Dead Sea Scroll Puzzle (?)

https://www.yahoo.com/news/dead-sea-scroll-remains-puzzle-171100266.html

Some interesting news. But some words of advice. Never ask an archaeologist what something means, as you can see, they rarely know.

The general aim of encryption in Qumran is not entirely clear,” Ratzon and Ben-Dov wrote. “It generally seems that encryption was a means of conveying prestige to the initiated but not a means of 100-percent security or preventing comprehension by other community members.

How about just keeping the information secret. Sorry, we just do not buy that quoted theory. It is far-fetched and unverfiable.

Until now, this Dead Sea Scroll was one of only a few scrolls that had not been fully deciphered and described in the scientific literature, researchers said.

This quote makes us think they are using the word ‘decipher’ to mean ‘translated’.  We could be wrong but that is the way it seems.

Scholars still aren’t sure why this scroll, along with a few other Dead Sea Scrolls, were written in code.

And they will never know. It may have been an exercise to test a scribe’s knowledge of the language.

The scribe, who went to the trouble of writing the scroll in code, forgot to include the Day of Atonement (known as Yom Kippur) on the calendar; but another scribe, who apparently understood the code, inserted that day onto the calendar.

Maybe the handwriting is different but we wouldn’t know. It is rare for us to see the scrolls. We saw an exhibit in Korea many years ago but… Or another idea was that the original scribe hurt his hand and needed someone else’s help fixing the error. or the same scribe did it himself… or… You get the idea.

That is another reason that Jewish people believe that Jesus is a made up story (based on Zoroastrian Soshians and Iranian Mithraism); since there is mention of such person as Jesus (or the expected Messiah of Judaism) in the scrolls of Qumran which is written between last three centuries BCE and from the first century CE

This last quote is from the comment section. There is a good reason why Jesus was not mentioned. We came across an old publication from a bible scholar we like, but whose name escapes at the moment. It would take too long to hunt it down. He put forth that the word scribes, when Jesus was saying woe to the Pharisees, woe to the Sadducees and woe to the scribes, referred to the Essenes. It is a great article and we will have to look it up in the near future.

With Jesus’ rebuke of their piety, there is a possibility that the Essenes held some grudge and refused to mention Jesus’ name again.

If the link doesn’t work, here is the title to the article-  Dead Sea Scroll Remains a Puzzle After Scientists Crack its Code

When You Do Christianity Right

Sorry for the delay in posting. This is an annotated version of the sermon we gave yesterday

Our God-led inspiration for this sermon came from an article that talked about how Christianity is the most persecuted religious faith in the world. There is a reason for that status. Only true Christianity is of God and all of the other religions of the world belong to evil. There is no point in persecuting those faiths because they are already on the side of evil.

Jesus already told us that the world would hate us when we follow him correctly, because they hate him already.

When you do Christianity right, you will find three things will take place.

#1. You find yourself siding and agreeing with God over humans.

#2. You will find yourself disagreeing with accepted human thought

#3. You will be persecuted.

Now the last one is not always a sign for doing Christianity right. Sometimes, even those who label themselves are persecuted simply because they use the word Christian in their labels.

When we agree with God, our eyes are opened to the fact that the secular world in all of its scientific wisdom, cannot possibly know more than he. They are the blind and deceived not God. It is impossible for secular scientist to know more about how God created this universe than God. When a believer sides with God, they get the truth. They cannot get the truth from the secular world because the secular world does not have the spirit of truth helping them.

When we do Christianity correctly we will be persecuted, because Jesus gave us a 2,000-year warning. He said ‘pick up your cross and follow me’. This tells us that persecution will come. In that persecution some people will be martyred. Does this mean that we should seek martyrdom? Of course not. Only the misguided would do such an idiotic thing.

Those who have led holy and spiritual lives are not less spiritual than those who have been martyred. We know this because many holy and spiritual people have been spared being martyred. The command to be holy does not say for martyred people only. We are not less of a believer if we miss out on that act.

