Pro and Con 961

Posted 10-22-02

The 2,000-year-old ossuary—a box that held bones—bears the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."Photograph courtesy of Biblical Archaeology Society

My outgoing mail, sent to two people

10-21-02 - Ed and I just saw the news on TV. In Jerusalem, they found an ossuary (bone box) with James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus on the side of it. If you see any write-up on it, or hear other details, please let me know. Agape

Then, I sent "New Evidence of Christ?" Web page to both with this note: I thought you might find this story interesting.
Proof of Jesus
Burial Artifact May Be the Oldest Evidence of Christ
By Richard N. Ostling
The Associated Press, W A S H I N G T O N, Oct. 21

Two incoming e-mails from one I sent the above to

Re: New Evidence of Christ?

(1) INCREDIBLE!! I was just going to email you about this. Of course, we always believed, but this is HUGE! The first archaeological evidence of James and of Jesus and Joseph. It is being authenticated, but is probably the REAL THING!!

(2) I get BAR (Biblical Archaeology Review) and I will let you know just as soon as the next issue arrives!!

Four incoming e-mails from the other person I sent the information to

(1) Re: Ossuary of James, Jesus' half brother, found
Burial Box May Be That of Jesus's Brother, Expert Says
Hillary Mayell, for National Geographic News
10-21-02 - Researchers may have uncovered the first archaeological evidence that refers to Jesus as an actual person and identifies James, the first leader of the Christian church, as his brother.

The 2,000-year-old ossuary—a box that held bones—bears the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Until now, all references to the three men have been found only in manuscripts.

Andre Lemaire, a paleographer at the Sorbonne University in Paris (École Pratique des Hautes Études), first saw the artifact and its inscription while examining the relics of a private collector in Jerusalem. He dates the box, which was empty, to 63 A.D.

The ossuary is not quite rectangular, like most burial boxes found so far, but trapezoid in shape. It is about 20 inches long, 10 inches wide, and 12 inches high. The image on top shows the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

"This is probably going to be the biggest New Testament find in my lifetime, as big as the Dead Sea scrolls," said Ben Witherington, a New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Lexington, Kentucky.

"Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all historical religions, and they have to be open to historical inquiry," he said. "To some extent they stand or fall on the authenticity of the historical record. This gives us one more piece of evidence outside of the Bible that these are real people, and that they're important people, and provides a small confirmation for the claims made about James as the brother of Jesus."

The find is described in the November/December issue of Biblical Archaeological Review.

Historical Record

From the first century B.C. to about 70 A.D., it was the burial custom of Jews to place their dead in a cave for a year, then retrieve the bones and put them in an ossuary. Several hundred such boxes from that era have been found—some ornately carved and others plain, some with feet and others without.

The burial custom changed in 70 A.D., when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and torched the Temple there.

The James burial box, which is about 20 inches (50 centimeters) long, was originally acquired in the antiquities market 15 years ago and has been in the hands of a private collector.

Lemaire stumbled upon the ossuary by chance. While he was in Jerusalem on a six-month project to study paleo-inscriptions, a friend introduced him to a private collector. The collector, who remains anonymous, told Lemaire he had a few inscriptions and showed him some photographs of an ossuary.

"When I read it [the inscription], I immediately wondered if it was the same James who was said to be the brother of Jesus of Nazareth," said Lemaire. "To the collector, Jesus was known as the son of God, so he had no brother. It never occurred to him that this might be anything other than just another ossuary."

Lemaire said, "I knew right away that it could be something really important."

Telling Details

Translating the inscription was the easy part. Tying the ossuary to Jesus of Nazareth was much more difficult.

Scientists at the Geological Institute of Israel examined the box, which is made of Jerusalem limestone, and judged it to be about 2,000 years old. The inscription is written in Aramaic, in a form that further narrows the possible time frame.

"The script is very important for the date because the Aramaic script changed over time in ways we could measure," said P. Kyle McCarter, a paleographer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. "It's the most important criterion for dating this object, and the script is consistent with a date in the middle of the first century A.D."

