Archive for the ‘arts’ Category

Growing in Expressiveness

April 14th, 2014

Have you hit a rut?  Do you feel limited in your ability to express yourself creatively in dance?  Here is a tip that can help kick start you…

Take a few rehearsals and just have fun.  I would bring my iPod, with its eclectic mix of music (children’s songs, Christmas tunes and praise/worship), and have everyone gather into our rehearsal space.  I would then have a volunteer (aka frightened dance team member) stand up on the stage and then announce to the group that we were going to pick a random song.  At that time, the ‘volunteer’ would act out movements to the song that came on.  Without warning, I would switch team members – even in mid song.  Or, I’d change it from something serious to something lighthearted.  This is so much fun once the jitters start to fade.  This is a great time to review how the fear of the faces of men is nothing more than pride…if we care more of what others think than what God thinks, our hearts are out of order.  How we look is not why we dance.

In 2 Samuel 6:16 we see Saul’s daughter, Michal, look on scornfully at David as he leaped and danced before the Lord as they brought back the Ark of the Covenant.  Was David embarrassed?  Look at his reply in verses 21 and 22…And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.  And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.

He did not regard her opinion, but rather set his sights on things above.  That should be our response.  God is more concerned with your heart than your art.  So, go ahead and play.  Go ahead…who cares if you look silly or fall down?  Just have fun in Him.  Once that joy has returned, your ability to express it will be even more anointed.

Redeemer

October 11th, 2012

This semester, I am teaching a few classes at our homeschool co-op.  One of those classes is American Sign Language and we are focusing on the use of ASL in praise and worship.  My class is going to present a signed song, Redeemer by Nicole C. Mullen, for our end of semester Expo.  I decided to go ahead and video tape myself signing the song so that my students could practice from home.  Hope you enjoy it!  Click on this link to play the video:   Redeemer Video

-Lisa :)

Costuming and Makeup

June 12th, 2012

Costuming and Makeup for Presentations

“The subjective actress thinks of clothes only as they apply to her; the objective actress thinks of them only as they affect others, as a tool for the job” – Edith Head, famous costumer for major motion pictures.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, with costuming and makeup we are creating a living picture for our audience. We’re going to first look at costuming basics and get an idea of where to start when a production needs a costumer.

A.  COSTUMING BASICS

Costuming is an exciting way to work with the director to bring the characters of a play to life. Determining the time period, characters’ personalities and overall “feel” of the play is essential in lending support to the drama being presented. The first step in costuming a presentation effectively is to get a copy of the script from the director, along with a copy of the cast list. These two things are vital to the costumer.

Next, familiarize yourself with the script and with the characters. By getting a “feel’” for the characters, you will see how to costume them appropriately. Remember, color can play an important role – it can even be prophetic to the character’s nature. Using your color guide will help steer you appropriately in this area.

Go through the script, one character at a time, and write down the scene numbers they are in. This will help you determine how many outfits you will need for each actor.

You should plan a meeting with the director. During this time, inquire of the director what the budget will be for the costumes for this particular presentation, if any. This will help you establish your boundaries with purchasing new material and/or ready-made costumes. You may opt to splurge on one really great piece that will be used through the years, or use the funds sparingly. It will be your job to keep receipts for all purchases made. Also during this meeting, you will need to determine if any main characters have more than one scene that is considered the “same day”, as the actor will only need one costume for those scenes. This may be obvious once you’ve read through the script…sometimes, however, it is not as clear. The director can clarify the vision for these scenes for you. The costumer’s main job is to carry out the director’s vision for the play through the use of textures and color – communication is the key to doing this effectively, so don’t be shy to ask the director to elaborate and give input where needed.

There may be times when scenes that are back-to-back are considered different “days”. Sometimes, there is not enough time for a full costume change, but there needs to be a visual change for a lead character (due to a progression in the script in time passing). In such a case, you will need to check with the director to determine if there will be a set/props change – or monologues in between the two scenes – in order to determine how much time the cast has to change costume. If time is a problem, changing the actor’s costume accessories can accommodate the change simply.

Your next step is to determine which costumes we already have on hand that would be appropriate for each character (as far as size, color, age of character, character’s personality, wealthy or poor, proper fit, time period, etc.). Schedule fittings with the actors for their costumes. If there are things you must have that are not on hand, first check with each actor – they may have something in their personal wardrobe that would be appropriate (shoes, winter coats, dresses, etc. for example) or borrow from church members. If doing so, be sure to take EXTRA special care of those borrowed items! They should be returned in the same condition they were borrowed – cleaned and ironed.

Next, shop for or sew remaining costumes needed (Goodwill, consignment shops, etc. – try Walmart for fabric, they have clearance for $1 per yard). If you need an assistant, now is the time to enroll some help. It’s usually a good idea to have at least two people work on costumes for a major production.