Then, when we do Christianity correctly, we will find that there will be division. There will not be a ‘peace’ that stops this conflict as Jesus told us that he came to bring a sword and even families will have conflict with each other. The peace that Jesus brought is a peace that passes understanding. It helps us remain strong in the faith as we encounter persecution, even from family members.

When we do Christianity right, we will be separated from our non-believing loved ones. Sometimes that separation is mandatory. Years ago, we learned of a female gifted pianist who became a Christian. One day her father told her she had a choice. She either gave up her faith or she was to leave the house. The appointed day came and she slowly packed her suitcase. As she walked down the hallway, she spied the piano in the living room.

She decided to sit down and play it one last time. As she played, her father stepped out from behind the curtain and said, “if your faith means that much to you I want to believe in Christ also.”

Doing Christianity correctly means we do not alter the faith to appease or please unbelievers, to adopt fads or cute methodologies. We stand on God’s word and do not change it to get seats in the pew or allow alternative believing and practicing people a foothold in the church. When we do Christianity correctly we live it right and as God wants. Then we will make the impact on the unbelieving world.

Our duty is to obey correctly.

 

Topics That Deserve Comment

As a Christian website, we do not turn a blind eye when other believers do things that cause an eyebrow or two to be raised. It is not that we are perfect. Instead, these people usually have gone too far in their words or behavior to not say something. We strive to make our comments constructive and not insulting but we are not sure if we always succeed.

As usual, we are talking to ourselves first so we do not make the same mistakes.

#1. https://www.christianpost.com/news/anne-graham-lotz-nuclear-strike-earthquake-could-be-coming-to-unrepentant-america-214269/

Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz has warned that severe punishment is coming to America — anything from a massive earthquake to a nuclear strike — which she said will be a “game-changer.”

People like to sound like a prophet of God. To them, they look more spiritual and want to portray an image where they have God’s ear. But if a person doesn’t know anything about this punishment, or when it will happen or what it will be then please do not say anything. We do not like the Christian faith to be embarrassed or look foolish and that goes for Mrs. Lotz as well. She may want to be Jonah but she is missing a few key factors.

Jonah had a specific word from God; he gave a time limit; and he said exactly what would happen. Nineveh had 40 days to repent because their sins had reached God. They would be overthrown. Mrs. Lotz’s ‘prophecy’ seems to lack substance and God’s authority. She seems to want to sound spiritual, look spiritual yet… well we will leave that up to you to finish

#2. https://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-andy-savage-wont-face-charges-sexual-assault-janet-mefferd-says-he-should-not-be-pastor-213409/

Janet Mefferd, the popular host of a nationally syndicated Christian talk show, said the way in which Conlee and his church handled the sexual assault of Woodson made her sick. She also argued that Savage’s confession makes him biblically unqualified to be a pastor.

Sexual assault is a difficult topic to deal with and we are not going to deal with it here. There are just too many mitigating factors that take too long to discuss in the short format alloted for this post. What we are going to address is the last sentence in the quote. Some people in the Christian faith think that they know better than God on who is qualified or not to be a pastor.

They seem to overlook the fact that God used imperfect leaders, including at least one who made a sexual mistake. Peter lied, Moses got angry and disobeyed, and on it goes. It is wrong for those people to elevate themselves and place themselves in God’s position and say who can or cannot lead his church. Whether the church and pastors mishandled the issue or not, is not the problem here.

One’s emotional perspective does not trump overall spiritual leadership or God’s choice of leader. Remember Aaron and Miriam got punished for opposing Moses. The person in questtion, in that quote, seems to ignore spiritual rules, the facts, and the law, in her haste to impose regime change on the church. This may be due to the theory that some people think they are in charge of the church when God has not abdicated his position.

When pastors and other church leadership do sin, their sins must be handled God’s way. Only then will true justice and fairness will prevail.

