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Lost Secrets of Christianity May be Revealed

Have the "Sealed Books" of Revelation been Found? A group of 70 ancient books, round with lead rings, were discovered in a cave in a remote valley in Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007, when a flash flood revealed two hiding places, marked with what appeared to be either a menorah or a candlestick. AND one of the covers may depict the face of Jesus. The cave is in a part of Jordan to which Christian refugees are known to have fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Other important documents from the same period have been found in the area. They are coming to light in Israel now, after being smuggled into that country from Jordan by an Israeli Bedouin, who currently has possession of them. He claims they have been in his family for 100 years, but Jordan is demanding them back. In the Daily Mail, Nick Pryer describes the carving on one of the covers as "eerily familiar: a bearded young man with flowing curly hair. After lying for nearly 2,000 years hidden in a cave in the Holy Land, the fine detail is difficult to determine. But in a certain light it is not difficult to interpret the marks around the figure’s brow as a crown of thorns."

In BBC News, Robert Pigott quotes Jordanian antiquities expert Ziad al-Saad as saying, "Maybe it will lead to further interpretation and authenticity checks of the material, but the initial information is very encouraging, and it seems that we are looking at a very important and significant discovery, maybe the most important discovery in the history of archaeology. They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than, the Dead Sea Scrolls" (which were discovered in 1947). Their leaves--or "pages," which are about the size of a credit card, are written in Ancient Hebrew, most of which is in code. Pigott quotes archeologist David Elkington as saying, "One of the things that is most likely pointing towards a Christian provenance, is that these are not scrolls but books. The Christians were particularly associated with writing in a book form rather than scroll form, and sealed books in particular as part of the secret tradition of early Christianity."

The Book of Revelation refers to this kind of sealed texts, and one of the few sentences which has been translated reads, "I shall walk uprightly," a sentence that also appears in the Book of Revelation. If the dating is verified, the books would be among the earliest Christian documents, PREdating the letters of Paul, which form the earliest books in the New Testament. They could even contain contemporary accounts of the final years of the life of Jesus. But religious scholars are being cautious--they've been fooled by probable fakes before.

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