As costumes are decided upon, label them with masking tape, noting the character name and scene #, on the inside collar. Next, accessorize each outfit as needed (belts, headpieces, jewelry, etc. – accessories can be placed in a bag and hung on the costume’s hanger or on an additional hanger. Use twist ties if needed to group together several hangers for the same outfit).

Place the men’s costumes on one rolling rack, and women’s costumes on another in order by scenes, or by character. Familiarize yourself with the script/scene changes so that you can be ready to help the actors change costumes (if you are female, try to gauge if the male actors will need a helper to change costumes and enlist a male to do so – and vice versa!)

Be on-hand the nights of the dress rehearsals and the nights of the play (having a sewing kit on hand is definitely helpful! In addition, be sure to have plenty of safety pins, bobby pins and hair ties available).

Lastly, all costumes should be neatly returned to their proper place. It is your job to ensure the “dressing rooms” have been restored to their former cleanliness. Any dirty costumes should be laundered and returned back to the costume racks. You may enlist assistance with this, as it can be a big job after a presentation.

B. CLASSIC STAGE MAKEUP

Next, let’s take a look at stage makeup. This works hand in hand with costuming to bring out the depth of the character. Stage makeup is used to strengthen your features so that they can be seen from far away; it is used to define a character or to completely change one’s looks. Rather than highlighting your facial features you have to cover them with a completely new face and look like a totally different person.

When you’re making an actor to another human you must alter his appearance so it fits into the new part’s character. If the part is mean, kind, fat, thin or stupid you must change the actor’s own features to match this. Also, just as with the costuming, makeup should be age appropriate. Overdone makeup on a child looks inappropriate.

To be able to alter an actor’s appearance, we use a lot of different methods: wigs, false teeth, prosthetics and foam rubber appliances are the most basic way of doing character makeup, with light and shadows using greasepaint. When you’re doing a light and shadow makeup you are really just using the actor’s own features to alter his looks by showing and hiding things that are already there. Some actor once said that all parts are an insult, because the makeup artist always brings out the “nasty” bits of the face when doing a character makeup. Depending on what kind of stage you are working on the makeup can differ quite a bit, if you’re working on a small stage you put on makeup very subtle but on a big stage it sometimes looks really grotesque in person but great on stage.

This type of makeup is very challenging for performers; but once it is completed, it helps them become the character they are portraying, because every time they look in a mirror they see not themselves but that other person.

Theatrical makeup is heavily pigmented so that it doesn’t washout under the bright lights of the stage. If you stood on that brightly lit stage without makeup on the audience probably would see only a blur instead of your face because the strong lights would wash out all your features.

Theatrical makeup will holdup under physical stress such as dancing or singing with sweaty tenors. The style of theatrical makeup application will vary with the size of the stage and audience. “Intimate” theater is a small stage, close to a small audience. Makeup for intimate theater is much more normal looking compared to makeup for a large theater where facial expressions must be projected for a thousand feet.

Makeup Formulas:

In the olden days, makeup was made from pigments and heavy oil. It was called grease paint. Today, the formulas have been refined and the new oil based makeups are called “Creme” makeup. Because creme makeups are oil based they must be powdered to remove excess oil and to set the makeup. Freshly set creme makeup can look fantastic, but it does have the tendency to look a little shiny after a while. Creme makeup is hot to wear; however it is easy to blend. If you apply a creme foundation, then you can use creme rouges, shadows and highlights and blend it all together before you set it with powder. After it’s been set, if you need to touch it up, you must use dry or pressed makeups, such as dry rouge. RMGP, or Rubber Mask Grease Paint, is a special formula of cream makeup for use with rubber prosthetics. Often the base oil is caster oil, which is safe on foam latex. It works great on foam latex, but is heavy to wear on the skin. It does need to be powdered.

Pancake is makeup powder pressed into a little tin. It is often called water-based makeup, but is more properly referred to as water-activated. You must wet it like watercolors in order to use it. Professionals will often spritz their entire tray as they begin their work. This allows some time for the makeup to become saturated. Streaks in pancake makeup are caused by faulty application. It is lighter than creme makeup and doesn’t require setting power. It is “self-setting”. But this means you cannot use creme makeups on top of it (such as rouges or shadows). All makeup used on top of pancake must be dry or pressed. It is far more difficult to blend dry makeup than crème; therefore if you are doing special characters or aging, you should use creme. But if you’re making up a large chorus of teenagers, or covering large portions of the body (arms, legs, etc.) then using pancake will save you a lot of time because you won’t have to powder it. You can make it sweat-proof by using a Ben Nye product called LiquiSet (BN-LQ4).

Body or Face Paint is a water-based makeup in liquid form. It is excellent for body art and coverage of large areas of the body. It can be applied thick or thin. It can be applied quickly with an air paint gun or airbrush. If you are completely changing the color of someone’s skin, use liquid body paint. Make it water resistant with Ben Nye LiquiSet additive. Liquid makeup applied with an airbrush is a new trend.

