Earlier this year, my wife and I had an opportunity to visit the “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible” exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum. When we entered the exhibit, we were given a small hand-held recorder about the size of a cell phone. As we made our way through the exhibit, we simply punched in the number of the display and were given an explanation of the scroll, book, or artifact and its significance.
In addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls there were numerous biblical artifacts that took you back in time to the days of our Lord. For example, there was a display of the coinage of the period that was embossed with an image of Caesar. This would have been the same type of coin the Lord pointed to when He answered the question of the Pharisees and the Herodians about paying tribute to Caesar (Mark 12:13-17). There was also an exhibit of oil lamps, one of which would have been the type used in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. It was interesting to see how the five wise virgins would have trimmed their lamps (Matt. 25:1-10).
The most fascinating part of the exhibit was the Dead Sea Scrolls, which incorporated the development of the English Versions of the Scriptures, as well as the Gutenberg Bible, the first Bible ever produced on a printing press. I personally accept by faith that we have the Word of God today. But for the skeptic or critic who questions the Word of God, the Dead Sea Scrolls clearly show the providential care of God.
For example, the oldest copy of the Torah prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls would have been about the 10th Century. The Torah is the first 5 Books of the Hebrew Bible ascribed to Moses. Archeologists date the Dead Sea Scrolls between the 1st Century B.C. and the first half of the 1st Century A.D. They were discovered in caves on the sheer rock face of the northwest shore of the Dead Sea by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947. Despite the vast period of time between these two sets of manuscripts there is an amazing continuity, especially in regard to sense. For example:
The English translation of Deuteronomy 8:19 from the 10th Century (Hebrew Masoretic Text) states:
“I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.”
When the Scholars translated this same passage from the Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts it came out as follows in English:
“I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”
Hopefully, you will have an opportunity to visit this exhibition which is touring the country; it is well worth your time.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.