Qumran and The Treasure?

Qumran.  En Gedi.  The Dead Sea.  Masada.  All places that I adore, and love visiting whilst in Israel.  Each one of these places seems to call to me, and whilst I appreciate the historical and the Biblical relevance, it seems like there is something more that I am feeling, sensing. 

What if the ground, the very earth that we walked upon, could talk?  What would it say on these particular pieces of land?  What if the earth could find a way of conveying all the history that has taken place on the pieces of land that I love?  What if every fight, war, act of love, life, happiness or treachery had been recorded in the rocks, the very rocks you climb, or sand that shifts beneath your feet – the very dirt you walk on?

Qumran is a place the evokes such mystery and intrigue to me, and yet I sense there is a lesson to be learnt and a tale of intrigue that needs to be uncovered.  The passions of my heart cannot be quantified in just mere words or deeds, it is in what makes me dance, sing, live and explode with abundant joy!  I love Israel, a dead man walking can see that!  But it’s Qumran (of which I have written about briefly in another Israel blog) that makes my heart explode!

It’s those barren looking mountains with all their secrets, that makes me think I am on a mysterious adventure akin to Indiana Jones and all his cohorts.  It was watching Tom Horn of the Skywatch crew, alongside Carl Gallups and Rabbi Zev Porat on the Jim Bakker Show, that eight minutes into the interview, my heart just exploded and I KNEW – Neil and I were going back to Israel.  In twelve days.

“Hang on Lord, where are we going to find that kind of money, will Neil get the time off work and is this MY idea or yours?”  The answers came so clearly and everything panned out.  But Qumran, the visit that nearly didn’t happen, was central in my mind.

Jim Barfield and the Copper Scroll.  Mysteries unfolding before our very eyes.  Wonder. Intrigue.  Hope?  A treasure directly connected to the Old Testament, with even the possibility of the Old Tabernacle being hidden in those mysterious caves.  Gold bullion, coins, objects from the Temple.  Could you imagine?

What if……..write in the words you long to say.

The actual Copper Scroll is housed in Jordan, and overseen by the Jordanians after it’s discovery, several years post the Dead Sea Scrolls (March 14,1952 at the back of Cave 3).  It was put on display at the Jordan Museum in Amman in 2013, and it is there to this day.    

But what does it say, what does it hold, why does it send people digging into the stark hot desert, with little more than a wing or a prayer?

The Copper Scroll is written by five different authors, two of which are suggested to be Haggai and Zechariah, and was discovered behind a wall in Cave 3 of Qumran, sitting on a Scribe’s desk.  In Qumran if you look up in the mountain face, you will see a cave that has been closed up.  It has importance due to the Second Book of Maccabees, that talks about Jeremiah the Prophet hid the treasure of the Temple following Jerusalem’s seige by Babylon.  If that is the case, then there are things in there that demand the building of the Third Temple.  Maccabees tells how they put the Tabernacle of Moses and the altar in the mountain and then sealed it up.

Is Jim Barfield nutty for going to Qumran so many times, for scouting out secret locations of potential treasure, for applying and lobbying to the Israeli government and US congress for permits to dig in this crazy place?

Having had earth penetrating technology testing the ground with the ability to test between metals and two different forensic laboratories testing samples of rock face, it’s safe to say that something is going on in Qumran!

I can’t answer alot of these questions, but I do know that when we got to go there back in 2013 I KNEW something was afoot, but I hadn’t heard of the Copper Scroll or anything like it, back then.  When we went there we got to have a good look all around, including inside the building where many artifacts are displayed.  Some scrolls are hanging on the walls, and many places have been dug, with just as many questions, the further they go. We also got to see from a distance, the original cave that the scrolls were discovered by the young Bedouin boys back in 1947.

I wonder what else these boys, and perhaps the people who got there afterwards, found in that desolate place?

Are there secret rooms and many more caves that have yet to be explored, or is that just wishful thinking?

All I know at this particular time, is that Qumran is very slow in giving up her secrets, but imagine what will happen when she eventually does?!

Next time we look at Shelley Neese and Ken Johnson, with their intriguing connections to Qumran.

In the meantime, check out some of the photos of Qumran we captured in 2013.

Israel Part Four – The Fun Bus!!

 

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We found our seats on the back of the bus and off we went. The roads in Nazareth are interesting to say the least: not at all designed for large wide buses, but cheers to the bus driver, he did well, I never did catch his name!!

Neil settled himself in and looked up some articles online, then proceeded to start teaching different ones some Kiwi speech and much to my horror, Kiwi Slang….oh man, I didn’t know if that would go down well on a Christian Tour. I shouldn’t have worried 🙂 From the getgo, some of us were laughing and having a great time. Yishay was doing his best to narrate through his microphone, but I do believe a number of us were far too busy chatting and getting to know one another to hear his narration.

Listening to Americans trying to do Kiwi accents always brings a smile to my face!

El-Ahawat. What the hell was this place? It’s a line in the old testament, that seemingly had some relevance to Sardinian architecture. Someone really should have gotten a machete (I would have!) and chopped some grass down. People were tripping over alot, and it was difficult to figure out where we were and what we’d come to see. Neil picked up a stone and underneath it was a piece of handle from an old jug. That came home with us. Yishay had been talking about finding the hole where one of the gates hung – Michael found the other one! It was interesting hearing and learning the context of this archaeological site, we’re very glad we got to go there.

