Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection.

A new article appeared in several news agencies today claiming to ignite debate about Christianity and the Resurrection.

A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone. Continue

To summarize the article, a few scholars believe they have found a fragmant of a pre-christian jewish view on the messiah. They say the tablet talks of a messiah who would die and be resurrected 3 days later. Many people are saying this find will cause a heated debate about Christianity and its roots. I've read several blogs claiming that this find blows the lid off of Christianity and shows that Christianity was just copying other beliefs prevalent at the time. I want to offer two refutes to these arguments.

1. The first thing is that this supposed tablet has yet to be completely verified for authenticity. It has yet to been held up to the scientific community for complete verification. Also some of the tablet's words are not entirely recognizable and require some speculation to translate. We must be careful to not make hasty decisions based on opinion instead of fact. Every few years some "find" is touted as the next nail in the coffin for Christianity to only be phony and counterfeit. But if this find does past the test of verification then there is a second defense.

2. The find really doesnt say anything that Christians don't already believe. Christians since the disciples have been claiming that Jesus fulfilled prophesies and traditions long held by the Jewish community. Jesus himself claimed to be God and to fulfill old testament scripture. Christians would have no problem with the idea that the Jewish community was looking for a messiah that would suffer and be killed. We know from the Bible that not all Jews were looking for this but if a small sect were to be looking for this, then it would not hurt Christianity in the least. Actually it does the opposite. And shows that the idea of the messiah being killed and then resurrected was not created by Paul or the apostles but was part of Jewish tradition. This would just show another way that Christ completed prophesy and is the Messiah.

I do not know why some are claiming the end for Christianity but to me this looks like it has the possibility of being a big find for Christianity. What ever happens, I know that Christ is the messiah. He completed the old testament prophesies. He completed His own prophesies of death, burial, and resurrection. And I look forward to His return.

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