Priceless Christian relics found The most important Archaeological discovery ever
Lead Book or Codices
The greatest discovery of Christianity
In a remote Cavern in Northern Jordan, a Bedouin man who had noticed that the cave had been hit by a flash flood discovered two exposed niches in the wall. Leaning down he scrapped away the dirt of two thousand years and made the most exciting discovery in the history of the Bible.
The treasures that began to emerge, could change our whole understanding of how Christianity began, and tell us how Jesus was crucified and resurrected. These Priceless Christian relics are probably the most important Archaeological discovery ever made.
The finds that are being referred to as 'books' consist of 70 lead Codices, wrapped in layers of 5 to 15 lead leaves and are bound by lead rings. It is believed that they were first uncovered between 2005 and 2007.
One of the most remarkable things about the find is that they have markings on the niches in the cave which consist of a Menorah or candlestick which is a religious symbol of the ancient Jewish religion.
The Cavern in Jordan Where The Treasure's Were Found.
Intrigue and denial
Like many other finds before them, they are surrounded by intrigue and denial. The Jordanian government believe that they were smuggled into Israel possibly by another Bedouin. The man claims that he wasn't a smuggler and had in fact been in possession of the finds for over a hundred years, saying that they had been passed down through his family. Jordan is trying to get the finds returned to them saying that they have jurisdiction over them. At this time there is no explanation of how they got into the hands of an Israeli Bedouin.
Ziad al-Saad who is the director of the Department of Antiquities in Jordan believes that the books may well have been made just a few years after the Crucifixion. He also believes that they will eventually be proved to be much more important and have greater significance than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unlike the Scrolls, they believe that the books are in order, compared to other finds ranging across different times and areas. The excitement is palpable. There is a quiet but excited belief that these books will be the most significant find ever.
So what's all the fuss about?
So let's take a look at exactly what the finds mean. First of all we have the Codices or books which are cast in lead. Lead rings were then placed around them to keep them closed.
Then comes the fascinating stuff. The leaves are about the size of a credit card and contain ancient writing in Hebrew. Which would be interesting in itself, but then they realised that a lot of the writing was in code. Now, the one difference that stands out is the fact that scholars believe they belonged to the first Christians and not just Jewish. What this actually means is instead of them being made by the local population and maybe possible witnesses to Jesus and his life, they were actually designed and held by probably the very first Saints of the Christian Church itself.
David Elkington a scholar of ancient religious archaeology, is one of the first people to see the books. He is part of a British team who is helping to get the books into a Jordanian museum. He is very excited to think that he has touched the books held by these first Holy men of the Church.
Ancient Hebrew Text
The main evidence of Christian origin
The images that decorate the pages and covers of the books are what the scholars believe are proof of it being the origin of Christianity. What they show are both images of Jesus and the presence of God. These would be the signs that early Christians would know what to look out for.
On one of the book covers, there is a symbol of a Menorah or candlestick as we know it today. This representation was forbidden to the Jews as it was such a holy symbol that it would have only been portrayed within the holiest part of the temple given over to God.
Walls of Jerusalem
In other words it is writing about the coming of the Messiah. The actual interpretation means that the Messiah is coming to ask God for permission or legitimacy. But this is not the only proof. Philip Davies a professor of Old Testament studies at Sheffield university England believes that some of the plates as they are called show pictures of Jerusalem. In fact one in particular is very clear.
There is a cross in the foreground of the picture, and behind it can be seen the tomb of Jesus.This is a small building open at the front, and behind it can be seen the walls of the city. On many other of the plates or pages are pictures that are also taken to be the walls of Jerusalem.
But the most compelling and telling proof of all is the picture of the Cross. This is in the shape of a capital T. Exactly the same as the original Roman cross would be. In other words, this picture or book, hidden away in a cave nearly two thousand years ago, shows a Roman crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem!
Bound by Lead rings
There are quite a few pointers that prove these amazing relics are of original Christian origin compared to Jewish writing. One of these is the fact that the finds are in the form of books and not scrolls. The way they were made was typical of Christian methods passed on down the ages. Jewish writing was mainly printed onto scrolls and parchment. But the biggest give away is the way that the books are sealed. With the rings covering and binding them. Christians were they only people to start this tradition.
Through historical books and the Bible itself, scholars can be certain that these books do fit into the historical context. For example, on two occasions groups of refugees escaping from the troubles in Jerusalem at that time, fled east and crossed Jordan near Jericho. In fact they were exactly within the same area as where these books were found.
Also the book of Revelation states that such sealed texts were prevalent at the time. One of the most amazing things, is the text that has been found on one of the pages. Bringing to life the words '"I shall walk uprightly". This piece of writing that is speaking to us from two thousand years ago, brings forth a voice that is also heard within the Bible itself. In the book of Revelation!
Is this the words that tell of Jesus resurrection? Or maybe it is just a common term from that time. Either way, at last we can hear the words talking to us, down through the ages. We can check and recheck the words from the Bible and place them side by side amongst this great find. What a exciting discovery.
Secrets to be told
To walk into a cave and find such treasures. To know the word that you read was written by a hand close to Jesus two thousand years ago, and to hear the words slowly opening up before us. What a fantastic archaeological find. I do believe that we have only found a few of the marvelous relics that are still hidden within that monumental and most religious part of the world. I believe that Christianity is always evolving. It is not stagnant. Every little drop of information, every word on a page brings closer the real Word of God. Amazing.
Update: 11th April It seems that the whole find may well be fake. Some scientists believe that the writing could not possibly be from the first Century. Others are still arguing that it is real. I will post the outcome when the books have been studied further.
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Source bbc.co.uk photos by David Elkington