to naught following his death.  Judas (Acts 5:37) was a Galilean who made an uprising in the days of the enrollment for taxation (Luke 2:1-2).  His rebellion was greater than that of Theudas, but, he, too, perished and his followers dispersed.
Gamaliel made an application to the present circumstances involving the followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:38).  He said, “And as to now…”  His application is faulty for the primary reason that neither Theudas nor Judas arose from the dead.  But, Jesus did!  The historical incidents are not parallel to the present circumstances.
Gamaliel made two conditional statements.  The first statement was, “If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to nought.”  This is a third class conditional statement and indicates that Gamaliel felt it was very unlikely.  The second statement was, “If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”  This statement is a first class conditional statement and is the more likely to be true.
Every religion built by men will be overthrown.  This is true, but when?  It may be that it would not be overthrown in their lifetimes and so the truthfulness or falsity of the religion would be undecided.  Can we sit down in indecision until this final proof is produced?  Is there a better way to detemine whether a religion is true or false?  The second alternative also is flawed.  If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it.  If they wait until the final proof is made according to time, then, they may miss the blessings of believing.  The waiting game puts their own souls in jeopardy.  The implication of Gamaliel’s counsel is that God has not provided enough information to determine the truth about Christianity.  We must wait and see the fate of any religion before we can determine whether or not it is of God.  Gamaliel belongs to that class of men where the most convincing evidence is unconvincing.  He belongs to the class of unbelievers.  He knows Jesus was resurrected from the dead!  Yet, he is still in denial.
Gamaliel’s counsel is the counsel of indecision because it is based on unbelief.
Time will tell or truth will tellTruth is a better basis upon which to decide the legitimacy of any religion.  Deciding for Jesus is evidence of an authentic faith rooted and grounded in truth.  Have you decided?

Undesigned Coincidences in the Pentateuch

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In 1891, John Blunt wrote a book on Undesigned Coincidences in the Old and New Testaments.  This book was a unique look at apologetics from the standpoint of the veracity of the historical accounts of the unfolding history of the people of the Bible.  Many of the details of the natural events of the Biblical story exhibit an unsurpassed harmony.  These details in the natural events show the truthfulness of the narrative.  Thy also are interwoven with the supernatural details of the special events in the lives of the Bible characters.  If the natural events show remarkable truthfulness what does this say about the supernatural events which are interwoven with these natural events?  The Bible history is true.  Bible history is not myth.  Taking this one step further, we have to consider the redemptive story that unfolds through these natural and supernatural events.  God was working in the history of man to bring Jesus Christ into the world for our redemption!  This is the ultimate focus of Bible history.

A Wife For Isaac.
Abraham’s servant is sent to Mesopotamia to procure a wife for Isaac of the daughters of that branch of the Patriarch’s family which continued to dwell in Haran.  The servant entreats God to give him a token or sign whereby he might know which of the women He (God) had appointed for Isaac to wed.  The sign given was:  whichever woman drew water from the well for him and his camels was the woman Isaac would wed.  Rebekah came out to draw water.  She was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.  Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother.
It appears, therefore, that the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother is to be the wife of Abraham’s son.  A person of the third generation of Nahor’s side is found of suitable years for one of the second generation on Abraham’s side.
What could harmonize more remarkably with the fact that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had no child until stricken in years.  Thus it was that a generation on Abraham’s side was lost and the grandchildren of his brother in Haran were the coequals of his own child in Canaan.
Again, the ordinary and extraordinary details of the story are placed side by side.  Sarah gave birth in her old age when she was past child bearing years and previously had been barren.  God intervened miraculously!  The natural and the supernatural events recorded in Scripture must stand or fall together!
Now, we all know the importance of Abraham in the lineage of the Messiah.  The promise that God made to Abraham in Gen. 15:1-6 and Gen. 22:17-18 regarding his seed and “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” were fulfilled ultimately in Christ (Gal. 3:16).  The veracity of the sacred text is undeniable.

