Are More Dead Sea Scrolls Awaiting Discovery?

By Mark A. Kellner

Seventy-one years ago, the casual tossing of rocks into a cave led to an earth-shaking discovery. After a young Bedouin found his stones had shattered clay pots inside an ancient cave at Qumran, the parchments inside the pots were revealed to contain early manuscripts of the Bible’s most important texts, including the book of Isaiah.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, so named because of the proximity of their location to the Dead Sea, revolutionized the study of prophecy in large part because these ancient manuscripts—the oldest known copies of some texts—confirmed that the translations made from later versions were accurate. In other words, the Bible’s words are more reliable than some had previously imagined.

The scrolls found so far, written mostly in Hebrew and Greek—with some non-canonical scrolls in Aramaic—“help scholars get closer to the original OT texts where variants have entered the tradition, plus they help set the historical and cultural context for the Intertestamental and New Testament eras,” according to a 2012 article by the late Peter Flint of Canada’s Trinity Western University published at the Christianity Today website.

Scholar Bryant Wood of the group Associates for Biblical Research wrote, "The Dead Sea Scrolls have demonstrated that the Old Testament was accurately transmitted during this interval. In addition, they provide a wealth of information on the times leading up to, and during, the life of Christ."

For those doubting the accuracy of Bible prophecy, who argued that Isaiah, for example, could not have predicted the Messiah as outlined in Isaiah 53, these discoveries offered a stunning rebuttal. You can believe the prophecies of the Old Testament because the most ancient manuscripts available contain them, verbatim. In short, the Bible is true and verifiable.

But wait, there’s more! Scholars are “hopeful,” the Times of Israel website reports, that a newly discovered Qumran cave, labeled “53,” might yield some more ancient documents: Having found pottery and string, among other objects, that dates to the period in which the scrolls were stored in other caves, Liberty University professor Dr. Randall Price and Dr. Oren Gutfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are continuing to search the site in hopes of finding more scrolls.

As Price explained to National Geographic magazine, “This cave was robbed by Bedouins maybe 40 years ago. Fortunately for us, they didn’t dig very deep. Our hope is that if we keep digging, we hit the mother lode” of new scrolls.

It’s mere speculation at this point to imagine what any of these new scrolls might contain, but the overwhelming likelihood is that nothing will be discovered to refute the manuscripts already discovered confirming the ancient texts. The greater probability would be the discovery of additional scrolls that confirm the Bible’s reliability.

The past two hundred years or so have yielded a treasure-trove of evidence to support the Bible’s claims as a reliable account of God’s Word. The discovery of the ruins of the ancient city of Tyre—a place God said would never rise again—confirms the prophecy in the book of Ezekiel, as Joe Crews noted in his radio presentation, “Dead Men Leave Tales.”

Modern archaeology has proved the existence of the Hittite nation and the ancient cities of Nineveh and Sodom, despite earlier claims that there was no evidence for these. Other discoveries verified the histories of kings Belshazzar, mentioned in Daniel 5:1, and Sargon, referenced in Isaiah 20:1. And archaeologists have found evidence for most of the 39 kings of Israel whose history was also questioned by earlier skeptics.

While it’s interesting to learn that dusty relics or ancient parchment scrolls from centuries ago confirm what the Bible says, the bigger question is whether or not these discoveries have meaning beyond historical curiosity. In other words, can believing the Bible’s message have an impact on your life—and even on your eternal destiny?

Such questions loom large for many people: In 2016, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans believe in heaven, while only 58 percent affirm the existence of a hell in which there is “eternal punishment” for “people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry.” It would stand to reason, then, that living a life that prepares one for a good outcome afterwards would be of great importance to a large number of people today.

This is where the question of the Bible’s reliability and accuracy come into the picture. If the Bible is indeed God’s Word, if its prophecies are true, and if it contains the key to living successfully in this world and in the world to come, then it’s important to discover what the Bible says, and learn how to prepare for the future.

Amazing Facts has just released a new documentary that explores these questions, offering solid evidence for the Bible’s veracity, and clues you in on what’s ahead for mankind. Kingdoms in Time is a fast-moving, eye-opening presentation that examines the world’s history through the lens of Bible prophecy, as well as the future. You can view a trailer for the program and order a copy of your own. And who knows? It might be as significant a discovery in your life as finding the Qumran cave scrolls was 71 years ago!

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