New Dead Sea Scrolls Cave Found

Hans sharing about the accuracy of the Word of God as confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls.

One of the highlights of any of our Break Forth Israel trips is visiting Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discouvered.  Now – a stunning new discouvery has been made.  Read on to learn more . . .

After more than 60 years, a new Dead Sea Scroll cave has been discovered and excavated on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, by Hebrew University archeologists in “Operation Scroll”. The excavations prove that Dead Sea scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden in the cave, and were looted by Bedouins in the middle of the last century. With the discovery of this cave, scholars now suggest that it should be numbered as Cave 12.

The surprising discovery, representing a milestone in Dead Sea Scroll research, was made by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, with the help of Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia USA. The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it.

Fragments of jars that contained stolen scrolls

Excavation of the cave revealed that at one time it contained Dead Sea scrolls. Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted.

Until now, it was believed that only 11 caves had contained scrolls. With the discovery of this cave, scholars have now suggested that it would be numbered as Cave 12. Like Cave 8, in which scroll jars but no scrolls were found, this cave will receive the designation Q12 (the Q=Qumran standing in front of the number to indicate no scrolls were found).

Remnant of scroll when removed from jar

“This exciting excavation is the closest we’ve come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and director of the excavation. “Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we ‘only’ found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more.”

The finds from the excavation include not only the storage jars, which held the scrolls, but also fragments of scroll wrappings, a string that tied the scrolls, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll. The finding of pottery and of numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, also revealed that this cave was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods.

The excavation was supported by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), and is a part of the new “Operation Scroll” launched at the IAA by its Director-General, Mr. Israel Hasson, to undertake systematic surveys and to excavate the caves in the Judean Desert.

Archaeologists Oren Gutfeld & Ahiad Ovadia survey cave

This first excavation to take place in the northern part of the Judean Desert as part of “Operation Scroll” will open the door to further understanding the function of the caves with respect to the scrolls, with the potential of finding new scroll material. The material, when published, will provide important new evidence for scholars of the archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea caves.

“The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered,” said Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to launch a historic operation, together with the public, to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert.”

*Photo 1 by Arlen Salte. All other photos Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld

2 Things I Learned By Skydiving (& jump video)

arlen-skydivingPeople ask me. Why would I leap out of a perfectly good plane at 14,500 feet? (highest tandem jump in Canada).

It wasn’t just the rush (and boy, oh boy, was it a rush – see the video below)

Here are two things I learned from my skydive:

You don’t want irrational fears to rule your life.

According to studies, you’re 24 times more likely to die in a car accident than skydiving. Driving a car is commonplace. Skydiving isn’t. So, when someone dies when skydiving it gets distorted press coverage.  That distorts our perceptions.

I don’t want irrational fears to rule my life. How about you?

News media hypes extraordinary events. So, people are afraid of terrorism in the Holy Land and this keeps them from experiencing a life-changing experience. Do you know there’s a greater chance of dying in the bathtub or being killed by your home appliances than by worldwide terrorism?

How many are scared of their bathtub or appliances?

My refrigerator doesn’t scare me. In fact, I probably should visit it less often.

You never know what tomorrow will bring.

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Elsa and I before the Skydive

These past two years, my wife and I have lost many friends and family. Everyone we lost lived wonderfully rich lives. But not everyone can say this.

I don’t want my dreams to be cut short because I kept putting them off. This was my dream since my twenties.

No more procrastination! It was time to jump!

More importantly – I don’t want to hold back on God’s calling because I kept putting it off.

How about you?

Here’s an important question for us all:

Would the Apostle Paul and the other disciples have ever turned the world right-side-up with the gospel if they would have allowed fear or procrastination to rule their lives?

Now, getting back to skydiving.

I’m not saying you should leap from an airplane. It’s not for everyone. (Just look at my video below to make up your own mind.)

But, what I do encourage you to do is consider what God has placed on your heart, let go of the fear and procrastination and take a leap through that door.

The joy of seeing people blessed through your obedience is a blessing beyond words.

What door is God calling you to leap through today?

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Arlen Salte: Director: Break Forth Journeys

PS – Our hearts surge with joy when we see people experiencing the Word of God by walking in the Holy Land. They’ll never read the scriptures in the same way again. We know this opportunity may never come again for some of our guests. We’re so glad they stepped up, set aside their fears and took charge of that bucket list. Just send us an email to get your free Break Forth Israel 2017 brochure by clicking here.

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Click here to watch me leap from 14,500 feet. What fun!

 

4 Easy Steps To Talk With Anyone With Less Stress

I’m an introvert. Some people think that’s strange.

I often stand in front of thousands of people. So, how can this be?

I’ve come to accept how God made me.

Maybe you can relate.

Maybe you get stressed at the thought of striking up new conversations with people you don’t know.

I know, I do at times.

Maybe the thought of being on a Holy Land bus tour with a lot of new people makes you nervous.

I get it.

When I started giving concerts across North America in the late 70s, there were some days that my stomach absolutely rolled at the thought of meeting new people and carrying on a conversation.

Then, a Pastor friend shared an old secret with me that he used. It’s called F.O.R.M.

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Salespeople have used this for years. For them, it means:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Money

For me, it stands for:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Meaning

After forty years, I don’t use it as often as I used to. But every now and then I pull it out of my toolkit when my introverted self starts to take over.

Here’s how it breaks down for me (you should adjust it to fit the setting you’re in):

F: Family: Ask them about their family. If natural, you can share about your own.

  • Can you tell me a little about your family?
  • What are they doing now?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What was it like growing up there?
  • How did you meet your husband/wife?
  • Do you have any children?
  • How old are they?
  • What are they doing now (or what do they like to do – if they’re young)?

