Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

 

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Apocalyptic text is inscribed with ink in Hebrew over a large stone. It’s the Gabriel Revelation also known as the Dead Sea Stone – first published in 2007.

It was discovered around the year 2000 in Jordan near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.
The so-called Gabriel Stone is authentic and very important for understanding the true roots of Jesus Christ’s messianic conception.

However, this ancient tablet with messianic overtones reputedly from before the time of Christ has been debated in archaeological and biblical circles. While one scholar claims the find could “shake our basic view of Christianity,” a Catholic Professor of Scripture suggests the tablet is actually evidence for the historical probability of Christian belief.

Now, this priceless and unique 2,000-year-old stone artifact is displayed at exhibition opened in Jerusalem. Gabriel Stone is a priceless and unique 2,000-year-old stone artifact, which traces depictions of the Archangel Gabriel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic sacred writings and scriptures. His role is – as a messenger to humans from God – was crucial in the three monotheistic faiths.

The stone is cut on one side, along which two columns – 16 cm wide and about 75 cm in height – are covered with text. The columns are separated by a gap approximately 3.5 cm wide. The inscription is composed of 47 horizontal lines and four vertical lines fixing the columns’ borders. The text contain of 87 lines of which 44 are in the right-hand column and 43 in the left-hand column. The last two lines of the left-hand column are much shorter than the rest, and their ending is marked by diagonal lines.

It’s uncertain if the text begins with the first line of the right-hand column. Was it preceded by text that is now lost? Or perhaps the whole composition was comprised of an additional stone or even more stones. However, archaeologists didn’t find traces of any binding substance (like for example cement) on it.

The Hebrew text is written in the first person that identifies himself three times in the first-person: “I am Gabriel”. He converses with a human figure – a visionary or prophet – to whom he, Gabriel, is apparently communicating a vision.

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The text – very prophetic and apocalyptic – also expresses anxiety over the fate of Jerusalem and reflects the crucial role of angels as intermediaries. It’s an attack on Jerusalem and the hope that God will see to the city’s deliverance for the sake of his servant David, perhaps referring to the Messiah of Davidic descent.

A fascinating aspect of the tablet is that the message is not inscribed by a chisel or stylus as is normal for stone; rather the message has been written with pen and ink. Writing on pottery shards with ink was common—the ancient-world equivalent of memos and instant messaging—but only one other ink-inscribed stone of the era, found at Qumran in the 1950s as part of the DSS archaeological excavations, is known to exist. The Gabriel Revelation stone is the first example of the angel’s name appearing in ink on stone, although earlier mentions of his name are found in the Dead Sea scrolls, according to Adolfo Roitman, curator of the “I am Gabriel” exhibit at the Israel Museum.  At the same time, museum director James Snyder said that “the Gabriel Revelation stone is, in a way, like a Dead Sea scroll written on stone and it’s unique in that respect.”

Controversy over the exact nature of the stone’s text remains. The second or even several “Gabriel Stone” fragments may still be out there, waiting to be discovered. Based on analysis of linguistic patterns and the shape of the script of The Gabriel Revelation stone, it was written towards the end of the first century BC, which means around the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. Thus, the inscription is a pre-Christian text.

The first part of the sacred inscription has the apocalyptic character; it’s about the ultimate destiny of mankind and the world; vanquishing of the Antichrist and its forces of evil. The second part focuses on death and resurrection. The text refers to three leaders – shepherds – sent by God to His people, who were killed in battle. Interesting are the words in the last part of the inscription. These words are the words of the Archangel Gabriel who orders his mysterious and unknown interlocutor – to return to life after three days and says:

“By three days, live.”

The Gabriel’s order written in the 80th line of the inscription, is followed by the further line that states that a leader – a “prince of the princes” – was put to death, and his corpse turned to dung among the rocky crevices.

Although researchers have long debated: who is the man resurrected by Archangel Gabriel, I believe this is a direct reference to the person of Jesus Christ crucified by the Romans and resurrected in three days as foretold by the ancient prophets of the Bible.

Will additional artifacts be found in the future such as the Dead Sea Stone?  New archaeological excavations are under way in Qumran this December. Click here to learn more about the Dead Sea Cave Archaeology Project.

 

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Happy St. Succat’s Day!

by Dr. Heather Lynn

http://www.drheatherlynn.com

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I couldn’t let a holiday go by without revealing some lesser known history!

St. Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat. His father was Calphurnius, a deacon and son of Potitus who was a priest. His mother’s name was Conchessa, whose family is believed to have been from Gaul and originally sold into slavery to Calphurnius by her father. Calphurnius fell in love with Conchessa, released her from slavery, and married her. It is believed that Conchessa was either the sister or the niece of St. Martin of Tours in Gaul.

The family lived near the Firth of Clyde in Northern Britain (Scotland), which was still under the Roman Empire at the time (fifth century). When Succat was 16 years old, Irish raiders kidnapped him, along with his two sisters, and sold them into slavery in Ireland. He was separated from his sisters and sold to work as a shepherd. Succat remained a slave for six years. He believed his slavery was punishment for not believing in God as a child and living as a pagan.

The fifth century book, Armagh, includes a Latin passage written by Succat as St. Patrick called “The Confession”. In it he writes:

“But after I had come to Ireland, I was daily tending sheep, and I prayed frequently during the day, and the love of God, and His faith and fear, increased in me more and more, and the spirit was stirred; so that in a single day I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same; so that I remained in the woods, and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer, in snow, and ice, and rain, and I felt no injury from it, nor was there any slothfulness in me, as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent in me.”

Succat became filled with religious zeal and eventually escaped captivity by sneaking aboard a ship headed to Britain, later joining a seminary on the south coast of France. His mission became converting pagans, whom he once identified with, to Christianity. Early in his mission, Succat acquired his name when he went to Rome and became a patrician- a Roman citizen with special status as a religious adviser. The name Patrick is believed to be more of a nickname and a corrupted form of his patrician title, Patrikios.

Aside from establishing many schools and churches around Ireland, St. Patrick became noteworthy as a missionary for his unusual approach to teaching. Rather than taking a “fire and brimstone” approach when speaking of the “evils” of pagan beliefs, he used pagan customs and blended them with Christian ideas in order to more effectively reach out to the locals. The most commonly cited example of this is his use of the shamrock to teach the idea of the holy trinity.

To Irish pagans, the shamrock, also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred symbolizing the rebirth of spring. St. Patrick taught that each of the three leaves of the shamrock represented an element of the trinity, and their coming together at the base represented how three elements can constitute one entity, the shamrock, or the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

With his success as a pagan converter, St. Patrick became known as the “Banisher of Snakes”, snakes being a metaphor for pagans. The legend says that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes from Ireland by standing on top of a hill with only a wooden staff. The fact is that Ireland was not a natural habitat for snakes since the ice age, as it separated from the mainland approximately 8000 years ago.

So by preaching from a hilltop armed only with a wooden staff, St. Patrick eradicated the pagans, or who were referred to as snakes, from Ireland and Christianity triumphed. Eventually Ireland was Christianized. St. Patrick’s mission lasted 30 years. He died March 17, 461CE, and was buried in Downpatrick in Country Down. This is why March 17th has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!