In yet another amazing discovery that confirms the accuracy of the Bible, scientists in Israel were able to scan a 1,500 year old Torah scroll that contained a passage of Old Testament Scripture on it. Although the scroll was charred beyond recognition, the ability to now read the document confirms it as the most ancient discovery of Hebrew writing since the Dead Sea Scrolls. It also serves as more proof of the preservation of the Holy Bible for thousands of years.
According to reports:
Thanks to a high-tech solution, a charred parchment scroll discovered by the shores of the Dead Sea bearing verses from the Book of Leviticus was deciphered for the first time, archaeologists announced Monday.
The document, found during the excavation of the synagogue in Ein Gedi 45 years ago, was burned 1,500 years ago while stored inside the ark in the ancient house of worship. Since then, however, the text has been unreadable.
Using micro-CT scanners, specialists at the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls laboratory in Jerusalem discerned the text written on the charred scroll: verses from the second chapter of the Book of Leviticus. The results of the CT scans were sent to computer scientist Brent Seales of the University of Kentucky, who created a 3D reconstruction of the scroll.
Carbon-14 dating determined the text was from the end of the 6th century CE, making it the oldest copy of the Bible after the Dead Sea Scrolls. The IAA archaeologists noted that it was also the first time the remains of a Torah scroll were found in an ancient synagogue. (source).
The scroll was first discovered by an excavation team led by Dr. Sefi Porath in 1970 in Ein Gedi, a town that sits west of the Dead Sea, in Israel. in Samuel 24:1, it is where a young King David, before taking the throne, fled from King Saul who wanted David dead:
And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. – 1 Samuel 24:1.
“Ein Gedi was a Jewish village in the Byzantine period (A.D. 4th to 7th centuries) and had a synagogue with an exquisite mosaic floor and a Holy Ark,” Porath said. This marked the first time that an archaeological dig had uncovered a Torah scroll in a synagogue, Porath noted.
The holy ark, a copy of the original ark of the covenant that contained the Ten Commandments, was often kept in the front of a synagogue. Torah scrolls, meticulously drafted copied of the Old Testament were kept in them. Some time in the 7th century Ein Gedi was eventually burned to the ground and never inhabited again. During the excavation Porath and his team discovered fragments of the burned scrolls; a bronze, seven-branched candelabrum (or menorah); the community’s money box holding 3,500 coins, glass and ceramic oil lamps; and perfume vessels.
After being kept in storage for 45 years, the IAA team were given the chance to scan [a video of the 3D scan is below] the documents and were stunned by the Scripture revealed on the burnt parchment. “This discovery absolutely astonished us; we were certain it was just a shot in the dark but decided to try and scan the burnt scroll anyway,” said Pnina Shor, curator and director of the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project. (source).
The Text Of The Scroll
The 3-D scanned image revealed the first 8 verses of Leviticus chapter 1:
“The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock. If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you. The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts. The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar.” (Leviticus :1-8). (source).
Here is the same passage from a copy of the King James Version of the Bible used today:
And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
These very specific details on an atonement sacrifice are identical with only phrasing such as “ye” and “you” or “tabernacle” and “tent of meeting” being differences (the tabernacle was also referred to as the tent of meeting). Once again the accusations that the Bible “has been translated thousands of times!” and other unsubstantiated claims are soundly refuted. Beginning and End reported on a similar find in Egypt of a necklace, dubbed “The Last Supper Papyrus”, dating back to the same time period, that contained both Old and New Testament scripture references and a bold proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Ein Gedi scoll is a remarkable find from antiquity. And with other scroll fragments set to be examined, there is a potential for even more of the Holy Bible to be rediscovered from this ancient Jewish city. Christians should praise God for preserving His Word for thousands of years as He promises. And for those who are not Christians, especially those who have assumed that statements like “the Bible has been altered so many times!” and false charge of that type were true – read and learn the Bible for yourself. Examine God’s Word with an open heart.
Much more important than ancient discovery is the eternal fate of your soul. And the Bible offers the only solution to avoiding hell and the Lake of Fire as a place of punishment for our sin – faith in Jesus Christ. The atonement sacrifice in the book of Leviticus was just a foreshadow of the true sacrifice for sin – Jesus Christ giving His life on the cross for the sins of humanity. Romans 5:8 says: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Read and learn the Gospel. Discover the truths of the Bible and trust in Jesus Christ. The Word of God stands the test of time and will you preserve your life forever.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. – Isaiah 40:8.