The fact that the box is very plain, apart from the beautiful script, is not surprising, according to experts. "Highly decorated boxes are the ones that are unusual," said McCarter. Lemaire said extensive study of several hundred ossuaries found in Jerusalem has shown no connection between the ornateness of the design and the importance of the person whose bones they contained.

What is highly unusual is the mention of a brother.

"So far, with all the inscriptions we have, only one other has mentioned a brother," said Lemaire. "This is a very important point for the problem of identification. There would need to be a special reason to mention the brother. It suggests the brother was also prominent, an important person."

Jesus and Joseph were fairly common names of that era; James, slightly less so. Statistical analysis suggests that the possibility of these three names occurring in the given relationships (son of Joseph, brother of Jesus) is very small.

The lack of knowledge about where the ossuary came from is worrisome but not unusual, the experts say.

"It means there will always be doubts about the thing," said McCarter. "They've applied every possible test to it to determine its character and authenticity, but there will always be a cloud over it and there will always be those who doubt because it wasn't recovered in a legitimate archaeological dig.

"But this is not an unusual situation," McCarter added. "We get this a lot."

Jesus and James

Whether Jesus was the son of God is a theological problem, said Lemaire. But historians don't doubt the existence of either James or Jesus; both are mentioned frequently in early historical accounts.

Following the death of Jesus in 29 A.D., James assumed leadership of the Christian church in Jerusalem until he himself was martyred in 62 A.D. According to biblical accounts, he was one of the first apostles to see Jesus after his resurrection.

He is referred to as the brother of Jesus in both the Bible and in contemporary historical accounts. In Matthew 13:55-56, for instance, Jesus is said to have four brothers and two sisters. But the exact nature of these relationships—whether they were full siblings by blood, half siblings, or cousins—has been open to interpretation.

"If you're Catholic, you think they're cousins because the perpetual virginity of Mary is official church doctrine," said Witheringon. "But there are a lot of problems in the historical record with that."

"When James is referred to as the 'brother of our lord' in the New Testament, the word used means 'blood brother,'" he continued. "It would have to be qualified in context to mean something different."

A second interpretation is that James and the other siblings are half-brothers and -sisters, Joseph's children from a prior marriage.

"The ossuary gives us another piece of evidence outside the Bible that these are blood brothers and sisters of Jesus," said Witherington.
Thanks for the ABC News article

(2)This one shows some of the aramaic writing (omitted, the ones in the next article are closeups)
Scholars: Oldest evidence of Jesus?
By Jeordan Legon, CNN 10-22-02
(3) Re: See enhanced inscription
The recent finding of a burial box inscribed in Aramaic, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," is likely to reignite the debate about whether Jesus had siblings and, if so, who they were.
(See inscription
or see enhanced inscription

(4)The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest, Vol:13,issue: 22

The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest
Vol: 13 Issue: 22 - Tuesday, October 22, 2002

James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus

One of the most widely used arguments among the skeptics -- the absence of archeological evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was demolished by the recently revealed discovery of the ossuary of James the Just.

James the Just was the writer of the Book of James, the half-brother of Jesus. The first century Jewish historian Josephus recorded that "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, James by name," was stoned to death as a Jewish heretic in A.D. 62.

If his bones were placed in an ossuary the inscription would have occurred the following year, around A.D. 63.

Flavius Josephus was a Jewish Pharisee who surrendered to the Romans and became the official historian to Titus. He was an eyewitness to the the events he recorded, including the Destruction of Jerusalem and the seign of Masada. His 'War of the Jews' is one of the most complete extra-Biblical accounts of 1st century Jerusalem.

An ossuary is a small box in which the bones of the deceased are kept. A year after a person's burial in a tomb, family members would collect the bones into an ossuary. It was a ritual driven by necessity: Tombs, which were often carved into rocks, were expensive – and thus were reused.

