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What Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Have To Do With Me?


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The following quote is taken from the close of an Issues, Etc. show, the former Lutheran apologetics radio program.  This particular program was on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Host Todd Wilken closes the program by answering the question, “What does the preservation of these ancient documents have to do with me?”

Someone might say “Quite interesting, my goodness, Old Testament documents discovered.  Ancient beyond imagination. Far more ancient than anything discovered before, and accurately copied. Things like the Book of Isaiah. Fragments of the entire Old Testament that agree, if not word for word, as close to word for word as one could expect after more than 2,000 years.  That’s all very interesting, but what does it have to do with me?”

Why would God see to the preservation of His Word, even among and mixed in with other ancient documents of interest.  Why would God see to the remarkable, almost, one might say, miraculous preservation of His Word?

Do you remember that the earliest Christians didn’t yet have the New Testament?  The earliest Christians, when they said “Bible,” they meant those Old Testament books.  When Paul referenced the Scriptures he quoted from the Old Testament.  Why would God preserve this so remarkably?  It could not be human preservation, for humans don’t preserve things this way.  We do tend to change it. We do tend to edit it, and put it together differently to suit our needs, our whims. But God’s Word is a different matter.  The Old Testament, we are told, by Jesus Himself, the Scriptures that His opponents searched so diligently seeking eternal life, Jesus said of those documents, “These are those that testify of Me.”

Now this is something that might offend some Christians.  God did not preserve His Bible just to preserve a Bible, a book, a Scripture.  He preserves His Word, ancient and new, so that He might preserve His promise and His message.  The message that Jesus Himself tells us is found there, every line, every word, every page, every scroll, of Scripture. “These are the Scriptures that testify of Me.”  And what do they say?  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that God would preserve of all those things there in the Qumran find the great scroll of Isaiah, who tells us of the suffering servant, the one who would come, God Himself, to bear our sins, our iniquities.  To be like a lamb lead before his shearers, dumb. A lamb lead to the slaughter for us.  Isaiah tells us, all of our sins have been laid upon Him.  He bears all of our iniquities, and by His stripes, we are healed.  You know who Isaiah is testifying to?  To Jesus Christ.  And whether you find it in Qumran or in the Bible on your shelf, these are still the Scriptures that tell of Christ crucified for you.  I’m Todd Wilken.  Thanks for listening to Issues, Etc.