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The Dead Sea Stone & Gabriel’s Revelation
Recently, I received an email from a family member who expressed concern over a New York Times article discussing the so called “Dead Sea Stone,” an allegedly ancient artifact containing some “87 lines of Hebrew” that speaks of a “messiah who will rise from the dead after three days” and that dates a century earlier than Christ Himself. According to the article, the stone is being presented as evidence that: “What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story.” What follows is part of my response to this article, since it touches on a trend many Christians can see readily in our daily news, the History and Discovery channels, and throughout the whole world.
In the New York Times article, the stone speaks of a possible Messianic figure that lived before the time of Christ, who was supposedly to be raised from the dead in three days. The writing on the stone is called “Gabriel’s Revelation.” According to the reading, it says: “In three days you shall live, I, Gabriel, command you.” But the Messiah mentioned is not Jesus, but a Jewish freedom fighter named Simon.
The Angel Gabriel & the Messiah
In the Bible, it was Gabriel who prophesied about the Messiah in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 9:21-27) and announced His birth to the virgin, Mary (Luke 1:26). Gabriel told Mary that Jesus would be called “the Son of the Highest.” It is then curious that in the Koran, an angel called “Gabriel” speaks to the prophet Mohammed, telling him that Jesus is not really the Son of God. Now an angel called Gabriel shows up on an ancient tablet commanding some “other” Messiah to rise from the dead. It’s as if Satan knows that the angel Gabriel is closely associated with Messianic prophecies, and has been about the business of creating counterfeit Gabriels to confuse people.
Israel, Blinded for a Time
The “expert” on the stone, (a Jewish author named Israel Knohl), deciphers the tablet, which has lots of “missing text” in “crucial places.” The article says of an earlier book by him, that: “Mr. Knohl posited in a book published in 2000 the idea of a suffering Messiah before Jesus … But his theory did not shake the world of Christology as he had hoped …” Knohl is then quoted at the end of the article, giving his conclusion about the stone, saying: “This gives the Last Supper an absolutely different meaning. To shed blood is not for the sins of the people, but to bring redemption to Israel.”
Of course, Mr. Knohl’s conclusion is a complete denial of the true purpose of the death of Christ. The reality is that the only redemption for Israel is to be forgiven their sins by faith in their true Messiah. Yet to us Gentiles who believe, we are told “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)
Many Messiahs: the Gateway of Antichrist
All of this kind of activity will continue, and will get worse and worse as the end of the world draws near. Satan must destroy all confidence in the Biblical Gospel so that mankind will ultimately reject the true God, and put confidence in his lying hope -- the Antichrist. This is why the world is so keen to embrace the multiple-Messiah theories that are so prevalent in the New Age movement.
If there is more than one Messiah, people don’t necessarily need to put their faith in Jesus Christ as the “one Mediator between God and men,” (1Timothy 2:5). If there are really multiple messiahs, then men can shop around until they find a savior who tells them what they want to hear, and who conforms to their ideas about God. This is not “receiving” God for who He is (John 1:12), but shaping a god according to man’s vain imagination, which is how idols are made (Romans 1:21-23).
The Bible warns that the “wrath of God” is against those who “change the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:18, 25) and says clearly: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
The End Time Delusion
Ultimately, the scripture warns us that the conflict we’re in is a spiritual battle, and that Satan and his demons are fighting against God and man. The Bible talks about the coming of Antichrist, saying:
“And then shall that Wicked (i.e. Lawless One) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2Thessalonians 2:8-10)
Notice how Paul mentions that “with all deceivableness” the Antichrist will be revealed to the world, and that this is “after the working of Satan.” He also mentions that those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” will perish. The Bible says that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …” Jesus is the expression of God’s love (Romans 5:8), and “the truth” (John 14:6) that men must receive. Satan knows this, and fights relentlessly against it. In the next verse, Paul says:
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thessalonians 2:11-12)
Oppositions of Science, Falsely So-Called
I have come to believe that much of this deceptive pseudo-scientific (i.e. evolution teaching) and pseudo-archaeological speculation is part of the “strong delusion” that God is sending to deceive the souls of men who refuse to believe the Gospel.
We are shown this before in the Old Testament, where God says: “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” (Isaiah 66:3-4)
The Bible warns us about the wiles of the devil, through the twisting and turning of information; and how we ought to recognize the spirit of antichrist in the world:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time … Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denies the Father and the Son.” (1John 2:18, 22)
“And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1John 4:3)
Yet for those who forsake their rebellion and unbelief, who repent and turn their heart toward God, they are promised the hope of life and peace through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
“But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:8-9)
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us … that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
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