A True Treasure

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 26, 2012 2 comments

I have to admit that when I first heard the topic for this week, my gut reaction was to want a different topic because I knew that I was completely ignorant of any information regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls. I had only heard about them in passing and did not actually know why they were so important. Surprisingly, I can’t even remember talking about them in seminary! Probably like many of you, I learned more about the Dead Sea Scrolls this past Monday when I read Katie’s blog than I ever had before in all the combined times I had been around people who were discussing them. Sometimes we face topics like this in school, life, and even Scripture, that really intimidate us because we put so much emphasis on knowledge and understanding. The important thing when we don’t have immediate answers is to resist the temptation to walk away from the topic, and to instead be willing to read, ask questions, listen, and learn. If you take this approach to any topic on which you feel uninformed, you might be surprised what God reveals to you.

That would be an accurate description of what happened with me as I sought to learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls rather than ignore it because I didn’t ALREADY have answers. As Katie mentioned in Monday’s blog, it is traditionally believed that a group of Jews called the Essenes were responsible for the scrolls. What Katie did not mention is that the Essenes were believed to have hidden the scrolls in the caves between 66 and 70 A.D. This would have been right around the time of the Jewish Revolt against Roman authority. According to eyewitnesstohistory.com, the revolt was highly unsuccessful as Emperor Nero launched a ferocious attack on the rebel Jews, killing or enslaving many thousands of men, women, and children in some very inhumane ways. It culminated with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, which was known as the center of Judaism and Jewish culture. Yet, despite all the bloodshed and loss of their beloved temple, this group of Essenes consciously went and hid the scrolls the same way people bury their treasures to keep them safe.

The decision by the Essenes to hide the scrolls reveals their belief that the words written on them carried more significance than their temple, their possessions, or even their very lives! They knew that while the enemy could destroy physical buildings, material things, and anything else that human beings selfishly hold near and dear, it could not overcome the living Word of God. It’s a wonderful testimony to the fact that victory belongs to the Lord and those who follow him even when circumstances look the bleakest. The Romans likely believed in 70 A.D. after the destruction of the temple and thousands of worshippers that they had put an end to the “nonsense” of Judaism and Christianity. But history tells us that the Roman Empire eventually fell, while Christianity still exists today as the world’s most popular religion. The Essenes may have lost everything including their lives, but they hid their true “treasure” in caves near the Dead Sea around 70 A.D. and they were not discovered until roughly 1950. That means the portions of God’s Word on the scrolls survived the elements, darkness, and erosion for approximately 1,880 years until He decided it was time to reveal them to the world.

Two Biblical passages come to mind as challenges for us spurred on by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). While many Jews and Christians today make treasures out of temporary things and suffer the consequences of having our hearts tied to things that we easily lose, we are fortunate that the Essenes’ hearts were tied to the eternal Word of God, making it a treasure that brought international attention when found almost 1,900 years later. Not only did it bring international attention, it made the Bible we have that much more reliable. And not only did it make the Bible we have more reliable, it reminded us that victory always has been and always will be the Lord’s. That leads me to the 2nd passage that came to mind. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9). Maybe you needed to hear those words today as you read this blog. I often need that reminder. If our treasure is our circumstances, we will lose hope when things go wrong. If our treasure is our knowledge of this truth written by Paul, we will never lose hope, believing by faith that the victory has already been won and NOTHING can take it away!


Jeannine said...

Logan, You probably came after Dr. Nissley and I took a group from the seminary on a "fieldtrip"----well, it was more like a "manuscript trip" to see one of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Cleveland at the Jewish history museum... It was pretty cool. And my husband and I got to see the Isaiah Scroll when we went to SBL in San Diego a couple of years ago. The writing is so precise! And, so small! Glad you are interested in these real treasures!!

SEO said...

Interesting post. The Dead Sea Scrolls are indeed a treasure.