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A year of biblical discoveries in the Holy Land

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JERUSALEM – Israel witnessed a spectacular series of archeological discoveries in 2023 that revealed the presence of Jesus and the Jewish people’s more than 2,000 years of unbroken presence in the Holy Land.

The Pool of Siloam – Affirming Scripture:

“The Pool of Siloam’s excavation is highly significant to Christians around the world,” American pastor John Hagee, the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, told Fox News Digital earlier this year. “It was at this site that Jesus healed the blind man (John 9), and it is at this site that, 2,000 years ago, Jewish pilgrims cleansed themselves prior to entering the Second Temple.”

“The Pool of Siloam and the Pilgrimage Road, both located within the City of David, are among the most inspiring archeological affirmations of the Bible,” he stated.

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Northern perimeter of the Pool of Siloam. (Koby Harati, City of David Archives.)

A small section of the pool, which has been fully excavated, has been accessible to the public for several years. The vast majority of the pool is being excavated and will either be opened piecemeal or once the entire site is unearthed.

Adding to the excitement, another important excavation disclosed some eight steps descending into the Pool of Siloam in the ancient city of David (now in the heart of Jerusalem), where Jesus healed a blind man. The unearthing of the steps, according to experts on Christianity, affirms the truth of Scripture.

The historical steps at the Pool of Siloam, where pilgrims bathed themselves upon arrival in the city of David, coincided with the time Jesus walked through the Holy Land.

“History abounds with written testimonies of persons of real impact. Archeology, however, testifies to the truth or falsehood of what’s been written. Without fail, the archeological discoveries around Israel, and most especially the City of David, confirm the truth and accuracy of the Bible. This is God’s answer to skeptics and reassurance to believers that everything He has said regarding our present lives and future can be fully relied upon,” Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons, chief visionary officer for Kenneth Copeland Ministries, told Fox News Digital.

Pool of Siloam, Jerusalem

Rendering of the Pool of Siloam (Shalom Kveller & City of David Archives)

Hagee told Fox News Digital last week, “With each archeological discovery in Israel, two known facts are reemphasized: The Word of God is true, and the Children of Israel are the indigenous people of the Holy Land. Either of these facts on their own should be enough to rally the world to Israel’s cause. Tragically, in a world comfortable with Jew-hatred, the concept of alternative facts, and the belief that TikTok trumps objective truth, I do not expect the international community will see the light of truth anytime soon.”

“Nonetheless,” he added, “the rocks continue to cry out, declaring that the Word of God is true, and as they have for millennia, the Jewish people will continue to survive and thrive because the Lord, and His followers, will never abandon His Chosen People.”

RARE BIBLICAL-ERA COIN FOUND:

A second significant archaeological find, announced by the Israel Antiquities Authority in July, was the discovery of a rare silver half-shekel coin from the time of the first Jewish revolt against the Romans over 2,000 years ago in the Judean desert. The international community mostly refers to Israel’s ancient biblical land as the West Bank, while many Israelis refer to the region by its biblical names of Judea and Samaria.

For biblical scholars, archeologists and Israelis, the excavation of the coin is sensational because it is engraved in ancient Hebrew with the words “Holy Jerusalem.” The coin is dated to 66/67CE. 

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The reaffirmation of the presence of the Jewish people before the establishment of Islam, which unfolded 1,400 years ago in Arabia, debunks the widespread, mostly Palestinian falsehood on social media platforms that Jews “colonized” the biblical land with the re-birth of the Jewish state in 1948 and the Zionist movement in the late 1800s, argue historians.

“One explanation for this find is that the Jerusalem-minted coin fell from the pocket of a rebel who escaped to the desert during the revolt – perhaps on his way to nearby En Gedi,” said the Israel Antiquities Authority in a statement in July. 

The Bible comes to life as precious gems are discovered in Israel:

A family-owned company said it brought Bible verses to life after the Israeli government certified it as the first to discover precious gems in the Holy Land.

Fox News Digital reported in August that the verse, found in the book of Isaiah, states that Israel’s foundations will be laid with sapphires and its borders with precious stones. After the Taubs discovered various gems through its mining firm, the Israeli family launched a new company in 2022 to sell them.

“… I will lay your foundations with sapphires and I will make your windows of jasper and your gates of carbuncle stones, and all your border of precious stones,” the verse (Isaiah 54:11-12) reads.

Ze’ev Orenstein, director of international affairs for the City of David Foundation in Jerusalem, told Fox News Digital, “For much of the world, over the last 2,000 years to present day, Jerusalem has represented a kind of spiritual and historical North Star or compass, guiding both literal and figurative pilgrims and travelers, near and far, on their quest to find meaning, purpose, faith and identity within their personal, communal and national lives; to connect their own lives to a story or mission bigger than themselves, to one which transcends the relatively short time any of us will spend upon the earth.” 

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He noted, “In a word, Jerusalem matters. And, the heritage being unearthed in sites like the City of David – historic site of biblical Jerusalem – matters. It matters no less than it did thousands of years ago. It matters much more and to far more people today than it did two millennia ago. To billions, not millions.”

The astonishing pace and intensity of excavations in the Holy Land might very well produce some breathtaking discoveries in 2024.

Fox News’ Kassy Dillion contributed to this report.

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