#3. https://www.christianpost.com/news/church-of-england-advises-clergy-to-use-baptism-rite-to-celebrate-gender-transition-214672/

The Church of England’s House of Bishops has decided against creating a new service to celebrate a person’s gender transition. The bishops are advising that the church mark the transgender occasion instead with the existing baptism rite.

When leadership goes wrong, then it is up to the congregation to remove those leaders who err from their seats of power. BUT the people cannot think or assume there is an error; it must be a true error against God’s instructions. There is no room for blind following of church leaders. The Bible does not teach that behavior. When it talks about people committing sin and a person is to go to them and talk to the offender about their practices, it does not leave leadership out of the process.

They are to be scolded, reprimanded, (in love and using truth), and corrected, just like any normal believer. Leadership is not immune from God’s justice process. The above quote highlights a grave error on the part of the Church of England’s leadership. Their actions should not be ignored. They are perverting God’s rite of baptism. Baptism is not intended to celebrate sin, misguided thinking, or deception.

It is a rite to identify with Jesus and Jesus was not transgendered nor even taught that baptism should be used in this manner. Transgender is deception, not correcting a birth mistake. Baptism cannot be used to legitimize misguided thinking. If believers want to speak powerfully to the transgender population, then it won’t happen by perverting what God instituted for the church to follow.

#4.  https://www.christianpost.com/news/woman-threatens-daughter-in-church-with-blood-of-jesus-and-death-from-god-for-accusing-boyfriend-of-rape-214832/

Sophia Lawrence’s mother sat quietly in the front row of her small church and listened in silence with other congregants as her daughter testified how she was raped at just 8 years old. When her daughter told the church who her abuser was, however, Lawrence’s mother exploded from her seat and threatened her child with death from God and the “blood of Jesus.”

There are some topics that should not be talked about in public. Christianity is not a public spectator sport where believers need to hear every graphic detail or even who did what to whom. Some issues need to be dealt with quietly, privately and kept between God and them. The Christian faith is not about ruining other people. Then, do not think because you are the alleged victim, that you have permission or even the right to talk about what happened publicly.

The other people in the issue have rights as well and a victim’s rights do not trump those of other people. No matter what other people or government leaders claim, committing a crime does not remove the rights of the offender.

A second issue found in that quote and that needs to be mentioned is emotions. Emotions do not bring justice, they do not bring fairness and they do not bring level-headed thinking. It is best to keep a lot of emotion out of these controversial issues if you want to get to the heart of the matter and solve it. Emotions do not enable open-mindedness or constructive discussion.It also does not give people permission to call out divine penalties on the other person. Especially if you do not have the authority to call out those penalties.

One way to avoid these embarrassing scenes is to communicate properly in private before opening one’s mouth.

#5. https://www.christianpost.com/news/texas-judge-says-god-told-him-suspected-sex-trafficker-was-not-guilty-214684/

A judge in Comal County, Texas, could face disciplinary action after he was accused of trying to influence a trial by telling jurors that God told him a woman accused of trafficking her teenage niece was innocent.

“I apologize to you folks but when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” Judge Jack Robison reportedly told jurors about the case of 32-year-old Gloria E. Romero-Perez after trying to convince them that the Lord had vouched for her innocence, according to the Herald Zeitung.

These situations are embarrassing to the church and believers in general. Many mistakes are made by acting on what someone has said God told them to do. First, off to avoid these embarrassing moments, there are rules to follow:

  • make sure you are actually hearing God’s voice
  • make sure the instructions do not violate God’s word
  • make sure you do not sin or break a law you need to follow
  • make sure you know it is the right time to say something like this

Second, just because God said to do it, God does not always mean to do it at that moment or in a way that will bring embarrassment to you, the church, Christ or any other person involved. or humiliate the other person. God’s instructions at the moment do not mean you ignore his rules about being wise, saying things in love, being tactful, keeping things private and so on.

