"'Prince of Princes.' In three days you shall live: I Gabriel command you." (Archangel Gabriel)

Dating prior to the late first century BCE, this Hebrew tablet has struck much controversy as one of the newest artifacts. Jesus Christ was supposed to resurrect three days after his death, is a common Christian belief, but now this tablet suggests the Jews believed it too.

A Dead Sea Scroll on Stone

Gabriel's Vision of Revelations, so called because it is supposed to be the revelation of the Angel Gabriel giving apocalyptic pronouncements, predates Jesus. Its name is also shortened to "Gabriel's Revelation" or "The Vision of Gabriel." It is owned by an Israeli-Swiss collector David Jeselsohn in Zurich. He bought the tablet from a Jordanian antiquities dealer in 1998. He purports it was discovered about 15 years ago near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The tablet then is in essence a Dead Sea Scroll on stone. However, the tablet was found in a unique location with very different word usage than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Scholars have since studied the text. "This text could be the missing link between Judaism and Christianity in so far as it roots the Christian belief in the resurrection of the Messiah in Jewish tradition." (Professor Israel Knohl) Knohl first gave his argument in his 2000 book, "The Messiah Before Jesus." But now uses the tablet as physical proof. Scholars knew before that Judaism had resurrection in part of its tenets, but what is interesting is the notion of three days. Another interesting fact to consider is the body doesn't start to decompose until after three days post death.

Unintelligible and controversial

This gray three foot long 87 line Hebrew tablet is controversial with many of the words unintelligible. The tablet is covered with lacuna, or gaps. It was written upon, with ink, instead of engraved. Of course many of the words and lines have since faded since its transcription. The 80th line of tablet, "'Prince of Princes.' In three days you shall live: I Gabriel command you." (Archangel Gabriel) is what Knohl is using to support his thesis. He believes that the resurrection of Jesus was apart of Jewish history, or at least that the idea of a suffering messiah existed before Jesus. Some of the controversy stems from the word "live." The particular use in the Hebrew tablet is an unusual version of the verb.

"The back of the stone is rough and unfinished, unlike the polished side with script. This suggests that the stone was once mounted in a wall." (Bib-Arch)

Please note that the translation still has debate. The word following “L’shloshet yamin,” or "In three days" was deemed unintelligible. But Knohl contends it says “hayeh" and is the word for "live" in the imperative. Scholars do accept that "hayeh" is allbeit an usual version of the live, is acceptable, if they deemed it legible. The full translation below is the accepted translation of Ms. Yardeni and Mr. Elitzu. Israel Knohl takes this translation further, and that is why line 80 doesn't match what is previously quoted above. He also deciphers the next words to be “In three days you shall live, I, Gabriel, command you.”

Questions of who wrote the scroll are answered by Knohl. "In Mr. Knohl’s interpretation, the specific messianic figure embodied on the stone could be a man named Simon who was slain by a commander in the Herodian army, according to the first-century historian Josephus. The writers of the stone’s passages were probably Simon’s followers, Mr. Knohl contends." (NY TIMES)

Authentic artifact

"A chemical examination by Yuval Goren, a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University who specializes in the verification of ancient artifacts, has been submitted to a peer-review journal. He declined to give details of his analysis until publication, but he said that he knew of no reason to doubt the stone’s authenticity." (NY Times) Other scholars have also analyzed the text, and find the only issues they have with authenticity to be the capacity to read the text. Whether translation issues or unintelligible issues.

The scroll appears with two columns, similar to a Torah format. There are even direct quotes from Old Testament books. And God “shows mercy to thousands,” the same expression used in Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 5:10 and Jeremiah 32:18. “And I will shake the heaven and the earth” (lines 24–25) is a direct quote from the prophet Haggai (2:6). Further our angel Gabriel is found in Daniel 10:13, in the New Testament (Revelation 12:7 and Jude 9). (Bib Arch)

With many missing words the frustration in deciphering the full value of the text is felt. But without further ado, the full text of the translated tablet.

