The Hezekiah Bulla
Archaeology offers certain proof that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The first artifact belonging to a king of ancient Israel or Judah was finally found in 2009 by one of the greatest archaeologists in the world: Dr. Eilat Mazar. This tiny clay seal that she discovered reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah.” It was a symbol of King Hezekiah’s authority or approval.
Two of our Herbert W. Armstrong College students were on location in Jerusalem at the time of this tremendous discovery—though the realization of what it said didn’t come till 2015. They may have helped find the Hezekiah bulla!
This bulla is tied to Bible prophecy, which is relevant to every person on Earth! God allowed the Hezekiah bulla to be discovered so we could learn a valuable lesson of faith.
The book of Malachi is an end-time message. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5). The Elijah-type has come and gone already! We are extremely close to the horrible suffering of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, after which Jesus Christ will return to solve our problems and to restore His government. All people will then know true peace, joy and prosperity.
Just a few verses earlier in this prophecy, we find a description that matches the imagery on the Hezekiah bulla. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (verse 2). On the clay seal are a sun and two wings, picturing Jesus Christ protecting a little remnant of saints that fear Him. God will protect and heal nations, churches and individuals, but only if we fear Him.
The story of King Hezekiah perfectly reinforces this lesson. He faced destruction at the hands of the Assyrian Empire, the greatest power on Earth at that time. “Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field” (Isaiah 36:1-2).
King Sennacherib had already conquered many cities in Judah. If he could lay waste to Jerusalem, all of Judah would be under his command. Modern-day Assyria is the nation of Germany—the nation that has started two world wars using lightning-fast blitzkrieg warfare. Ancient Assyria was similar.
As the threat of national annihilation loomed, King Hezekiah had no physical allies that could come to his aid.
Lachish Wall Relief
“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him” (2 Kings 18:5). Hezekiah’s only ally was God! His faith made him a legend in the annals of Jewish history.
The Hezekiah bulla is the closest we can get to something most likely held by the king himself. It emphatically reinforces the veracity of the Bible! This finding created a worldwide sensation. A video that we at the Trumpet posted online has received over 400,000 views on YouTube. The lesson of Hezekiah appeals to many people!
King Hezekiah pleased God by cleansing the temple after it had fallen into disuse and disrepair. He eradicated idolatry. He appointed thousands of musicians and singers whose sole purpose was to praise and give thanks to God continually. You can read more about Hezekiah’s godly deeds in 2 Chronicles 29.
This godly leader knew what to do as the mighty Assyrian army approached his capital city. “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz” (2 Kings 19:1-2). Hezekiah cried out to God and sought wisdom from God’s prophet. How rare this was in ancient Judah and Israel!
“And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me” (verse 6). King Sennacherib and his generals were mocking the Jews for their allegedly powerless God! God took this insult personally. Through Isaiah, He instructed Hezekiah not to be afraid of Assyria and to stand up against oppression.
King Sennacherib was convinced that conquering Jerusalem would be easy. In the 1840s, archaeologists found a set of inscriptions on a palace wall in the Assyrian city of Nineveh. On this wall, now known as the Lachish wall relief, Sennacherib had carved the story of his military victories against Lachish and many other Jewish cities. He wrote: “As for Hezekiah, the Judahite, who did not submit to my yoke, 46 of his strong-walled cities I besieged and took them. Hezekiah himself, like a caged bird, I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city.”
Notice: Sennacherib never returned to this wall to describe a crushing victory over Jerusalem—because it never happened!
God responded to the fervent prayers of King Hezekiah. Archaeology proves this. “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (verses 32-34).
The faith of one righteous man can save a nation! What a lesson for us today.
Let God Fight Your Battles
In the March 1985 Good News magazine, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:
The vast armies of Assyria were marching westward and southward to invade Judah. The Jews were greatly outnumbered. They had no army or power to stand up against such a powerful foe.
They were helpless. They faced certain defeat—just as you may feel helpless in the face of your troubles today.
If some of you try to solve your problem or overcome your bad habits or resist sin in nothing more than your own power and strength, you, too, will find yourself outnumbered, overpowered and doomed to defeat!
You must learn, as this ancient king did, that God stands ready and willing to fight your battles for you.
King Hezekiah let God fight his battles for him. However, Hezekiah did not just sit back and do nothing; he did his part! He dug a tunnel through solid rock underneath the city to redirect water from the Gihon Spring into a reservoir inside city walls (2 Kings 20:20). This would allow the Jews to withstand a potential siege from Sennacherib’s army.
Then, God dealt decisively with the Assyrian threat. “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses” (2 Kings 19:35).
God sent a death angel into the Assyrian camp that night to slaughter 185,000 soldiers! Not a single Jew died in bloody battle; God fought the battle for them! Sennacherib returned home in disgrace, where his own two sons later murdered him.
Our number one problem today is the threat of total annihilation from nuclear bombs. Do we need God to save our nations? Absolutely. The Hezekiah bulla shows how: Fear God, and He will cover you with His wings of protection and healing.
King Hezekiah was such a righteous leader that he even tried to warn the neighboring nation of Israel that Assyria was coming. “For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him” (2 Chronicles 30:9). Israel scorned Hezekiah’s warning (verse 10) and was soon taken captive.
But the faith of this righteous king prevented Judah from experiencing the same fate at that time. Hezekiah did everything possible to help God heal His own people. As the Assyrian threat rises on the world scene again today (Isaiah 10:5-7), we desperately need to follow the faith-filled example of King Hezekiah.