December 8, 2003
"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads
and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the
good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest
for your souls. But you said, "We will not walk in
it."'" (Jeremiah 6:16).
The Dead Sea Scrolls have come to Ottawa, the capital
of Canada, where they will be on display until April
12. It is the first time that some of these scrolls
have ever been outside of Israel.
These ancient scrolls were first discovered in the
vicinity of the Dead Sea in 1947. They were a most
magnificent find, since up until that time, the oldest
manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures were from about a
thousand years after Yeshua's coming. The Dead Sea
Scrolls are over a thousand years older, dating back
to the second century before Yeshua's coming.
The existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls contributed to
my coming to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. When I
was younger, I didn't believe that the Bible was a
book from God. I figured, human nature as it is, there
must have been many changes to the Bible introduced
through the years. I first heard about Yeshua in the
years just following the Watergate scandal in the
United States. Understanding how people cover up their
wrongs, I thought that there certainly must have been
all sorts of things covered up or changed in parts of
the Bible. Therefore I had no reason to accept its
validity, let alone think that God himself might have
had anything to do with it.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls challenged my
skepticism. The Scrolls contain several biblical
portions. When compared to the thousand year old
copies, there are only minute differences between
them. The striking thing is how unusual that is. One
of the problems with the study of ancient manuscripts
is the confusion as to their accuracy. Humans have a
difficult time accurately preserving ancient things.
Have you ever played the children's game, "Broken
Telephone"? In this game we sit in a circle. Someone
whispers a word or phrase into the ear of the person
sitting next to them. That person attempts to whisper
the same word or phrase into the ear of the person
next to them and so on. The last person announces to
the whole group what they think they heard. In most
cases the original word or phrase is drastically
transformed into something so very different from the
Not so with the Bible. Through all these years the
text of the Scriptures has remained virtually
unchanged. This in and of itself doesn't prove that
the Bible is from God, but it certainly demonstrates
the uniqueness of this ancient book.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls illustrates for
us that some things don't change. The truths of these
ancient pages are still relevant in our day.
In the nation of Canada, where I live, we are
witnessing the attempt to dismantle our age-old
understandings of the basic building blocks of
society, primarily with regard to marriage.
It is no coincidence that in the middle of this
controversy, the Dead Sea Scrolls arrive in our seat
of government. God is reminding us not to turn from
the ancient paths in favor of a perilous, uncharted
As we read in the prophet of Isaiah, whose legacy is
preserved in the Scrolls:
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word
of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).
It will be only a matter of time before we see the
withering of our modern human philosophies, while
God's Truth endures forever.