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spring 2024 ministry update

Dear ABR Family,Joshuas Altar on Mt EbalJoshuas Altar on Mt Ebal

More than ever your prayers and financial support are needed in the months ahead. Here’s just a small overview of some the work we have been doing in the past year or more, particularly regarding our excavation at Shiloh and our research regarding Mount Ebal, and their implications for upholding the authority of the Bible:

Throughout 2023 and into 2024 the staff of ABR has continued to engage in the arena of ideas and discussions within biblical archaeology.  Of course, ABR has been at the center of some of these debates as our research from our excavation at Shiloh and the discarded dump piles from the original excavation at Joshua’s Altar at Mount Ebal have caused a firestorm among some in the archaeological scholarly community (and beyond). Some of those debates have been “down in the weeds” in the environment of academia, and difficult for Christians in churches across America to understand and follow. These debates, however, illustrate once again not just pedantic academic disagreements, but more significantly, the clash of worldviews and the interpretations of the data that are rooted in the assumptions of both credentialed investigators and (the far less important) cadre of idealogues and commentators (primarily those who have commitments from an academically left-leaning set of presuppositions).

Scott Lanser Henry Smith and Scott Stripling Digging for TruthDigging for Truth TV program with Scott Stripling, Scott Lanser, and Henry SmithWe welcome the healthy discussions and “iron sharpening iron” debates that have come forth from our important discoveries – discoveries that have been made possible by you and others in the ABR family.

As I often say, ABR wants to make the Bible unavoidable to the world, and particularly to those who wish to bury the Scriptures and to silence not just biblical archaeologists, but more importantly pastors, theologians, teachers, missionaries, and all those who boldly communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of God that is found in holy Scripture.

What are some of the specifics of these discoveries?

Evidence from Shiloh

At Shiloh, ABR has discovered a monumental building with the dimensions of the tabernacle. ABR staff researcher, Henry Smith, in his recent article in Answers magazine described it this way:

Pomegranate from ShilohPomegranate from Shiloh“The original tabernacle rested at Shiloh for over three centuries. At some point, a permanent building most likely replaced the tent structure. First Samuel refers to permanent features such as doors instead of temporary features such as curtains. Throughout The ABR Shiloh dig team at workThe ABR Shiloh dig team at workthe 2017–2019 seasons, ABR teams began to uncover a large building from the Judges period (Iron Age I).
[A] ceramic pomegranate was found near this structure. As we unearthed this east-west [oriented] building, our team was able to measure its dimensions, except one corner. Thus far, the measurements closely align with the dimensions of thetabernacle, as recorded in Exodus 26.

In addition, the ABR team has uncovered what we believe is the citygate of Shiloh. Henry explains, “Our team found a large breach in the city wall of Shiloh, we theorized it might be the city gate. Gate socket stones were also found nearby. Because Eli the priest died at the city gate in 1 Samuel 4:12–18, its discovery would be of great historical importance.” (Answers magazine 2023, Vol 18 No 3.)

Altar Horn from ShilohAltar Horn from ShilohWhen you add to these discoveries other important finds at Shiloh - like thousands of animal
bones (a bone depository) representative of Israel’s sacrificial system,offerings of gold
jewelry, an iconic ceramicCollege Students Uncovering a Socket Stone at ShilohCollege Students Uncovering a Socket Stone at Shiloh pomegranate(think of the High Priest’s robe), storage rooms with large jars used to supply the priests, and the remains of three altars used in the sacrificial system at the site - we have a powerful witness based upon tangible evidence of Shiloh’s reality and  as described in the Scriptures.


Evidence from Mount Ebal

ABR’s major wet-sifting project of the excavation dump piles from Mount Ebal caused a major storm in the academic world because it threatened cherished paradigms in historical and theological studies. The dump piles were created by an excavation by Jewish archaeologist Adam Zertal in the 1980’s. Several years ago, ABR formed the Mount Ebal Excavation Dump Salvage (MEDS) project to legally sift the discarded remains from Zertal’s dig.  On our staff was renowned small finds specialist, Frankie Snyder,Members of the ABR MEDS project teamMembers of the ABR MEDS project team who discovered a small, folded lead tablet (about the size of a postage stamp) in the wet-sifting-washing process. Team leader Scott Stripling, along with Abigail Leavitt, and Frankie all recognized the object as a likely defixio (curse tablet).

Fast-forward, the tablet was examined by X-ray tomographic scanning by researchers at the Czech Academy of Sciences and the results were nothing short of extraordinary: what appeared to be letters comprised of ancient proto-Hebrew were found inscribed inside the tablet. Scott Stripling then formed a team of epigraphers for a thorough examination to determine if the inscription was real and what message might beMt Ebal Curse TabletMt Ebal Curse Tablet contained within this tiny lead tablet.  