The Main Components of Stage Makeup and Their Application:

  1. Foundation or Base — this is applied first. It serves the purpose of smoothing out your skin texture, adding a little color, and providing a base for other makeup to be blended into. The color used should generally be just a shade or two darker than your normal skin tone. Start the foundation at the forehead and blend up to the hairline. Then cover the rest of the face, including ears, eyelids, and the neck. The neck is necessary so it doesn’t look like a mask. On guys, the entire neck (back too) is sometimes done, but this is messy. After the general foundation, a lighter color goes over the shadows under the nose and on the chin.
  2. Rouges — for adding color to cheeks and definition to face. Choose a rosy color (paler for men) and streak it over the cheekbone. Blend down and up, about halfway down the cheek. On men, it should look naturally rosy, while on women it should be dark enough that it will be seen on the stage as makeup. The blush is also (very slightly) blended over the nose and onto the forehead. The blush will almost always be darker on women than one thinks at first. This must be visible to the audience from under the hot stage lights.
  3. Eye Makeup — the most complicated part. First a very white ‘highlighter’ is used along the brow bone (right underneath the eyebrow) and under the eye. This should be well blended so there are no white streaks, but the area is lightened. Next, a color that’s a little darker than skin tone is brushed over the eye, just above the eyelid but below the brow bone. This is also blended beneath the eye. Over this, an even darker color is put along the top of the eyelid and is blended downwards. It also acts as an eyeliner, but only on the top of the eye. On men, this may be enough for eyeliner. Over this, for women, find an even darker, rosier color that looks more like normal eye shadow. Put this on as one might for everyday makeup, but make it look more obvious. Blend the color a little above the eyebrow so that it’s visible. Men may not need this; if they do, choose a less rosy color. After color is on, line the eyes with dark brown or a similar color. Black should never be used unless the character is very dramatic and needs wild makeup. Last, mascara is put on the top lashes. Try putting the wand into the actor’s lashes and having him or her blink – this makes errors less likely.
  4. Shadows and Highlights — used for aging and shaping/contouring. The idea is that, in real life, when light hits a wrinkled face the wrinkle is recessed and therefore shadowed from the light, so it will appear to be a little darker than the surrounding skin. Shadows and Highlights are used to simulate that effect — you draw a shadow line and a highlight line directly above it, creating the illusion of a puffed out part (the highlighted part) and a recessed part (the shadowed part), which from a distance, with proper lighting, should appear to be a wrinkle. Shadows and Highlights are usually applied with a Flat Brush.
  5. Lipstick — this is fairly simple. For men, choose a color which is only a little bit darker than their usual lip color. Lip liner should match this. Liner and lipstick can be put on in any order; it depends on the individual’s preference. Make sure that the liner goes on the outside of the lips, and not outside the natural line. This will look fake. Liner can be used over all the lips before lipstick is put on to make it stick better and last longer. Lipstick should fill in the lips completely and be dark enough to be seen from the stage. Up close, it should look garish and unrealistic, like Halloween wax lips. In men, it should be slightly more natural. They shouldn’t look like they have makeup on when they’re on stage.
  6. Color Liners — essentially the same as Rouges, Shadows and Highlights only in different colors. Can be used for eye makeup, special effects, etc.
  7. Setting Powder — used to “set” creme makeup. The creme absorbs the powder leaving a dry matte finish that will last for hours. Dip a large brush into a jar of the powder, then shake it to get most of the powder off. Not doing so will result in a large white streak over the makeup that’s just been done, and will ruin it. Without powdering, creme makeup stays moist and sticky and it will be disturbed easily by minor touching and perspiration.

Since we’re on the topic of makeup, let’s discuss a different style of expression…mime face.

C. MIME FACE

In Postmodern Mime, the world is gearing away from traditional white-face…they consider Marcel Marceau passé. But, let’s take a look where it all started.

It began with the Commedia dell’Arte… a form of theatre popular in 16th and 17th century Italy characterized by stock characters, often wearing distinctive masks, who acted out standard plot outlines (scenarios) usually improvising the texts. Literally, it means comedy (Commedia) of the professional guilds or artists (dell’Arte). Its popularity in Renaissance Europe can be attributed to the unusual and special qualities of the actors who were acrobats, dancers, musicians, orators, quick wits, improvisators, and psychologists, possessing a thorough knowledge of human nature. The populace loved the stock characters and their antics. They were traveling wagonloads of actors. Each traveling team would have the same stock characters, like a soap opera. So, if a new wagonload of actors came through several months later, everyone was acquainted with the characters. Most Commedia troupes performed outdoors in city and town piazzas on stage structures, which they brought with them, carried in carts with their equipment, props, costumes, curtains, and ladders. The stages were usually built high (up to 2 meters), so that spectators had an unobstructed view of the action, and allowing for a storage area and change room underneath. The importance of these typical stage characters, which enjoyed at least four centuries of popularity on the European boards, lies in the influence, which they exerted upon the superior dramatists of a later time.