O: Occupation: Ask them what they do for a living. They might ask you about yours as well.

  • What do you do for a living now?
  • What led you to this job?
  • What do you like best about it?
  • What do you find the most challenging?
  • If someone came to you interested in your field, what do you think you’d tell them?
  • What was one of your most interesting jobs you had when you were younger?

R: Recreation: Ask them about what they like to do for fun (hobbies, sports, arts, experiences). They might ask you about your recreation.

  • What do you like to do in your spare time just for fun?
  • How did you get into that?
  • Do you have any other vacation plans?
  • Have you seen any good movies or read any good books lately?

M: Meaning: Here’s where you want to find out what’s important to the other person.

  • Aside from your job and what you do for fun, what’s really important for you?
  • If you could ask God anything and He would give you an answer, what would you ask Him?
  • At the end of life, what do you want to be remembered for?
  • Why is that important to you?

One of the great things about FORM is that not only does it help to ask questions; it also has a progression. It usually starts with some of the least difficult questions (depending on their circumstances – so be aware), and it moves to a deeper conversation about the meaningful things in life.

pexels-photo-42504Remember that most people love to talk about themselves. When people walk away from a conversation thinking they had a good talk, it’s usually because they were able to share a lot about themselves and that you didn’t dominate the conversation.

Also, remember that a good conversation is like a tennis match. You ask questions and they comment and then they ask questions. If they don’t ask you questions, that’s OK. You don’t need to be the hero of the story – they should be.

Finally, a conversation is not an interrogation. If they don’t want to go deep or answer or if they just want some quiet time, that’s OK. It’s fine to let things go.

Hopefully, these suggestions may help you if you’re starting a new conversation or if you’re on a Holy Land tour bus and want to get to know people a little better.

Or, maybe you’re an extrovert and have no problem at all in speaking with strangers. You can feel free to use F.O.R.M. on introverts like me.  There are many of us.

Arlen

Get a Pilgrimage Tattoo in Jerusalem? Are You Serious?

erase-tat-4-exlarge-169Maybe you think tattoos are a new style (aside from sailers of old).

Would you be surprised to learn that Christians have been marking their pilgrimages to the Holy Land with a tattoo for hundreds of years?

It may seem like the last thing you’d want to do on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Yet, these tattoo artists have been offering their services for hundreds of years.

The Razzouk family business began in the 14th century in Egypt then moved to Jerusalem in the 17th century after discovering there was a high demand for their services in the holy city.
“Where the ancestors started the tradition of the tattoo … of course no electricity was available and it was done by hand,” says 76-year-old Anton Razzouk, Wassim’s father, who has now retired.
“Christian tattooing has always been used as a certificate of pilgrimage,” his son adds. “The only way for people to prove … they’ve done the pilgrimage is by actually getting tattooed.”

A Free Magazine on Highlights of Israel

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 3.31.49 PMCheck out this new free magazine featuring a few of Israel’s top attractions, must-visit sites, culinary delights and exciting activities.

There are beautiful photos inside as well as insights to help you on your next visit or even to learn just a little more about this beautiful and spiritually rich land.

You can view your free magazine by clicking on the photo for the full PDF version.

Do you want to learn how to make your own authentic fish falafel? Check out page 15.

Do you want a recipe for exceptional hummus (and avoid the expensive store bought versions)? Check out page 19.

Ancient Rural Synagogue Discovered in Galilee Confirms New Testament Accounts

Galilee panorama taken from Mount of Beatitudes which is believed to be the one from where Jesus gave Sermon on the Mount

Galilee panorama taken from Mount of Beatitudes which is believed to be the one from where Jesus gave Sermon on the Mount

In the lower Galilee region of Israel, an archaeological team from Kinneret College has discovered the ruins of a synagogue which would have been around during Christ’s lifetime.

Dr. Dotti Aviam, a senior researcher at the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee spoke to JNS News about the significance of the find. “This is the first synagogue discovered in the rural part of the Galilee and it confirms historical information we have about the New Testament, which says that Jesus preached at synagogues in Galilean villages,” Aviam states. The passage Aviam refers to is Matthew 9:35: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”

Read more here

Renew Your Heart With This Video from Israel

Do you need some Holy Land inspiration today? Do you want this without packing your suitcase?

Then, this video is for you.

In this video, you’ll visit:

  • The Garden Tomb
  • The Wailing (Western) Wall
  • Caesarea By The Sea
  • Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul
  • The reverence of the desert
  • The beauty of the Sea of Galilee
  • And so much more.

If you’re ready to be inspired, why don’t you click on this heart-lifting video below? It may be the best 4 minutes of your day:

You can download a free brochure for our Break Forth Israel Signature Tour here.

Immerse Yourself in Worship in the Stunning Acoustics of St Anne’s Church, Jerusalem

st_anne_church_and_bethesdaWe’ve seen it time and again. The Church of St Anne in Jerusalem has a holy signature in acoustics like few other places.

When most people start singing in this historic church, tears well up in their eyes.

The Church of St Anne in Jerusalem is known for having some of the best choral acoustics in the world.

As you sing, notes cascade off the stone and come back at you like a thousand angels singing.

But, it’s more than just acoustics that are amazing.

It’s the spiritual sense that you’re joining with fellow believers who’ve worshipped here for nearly one thousand years.

Do you want to step into that scene?

Well, now you can.

This video is from Break Forth Israel Next Level 2016.  As we joined in worshiping together, there was a sense of holy presence. There was awe-inspiring reverence.

If you’d like to join us as we worship at the Church of St Anne, why don’t you watch the video below? You probably know the songs.

Do you want to join us in worshipping at the Church of St Anne? Do you want to do this in person? We’d love to have you join us for our Break Forth Israel Signature Tour. You can download a free brochure here.