As we entered the 20th century, Jesus was considered a dubious history figure Whose existence was attested to only by Scripture and by His followers.

It was at this same time that the so-called 'Enlightened Thinkers' began questioning the historical Jesus, instead suggesting He was a mythical composite of several Jewish leaders. A good philosophy, but not necessarily based on an actual historical figure.

In 1962, a plaque was discovered in Caesarea Phillipi dedicating a colliseum to Pontius Pilate. Prior to that discovery, the skeptics said the absence of archeological evidence of his procurate in Judea proved the New Testament story was a myth.

As Donald Rumsfeld is fond of observing, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".

In 1990, the ossuary of high priest Caiaphas ben Joseph, who presided over the trial of Jesus, was discovered in Jerusalem. Until that discovery, there had been no independent archeological discovery of any individual personage mentioned by the New Testament.

Peter's house in Capernaum had been discovered in 1906 and confirmed in the 1980's, but left room for debate.

The discovery of Caiaphas ben Joseph's ossuary established -- for the first time -- that such a historical personage actually lived and artifacts in the box indicated he died sometime after AD 37.

The ossuary's discovery was announced in the Biblical Archeological Review (BAR). It is important to note that the BAR is a Jewish secular organization. They do not take a position of Biblical inerrancy. And being Jews - secular or otherwise -- they have nothing to gain by proving the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.

Proving the existence of a historical Jesus creates huge problems for Jewish tradition regarding Jesus and Christianity in general.

And huge problems for the Vatican and Marian theology, as we'll see shortly.

The article's author, a well-known epigrapher from the Sorbonne in Paris, scrutinized this ossuary carefully.

Scans by electron microscopes show no trace of modern tools – and full evidence of layers of a patina that could have developed only over many centuries.

The inscription's grammar and script also appear to fit normal usage in the decades leading up to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Then there's the question of whether the inscription refers to Jesus of Nazareth.

The three names it mentions are as common as Jim, Jack, and John today. The author turned to statistical probability. Of the 40,000 men living in Jerusalem at the time, he figures about 20 people could fit the description "Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui diYeshua" or, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

But the mention of a brother is highly unusual on ossuaries. This could hint that the Jesus mentioned here is particularly famous.


There was only one really famous Jesus in the first half of the first century in a city the size of Jerusalem.

"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? " (Matthew 13:55-56)

The discovery of the ossuary proves the existence of Jesus Christ with more archeological certainty than there is for Plato, Aristotle, Nebuchadnezzar or Alexander the Great.

Already the skeptics are descending on the discovery, desperately seeking some way to discredit the discovery. Not the least of whom is the Vatican.

It also proves that Jesus was not an only child and that Mary was NOT a perpetural virgin who, after living a sinless life, was assumed into heaven bodily where she reigns as Queen of Heaven.

Which is what Catholic dogma about Mary teaches.

The Vatican explained away Matthew 13:55-56 by saying 'brethren' really meant 'cousins' and 'sisters' was a generic term.

The ossuary's reference to 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus' could signal a coming split at the Vatican between the Marian theologians and Marian worship and worshippers of Jesus.

(Creating a kind off off-shoot religion 'with two horns like a lamb but the voice of a dragon, maybe?)

In any case, one can't dispute the importance of the unveiling of this discovery. "The James ossuary may be the most important find in the history of New Testament archaeology," says Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review. "It has implications not just for scholarship, but for the world’s understanding of the Bible."

Our mission at the Omega Letter is to provide you with evidence of the reality of Jesus, the truth of Scripture, and the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. You want evidence? Brothers and sisters, we've GOT evidence!

What the skeptics attempt to do with this evidence in the coming weeks should be interesting.

But for us, we have the words of Jesus, brother of James. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)

My reply to both

Thanks so much for your help in this, and for all the help you have both given me in the past. May the Lord bless you much, and your families, as I often pray.