The Italians had the character of Harlequin (remember his multi colored outfit? Harlequin, a poor character, wearing a colorful patched costume, the patches probably remnants of richer costumes) and the Zanies.

The French, their rivals, had Pierot – the son of a baker who had ‘flour’ on his face and a tear streaming from one eye…he was perpetually lovesick. It was from this character that the white face evolved.

The difference between clown face and mime face:

  • Clowns – you never see flesh color, they are white all over, completely covered. From head to toe, they embody their character. Therefore, they cannot change character. Clown faces are copyrighted!
  • Mimes – makeup is used only to create a ‘mask’. Most times their mask is neutral, thereby allowing them to portray many characters – both male and female – without having to change. When creating your mask, work with your features, not against them. Some cultures are freaked out by white face, it means death to some…be sensitive.

If learning about makeup or costuming has sparked your interest, there are many books in the library, or websites available, to further study out these topics. You can learn how to make prosthetics, character wigs, sew and design period costumes, make patterns and more – all online or from a book.  Have fun!


 

Writing Sketches and Dramas

June 12th, 2012

How many of you have ever been in a skit? How many of you have ever seen one? What did you like about participating in one? What was enjoyable about watching one?

Sketches are short dramas (e.g. 3-15 minutes). If they are comedic they are also called skits. Many successful skits are built on common situations. You can turn a situation into comedy by asking ‘what if’ questions. For example the famous Dead Parrot sketch by Monty Python is built on the relatively common situation of returning a defective product to the retailer for a refund. The ‘what if’ questions that might have been asked include: What if the shop owner refuses to acknowledge the problem even though it is obvious? and What if the product is an animal rather than an electronic product? The resulting skit has a customer attempting to return a dead parrot to a pet shop and the shop owner steadfastly refusing to admit that it is dead.

The advantage of basing a skit on a common situation is that you can, in a matter of seconds establish the setting, the characters and what the characters are supposed to be doing. You can take full advantage of the audience’s prior knowledge.

The supporting characters (and sometimes the main characters) can be based on stereotypes: the rude waiter or shopkeeper, the clueless secretary, the dumb jock (athlete), the priest or minister with a speech impediment, the gossiping middle-aged woman, the dumb blonde, the nerd, the sleazy pick-up artist, the absent-minded genius, the overprotective mother, the clumsy but good natured half-wit, the tough boss, the policeman who is unable to see crimes committed in front of him, the stingy banker, the snooty socialite etc.

What other stereotypes can you think of? The advantage of using stereotypes is that the audience can have some previous knowledge of these characters, so you don’t have to establish any motives for them to act. The disadvantage of using stereotypes is that unless you can do something a little different with the plot and dialogue, the audience may become bored (as they have already seen such characters doing the same things over and over).

As Christians, the characters we choose may be less well known. So, we need to be true to the character we’re portraying, true to their stereotype (if there is any established…like Moses with his rod) and true to our theological truth.

Facts do not move us, Truth does. No one is interested in, “Hi, you’re a sinner, and you’re going to burn in Hell while I enjoy heaven.” Facts cannot be presented with out the truth of faith. As Christians, we should not just present the facts of the gospel, but our encounter with it that helped us overcome and believe…capture what made a difference.

The turning point is called the conflict – it causes us to change, which causes us to see what we didn’t see before. Conflict must always be sincere (i.e. Moses having to give up his rod). Conflict should take the audience along for the ride so that when there’s resolution, the audience is with you.

Sources of Humour

  • Audience awareness and expectations – Much humor is based on the audience being aware of something that at least one of the characters does not know. For example, the audience may be aware that a park bench has been freshly painted (but the sign ‘Fresh Paint’ has fallen off). A character wanders onto the scene unaware of this. The audience will find some amusement expecting the character to end up with paint all over (people like to see the misfortune of others). Similarly a character doing something entirely out of expectation can also be a source of humor.

  • Miscommunication, or the inability of people to understand each other, is a popular source of humor and is often used in scenes about cross-cultural interaction.

  • Exaggeration, or hyperbole, can occur in the situation itself (e.g. the students answering their phones while taking an oral exam), the response of a character (ie. a manager’s emotional breakdown) and in the language used (e.g. how many different ways can you say the same thing…dead, expired, passed away, gone on, croaked, checked out, etc.).

  • Understatement This is the opposite of hyperbole. Something terrible or exciting happens and the character barely responds.

  • Satire pokes fun at some aspect of society in order to reveal its evilness or foolishness. We should avoid religious satire when ministering because we don’t want to poke fun at what is wrong in the church, we want to bring to light what’s right with receiving Christ.