Justice Holmes made the same mistake in the Scopes Trial in Tennessee almost one hundred years ago. He looked like a raving lunatic and so does this judge. This is not the way to make inroads for Christ. There is a time and proper place to say that God told you to do it. Even if he did tell the judge, the jury instructions was not the place to make that known. He had the power to overturn the guilty verdict later after the jury came to a decision.

Unduly influencing the jury does not bring about fairness or justice. Ignoring God’s rules on how to do things right is not obeying God correctly.

Why We Study History 5

This is more for the believer than anyone else. This will be our final segment in this series as well. The study of history and archaeology is full of lessons that help the faith of those who believe the Bible and in God. By using the term God here, we are not excluding Jesus. It is just easier to use 1 name than 3.

What do we learn?

There are many lessons that can be learned thorugh the stuy of archaeology and following the Holy Spirit to the truth. You must remember that secular science is not looking for answers or the truth. They are, as has been told to us by many secular scientists, looking for th best explanation. But God is not about the best explanation. he is about his followers learning the truth for he is truth.

  1. God made all humans intelligent– We learn through the study of H & A that God did not make two types of humans. Early man who was sans any cognitive functions and modern man who was mysteriously endowed with intelligence. As we study the ancient remains we find that the ancient humans were probably more intelligent than modern ones. But that conclusion depends upon the lack of distractions ancient man had in comparison to the modern man.
  2. Ancient man knew what they were doing– By this we mean that in spite of what secular historians and archaeologists tell us, early man was not as primitive nor traumatized by the invention of fire or the wheel. They were also not knuckle-dragging cave man. While some ancient people may have lived in caves, or underground, they knew how to build, to educate, to make different metals, play music and much more.
  3. Chronology is not as the secular archaeologist, etc., claim– Most secular historical researchers say that the oldest discovered is the first item and everything else is a copy. This includes the biblical record. As we study the past, we find that the oldest discovered may not be the original. For example, the story of the flood.The Gilgamesh Epic may pre-date the compilation of the Bible but it does not pre-date Noah.
  4. The Israelites did not copy– We find that the accusation that the Israelites copied from the Babylonians is untrue. We find that the Israelites did not hold that reputation anywhere in the ancient world. The people who did have that reputation were the ancient old Babylonians.
  5. We learn that the Bible is an original work– Again the accusations that the OT is made up of stories copied from other peoples, e.g. Babylonians, but the reasoning behind these accusations do not make sense. With flood stories found all over the ancient world (from South America to Asia to Europe, etc.) there is no foundation for the copying accusation levied against the Bible. How would the Mayans copy from the Babylonians or some other Semitic group? Why would they need to? The accusations just do not add up nor do the reasons for accusing the biblical writers of plagiarism.

We get answers

Another good reason why we study H & A is that we get the answers to our questions. Secular science cannot find the source for writing, language, the different peoples and much more. But a close study of H, A & the Bible we get those answers. Language came from God, the original and the multitude of laguages. Writing most likely was taught to Adam and Eve by God or since he gave them intelligence, they figured out how to write long before the modern experts think writing began.

We also see that the idea that there are 4 to 5 different races in the world is a false idea.The differences in people come from genetics and the genetic information each group was given by God when he separated the people.There is only one human race. Scientists have discovered some amazing features about the genetic code and information locked up in our DNA. Genetics, not evolution, is the source of the differences. This explains why black people often have albino children. It is genetics not evolutionary progress.

Genetics is also exposing how the corruption that entered the world at Adam’s sin affects humans and all life. Mutations are not evolutionary progress but the chemical reaction of imperfect genes interacting with other imperfect genes.The results are not perfection or movng to perfection but addingto the imperfections already permeating this world. Genetics also helps us see how we contract different diseases but going further would distract from the current topic.

We get information we need

History is full of useful information. They have experienced the very same struggles as modern people do. As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. People may argue that the ancient world did not have to deal with computers. But an excavation of an ancient sunken Greek ship proved that idea to be erroneous. Or the ancient parents did not have to deal with obsessive behavior over games. Well, there were ancient games that have been uncovered so we are sure the ancient parents had those issues to deal with as well.

