THE PILATE RING
Greetings to all!
And how was your week? I pray always for good health and a closer walk with Messiah, Jesus. I was able to wrap up a few things this week so that feels good and makes my schedule clear to start new projects, yeah!
Speaking of new projects, I have
some that is such new news it is only three weeks old! But it didn’t start out that way…
Fifty years ago a dig in Israel led by “Prof. Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University in the 1968-69 season. It was a short time after Israel’s success in the Six-Day War, and Herodium (fortress site built by King Herod of Judea near Bethlehem [emphasis my own]) would previously have been inaccessible as it lay in Jordanian territory…The ring was found with hundreds of other artifacts in an eastern garden at the site. These included, glass, pottery and ostraca (pottery sherds inscribed with writing or symbols). Stratigraphic research – a layer-by-layer approach, which makes identifying time periods more reliable – revealed that the ring could not have dated to later than the midpoint of the second half of the 1st century CE.”1
But the question of who’s ring didn’t get resolve until November, 2018 when Dr. Roi Porath, from Hebrew University, led the cleaning of the ring. “After a thorough cleansing, the ring was photographed using a special camera at the Israel Antiquities Authority Labs, revealing the crucial name. The stamping ring bears a picture of a wine vessel surrounded by Greek writing (the first word is the very readable imprint ‘Pilato' in Greek script, meaning ‘belonging to Pilatus.)…Pilatus was the name of Pontius Pilate, who in the New Testament, was the man who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion.”2 Pilate held the office of Prefect of Judea from 26 to 36 A.D.
The letters were carved backward as a relief, a clear indication that it was used as a seal for official documents. Which, during that time period, was the standard for Roman officials.
In addition to the word “Pilato,” the imagery also revealed a simple inscription of the same name engraved as a relief around an image of a Jewish-style wine flask, a common jewish image found on coins of that time.
|View and cross-section of finger ring that are thought to have belonged to Pontius Pilate (Drawing courtesy: J. Rodman; Photo courtesy: C. Amit, IAA Photographic Department, via Hebrew University)|
The controversy comes from the metal the ring is made of. It is of a common copper alloy, not gold. Not what someone is such a high position as Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, would wear. Some say it was a different Pilate, but the name Pilate was very uncommon. So the most reasonable explanation is that the ring belong to one of his officials. After all the word “Pilato” does mean “belonging to Pilatus”. So, in my humble opinion, there should be no controversy. It all fits very well with the unaltered truth recorded in scripture. “And we have brought the Lord’s offering, what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and beads, to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.” Numbers 31:50, The Israel Bible.
This is a stunning discovery that is now a second piece of physical evidence that backs up the Bible. (The first being the Pilate Stone-see previous blog). I just love the way God reveals Himself over and over…His fingerprints are everywhere!
Until next time. Take care and God bless,