Tablet ignites debate on Messiah


JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

The rest of the story is here.

From what I can gather, the crux of the matter is that this tablet allegedly shows that the idea of a resurrected messiah surfaced a couple decades before Christ. It is claimed by some scholars that this shows that Jesus and His apostles simply borrowed an existing theme of some Jewish circles. I would require far more information on the authenticity of the tablet and the translation to have any sort of real discussion. But let’s just suppose that the tablet is authentic and the interpretation in the article is correct. How would you respond to these scholars? It seems that they believe that a pillar of Christian belief is that there is a uniqueness in the resurrected Messiah and that such an idea had not existed prior to Christ; they seem to believe that ‘Gabriel’s revelation’ disproves that uniqueness and will shake the foundation of Christianity. What say you?



A typical canard, like the 70s underground newspaper with the headline “Easter Cancelled, Christ’s Body Found.” I spoke with a coworker who said she knew the photographers.

There have been many stories over the years linking Christ with previous myths about death and resurrection. This will go in the same direction.



I read the headline on Yahoo! and I’ll admit, I got nervous, but, then I -]read/-] skimmed the article and thought, ‘doesn’t this just help us more? If a Jewish source has said this, wouldn’t this prove to the Jews that Christianity has been credible for the past 2,000 years?’

That’s what I thought, anyway.


I thought that too when I skimmed the article. And I am still not alarmed because I have faith. However, the part of the article that is supposed to be problematic is that the ‘resurrected’ messiah is supposedly some guy named Simon who was killed by Herod a few decades before Christ. The ‘scholars’ are basically saying that rather than the Christian view of the Messiah being unique, that it is all a replication of a story that already circulated amongst 1st century Jews.


A few things struck me about this article:

  1. Obviously, nothing much came out of this SIMON or whatever, and obviously, there was no resurrection - as discussed. Whereas, w/ Jesus we have eyewitnesses and an entire faith system that’s backed by centuries of intellectual unity on matters of faith and morals…etc…
  2. Its not surprising as these conclusions could have been drawn from scripture at the time—


This doesn’t relate but I had a history professor one time Tell us about some guy who lived 1000 years before christ. The story was identical to the life of christ<birth date/ virgin mother, teachings etc…> the only differance was he was also a ruler and leader of a strong military who was conguering people. Sorry can’t tell you more because I thought the profesor was a nut and didn’t pay attention to him.



So St. Stephen died over a plagiarized story? St. Peter and all the others?


YOU MEAN…there are MORE prophecies that Christ fulfilled than what we already know? There’s a corroborative RECORD of what He will actually do BEFORE He arrived,…outside of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, et al?

That will annoy the scholars who argue that Isaiah is not referring to Christ at all, but Israel as a whole.!!




"Two more hard-to-read words come later, and Mr. Knohl said he believed that he had deciphered them as well, so that the line reads, “In three days you shall live, I, Gabriel, command you.”

If that is in fact the correct text I would wonder about whether or not this is referring to Christ, as God does not take commands from Angels. :confused:


What do you think the “sign of Jonah” (in the OT) means. Its a foretelling of the death and resurrection of Jesus.


As far as the Orthodox response is on this matter, from what I read in another board, it’s nothing to worry about:,16759.0.html are very good responses in that it is not unusual–the Israelites have long expected a messiah even before Jesus was born; Jesus clarified to them that the Messiah they are expecting isn’t someone who would deliver them from the Romans, at least not in a political way.


The timing of this Tablet is suspicious since at present the Messianic Jews (Jews who remained Jewish in their tradition and customs yet accepted Jesus as their Savior, God, and Messiah) are gaining more and more adherents in Israel and that they are currently being harrashed and persecuted by Jewish zealots…Could it be possible that the main objective of this so called “Gabriel’s Revelation Tablet” is just a way of discreeting the belief and conviction of the Messianic Jews by some Zionist?


I think the Jews should reconsider their goal of debunking our belief on Jesus as the Messiah…the reason why their beloved Israel exists is because of some Christians lobbying in the U.S. Congress to support Israel…without the Christians, Israel would have been destroyed by many Arab countries desiring to see it wiped out from the face of the Earth.


Yes, I know all about the sign of Jonah, as well as many other “types” in scripture.

The point of the tablet is not some prophecy about the resurrection of Jesus, but someone else named Simon who lived decades before Jesus. The implication (from these so-called scholars) is that the NT writers basically stole the idea and applied it to Jesus. They claim that Christianity has always billed itself as unique because of the resurrection and that now that claim is debunked.


I think Christianity is unique because God became man and died in order to save man.