  • Double entendres and puns are word play jokes in which one phrase has two meanings. Unintentional double entendres sometimes pop up in Hong Kong company names and signs (e.g. Hung Fat Brassiere Company, Lee Kee boat company etc.)

  • Slapstick is a physical humor that often involves people falling down, getting hit or otherwise getting hurt (though the pain, if it is depicted, is short-lived). The advantage of this type of humor is that is able to easily cross language barriers.

  • Parody refers to comic imitation of existing dramas, movies and/or television shows. It generally does not work unless the audience is familiar with the original shows that are being parodied.

Serious sketches, or dramas, are much more rare than humorous skits. Serious sketches need real characters doing meaningful things rather than stereotypical characters doing silly things; you may find it difficult to establish meaningful characters in a short span of time.

We need to find the human and bring the divine into that. In writing a sketch for a mime, find the parables that speak of spiritual truths. We take certain liberties, or poetic license, to portray what we perceive. We can use mime, like Nathan told a “story” to David after his sin with Bathsheeba…to tell a story that goes “in the back door” to the people’s hearts. David repents because of the story…he judges himself because Nathan has drawn on David’s internal conflict and applied it to a story.

Narratives – story read that you enact

Scenarios – the summation of a story upon which you can build plot lines

Do you want to be literal? It is better to mime a thought than a word.

Do you want to be figurative? It enriches the story by telling the truths of the story…ex: “Angels watching over me”…they don’t just stand there, they interact with us and for us.

So, what are the elements we need to consider when blocking out a skit, drama or mime?

  1. Theme – the moral of the story, the overall concept

  2. Plot – this is most often about a conflict or struggle that the main character goes through. The conflict can be with another character or with the way things are or with something inside the character – like needs or feelings. What the character learns is the theme. The conflict should get more and more tense or exciting. The tension should reach a high point, or climax, near the end of the story and then ease off into the resolution.

  3. Sub plot – where there are changes in time, place or situation. It is divided in to three parts:
    a. beginning – intro of situation

    b. middle – the struggle (reaching toward the climax)

    c. end – overcome by it, overcome it, (the climax is between these two) and then move on

  1. Tone – is the feeling or impression you want to leave behind when it’s over…heaviness of heart for repentance; joy unspeakable for rejoicing.

  2. Setting – the time frame and location. If this is a pulpit support, consider if the presentation is introducing the sermon, illustrating a point in the midst of the sermon, or concluding/summarizing the sermon.

What else do we need to consider?

  1. Who is your audience? (the church, the youth, the unsaved or saved, secular venue)

  2. What is the subject matter?

  3. Is it comic or tragic?

  4. Will there be any special props, lighting, sound, limited space?

  5. Will there be dialogue or no words at all? A narration? A monologue or dialogue?

  6. How many people do you need?

Where do we start?

  1. Pray – ask God for the inspiration – what topic/theme/Scripture/story line to write about

  2. Submit your ideas to the overseers

  3. Pray again – ask God for the details

  4. Do the rough draft

  5. Pray again – what would God have you change/modify/delete?

  6. Submit your second draft to the overseers

  7. Revise as needed

Here are some tips when writing your own sketch…

  • You don’t always have to start at the beginning – start with what you have. If you know you want to use a certain scripture or you have an idea for a sketch but are unsure of what lesson it will teach, start there. This initial idea is called your “seed-idea” or “seed-plot”.

  • Explore and brainstorm connections with your seed ideas, the text, and the “point”. Ask yourself:

    • how does this text relate to life today?

    • Can I see this principle in action (and what does life look like when this principle is not put into practice?)

    • How is this lesson similar to something I’ve experienced?

    • Is there a parallel (or metaphor or analogy) to this idea?

    • How can I relate this message in an unusual way?

    • How could I exaggerate this concept to an extreme (toward or away from humor)?

    • Have other movies or books tackled this question? How?

    • What is the opposite of this idea?

Write down what you want the audience to do, feel, believe, think, or learn at the end of the sketch. This is the destination you are aiming for.

  • Tell a good story – it may be easiest to start with the conflict in order to create the plot around it. Once you decide how the character(s) will handle the conflict (either successfully or unsuccessfully), the beginning and the ending of the story will become more clear. Remember, every story is a bout a character who is hindered in some way from reaching a goal. Your characters need to be realistic and believable. Your audience needs to be able to identify with him/them. Conclusions must be satisfying – a happy ending or an unexpected dramatic plunge.

  • Don’t fall in love with your first draft – Pray and revise as needed.

The Proof

August 26th, 2011

We know that the Bible claims divine inspiration, but the real proof of “inspiration” is fulfilled prophecy.

