Advent Day 15
We visited Qumran, where the dead sea scrolls were found. We learned how the Essenes were very careful and paid detail attention to make sure that the scriptures were accurately copied and passed down from generations to generations. The dead sea scrolls validate the authenticity of the Bible. The oldest dead sea scroll found was from 250 BC. "Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest existing manuscripts of parts of the Hebrew Bible came from about 800-1,000 A.D. The oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Bible, the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Codex, dates to 1008 A.D. This means that the Dead Sea Scrolls provide us with texts of the Bible copied more than 1000 years earlier than any others now in existence! The scrolls are also important because they have enabled scholars to gather an immense amount of information about how the Bible was written and how it was transmitted from generation to generation. In many cases, the scrolls show a remarkable similarity to the text of the Hebrew Bible currently in use. In some cases differences between the scrolls and the traditional Hebrew text help explain difficulties in the present Hebrew Bible, and most modern translations of the Bible incorporate some of the new information from the scrolls." (source)
It is because of their faithfulness to the text, we can have confidence in our Bible. These people are an inspiration to us that we too should be committed to study the text, care for the Bible, and dedicate our lives to live according to God’s Word.
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." - Psalm 119:11
|First century Synagogue|
We saw a first century synagogue, a place used for worship, administration, and education among other things. We learned how the Jews would come to the synagogue to read and study the Torah, the manners of which they went about doing it, and it just amazes me the level of respect they had for God's Word - they would stand up when the Torah was read (Nehemiah 8:5). Even Jesus did that too when he went to the synagogue to read the Torah (Luke 4:16). Again we were reminded to be keepers of the Word, to carry them in our hearts so that other people may know the God we serve.
"Blessed is the one who delights in the law of the Lord, that person is like a tree planted by streams of water, whose leaf does not wither but yields its fruit in season and whatever they do prospers." - Psalms 1:2-3
How can we claim that we know and love God if we don't study the Word regularly? How can we claim we love God if we don't obey and follow His commandments? How can we glorify Him if we use our bodies for self pleasure and indulgence. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and God is honored when if we take care of our bodies well.