I want to start this article with a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls. We have already visited the museum where these scrolls are kept and we are going to visit Qumran, the area where they were discovered. It is generally accepted that these scrolls were the work of an ancient Jewish tribe called the Essenes. This was a tribe that was very dedicated to the Scriptures and lived an almost hermit type of life style.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are important because when Jerusalem fell many of the scrolls there were destroyed. The importance of this find cannot be over stated. It shows that the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, have been accurately preserved. The Dead Sea Scrolls were written some 200 years before Christ and our Old Testament is translated from manuscripts that were written some 900 years after Christ. These scrolls confirm the accuracy of the later manuscript because they are essentially the same.
This is a problem for the Muslims because many of them claim that the Jews corrupted the Bible. The evidence has never been on the side of the Muslims, they just make the claim. This discovery has proven them to be wrong on this.
These scrolls also show the care that was taken by the Jewish scribes to ensure the accuracy of the Scriptures as they copied them. They also give us proof that the Bibles we hold in our hands say what the original manuscripts, which no longer exist, really said.
The fact that God’s word has been preserved should not surprise us. The book of Psalms tells us:
The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Psalms 12:6-7
We must not think that man has kept the Words of God pure, it was God. Man is prone to error, God is not.
The location where these scrolls were found is a perfect environment for preserving anything. The salinity of the Dead Sea causes the air to be salty. God chose the perfect place to put these ancient manuscripts to prove that the later manuscripts are accurate. Even today important documents are kept in old salt mines for this very reason.
I promised that we would look at the kosher laws. Today I want to look at some parts of these laws that are quite interesting.
When God brought Israel out of Egypt he gave them a unique dietary law, which is called kosher today. We are aware of some of the things that the Jewish people are not to eat, like lobster, shrimp, pork, etc. There are other parts of kosher law that are not as familiar to us.
The end of Deuteronomy 14:21 says:
…thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
The Jews interpret this to say that they are not to mix dairy products with meat. We have been eating meals here in Israel and we have not had anything that mixes dairy with meat. We also have not had any pork products like bacon or sausage, for breakfast. We have eggs and dairy for breakfast, and for dinner we have meat and no dairy.
The meat has to be completely digested out of our system before we can have any dairy product. If we were to have a hamburger for lunch we would have to wait 3 to 4 hours, some say 6 to 8 hours, before we could have some ice cream.
there are some things that are allowed with meat and some things that are allowed with dairy. Although an egg comes from a chicken, it can be eaten with dairy and/or with meat. Nuts are another “parve” or neutral food that can be eaten with meat or dairy.
In the US there are a lot of diets that don’t mix proteins with carbohydrates because of the chemical and enzyme issues. This is a bit like the kosher teachings.
Because of the dietary laws the people of Israel have one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Hitler wrote a book that said he believed that one of the reasons the Jews didn’t perish during the 1400’s due to the Black Plague was that they were poisoning the people. Hitler was wrong about that. The reason the Jews weren’t wiped out was that they were following the kosher dietary laws.
In Deuteronomy God promised to keep Egypt’s (the world’s) diseases from Israel if they would follow His law.
And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all [them] that hate thee. Deuteronomy 7:15
One of the important things about the Jewish people is that they were to be set apart. The dietary laws were one of the things that distinguished them. this distinction was not the only purpose, these laws kept them healthy. There were other things that contributed to their health, like washing their hands in running water.
Many of the things about health were not understood until relatively recently. Knowing the things we know now shows the wisdom of the health laws God gave to His chosen people.
I am not suggesting that we, as Christians, should follow the Jewish dietary laws. The Bible has made it clear that God has loosed man from living by these laws. God told Peter not to call unclean what He has cleansed. Of course this was not only talking about dietary things, it was a lesson to show Gentile were not to be considered unclean simply because they were Gentiles.
Tomorrow we will be talking about the Lord’s return and the Temple Mount. We will look at how the Jewish temple’s location will relate to the Dome of the Rock mosque’s location.
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