Northern Michigan School of the Bible
Bible History and Secular Records - Article #1
The Bible often mentions earthquakes. If they are so, they are also a matter of secular records making these Bible records the same history as found in secular records. This series is designed to explore secular history, archeological digs [discoveries] and scriptural records of Biblical Earthquakes. This series will end with an article of two on End-Time earthquakes.
Click on the desired article in this series in the Table of Contents... ... then enjoy a possible aha Bible moment.
Earthquakes reveal much. Our classes on this at Northern Michigan Bible School, September 2011 through April 2012, studied this prophetic and profitable stroke of God’s hand upon his chosen people and end time events. The purpose of this first article is what is known by many as The Amos' Earthquake; 750 B.C.
Amos 1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam II the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake; ESV.
It is rarely discussed from the pulpits in America and I have personally met not a single person who questioned the curious fact of the Bible mentioning this particular earthquake. Over 200 years later the Prophet Zechariah points to it in Zechariah 14: 4, 5.
It is easy to understand other earthquakes mentioned in the bible such as: Matthew 27:51-54 (crucifixion), Matthew 28:2 (Christ’s resurrection), Numbers 16:32 (wilderness revolt against Moses), Job 9:6, Nahum 1:5 (end times), I Samuel 14:15 (Jonathan and his armor bearer attack the Philistines)… etc. But, the question of curiosity and the demand for inquiry come in to play when there seems to be more to the verse mentioning an earthquake.
This new series begins a study of such earthly disasters and God’s judgment paralleling modern day seismic activity and recording of their history with the Bible mentioning of the same thing at the same time in the same places. When end times come into play, we have an even greater curiosity; will we look at it as just that, a curiosity or will we realize God is telling us something about the end of this old earth and his tolerance of sin? See and read Matthew 24.
We will use the USGS (United States Geological Society records), secular history as recorded by the ancients, the Beck Index and the Bible throughout this series. It will be discovered by the reader that there is NO CONFLICT between these independent records of the earth shaking, burning, convulsing, up heaving, splitting mountains into two or three separate mountains with new valleys and the fact that the Bible is not full of stories, but historical facts that align with scientific facts.
In 750 B.C. and as recorded originally in Amos 1:1 there was a significant earthquake. Yes, we are beginning in the middle of much historical timeline fact/data, but this is where God took this writer over the past weekend while doing my personal Bible Studies. So this is where we will begin.
Creation Faith Facts records: “Widely separated archaeological excavations in the countries of Israel and Jordan were conducted in 1955 by archaeologist Yigael Yadin. He found architecture bearing damage from a great earthquake…earthquake evidence is seen prominently at Hazor, Israel’s largest ancient city. Excavations in Hazor revealed tilted walls, inclined pillars, and collapsed houses. The city of Gezer was also severely shaken. The outer wall of the city shows hewn [hand-cut] stones weighing tons that have been cracked and displaced several inches off their foundation. Earthquake debris at six sites…is tightly confined [by strata] to the middle of the eighth century B.C. So, the evidence points to a single large regional earthquake that occurred about 750 B.C. at magnitude 8.2 on the Richter Scale”
Isn’t it a curiosity in and of itself that even secularists call the great earthquake in the Middle East of 750 B.C. Amos’ Earthquake? Why? As far as I can tell Amos predicted it and it happened when God’s hand of judgment once again fell on the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. He made it a cornerstone of a major event in his writing of the Book of Amos and what made it an even more memorable was the 8.2 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in northern Israel/Lebanon. There must be secular records of this event.
We must back up a bit in history to pull things together during the time of Amos and the earthquake he mentions in Amos 1:1. Much archeological work has been and continues to be done in the Middle East, Palestine, Egypt, Israel and Jordan (river basin and country). These ventures make discoveries and log the findings as secular findings of past events. Recall the history of Samson. He was a judge of the combined original Tribes of Israel in the Promised Land being ruled by judges. Samson was not a Samuel or a Moses; other judges of Israel. There was not yet a king over Israel at the time of the judges. Each Tribe “did what was seen as right in their own eye” Judges 17:6.