Henry Smith described the process this way: “The team recognized the text as proto-alphabetic script, known to be in use between 1750 and 1200 BC. Similar inscriptions have been discovered in the Sinai and in Israel. Scholars have long recognized the proto-alphabetic script as the predecessor to the Semitic alphabet (Canaanite, Hebrew, Phoenician).” (Answers magazine, forthcoming.)

The text from the inside of the tablet coalesced as a chiasm with the following words:

A. You are cursed by the god YHW—cursed.4 LTL Press

B. You will die,

C. Cursed –

C’. Cursed,

B’. you will surely die.

A’. Cursed you are by YHW—cursed.

The tablet has implications in several important areas of study, including a potential deathblow to the now discredited Documentary Hypothesis (J-E-D-P Theory) and the spectacular false assumption that the ancient Hebrews did not have a written script at the time of Moses!

Henry concluded that the curse tablet is certainly ABR’s greatest discovery in 50 plus years of ministry. “But more than a fascinating ancient relic, the implications are massive for affirming the authority of God’s Word.”

Why your support is needed more than everMt Ebal curse tablet Press Conference Mt Ebal Curse Tablet Press Conference - Dr. Scott Stripling

Our excavation at Shiloh puts on display how ABR’s original research is bearing fruit by providing crucial and reliable evidence for the Bible’s historical veracity – and this in the face of a world that is being flooded with messages that declare that the Bible is nothing but myths and fairy tales.

When you support the ABR ministry, you help us to not only publish articles and books in support of the Bible, but more importantly, to do the actual original - on the ground - research in the land of Israel. The ministry of ABR affirms what Christians already know to be true in Scripture. Nonetheless, our work shines crucial light into the darkness of cynicism - light that is used by God in drawing the lost and unbelieving to faith in Jesus Christ and to trust in God’s Word.

Our work culminates in numerous one-on-one conversations and exchanges that can lead to life transformation. Sometimes those conversations are with other scholars, with pastors and teachers, but most often with students. Let me share with you an exchange I recently had with a foreign student struggling to believe that the Bible, particularly the OT, is reliable as the Word of God. The student wrote:

“Regarding the Old Testament, many historians who do not have a direct bias to favor the accounts of the Bible claim that in books such as Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus [that they are] largely fiction. [These] historians have a hard time believing that these books are not fiction. I want to believe in God but there are so many loose ends, especially in the early books [in the OT]. [Is] there highly plausible evidence that is able to support the earlier books of the Bible, instead of weak pieces of evidence that has loose ends?”

This is precisely the kind of interaction we are looking for, as students grapple with the strident cynicism and skepticism about the Bible in colleges and universities. I will share with you just a small portion of my reply to this student here (the complete response will be published in an upcoming issue of Bible and Spade.) After confronting at-length the several logical fallacies that this student had embraced I urged him to consider the words of Jesus. I wrote:Smith Lanser Stripling and Mark Hassler at the Museum of the Bible NEAS meeting in 2023Museum of the Bible Near East Archaeological Society meeting in 2023. Left to right: Scott Lanser, Scott Stripling, Dr. Mark Hassler, Henry Smith

“What helped convince me that I could trust the Old Testament was something Jesus said in the gospel of John (5:46): "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." This verse which is attested to in all of the significant New Testament manuscripts declares that the Son of God affirmed the ancient authorship of Moses. Jesus did not doubt nor was He confused about the Old Testament Scriptures. I've now studied the Bible for almost 50 years and as I've experienced the grace and saving love of Jesus, I have come to know Him by the words He has spoken, and by “every word from the mouth of God” (both testaments). Jesus said:  "Man shall not live by bread alone (physical food) but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (spiritual food). I urge you to trust Jesus to open your heart and your spiritual eyes to see what is true. He will never lie to you or mislead you. Jesus said, "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" Jesus will lead you into all that is true and to life that is everlasting.”

ABR’s work is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and the trustworthiness of the Scriptures to a lost and dying world. We do this through the powerful testimony of biblical history and the extraordinary affirming results of biblical archaeology. Only the Spirit of God can lead a heart to faith in Jesus Christ, but we are called to remove the stumbling blocks to faith that so many struggle with in our current post-modern and post-Christian environment.


Your continuing support will allow us to press on in our work and accomplish the calling of God for this ministry.  Thank you for considering a generous gift at this time.

Contending for the truth of the Gospel,

Scott Lanser
ABR President

 Support the ministry of ABR with a generous gift today: Support ABR 


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