Palace Discovered in Jerusalem Reveals the Reliability of the New Testament
The palace of Herod Antipas (son of Herod I who succeeded him), may have been discovered in the old city of Jerusalem. This would have been the same palace where Jesus stood trial before Herod, over 2000 years ago!
According to Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist from UNC Charlotte, quoted in the Washington Post, “there is little doubt that the trial occurred somewhere within Herod’s palace compound. In the Gospel of John, the trial is described as taking place near a gate and on a bumpy stone pavement — details that fit with previous archaeological findings near the prison.”
For years there has been some debate among archaeologists, historians and biblical scholars as to the exact location of Jesus’ trial before Herod Antipas in Luke 23:6-12.
The Washington Post article says, “Questions about the location stem from various interpretations of the Gospels, which describe how Jesus of Nazareth was brought before Pilate in the “praetorium,” a Latin term for a general’s tent within a Roman encampment. Some say Pilate’s praetorium would have been in the military barracks, others say the Roman general would probably have been a guest in the palace built by Herod.”
Harold Hoehner’s landmark work, Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ (Cambridge, 1972), states that, “After Pilate’s hearing that Jesus was from Galilee, Luke switches the scene to Jesus being tried by Herod [Antipas]. He was no doubt escorted by some guards as well as by some of the Sanhedrin from Pilate’s residence to the Hasmonaean palace, which was Antipas’ Jerusalem residence located west of the temple.”
“Today, historians and archaeologists are certain that Herod’s palace was on the city’s western side, where the Tower of David Museum and the Ottoman-era prison stand,” according to the article.
Well over a decade ago, as archaeologists began to dig back through the various layers of history and empires, including the British, Ottoman, and eventually back to the Roman period – a rocky pavement was discovered which may be connected to Jesus’ trial before Antipas & Pilate (see, John 19:13 Gabbatha, Hebrew for“knoll”).
To those who question the historical accuracy and reliability of the New Testament, this latest discovery reveals the fact that the events surrounding life of Jesus Christ are grounded in reality.
Archaeology certainly can’t prove the Bible in a mathematical/deductive sense, but it can certainly affirm people, places, and events which can give us a very high degree of certainty that what the Bible records actually happened, beyond a reasonable doubt!
In the words of Yisca Harani, ““For those Christians who care about accuracy in regards to historical facts, this is very forceful.”
 Harold Hoehner, Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ (Cambridge University Press, 1972), p. 239.
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