Sampson, as did future generations of Israel, often contended with the Philistines. They had five basic cities in the area south-west of Israel; Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, *Gath and Ekron; I Samuel 6:17. Mario Seiglie , Scott Ashley, Tom Robinson co-authored an article in God, Science and the Bible, about many archeological digs and discoveries. While doing a dig within the territory occupied by the Philistines, they discovered evidence of several earthquakes; one of them dating to the precise time of Amos’ Earthquake, 750 B.C., as recorded in Amos 1:1. Note: *Gath, a Philistine city, is recorded in scripture as the hometown of Goliath.
Previously in 1955 archeologist Yigael Yadin discovered and dated the same earthquake while doing a dig in Hazor, Israel’s largest ancient city.
Point in history: Amos is a contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah, *King Uzziah (aka: Azariah) of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel. The theme of the Book of Amos is the Judgment of God, then and yet to come..
*LEARNING NOTE: King Uzziah is listed in the Bible as within the genealogy line of Jesus.
Here is another fascinating learning note in bible/secular history. Uzziah was struck with leprosy for falling away from God (2 Kings 15:5); (2 Chronicles 26:19-21). Edwin R. Thiele (archeologist, renown author and Old Testament professor) dates Uzziah being struck with leprosy to 751/750 BC, at which time his son Jotham took over the government as co-regent. Uzziah died with his leprosy in 740/739 B.C. Why is this 750 B.C. date so important? It is the same date as Amos’ Earthquake; a judgment brought on Judah and Israel for their low-point in following God.
We read in 2 Chronicles 26:15-16. Uzziah’s pride led to his downfall; even after many years of “doing what was right in the eyes of God” [2 Kings 15:3]. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. As a lesson to God’s people, Amos warns about the wrath of God (the earthquake hit at the same time as Uzziah was stricken with leprosy. End Times Note: Zechariah cautions us that in the end times there will be a future earthquake that will rattle people as much or more than did Amos’ Earthquake.
Here is the key to Amos’ Earthquake and the immediate leprosy of King Uzziah as seen through the writings of secular historian Flavius Josephus…
Josephus, the First Century Jewish historian, described the events in Jerusalem during this earthquake [750 B.C.; emphasis mine]. King Uzziah was in the Temple trying to offer incense on the altar at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a duty only allowed the High Priest (Lev. 16 and 17). The priests tried to stop him, but he was defiant. Josephus records what happens next: “But, while he [Uzziah] spoke, a great tremor shook the earth, and, as the temple was riven, a brilliant shaft of sunlight gleamed through it and fell upon the king’s face so that leprosy at once smote him” (Antiquities of the Jews 9:225; LCL 6:119; II Chronicles. 26:19-21, 23). The Bible does not place the two events together chronologically, but Josephus had access to records that are no longer available to us.
Here is aha-bible/secular history from this time period; i.e. 750 B.C.
• King Uriah struck with leprosy at the same time as the 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck the area
• King Sardui of the Kingdom of Urartu, a small but powerful enemy of the Assyrians caused great consternation in the heart of Assyrian rulers
• It marked the beginning of the end for the northern Kingdom of Israel
• The legendary Romulus ruled in Rome
• Hosea, Micah, Isaiah were contemporary prophets at this time
• The Greeks began colonizing Italy and Sicily.
• Harnesses and horse bits began to be used
• Sparta becomes a very disciplined society. The famous laws of Sparta were said to have been given by the legendary Lycurgus shortly after the time of Homer. Plutarch in his Life of Lycurgus credited the lawgiver with redistribution of the land into equal lots. [redistribution of wealth; sound a bit like America today… 2008 - ?]
• Egyptians build the first known dam called the Sadd el-Kafara; 37 ft tall, 348 ft wide of rubble masonry filled with 100,000 tons of gravel and stone.
• Homer writes the Iliad and the Odyssey
• Caste System firmly established in India
• 750 to 612 is “the time of the Assyrians we read of in the Bible”
Enough said as we begin our study of earthquake history and its implications to world events including the Bible times of this same world during the Amos' Earthquake. We will limit our scope of study to the earthquakes mentioned in the Old and New Testaments with the sole purpose of demonstrating to the reader that the Bible is not a story and world history something else. They happened at the same time and are a part of the same history book; one of these books is the inspired Word of God.
Table of Contents: Earthquakes
Article #1 - Bible History & Secular Records is this page - Amos' earthquake
Article #2 - Click here - Atlantis
Article #3 - Click here - Mt Sinai
Article #4 - Click here - Crucifixion
Article #5 - Click here - Paul & Silas
Article #6 - Click here - Mother of earthquakes