The Biblical manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls were truly an amazing find when they were discovered. I believe God had a hand in their discovery as a means to confirm what he has already stated in the Bible. Unfortunately, there are forces who have used them as a means to question God’s word and as an excuse to add to or take away from what he said in the Bible as if to say that the Bible the church has had since the end of the first century isn’t complete or reliable. Such critics have subtly reverted back to Satan’s tactic used in the Garden of Eden where he asked, “…hath God said…?”
Given the fact that God clearly states he doesn’t want people adding to or taking away from his word (Revelation 22:18-19), and given the fact that the majority of the Biblical manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls agree with the Majority Text of manuscripts (as opposed to the critical text which is in the minority), I believe the scrolls should be a tool to silence Bible critics. Specifically, to silence the Bible critics who often tell us that the prophecies in the Bible were only written after the events occurred and they aren’t predictions. The Dead Sea Scrolls’ Biblical manuscripts prove them wrong even though we don’t need to rely on the scrolls to prove Bible prophecies were genuine predictions.
Since the scrolls number in the hundreds, I’ll just give a few examples of how these scrolls show that the writers of scripture really spoke prophetically for the Lord.
- The Isaiah scrolls date back as far as the 300s BC. Therefore, Isaiah really predated and thus predicted the following:
- the suffering of our Messiah (Isaiah 50:6; 52:14-53:11);
- God would bring salvation through the Messiah to the Gentiles (11:10; 42:6; 49:6);
- that our Messiah, Yeshua, would be born of a virgin (7:14);
- that Jesus would be God in the flesh (9:6);
- Jesus the Messiah would heal the disabled (35:5-6);
- people in the last days before God’s judgment would be filled with arrogance and pride in their evil (13:11);
- Babylon would become desolate (13:1, 19-22), which happened for the city itself in 141 BC and then the province became uninhabited at the end of the 7th century AD or beginning of the 8th century AD.
- The Daniel scrolls date as far back as the 200s BC and the Aramaic dialect it contains dates back specifically to the 500s BC-400s BC. The dialect died out by 400 BC. Daniel, then, was written most likely in the 500s BC close to when the events occurred and it predated and predicted the following:
- the Roman Empire (Daniel 2:40-43) since Rome became an empire in 27 BC;
- the emperor Domitian (81 AD-96 AD) as a type of the Antichrist (Daniel 7–the fourth kingdom) who subdued three Roman leaders to become the 11th emperor, demanded to be worshiped as a god, and mercilessly persecuted the church throughout the Empire;
- the specific time period of Christ’s life and death (Daniel 9:24-27);
- that Jerusalem and the Second Temple would be destroyed sometime after the Messiah’s death (Daniel 9:26);
- the overthrow of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great’s Greek army in 330 BC (Daniel 8);
- the Greek Empire being divided into four after Alexander in 281 BC (Daniel 8:21-22).
- The scrolls of the Psalms date back to the Hellenistic Period (332-63 BC). Therefore, we know they predated and predicted the following:
- that Ethiopians would become followers of God and be saved, which was fulfilled in the 1st century AD (Psalm 68:31);
- that God would have his only begotten Son who would convert heathens into his followers and heirs (Psalm 2:7-8)
- that Russia (Mesech) and Arabia (Kedar) would be a people of lying lips, deceitful tongues, haters of peace, and warmongers (Psalm 120);
- the specific things that Christ would suffer while on the cross (Psalm 22:7-8; 16-18).
- Ezekiel among the Dead Sea Scrolls dates back as far as the Hellenistic Period (332-63 BC). Taking that into account we can see clearly that Ezekiel predated and genuinely prophesied the following:
- that Iran (Persia), Turkey (Togarmah), and Russia (Gog, Magog, Meshech, Tubal) would be influential, hostile nations in the last days (Ezekiel 38-39);
- that after Babylon would defeat Egypt, Egypt would be among the lowest of the nations and would never rule over other nations again (Ezekiel 29:15).
With these fulfilled prophecies and many more that I didn’t mention, we can see that it’s standard for God’s prophets to truly prophesy, predicting things before they happened. The Lord told Isaiah in Isaiah 48:5 that he gives us prophecies to put false religions and their false gods to shame to show the world that he’s the only one who deserves credit and praise as the only true and living God. We can rest assured that people are flat out lying when they say the Bible made predictions after the things happened. Now that the reliability of the Bible is clear, we can safely presume (based on the facts) that since the prophecies were really prophecies, then the books of the Bible are older than the existing manuscripts.