I got so excited over this news that I worked too fast and ruined my HTML editor. Restart wouldn't fix it. That on top of my not being able to get into my ProphecyCorner Web Site to update right now made me think twice about the times we are living in. Thank you Lord that I was able to re install my HTML editor. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

I found some other articles too. This news was first announced Sunday, 10-20-2002 (Cheshvan 14, 5763).

Note: The date of the stoning of James was about 63 AD. An ossuary of Caiaphas was found in 1990. An inscription on a monument has the name of Pontious Pilate on it.

See "Artifact found in Jerusalem could relate to Jesus"
John Noble Wilford The New York Times - 10-22-02

...Josephus recorded that James was executed by stoning around A.D. 63....

Only a few other ancient artifacts mention New Testament figures. In 1990, the ossuary of Caiaphas, the high priest who turned Jesus over to the Romans, was uncovered. Even earlier, archaeologists discovered an inscription on a monument that bears the name of Pontius Pilate....

This could well be the earliest artifact ever found relating to the existence of Jesus, a French scholar has concluded in an analysis of the inscription being published this week in the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review....

The magazine, which ANNOUNCED THE FIND SUNDAY, is promoting it as "the first-ever archaeological discovery to corroborate biblical references to Jesus."...
---end of note---

Sunday, 10-20-02, was THREE DAYS from Cheshvan 17, when the Lord shut the door of the Ark and it began to rain to float Noah and his family up to the heavens. The Ark represented Christ. We are in Christ just as Noah was in the Ark.

The Rapture is as the days of Noah too (Mt. 24:37). Be ready, in case Cheshvan 17 will be our floating up to Heaven.

Mt. Sinai represented Heaven. When Israel came to Mt. Sinai, "the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And BE READY AGAINST THE THIRD DAY: FOR THE THIRD DAY THE LORD WILL COME DOWN IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE PEOPLE UPON MOUNT SINAI" (Ex. 19:10,11). He came down in fire. There were also thick clouds. No one actually saw the Lord but Moses, and he went UP to see him. That is what we will do at the Rapture.

Ex. 19:16-20 says, "it came to pass ON THE THIRD DAY IN THE MORNING, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet (the "trump of God" of I Thess. 4:16,17) exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when THE VOICE OF THE TRUMPET sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and GOD ANSWERED HIM BY A VOICE. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and THE LORD CALLED MOSES UP to the top of the mount; and Moses went up." He went up to Sinai (i.e., Heaven).

Moses means SAVED FROM THE WATER. This ties the scene at Mt. Sinai in with the scene when Noah was lifted up by the water. Near Mt. Sinai, Moses struck the rock and water gushed out, "and that rock was Christ." 1Co 10:4 says, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

In the Preview of the Rapture in Rev 1:10,11, John said, "I was (lit., became) in the Spirit on the Lord's day (the first of two Days of the Son of Man, Lu. 17:22-37), and heard behind me A GREAT VOICE, AS OF A TRUMPET, SAYING, I AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST."

Jesus' voice was "AS OF A TRUMPET" in the Preview of the Rapture. Then at the Rapture in 4:1, John said, "the first voice which I heard was AS IT WERE OF A TRUMPET TALKING WITH ME; WHICH SAID, COME UP HITHER." Agape

Incoming email, Re: READREADREAD!!!

A limestone burial box, almost 2,000 years old, may provide the oldest archeological record of Jesus of Nazareth, according to several experts who announced the finding Monday.

"But it is unlikely there would have been more than one James who had a brother of such importance that it merited having him mentioned on his ossuary, Lemaire said.

Lemaire found the box in June by accident [ :-) :-) :-) ], said Shanks, who was able to inspect the box personally.

The collector, who is Jewish, was not aware that Jesus had a brother. He discovered the interest in the object only when he met Lemaire at a dinner party last spring and asked him to decipher some Aramaic written on a number of collectibles, Shanks said.

The box owner "didn't realize the significance," Shanks said. "He threw up his hands, 'How could the Son of God have a brother?'"

