Saturday, June 09, 2007

Buried Treasure & Treasured Bronze

It's more than a year old, but I've been meaning to cite this blog & keep forgetting--today I remembered: "Jerusalem Graves and the Politics of Archaeology" by Bible Dudes:

"...the latest controversy involves new Muslim graves along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. This area, it seems, is one of the few places where archaeologists can see remnants of First Temple period, such as LMLK seals..."

Coincidences being what they are, those Muslim graves resurfaced the previous week this year in this article by Haaretz:

"...senior archaeologists including Ehud Netzer, Ronny Reich, Ephraim Stern, Gabriel Barkai and Eilat Mazar, lobbied heavily to ban burials in the area. The area runs 800 meters, 650 meters of which are north and south of the Lion's Gate and Mercy Gate, and are occupied by Muslim cemeteries. The southern edge of the southern cemetery is marked by an old fence. From that fence to the southeast tip of the Temple Mount is an 80 by 35 meter stretch designated as an antiquities site. Muslims began using the area for burial a few years ago. The police have identified 21 graves, 39 empty graves and 35 plots ... British archaeologist Charles Warren, who excavated there 140 years ago, found cornerstones for the five lowest layers of construction built into a layer of terra rosa, which includes remains from the First Temple. The first sealing rings stamped 'for the King,' found in Israel, dated to late 8th Century B.C.E., were found in the red soil."

They quote Gabriel Barkay in a petition stating, "Muslim burial on the site, which was never a cemetery in the past, could end any possibility of excavating the area in the future, as has been done at the foot of the southern wall and the bottom of part of the Western Wall." featured LMLK jars indirectly this week (1Chronicles 4:23) in one of their morning devotionals by the so-called "Prince of Preachers", Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892):

"Potters were the very highest grade of workers, but 'the king' needed potters, and therefore they were in royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay. We, too, may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord's work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for 'the king'; and therefore we will abide in our calling, hoping that, 'although we have lien among the pots, yet shall we be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.' The text tells us of those who dwelt among plants and hedges, having rough, rustic, hedging and ditching work to do. They may have desired to live in the city, amid its life, society, and refinement, but they kept their appointed places, for they also were doing the king's work. The place of our habitation is fixed, and we are not to remove from it out of whim and caprice, but seek to serve the Lord in it, by being a blessing to those among whom we reside. These potters and gardeners had royal company, for they dwelt 'with the king' and although among hedges and plants, they dwelt with the king there. No lawful place, or gracious occupation, however mean, can debar us from communion with our divine Lord. In visiting hovels, swarming lodging-houses, workhouses, or jails, we may go with the king. In all works of faith we may count upon Jesus' fellowship. It is when we are in his work that we may reckon upon his smile. Ye unknown workers who are occupied for your Lord amid the dirt and wretchedness of the lowest of the low, be of good cheer, for jewels have been found upon dunghills ere now, earthen pots have been filled with heavenly treasure, and ill weeds have been transformed into precious flowers. Dwell ye with the King for his work, and when he writes his chronicles your name shall be recorded."

Considering the importance of these artifacts, it's amazing that you can still buy some for about $100 each. During this past week, a single bronze statue fetched $28,600,000 (twenty-eight million, six-hundred thousand dollars) in a record-setting antiquities auction. Though I readily admit that it's a beautiful work of art, it's just a statue with no direct bearing on history other than being one of many representations of a mythological character (Artemis).

Coincidences being what they are, that price tag is only slightly more than the total cost of the newly opened Creation Museum (estimated at a mere $27M, but valued at more like $100M after subtracting volunteers & non-profit donations). It's just amazing that someone with that amount of money would spend it on a single chunk of bronze with little historical/educational value, when so much more could be done with it.

To counterbalance this strange transaction, consider purchasing a commemorative bronze coin from Answers in Genesis. Unlike the statue of Artemis, it's affordable ($19.95), promotes The King's work (preserving the Biblical record amidst a degenerate, heathen, sinful culture), & represents a historic occasion: the first time in history that a major museum has presented the study of our origins from a Biblical bias side-by-side on an equal playing field with the atheistic bias that dominates every other major museum in the world!

For those who still think that young-Earth creationism is to be belittled due to its minority view among degreed/credentialed scientists, this week National Geographic presented an article about feathered dinosaurs in which Alan Feduccia, a bird evolution expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stated emphatically, "...if science operates by a majority view, we're in serious trouble."

Or you could spend a little more (~5x) & buy a broken old jar handle that represents the turning point of human history--the reign of King Hezekiah--without which, there might not have been any Jewish (Old Testament) Bible written/preserved, without which, there might not have been any Christian (New Testament) Bible written/preserved, without which, there might not have been any Muslim (False Testament) Quran written/preserved.

Without which, there would probably not be any issue over Muslim graves today.

Song of the week: "The Fortune" by Angel (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 30-second sample; 393kb).
G.M. Grena

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