Israeli scholar, Ada Yardini, reports a fascinating find on the antiquities market of a stone written in a style of Hebrew that dates to the same time period as the Dead Sea Scrolls; from the first centuryb B.C. to the early first century A.D. If it were on leather, Ms. Yardini states, "I would think it was a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls." Not only is the Hebrew style of the text post-Biblical and "pre-Mishnaic," but as with the scrolls from Qumran, it is written in two columns in ink. Zurich antiquities collector, David Jeselsohn, purchased this 3 foot high and 1 foot wide stone and gave Yardini permission to study and publish her findings. A total of 87 lines written in first person by someone named Gabriel, these appear to be apocalyptic (prophetic of the end-times) in nature; hence, Ms. Yardini's dubbing the stone, "Gabriel's Vision." Working in concert with a colleague, Yardini references "Michael, the arch-angel" and King David several times from this stone. The stone is polished on the written side while remaining rough on the back side. Their conclusion is that it originally hung on a wall. It now is broken in three pieces and the condition, as with the Dead Sea Scrolls, is "badly preserved" and difficult to read at times with some words missing or marred.
Gabriel's Vision stone - enlarged view
Hebrew University textual scholar, Israel Knobl, has studied this stone as well and sees a dual messianic view suggested here prior to Christ. This would comport with the historical understanding of rabinnical thinking that emerged approximately 100 years before Christ in which scriptural scholars began to believe there would be two Messiahs, one out of the line of David, who would be an enduring, conquering King, and one out of the Line of Joseph who would be a "suffering servant."
In "Gabriel's Vision" Knobl finds prophetic inferences of both, in which someone is called forth from the grave by the arch-angel after three days. One is a conquering King, the other is surrounded by blood-shed and suffering.
Knobl's enthusiasm regarding this stone stems from the possibilities of gaining great insight into the messianic views of the Jewish community near the time of Christ.
in a cave beneath St. George's Church in Northern Jordan possibly dating from 33 A.D.
Though time will determine the validity of this purported discovery of the earliest church site in the world 65 km northwest of Amman, the capital city of Jordan, it is sufficiently recognized for us to present it on our site. National Geographic, among others, has questioned it, saying more time is needed to know for sure.
This cave beneath third-century St. George's church, Rihab, Jordan, was discovered in early June of 2008, and is estimated by excavators to date from the death of Christ, 33 A.D. to 70 A.D., when the temple - and much of Jerusalem - was destroyed by the Romans.
Altar of ancient St. George's Church in Rihab Jordan
walking the Mosaic flooring to the altar of St. George church
These photos show a cave-like site beneath the later St. George church that appears to have been a gathering place for persecuted Christians at the time of Christ's death when many Christians fled to Jordan. The floor of the church above the cave contains a mosaic that refers to the "seventy beloved by God and the Divine."
A circular structure that may have been an apse has also been found in the cave. An apse is often dome-like in shape and is found at the eastern end of a church building.
cave entry to side of and beneath church site
cave excavation to right of door entry
BBC and MSNBC have carried articles on this recent discovery. You may read both articles on their respective websites: