DNA Evidence Supports Bible History

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted June 09, 2020

In a recent development, scientists in Israel have proved that the Canaanites were not only a homogeneous group of people—sharing a common DNA—but also that they resided in Israel before and during the time of Abraham.

The research confirms what the Bible recorded about Abraham, originally known as Abram, in Genesis 12:5–7: Abram, it reads, “came to the land of Canaan [and] … passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’”

The Jerusalem Post first reported details of the new study, which scientists published in the scholarly journal Cell. In their findings, they discovered Canaanite DNA existing across five archaeological sites in Israel from the Bronze Age, the same period in which Abraham lived. One of the sites was Tel Megiddo, once one of the most important Canaanite cities. (The Mount of Megiddo, or Har Megiddo in Hebrew, is well known to students of Bible prophecy as the symbolic location of the battle of Armageddon, the final battle before the end of the world (Revelation 16:16).)


Scientist Engages “Molecular History”

Liran Carmel, one of the main geneticists involved in the discovery, told the newspaper what motivated his quest for Canaanite DNA. “Six or seven years ago, the new field of what we can call ‘molecular history,’ emerged, with the idea of using ancient DNA to reveal patterns in more recent human history, the last few thousands of years,” Carmel said. “At the beginning, the research focused on events that happened in Europe and western Eurasia. I thought that I really wanted to bring it here, to study demographic events and populations in this region.”

Finding DNA from thousands of years ago isn’t an easy task, however. “We were afraid that it would be very difficult to obtain the DNA, because the climate in Israel is not very hospitable for its preservation, but when we started the project, it was discovered that there is a certain bone in the skull, the petrous bone, which is more likely to provide DNA samples. We decided to focus on that,” added Carmel. “With this technique we had a success rate of about 50%, which is good.”

Zagros mountains in Iran

The scientists also discovered genetic links between the Canaanites and modern-day residents of the area. They also found that Canaanites had roots in the region of the Zagros Mountains of ancient Iran. Next, they plan to expand their DNA research into other ancient people groups.

“There were all these kingdoms that were established in the area in the Iron Age: Israel, Judah, Moab, Amon, Edom. … We would like to consider them, but it is a big challenge to find samples, so this is what we are working on now,” Carmel said.


What This Means for the Bible

Starting in the nineteenth century, higher criticism attacked the Bible’s origins, its telling of history, and its veracity, trends that continue in these modern times. Twenty years ago, archaeologists began to pit their findings against the biblical account, one of their most popular targets being King David. They tore down Scripture, arguing that David ruled over nothing more than “a poor village,” instead of the glorious city of Jerusalem.

But more recent excavations in Israel, notably at Khirbet Qeiyafa and controversially at Khirbet a-Ra’i, have begun to unearth elements aligned with the Bible’s Davidic history and in opposition to the higher critics. Indeed, “the light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5); “the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth” (Psalm 33:4).

Certainly, the Bible is increasingly (and literally) making headlines in connection with current archaeological discoveries, even in the aforementioned article in The Jerusalem Post, a secular, English-language newspaper in Israel’s capital.

Not only does the Bible stand up historically, but it exists for us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). How can we know that?

For starters, watch one of the latest videos from Sabbath School Study Hour entitled “The Bible as History,” hosted by Pastors Doug Batchelor and Jëan Ross. Learn how the Bible proves history in its accounts of kings like David, Hezekiah—and even by its several recounts of the life of the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Is the Bible True?” was a question Pastor Doug Batchelor asked—and answered—during the Most Important Questions series. You can view this video, free of charge, and gain valuable insights into the reasons you can trust God’s Word.

Another valuable resource is our free, online study lesson called, “ Is There Anything Left You Can Trust?” This question-and-answer guide will help you demonstrate the reliability of Scripture and what it means for your life.

Science-based evidence continues to mount for the Bible as an accurate, reliable guide to history, theology, and prophecy. It “is a lamp to [your] feet and a light to [your] path” (Psalm 119:105); it “is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is like no other book. It is God’s Word. In it lies the road to your past, your present, and your future!

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.
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