My Personal Christian Blog

Thanks for sliding into my blog site. This blog bog is a spin-off from my website at Call me a Night Owl, as my full-time mission and hobby are jabbering from midnight until 8 a.m.ish with chatter bugs across the world. Hoot, hoot! Being a retired newspaper guy and a Curious George, I've written and assembled a whack of stuff that I hope you'll find interesting and thought-provoking. Check out the Stories bar on the right side, below, for all my articles - from my web site and this blog.

September 26, 2013


The main take-away from the Dead Sea Scrolls is that they validate the accuracy
of the Old Testament manuscripts. When discovered between 1947 and 1956, they predated by a 1,000 years the oldest biblical manuscripts we had at that time. Yet they matched almost perfectly, as had every other manuscript ever discovered prior to 1947.

1. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 11 caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea.   The area is 13 miles east of Jerusalem and is 1,300 feet below sea level. The scrolls have been called the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times.

2. Only caves one and 11 have produced relatively intact manuscripts. Discovered in 1952, cave four produced the largest find. About 15,000 fragments from more than 500 manuscripts were found.

3. In all, scholars have identified the remains of about 825 to 870 separate scrolls.

4. The scrolls can be divided into two categories—biblical and non-biblical. Fragments of every book of the Hebrew canon (Old Testament) have been discovered except for the book of Esther.

5. There are now identified among the scrolls, 19 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Book of Psalms.

6. Prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel not found in the Bible are written in the Scrolls.

7. The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1,000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. In fact, the scrolls are the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found.

8. In the scrolls are found never before seen psalms attributed to King David and Joshua.

9. There are non-biblical writings along the order of commentaries on the OT, paraphrases that expand on the Law, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writings.

10. The scrolls are for the most part written in Hebrew, but there are many written in Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and of the first two centuries A.D. The discovery of the scrolls has greatly enhanced our knowledge of these two languages. In addition, there are a few texts written in Greek.

11. The scrolls appear to be the library of a Jewish sect. The library was hidden away in caves around the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66-70) as the Roman army advanced against the rebel Jews.

12. Near the caves are the ancient ruins of Qumran. They were excavated in the early 1950s and appear to be connected with the scrolls.

13. The Dead Sea Scrolls were most likely written by the Essenes during the period from about 200 B.C. to 68 C.E./A.D. The Essenes are mentioned by Josephus and in a few other sources, but not in the New Testament. The Essenes were a strict Torah observant, Messianic, apocalyptic, baptist, wilderness, new covenant Jewish sect. They were led by a priest they called the "Teacher of Righteousness," who was opposed and possibly killed by the establishment priesthood in Jerusalem.

14. The enemies of the Qumran community were called the "Sons of Darkness"; they called themselves the "Sons of Light," "the poor," and members of "the Way." They thought of themselves as "the holy ones," who lived in "the house of holiness," because "the Holy Spirit" dwelt with them.

15. The last words of Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, and Amram (the father of Moses) are written down in the scrolls.

16. One of the most curious scrolls is the Copper Scroll. Discovered in cave three, this scroll records a list of 64 underground hiding places throughout the land of Israel. The deposits are to contain certain amounts of gold, silver, aromatics, and manuscripts. These are believed to be treasures from the Temple at Jerusalem, that were hidden away for safekeeping.

17. The Temple Scroll, found in cave 11, is the longest scroll. Its present total length is 26.7 feet (8.148 meters). The overall length of the scroll must have been over 28 feet (8.75m).

18. The scrolls contain previously unknown stories about biblical figures such as Enoch, Abraham, and Noah. The story of Abraham includes an explanation about why God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac.

19. The scrolls are most commonly made of animal skins, but also papyrus and one of copper. They are written with a carbon-based ink, from right to left, using no punctuation except for an occasional paragraph indentation. In fact, in some cases, there are not even spaces between the words.

20. The scrolls have revolutionized textual criticism of the Old Testament. Interestingly, now with manuscripts predating the medieval period, we find these texts in substantial agreement with the Masoretic text as well as widely variant forms.

21. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls actually appeared for sale on June 1, 1954, in the Wall Street Journal. The advertisement read — "The Four Dead Sea Scrolls: Biblical manuscripts dating back to at least 200 BC are for sale. This would be an ideal gift to an educational or religious institution by an individual or group. Box F206."

22. Although the Qumran community existed during the time of the ministry of Jesus, none of the scrolls refer to Him, nor do they mention any of His follower's described in the New Testament.

23. The major intact texts, from caves one and 11, were published by the late 1950s and are now housed in the Shrine of the Book museum in Jerusalem.

24. Since the late 1950s, about 40 per cent of the scrolls, mostly fragments from cave four, remained unpublished and were not accessible. It wasn't until 1991, 44 years after the discovery of the first scroll, after the pressure for publication mounted, that general access was made available to photographs of the scrolls. 

In November, 1991, the photos were published by the Biblical Archaeological Society in a nonofficial edition; a computer reconstruction, based on a concordance, was announced; the Huntington Library pledged to open their microfilm files of all the scroll photographs.

25. The Dead Sea Scrolls enhance our knowledge of both Judaism and Christianity. They represent a non-rabbinic form of Judaism and provide a wealth of comparative material for New Testament scholars, including many important parallels to the Jesus movement. They show Christianity to be rooted in Judaism and have been called the evolutionary link between the two.

September 5, 2013


By Harold Smith

QUESTION: It seems that in your articles you do not empathize good works. If we do not maintain good works, do you think we will go to Heaven?

ANSWER: This is an old question that keeps popping up all the time. I do not believe that salvation is by faith AND works, but I do believe in SALVATION that WORKS.

In other words, there will be some fruit or evidence of  salvation in the lives of those who claim to have it, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.

Salvation is an act of the sovereign grace of God. God didn't owe us anything. But because He is merciful and gracious, He has provided a great salvation for us. It is free to those who ask.

"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." (Romans 4:4)

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6)

The above verses show that if salvation is by works then it is no more grace. These two do not mix. However, if you have a kind of profession that does not work at all, then you are not likely to have God's salvation.

It is not of works, but it works in us. The Holy Spirit transforms our life from the inside out. It is "God's power unto salvation to everyone that believeth." (Romans 1:16)

Good salvation video here -