gabriel stone



Please note: This is part 2 of my report about the remarkable stone tablet from the time of Jesus discovered along the shore of the Dead Sea and now on display.

No sooner had I finished writing that article about the remarkable discovery of the 1st century Gabriel Stone yesterday, than I came across a scholarly article about the same artifact published by the Biblical Archeology Review (BAR) entitle it, “Gabriel’s 259 Revelation”.  An interesting turn of a phrase.

Another scholar named the inscription on the stone as “The Messiah of Joseph”

This moved me to write more concerning this for you today. That  is part of my commitment, through my new website,  to keep my many friends up to date on the remarkable things often unearthed in Israel.

The use of the word “Revelation” in the BAR article caught my attention and I wondered what had caused this designation by serious scholars  that this artifact was somehow above the ordinary and in a sense even a  “revelation”.

Although the ink-on-stone  script is difficult if not impossible to read in places, much of it has been translated and is quite interesting for students of early Christianity.

This 2nd article by me  is not intended to  be exhaustive but I do want to use it to touch upon areas that caught my attention as being significant in this ancient inscription that dates to the time of Jesus. I might add that the dating of this 1’ by 3’ stone  seems to be settled and places the stone around the time of Jesus or slightly before his birth.

If it is dated as prior to his birth, as seems to be the case, then some of its statements are very significant.

In the  context of its apocalyptic language, it remarkably  refers to someone important dying and being raised from the dead in 3 days. That intrigued me when I read it.

The actual  translations read: “in three days you shall live”,  or “in three days you shall return to life (be resurrected)”,  and again  “By three days you shall know that thus sayeth the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, the evil has been broken by righteousness”.

And then there is  the interesting BAR observation  that the Gabriel Stone appears to state  that “The Archangel is ordering someone to rise from the dead within three days’.

The faded  ink inscription also makes the case for the idea of the suffering messiah as found in the Old testament book of Isaiah, chapters 52 and 53 .

Students of Classical Christian music will recognize this powerful and revolutionary theme from Handel’s Messiah.

This was a difficult idea for 1st century Jews to embrace. A Messiah that suffers and dies? Really? Not on the menu they might claim. Even difficult for the disciples to grasp.

Throughout the translation of this ink-on-stone writing, language similar to the Old Testament is found frequently: God “shows mercy to thousands”, and  ” I will shake the heaven and the earth”, and “YHWA (a favored Hebrew name for God) the Lord of Hosts”, and “David servant of YHWH”, and “Thus sayeth the Lord of Hosts” and “Showing mercy unto thousands”.

Also, strangely, the number three seems to appear frequently in the text.

There also seem to be two traditions included in the text as to the lineage of the coming Messiah:  ( 1) as the Son of David,  and (2) also as the Son of Joseph. Prominent rabbis have argued these points of view.

In the text it also says: “the Lord addresses David asking him to request of Ephraim that he place a sign: ‘My servant David ask of Ephraim (that he place a sign” but the nature of the sign is not disclosed.

According to the BAR, this “is the most important document found in the area since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” and that would make it significant.

So what does one make of this matter?

1)      It seems to me that this inscription is important and valuable, if for no other reason than that it  documents the awareness to which  this pre Jesus author confesses, in the Old Testament predictions that the long awaited Messiah would come soon.                                                 

I have long concluded that the reference in Galatians to God’s special timing of the birth of Jesus “(When the fullness of time had come God sent forth His Son)” was significant and reflective of that unique and  specific time in history.   Many have observed the  contemporary interest in the predicted arrival of the Messiah that was strong then, and the sense of expectancy that it could occur soon.                                                                                                                                         

This sense of expectancy was clearly  reflected in Herod’s reflexive terror over the announcement of the wise men concerning the conclusion of   their search for the Messiah . They believed he had already been born.                                                                                                                      

For more thoughts on the meaning of the “In the fullness of time” reference in Galatians I invite you to go to my website and to the “GURU  UNIVERSITY” link and then to the  “free seminars”  offered by “GURU  U”.

2)      The prophetic references to a significant death to be followed 3 days later by the miraculous resurrection of that person, is quite stunning.                                                                    

As the speculation continues, I fully expect to see sides taken as this inscription is viewed in the context of the life of Jesus, with some arguing that it must be dated as later than the resurrection and is thus reflective of the Christian event.  Not predictive at all but recording what had already happened.                                                                               

Or we may also see some arguing that the New Testament account was colored by the group that produced the Gabriel Stone and so this text added to the myth of the resurrection etc. I do not put it past some to adopt this stance .                                                 

I can already predict the headlines: “Mysterious unknown Jewish Group responsible for the creation of the myth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

Modern scholarship will have lots of fun playing with this text and trying to figure out where it fits into the forces at play in the Palestine of the time of Jesus.

Interesting stuff and important to be aware of, but not faith shaking by any means.

By Dr. Robert Grant aka the Holy Land Guru.

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

July 16, 2013


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.