Translation (Semitic sounds in caps)
Column A
(Lines 1-6 are unintelligible)
7. {…} the sons of Israel …{…}…
8. {…}… {…}…
9. {… }the word of YHW{H …}…{…}
10. {…}… I\you asked …
11. YHWH, you ask me. Thus said the Lord of Hosts:
12. {…}… from my(?) house, Israel, and I will tell the greatness(es?) of Jerusalem.
13. {Thus} said YHWH, the Lord of Israel: Behold, all the nations are
14. … against(?)\to(?) Jerusalem and …,
15. {o}ne, two, three, fourty(?) prophets(?) and the returners(?),
16. {and} the Hasidin(?). My servant, David, asked from before Ephraim(?)
17. {to?} put the sign(?) I ask from you. Because He said, (namely,)
18. {Y}HWH of Hosts, the Lord of Israel: …
19. sanctity(?)\sanctify(?) Israel! In three days you shall know, that(?)\for(?) He said,
20. (namely,) YHWH the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Israel: The evil broke (down)
21. before justice. Ask me and I will tell you what 22this bad 21plant is,
22. lwbnsd/r/k (=? {To me? in libation?}) you are standing, the messenger\angel. He
23. … (= will ordain you?) to Torah(?). Blessed be the Glory of YHWH the Lord, from
24. his seat. “In a little while”, qyTuT (=a brawl?\ tiny?) it is, “and I will shake the
25. … of? heaven and the earth”. Here is the Glory of YHWH the Lord of
26. Hosts, the Lord of Israel. These are the chariots, seven,
27. {un}to(?) the gate(?) of Jerusalem, and the gates of Judah, and … for the
sake of
28. … His(?) angel, Michael, and to all the others(?) ask\asked
29. …. Thus He said, YHWH the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of
30. Israel: One, two, three, four, five, six,
31. {se}ven, these(?) are(?) His(?) angel …. 'What is it', said the blossom(?)\diadem(?)
32. …{…}… and (the?) … (= leader?/ruler?), the second,
33. … Jerusalem…. three, in\of the greatness(es?) of
34. {…}…{…}…
35. {…}…, who saw a man … working(?) and {…}…
36. that he … {…}… from(?) Jerusalem(?)
37. … on(?) … the exile(?) of …,
38. the exile(?) of …, Lord …, and I will see
39. …{…} Jerusalem, He will say, YHWH of
40. Hosts, …
41. {…}… that will lift(?) …
42. {…}… in all the
43. {…}…
44. {…}…

Column B
(Lines 45-50 are unintelligible)
51. Your people(?)\with you(?) …{…}
52. … the {me}ssengers(?)\{a}ngels(?){ …}…
53. on\against His/My people. And …{…}…
54. {… }three days(?). This is (that) which(?) …{… }He(?)
55. the Lord(?)\these(?){ …}…{…}
56. see(?) …{…}
57. closed(?). The blood of the slaughters(?)\sacrifices(?) of Jerusalem. For He said,
YHWH of Hos{ts},
58. the Lord of Israel: For He said, YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of
59. Israel: …
60. {…}… me(?) the spirit?\wind of(?) …
61. …{…}…
62. in it(?) …{…}…{…}
63. …{…}…{…}
64. …{…}… loved(?)/… …{…}
65. The three saints of the world\eternity from\of …{…}
66. {…}… peace he? said, to\in you we trust(?) …
67. Inform him of the blood of this chariot of them(?) …{…}
68. Many lovers He has, YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of Israel …
69. Thus He said, (namely,) YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of Israel …:
70. Prophets have I sent to my people, three. And I say
71. that I have seen …{…}…
72. the place for the sake of(?) David the servant of YHWH{ …}…{…}
73. the heaven and the earth. Blessed be …{…}
74. men(?). “Showing mercy unto thousands”, … mercy {…}.
75. Three shepherds went out to?/of? Israel …{…}.
76. If there is a priest, if there are sons of saints …{…}
77. Who am I(?), I (am?) Gabri’el the …(=angel?)… {…}
78. You(?) will save them, …{…}…
79. from before You, the three si{gn}s(?), three …{….}
80. In three days …, I, Gabri’el …{?},
81. the Prince of Princes, …, narrow holes(?) …{…}…
82. to/for … {…}… and the …
83. to me(?), out of three - the small one, whom(?) I took, I, Gabri’el.
84. YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of(?){ Israel …}…{….}
85. Then you will stand …{…}…
86. …\
87. in(?) … eternity(?)/… \

The tablet enjoys affirmation, for the time being, but we have seen many hoaxes when it comes to ancient items. Fraud items that claim pre-Christan eras are always going to be high stakes. In any case, it "is expected to trigger a new Judaeo-Christian debate over the meaning and origin of the most central tenet of Christianity, the death and resurrection of Jesus." (Independent)


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