I am currently reading your book on "Reasons for Belief" and I am learning so much new information that has been very faith lifting. I have recently come across a video on CNN about a certain tablet that looked similar to the one you talked about in your book. The reporters are calling it the New Biblical Controversy and I am very lost as what is the problem and what they are talking about…if you have any information that may help me understand this please share it with me. Here is the link: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/07/11/wedeman.gabriel.cnn
Yes, I have heard about this new discovery. I will have to say that it is very interesting. It seems that this discovery is genuine. It is a document from the 1st century BC–a story which may be about Gabriel calling the Messiah back to life after three days. To me, the fact that Jews were anticipating a messiah who would be killed and raised on the third day makes sense because this was prophesied in the New Testament. I am sure liberal scholars will have a field day with this, trying to put an anti-Christian spin on it. They will say that Jesus was just one in a series of people who claimed to have risen from the dead. The problem is that there is no evidence for such a figure about whom it is claimed he rose from the dead (except Jesus, of course!). There were great messianic expectations at this time in Israel both because God had prophesied a Messiah in the Old Testament and because of Jewish slavery to Rome. This is not surprising. It is also not surprising that God chose this time of great expectation to send the true Messiah, Jesus Christ who fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah (Luke 24:44). This included a prophecy of a dying savior who would be raised from the dead on the third day (Genesis 22:2-5 and Jonah 1:1-2:10). I believe that this should be an encouragement to Christians to know that some of the Jews in the time of Jesus were anticipating a Messiah much like what God had in mind.
John Oakes, PhD