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Dead Sea Scroll Reborn
Suffering Messiah Found?   

Q. I heard there is a new Dead Sea Scroll with ink on stone recently found. I heard it supports resurrection. Is this true? What is its meaning for Christians or for Christianity?


Decade Old

Yes, it's true. However, this stone has been around for about 10 years. It's not really new. This artifact was purchased from a Jordanian antiquities dealer and held in a Zurich home for a decade by an Israeli collector. Only recently has it been looked at seriously. So we need to reserve full judgment for later when everything has been disclosed.

Dead Sea Scroll on Stone

Its significance wasn't really understood until Ada Yardeni, a Hebrew language specialist, analyzed it just a few years ago. She is the one who called it a "Dead Sea Scroll on Stone."

Analysis of Artifact

Yardeni and Binyamin Elitzur, who is a specialist in the era script during King Herod's time (4 B.C.), did a thorough analysis. Based on the specific script of this stone and the language, they dated the text from the late first century B.C. In addition, Yuval Goren, a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University who verifies the authenticity of artifacts, says there is no reason to doubt this stone's authenticity. However, he has withheld complete information because he plans to publish an article about it for peer review.

Suffering Messiah Prior to Christ?

Israel Knohl, professor of Bible studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, published a book where he posited the idea of a "suffering messiah" concept prior to the existence of Jesus (the human man). When he read "Gabriel's Revelation," another name given to this stone, he published his thesis in the Journal of Religion.

In lines 19 through 21 of the tablet it says, "In three days you will know that evil will be defeated by justice…" Mr. Knohl believes he has deciphered other difficult words in the text as, "In three days you shall live, I, Gabriel, command you."

This adds new light on the Jewish image of a triumphant, victorious Messiah who is a descendant of King David. It provides for the possibility that some earlier Jews understood there could be a "suffering Messiah." This is revolutionary!

Motif Established

It means that the motif of a suffering Messiah was known to the Essene community who hid the Dead Sea Scrolls outside of Jerusalem before Christ was born. "What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story."

Revolutionize Dating of Death, Burial, Resurrection

This is highly significant because traditionally, New Testament scholars have conceded that the Gospels must have been written by later followers because they think there was no concept of a suffering Messiah in earlier Judaism. This finding could revolutionize that assumption!

But, we need to wait patiently for the final verdict…

Stay tuned…


Bronner, Ethan. 2008. Ancient tablet ignites debate on Messiah and resurrection. The New York Times. July 6.

A Dead Sea Scroll on stone. 2008. July 6. Available from: solomonia.com.

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