Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered!

The Armstrong International Cultural Foundation announces the world premiere of two of the most significant archaeological artifacts ever discovered in Jerusalem. The artifacts, which date back to the time of the prophet Jeremiah, will be displayed in an interactive multimedia exhibition in the grand lobby of Armstrong Auditorium beginning January 16, 2012.

It was an epic decision. For years Judah’s king had been caught in the middle of a bitter struggle between a brave, faith-filled prophet and a cabal of ambitious princes. Now the Babylonian army was closing in. Judah’s princes did not want to surrender. But the Prophet Jeremiah defied them. He warned that Jerusalem would go into captivity, and only those who surrendered would live. The king had to choose. Should he heed the prophet’s counsel, surrender Jerusalem and save his people? Or should he capitulate to his princes and kill the prophet? Judah’s fate rested on his verdict.

This gripping story is found in the book of Jeremiah, Chapter 38. Prominent in this account are two of Jeremiah’s worst persecutors: Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, and Gedaliah, son of Pashur. What if tangible evidence of these princes existed? It would corroborate Jeremiah’s account—and be colossal proof of the accuracy of the Bible.

In 2005, archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was digging into the northern section of the City of David when one of her colleagues spotted a small piece of clay lying in the dust. It had originally been made to seal a cord tied around a papyrus scroll. The tiny bulla bore a three-line Paleo-Hebrew inscription: “Belonging to Yehucal, son of Shelemiyahu, son of Shovi.” This was the seal of Jehucal.

In 2008, Dr. Mazar and her team were enlarging the dig, wet-sifting debris they had excavated just a few yards from the location of the Jehucal bulla. After washing away 2,600 years of dirt and dust from another seal, Dr. Mazar found herself reading “le Gedalyahu ben Pashur”—”belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur.”

Rarely do science and the Bible converge as dramatically as with the Jehucal and Gedaliah bullae. Unearthed near the palace of Judah’s king and scientifically dated to the time of Jeremiah, these artifacts resurrect the life and commission of one of the great prophets of scripture.

Now, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation is delighted to invite you to the world premiere of these bullae from the City of David. They join dozens of ceramic artifacts from Jerusalem during the First Temple period—including figurines, royal seal impressions, and one of the largest ancient vessels ever found in Jerusalem.

Come see these remarkable artifacts and discover the inspiring story of ancient Israel’s dramatic rise under King Solomon, its tragic collapse under King Zedekiah—and the faith-filled work of Jeremiah.

“Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered” is an archaeological exhibition that will enable visitors to view, touch and discover the history of ancient Israel’s rise under King Solomon, its collapse under King Zedekiah—and the work of the prophet Jeremiah.

Items on display will include nearly three dozen artifacts from Jerusalem’s First Temple period, including figurines and royal seal impressions from the City of David excavations, and one of the largest ancient vessels ever found in Jerusalem from the excavations at Solomon’s wall.

“The real stars of the show are two of the exhibit’s tiniest pieces,” said Brad Macdonald, curator for the exhibit. “Two clay seals, each about the size of a dime, embody some incredible history.”

Discovered by archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, the clay seals, called bullae, were found only a few yards apart. According to their inscriptions, the seals belong to two princes mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1, a chapter that describes the attempt by the princes to kill the prophet Jeremiah.

“It’s not often that such discoveries happen in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible,” Mazar said.

Edmond’s Herbert W. Armstrong College provided support for Dr. Mazar’s City of David excavations where the seals were found.

“We are honored to be involved in Dr. Mazar’s work. These tiny artifacts validate Jeremiah’s account and provide overwhelming proof of the accuracy of the biblical record,” stated college president Stephen Flurry.

The “Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered” exhibition is free and open to the public. It will run January 16, 2012 through October 16, 2012, at Armstrong Auditorium.

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