Archeology and the Bible

1. Tomb Found: Zechariah, Father of John the Baptist
Standing 60 feet high, the funerary monument was likely constructed around the time of Jesus for the aristocracy of Jerusalem. Located in the Kidron Valley between Jerusalem's Old City and the Mount of Olives, it has long been in plain view. What hasn't been easily visible is the worn inscription on it. The Associated Press reports that thanks to the light of the setting sun that hit the ancient tomb at just the right angle, the 47 Greek letters inscribed in the stone that went unnoticed for centuries suddenly came to life: "This is the tomb of Zachariah, martyr, very pious priest, father of John." That would be John as in John the Baptist.


Zachariah was an old priest who burned incense in the temple one day and was told by an angel that his elderly wife, Elizabeth, was pregnant and would bear a son. That son grew up to become John the Baptist. The Jewish historian Josephus writes that a priest named Zachariah was slain by Zealots in the temple, and his body was tossed into the Kidron Valley below. This explains why the word "martyr" is in the inscription. The inscription suggests at least that 5th-century Christians believed Zachariah was buried at the site of the tomb.


2. The Cleft Rock at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 33-34).



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