Dear ABR family,
As I was pondering the message that the Lord wanted me to share with you today a familiar and poignant passage came to mind from chapter 10 of Matthew’s gospel. In the larger context of this passage we observe Jesus instructing His disciples as He prepared to send them out to proclaim the Good News in the towns and communities of the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. The world they were entering was filled with “wolves” who would strongly resist their message and would use the court system to harass and even physically abuse them. But there is more…
Under demonic delusion – speaking of “Beelzebul” - some powerful and influential people would hear the gospel message and identify it as hateful and evil speech and would perceive themselves as doing good for persecuting the disciples and by seeking to silence them. Consider the behavior of the Apostle Paul before his salvation experience, whose conscience was clear, but whose mind was gripped with delusion in his efforts to persecute the early church. Here, in Matthew 10, Jesus boldly challenged and charged the apostles: “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”
The Gospel of Jesus brings light and salvation to the soul, exposing the rottenness and poison of sin that has been suppressed and kept carefully hidden away. This light has the power to bring a holy brokenness and a spirit of repentance so that the truth of grace may come flooding in. As the Gospel exposes personal sin in the human heart, it also works to expose the sin of society and culture and can even expose the lies and corruptions of the forgotten past….even those things buried away from sight from ancient times. Consider 1 Corinthians 10:6, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did,” where God calls us to look back, to be warned, and to understand.
Although God has the power to remove our transgressions “as far as the east is from the west” by his grace, he desires that hidden things be revealed, and thus we are reminded and warned about falling into the errors and sins of previous generations. Just as the Gospel can lead us to humble faith, it can also ignite resistance, even to the point of violence. We are reminded of John the Baptist being imprisoned and his eventual execution because he exposed the behavior of Herod’s brother Philip for taking Herodias as his wife; John told him, "It is not lawful for you to have her."
Only God’s Word has the penetrating power of the pure and the true. Only God’s word will go forth and always accomplish its purpose, being undeterred by the schemes of man. In Psalm 43, one of the sons of Korah has written, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” God’s truth always draws us to His presence. He proclaims, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!” When we choose to welcome the illumination of God’s gracious light we are set free; but those who wish to hide from God and truth can sometimes go to incredible extremes to cover their sin.
And thus, we are living in days when certain men believe that the events of the past can be hidden from the eyes of justice and the light of truth. That they can simply re-write the history books, and tear down statues, and burn down buildings and bury the past in fire and ashes. Deceitful men do these things for their own agendas, especially power, but rarely for truth. Whether its Herod in his treatment of John the Baptist, the men of Ephesus guarding business interests in their practice of idolatry (Acts 19), or those who rushed upon Stephen to stone him to death in Acts 7. Even after the burial of Jesus, deceitful men concocted a story about how Jesus’ body was stolen (Matt 28). Over and over again the lies and deception of mankind is on display, and drawing their inspiration from the father of lies. We must be fully aware of these things even more clearly in our day, personally, culturally, and even as we reveal the past archaeologically. There are always forces of darkness at work to distort the past, to subvert the Scripture, and to blind the minds of even the most sincere and honest scholars. We must humbly fall on our knees and seek God’s grace and truth in this awesome and difficult spiritual battle.
We are living in extraordinary days as ABR seeks to “shout from the rooftops” what God has done in Jesus Christ. That the Bible is reliable. That Jesus sets us free. Our desire is to tell the truth, using archaeology as a tool in the important calling the Lord has given us. The world shouts to us, “you don’t follow the science” (we do science…intently) or “you follow myths and fairy tales” (we do not – 2 Peter 1:16) and smugly pretend that their motivation is full intellectual integrity. In reality, even some of the most respected scholars have fallen into the trap of accepting utterly false paradigms to explain the past. Consider the impact of the false assumptions within Darwinism and Evolution in science, or the Documentary Hypothesis in historical and theological studies. These powerful paradigms are often left unchallenged because those who hold them ferociously guard them and fight for them, as those protecting the idols they serve. Some would prefer to “cancel” and erase the views of Christians and create an environment where perspectives outside of their protected worldview assumptions are intentionally and forcefully locked out from any consideration.
At ABR we keep before ourselves the reality that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” As we work and reveal the secrets buried in the ancient past, our goal is to honestly and transparently tell the truth. The exciting thing is this: our extensive efforts in conducting original archaeological fieldwork and research have resulted in overwhelming affirmations of the biblical text! Do we have detractors and those who report falsely on our work? Of course. Popular online sources, like Wikipedia, are openly and blatantly biased against us. They simply will not allow those who hold to the historicity of the biblical Creation accounts or who believe in the inspiration of the Bible to be represented as legitimate scholars. They intentionally remove quotations, references, and research performed by ABR staff because they have deemed us the “creationist fringe” or “Bible literalists”, and thus, even in areas of research where ABR staff are the leading experts, they are systematically “cancelled”. Such disgusting bias is part of the battle we face, and why your support for ABR is so very critical.
As the Scripture so clearly commands, we lead by the way we love. So even when entities like Wikipedia try to intentionally silence us, or our detractors make false statements about us, we find the amazing favor of the Lord upon all we do. Often hearts are won over, not just because of the excellent quality of our work or due to our cutting-edge technologies and methodologies, but most importantly, because we seek to love them with Christ’s love and grace.
With the battles ahead would you please consider a gift to help ABR at this time? Our fall season of ministry is so very important as we continue in our preparation to return to Shiloh in the spring, as we complete our two-volume Maqatir Final Reports (February 2021), in the many hours spent in the studio producing our Digging for Truth TV shows, in the development of our Stones Cry Podcasts, and in preparation for several new books featuring the ABR staff.
Thank you for standing with us. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for your generosity in supplying the needs of ABR. We are grateful for your love and encouragement.
Shining His Light,
Associates for Biblical Research