My reply

I know. Ed and I saw it on TV this morning. Isn't it exciting. Here is a copy of an e-mail I just sent to a couple of very helpful people. I'll post it and yours ASAP. And, thank you so much for keeping me abreast of what is going on in this world. You made me a better watcher than I would have been otherwise. God bless.

My ProphecyCorner site is not updated. So far, I haven't been able to get in. Maybe I will tonight. Use the site for now. Agape

Incoming email, Re: UN group offers to inspect Temple Mount wall facing collapse
Etgar Lefkovits Aug. 28, 2002

An offer has been made by a group affiliated with UNESCO to inspect the southern wall of the Temple Mount which is in danger of collapsing, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday that the wall was in danger of collapsing.

The UNESCO group, which deals with the preservation of antiquities, said that they were offering their services given the sensitive nature of the contested holy site....

A Jordanian group visited the site last week, but nothing came of their trip since the Wakf is now controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Incoming email

I have been hearing a lot about Planet X and found the web site I found this article while exploring the site and wondered if this is fact or fiction. Quite scary if true as we are to feel the effects of this sometime next year. My thoughts are that this must be the beginning of the tribulation which would make this year 2002 the rapture year!! Would like to know how this fits into Bible Prophesy since it is going to bypass the earth but the gravity force will cause major catalystic destruction. In view of this hoping to see you and your hubby Ed before the end of this year. God bless and thank you for your insight in all of this. YSIC

My reply

I don't think a planet X will zip by Earth on 9-11-2003. There do seem to be some things, ice or asteroids, out beyond Pluto, but that doesn't mean they are planets, or that they will swing by Earth in a cometary orbit. If they have been orbiting the Sun all this time, their orbit is probably nearly circular, and they won't hit Earth.

There is more danger from the asteroids formed when Satan's planet Rahab broke apart. Some of those are in cometary orbits. I expect a binary asteroid to impact Earth on the first day of the millennial Day of the LORD (Rev. 8:8,10), probably Sept. 13, 2007. Agape

From 5 Doves site

Paolo Porsia (21 Oct 2002)
"SPECIAL JERUSALEM REPORT October 19, 2002 13 Cheshvan 5763" SPECIAL JERUSALEM REPORT October 19, 2002 13 Cheshvan 5763 And He gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to Israel His people. Thy name, O LORD, is everlasting, Thy remembrance, O LORD, throughout all generations. Psalm 135:12-13


The Bush administration is weighing an Israel proposal for a joint operation in Iraq's western desert to disarm Iraqi missiles before they could be launched against Israel. If successful, the operation might not only protect Israeli civilians from an Iraqi attack like the one they weathered in the 1991 Persian Gulf War but eliminate the troublesome prospect of an Israeli retaliatory attack on Iraq. Under the proposal, which would involve American special forces troops, Israel would furnish the United States with intelligence about the sites and how to disarm them early in the conflict. The idea was presented during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's talks in Washington this week with President Bush and senior White House, Pentagon and State Department officials. Afterward, both sides said Sharon had received assurances the United States would make a maximum effort to reduce any threat to Israel posed by Iraq. The Israeli plan was not announced, but an account was provided to The Associated Press on Friday by a U.S. official on condition of anonymity....
Barbara Richmond

The asteroid was found almost by accident

By Dr David Whitehouse

Astronomers have discovered the first object ever that is in a companion orbit to the Earth.

Asteroid 2002 AA29 is only about 100 metres wide and never comes closer than 3.6 million miles to our planet.

But it shares the Earth's orbit around the Sun, at first on one side of the Earth and then escaping to travel along our planet's path around the Sun until it encounters the Earth from the other side. Then it goes back again....

2002 AA29 was discovered by the linear automated sky survey project on 9 January 2002.

Martin Connors of Athabaseca University in Canada writes in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science that it, "moves in a very Earth-like orbit," and is the "first true co-orbital object of Earth."...

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