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commentary: The "Hidden" Scroll

The Ein Gedi Scroll

Given 01-Oct-16; Sermon #1343c; 10 minutes

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Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting that it is difficult to preserve something for thousands of years, points out that food, even though canned, frozen, or preserved with salt, eventually spoils, just as clothing, after 20 years of continued use, becomes thread-bare and deteriorates, and as iron which has the tendency to oxidize or rust. Absolutely nothing material lasts forever. Paper, the medium upon which we store our information, is subject to fire, water, and fungus. Realizing that the parchment upon which the precious truths of the Bible were recorded was perishable, the Masoretic scribes undertook a meticulous regimen of copying out the texts, counting each jot and tittle backwards and forwards to maintain the integrity of the text. When they finished the copy, the original was burned. Consequently, until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest surviving document only went back to the Middle Ages. The Dead Sea Scrolls, going back to the first century, confirmed the undisputable accuracy of the Masoretic texts. Another startling discovery was the Ein Gedi scroll, rescued from the charred remains of a synagogue in Ein Gedi in which everything was destroyed—except for the holy ark, which was also fire damaged. Scientists submitted the charred scroll of the first two chapters of Leviticus to an electronic 3D CT scan, making it possible to transform the original script to high definition, bright pixels. The resulting images confirms the accuracy of the Masoretic text. This document, going back to the First Century A.D., assures us that God Almighty has carefully preserved His Word.

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