God’s Word, God’s Feasts, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nation of Israel
The Seven Feasts of the Lord have just been completed for another year with the completion of the final seven
day feast of Tabernacles. This is followed on the next day with the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, which falls on the 22nd of the month Tishri. This year that was sunset on Friday 9th October to sunset on Saturday 10th October.
(Remember bible days start at sunset and not midnight). This also completes the annual weekly readings of the Torah, known as the Parsha. (The Torah is the first five books of the Bible)
The phrase 'Simchat Torah' means 'rejoice in the Torah', this
was added to the eight day solemn assembly, during the period when the Mishnah was written. (I.E.the writing down of the oral tradition of the Jewish people by the rabbinic scribes). The prophet Jeremiah wrote, "... thy word was unto me the joy
and rejoicing of mine heart" - Jeremiah 15:16a. We should be so thankful to God and the Jewish people who gave to mankind the greatest gift, The Living Word, Jesus the Messiah plus God's written Word.
On Simcat Torah the
Jewish men went to the Synagogue service, during which they take the Torah Scroll and dance round the Synagogue with it, because they are so excited to have God’s Word, then they would go outside and dance around the grounds or forecourt
When was the last time you got so excited with God’s word that you held your Bible aloft and danced round the Church building with it, but we are British we don’t do things like that, let alone go outside and do it. Besides they are under law
and we are only under grace!
In the year73 AD the Roman general Titus was determined to stamp out all efforts by the Jews to reclaim their land and sovereignty. He had marched the infamous Tenth Legion from Rome to Jerusalem and destroyed the city and
Temple in 70 AD. Determined to eradicate the last vestige of Jewish resistance he now marched the Tenth Legion from Jerusalem towards Masada to destroy the Jewish zealots there, the last stronghold of resistance.
As Titus marched from Jerusalem
towards the Dead Sea, aka the Salt Sea (In Hebrew: יָם־הַמֶּ֖לַח - Yam HaMelach), he discovered a small enclave of Essenes living in a compound in the old City of Salt [(Hebrew: עִיר־הַמֶּ֖לַח - Ere HaMelach) (Joshua 15:62)] , the Arabic name is Qumran. The
Essenes were scribes and lived a monastic lifestyle at Qumran. Their Scriptorium contained a large collection of scrolls of the Tanakh (The Jewish Old Testament) plus their own sectarian writings. Knowing the Romans were approaching and would destroy everything
in their path, the Essenes hid the precious scrolls inside clay jars and placed them in the caves of the Marl Hills around the shores of the Dead Sea. Most of the Essenes of Qumran were no doubt killed by the Romans, but they ensured the precious scrolls were
safely hidden until the time when the prophecies they contained about the re-birth of Isra’el could be fulfilled. Was it just coincidence that they were re-discovered within months of the rebirth of the Nation of Isra’el in 1948, or was this God’s
hand at work?
Understanding the Sacred work of the Scribes:-
The Hebrew word for scribe is ‘sofer’ (סוֹפֶר in Hebrew) this is from the root ס-פ-ר which means ‘to count’, you would think the word for scribe would be based
on the root for writing and not counting. The Hebrew alphabet contains 22 letters and each letter represents a number, so any word in Hebrew can be expressed as a number. So the paradox of Sofer meaning to count exists because scribes had to meticulously count
every letter as they copied the scrolls. If the line they had copied, added up to the same number as the one they had copies from then it was correct if it didn’t then they had to do it again thus ensuring it was a perfect copy. This is how we know that
when the translators of our Bible compare it to the Hebrew text they were coping from accurate text. The total number of letters in a text was also counted, for example for a Torah Scroll to be Kosher (meaning correct) the number of letters has to be
304,805 It had to be that many other wise it couldn’t be used and had to be destroyed. So we see that the word ‘Sofer’ for Scribe is correct. This gives us confidence in knowing that the translators of our Bibles are translating from true
The very first sentence of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, that David ben Gurion read on Friday, May 14th 1948. Links the Bible with the land of Isra’el and the Jewish people.
of Isra’el was the birth place of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal
Book of Books.” – the opening line of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.