We believe in Jesus; some others don’t. The Jews say he wasn’t the Messiah.  The Muslims have many of the same stories and people (Abraham, David) only they say Ishmael (not Isaac) was the son of promise. So how do we know that our doctrine of the New Testament is correct?  How do you know Paul and the apostles were right? Fulfilled Prophecy!

Fulfilled Prophecy is the guarantee of what was happening, spoken BEFORE it happened…Prophecy is proof. It was proof before we needed it. Jesus fulfilled over 360 prophecies!  That is statistically impossible for anyone other than God.

PROPHETIC PROOF

Below are just a handful of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled…
 

The Messiah would be the lineage of Abraham -

Ge 18:18

Matt 1:1

Of the Tribe of Judah -

Ge 49:10

Rev 5:5

What city he would be born in -

Micah 5:2

Matthew 2:1

His suffering and death -

Is 53:4-5

Mt 8:16-17

Time of birth -

Da 9:25

Lu 2:1-2

Born of a virgin -

Is 7:14

Matt 1:18

Hands and feet pierced -

Ps 22:16

Jn 20:27

Massacre of infants -

Jer 31:15

Mt 2:16

Flight into Egypt -

Ho 11:1

Mt 2:14

Prayed for his enemies -

Ps 109:7

Luke 23:34

Cast lots for his clothes -

Ps 22:18

Mk 15:24

Rejection by the Jews -

Is 53:3

Jn 1:11

Betrayed by a friend -

Ps 41:9

Mark 14:10

No bones broken -

Ps 34:20

Jn 19:33

He was sold for 30 pcs of silver ($ was prophesied) -

Zec 11:12

Mt 27:6-7

Resurrection -

Ps 16:10

Mt 28:9

False witnesses -

Ps 27:12

Matt 26:60-61

Silent when accused -

Is 53:7

Mt 26:62-63

 

Isn’t it amazing to you that a book written over thousands of years and consisting of 66 different books and many writers and languages is never contradicted by itself?

The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed…and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.  Jesus is in every book. What a coincidence.  The Doctrine of Jesus is the most prophesied and proven doctrine in the world.

HISTORY/ARCHAEOLOGY PROOF

God saved the Dead Sea Scrolls to prove His Word…

 1. THE MOST IMPORTANT ARCHEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY OF ALL TIME WAS THE COLLECTION OF DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Between 1947 and 1956 thousands of fragments of biblical and early Jewish documents were discovered in eleven caves near the site of Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea.  This area is 13 miles east of Jerusalem and is 1300 feet below sea level. These important texts have revolutionized our understanding of the way the Bible was transmitted, and have illuminated the general cultural and religious background of ancient Palestine, out of which both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity arose.

In the spring of 1947 a young Bedouin goat-herd, searching the cliffs along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea for a lost goat (or for treasure, depending on who is telling the story), came upon a cave containing skin-wrapped jars filled with manuscripts when he, as boys tend to do, was throwing rocks in a cave.  He heard a crack in one, went in to investigate and found a ceramic pot with what appeared to be pages inside. The majority of the scrolls were made from animal skins but there were also a few made from parchment. The major exception to these is the Copper scroll, which as its name suggests, was made from copper.

The first discoveries came to the attention of scholars in 1948, when seven of the scrolls were sold by the Bedouin to a cobbler and antiquities dealer called Kando. He in turn sold three of the scrolls to Eleazar L. Sukenik of Hebrew University, and four to Metropolitan Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel of the Syrian Orthodox monastery of St. Mark. Mar Athanasius in turn brought his four to the American School of Oriental Research, where they came to the attention of American and European scholars.

It was not until 1949 that the site of the find was identified as the cave now known as Qumran Cave 1. It was that identification that led to further explorations and excavations of the area of Khirbet Qumran.

Between 1949 and 1956, in what became a race between the Bedouin and the archaeologists, ten additional caves were found in the hills around Qumran, caves that yielded several more scrolls, as well as thousands of fragments of scrolls: the remnants of approximately 800 manuscripts dating from approximately 200 B.C. to 68 A.D.

The majority of the scrolls were written in Hebrew (approximately 90-95%) with Assyrian Block script. From this majority there are a few cases in which the scribes used Paleo-Hebrew. In addition to the texts found in Hebrew, there were also some texts written in Aramaic and Greek. Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and of the first two centuries A.D.

So, these scrolls/manuscripts were written in:

  • Hebrew
  • Aramaic
  • Greek

They are written with a carbon-based ink, from right to left, using no punctuation except for an occasional paragraph indentation. In fact, in some cases, there are not even spaces between the words. The manuscripts called the Dead Sea Scrolls represent over 800 separate writings.

It is believed that some of them were written by the Jewish sectarians known as the Essenes who formed the Qumran community during the period from about 200 B.C. to 68 C.E./A.D.  It is believed that the scrolls were placed in the cave around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion/death…give or take a few years.

