Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ancient Hebrew Stone Tablet Affirms Resurrection

Here’s an interesting piece. In the midst of discussing scripture and issues about the Messiah with my Jewish neighbours there comes this announcement about the nature of the Messiah – that is actually already eight years old. Inconvenient truths travel slowly. It comes from a number of reports in newspapers (Haaretz, Israel Today and The New York Times, The French Press and the Jewish Journal) and was reported in Joel Rosenberg’s blog

Ancient Discovery Challenges Tradition

At an event marking the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Israel Museum unveiled an ancient stone tablet that had been unearthed in the region of Jordon, eight years previously. The tablet, likely dated shortly before the birth of Jesus over 2000 years ago, contains 87 partial lines of ancient Hebrew, which may well provide authentic evidence substantial enough, because of its pre-Christian reference for suffering, death and resurrection, to challenge traditional Judaism as it relates to Jesus Christ and Christianity. Although the tablet requires more scrutiny, initial extensive examinations are proving to be very encouraging. Messianic believer and New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg, widely acclaimed for his prophetic insight, said that the discovery “strongly suggests that religious Jews of the day were expecting the coming of a Messiah who would suffer, die, and be resurrected three days later. Most Rabbis and other Jewish scholars have long argued that the death and resurrection of a Jewish Messiah was a “Christian” invention, not part of long-established Jewish thought or Biblical teaching. But [this news] has a lot of [Jewish] people asking: Are Jews really supposed to believe their Messiah will actually die and rise again, and was this really Orthodox religious thinking before the time of Jesus?”

The tablet’s text will help to validate, according to leading Israeli Bible scholar, Israel Knohl, that: “a savior who died and rose after three days was an established concept at the time of Jesus….[the tablet proves that] what happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and His followers based on an earlier messiah story.” Notably, Mr. Knohl’s lecture at the anniversary event is entitled: “The Gabriel Revelation and the Birth of Christianity.”

Tsvi Sadan, an Israeli theologian and also a Messianic believer said, “One can agree or disagree with Knohl’s conclusion, but the persistence of one of the leading Old Testament scholars in Israel today [Israel Knohl] to prove that the death of the Messiah for Israel’s sake is not a Christian innovation is commendable in light of the tenuous relationship between the Jewish people and Jesus.”

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