Unreasonable Doubt

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     The reasons for unbelief are varied and complex.  Whenever a person says that he or she does not believe in God, we wonder why?  Jim Spiegel explored some of the reasons for atheism that are not generally considered by most in a recent article in Christianity Today titled, “Unreasonable Doubt” (Christianity Today, Jan. 2011, p. 48).   Most of the time, atheists attempt to give rational explanations for their beliefs.  But, what about those who make irrational claims?  For instance, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow have written The Grand Design in which they affirm that the cosmos was spontaneously generated “from nothing” with no God (or gods) required to make sense of existence. This is the height of irrationality!  It is irrational to affirm that everything in the universe came from nothing.  Nothing produces nothing.
     The apostle Paul states that these individuals are without excuse.  In Romans 1:20, he writes, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”   The phrase without excuse means that they have no defense (apologia).  They cannot make a rational defense of rejecting belief in God.  If it is irrational and indefensible to be an atheist, why be one?
In Psalm 14:1, the Holy Spirit declares, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”  Could the rejection of belief in God be rooted in corrupt and sinful behavior?  Consider Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”  Some men suppress the truth by personal vices and immoral desires.
     There is a cognitive consequence to sin!  We emphasize that beliefs impact behavior, but behavior also impacts beliefs.  Our conduct affects the way we think.  Once we sin, we also attempt to justify our sin.  We can develop a belief system that will exonerate why we do the things we do.  The 20th century ethics philosopher Mortimer Adler (who was baptized when he was 81) confessed to rejecting religious commitment for most of his life because it “would require a radical change in my way of life, a basic alteration in the direction of my day-to-day choices as well as in the ultimate objectives to be sought or hoped for…The simple truth of the matter is that I did not wish to live up to being a genuinely religious person” (Christianity Today, p. 48).
     Disobedience hardens the heart.  Paul describes individuals who gave themselves over to work all manner of uncleanness because of  the blindness of their heart.  Hear his words in Ephesians 4:18-19, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”   The more a person gives himself/herself over to vice, the less reliable his or her belief formation will be.  Unbelief and disobedience go hand in hand.
     Many atheists are such not because of sound rational arguments, but because they do not want to conform their lives to God’s Will.  They are comfortable with conformity to this world.  The truth can set any person free from the psychological, emotional and behavioral problems that produce unbelief.  A powerful aspect of truth is the reality of God’s love for us and the sacrifice Jesus made to atone for our sins.  Truth and love are powerful weapons against atheism or any false belief.

Undesigned Coincidences in the New Testament

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     I have been reading an interesting book in the field of Christian Apologetics.  The book was written by John J. Blunt and is titled, Undesigned Coincidences in the writings of both the Old and New Testament.  The book is an argument for the veracity of the Scriptures.  One of the interesting examples of undesigned coincidences is the scriptural record of the miracles of the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand.  All four evangelists record the miracle of the five thousand (Matt. 14:20; Mark 6:43; Luke 9:17 and John 6:13).  All four, without variation, use the word kophinous (plural form of kophinos) to indicate the baskets taken up.  There were twelve baskets taken up after the multitude was fed.  The miracle of the feeding of the four thousand is recorded by two of the evangelists (Matt. 15:37; Mark 8:8).  The phrase, “hepta spuridas” is used to indicate the seven baskets taken up after the multitude was fed.  There must have been a marked difference in the two baskets.  Kophinos is invariably used when the miracle of the five thousand is referenced and spuris is invariably used when the miracle of the four thousand is referenced.  Jesus refers to both of these miracles in Matt. 16:9-10.  “Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?  Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?”  Jesus used the same terms, kophinos and spuris respectively, when speaking of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the miracle of the feeding of the four thousand.
     In Acts 9:25, Paul was let down by the wall in a basket to escape a plot to take his life.  The basket (spuris) was large enough for a man to get into.  This is the basket that was used to take up the fragments of food left over after the feeding of the four thousand.  The spuris was a large basket whereas the kophinos was a smaller basket.  So, even though there were fewer baskets taken up (seven verses twelve), the baskets were larger.
     The point of the coincidence is the precise difference of the vessels and the uniform application of the term kophinos to the basket of the miracle of the five thousand and the uniform application of spuris to the miracle of the four thousand.  The words are never used interchangeably.  The two miracles were distinctly impressed upon the minds of the evangelists and of Jesus as real events.
     If the minute details of the miracle accounts are true, then what about the miracles related in the account?  If the details are so well preserved and validated, then what about the miracle itself?  The miracle must also be true and points to something greater. 
     Jesus is the “bread of life” (John 6:35).   “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).  “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).  While physical bread sustains physical life, only the “bread from heaven” (Jesus Christ) can give spiritual life that leads to eternal life!