A great many of the scrolls were part of the wealth of literature circulating widely in Judea of the Second Temple period, and were brought to the site by the sectarians. Some of these works, such as 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, we know from other sources as well. Thus, the Qumran documents give us insights, not only into the workings of the Dead Sea sect itself, but also into the wider context and thought-world of Second Temple Judaism.

What did they verify?

  • Scripture
  • Lifestyles
  • Beliefs

The scrolls themselves were Scripture and Commentaries.

There were coins also found there in a continuous time frame of 200 years, verifying the time frame.  These scrolls were 1000 years older than any known copies of scripture.

Secular historians like Pliny the younger, Josephus, and Philo had written about the people of Qumran, thus verifying the authenticity and the time frame.  What’s important to note is that every book of the Old Testament was represented, at least in part, except the book of ESTHER.

These scrolls verified scripture, history and culture that had been taught and now they had proofs from 1000 years before any writings concerning these things. All of this verifies scripture and ensures correct doctrine.  Because of the fact that the scrolls verified the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled with ancient enough manuscripts, it proves no man changed the Old Testament scriptures to prove out the prophecies of Jesus!

2. THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERY WAS THE ROSETTA STONE

Let’s first look at what led up to the discovery…

Egyptian hieroglyphics had been used by the Egyptians for thousands of years. However, a particularly bleak period of Egyptian history is the conquest of Egypt by Persia. The Egyptians were dominated by Persian intruders. The events that changed the nature of Egypt were not the Persian conquest but rather the war between Persia (the rulers of Egypt) and the united Greek city-states. Greece had originally been united by Philip of Macedon and then ruled effectively by Alexander the Great. Alexander defeated the Persian forces and then took his army to Egypt. There he was welcomed as a conquering hero by the Egyptians because he brought an end to Persian rule. He was made a god by the Egyptians as well as a pharaoh. He, however, had other campaigns to wage and took his army off to the Middle East and the Indus River Valley leaving a regent in charge of Egypt.

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, his empire was divided among his three most trusted and powerful generals. The throne of Egypt fell to Ptolemy I, the son of Lagus. Ptolemy took Alexander’s preserved body in a jar filled with honey back to Alexandria. Ptolemy ran Egypt like a business, strictly for profit. He was welcomed by the Egyptians as part of Alexander the Great’s family. Ptolemy then became the pharaoh, Ptolemy I. By so doing, he set the name standard for the 32nd Dynasty which turned out to be the last of Egypt’s great dynasties. All of his male successors were called Ptolemy and all of his female successors were called Cleopatra.

As we move to the end of this Greek Dynasty, there was increasing involvement with the Roman Empire. The Roman civil war between Caesar and Pompeii indirectly involved Egypt. Pompeii lost this war and turned to Egypt for shelter and young Ptolemy (several generations below Ptolemy I) had him executed and delivered to Caesar.

The young Ptolemy, thinking this would ingratiate him with Caesar was totally incorrect. His sister, Cleopatra, who was vying for the throne had other ways of ingratiating herself with Caesar – they had children together. Caesar was unfortunately assassinated while visiting Rome and his empire was divided up between General Marcus Antonious and his adopted son, Octavian. Marcus Antonious was better known as Marc Antony. Marc Antony took rulership of that part of the Empire that contained Egypt and that resulted in his inheriting Cleopatra. They, too, had children. His relationship with Octavian broke down and resulted in a war which Marc Antony lost. Antony was killed and Cleopatra committed suicide. Their male children were executed and their female children were probably married off to local princes. The Egyptian dynastic system was ended and a Roman Governorship was established.

During the Ptolemic dynasty, Egyptian and Greek languages were used simultaneously. During the Roman Governorship only Latin was used and occasionally Greek. Within a hundred years the Egyptian hieroglyphics were no longer used or understood by anyone and even the Roman authors of the time suggested that hieroglyphics was not even a language. In the truest sense this is now a dead language.

Ultimately the Roman Empire fell and the Middle Ages "came about". Nevertheless, there existed a constant contact between Europe and Egypt such that hieroglyphics were consistently known by the European elite. The reason for this is that medical practices of the Middle Ages resulted in the prescription of bitumen, ground up mummies as a cure for various kinds of diseases. Thus, there was a trade in whole mummies which resulted in examples of hieroglyphics coming into Europe throughout the Dark Ages.

As a result, there were some early attempts at translation of hieroglyphics. The history of the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphics during the 16th and 17th centuries took small steps toward final interpretation. Some scholars thought that the hieroglyphics were the origin of other languages. Some believed that hieroglyphics spelled nothing at all. Yet others believed that the hieroglyphics were an indication of social stratification or social significance.

This speculation would have continued had not a political event interceded. The almost constant warfare between Britain and France resulted in a major change in the understanding of hieroglyphics. The French under Napoleon Bonaparte decided that they could defeat the British by attacking Egypt and subsequently controlling the rich food supply from along the Nile.

