VIDEO Top Three Archaeological Finds from 2016 That Confirm Biblical History


The holy city of Jerusalem. (AP Photo)


It’s been a great few years for biblical archaeology. Here are three of our favorite examples.

Just before or after New Year’s, everyone—or at least so it seems—comes out with a “Best of” list. These best-known lists can contain movies, music, television shows, books, whatever.

But there are other “Best of” lists worth noting, and in the case of today’s BreakPoint, worth mimicking. Christianity Today recently ran an article entitled “Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2016.”

Great idea. So we here at BreakPoint wondered, “Why not come up with our own list of recent favorites from biblical archaeology?”

Since time does not permit me to list ten finds, I will settle for three that we talked about on BreakPoint in 2016. At a minimum, these finds shed new light on the world of the Bible and help us in understanding the words of Scripture. In other cases, they actually confirm portions of the scriptures whose historicity, until recently, was in doubt. But all are a potent reminder that biblical faith is rooted in actual human history, as befits a people who confess that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

So with no further ado, drumroll please.

Number three in our list are the recent discoveries that shed light on the life and time of what I called “least-understood yet incredibly-important person in the Bible,” Mary Magdalene. As I said back in April, “more people [mistakenly] ‘know’ that she was a prostitute—which is based on a misreading of Luke, chapters 7 and 8—than the fact that she was the first witness to the Lord’s resurrection.”

An excavation of her home town, Magdala, just five miles from Capernaum, discovered the remains of a synagogue, and even more exciting, a first-century Roman coin bearing the image of Tiberius. As the head of the dig told the New York Times, there was “circumstantial evidence” that Jesus had been at the site.

What’s more, the evidence shows Magdala to have been a prosperous town, which is in keeping with Luke which tells us that Mary was among the women who “provided for Jesus and His disciples ‘out of their resources.’”

Number two on our list of best biblical archaeological finds is the excavation of a “monumental pool from the Second Temple period, the period in which Jesus lived.” In other words, the Pool of Siloam. You’ll recall from John 9 when Jesus encountered the man born blind, he spat on the ground, made mud, placed it on the man’s eyes, and told him to go “wash in the pool of Siloam.”

The finding is further confirmation that the fourth Gospel “rests on extraordinarily precise knowledge of times and places, and so can only have been produced by someone who had an excellent firsthand knowledge of Palestine at the time of Jesus.”

But my personal favorite was the discovery of a toilet. Specifically, a toilet discovered at Tel Lachish. It was discovered in a “large room that appears to have been a shrine.”

“The room contained two four-horned altars, whose horns had been intentionally damaged.” As John Stonestreet told BreakPoint listeners, the damage was, in likelihood, part of King Hezekiah’s reforms.

But what about the toilet? Well, if you’re going to desecrate a pagan shrine, nothing does the trick like turning it into an outhouse, which is exactly what another reformer, Jehu, did to a temple of Ba’al in 2 Kings. Apparently, Jehu wasn’t unique in this regard.

Findings like these should not surprise us. As John put it, “The Bible is the best-attested book of antiquity. Nothing else is within the same solar system.” Our faith is firmly rooted in history, not some “once upon a time.”

By Eric Metaxas  who is the host of the “Eric Metaxas Show,” a co-host of “BreakPoint” radio and a New York Times #1 best-selling author whose works have been translated into more than twenty languages.



Valley of Blessing

The Valley of Blessing

If calamity comes . . . [we] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us. 2 Chronicles 20:9

French artist Henri Matisse felt his work in the last years of his life best represented him. During that time he experimented with a new style, creating colorful, large-scale pictures with paper instead of paint. He decorated the walls of his room with these bright images. This was important to him because he had been diagnosed with cancer and was often confined to his bed.

Becoming ill, losing a job, or enduring heartbreak are examples of what some call “being in the valley,” where dread overshadows everything else. The people of Judah experienced this when they heard an invading army was approaching (2 Chron. 20:2–3). Their king prayed, “If calamity comes . . . [we] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us” (v. 9). God responded, “Go out to face [your enemies] tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (v. 17).

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21

When Judah’s army arrived at the battlefield, their enemies had already destroyed each other. God’s people spent three days collecting the abandoned equipment, clothing, and valuables. Before leaving, they assembled to praise God and named the place “The Valley of Berakah,” which means “blessing.”

God walks with us through the lowest points in our lives. He can make it possible to discover blessings in the valleys.

