One of the most thrilling experiences of my life occurred a brief time before I re-surrendered to the ministry. My wife and I had the distinct opportunity to view the Dead Sea Scrolls when they came to the Discovery Institute of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was absolutely phenomenal to examine these fragments and scrolls written two centuries before Jesus Christ was born! Most of what Evangelical Christians call the Old Testament (some call it the Hebrew Bible) were found written of the scrolls found at the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The only book not found was the small book of Esther.
Along with the books of the Old Testament were found scrolls of Enoch and other great apocalyptic works. 1 Enoch is one of my favorite apocalyptic books. There is even a reference to 1 Enoch in the New Testament book of Jude, written by Jesus’ brother. 1 Enoch reads a lot like Dante’s “Divine Comedy” where Dante shows levels of heaven and hell.
An enormous amount of lessons have been learned through the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some liberal scholars felt as if David could not be the author of the Psalms attributed to him. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls showed the opposite to be true. David’s name was listed on these ancient scrolls attributing him to the Psalms ascribed to him.
Another great lesson that has been obtained from the scrolls is the fact that the Hebrew Bible that we have now has been preserved with great accuracy. There is 95% accuracy rate between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) that we have now. The only discrepancies deal more with word placement and/or punctuation. For instance, you could say, “I am going to the store” or “to the store I go.” The speaker is essentially saying the same thing but slightly rearranged the words.
This accuracy includes the great prophecies written about the Messiah. Deep in the confines of Isaiah are pertinent and powerful prophecies concerning the Messiah. Now with certain evidence that these prophecies were written well before the birth of Jesus, we are posed with a question, “how did people miss the Messiah”. How is it that people missed Messiah when the prophecies are, in many cases, clear and concise? An even more troubling question is this, how is it that people miss the Messiah today? With the advent of Gutenberg’s printing press, every one of us can benefit from possessing a copy of the Bible. Yet even still, there are many who miss the Messiah. How is this possible?
We will be examining the prophecies pertaining to the Messiah in a special Christmas series at Friendship Baptist Church. We will be posting some of the information we discover here on this website.
God bless and remember that Jesus is the reason for the CHRISTmas season,
Pastor Brian Chilton