Meal times in Nazareth were wonderful. Sitting and sharing stories and learning from others like Carol & Jerry, Anne, Val, Phil, Charlotte & Michael were amazing. Neil and I always asked how and why people came on the Skywatch tour, and every answer was different. Being in the presence of someone such as Jerry, was amazing. Though quiet and unassuming, what he did have to say, at times had me in tears…..

For Neil and I, one of the absolute highlights was the four wheel driving to Gilgal Refaim. We absolutely loved the crazy roads and bumping along – and keep in mind Neil once had broken his back and is not supposed to be walking – so no complaining thank you! Part of the adventure is being able to go with the flow and expect the unexpected. As an ex farmgirl, I relished having the wind blowing through my hair, being thrown around and reconnecting with a part of myself that had laid dormant – the Adventurous Sandi 😉 I sat opposite Pat in the jeep, and she commented that perhaps today she shouldn’t have used any hairspray…. 😉

Again, to look eye level, Gilgal Rephaim was just a jumbled up bunch of stones with long grass that needed said machete! I didn’t want to go down into the Death Chamber, so Neil did and videoed it. For me, it was just lovely looking around and seeing all the archaeology that hasn’t been touched. There was another mound in the distance that seemed to be relevant, but we didn’t go there. Maybe we should?

I’m super glad that we’ve been to Banias Springs before, because we only got fifteen minutes this time. I’ve written about this in my book, it was a place that impacted me deeply back in 2013 on our first tour. There is so much to see, but we hardly saw anything this time. I look forward to going back and climbing the rocks up into some of the other sites up there. I’m told that the whole of Mt Hermon has many archaeological sites that only get visited by hikers. I also know that some people don’t like Banias Springs, and that’s fair enough. However, I take the view that Yeshua redeemed everything. Hearing Derek (again) speak on the importance of Peter, the rock and his revelation of who Yeshua is, right there in the very place that it was spoken and revealed, is important. As Carl Gallups says, context is key!

One place that I don’t particularly like, as you have to pay to pee, and it’s so utterly trite and commercial, is Yardenit. I didn’t like being hearded into the dining hall and all that business, but I got a chance to spend time outside quietly with Anne. She and I got a chance to share and that for me was Heaven. Thank you Anne for holding my hand and allowing my tears to fall <3 Being present to watch a few people be baptized was lovely, and kind of odd when they all stayed in the water and swam around! Great times 🙂

I witnessed something that didn’t happen on the first tour – people caring for one another. I am an unusual creature in that dry heat makes me come alive. However there were a number of individuals where the intense heat impacted them greatly. I loved watching some of the younger ones walking with some of the slower ones and showing care, that really blessed me. Having Deborah with her nursing background, and Michael with his military background, was invaluable and such a blessing. I didn’t hear people whining, whinging or complaining, and for that I am super grateful – that happened alot last year. What did shock me was an elderly couple (from our tour) in Jerusalem, were having trouble walking on the old cobblestones down a steep road. When I offered to help them, the man yelled at me, repeatedly. That gutted me, and it took Neil praying over that for me to let it go. The man never apologised, so I would just glare at him for the duration of the tour.

My kids tell me my glare is killer – that’s the point 🙁

For me, the Dead Sea Region is the place where I came alive – big time 🙂 The place where I would stand on the balcony and marvel that across the Dead Sea, was the Abarim Range – Jordan. Part of the land that originally was given to Abraham. Part of the land that one day will be restored to Israel. I had learnt after having our DNA tested, and developing a Family Tree, that we descend from the Tribe of Benjamin, and here I was smack bang in the middle of it all! Spiritually speaking, this is part of my heritage. No wonder I felt so ALIVE there!!

It was at the Dead Sea that my silent prayers came true – just to dance, and enjoy ourselves – and so we did! My husband has never danced in public with me – well he now has 😉 Spending time with Charlotte, Michael and Taylor, letting our hair down and enjoying Shabbat evening – that was Heaven on Earth to me 🙂 It was at the Dead Sea we got to spend some time with Val, one of our Brits from the Motherland, and hear some of her story.

And then of course, going back to Qumran. I thought at this point I was going to self combust…….oh my Gosh!!

How ridiculous for a sink hole to open in the road in which we were going to drive, and cut off any opportunity to go to Qumran. How about NO! And yet after prayer, miraculously, we were off to this magical and mysterious place.

The place has changed dramatically from when we visited there in 2013. Back then we were given the sanitised version of what this was all about, and taken into the building where alot of artifacts and scrolls are on display. There is so much untold and untouched history here. You can feel it. Meeting Jim Barfield, albeit so short, was incredible. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to walk all around, and it seems to be fenced off where we walked in 2013, but I think that will inevitably change.

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Cave where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found 1947. Photo taken 2013.

This here, is the very reason we came back to the Skywatch tour.

God still hasn’t finished writing that chapter on our scrolls yet.

Photos and content copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019.