By Dianne E. Butts:
According to an article on MSNBC.com, researchers are finding God in the earliest Christian inscription known to be in existence.
The article titled “Earliest Christian engraving shows pagan elements” says “Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world’s earliest surviving Christian inscription…” The article originally appeared in LiveScience.com.
The inscription is officially called “NCE 156.” Written in Greek, it is dated to the latter half of the second century. An inscription is defined as an artifact that contains writing carved on stone. According to the article, “the only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink… NCE 156 also doesn’t quote the gospels directly; instead, its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs.”
Translated by researcher Gregory Snyder of Davidson College in North Carolina, the inscription reads:
To my bath, the brothers of the bridal chamber carry the torches, [here] in our halls, they hunger for the [true] banquets, even while praising the Father and glorifying the Son. There [with the Father and the Son] is the only spring and source of truth.
Researchers believe it is probably a funeral epigram and the author of the inscription likely followed the teachings of Valentinus, an early Christian teacher who was eventually declared a heretic, the article said.
Experts quoted in the article aren’t sure what “the bridal chamber” refers to. I wonder if it’s a reference to the wedding supper of the Lamb. Jesus told the parable king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son in Matthew 22:1-14. We see the ultimate wedding supper of Jesus the Lamb in Revelation 19:6-9, which describes Jesus as the groom and all of His true followers (Christians) as His bride after the end of time as we know it.
But the language that includes “praising the Father and glorifying the Son” definitely rings with Christianity and shows that researchers may be finding God in the earliest Christian inscription.
You can see other images of early Christian inscriptions and artifacts at livescience.com, and here’s an interesting video about Christian messages in old Irish script, deciphered:
©Dianne E. Butts. Dianne has over 275 articles and short fiction in more than fifty publications, and is a regular contributor to Finding God Daily. You can visit Diane at www.dianneebutts.com.