How about drugs? We know that the ancient people had cocaine and other drugs available to them. So drug problems were a part of ancient life. We also learn that medical prescriptions, medicines, good dentistry were not new inventions. Some scholars like to say that the ancients had witch doctors and believed in superstition and did not practice proper medical procedures, etc.

To  counter that thinking, we only need to point out that the modern world is full of people and societies that believe in voodoo for medical help, witch doctors, and use their form of faith healing over proper medical care. Does their existence mean the modern world is void of proper doctors, medical practices and dentistry? No and a good study on ancient medicine, which we have done, will prove that the ancient world had quality doctors, dentists and medicines.

We learn how to do apologetics

In studying H & A, we find that many of the modern religions have their foundations in the ancient world. the Jehovah’s Witnesses are but one example. They are merey the modern revival of Arianism.With this knnowledge we can go to ancient Christian authors to see how they refuted the members of false religions. We can use their knowledge or be inspired by it.

We also learn that almost every religion that is untrue is uses the Bible as their main foundation.Even ancient religions like Mithraism who scholars have said was the foundation for the NT authors.  But there is several things wrong with those claims. First, Mithraism is one of the many secret religions of the world, much like the Freemasons. No one knows what the group truly believed as their original writings are lost. Their members also keep those beliefs secret.

Second, these mystery religions also are free to edit their works. They do not have a God who forbids such work. It is not beyond human comprehension to conclude that those secret religions saw the popularity of the Christian faith and edited their holy writings.

Third, the extant religious works from these mystery religions all postdate the 1st century. Which again implies it was the mystery religions who copied from the bible not vice versa.Studying H & A helps us see that the Bible is the original work and everything else is a cheap copy.

Two false religions that have made it to the modern world that have explicitly used the Bible as their foundation is Islam and Mormonism. we can tie the rise of Islam to the prophecy given Hagar about Ishmael. It will take a lot of work to come up with more evidence though. But Mohommad did copy from the Bible when he supposedly wrote the Koran. There is an author named Spencer who has written extensively on this topic and his books are worth the read.

By studying H & A, we can see that just about every claim made by Joseph Smith is wrong. There is no evidence of any religion like Mormonism in the ancient world. None whatsoever. He was not restoring any religion, but using religion to con people. Archaeology has also shown the book of Mormon to be nothing but lies. There is a good video out called The Book of Mormon vs. the Bible and in it it details how there is not one shred of evidence for one thing Smith wrote in the book of Mormon.

Unlike the Bible, archaeology has proven Mormonism to be a false religion.

We see that the different dating systems are in error

Just a brief word on this. As we study H & A, we see that the dating systems used by secular archaeologists andother researchers are not accurate. They are very vulnerable to subjective thinking and plaqued with a lack of evidence to support the claims of different dates. Even the pottery dating system is error-filled.

Some final words

This final segment and the whole series on why we study history is but a drop in the bucket from what we can learn as believers when we study H & A. We have left out a lot of details in this series. There is just not enough time to cover everything when it comes to what can be gleaned by studying H & A. The believer has a wealth of information waiting for them to shore up their faith, to show them that they are not believing the wrong holy book and much more.

They will also get a better picture of God as well. Studying the Bible is fine and it needs to be done. But it cannot be done effectively without studying H & A. To be effective Christians and protect your faith, knowledge of both history & archaeology is a must. The knowledge received thorugh these studies helps a believer combat doubts about Jesus and the OT or the Bible in general. They will see that the demand for physical evidence by unbelievers is a distraction.

They will learn that faith is always a part of the equation because physical evidence does not exist for every account, jot and tittle recorded in the Bible. The Bible tells us that it is faith that pleases God not finding physical evidence. We are allowed to find the latter because it helps build up the former. But we also learn that we will not get so much physical evidence that faith is destroyed.

