Passages Exhibit

I had the opportunity to go to a historic exhibit that has been on display in Colorado Springs since last year. It was not until I heard that it would be leaving town and its contents going into the Smithsonian Institute or some other museum on a similar level that I kicked in gear and went to see what this exhibit was all about. Boy, was I overwhelmed by the profound findings that were displayed all year long, right under my nose, that I’d been taking for granted for far too long.

This display is a conglomeration of historic artifacts from around the world supporting the teachings and evolution of how the Bible was formulated, preserved, and made available to people throughout history. In my opinion, I believe it is merely through the pure grace of God that these artifacts were found, preserved, and shared with the world. Against many odds, God’s word always comes to light. People might not want to follow it. Leaders might want to abuse it and use it to promote themselves, nonetheless, it is available for almost all to read in this day in age.

I believe this is the very thing that causes war to this day. The people in charge don’t want to relinquish their power so they misrepresent the word of God to the masses and are able in invoke war. It’s the classic / cliché of good versus evil that has been present since the time the world began.

Unlike any other time in history, we as human beings have access to enormous amounts of Biblical information, thus making it easy for most anyone who is interested in finding out about the word of God, His glory, what He did for us, and how much He loves us possible.

Most of us take for granted the availability of information we can look up thanks to modern innovations such as the Internet. In this day in age we can receive almost anything we want electronically, instantaneously, and cheaply. Even if you don’t have Internet access at home, it is available for public consumption at the local library. Most young people in America have Internet access on their smart phones. But it certainly wasn’t always like this. They didn’t call a period in human history “The Dark Ages” for nothing.

Walking through this exhibit helped me realize that way back when, people had to pay lots of money to be fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the word of God in the form of a Bible. Before the printing press invented by Guttenberg, Bible scripture had to be hand written by scribes. This is a painstaking process and extremely meticulous. Most people cannot even print clearly enough or artistically enough to have produced a hand-written Bible of scribe quality. In other words, only the very rich and elite or scholarly and clerical would have had not only access to the word of God, but also the ability to read and comprehend it hundreds of years ago and before that.

The reality that there was a long period of time when people did not even have real access to God’s truths is an eye-opener when you think about it. If you don’t have access to this greater knowledge and wisdom, it is easy to manipulate the public and masses at large.

Now that we have so much information available at our fingertips, the opposite syndrome has manifested itself. People either have no real interest in it, or they are so bombarded with other information competing for their attention that the information put out by our media and entertainment industries has confused us or lulled us into a state of complacency. It tries to override the very word of God and thus many times we listen to it instead of what was given to us by our Creator, God in our heart. But that’s what the control fanatics in this world want. They want to remain powerful, wealthy, and controlling the masses. Therefore, if they couldn’t keep us from reading and understanding the Bible in modern times, they decided to put so much false information out there that those who haven’t read the Bible because they don’t think they need to or those who do not understand why the world is the way it is can still be completely manipulated and deceived.

So what type of things did I learn while I attended this exhibit? Many.

I learned that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 by chance when someone simply threw a stone into a cave and heard the breaking of a piece of pottery. Upon closer inspection, what was contained in this cave had been preserved miraculously. It was all the books of the Old Testament except Esther which had been handwritten by scribes from an almost extinct Jewish tribe back before Jesus roamed the earth. These people had not been corrupted to the degree of the other Jewish tribes. They apparently wanted to preserve real truths about the Jewish faith, their God, and history. I suppose at the time, the same thing that always happens was happening. People were not obeying the real word of God. Instead, they were justifying non-truths. As a result, the ones who wanted the real truth to be known had to do so secretively. Thus, they hid these scrolls in a cave, anticipating that God would reveal them to the world when He so desired.

Research indicates that we do not know for sure why the Jewish sect who wrote the scrolls now called “The Dead Sea Scrolls” wrote them. But we can say that the authors seemed to be connected to the priesthood, were led by priests, disapproved of the Jerusalem priesthood, encouraged a strict and pious way of life, and expected an imminent confrontation between the forces of good and evil.

Interesting to me is the fact that Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified in order to take away our sins and reunite us with God. However, the motivation behind His murder was the corruption of the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees who enjoyed their status within the community, wealth, and power too much to relinquish it according to the teachings of their God. Jesus was and is the living word of God, thus they hated Him for being everything they could not be and didn’t want to have to be.

