The archeologists continue to turn over dirt in Israel and find remarkable things from the past.This is the first of a 2 part story about this interesting discovery. The other part will be posted tomorrow.

Here is yet another remarkable discovery  now on display in Israel

About 13 years ago a strange  3’ tall stone, now called the Gabriel Stone,  was discovered by the Bedouin along the Eastern side of the Dead Sea across the water  from where the Dead Sea scrolls were earlier discovered.


It is now the center of attention at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem where it has been on loan and is now on display.


Old City from the Mount of Olives

Old City from the Mount of Olives

They call it the Gabriel Stone because its ink-on-stone writing, in an Ancient Hebrew script, is about the angel Gabriel.

The Middle East in general and Israel in particular, are gold mines of artifacts just waiting to be uncovered by the spade of the builder or the plumber or the archeologist. Here is yet another such.

It my task through this website to regularly keep my friends aware of such interesting discoveries.

Just what this mysterious Gabriel Stone from the time of Jesus is and its writing signifies  is subject to great debate that will no doubt go on for many years. Current consensus is that it represents the strong interest in angels that allegedly became popular during the time of Jesus and the 2nd temple (ie the Temple of Herod).

There is a hint of this angelic interest in the New Testament (John 5) where a man who had been lame for 38 years was among the chronically ill that spent their days lying alongside what was called  the pool of Bethesda.

(That place has been uncovered and is on the list of places we visit when we go to Israel.  BTW It is quite a climb to get down to the 1st century level of the pool from the 21st century surface of the area. This dig is in the court yard of the beautiful Church of St Anne where the acoustics are to die for and we always take a few minutes to sing a hymn of praise in that beautiful setting)

The Biblical account  states that this particular man had become a regular at this pool. Local legend claimed that when the water of the pool appeared to be “disturbed” (ie probably current from a subterranean spring,) this indicated that an angel was moving the water. It was popularly believed (superstition)  that if you could be the first one into the water the angel would heal you. This lame man needed the help of “speedy Gonzales” in order to be first.

Jesus told him to pick up his bed and walk. He did and he was healed.

So the New Testament period interest in angels is apparent in this story and so consistent with thought about the Gabriel Stone.

WARNING: We must always be aware that there is a lot of ego involved in announcing famous archeological discoveries. Also, follow the money, is probably good advice.                                 

 This lust for fame often leads to outrageous claims designed to capture headlines and gain attention and attract investors. Never forget to follow the money in this as in other cases.

One such claim is that this stone will revolutionize the understanding of early Christianity.

I think not!

Dr Robert Grant has been traveling to the Middle East for more than 46 years and has been there more than 125 times when hosting holy land tours for his friends. as a result, much to his amusement, he has been designated the holy land guru.