Faith is the victory not physical evidence.To have strong faith we also need to see that God and his word are true. Physical evidence helps obtain that knowledge.The study of H & A is not learning a bunch of old dates and unnecessary information. it is vital to our beliefs. We become better warriors for God because we have grown up and learned the lessons we need to learn to fight the spiritual battles that come our way.

Why We Study History 4

In this article we will not get as academic as the previous one. We will use common knowledge  only to mke a point about why the location of Tall- El-Hamman is not the biblical Sodom. Long-term readers will know that we have dealt on this subject before. They will also know that we used to have conversations with the lead archaeologist about this site and Sodom on the now defunk Biblical Archaeology Society’s forum.

We also have had many discussions with that archaeologist’s then assistants. So we are not talking behind their back. They are all welcome to post a rebutable here if they so choose. Dr. Stephen Collins is the lead archaeologist on the Tall El-Hamman site and has for the past 11-12 years publicly stated that the sight is Sodom. He bases his identification on several passages of scripture but one of the main ones is quoted below:

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ge 13:10–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

We do not want to get mired down in a debate over the Hebrew word ‘kikkar’, suffice it to say that Dr. Collins limits the application of that term to fit his theory. What we are going to  focus on first, are the words in bold. ‘Lot journeyed east’. Other translations say ‘and set out towards the east'(NIV). Why is there is attention given to these few word. Simply because they say a lot more than what Dr. Collins admits to. Dr. Collins has said that these words mean that Lot did not stray from his easterly travels but if you look at them you will know that is not so.

Again you ask why? Because the terms ‘journey’ & ‘set out towards’ do not limit Lot’s actions to only a direct easterly route. He is allowed options in his travels as he heads towards the east. Of course, the size of the Jordan valley plays a role in his decision. The valley covers a lot more territory than what Dr. Collins grants it. But to undertand why the Bible says Lot settled near Sodom, we need to study turn to history and study the historical cattle drives that took place in the early American West.

Lot was a rancher. He had livestock to care for and if you study history and the cattle drives you will know that ranchers are not in the business of losing their cattle or sheep or horses. They do not just come to a spot in a river and cross it no matterhow fast and treacherous the river is.That would not be an intelligent decision. History tells us that the cattle barons had their men find safe passage across the river before letting them take the animals over to the other side. This could mean that the cowboys would have to lead the herd miles north or miles south before they found a suitable crossing.

In the case of Lot, we see he headed south as he finally pitched his tents near Sodom. All historical maps and records place Sodom to the southern end of the Dead Sea, not in the north near Jerusalem. History also tells us this because many of the Arabic names for locations are put exactly at or near the historical site. There is a mountain called Sodom near the southern location for that city. It is not near Tall el-Hamman.

Getting back to the Jordan River, we know little about how slow or fast the river flowed in Abraham’s time but estimates put the river as a lot deeper, rougher than today. Part of the reason for this is that there were fewer States and people using the Jordan as their source of drinking water then as compared to now. So while Lot journeyed east, he most likely had to change course to find a safe crossing point for his livestock and family.

Since the Bible says he went towards Sodom, then we know he went south and did not stay on a direct easterly path.History again helps us with biblical passages that do not seem to present clear information on locations of cities.They do, we just have to know where to look to get the right information. Can you imagine how thick the Bible would be if God had written every passage giving us every minute detail about the travels of biblical figures? It would be so thick,no one would pick it up or take the time to read it.

With a little historical study we can see that God provided us with all the information we need to get the right locations or facts. The biblical characters knew the same information as the old westand modernn cattle barons. Historical studies show us that the ancient people knew what we know. They were not void of common sense, information on how to ranch or conduct a business.

.We get a better picture of the people of the past when we study history correctly.We can also see where people like Dr. Collins are wrong and why they are making the mistakes they are making. He may be a Christian archaeologist but Christians error too. This information enables us to avoid erroneous identifications and other theories about the Bible.