An amazing find in the heartland of Israel has been announced, giving insights into the early Church and helps to dispel the myth that the land of Israel belongs to the Palestinians.
The inscription reads, “Jesus Christ, guard me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you.”
The text appears to be a paraphrasing of Psalm 86:1-2, which reads:
“Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!”
Experts say the inscription is written in Koine Greek – biblical Greek or New Testament Greek – which was the common supra-regional form of Greek that was spoken and written during the Hellenistic period, the Roman Empire, and the early Byzantine Empire and served as the lingua franca (bridge language) of much of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the following centuries.
It is a fascinating find that speaks of the history of the land.
The inscription was unearthed in the ruins of the Hyrcania (or Horkanya) fortress; an ancient structure built between 100-200BC by either Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus or his son Alexander Jannaeus.
Over the years the fort fell into ruin and a Byzentine monastery was built on the site around 100-200AD. The monastery is dubbed Kastellion, or “Little Castle” in Greek and remained active as a monastery past the Islamic conquest of the area in around 635 AD. It is thought to have been abandoned around 900 AD. The site is now a ruin and is known also by its Arabic name, Khirbet el-Mird, or “Ruins of the Fortress”.
In the 1930s there was an attempt to restore the ruins but harassment from local Bedouin put an end to that venture. Nowadays, tourists can visit the site if they are willing to take a short trek through the desert.
The excavation was directed by Oren Gutfeld and Michal Haber of the Hebrew University in cooperation with Tennessee’s Carson-Newman University and the American Veterans Archaeological Recovery that helps veterans transition back to civilian life through archaeology. Not only was it a good way for the veterans to find relief from their traumas, but it helps to paint the picture of early Christianity in Israel.
Avner Ecker of Bar-Ilan University, who helped decipher the inscription, said, “This is one of the most common psalms used in the ancient Christian liturgy. It appears that one of the monks drew a graffiti of the cross on the wall and underneath it, he penned a prayer he knew well. Based on the style of the script, the inscription dates back to the first half of the 6th century AD.
“Several grammatical errors in the transcription suggest that the writer did not speak Greek as his native tongue, but rather, he might have been a local, perhaps even a native of the region, and spoke Aramaic or another local language,” he said.
This discovery helps to back up Biblical truth.
In recent months more and more Christian and Jewish sites have been labelled as being “Palestinian” by the United Nations and other global bodies. Even the Church of the Nativity is now labelled, “Palestinian” and there are outrageous claims that Jesus himself “was a Palestinian”.
It is a disgraceful lie which both insults Christianity and makes a mockery of the Bible.
Another popular lie is that Palestinians have always owned the land. The site in this article predates both Islam and the Palestinians. Additionally, it is located in the Judean Desert which is part of Judea and Samaria. Unfortunately, the world today refers to this area today as the “West Bank” and governments around the world have recognised it as being part of “Palestine”.
The truth is that Judea is where Judaism originates from and where Christianity was born. It is the heartland of Bible history and should be recognised today as part of the heartland of Israel.
Activists and governments may ignore the truth, but we will not. Thankfully, archaeology is on our side to keeps proving the Bible to be true.
This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.
We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.