Archaeology and the New Testament

apologetics, archaeology No Comments

     Lee Strobel in his book, The Case For Christ, sets forth the evidence for the truth about the life of Christ, i.e. His death, burial and resurrection.  Strobel gives the results of thirteen interviews from a variety of biblical scholars each proficient in their respective fields of study.  One of the interviews was with John McRay who specializes in biblical archaeology.  This interview focused on the archaeological support for the accuracy of the New Testament documents.  Strobel writes, “One promient archaeologist carefully examined Luke’s references to thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake” (Strobel, p. 98 (quoting from Geisler and Howe, When Critics Ask, 385).
     Contrast this fact with the Book of Mormon.  Archaeology has repeatedly failed to substantiate the claims of the Book of Mormon.  No Book of Mormon cities have ever been located.  No Book of Mormon persons,  places, nations or names have ever been found.  No Book of Mormon artifacts have ever been found.  No Book of Mormon inscriptions have ever been found.  Nothing which demonstrates the Book of Mormon is anything other than myth or invention has ever been found (Strobel, p. 107).
     This is an amazing contrast.  Where the New Testament can be tested for accuracy, archaeology has verified its contents.  Whereas, the Book of Mormon has no archaeological support.  The New Testament is clearly established as being truthful.  The Book of Mormon is merely myth!

Problems With Bible Classes/Sunday School

apologetics, Bible Study, inspiration of scriptures No Comments

     As a follow-up to the previous blog, I wanted to give you some information from the book Already Gone written by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer.  A survey of 1,000 20-somethings who regularly attended church as children and teens, were asked, “Did you often attend Sunday School?”  In reply, 61 percent said yes; and 39 percent said no.  The survey found that “Sunday school is actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children” (p. 38).  Children who regularly attend Sunday School are actually:
     1.  More likely NOT to believe that all the accounts/stories in the Bible are true/accurate.
     2.  More likely to doubt the Bible because it was written by men.
     3.  More likely to doubt the Bible because it was not translated correctly.
    4.  More likely to defend premarital sex.
     5.  More likely to defend that abortion should continue to be legal.
     6.  More likely to accept that gay marriage should be legal.
     7.  More likely to believe that God used evolution to change one kind of animal into another.
     8.  More likely NOT to believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old.
     9.  More likely to question the Bible because they believe the earth is not less than 10,000 years old.
    10.  More likely to doubt the Bible because of secular dates of billions of years for the age of the earth.
    11.  More likely to have heard a minister/Sunday school teacher teach Christians could believe in millions/billions of years.
    12.  More likely to question the earth is young and the days of creation are 24 hours each.
    13.  More likely to believe that dinosaurs died out before people were on the planet.
    14.  More likely to view the Church as hypocritical.
    15.  More likely to have become anti-church through the years.
    16.  More likely to believe that good people don’t need to go to church.    (see p. 39 of Already Gone)
     Belief in the Bible as the Word of God is diminshing among many young people, even those who have attended Bible classes or Sunday School.  These young people are rejecting the historical accuracy of the Bible.  They are rejecting the inspiration and authority of the Word of God.  Why?  Secular humanism (denial of God and His Word) and postmodernism (rejection of an objective standard of truth) have taken their toll on the faith of many children.  What they are taught in the classrooms of our schools is slowly winning out over what they are taught in Bible classes. 
     What can we do about this situation?  Spiritual leaders must continue to teach and to defend the Word of God.  We must be able to prove the case for the inspiration and authority of God’s Word.  Bible classes must not only teach the content of Scripture, but must also provide evidence for the veracity of Scripture.  Bible classes must not be “play time” and “chat times.”  They need to be rooted and grounded in Scripture with an emphasis on the evidences that show Scripture to be valid and believable.

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