The resurrection couldn’t have been “stolen” from Simon because it was prophecied hundreds of years earlier. The claim would be that Simon and Jesus both fulfilled the prophecies of Isaiah and several others.

BTW, wouldn’t Jewish historians such as Josephus have brought up the fact that Christ was nothing but a sequel to Simon?


Good points, especially about Josephus and other historians. One would think that if the Jews of that time would have thought that the NT writers and/or Jesus and His apostles were ‘copycats’ then they would have made the point back then. Still, we look back on Old Testament prophecies and can clearly see Jesus in such prophecies as the sign of Jonah or the suffering servant who after suffering would see the light of life. At the time this prophecy was made (and to this day), Jews did not see these prophecies as promise of a resurrected Messiah. Therefore, this prophecy of Simon would have been unique in it’s time, would it not?

As far as I am concerned, it may have been prophesied that Simon would rise from the dead— but did he? If so, why haven’t we heard about it? This tablet certainly does not shake the foundations of Christendom, in my view. But bear with me, I’m just trying to hash this out in my mind because I know that my non-believing husband is going to see this article in the paper today (it made front page) and he is going to be all over me about it. He is an intellectual and I need to have all the “ammo” I can have to thwart his argument.


I think if and when Jesus told them to look for the sign of Jonah, any Jew familiar with the story of Simon would have said, “Too late. Been there, done that!”

On another note, you may want to look over the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew’s Gospel spends so much time showing where Jesus fulfilled so many of the Messianic prophecies. Remember, Matthew’s audience would have heard of the Resurrection already. But they needed to know that Jesus was the promised Son of David, the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, and numerous other prophecies. The Resurrection, in and of itself, was not enough for the ancient Jew.


Doesn’t it make sense that if God were on the verge of sending his Son to earth, that he might intensify the preparation of the chosen people to receive him? I mean, duhhhh!


Hello to all. I’m “>Q<”,
(That’s a little bee busily flying around, looking to extract honey from scripture).

After having spent a couple of days considering the Lectionary Readings for 14OT, just a couple of days later I discovered an article about the “Gabriel Revelation” this morning. It struck me how what I’d been considering regarding the rebuilding of Sepphoris following the 4 BC Jewish uprising that precipitated the destruction of Sepphoris, and the new construction for Tiberias (which began in 14 CE), both of which coincided with Jesus’ work under the tutelage of his father, with whom he likely worked at either Sepphoris or Tiberias or both.

One has to try to imagine being under the scrutiny of the overseers of these massive construction projects while being a member of the Davidic lineage that had been marginalized to outlying areas, such as Nazareth, after most of the Jewish population of Sepphoris had been enslaved for their part in the 4 BC insurrection against the Roman occupation. My thoughts ran thus: In the light of scrutiny by Antipas’ overseers of the construction, Jesus speaks of the true Father and offers public prayers of praise. Imagine him standing up and turning his palms toward the sky and declaring, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” We can make the connection, that his prayer could have been an invective against all those who quietly submit to the lord-overseers who are colluding with Rome. And what would be public reaction to a statement like, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him”? By considering the passage in this way, we are able to discern the contrast between earthly authority that oppresses and subjugates versus the true source of authority that moves Jesus to stand publicly to pray such a bold prayer out-loud. Jesus is declaring God’s power to be in his hands, not in the hands of his government and its corrupt ties to Rome’s army of subjugation. His final statement literally reeks of the parallel between the two types of authority by obliquely speaking about the yoke of oppression, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” The yoke Jesus places upon us offers us rest from the struggle, and brings us into direct relationship with him, and the Father through him.

One has to consider the details of the “Gabriel Revelation” stone without getting too caught up in the passions of emotion that want to defend long-held beliefs brought about through a fixed perspective: a man named Simon, a rock (crevice in a rock), the fact that Simon’s head was struck off by a sword (and the potential parallel in Matthew 26:51-52, which tells of someone [Simon Peter?] striking off the high priest’s servant’s ear).

Along with these markers that deserve careful consideration in their own right, we might also be asking ourselves, ‘What was the “sin”, according to the Jews, that required remediation thought Jesus’ death? For them, it was transgressions of the Law that caused them to fall into subjugation by Rome. This is the one theme that is irrefutable in Jewish scholarship. And their messiah/king would remedy their shortcoming by his righteousness so that Palestine would regain its sovereignty.

Regardless of how we understand the events through Christian eyes, whatever took place must make sense through Jewish eyes as well.

Is there anyone here who is willing to discuss this train of thought dispassionately? I’m not interested in getting into an angry defense of narrower theology, but in making sense of scripture that takes history and culture into account.

Peace be with you all,



(John 18:10 tells us that it was indeed Simon Peter who struck the ear off of the high priest’s servant.)


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