Pieces of one of the actual scrolls were on display at the Passages Exhibit. They had been torn into pieces by the people pulling them out of the cave because those working on the project were told they’d receive money for each piece they found and relinquished for historic public display.

Most people back in the day during ancient times were illiterate. Thus, they relied upon the scholars of their day to interpret the Bible and enlighten them. But if the scholars were power mongers and not amenable to sharing the whole truth and nothing but the true word of God because they enjoyed their status too much, then people were misled. Nothing new there. This happened within the different tribes of Judaism (thus the reason Jesus was put on trial, found guilty of blasphemy, and crucified by the people), it has happened within Christianity, and it continues to happen within all religions. The reason? There will always be those people in the world who simply crave power and control and don’t want to be subservient to a higher being. They want to act however they desire. They don’t want to have to be accountable to God and they don’t want to live according to God’s laws. Period.

What I have failed to think about in more depth is the fact that art was used so extensively in in olden days in most every house of worship and place of importance for a very specific reason. This was to educate those who were illiterate and had no way of reading about God’s word, therefore, they too were provided with a source for greater understanding about God’s truths through artwork. The artists portrayed their knowledge about God and the world through their art. Paintings, sculptures, and stained glass all served the purpose of educating the people about God.

I learned that once Guttenberg invented the printing press, he was very focused on printing as many copies of the Bible as he could. With his ability and drive to take things that were already in existence and perfect them so they were more usable for the purpose of mass printing, he was able to spread the word of God to more and more people in a way that was more reasonably priced. Of course, Guttenberg’s cause was noble, and therefore he was not able to keep up with the costs of doing business. His creditors took over his print shop and its contents and it wasn’t until other printers got into the business and began implementing Guttenberg’s process that the printing presses really took off.

The exhibit dealt with how the Bible went from being only written in Aramaic and Hebrew, to being interpreted into Greek, then Latin. When it came time to attempt to translate it into the language or vernacular of the common people of the day in different areas of the world, many scholars working on the translations and scribing were met with opposition as they tried to bring the word of God to all peoples of all nations and languages. John Wycliffe was one who was martyred for his attempts.

The diaspora (dispersion) of the Jews after the destruction of the Jewish temple is highlighted at this exhibit. God allowed the destruction on the temple in 70 AD because his “chosen people” were not abiding by His word and corruption had become too commonplace amongst them for God to permit. Plus, they were not spreading the word of the One true God to other peoples. It was at this point that the Jews began dispersing to Babylon, then other parts of the Middle East. Their odyssey took them to places all around the globe over time, but God used the prophets of the Old Testament to foretell to all that read the Bible that the Jews would one day come back home to the place of their forefathers and rebuild a temple on the place where Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac. Right now, this mount is occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock. However, there are plans in place at present to rebuild the Jewish Temple on this very mount.

Also on display are remnants from Jewish synagogues in Europe that were left intact even though the buildings had been set on fire and most of the synagogue contents destroyed. These things primarily included the Torah and the accessories that accompany the Torah, such as the cloth covers, mantles, and crowns. The Torah, also known as the Pentatuch to Jews is the first five books of the Old Testament. Most Jews refer to them as “the five books of Moses.”

I find it fascinating that God chose to miraculously preserve His word in the Torah when most everything else in the synagogues was destroyed. I’ve had similar experiences with friends and family who have had a fire destroy their home, yet somehow their Bible remained preserved and intact.

So that’s the just of what I experienced while browsing this amazing exhibit. As I said, it was right there under my nose for so long, and it took a special push from a friend to finally get me to go and see it for myself. Isn’t that the way it often is with things of God? He’s always been there for all of us, yet we search and search and fret and fight restlessness trying to find the answer to happiness when it’s been there since the beginning.

Now I more fully understand that if we fail to take the time to look for God, pay attention to Him, not be judgmental with Him, appreciate Him and His wonder, believe fully in Him, love Him, accept Him into our hearts, admit that Jesus is our Savior, and admit that God is God and we are not, we will never experience the love that is Him.

What a same it would be to live life here on earth without knowing the love of God properly.

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