March 17, 2017 By Sandi Argo, Photos courtesy Bruce Hall
Christians world-wide are celebrating the discovery of a 12th cave believed to have held at least part of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). In January of 2017 (remember the year, there are some really cool facts we will share momentarily) a team of archaeologists and scientists took to the caves at Qumran (near the Dead Sea) to investigate cave #53 (now called cave Q12). Armed with buckets, shovels, sifters and other “glamorous” tools, this group uncovered what could possibly be THE FIND of the 21st century.
Like many, you may be asking what makes this so special? We took that question to Pastor Bruce Hall, an archaeologist on the expedition. Coincidentally, Hall is also the Pastor of Cundiff Baptist Church, located in the quiet unassuming ranching community in Jack County, Texas. With degrees in Architecture (Texas A&M) , a Masters of Divinity, and scheduled to graduate with a Masters in Archaeology in December 2017, Pastor, Hall (and his wife Rebecca, also a part of the discovery team) offers insight concerning this question on a couple of different levels. First as an explorer/archaeologist, and also (and perhaps the most significant of all) as an ordained Pastor…a man of God for 23 years.
According to Hall, the discovery of the DSS scrolls is a story that began between November 1946 and February 1947, when the first caves containing the original 7 scrolls were found by locals, in pottery jars scattered about on the floors of the caves untouched for nearly 2000 years. The practice of storing worn-out sacred manuscripts in earthenware vessels buried in the earth or within caves is related to the ancient Jewish custom of Genizah.
More interested in the pottery and other small artifacts in the caves, the gypsy-like people that found them (Bedouin shepherds) didn’t fully understand what it was they had found, recognizing them as simply antique or valuable. They even kept the scrolls hanging on a tent pole while they figured out what to do with them, periodically taking them out to show people. Eventually selling their treasures to antique dealers (for mere pennies!) the scrolls have landed in museums and private collections for safekeeping and preservation.
As mentioned before, in January of 2017 a group discovered a 12th cave believed to have once held DSS. Earlier we told you to remember the year. If you do some quick math, you will see that the latest discovery came 70 years after the first. The number 70 is quite significant to Christians, because it is a significant number to God and mentioned throughout the Bible as a God number.
Pastor Hall sums it up like this:
“From my 23 years of pastoring and preaching God’s Holy Word, I think believers should take a moment and recognize that the DSS discoveries are a modern day miracle given to us ‘God’s Children’ on a specific date November 29,1947. What is so important about that date? In one day, God revealed His hidden away Library (time capsule)- Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and the United Nations voted to allow God’s people to return to the land flowing with milk and honey! Dr. Eliezer Sukenik declared the DSS finds as authentic – 2,000 year old scrolls – on 11-29-47 and the Great Isaiah scroll (found in cave #1) was fully preserved which contains a special prophecy! United Nations voted (passed 33-13) on 11-29-47 to give Israel back a portion of their land and later on May 14, 1948 Israel came home to fulfill the special Isaiah prophecy
“Then it will happen on that day that the Lord
Will again recover the second time with His hand
The remnant of His people, who will remain,
From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath,
And from the islands of the sea.
And He will lift up a standard for the nations
And assemble the banished ones of Israel,
And will gather the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:11-12.
This is not a coincidence! Is God sending us a message through His Ancient Library that has served as a buried Old Testament (OT) time capsule dating to before Jesus 250 – 0 BC? Yes! God is saying His Word can be trusted! This is a miracle story that should be in every believer’s home up on the wall. Also, it is not a coincidence that our team discovered DSS Cave 12 in 2017, 70 years later? The number 70 is a very important Bible number. So I am wondering what is next Lord!”
We asked Pastor Hall what this meant, specifically, to Christians. His response was clear.
“Anytime someone says to a Christian that the Bible is not like it was ‘way back in the day’ 1-4th centuries AD, then you can respond by stating the fact that the DSS scrolls predate Christ and the biblical DSS are deemed by the 21 century secular scholars to be 95% accurate to our Old Testament Bible we read today. Think about it. The scribes and Monks who “hand Xeroxed™” the Word of God down through 2,000 years had less then 5% error (Jewish scholars say about 2% error). WOW! In fact, some modern skeptics have suggested that the Old Testament was changed after the life of Jesus to fit the life of Jesus ‘The Christian Hero.’ If this were true, then when we discovered the DSS Micah 5:2 it should have stated as prophecy that the messiah (Jesus) would be born in Jerusalem or Hebron, not itty bitty Bethlehem. Skeptics were wrong! Thankfully, Micah 5:2 DSS states (prophecy) that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem just like our Old Testament Bibles state. The same is true for the other ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ prophecies. Thank you Lord for the modern miracle of the DSS!”
In a world filled with such turmoil, there are very few things that people can count on, or trust in. Christians have always found comfort in the words found in the Bible, even when the secular groups insist that “man” had written it. The Dead Sea Scrolls are proof that even scientists cannot and do not deny. Found in dusty old caves by unassuming shepherds.
Now if that didn’t give you the goose-bumps then you may need to check yourself for a pulse!!