In August of 1798, 13 French ships landed near Alexandria at Aboukir Bay in Egypt and marched inland to fight the British near Cairo. The night before the battle, Napoleon exhorted his troops on by saying something like "Soldiers, from the tops of these pyramids, forty centuries are looking down at you." The French ground forces won the conflict but the British navy, under the command of Lord Horratio Nelson, defeated the French navy.

Napoleon believed that he would be in Egypt for only a few months, but he and his men were stranded there for three years with no way to return home. Napoleon had brought with him between nearly 1000 civilians including 167 of whom were scientists, technicians, mathematicians and artists who studied the art, architecture, and culture of Egypt during their "extended vacation." From 1809-1828, they published a 19-volume work called Description of Egypt. Their observations, drawings and illustrations were circulated throughout Europe and created a tremendous interest in antiquities of Egypt.

The soldiers continued to "dig in" and they reconstructed forts as most soldiers had done during previous centuries by using building stones previously used by earlier peoples. In 1799, while extending a fortress near Rosetta, a small city near Alexandria (about 200km north of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast), a young French officer named Pierre-Francois Bouchard found a block of black basalt (granite) stone.

It measured three feet nine inches long, two feet four and half inches wide, and eleven inches thick and it contained three distinct bands of writing. The most incomplete was the top band containing hieroglyphics, the middle band was an Egyptian script called Demotic script, and the bottom was ancient Greek. This stone was called the Rosetta Stone. He took the stone to the scholars and they realized that it was a royal decree that basically stated that it was to be written in the languages used in Egypt at the time. Scholars began to focus on the Demotic script, the middle band, because it was more complete and it looked more like letters than the pictures in the upper band that were hieroglyphics. It was essentially a shorthand hieroglyphics that had evolved from an earlier shorthand version of Egyptian called Heiratic script.

The Rosetta Stone contained 3 languages:

  1. Hieroglyphics – the script used for important or religious documents
  2. Demotic – the common script of Egypt
  3. Greek – the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time

The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said.  Many people worked on deciphering hieroglyphs over several hundred years. However, the structure of the script was very difficult to work out.

The first to make any sense of the Demotic script on the Rosetta Stone was a French scholar named Silvestre deSacy. deSacy was an important and skilled French linguist.

Johann Akerblad, who history records as a Swedish diplomat, looked at the Rosetta Stone with an additional knowledge of Coptic.  Coptic was written with the Greek alphabet but utilizes seven additional symbols from the Demotic script. Akerblad’s knowledge of Coptic allowed him to identify the words for ‘love,’ ‘temple’ and ‘Greek’ thus, making it clear that the Demotic script was not only a phonetic script but it was also translatable.

The earliest translation of the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone into English was done by Reverend Stephen Weston in London in April 1802 before the Society of Antiquaries . About this time, both deSacy and Thomas Young, attempted to decipher the hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone.

Thomas Young determined that the cartouches were proper names of people who were not Egyptian like the names of Ptolemy and Alexander which in Greek were Ptolemaios and Alexandrus. He successfully deciphered 5 cartouches. His publication on this matter was far reaching.

At this point there is involvement by a young French historian and linguist named Jean- Fracois Champollion. Champollion had mastered many Eastern languages. In 1807, Champollion went to study for two years with noted French linguist Francois Antoine- Isaac Silvestre deSacy. Later in his career, Champollion had compiled a Coptic dictionary and read Thomas Young in 1819. Looking at Young’s writing on the subject of hieroglyphics, he realized that what Young had actually proven was that all of hieroglyphics were phonetic, not just those hieroglyphics that were contained within the cartouches.

So, with the Rosetta Stone, he was able to decipher the ancient languages in 23 years. This allowed scholars to open up all the historical and other writings of ancient Egypt…before this no one knew anything at all.

These writings verified much of the biblical history that up until then was not known to be true.  These things do not prove the Bible, God does. These things simply reinforce the Bible.  The time lines in the Bible correspond with history’s time lines…For example, the Bronze age and Solomon who used Bronze for the platform before Israel.

In order to have a resolute faith in God and sound doctrine we must have a rock solid faith in the Bible…ALL of the Bible.  If you have doubts, however slight, they will manifest in times of pressure and your doctrine will fold.  We’ve discussed what doctrine is.  And now we have a three-fold support for our doctrine:

  1. archaeological supplements that verify the Word
  2. the fulfilled prophecies that verify Jesus’ authenticity
  3. the words of Jesus whereby He says the Old Testament is God’s Word and thereby authenticates it.

We need all three of these…it's like a three-legged stool. This is the foundation for all of our doctrine.

 

*I would like to thank Craig Nelson for his contributions in my life that allowed me to write this teaching.

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