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robably one of the most spectacular finds in Near Eastern archaeology of the 20th century was that of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls. These tattered manuscripts were first discovered by a Bedouin shepherd boy in 1947 in desert caves near the Dead Sea. Subsequently, additional scrolls were uncovered at various locations in the region.
The majority of the manuscripts were composed between 100 B.C. and A.D. 68. Some of them contain the oldest-known versions of passages and books from the Old Testament-including the entire book of Isaiah. Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest and fullest manuscript in Hebrew was the Codex Petropolitanus dating from A.D. 916. It has been thought that the scrolls had been part of a library belonging to the Essenes.
The manuscripts evidence occasional spurious textual readings, additions, deletions and careless copying mistakes. As Jesus stated (Matt. 23:2), the scribes and Pharisees, not the Qumran sect, sat in Moses' seat and had authority over the preservation of the original inspired Hebrew text.
Nevertheless, the Dead Sea Scrolls lend support to the high degree of accuracy in the transmission of the Old Testament text. The 2,000-year-old documents demonstrate clearly that the authoritative Masoteric Hebrew Old Testament as we have it today is remarkably faithful to the ancient texts.
These are prophecies Isaiah made about Jesus [read it in your Bible to confirm for yourself] verses 9:6,7 Jesus birth, ver. 50:6 that his enemies spit on him, ver. 53:3 he was despised and rejected by men ver. 53:6 and the lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all, ver. 53:7 he was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth;
The find of the book of Isaiah, part of The Dead Sea Scrolls proves that Isaiah prophesied about the birth of Jesus and events in his life, 700 hundred years before. These prophecies have come to pass, no man can foretell the future except he who is inspired by God. This is God speaking to us through Isaiah verses 44:6,7 "I am the first and I am the last besides me there is no God. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it, let him declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let him tell us what is yet to be."
Other noteworthy finds are the fragments of 14 parchment scrolls-including parts of the books of Genesis, Leviticus Deuteronomy, Psalms and Ezekiel-discovered at Masada, the site of the Jews' last stand against the Romans in A.D. 73.
In text and spelling they are identical with the traditional Hebrew Bible, since these along with the Dead Sea Scrolls were found accurate to what we have in our Bible, we can feel assured that the rest of the holy book is accurate also.
A parchment scroll.
Top photograph is a parchment scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Parchment is made from tanned skins by smoothing the hairy side with pumice, was commonly used in Israel at least as early as the seventh century, B.C. Also common in Israel by the seventh century was papyrus, a writing material made from Egyptian plant. Papyrus was created by weaving strips of the pith from papyrus reeds together, binding them with resin, then smoothing out a writing surface on one side. The ink used on the Dead Sea Scrolls was carbon based, unlike earlier inks with a metallic base. This particular parchment above includes the text of Isaiah 40:2-28.
Disagreement among scholars about who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and why has been growing as access to the ancient documents becomes easier. The traditional view is that the Essenes, a separatist sect of Jews, wrote and stored the scrolls near their Qumran monastery. Some scholars now offer widely divergent views:
Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University believes that the sect responsible either was not Essene, or if Essene, they were an offshoot of the priestly Sadducees.
Robert H. Eisenman of California State University. Long Beach, believes the scrolls were produced by Christian followers of Jesus' half-brother James, head of the Jerusalem church.
Norman Golb of the University of Chicago believes no single group produced the scrolls and that there was no monastery or fortress at Qumran. He believes the caves were then used to preserve the writings of many different Jewish groups. Dr Golb feels the scrolls were moved from Jerusalem libraries during war from 66 to 70AD.