Dear God, help me not to be afraid when I encounter difficulty. Help me to believe that Your goodness and love will follow me.

Looking for hope in the middle of difficult circumstances? Read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear at

God is the master of turning burdens into blessings.


Testing Builds Endurance

James 1:2-4

“Why would a loving heavenly Father allow His children to go through terrible trials and experience sorrow?” We can understand the reason that this is a common question—it can be baffling when the all-powerful God of love seems to stand by silently while painful things happen to His followers. Where is He during personal tragedies, natural disasters, financial crises, and other times of heartache?

The Word of God is the only place we can find the real answer. Even so, today’s reading can be hard to understand or accept. One might read James’s exhortation to be joyful in the face of trials and think, Count me out! Difficulties and joy just don’t seem to go together—that is, unless we understand God’s perspective of what life is about.

When James spoke of joy, he wasn’t referring to a cheery, frivolous feeling. Rather, he was talking about an inner sense of calmness, peace, and confidence in the Lord. He wasn’t telling us to feel happy about our trials but to know, as we go through them, that God is up to something good in our life. Our attitude during the struggle will determine what shape we’re in when we come out on the other side.

When our faith gets tested, the end result is endurance; being aware of this gives us hope and strength. What’s more, the Bible promises God will use trials for our good, so we don’t need to be afraid or anxious.

God’s desire is to bless you, not destroy you. Adversity can make someone feel like a victim, but as followers of Christ, we can choose to be victors!

Lot’s Fateful Choice

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. . . . Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” (Genesis 13:10-11)

Some otherwise righteous folks are unable to handle wealth. Lot and Abram had become so wealthy “that they could not dwell together” (Genesis 13:6), and Lot fell into the classic temptation—loving “all that is in the world” (John 2:16).

Beginning by pitching “his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12), Lot later “dwelt in Sodom, and his goods” (Genesis 14:12). And even though he was “vexed” by the “filthy” behavior of those with whom he was living (2 Peter 2:7-8), Lot finally “sat in the gate of Sodom”—a Hebrew idiom for holding a political place of power in the city (Genesis 19:1).

We are told that Lot was a just and righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8). But ungodly choices always produce tragic results. When the angels arrived to bring God’s judgment, his children had intermarried with Sodomites and had been lost (Genesis 19:12-14). His wife wouldn’t leave (Genesis 19:26), and his wealth was destroyed with the destruction of the cities.

Lot’s reputation and eternal place in Kingdom history are equally tragic. Although rescued by the angels, his legacy is: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Although granted his wish to live in a “little” city (Genesis 19:20), his daughters corrupted themselves with him, and the pagan nations of Moab and Ammon were the result (Genesis 19:30-38). Although we will see Lot in heaven, he became the epitome of one whose works are “burned” and he is saved, “yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Even small ungodly choices can cause us to lose “a full reward” (2 John 1:8). HMM III

“He will ever be mindful of His covenant.”

“He will ever be mindful of His covenant.”

Genesis 9:8-17

In this portion we have fuller particulars of the gracious covenant made with Noah and his seed.

Genesis 9:8-11

To those who have been saved in Christ no future destruction is possible. They are for ever secure from the floods of wrath.

Genesis 9:14

The covenant sign is seen in cloudy times when faith most requires a seal of the Lord’s faithfulness. No cloud, no bow. It is worth while to have a cloud to have a rainbow painted upon it.

Genesis 9:16

This is better than man’s looking upon it, for He will never gaze with forgetful eye.

The word everlasting has heavenly music in it. A temporary covenant is of small value, but an everlasting covenant is a wellspring of delight.

Genesis 9:17

The rainbow is thus made the lovely symbol of God’s truth. A bow unstrung, for war is over; a bow without a string never to be used against us; a bow turned upward, that we may direct our thoughts and prayers thither; a bow of bright colours, for joy and peace are signified by it. Blessed arch of beauty, be thou to us ever the Lord’s preacher.

We will now turn to a passage in the prophets where the covenant of divine grace is linked with this bow.

Isaiah 54:4-10

Isaiah 54:10

Let us henceforth be ashamed to doubt the Lord. These steadfast signs should create in us unstaggering confidence in the faithfulness of our immutable God. Only let us make sure that we are exercising true faith in Him.


The warm affections of his breast

Towards his chosen burn;

And in his love he’ll ever rest,

Nor from his oath return.


