By now you've heard of the recent (re-)discovery of 70 early Christian 'lead codices' and there is much debate about them.
The major debate is whether or not they are authentic.
The other major debate is that, if they are authentic, are they the 'seven seals' referred to in Revelation 6 of the Bible?
Is their content 'relevant' to current day events?
1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest."
READ THE REST HERE:LINK: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6&version=NIV
Some believe these 'seven seals' are on a single scroll or 'book' which is bound together in a certain order.
However, it was very difficult to produce volumes of large size in ancient days, for everything had to be literally 'hand-made'.
Thus, it is not unusual to see ancient texts 'published' as individual chapters or sections, meant to be read in succession.
Such could be the case with these 70 codices.
We must also remember how very dangerous it was...and still is in many places of the world today...to be a Christian believer.
Even today we are as likely as not to be castigated and mocked for our belief in the Risen Christ, and this even in so-called 'civilized' areas of the modern world.
Imagine the difficulties early Christians encountered and the methods they must have used to avoid detection, persecution and death!
They used 'secret symbols', one of which is the well-known fish-shaped 'Ichthys', to identify themselves.
And they wrote and transported their 'writings' in piece-meal fashion, exactly like these credit-card-sized 'codices' under discussion.
How much easier it would have been for Christians of old to each carry small portions of larger texts and then read them all together, as desired, during group worship.
That would lessen the risk of an entire written body of work being confiscated or stolen and would make it much easier to hide that which must be hidden.
Anyone who carries around a small 'New Testament with the Psalms and Proverbs' understands the desirability of this type of 'portability'.
Can you imagine going to church today as the 'safekeeper' of a rare copy of '1 & 2 Thessalonians' so that the entire Bible can be 'reassembled' for use during worship?
Can you imagine that kind of responsibility, even in our modern age?
Every and any thing about your little portable treasure, by very definition, would have significance, and, if found, would be 'scrupulously examined' in places where such things are 'forbidden'.
This naturally brings us back to the subject of some ancient 'booklets' and whether or not they contain the 'seals' in Revelation everyone seems to be talking about....believers and scoffers, alike.
If there are 70 seals to be broken, we once again have the Biblical tradition of interchanging numbers like 'seven' and 'seven times seven' and 'seventy times seven' and other word plays that God has used to get His points across!
Commonly used and 'exaggerated or singularly emphasized' numbers in Scripture include 3, 7, 12, 40 and so on, as well as the well-known '666' and others.
Thus, perhaps the 70 discovered tiny codices series do, indeed, represent the 'seven seals' in the form of seventy different smaller 'booklet's or 'codices', which are intended to be read in some kind of order and which comprise a single large body of work or works.
Soon enough we'll find out.
Even the number of 'rings' (three) is intriguing, as well as the apparent number of total 'closures' (looks like twelve or nine in some pictures, below)
Right now, we don't know. And we won't know until authentication is completed and scholars get it together enough to allow some fine panel of 'experts' to reveal what these newly discovered 'treasures' hold and tell us.
One thing is agreed upon regarding these codices, at least.
There seems to be substantial evidence that the 'books' in question here stem from year one (1 A.D. aka 1 C.E.) and whatever they contain should be interesting to Christians and non-Christians alike.
At the present time, these codices are in the possession of a Jordanian Bedouin, having been purchased from an Israeli Bedouin.
Both Israel and Jordon figure prominently in 'end times' eschatology, but the Jordon connection is particularly intriguing to this 'Biblical Biochemist'.
According to Isaiah 63, the Lord will come from Edom which is in what is known as Jordon today.
More specifically, the place where the Lord will return will be 'Bozrah' in Edom:
"God’s Day of Vengeance and Redemption
" Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.”...
" I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.”
Isaiah 63:1-6 (NIV)
READ THE REST HERE:LINK: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2063:1-6&version=NIV
The interesting thing about the Isaiah passage above is that it is mirrored in Revelation 19:11-16:
"The Heavenly Warrior Defeats the Beast
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
Bozrah in Jordon figures prominently in Scripture passages detailing 'the Day of the Lord' and ultimate events and 'Heavenly Appearances' in Jerusalem.
In Isaiah 34 we read:
"2 The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy[a] them, he will give them over to slaughter."
"6 The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom."
'Edom' represents those who are enemies of God.
Without overwhelming readers here who are non-believers or who are new to Scripture, here is another reference to 'the Day of the Lord':
8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause. 9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur; her land will become blazing pitch!"LINK: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2034&version=NIV
I'm trying not to 'overwhelm you', dear readers, with so much Scripture that you 'miss the point'.
But IF the recently found codices are, in fact, bona fide, it is an interesting 'convergence' that their discovery comes out of the land of Jordon which was known in Biblical times under the various names of 'Edom' (including 'Bozrah').
If you are interested in 'googling' more related to Jordon, look-up: Edom, Ammon, Moab, Isarel/Judah and all things referring to 'Petra'.
It will be a fascinating exercise for you.
For now, true Christian believers scarcely 'need' validation of what we hold as truths due to our faith.
But academic study, the inevitable media spin-fest and direct observation of world and current events should convince even the most 'stiff-necked scoffers' amongst us that something is afoot worldwide.
But not everyone will be convinced:
"The devil doesn't have any 'business' if he doesn't have any followers."
To that end, let all of us--Christian and Jewish and others so-inclined-- pray for the salvation of all as the time of Revelation approaches.
Every woman who has ever been pregnant and has delivered a child knows that a time comes when one's body is simply not one's own.
Once labor begins and birth is imminent, no one can prevent what is to come, for better or for worse.
And so it will be with the Day of the Lord, and Jesus says so:
"8 All these are the beginning of birth pains."
Matthew 24:8 (NIV)
We may not know the exact time and place it will occur, but we will have some inkling.
Those whom God looks upon with favor will be given abundant faith and discernment and will not fear.
The others, I don't know about except that now is the time for all persons of good faith to spread the Word of the Gospel with great vigor.
Whether 'the Day of the Lord' will ultimately be one of joy or terror and tragedy to anyone, only the One who directs our ways and to whom we pray and put our trust in, knows.
For You In Christ
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"