Still to confirm his oath of old,

See in the heavens his bow;

No fierce rebukes, but joys untold

Await his children now.


Have You Paid Attention To Yourself Lately?

1 Timothy 4:16

Are you constantly serving others without giving yourself needed times of rest and refreshing? Or do you remember that you have spiritual needs too?

When Paul wrote First Timothy 4:16, Timothy was a young pastor working ferociously to see his ministry succeed. Timothy was serving as the pastor of the giant church of Ephesus—the world’s largest church at that time. In the process, he was learning to deal with all the problems that go along with serving as the senior pastor of such a large church.

Timothy was discovering that taking care of a large church was an all-consuming task. He was giving every ounce of himself to serve the needs of that church and to make sure it was well taken care of. In fact, he was so busy taking care of everything and everyone else that he was forgetting to take care of himself!

Have you ever been guilty of running around and taking care of everyone else except yourself? Have you ever gotten so busy helping others that you forfeited your own vital time with God? Be honest! Have you ever done this so regularly that you began to feel drained, and you knew it was because you weren’t taking care of your own spiritual needs?

That’s why Paul admonished Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself….” This phrase “take heed” comes from the Greek word epecho, which is a compound of the words ep and echo. The word ep means on, and the word echo means to have or to hold. When these two words are compounded into one word, it means to grab hold of something very tightly. In other words, the word epecho describes an extremely firm grip.

It’s so easy to get distracted by other things that scream for your attention. However, if your relationship with God suffers because you are trying to help everyone else, it will just be a matter of time until you run dry, lose your energy and passion, and have nothing more to offer. This is exactly what was happening to Timothy! If he was to continue serving as an effective minister to other people, he had to set aside some private time to develop his own relationship with God.


Paul’s words to Timothy could be translated:

“Get ahold of yourself….”

“Make your own spiritual life a priority….”

“Don’t get so busy that you forget you have spiritual needs too….”

It’s good to serve the Lord and to be willing to work. You should be faithful at whatever He has called you to do. But you should never get so busy that you forget your own spiritual needs and thus end up running dry of spiritual power. Take Paul’s words to heart. Never forget to “take heed unto thyself”!

If you are going to serve God and do His will for years to come, it is essential that you make your own spiritual life your first priority. After all, you can only give what you have inside you. If you run dry because you never spend time with the Lord, it won’t be long until you have nothing left to give to anyone!

So if you wish to continue being effective for God’s Kingdom, it is mandatory that you don’t forget about your own spiritual need to grow and to be refreshed by the Word. As Paul’s words could be understood, “Don’t get so busy that you forget you have spiritual needs too!”


Lord, help me remember not to neglect my own spiritual life. My time with You is vital if I am to remain spiritually fresh and empowered to serve others. When life gets so busy that I think there is no time to spend with You, help me refocus and reschedule my life so that my relationship with You remains my greatest priority. And after I’ve been refreshed by Your Word and Your Presence, help me then to minister the fullness of Your Spirit and Your love to those around me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I boldly proclaim by faith that my spiritual life is my number-one priority. I pay attention to my walk with God, and I do everything I can do to make sure my spiritual life is alive, growing, and constantly reaching out for more of the Lord. I am sensitive to God’s Spirit. I am attuned to His Word. As a result of putting my own spiritual life first, I am filled with enough power and love to adequately serve the needs of those who are around me.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. How much time do you personally spend alone with God every day?
  2. Have you gotten so busy serving the Lord that you have neglected your own walk with Him? If so, write down any problems you may be facing in different areas of your life because of this neglect.
  3. What steps do you need to take to reverse this situation and refocus on your relationship with Jesus?


Ever Feel Like The Discipline Of God In Your Life Is Too Demanding?

Following is a poem that has been extremely helpful to me during difficult times of discipline by our heavenly Father:


When God wants to drill a man:

And thrill a man:

And skill a man:

When God wants to mold a man

To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart

To create so great and bold a man

That all the world shall be amazed:

Watch His methods, watch His ways!


How He ruthlessly perfects

Whom He royally elects!

How He hammers him and hurts him,

And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which

Only God understands;

While his tortured heart is crying

And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks

When his good He undertakes;

How He uses whom He chooses:

And with every purpose fuses him;

But every act induces him

To try His splendor out —

God knows what Hes about!” (Author Unknown)


For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by itin conformity to Gods will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God.” (Hebrews 12:11 – Amplified)



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